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Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 12:58 PM   #1
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Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Sorry I was doing the taxes today and came up $3000 short. I just hit my earily retirement numbers from work last Nov. and am so glad I found this board. I am ready to cross over to the other side but still have a few issues. I hit the 1MM mark but I feel as poor as ever. I'm 53 and have been one of those cluesless baby boomers who lived for today and never thought about retiring that much. Well no fault of mine own I have been lucky enought to have an employer who put aside 1/2 million for my lump sum althought they had promised much more when I signed on 24 years ago. They froze the pension first of 2005 so I have no reason to stay other than one less year of retirement on the back end.
I have a freshman in college at $40,000 and has no clue what she really wants to do. My house is worth $400,000 more than I owe. I will never make 70 as all the men in the family die earily and the women live past 100, what does that tell you? I have $100K in 401K mostly in my company stock which I know I need to change. We just had a 2-1 stock split, dividend increase 15% so things are OK but over all but my company doesn't want the type of engineer that I am. No more design just buy - repackage and sell so I'm sorry I'm out of there. Want someplace warmer anyway ( FL) . I lived in the south pacific and love the weather. Panama is a possibility for part of the year. help me please I am going under.
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 01:05 PM   #2
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaview
* I hit the 1MM mark but I feel as poor as ever.*
Seaview -

Know exactly what you mean* *.* However, look at it this way - even though $1M "isn't really much", would you like to be one of those who still have to get by in minimum wage jobs* *?

Be thankful for what you have* * It could always be much worse*

- Ron...
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 01:48 PM   #3
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Ron,

No. I'm not b#itching really I'm one of the lucky ones just that today things are very tough and who knows what tomorrow will deal. All I really want for my self is a six month severence pay and I'm golden.
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 02:17 PM   #4
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

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Originally Posted by seaview
who knows what tomorrow will deal
It's called "life".* Enjoy the ride (we all get off at the same destination* )

-Ron
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 02:27 PM   #5
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Seaview,

Congratulations on the $1MM mark. You'll find a wealth of information here to include many people who've made it into ER successfully with a similar level of assets. Look at the Best of the Boards threads. Perhaps do a search about "Panama" to see if it's already been a discussion. You may even find information on other areas that may interest you.

Relax, read, learn and you'll probably figure out you are doing just fine.

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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 08:54 PM   #6
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Hi Rob. Congratulations on being one of the richest people on the planet. $1M is enough to ask yourself "what do I _really_ want to do?". Sounds like your industry changed and you aren't feeling particularly needed. That hurts.

Sounds like more of a spiritual/lifecycle issue than a financial one. Also might want to get checked out for depression if it feels like you're just waiting the whole thing out...
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 08:56 PM   #7
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

My net worth is about 1.6m at 51 and single and I feel poor. It is all relative. My out date is in a couple of months.
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 09:24 PM   #8
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

You're "going under" while your daughter is attending college, to the tune of $40K per year, with "no idea what she want's to do?"

I know I'll sound incredibly heartless for this one, but my humble suggestion would be to cut that anchor.

Let her work for a few years and / or pay for an inexpensive college herself while she considers her options. In the meantime you will have a few years of retirement under your belt (and fewer years to finance into the future), you'll know more about your spending patterns and how your money is holding out, you'll have investigated Panama and other warm spots, and the 40K a year will have grown (we hope).

I know college costs have risen, and I'm not suggesting that you rule out college support over the long term. Just that you can take care of others a lot more easily if you're on solid footing yourself.

My two cents,
Caroline

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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 09:28 PM   #9
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

"I have a freshman in college at $40,000 and has no clue what she really wants to do."

Have you looked at the ROI on that?

I must admit that I'm baffled by the number of parents who are impoverishing themselves to send their kids to some hugely expensive school when they could be saving tens of thousands of dollars going to a local college or university.

I *might* be able to see it if the kid was the next Feynman and really needed to go to CalTech/MIT in order to get access to all the Nobel Prize winning teachers in their field.

But how many people actually work in their degree field?* Even if they do, how many are doing so 10 years after graduation?

If you are middle class and you figure that sending your kid to Harvard will let them network with all the rich kids and so ensure their future, I suspect that most of the rich kids associate with other rich kids, and your kid is not going to be co- opted into the higher strata of society.

And how many college grads are finding themselves working at Starbucks these days in our "booming" economy?

I lived at home and went to the state university (UNM in Albuquerque) and went into the Federal civil service and ER'd last year.* $300/semester tuition doesn't seem to have hurt me any.

I've got a friend who is not only a PhD in molecular genetics, but then got interested in the patent side of things and got his JD and passed the bar for being a patent attorney.* He's been out of work for about 4 months now, and is sure struggling to find a position here in SF, the hotbed of genengineering companies.

I suspect that for a BS/BA most any school is going to be "good enough" if the grades are up there. *If a company is looking for an entry level engineer/pharm/teacher/business degree person a "prestigious" degree is probably not going to make a lot of difference. *It might help get you hired, but I bet you don't get paid extra because you sent to the prestigious university.

Consider offering your child a deal - go to a reasonably priced school, and you'll bank a third to half of the difference saved and give that to them when they graduate as a "grubstake". *That would seem pretty attractive to me from either side of the offer.

Someone could either have a most excellent party spree, or enough of a financial "nut" to start their own business, or (if living in a lower priced area) even make a down-payment on a modest house.

cheers,
Michael
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-26-2006, 10:49 PM   #10
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

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Originally Posted by The Other Michael
But how many people actually work in their degree field?* Even if they do, how many are doing so 10 years after graduation?
I think Fortune mag did a economic analysis of the ROI question and it did not pay out for most.

I think Michael's question regarding how many of us really worked in our major would be a worthwhile piece of data.
Pehaps Dan Tien could do with a couple of different time points, say first five years 5-10 years after 10?* What say Dan?

I am with Michael on this one. My niece did the Harvard thing and ended up with a liberal arts degree in Medical History . The immediate impact is that she is working in Harvard's office to recruit new students. She is a capable person and like the majority of her class they all got to graduate cum laude or magnum cum laude--(give me a break--two thirds of class is not that caliber). Nevertheless, it is going to be many many years before there is a positive return on her 120K+ investment.

The big name privates are making a killing and are not really turning our any better product than most of the publics universities who are leaders in their field.* IMHO the time for the top drawer privates is in grad school.* At that level, say a MBA from Havard, or Wharton--you are really making a statement.

As disclaimer, no disrespect to your daughter Seaview, but if she does not know where she is going, you are paying for a hell of amusement ride.
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-27-2006, 06:43 AM   #11
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Quote:
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they all got to graduate cum laude or magnum cum laude
Given that a magnum is 1.5 liters, I am very impressed
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:41 AM   #12
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

I am facing a similar situation regarding college selection. My daughter, a high school junior, has not decided on her career or major, but she is excellent in math and science and is being heavily recruited by major universities, such as Cal Tech, MIT, USC, Princeton, and so on. We have not applied to any colleges but have been seriously thinking about the local state university (University of Minnesota) or University of Wisconsin at Madison (same tuition fee as the U of Minn) since their costs will be at least 50% lower than those of the "brand name" schools. These schools may be more appropriate for graduate studies in business, law, and medicine in terms of ROI.
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-27-2006, 07:47 AM   #13
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Quote:
've got a friend who is not only a PhD in molecular genetics, but then got interested in the patent side of things and got his JD and passed the bar for being a patent attorney. He's been out of work for about 4 months now, and is sure struggling to find a position here in SF, the hotbed of genengineering companies.
I thought about getting a law degree (with an emphasis on patents) about two years ago and decided that the work of a patent lawyer is boring despite its potential salary. Another reason is that I still enjoy Engineering work.
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?
Old 03-27-2006, 07:57 AM   #14
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Spanky,

If your daughter can get into MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, or Stanford (etc) then there's no question: SEND HER. As a recent graduate from one of these schools, please trust me that a prestigious name opens many doors to powerful offices. If I fly to China to meet with a Chinese national who works in government or a corporation, they know my school and have contacts who went there. It's the ultimate ice breaker. It helps with jobs. It helps with grad school. It pretty much helps with everything. A lot of people are snobs and a diploma from one of these schools is like a visitor's pass (not a membership) to the club. Personally I can't stand some of the people, but for better or worse, they wield a hugely disproportionate amount of the power in the country, and it's good to know who to call when you need something. Yes I have friends who majored in truly ridiculous subjects, but when push came to shove, they were recruited to investment banks or consultancies and their ROI is just fine.

If you are a person of more limited means, then there is a lot of financial aid and assistance available.

And as someone looking to attend grad (medical) school some time in the future, I would much rather stay in-state (10k/year) than enroll in a private school (40k/year) for those 4 years. I have been told directly by admissions officers of schools I am applying to that my undergrad will put me above other applicants.

If you look at where the students of Harvard Business School's incoming class went to undergrad, every year it's the same litany of schools... 100 from Harvard, 90 from Princeton, 80 from Yale, 70 from MIT, 60 from Columbia, 50 from Dartmouth, and so on. Once you're on the inside of one of these institutions it becomes painfully clear how they continually perpetuate the system that keeps them influential.

My 2 cents... if you have any specific questions PM me, I would be happy to answer.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:16 AM   #15
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

I would tend to agree with macdaddy that brand name counts, IF it is an internationally recognized school. I wouldn't spend the money on Bennington, for example, which used to be (still is?) the most expensive school in the US, but outside of the US (maybe even outside of New England), who has ever heard of it? (No insult intended to Bennington grads, I am sure it is an excellent school. Just not doing so well in the brand recognition department.)

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Old 03-27-2006, 08:29 AM   #16
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

We recently went through a* similar relative value of analysis of where my son should go for his undergraduate degree. *He is a good student and was accepted at each school he applied to. *Costs ranged from $18,000 per year to $42,000 per year. *As a consumer of higher education services, we focused on trying to gauge* the incremental value in so far as paying $18k versus $42K for an undergraduate degree especially if you plan to attend graduate school. We concluded that $42K was not a good business decision for many of the reasons discussed previously. *As a result, he will be debt free when he is out of undergraduate school, we can help him with graduate school costs, and I can ER in two years. *This worked for us.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:36 AM   #17
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

I think if every parent yanked their college student who didnt know why they were there or what they ultimately wanted to do, the entire educational system worldwide would collapse in an instant.

I suspect a fair number of kids run into the thing they end up doing or the people they end up doing something with while they're in school trying to figure out what it is they want to do whenever they get around to doing it...

At 17 I thought I might set up a laundromat or a liquor store, maybe a video game arcade. Maybe all three.

To be fair, i've used laundromats, been to liquor stores, and occasionally play a video game.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:45 AM   #18
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

My youngest son is in a similar but much cheaper place with his college. He is still taking all the basic (worthless) courses but has not yet focused on a major. We talk a lot about what major will get him which job or areas that he thinks he would like to work in. So are he is only more confused. I suggested he take some basic apptitude tests or career interest tests to see where his interests might lie. I also told him that he needs to do something pretty fast since the money train is going to stop soon. I also told him he needs to make a choice on either getting our for a while until he knows what he wants of just pick something to finish a degree and then go back later for addional studies once he knows what he really wants to do.

I can't fault him too much. I changed majors 5 times and ended up doing my whole major my senior year.
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:07 AM   #19
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SteveR....As a part of our analysis, we couldn't justify paying for two years of general education courses at $42K per. A better choice would be to go to a less costly school and transfer. One would still get the "halo" effect of graduating from the more expensive school. Although my son is quite focused on what he wants to do, we did explain to him that if he wanted to wonder the college world to find out what he wanted to do, it was not going to be at $42K per year.
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:31 AM   #20
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Re: Poorest Millionaire in U.S. ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
I am facing a similar situation regarding college selection. My daughter, a high school junior, has not decided on her career or major, but she is excellent in math and science and is being heavily recruited by major universities, such as Cal Tech, MIT, USC, Princeton, and so on.* We have not applied to any colleges but have been seriously thinking about the local state university (University of Minnesota) or University of Wisconsin at Madison (same tuition fee as the U of Minn) since their costs will be at least 50% lower than those of the "brand name" schools. These schools may be more appropriate for graduate studies in business, law, and medicine in terms of ROI.
There's nothing wrong with doing both, but one consideration is what the kid wants out of the college. How talented is she? Does she want to spend most of her time competing with the top 1% of the top 1% or does she actually want to have a reasonable opportunity to do things and to gain experience? Does she want to "swim with the sharks" or does she want to take some time to find a field that interests her?

Loren Pope wrote "Colleges That Change Lives" to point out that there are many excellent smaller colleges all over the nation that offer far more opportunities to their students. Students are not a little piranha in a big pond but rather a young fish in a smaller pond. They actually learn from their professors (not just TAs), they have access to labs (instead of hearing that the class has to lose 50% of its students before they'll start the labwork course), and they have access to do research (instead of competing with grad students & even post docs). Because the school is much smaller, each student can make many more connections with faculty and the surrounding community. Tremendous numbers of small growth companies have learned to build near universities for the pool of cheap & talented labor. Few of those companies can afford Boston or the neighborhoods around major universities, but they can probably find something affordable pretty close to U of Minn.

While Yale & Harvard may offer an entrée to any club in the world, is it worth it? Do you really want to join a firm that places such an emphasis on your school instead of on you? Do you want to spend the rest of your life being known as "the Yalie" or "the Hahvuhd grad"? If you don't go to an Ivy (or a whatever big school), does that doom you to a life or corporate failure?

One approach would be to kill off the "---- 101" courses at a local school and then step up to an Ivy for the sophomore or junior year. This has to be played carefully, of course, to nurture independence while also being close enough to keep in touch. It's probably better to have the kid living in a dorm a couple hours away than to have her attending college from home, but both systems work and you gotta know your kid.

Another approach would be to find out how badly the Ivies want her. Tell them you can afford a smaller school and see if they'll match U Minn prices.

We're contemplating a family vacation this summer to the DC area. I think we'll take the kid on tours of UM, Georgetown, & the U.S. Naval Academy to scare the hell out of her. Then we'll see what's happening at St. John's...
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