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Old 10-24-2014, 07:48 PM   #121
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What is Sarah's relationship to you?
This gets complicated. DW's brother gets married, the marriage lasts six weeks. The wife was pregnant at the time and he stepped up to the plate and tried hard to do the right thing even though she was a nut case. The child born from that is "learning challenged" as it is put now and will be on some form of assistance for life. "Sarah" is her older sister by about five years and from a prior relationship of the ex.

As is usual, the ex, being female, was awarded custody of the daughter even though BIL had a steady job and owned a home which the ex did neither.

When Sarah was ten years old and her sister was about five or six, the school called BIL because the younger one had not had lunch money for three or four days. Turned out the ex had left the two girls alone in the apartment, no food, no money, and checked herself in to the local hospitals psych ward.

That incident led to BIL gaining custody of his daughter, and he also asked for and got custody of Sarah, not wanting to break them up. Several years later for mysterious reasons unfathomable to anyone else, the court once again awarded custody to the now-supposedly-cured ex. Ha! There followed a series of bizarre episodes with the ex, and he eventually regained custody of his daughter and Sarah, by then 16 or 17, for some reason elected to stay with her mother.

At one point she had bought a used car and was making payments on it. Her mother, with a long history of wrecking cars (and no driver's license) "borrowed" it and wrecked it. When Sarah overheard her mother and the current boyfriend discussing what they were going to to do with the insurance money she realized it was long past time to leave. The check was to Sarah of course and she paid off the car loan with it.

Sarah now has an AA degree from the community college, is in the U.S. Navy Reserves (so glad to see she did that, it will open a lot of doors for her!). She paid for school with money from working in a pizza shop, and - get this - wants to be a police officer!

I've left out a lot - it would fill a book but a weird and long one.

One particularly disappointing event is that his daughter was persuaded by the ex to move back in with her. The ex is highly manipulative and wanted the SSDI income from the daughter. The daughter is now miserable but doesn't know why and since she has not been adjudicated incompetent that will probably not change. Very sad.

So we look at Sarah as one would a niece, and one who has had a very tough time getting started in life. I think she will do well in spite of that. Unlikely, but if she ever needs a place to stay for a few weeks around here for a job or something she will be welcome here.
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Old 10-24-2014, 07:53 PM   #122
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Good grief! That woman must be devil incarnate. Some people have no conscience. This is how misery is typically created.
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:57 AM   #123
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You are a good Uncle sir.
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Old 10-25-2014, 03:15 PM   #124
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Good grief! That woman must be devil incarnate. Some people have no conscience. This is how misery is typically created.
She is worse than the stereotypical "welfare queen". Won't hold a job, explores every avenue to get something free from the state (i.e., the taxpayers) nothing is her fault, and everyone else is conspiring against her. Where is that bus that goes around running over people when it's really needed? Society would be much better off without that parasite.

Without her ours would be a pretty dull family with no drama. She's drama queen enough. We won't even take phone calls from her anymore.

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You are a good Uncle sir.
Thank you.
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Old 10-25-2014, 05:23 PM   #125
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What a story Walt. Fantastic that you look out for her. Also great writing.

Wish I had an uncle like you.
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Old 10-26-2014, 06:27 PM   #126
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We were just informed last night that Sarah got a new job doing security work with a govt. contracting company. Pay is ~$20/hour with bennies!

Not at the pizza shop anymore.

And they are great with making sure she can have the weekends off when needed for Reserve duty.
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FIRE:Is It Intelligence or Determination
Old 10-26-2014, 06:42 PM   #127
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FIRE:Is It Intelligence or Determination

Congrats to Sarah on landing a great job! And to Walt for helping her get there.


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Old 10-26-2014, 07:35 PM   #128
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Wow Walt. Just wow. I already loved your amazing letter, but now I feel like I'm going to be rooting for my name-sharer to make her way in the world even better with your help. She sounds awesome, and I already knew you were, from your letter to her.

What a wonderful gift, to have folks like you in her life.


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Old 10-26-2014, 09:16 PM   #129
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We were just informed last night that Sarah got a new job doing security work with a govt. contracting company. Pay is ~$20/hour with bennies!

Not at the pizza shop anymore.

And they are great with making sure she can have the weekends off when needed for Reserve duty.
That is excellent news.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:07 AM   #130
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For me it started as fear of not being able to keep my high paying career job and later became desire for freedom. Also watching my portfolio grow was almost a hobby. I was very motivated to save and add more to the pot
When it (portfolio) started to make almost as much as I did working on good market years.....it was pretty exciting.
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:08 AM   #131
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This is a good thread...

I think it's a big part personality: being OK with deferred gratification, going away from the herd as it pertains to having the best clothes, cars, big houses, etc. Certainly some of us can do those things and still RE, but the majority are likely this way.

Luck can factor in in some cases, but to say it's a cause or determining factor is a stretch. There are plenty of people "lucky" enough to have the means to RE, but many don't because they make bad choices along the way. Conversely, there are many who don't have luck falling their way, but they make good choices and sacrifice along the way to get there.

Intelligence - I think this can factor in because your capacity to understand compound interest and other important mathematical concepts is somewhat important. Not a determining factor, however, as you can simply push the "I believe" button, or make enough money as a skilled tradesman and hire a financial professional to manage your money at an early age. You don't have to be a genius to weld, but you have to be a good welder! On the flip side, you have countless examples of extremely bright doctors who start making their big bucks in their early thirties, but because of their personality they are always buying expensive cars and trying to keep up with the herd of doctors. "White Coat Investor" is a popular blog devoted to teaching medical professionals, all likely very intelligent, how to retire early because the majority of them cannot.

So, to me, the biggest driver is personality. Personality factors into determination, work ethic, and willingness to defer gratification and steer away from the herd. That's a bigger factor than minor ones such as luck and intelligence, IMO.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:55 PM   #132
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Funny, we got married in 1979, after knowing each other only 2 weeks. Paycheck to paycheck for the first 7 years. Finally, a little luck. I knew someone who knew someone to get my husband a job with mega corp. He has been there (30) years. 2 kids and 35 years later we are FIRE. I am retired 4 years now. DH retires in January. Slow and steady got us to FIRE. We sat at home for the first (10) years of our marriage while everyone (especially family) went and did trips, bought new cars etc. We always put at least 10% in the 401K.

I am just a high school graduate but I did take math. Pretty simple, you can't spend more than you take in and save. My husband has gotten his Master's in business. All education paid for by GI bill and work. Funny he has never done any of our financial stuff. That is all me. I have educated myself in the stock market etc. It has paid off.

My family especially, all say they wish they were more like us...but they don't seem to remember we sat at home all those years while they were out and about spending money.

I have often thought about going to get a degree just to prove to my daughter that I have what it takes to go and get a degree. I then look at our bank account and think Nah. I think she gets it now though. You don't have to be above average intelligence to FIRE. Just don't spend more than you make and save regularly. Compounding interest has a way of making it all worth while so that you can live like no others tomorrow.

I am inspired by all those on this forum who have the same mindset, genius or not. :-)


Just my 2 cents.
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