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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-14-2004, 07:53 PM   #61
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Alright, point made and I definitely see that side of it.

He actually asked me if i thought he could retire based on what he had this past dove hunt. I told him absolutely; no problem and explained why using some of the things i learned here. Not sure he believed me. He'll be the type to overcorrect and die with a lot of capital.

I just want to see him happy more than me get a big inheritance. I can take care of myself.

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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-15-2004, 08:46 AM   #62
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Quote:
Alright, point made and I definitely see that side of it.
I think it's an important view to see. I know a lot of people here in Silicon Valley who make as much or more than your dad did and they still aren't satisfied and look at themselves as poor "hard done to" middle-class. If one realizes how much they really do have it can sometimes make one a little less hard hearted - a change of viewpoint from "poor me I can't afford to help others" to one of being "generous" to causes that matter.

Quote:
Not sure he believed me. *He'll be the type to overcorrect and die with a lot of capital. *

I just want to see him happy more than me get a big inheritance. *I can take care of myself.
My parents were a bit like that. They did retire a little early (early 60's) but could probably have gone earlier. They still haven't started doing all the things they want to do and sometimes they need a little nudge. Sometimes that means active nudging rather than just telling them. For example, I let them accompany my wife and I when we went around China by train for a few weeks. This is something that they wanted to do but wouldn't have done on their own. I'll probably have them come with us on the next trip which will likely be to France and the canal boats in wine country. Plus it lets us spend some time together which is good since we currently live 5 time zones away.
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-15-2004, 11:07 AM   #63
 
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

My folks were deeply impacted by the Depression, and my Dad's side of the family had very little even before that.
He worked until he was 67 (87 now). He and Mom both get SS and Dad gets a small pension. No debts of course, so they are quite comfortable. Now, I would
not want them to deny themselves to preserve
their assets for me, but they spend very very little on
anything. Certainly no luxuries of any kind and no travel
either. Yet, they seem content with their lives. Oh sure,
they complain about getting old (who could blame them?)
but they are used to frugality and I think that's fine.
The only problem is my Dad knows little or nothing about
financial stuff, except how to live way below his means
which, if you think about it, may be all he needs to know.

John Galt
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In defense of the Depression-era mentality
Old 09-15-2004, 06:14 PM   #64
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In defense of the Depression-era mentality

Q: "How many Jewish grandmothers does it take to change a burned-out lightbulb?"
A: "That's OK, I'll just sit here in the dark."

Those of you who actually know a Jewish grandmother will understand that this is not racist humor.

Spouse's grandparents emigrated from Russia in the 1920s, just in time to Anglicize their names and share their new American citizenship (& their new families) with the Depression. Seven decades later, the lessons learned by the "kids" are even stronger and now they're molding their grandkid. OTOH I'm about to refer my spouse to Dr. Phil's TV show.

My father-in-law nails their philosophy by pointing out that a retiree's time is worthless. During our working years we earned $20-$60/hour and we tended to base our spending decisions on how much it would cost to do it ourselves vs "outsourcing". (Bill Gates loses money every time he's distracted from coding Longhorn by bending over to pick up a stray $100 bill.) In retirement, our hourly wage rate is ZERO. It doesn't matter how little we know about a subject because we probably have enough time to teach ourselves how to accomplish the task without spending large sums of money.

They're living that philosophy. They're aghast at all the electronic junk that our kid "owns" (maybe it owns the kid). Grandma remembers when all her adolescent possessions fit on a shelf under the kitchen table. Her stories have weaned our kid from the electronic junk and made her appreciate the thrill of Goodwill discoveries or of spending a battery-free weekend at the beach. Now we also have an independent 12-year-old who cooks a great kugel from 50 cents of random ingredients and who even fixes dinner once or twice a week (priceless).

When the parents-in-law moved here they wanted to enclose the back lanai on their new home. Not knowing carpentry or screening (at the time!) we got several estimates from contractors and decided that $5000 was a bargain for screening 400 sq ft. A couple days later I got a FIL e-mail (over his 28.8 Kbps dial-in modem from his $9.95/month ISP) linking a website selling screening kits. We did the job for $2300 and a few power tools. We're still speaking to each other and every family gathering tends to migrate to that lanai to gaze upon our work with sighs of DIY contentment.

Their new front yard was a mess. We were still working at the time but we showed up to help with the weekend weeding. The heat, sunlight & bugs soon drove my FIL crazy so we shrugged & called a friendly landscaper. He quoted $1500 (only a week's pay at the time!) so we shook hands and thought it was a done deal. Two days later my FIL called us and said "I don't know what you're getting for $1500-- how hard can it be?!?" During their evening walks they looked for xeriscape plants at highway medians and parking lots. They took cuttings and sprouted them in plastic pots or cardboard boxes. They dug out the weeds, planted by hand, and watered daily. Three years later their yard overfloweth and hardly needs any water or weeding.

The same philosophy is creeping over into our household. We harvest mangos and get back mango jam. Lemons return as frozen juice. Kumquats are reborn in cakes. They eat a pineapple every week or two and we plant the top in our yard. Our own backyard weeds are slowly being crowded out by hardy bougainvillea & highway trees (grown from dropped fruit) planted by hand. I'm waiting for spouse to give up her quest for a new landscaper-installed side yard in favor of spraying RoundUp and hand-plugging El Toro zoysia. And when I finally fix our backyard steps/lanai, I'm afraid that I'm going to be good-humoredly badgered into learning how to build the forms & pour the concrete by hand. At least they haven't acquired a taste for poi, but I'm afraid to tell them that the ancient Hawaiians stuffed their sleeping pillows with the fuzz from hapu'u tree ferns.

We did manage to sneak a contractor into the 25-year-old kitchen to install new counters and to reface the cabinets, but we did the ripout and the plumbing. A call that started as "Oops, the fence fell over" has mutated from "new $6000 fence" to "new $1200 gate and a reinforcing post" to "maybe we can lighten up this gate and swap the hinges around to reduce the stress on the old fenceposts and rebuild a couple of these panels". A month later all we've spent is $50 on plywood & masonite. And our kid just loves radial armsaws & drill bits.

Frugal? I'll say, and just shy of lightbulb-changing deprivation. Frustrating? You bet. I can't tell if I'm more frustrated by knowing what I'm about to be dragged through or by eventually realizing that they're right. Wrong? Heck no-- what better way to preserve a retirement portfolio and to set an example for our kid? As long as I'm surfing a couple times a week I don't seem to have grounds for complaints...

But sometimes it drives my spouse crazy. Maybe it's a good thing that my Dad is still three time zones away. HE grew up on a 52-acre farm and was literally raised on "Five Acres and Independence".
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-15-2004, 06:35 PM   #65
 
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

My mother's best friend (85) has been slipping.
Still lives on her own and still drives, but mental
sharpness is not what it was. Her 3 children have
basically taken over most major decisions. My folks
talk about this (especially my father) in a very
negative way. I understand it completely, but my
parents view it as the kids assuming control,
which is correct of course. Anyway, I dare not
venture far into this with my Dad as he would only get
angry and it would lead to no good result.
Unfortunately, it will require a crisis to enable me to
get more involved, and of course, it's only a matter
of time.......................

John Galt
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-21-2004, 06:06 AM   #66
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Nords -Great story on 'the birth of a do-ot-yourselfer' -- makes a pretty compelling case. I am the black sheep in our family on that regard -- dad and both brothers built their own homes (literally) and look at me as a spendthrift because I don't have my own tractor. I fix plenty of stuff, but am not yet even in the Lanai category.

Hyper -- let me know when you want more info on the canal trip to France -- we did it this summer and enjoyed it very much. I learned that almost no americans do it the way we did it (the relatively cheap way- $2,000 all-in costs for a week for family of four - that the Europeans do, hiring your own boat and being your own captain) and instead the Yanks almost always take the hotel barges for about 5x the price letting someone else do all the work. (and missing out on most of the fun, imho) Check out www.locaboat.com for a good site from the leading vendor. I hear Ireleand is also very nice for canal tours, and we might want to do that on our next trip.

John -- I am following the same path with parents failing and handing over more and more financial responsibility. I guess the good news for you is that you Dad is still of sound mind and able to handle it on his own. Our experience was that when Dad started 'losing it' a few financial messups ensued and were the signal. Mom then took over (we were out of the country) and being tidy, frugal and persistent (calling financial institutions to put things right) put things in pretty good order. (IRS messups, basically). Then she enlisted me to look over the portfolio and keep it on track, which I do in a partnership with her. I guess your time will come, too, but one thing I have found is it's very hard to get them to make changes, especially if they involve realizing capital gains and paying taxes! Mom would rather hang onto overbloated and money-losing positions in Coke, Exxon, GE etc (inherited from an aunt) than diversify and pay taxes. Must be one of those depression-era things or just old habits dying hard.


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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-21-2004, 08:54 AM   #67
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Quote:
Hyper -- let me know when you want more info on the canal trip to France -- we did it this summer and enjoyed it very much.
Anytime that's good for you. There's no hurry as that trip won't be for two years now. We're just in final countdown for a 3+ week trip to Italy - we leave Thursday. Seeing as how I'm just a "poor working class schmoe" and haven't retired yet I can only scrape up enough vacation time for a big trip every other year.

I have the link that you posted earlier and I sent it along to my parents. They are quite thrilled with the idea. Again something that they'd like to do but wouldn't do on their own.

Quote:
Check out www.locaboat.com for a good site from the leading vendor. *I hear Ireleand is also very nice for canal tours, and we might want to do that on our next trip.
I've heard that Scotland is also good for canal boats.

Thanks
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-21-2004, 10:32 AM   #68
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Quote:
We're just in final countdown for a 3+ week trip to Italy - we leave Thursday.
I went to Italy for a month this past summer. It was probably one of the best places I've ever traveled. The people are friendly and the food and wine are first class.

I hope you get to see lots of Tuscany which is probably the most beautiful part of Italy. Try the wild boar sausage and prociutto. If you go south of Rome, try the "mozzarella di bufala" especially if you can find a local that can make it for you the same day. You need to learn to drive like the locals who always seem to drive like they are in a rush even though out of the car they are very laid-back. Many of the locals told us to avoid Naples, so that's one part of Italy we didn't see.

Let us know what you did and how you made out when you get back.

Maybe Dory could replace the "retirement afloat" category with a "Vacations" category so we can post about our adventures and get ideas from other people about things to do or to avoid when traveling.
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-21-2004, 11:04 AM   #69
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Quote:
I hope you get to see lots of Tuscany which is probably the most beautiful part of Italy. *Try the wild boar sausage and prociutto.
I've got a car (little Fiat Punto) booked out of Florence for 3 days and dropping it off in Siena so that should give us some time in the Tuscan hill towns. *We'll have a look for the wild boar sausage.

Quote:
If you go south of Rome, try the "mozzarella di bufala" especially if you can find a local that can make it for you the same day. * You need to learn to drive like the locals who always seem to drive like they are in a rush even though out of the car they are very laid-back. *Many of the locals told us to avoid Naples, so that's one part of Italy we didn't see.
The furthest south we get is Naples where we arrive on Friday. *We're spending Sat. and Sun there before heading to Rome. *We figure on one day to Pompeii and one day in Naples itself. *Other than the car in Tuscany we won't be driving.

Quote:
Let us know what you did and how you made out when you get back.
Sure - will do. *One thing that we have found that improves any trip is travelling light. *We keep trimming the amount we take every trip and we enjoy them more - less hassles, less tired carrying bags, easier to see places, easier to leave bags in lockers or at baggage check rooms, etc. *We're down to a carry-on each with a light cotton bag for consumables on the flight (water, snack, magazine, etc.). The cotton bag then becomes useful for shopping at markets or carrying lunch components etc. and it folds up small to be carried in my small day pack.

Quote:
Maybe Dory could replace the "retirement afloat" category with a "Vacations" category so we can post about our adventures and get ideas from other people about things to do or to avoid when traveling.
That would be useful. *I've got maybe 2 to 3 big trips left before FIRE but after that it's going to be perpetual travel.
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-25-2004, 01:32 PM   #70
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Hyper,
You might want to try taking your day in Naples as a day trip to Capri, instead. Or maybe go down the amalfi coast a bit further to Sorrento or Positano. My experience with Naples itself is fairly bland, though I am no expert. Capri, on the other hand, (and we went up the mountain to Anacapri and stayed there -- do-able in a day trip -- is really special -- lots of pedestrian walkways, astonishing views out toward the mainland, the San Michele home/museum -- low key and memorable.

Pompeii is also well worth seeing, but spring for an English speaking guide, who will make the whole thing come alive for you. Otherwise, you're just looking at a bunch of rocks more or less. The plaster casts of the (air bubbles) in the shapes of people dying in mid-action as they were covered with ash, more or less just stacked up on the side of one of the walls, is something I'll never forget -- freeze frame from 2000 years ago.

Enjoy the trip -- we loved Venice, found Rome to be sparkling and lots of fun -- possibly our favorite European city -- and enjoyed the hill towns of Tuscany (Montepulciano, Pienza, and lots of smaller ones -- Lucignano), though Florence was too crowded in July -- Sept should be great. (wait in line for hours to get into the Ufizzi etc.)

See if you can get the car rental people to drop off your car at the hotel -- we waited hours in a very inefficient line and sign-in process to pick up our car in Rome -- and I heard they offer the 'valet' service for a modest extra fee in Italy if you arrange it in advance.

Enjoy your trip! You can brush up on Italian and have a much better time -- try to get some kids tapes from your Library -- the Standard Deviants have a good set of tapes, too -- aimed at college students but very lively and helpful. You'll enjoy your trip much more if you have a bit of basic Italian under your belt...

best,
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 09-25-2004, 04:50 PM   #71
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Quote:
You can brush up on Italian and have a much better time -- try to get some kids tapes from your Library -- the Standard Deviants have a good set of tapes, too -- aimed at college students but very lively and helpful. *You'll enjoy your trip much more if you have a bit of basic Italian under your belt...
Sono d'accordo. Chi capisce e parla un poco d'italiano si trova meglio quando viaggia in italia!

That's one of the fun things about being ER'd. You have more time to go to the library and learn a language (or at least enough of it to get by) before you go on vacation to a foreign land so you can communicate with the locals.

I can't wait to learn some German so I can enjoy Oktoberfest even more with the locals when I go.

Learning the local language helps you become more immersed in the culture which helps you understand and enjoy it more than people who just drive through a country and think they went there.
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 10-17-2004, 08:23 AM   #72
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

I'm back now and up way too early for a Sunday morning but my body is saying I need dinner! Speaking of food I would also suggest that unless you've been to Italy you've never eaten Italian food no matter how expensive the restaurant is. The depth of flavours and the preparation are just so much different.

Quote:
My experience with Naples itself is fairly bland, though I am no expert.
The addition of the museum in Naples brought a lot better insight into Pompeii. The pizza was also incredible.

Quote:
Enjoy the trip -- we loved Venice
It was very good but the mosquitoes at night were vicious and you needed to be willing to get out of the San Marco area to avoid the tourist rip-off joints.

Quote:
Rome to be sparkling and lots of fun
I agree that Rome was great. I'm giving some thought to spending a large block of time there in the year or so after we retire.

Quote:
enjoyed the hill towns of Tuscany (Montepulciano, Pienza, and lots of smaller ones -- Lucignano)
Hit Cortona, Montepulciano, Pienza, and Montalcino. It was great to see some of the small towns and it was a big change from the big cities. We brought back two Pecorino cheeses from Pienza (the Pecorino capital of Italy) - a strong flavoured hard one for grating on pasta or cooking with and a softer milder eating one.

Quote:
Florence was too crowded in July -- Sept should be great. *(wait in line for hours to get into the Ufizzi etc.)
It wasn't too bad though the central part of the old city felt a bit like a theme park full of American tourists. We didn't wait long for the Ufizzi but then we were there at 7:45 (open at 8:15) and were the 30th or so in line.

Quote:
See if you can get the car rental people to drop off your car at the hotel -- we waited hours in a very inefficient line and sign-in process to pick up our car in Rome -- and I heard they offer the 'valet' service for a modest extra fee in Italy if you arrange it in advance.
Hmmm, didn't know about that but we didin't wait too long - about 15-20 minutes. There was a group of 4 Americans with about 15 bags renting a minivan who took forever to load up and get the thing out of the way so that we could get our car. We ended up with a Smart for Four (the 4 seat Smart car) instead of the Punto. It was a great little car - very responsive and sipped at the gas. I'd buy one here if I could get one.

Quote:
You can brush up on Italian and have a much better time -- try to get some kids tapes from your Library -- the Standard Deviants have a good set of tapes, too -- aimed at college students but very lively and helpful. *You'll enjoy your trip much more if you have a bit of basic Italian under your belt...
We took the local adult ed 10 week Italian course over the summer and then constantly played the CD that came with the course book at home and in the car. The small amount of Italian really made the trip better. We had enough to get by and even when the other person spoke some English they were happy that you were trying. I could see a big difference in the attitudes of people towards us and the typical "why can't they speak English" American tourist.

For those who love cars the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello (just outside Modena) was well worth the trip. The whole town just breathed Ferrari. The food in Modena (where we stayed) was also very good and the Sunday night "passagio" was something that had to be seen to be believed.

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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door
Old 10-18-2004, 07:52 PM   #73
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Re: Book Report - Millionaire next door

Wow, Hyper! You saw a lot of Italy! Seems like going in September is a big advantage over July/August in terms of avoiding crowds. I may be ER, but I still have kids in school for 8 more years, so I'll have to wait on that particular luxury.

Glad you got so see so much of Italy and shame about the mosquitos in Venice. Venice was one place that we found it hard to find budget places. It really was over-run with tourists in summer.

Didn't think about the Ferrari factory, though! Great one for the list next trip!

Welcome home,

ESRBob
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