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Old 11-26-2011, 08:26 PM   #81
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What started me on the road to being financially independent was being extremely poor in my early 20s. At least in my 20s I could juggle a couple of jobs and eventually pull myself out of the poorhouse. With that in mind, I could not imagine being old and poor with few-to-no options so I set forth on a path to make sure it didn't happen.

I still have my well-read dog-eared first paperback of The Millionaire Next Door that showed me you didn't have to be rich, good looking, or lucky - you just had to be consistent at living below your means, saving at every opportunity, avoid debt, and have a spouse/significant other with similar values.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:03 PM   #82
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For me, it was about the same as what East Texas described. I was on my own and it was Sink or Swim. I could not fall back or rely on home or parents.

I see so many immature lazy kids that could do better if it weren't for their parents always bailing them out.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:05 PM   #83
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When I realized how much the corporate rat race sucked and that it was well worth depriving myself *some* amount of "living for today" in order to expedite my exit. For me, that occurred at about age 23 -- and being a corporate wage slave was orders of magnitude less sucky than it is today.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:45 PM   #84
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Same here. Boy, did I pare the cheese super-thin for a few years.

Read "How to Be A Financially Independent Woman," back when such a creature was still considered a little odd - maybe even a trifle unfeminine. (Still is, in some quarters).

Back when the advice to "skip the daily latte and save the money" was, instead, "skip the daily cigarettes"! (I didn't smoke, but got the point anyway, and quit buying snacks from vending machines).

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I was on my own and it was Sink or Swim. I could not fall back or rely on home or parents.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:44 PM   #85
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I don't know if it was any one thing.

I remember playing a game about compound interest with my Dad at a very young age. He gave me a choice-- which would I rather have, $1000/day for a month, or a penny the first day of the month, but it doubles every day after that. We went through the month day by day, and the results made a big impact on my young mind.

I had a savings account that paid interest from a very young age as well.

In high school, my job at McDonald's taught me that I would like an income not dependent on hourly wages.

My grandfather gave me 3 shares of Fastenal (FAST) for my 18th birthday. They were probably worth $60 total at the time. Those 3 shares have become 96 shares and are worth about $3800 now.

I read the wealthy barber in college.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:58 PM   #86
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My parents practiced LBYM and so it seemed natural to me. I remember around age 5 my dad taking me to a bank and showing me how savings could build in my own account. And by age 10 I had learned some investing basics by playing Monopoly (!).
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:47 PM   #87
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Playing Monopoly taught me diversification (one rarely wins by only owning Boardwalk/Park Place or the Green properties).
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:21 PM   #88
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My first day of w*rk
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:10 PM   #89
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When I was about 19 years old, I had a credit card. I was fairly good with it, paying it off each month in full. Then I got injured on my job as an auto mechanic, and all of a sudden the income from workers comp was not enough to pay living expenses....so I used my credit card. This was in 1981, and I ran up a bill of about $600, which felt huge at the time. I felt horrible about owing that much money.

Unbeknownst to me, my dad suspected I had an issue, even though I didn't tell him specifically about my debts. He had opened my card as a "child" to his earlier, so he could still see my balances if he wanted to. He paid my $600 balance in full, and didn't say a word to me about it.

The next month, when I got my bill and found it was paid, I called the bank to ask how it happened...and they simply said they received a check paid in full....it took me a few minutes to determine it could only have been my dad (I lived away from home at the time).

That feeling of needing to be "rescued" while trying to prove my independence was all it took. I paid him back $50 a month for 12 months, then I gave him an additional payment for interest at the going rate, and thanked him.

Ever since then, I've had an emergency fund and lived below what I made. I had an IRA within 3 months of when they were "invented", and I've saved at least 12% of my income for my entire life (currently save 30% of my gross).

I got married when I was 34, so my "checklist" for a wife was not what color hair she had or whether she wore short skirts, but rather what were her values, faith, ethics, compassion, and so on...and her views on money were definitely a big factor...she's a saver like me.

As a result of this, we're very close to ER...I'm guessing 2-3 years depending on market returns. I'm 50 as of last Wednesday, and it's great to be in this position at a relatively early point in our lives.
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:42 PM   #90
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My first day of w*rk
<chuckle>

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Playing Monopoly taught me diversification (one rarely wins by only owning Boardwalk/Park Place or the Green properties).
I went for the railroads.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:02 PM   #91
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I actually remember it pretty well. I had grown up in an upper middle class family in the suburbs. We had everything we needed and most of what we reasonably wanted but were by no means rich (at all). I remember thinking my parents were crazy for living on what they lived on; that you could live on half what my dad made (which of course is true) and vowed to do the minimum as an adult to get by and enjoy as much free time as I could.

Well, that was all an excuse of course, designed to make me feel better about being lazy.

When I was 23, my wealthy grandmother got married for the second time; this time to a guy who invented a famous furniture cleaner (you likely have a bottle of it in your closet) and they flew all of us out for the small but extremely expensive wedding.

I sat there at dinner with the rich part of my mom's family (who has infinitely more than my parents ever will), watching my mom's 45 year old gainfully unemployed cousins who just spend their days buying and selling real estate properties and finding new ways to spend the money and it hit me....having money beats the hell out of not having money. Seems so simple.

I flew back to Austin and decided I would spend the next 15 years building a series of businesses, each bigger than the last, to retire by the age of 38 (ahead of all my rich second cousins).

I started a restaurant in Central Texas that year with the woman who is now my wife where we got our asses handed to us and learned more about business than any MBA program could possibly offer. First ones in, last ones out, last ones to get paid. It was hell. Did that for two years and sold the restaurant for a small profit.

Used that to pay for grad school where I got my CPA license. Got a job through a family friend which led to the next business, which led to the next business, which led to the business I'm selling at the end of this week to beat my own goal of FIRE by 3 years.

It turns out I was right at 23 -- having money beats the hell out of not having money.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:07 PM   #92
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"I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, honey, rich is better."

-- attributed to Sophie Tucker
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:47 PM   #93
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My parents were a good source of motivation for retirement. Soon after I got my dream job at MegaCorp, my dad retired at 57 years old. He had an excellent pension, and mom and him traveled around modestly for several years. They had a wonderful time together until my mother passed five years ago. Dad (and pension) are still going strong. He reminds me that he has been retired longer than he worked!

I had several pertinent moments concerning money during my working years:

1) I remember at a party my parents had, I commented about some fund that was doing well (cause I had read about it in magazine somewhere). A man there said "Oh really? How much money do you have invested there?" Embarrassed me (I had no investments), and really made me think about money more.

2) After taking a bath on some front-loaded funds, and a Limited Partnership, I wanted to become more educated about money. I had the grand idea of "having my money work for me".

3) Met my current wife who does not spend much money on herself. Normally spends on other people/causes. She retired from MegaCorp to pursue degrees to enable her to continue this lofty practice.

4) Worked with a couple of guys that had ER in their sights. One was retiring just after I started work, and the other was when I had about eight years left to be eligible for retirement. This guy openly explained to me how he was doing it down to the dollar, told me to read the book "The Four Pillars of Investment", then retired and showed me how great it is!

I can't imagine being at this point without the help from this forum, and the little things that happen that have continued meaning through out my life. I beat my dad to retirement age (55 for me), and now hope to find that kind of fulfillment and enjoyment that he has!
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:28 PM   #94
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I got started because of my stubborn independent freak streak as a teenager. Had the usual fights with my parents when we didn't agree on what was best for me during school. They generously paid for my college education but we butted heads throughout, to the point where once I got my degree, I was determined never to have to listen to anyone tell me what to do again!

The fastest way to be independent of my parents was to earn my own living, which I've done ever since graduation. Now the next step is becoming FI to the point where I don't have to listen to a boss at work.

A college friend helped a lot by telling me about index investing and showing me how to create spreadsheets to model investment growth and expenses. I'd always been LBYM, but had never considered how that might translate into real growth of assets. Now about 15 years later, it surprises me that despite ups and downs of markets and life, I'm still right on track with the spreadsheet I made then, showing that I'll be FI around age 40.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:48 PM   #95
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Well, its a bit of a story.

You see, one day I bought an apple for 5c. I shined that apple until it gleamed and sold it for 10c. Then I bought two apples, shined those up until you could see your own reflection and sold them for 20c.

I repeated this process over the years, always taking great care to choose only the best apples and sell them before they went bad.

Then my wifes uncle died and left us two million dollars. Haven't looked back since. Hell, I cant even look at an apple anymore.
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:18 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Leveret
Well, its a bit of a story.

You see, one day I bought an apple for 5c. I shined that apple until it gleamed and sold it for 10c. Then I bought two apples, shined those up until you could see your own reflection and sold them for 20c.

I repeated this process over the years, always taking great care to choose only the best apples and sell them before they went bad.

Then my wifes uncle died and left us two million dollars. Haven't looked back since. Hell, I cant even look at an apple anymore.
That is awesome! Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:58 AM   #97
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Watching our lower middle class income parents work their butts off and live well within their means + being lucky to have an employer who contributed heavily to a retirement plan vs. giving me immediate income & me recognizing this value such that I couldn't avoid creating a good nest egg.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:11 AM   #98
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"I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, honey, rich is better."

-- attributed to Sophie Tucker
"The only difference between being rich and being poor is that being rich doesn't suck"!
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:16 AM   #99
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"I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, honey, rich is better."

-- attributed to Sophie Tucker
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"The only difference between being rich and being poor is that being rich doesn't suck"!
I prefer Gumby's version.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:48 PM   #100
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At about 10 years of working full time after earning my BS, I was doing everything pretty much according to what's expected. Got married, bought a house, had a couple of kids, etc. We were almost maxing the 401k and had no debt except the mortgage. I had started investing, and we were looking around at moving up in a house. Then, totally unexpectedly, I got laid off. It was a bad time to be in my field in my town. My wife went back to work as a teacher which covered health insurance and gave us a modest cash flow, and I started doing contracting work, which was up and down the next few years. This was possible since we hadn't moved up in a house, and I realized that not needing the cash flow gave me independence. I also took a whole month off on two occasions to take an extended trip with my young kids.

All those things together got me to thinking I wanted to be FI, then I could work, or not, as I desired. Prior to that layoff, I had just expected I'd work until SS kicked in because that's what you do.
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