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View Poll Results: If you are FI and thinking ER, how did it happen
Careful planning, frugal lifestyle 164 71.93%
Windfall Inheritance 6 2.63%
Just plain lucky 22 9.65%
Other 36 15.79%
Voters: 228. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-20-2012, 09:13 PM   #101
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In some ways, one's fate is like a chess game. More specifically, a single move early on can have a huge impact on the outcome. When it comes to luck (or a planned move), it's like in chess early on I may move a pawn up one which at first seems like such an insignificant move but turn out to make all the difference.

A more real life experience, for me, in my junior year in high school, while meeting with my dean, she said a course you want to take is typing. At that time, the class seemed unimportant compared to other classes. But in the end typing was a very helpful class -- think...college term papers, punched computer cards, resumes, computer programing. Had I not taken typing, might the outcome have been different? Was I lucky? Or was that like a small planned move in a chess game? The choice could have been either.
Chess is a good analogy but maybe poker or any other card game would be closer--in chess both sides start with the same pieces and the same strategies available at the beginning of the game, but in a card game you get what's dealt to you vs. what's dealt to others. That's the "luck" part--what you're dealt when you're born, say. Then you play the game, and some people with crappy cards (say, bad parents, whatever) are able to win it all, while some with the best cards manage to lose. That's the careful planning and hard work--but even then, you might have bad luck in what's played against you (that might be like someone who worked hard and well but for a company that went bankrupt).
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:19 PM   #102
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I hate to rain on your parade, but if house prices are what you say they are, having one probably saves you some $. Whether your house is worth $1K or $1M is irrelevent if you live in it. It's worth is the difference between rent (for a similar place) and total cost of ownership (you can do the math).
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:25 AM   #103
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Chess is a good analogy but maybe poker or any other card game would be closer--in chess both sides start with the same pieces and the same strategies available at the beginning of the game, but in a card game you get what's dealt to you vs. what's dealt to others. That's the "luck" part--what you're dealt when you're born, say. Then you play the game, and some people with crappy cards (say, bad parents, whatever) are able to win it all, while some with the best cards manage to lose. That's the careful planning and hard work--but even then, you might have bad luck in what's played against you (that might be like someone who worked hard and well but for a company that went bankrupt).
I like the card game analogy. Really good points.

I can't help but remember on old Star Trek episode, where the Enterprise is cornered...and Spock pretty much says "check mate...no other alternative." but Kirk says, "No, not chess Mr. Spock, but Poker" then he bluffs his way out of a dire situation.

Not that bluffing is always the best approach rather than logic, planning and hard work, but sometimes, that's the only alternative.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:00 PM   #104
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I've been fairly lucky, as in "fall in a bucket of poo and come out smelling like a rose" lucky...
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:15 PM   #105
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How much of it is also perspective? Strategy of the Dolphin sort of thing.
For example, one might get a job offer that requires a lot of travel and being away from home (unlucky) but it pays $600K a year (lucky).

Your great-uncle might have died (unlucky) but he left you $3.4 million dollars (lucky).

You lost your job (unlucky) but got to RE (lucky)

As a few posters also opined, I think you make a lot of your luck. I think each day we're presented with opportunities to turn negatives into positives...it's up to us.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:15 PM   #106
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Mostly lucky, I think. No silver spoon here, but DW and I have been dealt a pretty good hand in life and we have made the most of it.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:32 PM   #107
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I'd love to think that careful planning played the biggest role. However I also know that good fortune/luck is also significant. Frugal living is a given. Therefore I can't answer the poll
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:22 PM   #108
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I guess I'd say I was lucky to have the parents I did. I learned all I know about money from them, so I'm a pretty practical spender. We're debt free, and I the inheritance they left me hasn't left me worry free, but it's better than a sharp stick in my eye.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:36 PM   #109
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It is a question that requires multiple answers. What is it in human psychology that requires only one answer to a problem?
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:09 AM   #110
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Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman may answer the question above.

All of the pieces of my story have been already told by others: Depression era parents, LBMM, motivated to save enough to get away from that job or any other one, had money in the S&P500 when it zoomed, pension (no-COLA), retiree health care, low earner wife who is also a low spender, no kids

I did learn some hard lessons about my greed, but that was early on. One of my current friends was in his fifties when he made similar mistakes.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:21 AM   #111
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I'd like to think it was more prudence and planning than luck, but realistically it was a combination of both. No windfalls like inheritance or stock options or anything like that - just slow and steady wins the race.

My dad worked hard (frequently was not home until 7pm or later) and did very well (better than I knew when I was growing up though I had a sense that we were well off) but still was very LBYM so I had good example to learn from.

While my heart steered me to a couple professions where I would have been poor but happy, my brain steered me to another profession that was more lucrative and I was still happy (but I'm a half glass full type anyway).

I had a brief bad run in with credit card debt in my mid 20s that caused me to avoid credit other than mortgages for the rest of my life. I also was a regular saver and investor in equities at the right time (since the early 80s) and got on to the low cost index fund bandwagon long before it became popular and was able to RE at 56.

I was lucky that I avoided divorce, job losses, major illnesses and other life events that can decimate one's retirement plans.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:38 AM   #112
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Mr. A. says he is the one who got lucky

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Old 09-22-2012, 08:55 AM   #113
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If you're posting on this forum, I would consider you lucky (I know that I am)...
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:34 PM   #114
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There is always an element of luck. Health, correct choice of spouse, not getting laid off, ect.

I have been lucky in those respects. But it would not be enough without making good income and saving and investing. Keeping costs low help more than anything.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:53 PM   #115
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I'm a firm believer that you create your own luck by hard work, educating yourself on your goal, having a good network, dedication, timing, and perseverance.
And by being born in the right country?
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