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Unknown financial hero
Old 09-09-2016, 02:51 AM   #1
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Unknown financial hero

Do any of you have or had people in your lives who helped get you on the FIRE road? My parent taught me how to save and be frugal, but this story isn't about them.
I signed up for savings bonds straight out of Navy boot camp. After a 6 month A school I worked at the Nuclear Field A School admin office for the Command Master Chief for a few weeks, waiting to class up for the next school. I learned how to make coffee and that a suggestion from a Master Chief is not a suggestion.
One day a Navy Lieutenant (O3), a department head, overheard me talking about how I had saved $1000 for a down payment for a new car. He pulled me aside and told me not to buy the car, but to invest it and that he would bring something in for me the next day.
He brought in a brochure about a mutual fund and sat down with me for an hour and explained mutual funds. I was impressed and thought they were wonderful. I could make money like rich people. So what did this young sailor do? Of course, I bought a new pick-up truck, using the money for a down payment! I needed wheels.
However, a year later when I finished the training pipeline, I used my enlistment bonus to pay off the truck (which I kept through my Navy career for a total of 20 years) and used my reenlistment bonus to invest in a mutual fund. Today I am 45 years old and I have a 42 year old wife. We could FIRE in two years. Although, I don't think my wife would be comfortable with the budget or withdrawing retirement funds that early. So we are shooting for a flexible 2022.
I don't even remember this guy's name, but he had a big impact on my life. For those of you who know Nords, it IS NOT him. I checked his Bio, while Nords was a LT at the time, he wasn't at NFAS. The story would be better if it was him, because I met Nords on a MAC flight a couple of years after reading his book. Then again, I could call this a sea story, then it would be okay to stretch the truth. I hope this is inspirational for those who try to plant seeds and wonder if they grow.

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Old 09-09-2016, 03:18 AM   #2
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Absolutely. When I was 31, I'd just received a huge promotion. My boss pulled me aside and said: congratulations but they won't love you forever. Do one thing for yourself - start a f$$k you fund and then you'll always be in control. He FIRED three years later at 48...but sadly died at 62. I followed his FY fund lesson closely, FIRED at 52... And hope to live a long and active life. I shall always be grateful for his advice and inspiration.

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Old 09-09-2016, 09:26 AM   #3
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Absolutely as well. In 1975 I was a brand new Dentist in my new practice with tons of school debt and tons of new practice debt, my CPA (who later became a good friend and mentor - 22 years my elder), advised me to open a Keogh and fund it with $1000.00 that I did not have. I told him he was nuts, that I'm too young and it's too far away, and first I have all this debt to pay off. Well, he convinced me - and from then on I increased my contributions to my max which became a good number as the years moved along. Turns out, I was forced into ER due to a severe visual impairment, but at 44 I was then able to.

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Old 09-09-2016, 09:48 AM   #4
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For me it was my Pops. He was a man of few words, but the words were simple and true.

The most important advice;

"Son you can make a million a year but if you spend a million a year you're never gonna have crap"

Then what to do;

Save some dough so you can buy things w/o credit
Save some more dough and buy a house when you can
Then buy stocks as they will give you the best return

I followed his advice and became a millionaire just like he did.
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:56 AM   #5
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Definitely, my folks, who always advised saving something every payday. Also, a young Doc I worked with early career who encouraged me to sign up for a new savings plan started at work (457b) and talked me into buying savings bonds for kids college "just throw them into your safe deposit box and forget about them"! I took the advice for all three things.
Stepping stones or stumbling blocks? It all depends on how you use them.
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:07 AM   #6
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My grandparents for sure. They were raised with just about nothing (one was adopted and the other was raised in an orphanage after being given up at 6 years old) and had to build the life that they retired to...which was very nice. Their money management skills are legendary and would make MMM look like a consumerist of the worst sort.
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:54 AM   #7
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Not really. Read How I turned $1000 into 1 million in real estate (Nickerson), also Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the Millionaire next door. Started figuring things out in mid-thirties. Also married well-DW is great budget person-got us out debt and kept us out.

Now days, I read Mr. Money Mustache online. A little goofy, but really good advice. Turn your kids on to his blog.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:04 AM   #8
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When my Dad started making bigger bucks, many of his peers moved up and out to better zip codes. My parents stayed in their comfortable, but not upscale, home and saved and invested all their extra money. They took some nice trips, lived a little better and were generous givers.

Because they were content with what they had Dad was able to retire at 59.5 and live off the earnings of his investments. He really didn't have to touch much of the principle until he was elderly and moved to assisted living.

I learned a lot from him, some by example and some just via DNA. He never read Millionaire Next Door, but he lived it. He never made it to a million, but he was living those ideas.

Good job, Dad. RIP and thanks for the Inherited IRA.
Married, both 61. DH retired June, 2010. I have a pleasant little part time job.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:26 AM   #9
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Yes. Although DH and I have always been savers, I learned about my employer's 401k from a temporary supervisor when I was 25 and pregnant with our daughter (1983).
He thoroughly explained the program and encouraged me to sign up. I signed up and DH signed up when he changed jobs and had access to TSP.
We continued to save outside of these plans as well, but it was amazing the difference these plans made to our ability to ER.
I always used one team meeting a year to discuss corporate saving program/options once I became a supervisor, manager, Director. Passing it on

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Old 09-09-2016, 11:31 AM   #10
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I married well. My husband is GREAT at managing his money, and as he never spent much, already had a lot saved when we got married. My mom swears I have always been frugal, but I got much better at it when I married him. Then of course there is working in the financial industry- whenever I had a bad day, I'd run my own retirement projections- and fiddle with rates of return, amounts invested, etc. I also raised my own retirement contribution every time I had a bad day- which worked well as many of my bad days come during down markets.

I hope I have been a financial inspiration to my clients though- one client came in after she had been laid off, and after looking at her financials decided she could retire. When she left, she hugged me and told me that if I hadn't encouraged her to contribute more to her 401-K she wouldn't have had enough. She made my year!
FIRE date 2/15/2018
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:33 AM   #11
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A combination of factors I suppose. Frugal parents (and grandparents) who went through the 1930's Depression and knew how to "squeeze a nickel until the buffalo screamed" as the saying went then. It was rare indeed for my father to take a car to a repair shop, he (and later on we) did everything that was possible to do in the driveway. And like Sue J, some was maybe just DNA because when I started working in HS I always had some money stashed away.

I can say that I even learned from my ex-wife - she taught me what NOT to do. She always had credit card debt, and when I pointed out that while the monthly interest charge might seem small the total over that 5 years was enough to take a cruise, which she would have loved to do. But she wanted to have her cake and eat it too. I understood the behavior a bit better after reading Please Understand Me II and Predictably Irrational. After the divorce my sister summed it up in one sentence: "Opposites attract but they can't live with each other". Not always of course but the deal-killer was her refusal to sit down and discuss a budget, a pretty basic thing to do in a marriage. At least I thought so. The end came when I flat-out refused to even consider taking out a loan for a trip. I just didn't see any future going down that road.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:45 AM   #12
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No heroes. No mentors. No mysterious stranger on a subway. Grew up surrounded by "Not Enough." People working all the time and getting nowhere. Had to take the bull by the horns because I knew it couldn't be like this everywhere.

Things/fictional personas that influenced me:

Age 6 or 7:

Thurston Howell III: Was always shown making money from his investments and not working. I had to check that out.

Gomez Addams: The same. No job. Plenty money. Read his ticker tape machine in the living room. "Sell Consolidated! Buy Amalgamated!" Had to check that out

The old Dreyfus Fund commercial with the Lion walking out of the subway and into a bank looking for "a free prospectus" for "a mutual investment fund." I had to check that out.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:56 AM   #13
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Hmmm - Aunt passed away when I was in 8th? grade. She was a maid for rich folks in New York city all her life and left my Dad about 17-18k in mutual funds(1957 $). Nobody in our household knew what that was so I went to the Library and got a book - Handbook of Mutual Funds or something like that. From their experiences in the Depression they promptly sold once the found out they contained 'evil' stocks. However it stuck in my mind and out of college in 1965 I started buying 'evil' stocks and load mutual funds. Slowly got 'smarter?' from there?

My Wife credits one of her IBM bosses in her job out of college convincing to sign up for 401k.

heh heh heh - I always assumed the Aunt learned from her employers over the decades.
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Old 09-09-2016, 11:57 AM   #14
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My Uncle was my mentor. When I was a teenager he would show me his portfolio telling to buy Heinz catsup because they paid a nice dividend. His best advice was " There are two ways to make money, one is to work for it and the other was having your money earn more money for you". That always stuck with me and my wife and I just retired at 61/60. I think he would be proud.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:04 PM   #15
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My parents were not investors until the 1960's, after they turned 40. After a bad experience with a broker, my father started investing in mutual funds. He also bought treasury bills and notes, going to San Francisco to attend the auctions. He subscribed to Value Line for years, and the binders were on the bookshelves. Sometime around the start of college, I was "directed" to invest in mutual funds, with the funds he selected. I opened an IRA when they were first available to me, but he picked the funds. I was fine with that, because at that age, I had no interest.

As I got older, I picked my own funds and later the stocks. In the end, I was managing his assets.

He did not like real estate and told me landlording was a frustrating job with little reward. He was right about the job, but not the reward. Most of my net worth is in real estate.

When I was small, maybe 5 or 6, I went to the credit union with him. He explained that we deposited money and got three percent interest. The credit union lent other people money at four percent, and that's how they made money.

Whatever mistakes my parents made, teaching me money management was not one of them.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:20 PM   #16
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Lou Rukeyser and Scott Burns.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
For me it was my Pops. He was a man of few words, but the words were simple and true.

The most important advice;

"Son you can make a million a year but if you spend a million a year you're never gonna have crap"

Then what to do;

Save some dough so you can buy things w/o credit
Save some more dough and buy a house when you can
Then buy stocks as they will give you the best return

I followed his advice and became a millionaire just like he did.
I also got my advice from my Pop! He always lived under debt of shark lenders (up until I paid off his debt) so I never got in to any debt (other than mortgages). I learned to save a lot to stay away from debt by a 12 feet pole.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:44 PM   #18
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No financial mentors. I got a little advice from a number of people and put it together for myself.

I've tried to be that mentor for a few other people, but have found little interest beyond a fleeting hope for a get rich quick tip.
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:58 PM   #19
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No heroes or mentors for me either. It has been self motivated and self taught. As a kid I would save my Halloween and Easter candy, eating it slowly to make it last longer. I put most of my allowance as a kid in a savings account, and after I started working a career job, I saved and invested from every paycheck.
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." John Muir
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Old 09-09-2016, 01:45 PM   #20
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Best bit of advise I received was from an older coworker.
There was a stretch of booming overtime at work, $55k base but topped out at $90k three years in a row so I started house shopping, coworker heard about the area and prices of the houses I was seriously looking to buy. His pearl of wisdom was
"Kid you can't afford houses like that because WHEN the overtime stops and it will you will loose the house. Buy what you can afford on a straight check and WHEN the ot stops you won't be working two jobs" Well I took that advise 100% and no sooner then 3 months after buying the ot did stop, almost nothing for a year and a half. I will for ever be thankful that he bothered with me. He was a rough gruff old timer and didn't talk to many people.

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