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Old 08-07-2014, 06:56 PM   #41
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A nurse with a license & a few good references can always find work & pretty much name her or his hours.
I worked with many nurses who retired with pensions, enjoyed the retirement parties, and came back to work on a casual basis a couple of weeks later. After a while I stopped subsidizing the retirement gifts!
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:00 PM   #42
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During the last 10 years, at separate times, two young nurses (mid to late 20's) rented the house next to us. Both got jobs in California with signing bonuses. I heard they were going to start at around $100K.

If good nurses (top tier?) make this kind of money, I should have pointed my daughters into nursing instead of general business.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:05 PM   #43
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I thought of another one.

Parents of a close friend - worked for a government agency, overseas, for almost 20 years. Didn't like the new president (at the time) and got out of it - a few years before they qualified for federal retirement. Took the lump sum. A few years later that was gone. He tried to start several businesses that never got off the ground. She got a job writing/editing - which at least covered their rent. My friend ended up moving back in with them in her 20's because they couldn't cover the rent on their own.

Fast forward 2 decades later. He never did much more than part time after his federal stint. What little Social Security he gets is paltry. She gets a bit more - but does free lance writing to supplement. They move in with their son (friends brother) to help babysit the kids. (son is divorced). Son gets new girlfriend with her own kids - and son and girlfriend basically kick them out. They have no place to move. My friend has to give her parents the stake to get a new apartment... they don't have enough for the deposit and first months rent. They are in their 70's. They end up living in my casita at a much reduced rent for a short period... before they move to my friend's vacation house in another state.

I can't imagine being in my late 70's with signficant health problems and not enough money to pay rent. My friend pays about half of their living expenses. This impacts her retirement savings, obviously. (Fortunately, her husband is the KING of LBYMs so she'll be fine.)

Not only did they make bad choices for themselves - they are dragging down their adult daughter with their poor financial/retirement decisions..
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:07 PM   #44
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During the last 10 years, at separate times, two young nurses (mid to late 20's) rented the house next to us. Both got jobs in California with signing bonuses. I heard they were going to start at around $100K.

If good nurses (top tier?) make this kind of money, I should have pointed my daughters into nursing instead of general business.
My step mom is a retired PhD nurse educator, 2 cousins and a cousin in law are nurses. It definitely pays well here in CA. I would encourage my sons to go into nursing if they are considering the medical field. And there are nursing schools that will give you a full ride if you agree to work at their hospital for 2-5 years post graduation. My niece did this.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:24 PM   #45
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We're just kind of shocked at how some of our former co-workers with two tech job income households went broke from overspending on luxuries. One couple, in addition to a pretty good household income, also made a huge amount in stock options from a start up that went public.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:28 PM   #46
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Rodi, that last story hits a little too close to home. My Dad is 63, and in a similar situation. He had a good job in IT. He decided that since he was skilled in some software that's popular right now that he should strike while the iron is hot, and do some lucrative contracting. That worked out well for about 18 months, until he developed chest pains and needed a heart stent put in. He had less than ideal insurance, and ended up paying over $35K out of pocket (on an over $100K total bill). Then, his last contract ended, and it took nearly 6 months to find another gig in a city about 400 miles away. DW and I had to loan him $7,500 to cover his first and last months rent on his new apartment, pay moving expenses and buy groceries. This entire time, he's been supporting my 40yo drug addict sister, who is "attending some sort of online school", and not working.

He's always been terrible with money, and sadly has absolutely nothing to show for it (he's never owned a home, for instance). I actually have no idea where his money goes; it's certainly not to anything lifestyle related. He drives a junky old car, and has old clothes and furniture.

I'm hoping that he can work and save until he's 70 to get his maximum SS benefit, but I worry that even that won't be enough to cover his expenses in retirement. This is a morbid thought, but I think he was counting on an inheritance to fund his retirement. Unfortunately for him, his Mom is living in an assisted-living facility, and will probably burn through her assets. She has severe dementia, and is in her late 80s, but from a very long-lived family. She could easily live another 8-10 years. Anything left will be split between Dad and 2 other siblings, so it won't be much a windfall anyway.

It's all very sad and distressing. If nothing else, it's a close-up example of what not to do.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:37 PM   #47
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Not only did they make bad choices for themselves - they are dragging down their adult daughter with their poor financial/retirement decisions..
This is why I left home at the earliest opportunity. I could see where that family was going by the time I was 7 years old.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:36 PM   #48
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We had friends where we'd talk about what we did on the prior weekend. We'd just do things like go hiking and see a movie or maybe have gone camping. They would have flown to New York to see a Broadway play. It just seemed kind of nutty to us because we knew they had a similar income to us and we could not afford to live a jet set lifestyle like that. We could go to New York on vacation or stay extra days after a business trip, but not fly across country just over a normal two day weekend because there was some good play we wanted to see.

I don't know what they were thinking but it was no big surprise to us to hear they were going bankrupt. I don't know if it was a surprise to them or not.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:46 PM   #49
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I have one relative who is 67 and lost her job last year. She has not been able to find another position and she is now is financial trouble because of years of overspending and lack of planning. I find the situation quite consternating, to be frank. That relative is a CPA after all, how could this happen? The family is trying to cobble up some financial aid to keep her out of the soup kitchen. I will be chipping in.
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Once Again, Cheers to LBYM!
Old 08-07-2014, 09:59 PM   #50
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Once Again, Cheers to LBYM!

Thank you for these dozens of posts, confirming some basic tenets that can help to make ER feasible:

1. Recognizing early on (at best, in one's youth) that a career should be carefully chosen and nurtured: for it is finite, can be rather fragile........and can make or break the life we end up living;

2. Once established in that career, we'd do well to follow my uncle's old advice and "make hay while the sun shines";

3. We'd do best to tend to the "hay" we have made, rather than letting it just blow away while we chase after whatever grass is newly green beyond the fence;

4. We then save as much "hay" as possible for the future: to support leisure, rest from our hard work, and years of enjoyment (while so many other folks are busy jumping those fences looking for greener pastures).

'Tis truly a gift to be simple.........and free.

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Old 08-07-2014, 10:05 PM   #51
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Worst almost-retired mistake: Building a retirement home rather than buying used.
We made a number of mistakes but avoided this one after buying the land. When I really saw how much it was going to cost to build versus buying an existing house, it ended up making so much more sense to buy. We sold the land and bought a house that was bigger than what we planned to build, just as nice and was about $150k cheaper....
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:31 PM   #52
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I've got a couple contributions.

Not sure this is a retirement mistake other than perhaps working to long and not living for today. My mom's uncle scrimped and saved to have a bundle to enjoy his retirement. Frugal to a fault and IMO sacrificed too much during his working years. He retired and dropped dead from a heart attack about 6 months later and never really got to enjoy the benefit of a lifetime of sacrifice.

The other one is a friend of mine's retirement plan was the bundle or dough he expected to inherit from his Mom & Dad. Well, after his last parent passes he finds out that the money he expected is held in a trust because his dad didn't want my friend's money grubbing ex-wife to get anything and friend's sister and uncle control the trust. Long story short, he only gets a fraction of what he was expecting. Then, to make matters worse, he builds a new house and changes contractors twice along the way so in the end he pays way more for the house than he should have. He's quite a bit older than me and still working but shoudl be able to retire soon despite these missteps.
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:17 AM   #53
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IMHO the biggest and most common mistake is, living for today like there is no tomorrow and then at 55 years of age realizing there are plenty of tomorrows.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:40 AM   #54
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A couple my parents know sold their successful business in their 60's for about $25 million. They take a good portion of the money and buy a mansion and the rest of it is "reinvested" in a restaurant and a new dance club type place in a smaller town that would never have the population to support this kind of business. Long story short, the businesses fail, they can't keep up with the house, they lose everything. And actually this is so new, I haven't heard what they plan to do next except there was some talk about moving to California. No idea why. So many things wrong with this. Ugh.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:20 AM   #55
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James Clavell wrote a book years ago, I believe its name is Tiapan. In it he advised a younger key manager that had scored her 1st big win to consider this cash as her "screw you money"......because if she didn't like something she was asked to do, she could tell her boss or mega corp to "screw you". I've always treated my retirement account as my "screw you" money........I don't rish it with a 25/75 conservative portfolio at Vanguard. Now, once I saved that.....and it's as safe as I can make it, I spend/risk the excess however I want.....and, do things like buy a nicer car, fly 1st class if it's not too expensive, give my kids nicer gifts at Christmas, whatever I want to do within reason. I owned my own business..l...some with similar businesses made much more....some went bankrupt.....we all get to make choices....some who make 50k a year make better choices than others who make 500k a year.......I've been lucky, careful and now more than anything I'm really thankful!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:24 AM   #56
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During the dot-com boom, stock in my Mega Tech Corp reached $80 per share. Then the crash started. Some guy who was close to retirement, and who had $800K in his 401k, was certain that the price could never drop below $50. So when it got down to $50, he moved his entire 401k into company stock. A couple years later, the stock bottomed out at less than a dollar per share. It's recovered somewhat, but still down over 95% for its peak. I don't know if the guy is still working.

At that time, we also had stock options (400 shares at about 10 dollars per share). After the price peaked at $80 and then dropped to $70, a co-worker friend of mind cashed in and bought a car. I held on to my options, the thought being "why sell at 70? Wait until it goes back up to 80." Whoops.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:25 AM   #57
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We made a number of mistakes but avoided this one after buying the land. When I really saw how much it was going to cost to build versus buying an existing house, it ended up making so much more sense to buy. We sold the land and bought a house that was bigger than what we planned to build, just as nice and was about $150k cheaper....
This is what I want to do; walk away and buy used. However, my wife want the cabinets/counters/tile that SHE wants, not that someone else wanted. She also wants a newly built house, not someone else's "dirty house." She has always had a problem with used things. I have to agree that purchasing a used home and refinishing everything will cost as much as building new, so we might as well do that.


We also have the problem that we want a modest (small) house in a very nice neighborhood. The house have planned is half the size of the other houses in the area (one to two mile radius). No houses like we want have come up for sale in over a year of looking.

I do not want to make my wife sound like a ogre, she earned half the money that will be paying for it, and this is the first splurge she has ever made in her life.

My real complaint is that everyone has dishonest with me at every step. If they had been honest up front, I could have decided whether or not I wanted to build and moved forward. Instead it has been: we can building you a house for 200K, well, not really, it's 300K. Oh, after further evaluation it is 400K. Oh, you also wanted an AC and plumbing? OK, its 450K. Well, we missed something, it is now 500K. I cannot take it anymore.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:45 AM   #58
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You are exactly correct. You just put your finger on a problem that I was thinking about turning into a thread. "How can I become shrewder?" Intelligence does not equal shrewdness. All my life, I've observed people who seem to have been born knowing how to turn events to their own purposes, and wondered why they could do it so much better than I could. I'm still going to run the thread, because even though I am empathic, I can learn to be better at dealing with the world as it truly is.

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I can't remember which billionaire investor made this observation, but he said that empathic people make poor investors. What is empathy? It means that you tend to feel others emotions. But an investor hopes to observe others' emotions, and take advantage of them.... What was taken for granted 10 years ago is cast out today, and much of what is taken for granted today will be cast out or even made illegal tomorrow.

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Old 08-08-2014, 08:57 AM   #59
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You are exactly correct. You just put your finger on a problem that I was thinking about turning into a thread. "How can I become shrewder?" Intelligence does not equal shrewdness. All my life, I've observed people who seem to have been born knowing how to turn events to their own purposes, and wondered why they could do it so much better than I could. I'm still going to run the thread, because even though I am empathic, I can learn to be better at dealing with the world as it truly is.

Amethyst
The part that bothers me is that it borders on psychopathy to be the hard nosed investor the billionaire mentions. This isn't my observation, I think we've discussed it somewhere on this board recently.

I don't want to be that person. I need some empathy in me. I think you hit the nail on the head though, Amethyst. Use my intelligence to see that world as it is and deal with it.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:57 AM   #60
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You are exactly correct. You just put your finger on a problem that I was thinking about turning into a thread. "How can I become shrewder?" Intelligence does not equal shrewdness. All my life, I've observed people who seem to have been born knowing how to turn events to their own purposes, and wondered why they could do it so much better than I could. I'm still going to run the thread, because even though I am empathic, I can learn to be better at dealing with the world as it truly is.

Amethyst
Interesting. SO is fascinated with the Netflix show "House of Cards". I fail to see the character's motivations. They all seem driven by the desire to influence; to have "power". All manner of machinations and cunning plans within plans to ... change the course of events?

I tend to just deal with things as they are, taking my lesson from a stream that flows around the rock that doesn't easily move. Not good officer material.
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