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To All The Dollars I've Loved Before
Old 03-04-2017, 08:36 AM   #1
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To All The Dollars I've Loved Before

...who traveled in and out the door (of my bank account)

Scene 1: The early aughts. Wifey and I were grossing $120K or so, take home $90-ish per year? Somehow managed to spend pretty much all of that each month. We lived in a medium COL area, lived in a new $160K home (2000 sq. ft.) w/ a 3-car garage (to hold our motorcycles). Livin' the life. At the moment we decided to ER we probably had no more than $3k in cash.

Scene 2: Having re-entered the workforce (after a 4-year 'sabbatical') we are now grossing $45K, taking home $30K. We live in a HIGH COL area (Austin). Fastest real estate appreciation in the nation. And yet somehow we've managed to increase our cash from just under $10k to almost $30k in 1.5 years! I mean, we're frugal and all but I'm not sure how that happened...

It boggles the mind, both how much we've been able to save here AND how much money just ran through our fingers back in the day. Crazy-making if you dwell on it too long...
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:35 AM   #2
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It's amazing how all the little things add up.
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:44 AM   #3
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I think most people really underestimate how powerful frugality can be, in terms of attaining financial independence and facilitating ER. Good job.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:14 AM   #4
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which scene do you prefer? It's always a trade-off between living styles.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:44 AM   #5
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Needs vs. Wants
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dixonge View Post
...who traveled in and out the door (of my bank account)

Scene 1: The early aughts. Wifey and I were grossing $120K or so, take home $90-ish per year? Somehow managed to spend pretty much all of that each month. We lived in a medium COL area, lived in a new $160K home (2000 sq. ft.) w/ a 3-car garage (to hold our motorcycles). Livin' the life. At the moment we decided to ER we probably had no more than $3k in cash.

Scene 2: Having re-entered the workforce (after a 4-year 'sabbatical') we are now grossing $45K, taking home $30K. We live in a HIGH COL area (Austin). Fastest real estate appreciation in the nation. And yet somehow we've managed to increase our cash from just under $10k to almost $30k in 1.5 years! I mean, we're frugal and all but I'm not sure how that happened...

It boggles the mind, both how much we've been able to save here AND how much money just ran through our fingers back in the day. Crazy-making if you dwell on it too long...
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:53 AM   #7
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We lived high for 20 years then got serious about LBYM during our final 10 high earnings years. Been retired 14 years. Life is good.
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:23 PM   #8
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Small expenses add up...especially for those who have modest earnings.

I once told a younger co-worker that if he brought a thermos to work instead of buying 2 takeout coffees every day that he would be able to retire a full year early on that small saving alone. He didn't believe me until I showed him the math.
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dixonge View Post
It boggles the mind, both how much we've been able to save here AND how much money just ran through our fingers back in the day. Crazy-making if you dwell on it too long...
I love your story ! I started out frugal, then did the "living high" thing for about 7 years. And then the Great Recession brought me back to reality. I can't tell you how many times I cried over all the money I wasted during those 7 years. The spending made me temporarily happy - and then it made me temporarily insane with "grief" (best word I can find for it). Thankfully I turned myself back around, which allowed me to ER. I'm enjoying (what I hope is not temporary) bliss !
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:36 PM   #10
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Was frugal while working, stacked a lot of dough.

Now living larger than ever and still stacking dough.

Gotta blow more dough!
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:29 PM   #11
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I wasted a lot of money when I was young and single. Then a little bit less when I got married. Now I think I waste the least. I was never the frugal type. But I sure wish I didn't waste so much when I was younger. I still cringe when I think about it.
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Old 03-05-2017, 03:03 PM   #12
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Only because you are saying you don't know how this happened and that it's mind boggling....


Cash on hand really isn't a measure of much of anything other than liquidity, IMO. There are missing pieces to your story. Maybe you really are spending considerably less. Or maybe you are taking dividends in cash now, or have liquidated some investments. Soaring real estate prices really have no bearing unless you are actually buying now, or you are paying increasing rent.


I have more cash now than while I was working too. That's mainly because I used my steady paychecks to pay my expenses, and had regular monthly investments going to Vanguard. Now I have no steady inflow, so I tend to keep more in cash so I don't have to worry about remembering to transfer money into my banking accounts. I probably spend a bit more now that I did back then.


I don't mean to be a wet blanket, as you probably are being better with your money now, but are you really saying you've taken home $45K in the last 1.5 years, and saved $20K of that? This is what you are implying, but having a larger bank balance doesn't mean that much.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:12 PM   #13
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Most of my money was spent on boats, booze and broads.

The rest I just wasted.

[Sorry, I stole that quote from another forum, but I felt someone had to say it here.]
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
Only because you are saying you don't know how this happened and that it's mind boggling....


Cash on hand really isn't a measure of much of anything other than liquidity, IMO. There are missing pieces to your story. Maybe you really are spending considerably less. Or maybe you are taking dividends in cash now, or have liquidated some investments. Soaring real estate prices really have no bearing unless you are actually buying now, or you are paying increasing rent.


I have more cash now than while I was working too. That's mainly because I used my steady paychecks to pay my expenses, and had regular monthly investments going to Vanguard. Now I have no steady inflow, so I tend to keep more in cash so I don't have to worry about remembering to transfer money into my banking accounts. I probably spend a bit more now that I did back then.


I don't mean to be a wet blanket, as you probably are being better with your money now, but are you really saying you've taken home $45K in the last 1.5 years, and saved $20K of that? This is what you are implying, but having a larger bank balance doesn't mean that much.
Take-home was mostly $2800/mo. until a recent raise. In 3-4 of those 18 months there were 3 checks. Those checks, plus a tax refund and one bonus check, are probably responsible for the bulk of the savings. But when we originally budgeted this time period and had to deal with the rent shock it didn't feel like we were going to save *anything.* Plus, most months are tight cash-flow-wise. So yeah, still a bit surprised. Results have exceeded expectations. Our savings and our investments are one in the same. There really aren't any dividends to receive yet, nothing to speak of any way. Pensions won't kick in for another six months, which is when we will actually retire.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:51 PM   #15
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Shouldn't the thread topic title be "To All the Dollars I've Lost Before"?

Quote:
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Most of my money was spent on boats, booze and broads.

The rest I just wasted.

[Sorry, I stole that quote from another forum, but I felt someone had to say it here.]
The original quote is widely attributed to W.C. Fields (photo from Wikipedia below)

I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted. - W.C. Fields


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Old 03-07-2017, 04:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Most of my money was spent on boats, booze and broads.

The rest I just wasted.

[Sorry, I stole that quote from another forum, but I felt someone had to say it here.]
Might be an adapted quote from George Best, bankrupt, retired soccer player.

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." (BBC, 2005)
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