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Old 02-26-2009, 06:42 AM   #21
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Poor? nah, still working. Poorer? Yup, by a big bundle with lots of zeros...could have almost funded a nice retirement with the amount my port has declined. ...but still working and still adding. FIRE originally targeted for sometime between June and December now on indefinite hold, 2-3 yrs if the market starts to recover. Watching my pennies though, so I have more to throw in the black hole market.

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Old 02-26-2009, 09:41 AM   #22
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There was a nice line on another post about a person 'not feeling poorer' that resonated with me. So far in this downturn I have felt some apprehension in the declining IRA (which I am not drawing from but not adding to) but have not felt poorer in life activities. My wife did want a new car and I managed to keep her old one going but I feel good, not poor about that.
Now my older son has had his hours cut back at his job with the county in CA and his wife is a teacher who has seen others cut back and has more to do with less so I see some damage there.
But for myself I am not living poorer. What do the retirees here have to encounter that they feel poorer?
In terms of "living poorer", we're not traveling this year, but I'm not sure how much of that is financial concerns and how much is medical.

We were invested very defensively, so our financial assets did just fine. We've never considered the house an ATM, and we live in a non-bubble area, so no problems there.

My concern is our three kids, all of whom are just getting started. One lost a lot of money by buying a house near the top. One is recently graduated and unemployed. The third is working, but relies on an architect's income - I see that as more risky than a lot of jobs. So I'm like you, I see it hitting my family more than me.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:05 AM   #23
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There are so many things right now making me feel poorer, I hate to think of them all. I feel your angst over your kids. Mine live with XW who is going thru forclusure. Always spent like the support would never end, while I always saved like it didn't. Kids tried college but only to be with friends. First one's student loans sunk XW as cosigner along with her own bad habits.

So I won't steal your thread with saying the things that make me feel rich, so you might want to start that feel good topic. I do know that I am better off than most and if times continue to get worse as I expect, I will still be better off than the majority because of my past preparedness. I don't like to measure how much I lost but how much I have. I know inflation will stay low and deflation will rule if you just stay with that old rule of staying within your means. Having a paid off house means it will always retain relative value to all other property and increase because I know how to take care of it.

And my garden growing in the basement will be ready for moving outside in about 6 weeks.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:25 AM   #24
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And my garden growing in the basement will be ready for moving outside in about 6 weeks.
Cash crop?

Yeah, there are plenty of poor bah-studs in worse shape than me. Or, as the saying goes, "I might be slow, but I'm ahead of you..."

I've been in dire straits before; this, so far, is a piece o' cake, comparatively speaking.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:50 AM   #25
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My current income is roughly half of what is was while w*rking. Basic expenses have obviously increased across the board. Still doing OK.

I feel poor exactly 3x a year - right after I pay my property taxes - school in Apr and Oct, county in Jan.
I really have to conserve my immediate cash flow after these events. I can still make my bills easily as long as I budget tightly. It takes about 2 months of penny pinching to catch up and replenish my bank account to my comfort level.
Property taxes are guaranteed to increase with NY's fiscal issues. I'm w*rking the worst case numbers in my head right now.

On the bright side...feeling a little "rich"...I was actually able to do a little fun shopping for myself recently. I caught some excellent sales online. I got some new stretch jeans, some fruit flavored decaf loose tea, and a 3 Tenors CD I've wanted for a while. I also shopped for dh2b's upcoming birthday.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:22 PM   #26
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Well that about sounds right for me. I do have a pension. Our house value is much reduced but it is a residence not an ATM. Our IRAs are down maybe 25% but we are not drawing them down till 2010.
Close to our situation as well. Our house has held its value for the most part, and we have never thought of it as an ATM. We will have a pension starting in June of this year. We're taking the smaller annuity and a partial lump sum estimated to be about $277k. (I'm still scratching my head on how to invest that money) With the pension annuity, we have enough cash to live on for 4 1/2 years until DH is 59 1/2. At that age, he'll start receiving money from his IRAs. I have an IRA that I will be able to receive money from in 8 years. We'll both start drawing ss at 62. Hopefully the economy will be better in a few years and we will be able to indulge in a whim or two.
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I retired in March of 2008 so I can only compare retired life to work life and that certainly allowed for more activities on a 'whim'. But if I do not have the money I had when working I do have a lot more time and that is a trade I will happily make, at least so far. I am trying to get past the psychological effect of looking at reduced IRAs and feeling fear, doom & gloom by asking myself what has actually changed in my life. Since retirement is new to me I thought I would check in and see what has actually shown up in retiree's lives.
Time is golden IMO.

Even though the real retirement for the both of us will officially start tomorrow, we've been in a retirement mode for quite a while. (ok, there have been a few toys purchased ) I'm going to enjoy each day as best as I can. If tomorrow brings trouble, I'll deal with it. That is if I'm fortunate enough to see tomorrow.
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:49 PM   #27
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Like others, the deferred comp account is down 25%, and that make us feel poorer even though we have no plans to draw from it for about another 10 years. DW worries more about it than I do, but then she'll probably outlive me so her concerns are not without foundation.

However, because I started a job last summer our income has been higher than we planned on. We were in a position to help out FIL, buy an expensive toy (with cash), don't have to think as hard as we did about going out to dinner, and replenish some of the losses.

Hearing about other's plights makes us very much aware of how fortunate we are.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:01 PM   #28
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We have less, but we don't feel poorer. Whatever we have will be enough, somehow. Feeling poor will occur when we are hungry for food, not when we are hungry for a second home. We can't afford it, but that is this week's want.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:29 PM   #29
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I don't feel very philosophical about this downturn. With a 37% loss in my retirement portfolio, I do feel less wealthy. I need to sell my townhome in order to reduce my expenses so that I can save more. I need to figure out if I want to buy again in this crazy housing market or rent. The prospect of renting feels like a loss of control over my housing situation and consequently a loss of security.

While these are not life or death situations and I can still buy food and pay my very expensive health insurance I have lost the confidence that in the future I will still be able to pay for necessities. Who knows what the heck will happen next? This economic crisis has caused me to lose my feeling of security and that feels more like poverty than any other aspect.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:44 PM   #30
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We're still working, our net worth has gone down 1/3 of a million on paper since the downturn started but our cash inflow has gone up slightly so it hasn't really affected our lifestyle. Our income gains have oustripped CPI but a couple percent so in some ways we are richer. But I can't help but be a little numbed as I see 10k or more each month vaporize...
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:27 PM   #31
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I feel rich enough but the financial/economic news is contagious. I'm okay as long as my PF continues to bounce around within it's cushion; stay in that padded room, knock on wood. Feb. numbers will be in tomorrow evening, fingers crossed.

It is a truism that "if you've got your health, you've got just about everything." My health is improving so in that respect I'm on a bull run.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:03 AM   #32
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I am feeling everything. I keep losing money about 200K down and my house is down about 100K. I wanted to retire soon and if my portfolio grew like it did in 2007 I could live on investment easily. Now I am grateful to have a job I don't mind going to and love that the company is making record profits, giving 15% into profit sharing and giving bonuses. I a little worried it won't last, my eyesight is getting bad. People talk about the economy not turning up for 10 years or more so I will be over 70. Now even it it recovers I won't trust investing. I will start to pay down the mortgage and perhaps stay in this house I wanted to sell before retirement. I am ok anyhow, I have more than most people and I have been poor before.
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Old 02-27-2009, 08:25 AM   #33
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Hey, for all those folks that saw their portfolios decline last year, remember that the loss you suffered is not totally yours.

For example, if you have a 401(k) that lost 30%, and your tax rate is 25%, then really you only lost 22 1/2% and uncle sam lost the other 7 1/2%.

If your taxable portfolio declined by 30% and you had unrealized gain, a $100K loss is really only around $82-85k, since the rest is less future tax.

So it really isn't that bad. Hey - if you work hard enough at it, you can see the positive in just about anything.

In fact, since you all felt you had lost the larger amount, you should all feel now like you are gaining something. Almost enough to offset the additional losses so far this year...
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:00 AM   #34
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Seeing my portfolio shrink makes me feel poorer . I've cut way back on gifting and travel . I'm just not as free with money as I once was . On paper I'm still okay but I miss that heavily padded budget .
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:11 AM   #35
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That's the spirit Michael!
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:18 AM   #36
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Going to FIREcalc and seeing I need to work until 58 to reach near certainty, rather than the 52 I got a year and a half ago.
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:59 AM   #37
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The question is, poorer than what?

Like virtually everyone here, I have taken my knocks in this market and I have lost enough money to make my eyes water.

But poor? I am not poor and I have not been poor for almost 30 years. Right now, I am still working. Although I am not tapping into my nestegg, I am spending more money than I have ever spent before from my salary. My planned ER budget is less than it was a few months ago, but it is still more than I am presently spending.

I admire Thoreau, and include a quotation from Walden in my signature. I am nowhere near as together as he was, but I think that efforts to keep my "wants" under control have helped. I still have a long way to go in that department but making progress.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:04 AM   #38
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:37 AM   #39
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Good one. Just when your feeling sorry for yourself old Monty comes along to pick you up.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:48 AM   #40
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Good one. Just when your feeling sorry for yourself old Monty comes along to pick you up.
My wife and I have come to the conclusion that for any situation, there's a quote from Monty Python, The Simpsons or Mel Brooks movies.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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