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Old 11-17-2014, 02:20 PM   #61
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Last night was a life event for me. PBS on Roku... "Hawking".

Hawking (2013) - IMDb

In last minute of the movie. "I am not afraid of dying, but I am in no hurry to die." ~Stephen Hawking
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:33 PM   #62
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Will watch, thanks for the tip
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:08 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
And then there was Amelia Earhart. Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce the right way.
And the infamous Dole Air Race of 1927:

" Of the 15-18 airplanes entered, eleven were certified to compete but three crashed before the race, resulting in three deaths. Eight eventually participated in the race, with two crashing on takeoff and two going missing during the race. A third, forced to return for repairs, took off again to search for the missing and was itself never seen again. In all, before, during, and after the race, ten lives were lost and six airplanes were total losses. Two of the eight planes successfully landed in Hawaii."

Dole Air Race - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I would put this in the "rash", not a good calculated risk category. We read about this race next to an Amelia Earhart exhibit at an aviation museum.
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:14 PM   #64
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So how do we save Hawking's software ?. Ahem, knowledge and ability form valid theorems.

What would be the risks in doing so?
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:42 PM   #65
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But I don't think he is that poor.

I interpret that as having >11,670 in income plus social security above that or more $23K a year, with subsidized housing, I think we have retired forum members in expensive places living on not much more than that. They don't complain about being poor.
My dear Mother lived the last 40yrs of her life as a divorcee on less income than this, and lived a full and satifying life. She would not have described herself as poor.

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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
Old habits die hard:

"I feel guilty that I am shopping at this upscale market when I am wondering which medical bill I can postpone this month and, which, if any, I can pay."

He seems to have developed a sort of learned helplessness towards earning and managing money. He could add significantly to his income just from little ideas on the the Reddit beer money thread, let alone freelance writing or blogging. And shopping at Costco and ethnic markets.
He's either intellectually lazy about finances or in denial...or both.

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Originally Posted by nun View Post
The article annoyed me....and I'm a bleeding heart liberal. Mr. Mcpherson takes care to say that he isn't as poor as a lot of people and that he's made some very dumb decisions so it's hard for me to feel a lot of compassion for him when there are lots of hardworking people trying to raise families working multiple low wage jobs. Statements like

"In my opinion, I didn’t squander the money, either; I just spent it a little too enthusiastically—not on Caribbean cruises but on exploring the aftermath of the fall of Communism in eastern Europe. I don’t regret it."

Of course he regrets it....that's the whole premise of his article.
See above about others who get by with less without as much self pity. I think it's difficult for Mr. McPherson (and likely anyone) to have "had money" and lost it.

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I don't think people are judging the guy for taking risks (like going to Eastern Europe after the wall fell). But for taking UNNECESSARY AND STUPID RISKS, he does cloud the experience of others whose poverty may have been less their own damn fault. He was not just the architect of his own financial disaster, he was the general contractor and the work crew.
Because his woes are essentially self-inflicted, I think most of us have little sympathy. Although, if we're honest with ourselves - as Gumby said, we all probably do have a little voice in our head saying, "I sure hope this fate doesn't befall me!"

In the end, my view is that his Mother was right.
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:53 PM   #66
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........................



Because his woes are essentially self-inflicted, I think most of us have little sympathy. Although, if we're honest with ourselves - as Gumby said, we all probably do have a little voice in our head saying, "I sure hope this fate doesn't befall me!"

In the end, my view is that his Mother was right.
From my previous posts it may be obvious I have zero sympathy for the guy.

As for his "I sure hope this fate doesn't befall me!" If that is the worst that will ever happen to me, I'll be happy as pig in poop.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:52 PM   #67
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Hmmm - pssst Wellesley or 'Be a Boglehead' buy index funds and 'stay the course.'

That said we helped put on an 80th Birthday party for a 'dead broke old newspaper photographer' complete with friends, relatives, and old news photogs (4) from around the country he worked with over the decades.

In his words he thoroughly enjoyed all three ex-wives(2 attended) all the money he spent and booze he drank/drinks.

heh heh heh - on the other hand people seem head the other direction when I start to expound on how to be aggressively cheap and enjoy it. I think it's all in the attitude. :
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:26 PM   #68
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I read the article and enjoyed it very much. I think he is a very good writer.

I see him more sympathetically than others here perhaps.

Don't misunderstand me. I think his "poverty" (official or not) was his fault. He says it was his fault and I believe him.

But, I can see his circumstances as being his fault and yet still have empathetic feelings.

I guess it is that I see that people sometimes make mistakes and they can end up in bad circumstances as a result. And, it is their fault, without question. But, I can still feel for them for having ended up there.

Perhaps it is because I am a mother of children with ADHD, but sometimes people *do* make mistakes. And, yes, it is their fault but I can still feel bad for them, for having made the mistake.

Yes, yes, I agree he is not the "deserving poor" and his situation is not as dire as that of many. And, yet, I can still feel bad for him at this time even if it was all his fault.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:44 AM   #69
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....
But, I can see his circumstances as being his fault and yet still have empathetic feelings.

I guess it is that I see that people sometimes make mistakes and they can end up in bad circumstances as a result. And, it is their fault, without question. But, I can still feel for them for having ended up there....
Frankly, I don't have strong feelings about this specific author, probably closest to this quote. But, I do find that I do have much more of this type of empathy as I age, possibly as my level of stress is reduced.

I have done the Myers–Briggs thing several times (HR/management mandates) and always tested strongly INTJ; but, I wonder if I would test INTP now.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:06 AM   #70
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I read the article and enjoyed it very much. I think he is a very good writer.

I see him more sympathetically than others here perhaps.

Don't misunderstand me. I think his "poverty" (official or not) was his fault. He says it was his fault and I believe him.

But, I can see his circumstances as being his fault and yet still have empathetic feelings.

I guess it is that I see that people sometimes make mistakes and they can end up in bad circumstances as a result. And, it is their fault, without question. But, I can still feel for them for having ended up there.

Perhaps it is because I am a mother of children with ADHD, but sometimes people *do* make mistakes. And, yes, it is their fault but I can still feel bad for them, for having made the mistake.

Yes, yes, I agree he is not the "deserving poor" and his situation is not as dire as that of many. And, yet, I can still feel bad for him at this time even if it was all his fault.
But he does not appear to have learned anything from his experience. How can one be sympathetic to a person who says they have no regrets, would do it again but still say I am poor and this life sucks I can't afford what I need?

He retired in mid eighties probably one of the best periods in history to have retired, he could not have gone wrong with almost any investment allocation with up to a 6 percent annual withdrawal but still he managed to fritter his finances aways on margin and overspend his way to zero. His writing here is infused with a faux mea culpa lament that permeates the presentation of poverty he must endure in the symbiotic placement of Leo Tolstoy's grandson, woeful musing of a paltry pension from the Washington Post and bewailing of the frittering of his precious time in exchange for government rent and medical assistance.

His confiscation of resources from our government and the treatment of his cardiac condition appear as an affront to him instead of the modern medical miracles they are, providing him the most valuable commodities of all - time - yet the clock slowly grinds to a melancholy ending for this doleful fellow. His position in society has arrived as a result of the destination he actively sought with his own deleterious conduct toward finances. Money for him is the kindling wood of experience and i believe any amount made available would soon be consumed. His family needs to care for him or he would fail mightily, how can he not see he is the architect of the station of poverty? No regrets for what he has wasted? Perhaps somehow the shade that has been drawn down over his eyes can yet be lifted and illuminate his mind to the possibilities yet to be explored, and be heartened that opportunity still yet abounds for him. But somehow I think he will always be burning the furniture in the fireplace.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:12 AM   #71
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Having rented out property to the working (and non-working) poor for 20+ years, the only sympathy I have is for the severely disabled and kids. Frankly, the adults have had ample opportunity to better their lives but have chosen not to.

And when the kids reach ~18 yo ... the sympathy fades quickly.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:14 AM   #72
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His article made me think of the adult kid callers on Suze Orman who don't know what to do or how best to help aging parents who want to constantly borrow money from them yet can't seem to follow a LBYMs lifestyle.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:06 PM   #73
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Also having recently retired from The Washington Post with the same "small Pension" the OP failed to point out that it's pension is available at age 55 with health care in which the company picks up 75% of the cost. You add that the company had a very robust 401k matching plan since the late 1970's in addition to its pension ( paid 100% by the company ) it's hard to feel sorry for the position he finds himself in. I am sure many on this board would love to have been offered the benefits the OP had available!
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:35 PM   #74
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He is a great writer, I'd trade some of my money to have his talent.

But I don't think he is that poor.



I interpret that as having >11,670 in income plus social security above that or more $23K a year, with subsidized housing, I think we have retired forum members in expensive places living on not much more than that. They don't complain about being poor.

I'm 38 and only spend around $24k per year (no kids, not married). I make roughly $60k from w-2 and actually about the same off of investments...

I find it extremely easy to live off around $2k per month. Granted I do live in the south east, which at times feels like a third world country. Not saying that in a snotty way. I do come from a long line of hillbillies after all.

When I was briefly in graduate school back in 2000 I lived off of about $10k per year. I didn't own a car, no health insurance, and few other things. Still it was a piece of cake.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:05 AM   #75
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My heart is in complete agreement with Katsmeow, my head is complete agreement with Running Man.

This is why I concluded that he is indeed a fine writer, I have little doubt he earned his Pulitzer. Plenty of artist are lousy at managing money or making wise choices.

It is also worth pointing out the thanks to Warren Buffett's wise counsel and brilliant choice of a pension managers, the WashPo pension is one of the best funded in the country. The folks who retired with pension that they thought were secure but weren't deserve more sympathy.
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:14 AM   #76
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I don't have any sympathy for those that are in poverty due to their own irresponsible use of money. He could have had a secure retirement if he had invested wisely. Instead, he squandered his money, didn't work when he should have, and now is making money writing about it.
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Old 11-19-2014, 08:20 AM   #77
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I'm 38 and only spend around $24k per year (no kids, not married). I make roughly $60k from w-2 and actually about the same off of investments...

I find it extremely easy to live off around $2k per month. Granted I do live in the south east, which at times feels like a third world country. Not saying that in a snotty way. I do come from a long line of hillbillies after all.

When I was briefly in graduate school back in 2000 I lived off of about $10k per year. I didn't own a car, no health insurance, and few other things. Still it was a piece of cake.
This is exactly the point I have made in the past. Many of us have allowed our lifestyles to grow to the money available. Some still manage to save some assets but we have willingly traded our working lives for the prospect of a fancier coffin.

If I had retired when I first found this forum in 2005, I could have lived on $70,000/yr -- in 2006 dollars (pretax & before medical insurance). I was ready to do that in 2006 and my original forum name was "Soon2B." In law health issues caused me to back off and put in another 8 years. My FIL passed away 3 years ago so I lost that excuse a long time ago. I'm now 63 but have a paid for house and a mucho higher retirement budget available. It's now getting ridiculous to keep working.

I have 13 "in office" days left after today!
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:09 PM   #78
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This is exactly the point I have made in the past. Many of us have allowed our lifestyles to grow to the money available. Some still manage to save some assets but we have willingly traded our working lives for the prospect of a fancier coffin.

If I had retired when I first found this forum in 2005, I could have lived on $70,000/yr -- in 2006 dollars (pretax & before medical insurance). I was ready to do that in 2006 and my original forum name was "Soon2B." In law health issues caused me to back off and put in another 8 years. My FIL passed away 3 years ago so I lost that excuse a long time ago. I'm now 63 but have a paid for house and a mucho higher retirement budget available. It's now getting ridiculous to keep working.

I have 13 "in office" days left after today!
So after 13 days your forum name will become "IB" ?
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:47 PM   #79
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So after 13 days your forum name will become "IB" ?
I have actually considered this. Some people here have changed their names after actually retiring and some have not.

My 13 days are the number of days I will come into the office before handing in my resignation on 5 January 2015. I'll give two weeks notice but if not on a project I'll offer to go then. If I'm wrapping up a project, I could see staying on into early February. If it's longer than that, I think I'll insist on being replaced so I can leave. This place has been very good to me and I see no reason to be a pain in the butt when I leave.

We used to have an option where an employee could retire but remain an employee while they took vacation. That option disappeared or I would have retired in October. I had about 12 weeks of vacation saved. I'm now taking as much as I can get away with taking without making it obvious I'm just burning vacation. I didn't want to leave before the beginning of 2015 because I have a large deferred compensation lump sum coming to me within a month after I leave the company. It's enough to really trigger draconian income tax events for me.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:30 AM   #80
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Summary of the original article:


"Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid."
-John Wayne
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