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Old 08-03-2007, 04:38 PM   #41
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I cannot describe the migrane I had when I realized my parents would never fill out those forms; they pressured me to finish and my dad even bragged about having three children in college at the same time. Those were frugal days but I had friends who were even poorer; catsup soup, anyone?
My out of work, broke father filled out the forms. I had good high school grades and a very high PSAT score which I think was used more than SAT for scholarships. I never took the SAT.

If your dad was poor why wouldn't he fill out the forms. If he was rich why didn't he help. In any event if I had heard my dad bragging about his kids in college when he did the one thing that made their lives worse off, I'd have told him to shut up.

My jobs were engineering internships not directly linked to the school although I'd never have gotten them without being in the engineering college. I made enough every summer for the next year but then I got scholarships on top of that. I graduated with several thousand dollars in cash and I started with $500 and a tuition scholarship for my freshman year.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:13 PM   #42
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Worst ecomonic period; the market or my own worst period?

Some years back I was going through a divorce, for a while had sole custody of my then 18 month old son. Money was tight and I got to buy my ex out of the house at the RE market peak which it didn't get back to for 10 years. Nothing but debt & a negative net worth. As much as this a financial board, I gotta say, at that time I didn't give a rats @ss about the market, you do what you gotta do to go on. But some 4 years later got remarried & acquired my other son that way, I just refer to them as 'the two boys' they're both mine as far as I'm concerned.

'My cup runnith over'; DW retired last year and I expect to retire in 152 days (but whos counting?) House is paid off, younger son is 18 and off to college this fall. And if I am so happy coworkers suspect there are drugs in my bloodstream.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:17 PM   #43
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My out of work, broke father filled out the forms. I had good high school grades and a very high PSAT score which I think was used more than SAT for scholarships. I never took the SAT.

If your dad was poor why wouldn't he fill out the forms. If he was rich why didn't he help. In any event if I had heard my dad bragging about his kids in college when he did the one thing that made their lives worse off, I'd have told him to shut up.
Your dad sounds like the dad in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!"
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:18 PM   #44
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The only time I went hungry (three days w/o food) was as a college student and if I'd known then what I know now about how to cook cheap eats that wouldn't have happened.

The two times I was most stressed about money:

in 1984 in Alaska when housing prices dropped precipitously, and at the same time they decided to drastically widen a road and remove the houses between our house and it. It was stick it out in the house or walk away, which felt morally wrong. I felt really dumb because we'd just bought the place less than a year before, and a house is always a good investment, right?! We could make the payments ok (11.75% interest!), but it just seemed like flushing good money after bad and I got really tired of seeing all those ads and articles that said "Buying a house is the most important investment you'll ever make". I felt not just stupid, but doomed.

In March 2000 when I ERed (actually just quit my job due to FI). That big plunge in the stock market that started that month? That's my fault.

But we're still in the house and it's paid off, and our investments recovered (note past tense - we'll see what happens now).

By the way, I don't have any big changes planned so this latest drop is NOT my fault.
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:32 PM   #45
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My divorce, bar none, when my porfolio dropped more than 50%. Oh...never mind.
The Carter years were bad, but I think I had a negative networth then and my thoughts were only on girls.
The dot.com bust was pretty depressing. I watched all my stock options vaporize although eventually some cameback. Lucky for me, I rode the housing boom.

This time may be different: Housing, credit, infrastructure repair and war.
You should see Cramer went ballistic in appeal to Uncle Ben to step in to prevent economic armageddon.
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:47 PM   #46
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The energy bust in Texas in the mid 80's. There was a ripple affect throughout the region's economy. Went though a layoff in 87 after my company consolidated sales territories and I was odd man out. Forced unemployment sucks.

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Old 08-03-2007, 06:51 PM   #47
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1964-1970 were the toughest years of my life: I didn't qualify for any college financial aid: scholarships, loans, even on-campus jobs that went begging, because my parents refused to fill out the forms, they understandably did not want to reveal their financial information. I worked my way through and sometimes operated ditto and mimeograph machines for my classes (without pay) as they couldn't fill the jobs and I had learned how to operate the machines during my "drop-out" semesters. The second time I dropped out, the college sent me a questionnaire asking why. The rules were changed the semester after I graduated: students who could prove financial independence (another definition of that expression!) could qualify without parential info.

I cannot describe the migrane I had when I realized my parents would never fill out those forms; they pressured me to finish and my dad even bragged about having three children in college at the same time. Those were frugal days but I had friends who were even poorer; catsup soup, anyone?
In the late 1960's my father (a millionaire) refused to fill out the financial aid forms as well, for the same reason. Also, he felt that if I worked my own way through college and supported myself, that would build character. I got nothing but the clothes on my back from him and my family when (or after) I left home at 18.

He has been dead for 27 years and I have not one but FOUR college degrees. And it may sound corny, but like Scarlett O'Hara, "As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again!" LBYM, yes, but no more catsup soup for this girl.
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:55 PM   #48
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Ketchup soup was way better if you swiped some sugar packets at the same time. A little sweetness helped offset the vinegar.
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Old 08-03-2007, 07:01 PM   #49
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Ketchup soup was way better if you swiped some sugar packets at the same time. A little sweetness helped offset the vinegar.
Nothing helps it very much.
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Old 08-03-2007, 07:11 PM   #50
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It beat mustard and relish soup.
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Old 08-03-2007, 07:24 PM   #51
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It beat mustard and relish soup.
At least with ketchup soup, you can maintain your dignity and tell yourself that you had tomato soup for dinner. (Yes, I have a lot of imagination.)

Mustard and relish soup has to be a guy thing. (tee hee!). Ewww.
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:32 AM   #52
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At least with ketchup soup, you can maintain your dignity and tell yourself that you had tomato soup for dinner. (Yes, I have a lot of imagination.)

Mustard and relish soup has to be a guy thing. (tee hee!). Ewww.
As long as we're trading recipes, my college favorite was to cook a cup of rice, stir in a can of cream of mushroom soup and then a can of tuna fish. That would last about 4 dinners. I think the cost of the soup and tuna was about 20 cents. The variation was to brown a pound of ground beef and add instead of the tuna. Ground beef cost about 15 cents/lb so it ran the price up to a quarter.

I had my "Gone With the Wind Days" while still at home in high school. My dad lost his job. My mother was a "non-working spouse" which was pretty normal then. There were also 5 kids. My older brother and I were the only "abled body" help so we worked with our father cutting grass on FHA repo houses. I was so glad when he got on with the Post Office.
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Old 08-04-2007, 08:03 AM   #53
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Amazingly similar background as want2retire only my "father" was a stepfather and I was the proverbial "stepchild." By the time he died, he showed his meanness and cruelty to everyone around. I think he was just a miserable human being in general.
Left home in 1964 for D.C. with exactly enough money to live on for one month ($450!) IF I lived with other people. Knew nobody in D.C., but somehow I made it.
I look at it as building character.
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Old 08-04-2007, 08:35 AM   #54
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Never been hungry, never succumbed to credit card debt, but was kind of a late-starter concerning putting $ away for retirement. Somehow, the beauty-of-compounding-interest lesson was not part of my high school or college education.

Once moved to another state for a new job while still owning two houses in a state where real estate was falling.

Parents never invested in stock market, so I'm still trying to educate myself and figure things out. Back in the mid-nineties I did learn one lesson the hard way (investing on margin, doubling my money in a few months, then stubbornly holding on the way down (believing it would go back up) even though the little voice in my head was screaming "This is not YOUR great wisdom, hot shot, this was a fluke!", losing it all, paying margin calls - - ack!)

About this time a big balloon payment (sort of) on our house was due. It had become evident that my start-up business required way too much travel to suit our family - and the business was not going to make it anyway - and I needed to get a job.

So we paid the balloon and cinched all spending DOWN. I can remember getting ready to head out on errands and telling the kids to fix themselves a bottle of cold water to bring along, and a sandwich or snack if they wanted it, because we would not even be buying a dollar soft drink when we were out and about! Fortunately, one of my local clients asked me to come to work with them full-time which I did for the next five years.

Now I look back at the "reserve" we had at that juncture and it was very thin. If something had happened (job loss or injury) to one of us, it could have been big trouble. I would never want to be that marginal again on liquid emergency fund, etc.

The experience was oddly empowering, in that I know I can "cinch it down" if necessary.
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