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How not to retire. A well-written but frightening tale
Old 11-15-2014, 02:37 PM   #1
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How not to retire. A well-written but frightening tale

IASC: The Hedgehog Review - Volume 16, No. 3 (Fall 2014) - Falling -


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Old 11-15-2014, 02:41 PM   #2
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A snippet or short description would be helpful.
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Old 11-15-2014, 02:46 PM   #3
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Here's a summary - middle class reporter takes early retirement at 53. Burns through his capital. Now he is on the rocks

----
Those of us who obsess about swr etc wouldn't make his mistakes. But I'm sure each of us is capable of making other, equally disastrous, errors that feel so right at the time...



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Old 11-15-2014, 02:47 PM   #4
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I know a lot of people making a living wage in freelance writing. I'm surprised he can't make enough scratch to get by (along with his SS check) doing some freelance writing. He appears to have knowledge and some skill at operating a keyboard.

edit to add: I didn't realize he's over 80. Maybe he can't write like he used to, or doesn't have the skills to find the work any more.
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Old 11-15-2014, 02:50 PM   #5
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It confirms something I have always thought - that having money doesn't automatically make you a more interesting or worthy person, just as having less money doesn't make you any less of a person.

He tells a good story and would most likely be a good friend or neighbor.
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Old 11-15-2014, 03:06 PM   #6
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I know a lot of people making a living wage in freelance writing. I'm surprised he can't make enough scratch to get by (along with his SS check) doing some freelance writing. He appears to have knowledge and some skill at operating a keyboard.

edit to add: I didn't realize he's over 80. Maybe he can't write like he used to, or doesn't have the skills to find the work any more.
He doesn't have some skill- he has extreme skill.

But to make money as freelancer you often must be a shill, a liar, or a hack.

Those things some naturally to some, but are repellent to others.

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Old 11-15-2014, 03:45 PM   #7
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Stories like this give poverty a bad name because this fellow really did this all to himself. Nothing "happened" to him. He retired and did absolutely nothing at all to sensibly adjust his life or finances in response to his changing situation. He glosses over his incredible greed and stupidity in not only buying stocks on margin but turning it over to an "advisor." He is clearly educated enough, and had the resources to know better. I hope not every poor person is as easy to blame as this fool, because I find it really hard to feel compassion for this sort of willful ignorance.


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Old 11-15-2014, 04:18 PM   #8
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I wouldn't pretend to criticize William McPherson.
Until 2013, his blog:
McPherson's Lament
Intellect, insight, existential wisdom. How rare to have a 1st person report so clearly on the real life of those in the middle, lower class.
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Old 11-15-2014, 04:22 PM   #9
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Stories like this give poverty a bad name
Does anything give poverty a good name?

Yes - he put himself in this position.
Yes - others are born into this position....
But poverty sucks, either way.
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Old 11-15-2014, 04:43 PM   #10
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We have a friend, a 90 yr nun released from her vows cause her PHD impels her to argue with the Pope. She is still under her vow of poverty and as near as we can tell lives the life of Riley.

Of course over the span of decades I have meet many others who take poverty more seriously.

heh heh heh - my Parents came of working age during the Depression and I still remember my 'really, really cheap SOB period with great fondness. However time in the market, Bogle's Folly and 'staying the course' have placed us in a different dimension.
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Old 11-15-2014, 04:44 PM   #11
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Does anything give poverty a good name?

Yes - he put himself in this position.
Yes - others are born into this position....
But poverty sucks, either way.
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.

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By federal government standards, Iím not poor, but by any rational standard, I am. My income is above $11,670 annually, which, in 2014, puts me above the poverty line for a single person. My Social Security comes to more than that. The federal minimum wage in 2014 is $7.25 an hour, or $15,080 annually. When FICA taxes of 7.65 percent for Social Security and Medicare are deducted, that brings the income of a full time minimum-wage worker to $13,949. For a family of three, the poverty line is $19,790. This is not a joke. It doesnít leave much extra for an ice cream cone.
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.
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Old 11-15-2014, 05:27 PM   #12
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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.
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:12 PM   #13
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Well, as intended (I guess) by the writer I get very mixed feelings from this very well written article. I really don't feel any pity for him as he says he pretty much made his own bed and is now sleeping in it but, I think back when I was working overseas and seeing how for a lot of people a nice apartment, clean good clothes, good food to eat, dental work etc would mean a very nice middle class life which the writer seems to have.

A lot of the people I worked with overseas seemed to enjoy a vast family network for things they couldn't otherwise have. He seems to be ashamed to rely on kids to help with dental work. Are we so screwed up as a society that getting help from our own kids is now wrong?
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:15 PM   #14
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It seems to me that he's given more to the world than many. Thanks for posting the link to his piece and to his blog. Not everyone has the gift of handling money well. I--and the others here from whom I've learned so much--are the lucky ones.
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:48 PM   #15
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The man is filthy rich. In life experience. As is often the case money is often not included, for whatever reason. I find his his self pity annoying.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:05 PM   #16
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The man is filthy rich. In life experience. As is often the case money is often not included, for whatever reason. I find his his self pity annoying.
I kind of get the feeling that the getting old part is more of a downer than the getting poor part. Being poor (in money) while rich in intellect, opportunities and time is far different thing than being poor when you are older.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:19 PM   #17
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Are we so screwed up as a society that getting help from our own kids is now wrong?
I wouldn't want to help support a parent or uncle shopping at upscale markets if I was working full-time, raising my own kids and shopping at Costco myself.

I've lent relatives money and then watched them spend it on luxury items I wouldn't dream of buying for myself, before paying me back or not paying me back at all. It is not a fun feeling.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:23 PM   #18
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I wouldn't want to support a parent or uncle shopping at upscale markets if I was working full-time, raising my own kids and shopping at Costco myself.
Interesting view as it seems that Costco's primary mission is to market luxury to the many.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:29 PM   #19
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Interesting view as it seems that Costco's primary mission is to market luxury to the many.
"Consider a warehouse store. CHECKBOOK has found, for example, that when a Costco or Sam's Club is available, it will typically save shoppers for the items it carries about 30 percent compared to shopping, even for similar-size items, at the area's major chain supermarkets."

Consumers' Checkbook
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:50 PM   #20
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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.
If you are living on someone else, as he is, you really ought to go where you don't necessarily want to go.

My brother was once approached in Vegas by a hooker he figured was 70 if a day. Still, there are some things a self respecting person might want to think hard about. Like shopping in Costco. That may be beyond the pale. Anyway, what use is 6 dozen eggs to a single man?

Ha
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