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Old 03-08-2014, 07:58 AM   #21
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Perhaps my view is overly simplistic, but, I divide most people in two groups: savers and spenders.

It is very difficult to get someone to change from being a saver to s spender.

It is even more difficult to get someone to change from spender to saver.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:11 AM   #22
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LBYM for 50 years, plan, save, seize opportunities and pay your dues...and all of a sudden I'm lucky??
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:29 AM   #23
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My father used to always tell me that "luck is when perpetration meets opportunity"....... I just wish I didn't have to prepare so damn hard to get lucky!!
LOL. Unless you're related to Willie Sutton, my guess is that your father said 'preparation'...
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:54 AM   #24
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I would choose the word fortunate vs luck. Born into a strong economy that was creating good paying jobs, career choice worked out, took advantage of all the opportunities presented, and married a terrific woman. Was pretty good at differentiating myself in school and on the job. Although we saved well, and weren't extravagant, I can't say we lived below our means.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:59 AM   #25
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LOL. Unless you're related to Willie Sutton, my guess is that your father said 'preparation'...

LOL.. I guess I should proof read!
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:01 AM   #26
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I'm enjoying reading the responses on this thread. I did my doctoral dissertation in social psychology on this very topic 35 years ago: To what do people attribute their successes (and failures)--to internal or external factors?

A whole field in psychology called "causal attribution". Of course, the attributions being made depend on a number of factors, including how much evidence we have for being lucky or being good.

Most of the folks posting here have evidence of how one or the other (luck: external, or being "good": internal) have played a part in their lives.

There is also research on how we make causal attributions for others: "Oh, he was just lucky..."

Thanks for sharing! Brings me back to graduate school days.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:30 AM   #27
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The luck part was entering a profession with a generous pension, as it had no bearing on my reason I chose it. The skill part was deciding to end a relationship 10 years ago with someone younger than me eager to start a family which would have been my next go around... I would still be working now instead of being retired 5 years if that had happened!


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Old 03-08-2014, 09:44 AM   #28
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I'm enjoying reading the responses on this thread. I did my doctoral dissertation in social psychology on this very topic 35 years ago: To what do people attribute their successes (and failures)--to internal or external factors?
I suppose there's a huge dollop of bias in attributing success (I worked hard but that other guy was just lazy). What is the technical term for this?

When I look at myself I had a huge amount of LYBM, working hard to get a degree in a remunerative field (actually multiple degrees), endless hours spent learning about investing, etc.

But I also had quite a bit of luck: parents who valued education and sent me to an expensive semi-private school, not getting arrested for vandalism, dad managing to flee north korea, having the 2009 recession hit during my peak earning years, winning scholarships that paid a big chunk of my education, etc.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:04 AM   #29
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Sure, I had lots of middle sized luck. Good parents, a stable childhood, good education that I didn't mess up too badly, I happen to like computers so even if I didn't plan any career and didn't really get one I was able to find work fairly easily, no company I worked for made it big so no windfall there, but when they went out of business I was willing to take lesser jobs so usually wasn't unemployed for long. Lucky with a good stock market and no world war in my lifetime. Only a few big investing setbacks, and learned form them to not take that kind of risk.

So I guess that's a kind of lucky. But I mostly just do LBYM and keep doing it no matter what, so that's also a kind of good, too. Not that I made any smart moves to capture brilliant gains, or was anything special at work to get top salary. I'm a plodder, but I'm apparently good at it, and that was good enough. Perhaps not the kind of lucky or the kind of good intended in the original question.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:12 AM   #30
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I suppose there's a huge dollop of bias in attributing success (I worked hard but that other guy was just lazy). What is the technical term for this?

When I look at myself I had a huge amount of LYBM, working hard to get a degree in a remunerative field (actually multiple degrees), endless hours spent learning about investing, etc.

But I also had quite a bit of luck: parents who valued education and sent me to an expensive semi-private school, not getting arrested for vandalism, dad managing to flee north korea, having the 2009 recession hit during my peak earning years, winning scholarships that paid a big chunk of my education, etc.
Hi photoguy--you got the technical term correct--it's "causal attribution bias". Goes the same way for failure: "hey, it wasn't my fault!!".

These kinds of attributions are only human, though. If we didn't take at least partial credit for our successes and take only partial blame for our failures, we wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning! We'd be too depressed.

Often we make different causal attributions in public (to others) than in private (to ourselves). That was the thrust of my dissertation project.

Gee, it's kinda fun to be reminded of the work I did 35 years ago--still interesting to me. Thanks for listening!
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:51 AM   #31
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I was lucky, working in a job that was horrible, in a horrible industry. Two disgusting bosses(both making big money) made my job a total nightmare. Not having other opportunities in this area I worked full time there, and 6 hours at night school. Then the coursework on weekends.

When I interviewed at Megacorp, they mentioned long hours. Explained I was partially prepared due to my schooling. Worked for a wonderful person, actually a few. I earned respect at senior levels, was constantly challenged and rewarded.

Along the way, because of people at Megacorp, I learned the power of investing. Megacorp funded profit sharing, later a great 401k. Thanks to what I had learned, fully funding my 401k was a no brainer.
Several option grants, not huge money, it was invested.

MIl/FIL left us some inheritance, not a huge amount, but it had a big impact. We became debt free. The biggest benefit was it changed my DWs thoughts in money. She became very LBYM, because her DF had worked so hard. She was not going to unwisely spend her parents money.

After close to 30 years, management changes had me working again for 2 disgusting bosses.

Once again I reinvented myself, this time ER.

Those fist two disgusting bosses, that were making big bucks. They blew it all, both are FRA, working to eat.

I consider myself blessed, disgusting people helped me earn a better life.

Life sure is funny,
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:09 PM   #32
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I was definitely lucky - -

1) Lucky to be located in the USA where so much is possible to accomplish

2) Lucky to born at a time when opportunity abounded for women more than in the past

3) Lucky to have a big brother who told me firmly that I could figure out how to retire, when I thought it seemed too impossibly tough to even try

That said, I think that I would never have been able to retire if I had not made it a top priority in my life. It all comes down to math, and one must be willing to spend what is mathematically feasible and consistent with retiring at the specified time. That means no more, "gosh, I couldn't live on THAT", "I couldn't do without THAT", and more thinking about ways to cut back that maybe never came to mind before.

Then after doing all that, on the verge of my retirement I came into an unexpected modest inheritance. There's some more of that lucky stuff! But I was all set to retire in 2009 with or without it, despite the crash, so haven't spent any of it yet.
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Lucky or Good?
Old 03-08-2014, 01:27 PM   #33
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Lucky or Good?

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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I was definitely lucky - -

1) Lucky to be located in the USA where so much is possible to accomplish

2) Lucky to born at a time when opportunity abounded for women more than in the past

3) Lucky to have a big brother who told me firmly that I could figure out how to retire, when I thought it seemed too impossibly tough to even try

That said, I think that I would never have been able to retire if I had not made it a top priority in my life. It all comes down to math, and one must be willing to spend what is mathematically feasible and consistent with retiring at the specified time. That means no more, "gosh, I couldn't live on THAT", "I couldn't do without THAT", and more thinking about ways to cut back that maybe never came to mind before.

Then after doing all that, on the verge of my retirement I came into an unexpected modest inheritance. There's some more of that lucky stuff! But I was all set to retire in 2009 with or without it, despite the crash, so haven't spent any of it yet.

I don't believe it's luck. Millions have those same opportunities and fail to capitalize on them. You made decisions along the way that allowed you to accomplish what you did. You performed the work needed to get yourself where you are. Everyone has choices, but too many look for immediate gratification rather than thinking long term. Some learn from every opportunity whether successful or not, while many never try or give up. Even lottery winners often lose their winnings within a few years, yet most on this board never won the big jackpot. Successful early retirement has little to do with luck.
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:07 PM   #34
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A bit of both, although I would not presume to call myself "good". We worked hard, planned, made some sacrifices, and painstakingly saved most of our income over many years. Still, luck played an important part. We have enjoyed a high income throughout our careers without working harder than many minimum wage workers. We made money with stock options granted at a fortuitous time (2008-2009). And family has been very generous in their bequest to us.
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:29 PM   #35
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Pretty much the same kind of luck everyone else here had. Born into a more-or-less stable family, didn't screw up so badly I went to jail, picked a stable job and employer with a pension, educational opportunity.

Living within or below our means had a lot to do with it. I know a lot of guys with the same chances I had are still working and not because they want to.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:57 PM   #36
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I'm enjoying reading the responses on this thread. I did my doctoral dissertation in social psychology on this very topic 35 years ago: To what do people attribute their successes (and failures)--to internal or external factors?
In my working life I have often quoted T. Jefferson. "I am a great believer in luck, I find the harder I work the more I have of it."
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:14 PM   #37
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I don't believe it's luck. Millions have those same opportunities and fail to capitalize on them. You made decisions along the way that allowed you to accomplish what you did. You performed the work needed to get yourself where you are. Everyone has choices, but too many look for immediate gratification rather than thinking long term. Some learn from every opportunity whether successful or not, while many never try or give up. Even lottery winners often lose their winnings within a few years, yet most on this board never won the big jackpot. Successful early retirement has little to do with luck.
A lot of the background luck stuff is necessary but not sufficient. I love the Thomas J quote!
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:41 PM   #38
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Fortune favors the prepared mind.
----------Louis Pasteur

If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all.
---------------------------------Booker T Jones

Most fall somewhere in the middle.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:13 PM   #39
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Getting a marketable degree Good
Entering the job market at very good time Lucky

Working for company that gave stock options. Good
Having those stock options go up 5-50x. Very lucky

Maxing out my 401K and LYBM good
Having my peak accumulation period be during the go go 90 lucky.

Selling tech stocks and buying bonds in Jan 2000, good and lucky.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:25 PM   #40
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Luck is the residue of desire.
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