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Old 12-25-2011, 04:45 PM   #61
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I think I am on track to RE, at least slightly earlier than many. But I am going to be way later than I planned. Luck plays a big part of it, both as a helping and hindering. Unlucky to have promised pension benefits unpromised later. Unlucky to have taken my shots at corporate stock options that didn't turn out to be as valuable as others - in several cases worthless. It would be unrealistic to presume I could have known these outcomes in advance. The best I might have hoped for was to at least consider the possibility of unfortunate outcomes and have a backup plan. Unlucky to be divorced, which is too complicated, but very expensive. OTOH, lucky to be able to make good use of tax advantaged savings in IRA and 401k. I actually started saving because I vaguely didn't want to waste a rare tax benefit - it wasn't until some years later I figured out that that early start was helping me get to FIRE. Lucky to discover LBYM and asset allocation that let me save money and stay invested.

It can be tempting sometimes to say it was good decisions and efforts that helped me, but that was at most a very small part of it for me.
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Old 12-25-2011, 09:44 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
We do not have too many things to give up since we have been living a very modest life style.
I thought about my post as we were traveling today to family to celebrate, and realized it was quite insensitive. Unfortunately many today will have no pension, and are likely to have less of a social security benefit. Add that to not getting raises, being underemployed or getting downsized, which is happening with increasing frequency.

Indeed tough times are ahead for many, so perhaps what I should have said that what you learn here about living below your means, not keeping up with the Joneses and establishing social networks will be helpful even if you cannot retire early to at least have a much better quality of life when you are able to retire.
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Old 12-26-2011, 07:33 AM   #63
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Yes, many times we make our luck. I too peddled newspapers, saved money, took financial risks and could retire but haven't.......for many reasons.

You are lucky, you could have faced illness, loss of a job, financial need of a parent or child that couldn't be turned away......or any number of other challenges that others have had to face that delayed retirement.

Enjoy your luck and enjoy your friends that tell you you are lucky. they mean no harm, they probably are happy for you. And, smile and be happy for yourself.

Me? I'm lucky that I have my health, my family and my net worth. Those three items are a result of my hard work and, yes, some very good luck. I only wish the same for everyone on this forum. Happy New Year to all.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:43 AM   #64
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On one hand I consider myself lucky because I grabbed the opportunity to go to Saudi, stayed until the contract ran out, and quit w*rking at age 46.

On the other hand I think of those, in the company I worked for, who turned down the chance to go, didn't stay long enough/terminated early, or pissed away the money they made while they were there.

So maybe it wasn't all luck.
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:47 PM   #65
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So maybe it wasn't all luck.
Yeah but as you acknowledge the "opportunity" itself might have been good fortune or good luck.

I don't know how many times in my life I've benefitted from good luck (or how others I've known drawn "bad luck" or misfortune). My greatest piece of "luck" was finding love and marrying my soulmate of 35 years. It does not detract from any of my accomplishments or achievements to say that I've had good fortune in life and that I might be able to retire earlier than most partly as a result of this good fortune. I think that some want to believe that their ability to retire early or achieve some financial independence is based soley on "skill" or wise financial planning (and the corollary of that being that those who aren't able to retire early or achieve financial planning are short sighted, ill-prepared planners).

It appears nonsense to me to believe that good or bad luck is not a factor in our lives! Of course, the more prudent one is in financial planning the more likely it would be for that person to retire early than ill-prepared people. But one little element of good or bad fortune could tip things one way or the other. Some of this might be "dumb luck" or real "bad luck" and some of it might be given "lucky breaks" or opportunities that one is able to seize and take advantage.

Like you, I feel very lucky to arrive at my current level in life.
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Old 12-26-2011, 01:57 PM   #66
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Some of this might be "dumb luck" or real "bad luck" and some of it might be given "lucky breaks" or opportunities that one is able to seize and take advantage.

Like you, I feel very lucky to arrive at my current level in life.
Yes, I believe one has to be astute enough to recognize "good luck" when it presents itself.......otherwise one can end up like the guy in the old joke, sitting on the roof in a flood and turning away numerous offers of assistance because "God will take care of me"......until finally a voice comes out of the sky and says "I've sent you a canoe, a boat and a helicopter...what more do you want?"
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:54 AM   #67
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My favorite definition of "luck" is this one:

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
I think you nailed it. On the one hand, DH and I have worked damn hard to get on track for ER. We started saving when our friends were buying new cars and toys. We spend our free time budgeting and planning. We chose to live below our means and work in higher paying, higher stress jobs. We choose to share a car and to clip coupons.

There has been opportunity too. We were lucky to find high paying jobs we like. We were lucky to avoid layoffs the last few years. We were lucky that we sold our house before the market tanked.

If people want to call me lucky that is ok. I feel pretty lucky.

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Old 01-05-2012, 01:30 PM   #68
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I've had good luck and made sound decisions along the way.

I have one friend that made all the same sound decisions, but had his appendix burst after being sent home from the ER because they misdiagnosed his abdominal pain (apparently this is fairly common). He came very close to dying, and ended up needing a kidney transplant.

Needless to say, that has set him back a bit. He had insurance when it happened, but a job loss during the tech crash left him without insurance after his Cobra ran out.

He lived off of savings for a long time, and eventually found new work. He's married now, and has health care through his wife.

So his good decisions got him through a bad patch, but there is no way he will be retiring early.

I would say that our different outcomes are mostly due to luck.

If he had made just average decisions before and after his illness, he could easily have ended up destitute.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:33 PM   #69
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I've had several conversations with my youngest brother, the first of us sibs to retire, that are the reverse of this issue. He often says, "We have been very fortunate." I tell him: no way. He and his wife each worked two jobs for years; at some times, each of them had 3 jobs. So he retired at 50, his wife at 42. Fortunate? No. They worked very hard for it, and they deserve it.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:43 PM   #70
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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 01-15-2012, 08:01 PM   #71
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They worked very hard for it, and they deserve it.
Maybe so, but the world is full of deserving people who will likely never get a day off, let alone be able to retire. Years ago I got to talking with a chambermaid in a pension where I was staying. She was in her early 40s, had started full time work when she was 15, and had never yet had a day off. And she considerd that she was one of the lucky ones; she had a job. Plenty others were more or less starving.

Ha
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:37 AM   #72
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Well put, Ha. One day I may post pictures of children in third world countries I have seen eating grass for some of us to realize how lucky we are. We are lucky indeed to live in such a prosperous part of the world.
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Maybe so, but the world is full of deserving people who will likely never get a day off, let alone be able to retire. (...) And she considerd that she was one of the lucky ones; she had a job. Plenty others were more or less starving.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:01 AM   #73
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I consider myself lucky by any standard. I am also grateful.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:12 PM   #74
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We hear this a lot also...mainly from younger people. We hear how "lucky" we are that we can drive nice cars, take vacations to Germany, go out to dinner on occasion at steakhouses, buy a fine bottle of wine sometimes, and attend comedy shows and concert-type events. I realize we spend more than most...but we also make a lot more...and we save nearly 35% of our gross income annually...so we don't mind doing so.

What they fail to realize is that I attended college for 11 years (yes, I did all my schooling at nights while working full-time, letting my company reimburse me for an undergrad engineering degree and an MBA...resulting in zero student loans).

Sometimes people look at the result, and ignore the process...very sad indeed.

We're now in our early '50s and within a "few years" of being able to never earn another dollar again (although I'll probably still do something to stay engaged).

If you note my current avatar, you'll learn the way I think. Right now I'm renovating rental house #2. Each day, after my 8-5 day at a "regular" job...I drive straight to the rental, change into work clothes, and proceed with plumbing, electrical, gutter fixes, cabinet re-staining, pulling up old carpet, fixing drywall repairs, changing light fixtures, installing ceramic tile floors, and a myriad other things...until about 10:30 pm. Then I go home and sleep, to repeat again the next day.

It takes me anywhere from 6-10 weeks of this to "turn around" a given house....so this is not an everlasting schedule...but it sure is tough for that time. But 2-3 years from now, when the big repairs are done and we have 4-5 properties pushing $30k/year into our bank account...those youngsters will still be wondering how we can afford to do all these things. I just smile and tell them I'm "lucky".
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:50 PM   #75
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I guess we WERE lucky. At age 24, DH's boss at his MegaCorp sat him down for a fatherly chat about the company's profit sharing plan (which later was converted to a 401K). DH had been with the company for a year and had become eligible to contribute.

We listened, and in spite of the fact that the company had/has a pension plan, we heeded his fatherly advice. Many of our contemporaries either did not have such a wonderful and caring boss or, for whatever reason, chose not to participate.

DH's pension is not nearly enough to FIRE on alone (<30% of current gross after 32 years of service at age 55). I know his first boss is long gone, but I think of him often and am very grateful that he took the time to talk to DH.

So, yes, we were lucky..... and "lucky" that we listened.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:24 PM   #76
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Lucky to be FIRE'd...sure people tell me that all the time. Don't remember them telling me how lucky I was while I was travelling 120,000 miles per year and spending 200 nights away from home so that I could retire early.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:21 PM   #77
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When I try to explain this concept to my daughter I get the eye-rolling that's usually reserved for my barefoot-in-the-snow-backwards-uphill-both-ways stories.

She doesn't see what's so darn difficult about ER.

And you know, I believe she's right...
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:26 PM   #78
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Not FIRE'd, but ..... I'm "lucky" I wake up each morning/get out of bed and can continue the climb.... that's all I ask for now
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:57 PM   #79
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I'm mostly a reader and won't be the earliest ER'r by a long shot. Hoping for 59.5. I made most of the decisions that got me here. I decided not to take an overseas assignment, because I didn't think it was right for my family at the time. I never worked 80 hours a week (at least not since college), because I wanted to coach my kids teams, I wanted to be the dad that drove to all the events.I never worked 3 jobs just to retire earlier. It's fine that you guys did this, but it's not because I'm lazy, it's because I had different priorities. I still feel most of the decisions were right and would do it again.You always have to balance today against the future. And people are realy kidding themselves if they don't think luck has any bearing. Just being born in a developed country makes you lucky. I have had a lucky life, despite being laid off at 40 and having a daughter develop brain cancer (this alone pushed my ER back 5 years).
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:07 AM   #80
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I'm mostly a reader and won't be the earliest ER'r by a long shot. Hoping for 59.5. I made most of the decisions that got me here. I decided not to take an overseas assignment, because I didn't think it was right for my family at the time. I never worked 80 hours a week (at least not since college), because I wanted to coach my kids teams, I wanted to be the dad that drove to all the events.I never worked 3 jobs just to retire earlier. It's fine that you guys did this, but it's not because I'm lazy, it's because I had different priorities. I still feel most of the decisions were right and would do it again.You always have to balance today against the future. And people are realy kidding themselves if they don't think luck has any bearing. Just being born in a developed country makes you lucky. I have had a lucky life, despite being laid off at 40 and having a daughter develop brain cancer (this alone pushed my ER back 5 years).
Good outlook. Sorry to hear about your daughter. You are right that it's all about priorities.
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