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Old 12-24-2011, 09:30 AM   #21
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"You're lucky you are able to retire early"

Yes, I am (was) ...

I only hope that there are those that can do the same...
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:34 AM   #22
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I also find people don't want to know how you did it. That's life.
They sure do not want to know but wonder why they couldn't do the same.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:35 AM   #23
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Those who could retire early or at all are lucky or fortunate when there are so many Americans will not be able to do so because of paucity of savings, pension benefits and the imminent increase in retirement age. To add insult to injury, an older worker has to face age discrimination. Staying employed is a continuous struggle.

Those receiving pension benefits equaling more than 80% with cost of living adjustment are definitely lucky. Even those getting enough to supplement their living expenses are also lucky. Their lucks may run out should the institution proving the benefits decided to reduce or completely terminate its obligation because they simply cannot afford it. The recipients of these benefits may argue that it is not luck. It's their wisdom to choose the right institution, their sacrifice earning less money in exchange for great benefits and tenacity to put up with bureaucracy or "crap".

Those who can retire because of financial Independence by saving, investing and living below your means are also lucky - thanks to the fin ancial markets albeit its volatility. Years of poor investment returns could wipe out our savings regardless of how much we save.

In short, those who can retire are considered lucky no matter which path to get there.
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......

I guess we are lucky in the sense that an overwhelming, unpredictable, and unexpected drain on our incomes/nesteggs has not happened. This being the holiday season, I thought I'd mention that.


We retired early - investments only, no luck landing jobs with great pensions, and thankful to not have had any misfortune interfere with the accumulation phase of our retirement planning (it didn't happen overnight).

Whenever someone discovers we're retired (retired at 59/57) and tells us how lucky we are to have pulled it off - we've never taken it as a back-handed complement and respond that we feel "very lucky".
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:52 AM   #24
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As a white male born to an upper middle class family in the suburbs of a bustling metropolis, my private college education qualifies me to assure everyone - one's financial success results entirely from hard work and prudent spending.

I am wealthy because I earned it!
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:03 AM   #25
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I don't really take offense when someone says that - I think part of it is that they just don't know what to say and as MichaelB suggests they are envious of the free time I will have.

Spoken response: "Yes, I am lucky."

What I'm thinking: True, I am "lucky", but I made my own luck by the decisions that I have made the last 35 years.
Emphasis mine. I agree with you.

I had different goals than most other people, not necessarily heading in the direction of FIRE, but when my decisions fell into place with the good breaks I had, the two together enabled me to ER 3 years ago at age 45.

For example, many of my (former) coworkers have more shares of company stock than I did, but because of other events and decisions in their lives, they could not (or, perhaps did not want to) retire early. The decisions I had made up to the point when my company stock hit a certain value put me in a position I could get out of the rat race at that time, several years earlier than I thought I could ER.

There was some envy from others, but I hang with an older crowd, many of whom are already retired (not usually early retirees, but I am not sure), so they are just glad to have me as one their "own" and have me able to partake in activities with them more often.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:04 PM   #26
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There *is* sometimes an element of luck to it, but usually people say this out of jealousy, I suspect. Folks my age going into the workforce in the 1980s, for example, may have signed up for a j*b in the private sector with a pension and retiree health insurance that got taken away. If they simply trusted their deal would remain in place and didn't plan for their own retirement savings, they would be screwed.

Had they chosen another employer, either one of the few in the private sector that still gives this to folks my age and younger or in the public sector, they would be able to retire at a decent age. So yes, I think to some degree this is bad luck. But they still made the mistake of assuming their employer's deal would remain in place. If my first employer didn't freeze my pension or drop retiree health insurance, I would have been able to retire very comfortably at 55. Now, 55 may still be possible but it will be a more modest lifestyle -- and that wouldn't be possible at all now unless I was putting 10% or more into retirement savings since I was 23.

And let's not forget that a lot of good, hard working folks have been screwed by this economy and job market. Some of their unemployment and underemployment which makes retirement a longshot is also bad luck.

Having said all that, yes, there is luck but I think there's also a lot of sour grapes in this bottle of whine. There's still no better predictor for retirement hopes of young folks in the middle class than saving for yourself early, often and almost to the point of bleeding, since it's become abundantly obvious your employer doesn't have your back and they aren't your friend or protector.
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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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Old 12-24-2011, 12:06 PM   #27
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As a white male born to an upper middle class family in the suburbs of a bustling metropolis, my private college education qualifies me to assure everyone - one's financial success results entirely from hard work and prudent spending.

I am wealthy because I earned it!
You are kidding, right?
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:09 PM   #28
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You are kidding, right?
I suspect the reference here is to people who were born on third base and act like they hit a triple to get there.
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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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Old 12-24-2011, 12:38 PM   #29
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T
Having said all that, yes, there is luck but I think there's also a lot of sour grapes in this bottle of whine. There's still no better predictor for retirement hopes of young folks in the middle class than saving for yourself early, often and almost to the point of bleeding, since it's become abundantly obvious your employer doesn't have your back and they aren't your friend or protector.
Agreed - We remind our two daughters occasionally about the importance of planning for their futures. That is, choosing the "right" career, saving, investing and budgeting, etc, are paramount to financial success. However, hard work and ingenuity attribute to only a part of the success. Luck does play a part albeit sitting around, waiting, and lacking any ambition is definitely a guarantee for failure (with the exception of a winning a lottery). Luck does bring opportunities, e.g., being at the right place at the right time. It's up to us to seize certain opportunities. Therefore, always keep an eye on opportunities, take prudent risks and learn from mistakes.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:43 PM   #30
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I just say yes I am. Thinking I was lucky I didn't get pregnant unexpectedly, only had two kids when we wanted them, stayed married for 36 years, drive cars to the ground and stayed in a normal house always putting money away.

Also, we never had the things happen to us that would have prevented early retirement, such as extended sickness or layoffs.

I also find people don't want to know how you did it. That's life.
+1 similar story
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:45 PM   #31
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Luck does play a part albeit sitting around, waiting, and lacking any ambition is definitely a guarantee for failure (with the exception of a winning a lottery). Luck does bring opportunities, e.g., being at the right place at the right time. It's up to us to seize certain opportunities. Therefore, always keep an eye on opportunities, take prudent risks and learn from mistakes.
My favorite definition of "luck" is this one:

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
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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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Old 12-24-2011, 01:46 PM   #32
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You are kidding, right?
I forgot the
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Old 12-24-2011, 02:05 PM   #33
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I had a serious discussion about "luck" and planning with a couple of different friends from my old Megacorp. One was quite open about his choice NOT to retire - ever. He believed because of his health (diabetes) he would never retire. Therefore, he chose to w*rk, buy toys, enjoy his time off - but had no plans beyond that. I thought that was at least an honest approach with a logical if, in my opinion, flawed conclusion.

A second friend believed that I must have had a lot of extra money coming in and that he had gotten the shaft at work. I'm sure our salaries were not dramatically different. He didn't want to discuss his "toys", big house, frequent vacations, etc. He also had attempted to take short cuts to wealth once he realized time was short and his saving were meager. He found a broker who told him he could live on 8% of his savings (with the broker's help, heh, heh). Last I heard, my old friend had gone back to w*rk, selling stuff on Ebay for other people, driving cars to the auction and selling "antiques". Perhaps a good life, but not my cup of tea.

When the second friend called me "lucky", I replied that "Luck had nothing to do with it." I have to admit, that there was actually some luck involved as others have mentioned. The biggest difference between us was that I saved and he didn't.
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:00 PM   #34
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I think the lucky thing is just a way of assuring themselves that their poor choices aren't the reason they can't retire. It's just bad luck.
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:12 PM   #35
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I think the lucky thing is just a way of assuring themselves that their poor choices aren't the reason they can't retire. It's just bad luck.
But at the same time, there *is* a luck aspect to it sometimes: a decision that seems perfectly reasonable and responsible at the time can backfire down the road -- and there's no "do over".

My personal (and well-chronicled) example here is that when I was out of college I joined an employer that provided a pension and retiree health insurance -- just like public sector jobs did. So at the time I made that decision it was not a "poor choice" in terms of securing my retirement. I *did* choose a job with good retirement benefits just like someone working for (say) the state.

Fast forward 10-11 years, and my pension is frozen, retiree health insurance taken away even as those who chose the public sector mostly kept theirs. Did I make a "bad decision" for retirement security by not taking a government job? Only if you think at age 22 I should have known what was going to happen in the future. So yes, this was bad luck -- not a bad decision. (Fortunately even when I had these retirement bennies I was aggressively funding my 401K so I wasn't hopelessly unable to retire like others who had this rug pulled out from under then.) Only with the wisdom of hindsight does it look like a "poor decision".

It's an excuse to blame everything on "bad luck" or to dismiss good fortune as just being "lucky." But at the same time bad things happen to good people who make responsible decisions -- and to dismiss their laments and pretend that they are just slacking off and not at all the victims of bad luck comes off as a little "let them eat cakey" to me.
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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)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:21 PM   #36
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Fast forward 10-11 years, and my pension is frozen, retiree health insurance taken away even as those who chose the public sector mostly kept theirs. Did I make a "bad decision"? Only if you think at age 22 I should have known what was going to happen in the future. So yes, this was bad luck -- not a bad decision. (Fortunately even when I had these retirement bennies I was aggressively funding my 401K so I wasn't hopelessly unable to retire like others who had this rug pulled out from under then.)
But see? You took what looked like the best path for you, but prepared for the possibility that something might happen. It's not luck that you did that, but planning and hard work. To me that's a huge difference. I'd guess that it wasn't always easy to aggressively fund that 401K, and you probably had to do without some things you might have liked in order to do it. Your "belt and suspenders" planning, doing without, and hard work is what will allow you to retire, not simply luck.

I would even guess that almost nobody goes through life without at least one plan backfiring on them or one unexpected problem arising. Most of us don't reach retirement because we were lucky and nothing ever went wrong for us. We make the best choices we can, work hard, save, prepare, and plan, plan, plan. Often those who say we are lucky and they were not, are just unwilling to do the same IMO.

Edited to add: In other words, +1 !
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:43 PM   #37
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I just say yes I am. Thinking I was lucky I didn't get pregnant unexpectedly, only had two kids when we wanted them, stayed married for 36 years, drive cars to the ground and stayed in a normal house always putting money away.
What!?!? You didn't drive fancy sports cars, spends your after work hours at bars, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out? You did not buy a 4200 sq ft mini-mansion And then furnish it with costly things, heat it, maintain it, and pay taxes on it??
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:56 PM   #38
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Have you heard this one? Now that I am telling people of my plans to retire before 65, I keep hearing how 'lucky' I am to be able to do this. Maybe there is some part of luck involved. But, the last time I checked the Good Fairy had not bopped me on the head with her magic wand and caused money to flow into my bank accounts like flood water flowing into the Gulf.
I don't know what exact age you'll finally retire at Chuckanut, but I'm guessing you haven't been able to check out of the working world as an early retiree and are perhaps in your 60's and still working. Since you didn't RE, by the typical description of "early retirement" on this board, I wonder what you see when looking back as the main shortcomings you encountered? Lack of career planning? Unable to control spending? Poor investment decisions? Dealt a tough hand to play?

If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently so you could "retire early?"
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:05 PM   #39
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perhaps in your 60's and still working. Since you've failed, by the typical description of "early retirement" on this board,
Actually I have never seen any "typical description" of what early retirement is on this board. It varies all over the place. Perhaps more than any other description, I have heard that retiring before SS full retirement age (66 for many of us) implies early retirement. But still, I would not say this definition is typical any more than any other.

Many of us including some of our oldest and most often posting members retired in their 60's and oddly, I'm not aware of any who feel they somehow failed in doing so.
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:05 PM   #40
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at the same time bad things happen to good people who make responsible decisions -- and to dismiss their laments and pretend that they are just slacking off and not at all the victims of bad luck comes off as a little "let them eat cakey" to me.

Yeah, sh*t happens. When I had a decision point regarding ER at 52 yo, I opted to use about a fourth of my FIRE investments to fund a trust for my grandson who is afflicted with cerebral palsy. My choice and no regrets. But I then didn't RE until 58 and I tell ya, I would have rather have had those six years to myself even though my job at MegaCorp wasn't bad by most standards.

I agree with you, folks who like to assume everyone who isn't as prepared to RE as themselves must have "slacked off" are insecure folks who need to bash others in order to feel good about themselves.
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