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Old 08-13-2007, 10:13 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by DblDoc View Post
There are many ways to FIRE and short of inheriting it all none are going to be easy
I'll reach FI in six years. It will have taken my partner and I 21 years to amass the wealth. However, I think inheriting money will be much harder as it will be a painful loss.

I'm adding this as I realized I didn't answer the question.

I guess I'm on the gravy train you described as I'll hit the $100k mark in a few weeks. I never studied in H.S., partied and C'd my way through college. I was a part of the first class to graduate with a major in the new field called MIS. I had to transfer universities to enroll in this new program and it added a few years to my graduation date.

After I graduated I relocated from a small town in the Midwest to Boston. I worked my way up into a good job at a high tech company. When the company offered a relocation program I rode the gravy train to a lower cost of living area. After a year and a half I grew tired of the travel and didn't like the pre sales part of the job so I started looking for a new job just as the layoffs began. I received two job offers and volunteered for the layoff. The severence helped with the down payment on a house. I was around 33 years old by then.

I took a pay cut for the new job with the Federal Government. I got lucky as there was a major reorg 1.5 years later and I got a promotion to a GS-13. I put all the promotion money into the 401k which I had contributed to in the past. As I got raises I began funding a Roth and after tax accounts. I really got serious about saving when I realized my partner and I didn't have to work until we were 65.

We will be retiring in less than six years at age 56. We did start late in our retirement savings, so the good salaries saved our butts. Like everyone else here, we were willing to take risks and make changes to improve our quality of life and ability to save. We also have lived way below our means, especially in the last ten or so years. I must also add the small pensions which both my partner and I will received is a factor in our ER.
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:53 AM   #62
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No six-figure sponduliks here either, and I live in a very high cost-of-living part of the world. Of course, I am not FI or RE, either. But I have learned LBYM, and to keep investing costs down, and hope with luck to come out right-side-up in the end. Meanwhile I can learn from the success stories here and hope some of it will rub off.
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:56 AM   #63
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I worked many years for just an average salary. Hard work and luck got me promotions that enabled me to obtain a 100k plus position. But I only earned that my last 5-6 years of employment. Being frugal most of my life was the key to FIRE.

As others have said, everyone here are not doctors and lawyers. Don't worry about comparing yourself to others.
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:57 AM   #64
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Yup, it's ALL about RISK. Whether it's starting a new job, opening a pizza shop, buying real estate, investing in penny stocks ... it's all about taking RISK. Ferget college.
Never really felt the risk thing - not that there wasn't risk, it's just that I (we) felt responsible for our own success. Or failure. Highest amount a company ever paid me was $15,500/year before doing a year or so in law school, which didn't take. Wrenched on cars and made diddly, got lucky and hooked up with a gal who has a serious work ethic but made about the same. When everyone was selling we bought the shaggy sad little places we could afford, shined them up, and plugged in renters who pretty much made the payments - after a few years the rent payments more than paid expenses. Pushed all our resources into the properties and they acted like a big savings account. In a few decades the properties were pretty much all paid for and we were each nudging $100k/year AGI, not that we spend anywhere near that. If we can sell the rentals we should have a pretty comfortable retirement, if not we'll have to make do with a crowd of people giving us money every month. At almost 58 I'm not really gonna ER by much. Fortune smiled.
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:47 AM   #65
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When everyone was selling we bought the shaggy sad little places we could afford
Yeah sometimes is less risky to go against the flow. Largely did the same ... paying a dime on the dollar at HUD/RTC auctions didn't seem risky at all (and it wasn't).
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:26 PM   #66
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The quickest way to make money is to put your ego on the line and to take risks in your career selections. A little luck helps:

Success is achieved when a little good luck meets a lot of preparation.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:28 PM   #67
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The disconnect I usually discover is that when someone laments about not reaching goal X in their life, when questioned as to how much time they spend each day planning and working towards that goal, what resources they use, etc., the answer is typically not just little, but none. Zero.

I lamented. I examined my answers, and the answer was indeed, zero. I spent 0 time planning the specifics of my career, and 0 time learning how to invest. I promptly changed both. Sure I worked hard, and smart, and didn't spend a lot..but that was hardly a strategy. Remember, compare yourself to an olympic athlete. If they are a winner at their career, what time/effort did they spend reaching it? Expect to do the same in proportion.

*note: Working 9-5 for a paycheck, is not working towards your goal, unless your goal is getting a paycheck. In which case, every time you get paid, you meet your goal.

If you do this, you'll have specific questions rather than a general question. And no, it's not too late to start. And no, it won't take that long to catch up (it never does).

tip2: just marry rich, or mary someone who banks. Half-kidding.

-Mach
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:01 PM   #68
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Hi Barbarus - I don't consider it a gravy train. I make over $100K and live in Washington DC (high cost area). I work for the federal government, and have for the last 16 years. I started as a GS-5 making $28K in 1991 and am now a GS-15. I got there through hard work and a willingness to travel and move for my company. I also have my CFA charter, which helped me to get that GS-15.

My pension, assuming I stay until about 52, will be 30% of my salary. The rest will come from savings. I LBYM and save about 30% of my salary every year.
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Old 08-13-2007, 06:16 PM   #69
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I just computed that over 37 years of work I averaged - 53.8K/year - it does not include employer 401K contributions.
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:16 PM   #70
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It took me years and years to hit the bigtime moneywise with a great emotional toll to pay for it, too.
My three goals were simple: To take the best care I could of 1. my child; 2. my home and 3. business.
This meant: no partying, no men/dates hardly ever, and alot of nose to the grindstone stuff when others were out having fun.
Yup, I was living the gravy train life (some call it la vida loca) in Fat City alright...how did you know?
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:24 PM   #71
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I just computed that over 37 years of work I averaged - 53.8K/year - it does not include employer 401K contributions.
That doesn't mean too much unless you adjust your numbers for inflation. Earning $54k back in the 80's would have put you well above the average Joe.
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:40 PM   #72
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That doesn't mean too much unless you adjust your numbers for inflation. Earning $54k back in the 80's would have put you well above the average Joe.
Earnings of $54K in current dollars puts a single person well above the average Joe.
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Old 08-13-2007, 09:05 PM   #73
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Further, the general tenor seems to be that if that j*b is lost, a few weeks or possibly months will result in w*rk of comparable pay. Maybe even more.

What's the disconnect? Where did you guys get your tickets for the gravy train?
I've recently hopped on the train (engineering) and am nowhere close to the 6 figure mark, but I've never thought that the train would keep going forever. That was my initial reason for looking towards FIRE. I kept looking around and thinking, "Wow, one day, all these people around me will realize that I don't know as much as they think I know and that I'm just an overpriced wanna-be." It's very easy to see the train coming to a screeching halt, or having another tech bubble burst and seeing everything disappear overnight.

It's a race. Can you save up money fast enough before a forced departure?
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:29 PM   #74
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Here's a link to compare your bread to the census stats for Caucasian geezers who have at least one y chromosome (old peckerwood dudes),
a group with with Barbarus feels some Barbarian affinity.

PINC-03--Part 228

The same site has lists of all other colors & creeds too, so everyone can do a little comparison shopping to see where they stand.

Bon Appétit !!
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:40 PM   #75
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It's a race. Can you save up money fast enough before a forced departure?
That was always the way I saw it. I watched people get to about 55-60 lose a good job and never land another. You can work for a company for decades and find your job skills are stale or non transferable, or your health and appearance isn't up to standards. I want to be ready if that happened to me so I didn't have to be a maid in a motel or something at 60. Downsizing mid managers and others who are past their prime scared me. Now I am 59 still working but if I couldn't work I might have enough not to need to work. I might have to sell the house and move some place cheaper but at least I don't need a minimum wage job.
Anytime the last 5 years I could have lived on minimum wage if I had to.
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:09 PM   #76
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The same site has lists of all other colors & creeds too, so everyone can do a little comparison shopping to see where they stand.
I never have comparison shopped in respect to financial wellbeing or status. I see no rational point to it. Each individual is different. Every life is different. Every situation is different. Just like fingerprints and snowflakes, every person is different.

I know exactly how much I earned while I was still w*rking, and I know and understand how my money was and is invested. I planned, saved, and invested all of my w*rking life to be able to retire by my 55th birthday.

I was never too concerned about what the the other guys/gals were earning, saving, or investing. Never cared much what others did, or what others had.
I've never compared myself to others....never have...never will. My life is what I've made it, just as your life is what you've made it.

I already know EXACTLY where I stand.......FIRE'd!!!
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:54 AM   #77
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FIRE is the destination but the way there may be different for each one.
For me, I knew after a few months in my job that I won't be able to get high salary. Today I earn 65K being a programmer, and my net worth is probably well above most of the people in my company that earn more than me. We live WELL below our means - we are 35 years old and never had a car, our older daughter goes to public school, I bring lunch box to work and we live in a small condo just above a restaurant. We made a lot of sacrifices, but when I look at our nice portfolio, I don't regret any of it. And next year when we will RE and will travel all over, my colleagues will still be working 9-12 hours a day

LBYM is essential for FI. But if one can have high salary / successful investments / successful business, it can really speed the process. I knew I can't go up too much in the organization chart. I am not that good with people. I am glad I didn't agree for a promotion that was offered to me few years ago. I would have had a higher salary, but I am sure my net worth would have been lower. That job would have taken too much of my time, and if you are working too much, you just don't have time to make money.

Few years ago I started reading whatever I can about stocks and that really made a difference for us. There are other ways to make money than getting a pay check.
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:16 AM   #78
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Yup, it's ALL about RISK. Whether it's starting a new job, opening a pizza shop, buying real estate, investing in penny stocks ... it's all about taking RISK. Ferget college.
Well said.

Also focus and devotion are important.
I think all the successful people took some (calculated) risks, stayed very focused on the target and were very devoted reaching this target
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:16 AM   #79
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Most of the high paying occupations (eg medicine, law, accounting, dentistry, optometry, etc) require licensure. I suspect that if the requirement for licensure were eliminated, their incomes will not be as high as they are now. Licensure poses a barrier to entry, limiting competition, which raises prices.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:41 AM   #80
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Most of the high paying occupations (eg medicine, law, accounting, dentistry, optometry, etc) require licensure. I suspect that if the requirement for licensure were eliminated, their incomes will not be as high as they are now. Licensure poses a barrier to entry, limiting competition, which raises prices.
While that statement is true, you must really look at the grades/scores/marks needed just to advance into those programs as well as the amount of education and years of training to be able to competently engage in the mentioned occupations. That is the real barrier to entry. The licensure process is merely a way for the government to be able to ensure that those engaging in their profession are capable of doing it to a standard that has been set. By the way... I'm a dentist
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