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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-22-2006, 10:20 PM   #61
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Well, I got shy and deleted my story. But I didn't finish it anyway.
so that's what happened. not only did i reference it in my last post but i was so touched and wanted to reread it but then couldn't find it and thought i was losing it. hey, martha, don't be playing with my fears of early alzheimer's.

i second rewahoo!'s sentiment. while there's lots of generational fortune and even worldwide fame in my family tree, mom's maternal line lived very hard lives earlier on. i know this because i have become the family archivist and i'm pretty sure those coats they are wearing in the pictures were previously drapery. peasant jews who escaped russia under an assumed name only to settle in palestine, a zionist father raising 13 kids in poverty so all the money would go to building of the state and then even sending half to the promised land (here) on their own, ship goes bankrupt in greece and the oldest of this group of poor immigrants is 15. my grandmother being the baby.

while i find some of the fame stuff amusing, of much more interest to me is this part of the family whose descendants were warmer and closer and to me, much more loving then the famous side. i am very friendly with many and know all those on the poorer side yet on the famous side i had the privilage of meeting my grandfather three times in my entire life. i don't even know if my father is dead or alive. so i have no idea what you are being shy about.

wealth, for me, has much less to do with money and much more to do with experience & spirit. so what is to be shy about that?
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 06:33 AM   #62
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

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Originally Posted by donheff
I did almost exactly the same thing in Houston in 1973. Six months later I got laid off and returned to Chicago.
Not to be mean but I don't who was laying off anyone in Houston in 1973. If you could spell "engineer" you must be one. If you wanted to work in a chemical plant or refinery, they were hiring anybody. I should know. That's where I worked.

Now if you got fired, I'm curious what you could get fired for. We had people that started fights (don't do that again), used drugs (not at work please) and damn near anything else.

Now by 1983 things were different. Layoffs were everywhere. If they could think of a reason to fire you, it saved the severence.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 07:07 AM   #63
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Having read down the postings, I'm impressed with the diversity of backgrounds. My father was a frequently layed off machinist that finally ended up a mailman in Kent, WN. As one of five kids, I went to college on scholarships, Pell grants and loans. I was on food stamps when I qualified. I worked as a houseboy at a sorority (another story) amongst other jobs. My engineering advisor took pity on me and helped me get a summer internship that made me weathy beyond my comprehension. I think I had $500 in the bank when I started the next year. I don't think any of this is at all noteworthy. Anyone that was dedicated to going to college would have done what it took. I would have made it without any scholarships, grants or loans. It just would have taken longer.

My "awakening" was in 1982 when I was layed off from a job. Since I had graduated, I had been getting nice raises and job offers from everywhere. Suddenly, it all stopped when the energy business began to implode. I was in a heavily mortgaged house, one toddler already and my wife gave birth in between the layoff notice and my last day on the job. Our baby needed surgery. With the severence package, we had enough savings to cover 3 months of living expenses without paying the mortgage.

I was terrified. Fortunately, I found a job that actually paid me more than the one I was layed off from. They even paid moving costs. Financilly, I came out smelling like a rose but I started to save and save. I vowed I'd never be in that position of desperation again and, despite losing some later postions, I wasn't. I now have enough money to FIRE at a "reduced lifestyle." DW needs to be convinced.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 08:39 AM   #64
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

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Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
Funny how marriage can often bankrupt you as much as it can help you succeed financially. :
Seems to be a common theme by some posters....not able to retire early until they changed DH/DW.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 08:48 AM   #65
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
Not to be mean but I don't who was laying off anyone in Houston in 1973. If you could spell "engineer" you must be one. If you wanted to work in a chemical plant or refinery, they were hiring anybody. I should know. That's where I worked.

Now if you got fired, I'm curious what you could get fired for.
Layed off, fired -- it is all in the mind of the beholder. I was working as a service adviser at a VW dealership - the guy who takes your car in and then calls you back and says, "wellll, it looks like we are going to have to crack open the case to find out what's going on in there..." My older, much loved predecessor who had moved out of town came back to Houston and the boss immediately hired him back. I was offered the option to stay on as a trainee mechanic. My wife was two months pregnant and I decided it was time to head back home to Chicago and get a "straight" job. Layed off, fired, quit?
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 08:52 AM   #66
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
Layed off, fired, quit?
"Sought other opportunities."

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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 08:57 AM   #67
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
Layed off, fired -- it is all in the mind of the beholder.
Ok. You quit. I've quit, been layed off and fired. I agree that after a few turns of the merry-go-round, it all becomes a blur.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 09:18 AM   #68
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

The worse time was when home was an old Ford in a park. Does that count as being homeless? It was long before that word was invented - back when it was just called poor. Went to school with migrant farm workers kids for a while - hurt a little when they would refer to me as pobrecito (the poor one).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I might have missed it, but I didn't see anyone write that their recovery from hitting bottom was due to institutional charity. For example, stories that included a homeless shelter or meal program that got them back on their feet.
Like Tawny, I ate the guvmint's cheese as a kid - never got around to making a song up about it though 8). But that was at a really bad time - it was eat the cheese or don't eat at all - so Mom swallowed a lot of pride and went and got the cheese.

After her death, went to live with her brother and his family, the social security benefit helped them with the extra expense of feeding me and putting clothes on my back. Things were a little better there - a place to live that didn't have four doors and a trunk, and regular food. Grew a lot of our own food, ate a lot of beans with the hint of meat somewhere in the pot, and a lot of cornbread. Oh, and that soy/beef hamburger mix - tasted like wet cardboard - when we had money we ate that as a "treat".

Tried college briefly - thanks again social security - but I wasn't mature enough to take advantage of the opportunity. Saw that the military offered a lot of opportunities to move ahead in the world, do some growing up, serve a country that I loved, and give me some time and space to focus on what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. Left there with a lot more maturity, convinced that self-discipline and reliance were vital to success in life, and an even greater desire to serve other people.

I saw any kind of work that kept me indoors as too confining. My military experiences helped me realize that I had either an affinity or a lack of aversion to action and risk so I figured being a cop was the thing to do. A mandatory pension and a windfall of sorts (I have a couple of really cool scars to go with it) put me on the road to FIRE.

My perspective on how life was back then has been colored by all the experiences since, as well as sitting here now with a lot more money than I ever thought I would have. Being poor sucks, but it doesn't mean that your life sucks. Being rich can be very nice, but I've met a lot of rich people who have so much misery in their lives that I would never want to trade places with them.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 09:57 AM   #69
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
My perspective on how life was back then has been colored by all the experiences since, as well as sitting here now with a lot more money than I ever thought I would have. Being poor sucks, but it doesn't mean that your life sucks. Being rich can be very nice, but I've met a lot of rich people who have so much misery in their lives that I would never want to trade places with them.
We were poor but didn't know it. When I was in university, there was a scholarship that needed a means test. My Dad refused to fill it out. I said: Look we are not going to lie. If the truth let's me qualify, so be it. I qualified. That was when I knew that we were not as well-off as we thought.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 10:25 AM   #70
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Quote:
I might have missed it, but I didn't see anyone write that their recovery from hitting bottom was due to institutional charity.
apparently your one of the guys averting your eyes to my posts or you would have noticed i mentioned my mom.
I can't seem to find that post, GFN.

I was wondering whether institutional help, as in food for the homeless or homeless shelters, made any difference for any of you. It's relevant when considering different charities around this time of year.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 11:47 AM   #71
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Immigrated from a far away country ravaged by civil war at the age of 23 with a college degree equivalent to a BA. Arrived at kennedy aiport with $25 to my name and $1000 airfare loan. Didn't speak english but spoke three other languages fluently. An aunt took me in for a couple of months until her husband complained enough and I was forced to move out. No place to stay no job no car and no money and a promise to my high school sweetheart back home. Begged for a job at a gas station where I slept on the repair shop's floor then managed to save a couple of hundred bucks for a one room basement apartment. At times I ate once a day to pay my airfare loan and to save for my girlfriend's (with no help from her well to do family because they didn't approve of me) airfare. We both worked during the day and I attended school at night.

We recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in Paris France. Have two grown kids that both graduated private colleges with less than 10K in loans and we also support my sister in law back home who lost her husband while raising two teenagers in a extremely tough economy. Hoping to retire in 3 years.

Thanks to the best country and most caring people in the world....
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 11:54 AM   #72
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I was wondering whether institutional help, as in food for the homeless or homeless shelters, made any difference for any of you. It's relevant when considering different charities around this time of year.
My mother went to a shelter for abused women. They really helped her get on her feet. Also, she received help from the free legal services for the county.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 12:06 PM   #73
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

This thread has been great - I learn alot at this forum about finance and life.

My story - looking back to when I was 22, I was poor, but happy and very optimistic - just graduated college in upstate NY - worked my way through as a gas pumper and "oil monkey". I bought a 1970 Kawasaki LTD 1000 and talked 2 of my friends to also buy bikes - pull up roots and take a "summer ride". We pooled our money - $3200 and set off on a 14,000 mile ride all over the states and Canada.
A good example of our freedom - we were in NM, 100 in the shade - we ran into some bikers at our campground( we stayed at campgrounds in pup tents)and they said they had just come from Banf Canada and had to wear sweaters at night it was so cold - we turned our bikes north and ended up spending about a month in Canada.
We ran out of money AND gas in southern CA, LA area(inland). We worked at a campground for free "rent" - found incredibly crappy jobs to afford food and one crappy suit that we all used to go on interviews. We all one by one got decent jobs - saved our money and finally got an apartment - I remember that my part of the apartment/food monthly kitty was $160 - every thing after that was gravy! Over time we all got better jobs, our own apartments, wives/kids etc. These were some of the best - if not the best years of my life. I am still very close with the guys that I started my adult life with on that "summer ride". We have all been blessed with success and friendship.

I am going to call Eric and Paul - today, life is good.

Merry Christmas!
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 02:03 PM   #74
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

*I* haven't had to struggle but mom and dad sure did as well as DH.

Mom and dad are immigrants and landed in Canada approximately 35 years ago in the dead of winter with no money and could maybe speak two words of English (how scary would that be?). They stayed with family until they both got manual-labour jobs, got married and had me 11 months later They've always had difficult jobs since English is their second language and they never had the time or money to go to night school to get a better education since they were too busy paying the bills and providing me and my sister with a better life. I remember the early '80's (I was about 10 or so) and wondering why my parents had sold the living room lamp...my parents had both gotten laid off and they had to pawn the lamp to buy groceries that week

As for DH, he graduated with an MBA but couldn't find any work in 1994 in Texas. He was crashing in a friend's apartment, sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag, had $15 in the bank, ate macaroni and cheese and drove a beat up VW Golf with no air conditioning (in Houston!) and had huge student loans. He was about to move back to Boston (his hometown) and the day before he was supposed to move he received a job offer with an energy company. Today, our net worth is over $1 million and we're debt free.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 03:57 PM   #75
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I can't seem to find that post, GFN.

I was wondering whether institutional help, as in food for the homeless or homeless shelters, made any difference for any of you. It's relevant when considering different charities around this time of year.
being a momma's boy, pretty much everything i say indicates what charity i institutionalized when in need.

but you raise a good question. to which i have a bad answer: a bunch of us back in college used food stamps a few times which was technically legal but pretty immoral. i think we did it just to check out the system. we used the coupons at the butcher store to buy filet mignon. the facial expressions of the other customers were priceless. while it was an interesting experience i am neither proud of that, nor that i ate meat. live and learn.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 05:06 PM   #76
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
being a momma's boy, pretty much everything i say indicates what charity i institutionalized when in need.

but you raise a good question. to which i have a bad answer: a bunch of us back in college used food stamps a few times which was technically legal but pretty immoral. i think we did it just to check out the system. we used the coupons at the butcher store to buy filet mignon. the facial expressions of the other customers were priceless. while it was an interesting experience i am neither proud of that, nor that i ate meat. live and learn.
My parents were on food stamps for awhile and so was I. It made a big difference to us. I probably bought a good cut of beef once in awhile for a treat. I was pretty broke but it was amazing how well you could get by on the $30 per month of food stamps in the late 60's. I had a tuna/ground beef and rice dish that lasted 2 or 3 dinners and cost under $1.

I was a food stamp "facilitator" for a few months -- I don't know what my official title was but I would do almost anything for money at one point in my life. I was a good clerk but my heart went out to people that clearly were desperate for food but didn't "qualify" because they didn't have a "permanent" address with a kitchen. I tried to get several churches in the area to be their address but I didn't get them to bite. I realize now it would have been a disaster for the church if they were discovered.
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?
Old 12-23-2006, 05:08 PM   #77
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Re: OT: Have you guys even hit/seen/been near the bottom?

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