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Old 02-04-2011, 11:43 AM   #101
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My sister still lives paycheck to paycheck. I ask my mother if she had any missing time experiences since it is my firm belief that my sister was implanted by aliens from a UFO (explaining the nature versus nurture).
There could be less other-worldly explanations, but better not ask Mom about these.

Ha
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:48 AM   #102
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There could be less other-worldly explanations, but better not ask Mom about these.

Ha
Good one, ha...
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:12 PM   #103
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I really don't know what the split is between nuture and nature but believe the nature aspect is dominant, based on experiences with our siblings and our children. (we both have 3 siblings and we have 2 children).

I think luck plays a very big part in life, but that you can make your own luck in many instances. If you don't chances you'll never be lucky.

I had a very nice call from by baby sister this week that illustrates this.

She had left school at 16 and gone to vocational college (very common in England) where she trained in electronics and got a job for a small company making industrial devices (power supplies, multi-meters etc). She started on the shop floor and worked her way up into the purchasing department.

In her 20's she got married, and in trying to start a family had multiple mis-carriages over several years before giving finally birth to a daughter. However she had a terrible time in hospital during delivery and ended up with brain damage and had years of epileptic fits, glandular problems and cervical cancer resulting in a hysterectomy. Two years ago, aged 38 and her daughter now aged 10, she decided to go back to work as she "just couldn't see herself still out of work in her 40's", and the anti-seizure drugs were finally working, although not enough for her to get her driver's licence back. She took a part time job for the janatorial service at the local supermarket (owned by WalMart) and cleaned toilets and floors etc. Her sister and my Dad, and plenty others couldn't believe it since doing so meant her losing disability allowances so she would actually be worse off financially and had become a "skivvy".

However, she had a view for the long run and with her positive attitude and willingness to do anything that came her way she drew the attention of the WalMart managers and within a year she was employed directly by them, and last week was invited to apply for a full time job as an assistant department manager. She was so excited when she called the other day to say that she had got the job, which pays almost as much as her husband, and that already she had reckoned that they could pump a load of money into the mortgage and have it paid off in 10 years by the time she is 50.

I think that you are born with that sort of drive and determination.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:05 PM   #104
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There could be less other-worldly explanations, but better not ask Mom about these.

Ha
I didn't think about that until you mentioned it but don't worry if it was the first thing that comes to mind for you. On the other hand, alien implantation would be nature.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:12 PM   #105
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Wow, great story, Alan - thanks for sharing. Inspirational!
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:34 PM   #106
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I didn't think about that until you mentioned it but don't worry if it was the first thing that comes to mind for you.
First thing, maybe not. But ahead of alien implantaion, definitely.

Ha
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:41 PM   #107
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The consequence of their decisions to live irresponsible lives has been a very high degree of estrangement. The specific causes of the estrangement are two: (1) actual requests for money, which I have come to refuse due to bad experiences early on; and (2) anticipated requests for money, which I simply don't want to hear. I find that the second is more upsetting than the first, and this has caused me to cut off contact for the most part. I wish I could figure out how to manage this better, but I can't. Who wants to socialize with a Financial Pig Pen? Not I.
The sad thing is that such individuals think you're being Scrooge-ish for not sharing some of your good fortune. They're suffering and you're not, therefore you MUST share with them. They're your FAMILY after all. What you have is "family money." What's wrong with expecting you to share today when you all used to share toys, clothes, etc... when you were kids? What kind of cold, cruel SOB are you that you won't share with your family? If mom and dad were alive today, they would be SHOCKED that you're being so selfish!

Seriously, that's how many estranged siblings think about their "rich" siblings. This is especially the case where the "poor" siblings are older than the "rich" siblings, and think that the latter somehow owe them something because they came out of the womb first. Kinda like how Fredo Corleone thought about his much younger brother Michael Corleone in the Godfather. He was jealous, plain and simple.

Their jealousy is not your problem. It's your sibling(s) problem. No amount of "economic outpatient care" (hat tip to The Millionaire Next Door) will remove it until they're willing to admit that their financial situation is a direct result of the choices they've made over many years. Perhaps they'll come to their senses in time to do something about it. Otherwise, they're in for a rude awakening when retirement comes. By that time (and having unsuccesfully convinced you to share) they'll start laying a guilt trip on their successful children to take care of them in their old age.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:47 PM   #108
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I think there are a lot of ways to get to where you want to go and not everyone has the same ideas on where they want to go.

When I was young and unmarried I did spend everything I earned. I never had a matching 401k and like to think I would have been smart enough to do it if I had a match. But I always worked places where about 7% of so of my salary was paid to the 401k whether you contributed or not.

I wasn't ignorant. I knew that retirement would come about someday and that I needed to save for that. I must admit that the idea of early retirement literally never occurred to me. I had the mindset of their being people who were wealthy and didn't have to work (I knew that wasn't me) or you worked until you were 65. Perhaps if I had ever thought about early retirement I would have done it differently.

But....here was my thinking. I was young and relatively highly paid. There were tons of things I wanted. My parents were very, very frugal. I was used to hearing "no" about getting cool things. I had lots of pent up demand. I thought that I could save later, that there would be plenty of time to do that. I also thought that when I was "old" I wouldn't want as many things...by then I would have all the stuff I wanted so my spending would naturally go down. I guess I was Bernicke before Bernicke.

Then, when I was 37 I got married. My DH had spent his adult life working for megacorp and had a traditional pension coming. He also faithfully contributed to his 401k to get the 6% match. I did start making my own 401k contributions. But a funny thing happened....we had children albeit somewhat later than most. So we spent more than I would have anticipated in my 40s. At one point we were significantly in debt.

And, yet, much of my early thinking actually turned out to be right. Having a relatively high income does help. And once we made our way through the most expensive childhood years we paid off the debt and we ramped up savings and it is true that I don't want all the things I wanted before. I don't need to now go to fancy restaurants, buy expensive clothes, go on luxury vacations, own a Corvette, etc. I did all that. And now my wants are much less.

And the fact is we knew DH had either a pension or lump sum coming. When we first married I made a lot more than DH but in a profession where I had few benefits (just the 401k). But we knew that DH's lower salary was made up for by the pension to come (or the lump sum).
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:07 PM   #109
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My sister still lives paycheck to paycheck. I ask my mother if she had any missing time experiences since it is my firm belief that my sister was implanted by aliens from a UFO (explaining the nature versus nurture).


My three siblings asked that about me--two didn't graduate from high school, third scored as a National Merit semifinalist and took not a single college course. Not hard to look reasonably successful with the bar set so low.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:14 PM   #110
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My three siblings asked that about me--two didn't graduate from high school, third scored as a National Merit semifinalist and took not a single college course. Not hard to look reasonably successful with the bar set so low.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:26 PM   #111
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I like the alien explanation. I used to think it was the whole "all the good genes were taken"; however, I am the youngest.....
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:33 PM   #112
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I was smart enough to sign up for the 401k of my first 'real' out of high school job and I took full advantage of the match. I wasn't smart enough to roll it over when I got laid off and went to college. Took the tax hit and blew it. I just think what that small amount would be worth now if I had just kept it going....

I think DS is learning a little from my mistake, signed up with his first job, does enough to get full match and maybe a % or so more. I talked him into signing up for a ROTH IRA and he is putting in $50/mo but doesn't want to do more. I keep trying to get him to contribute the max but something is better than nothing (he can afford to do the max).
I keep showing him charts that if he does the $5k yearly, he will be a multi millionaire by 65.
His response?
"I'll be too old to enjoy the money at 65" or "That is so far away, I'll be dead by then".

DD still doesn't have a clue, live for the moment is her motto.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:41 PM   #113
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I like the alien explanation. I used to think it was the whole "all the good genes were taken"; however, I am the youngest.....
I have 2 sisters and a brother and one of my sisters is SO different from the rest of us I assumed it was the milkman. But aliens sounds really cool.

Reminds me of an interesting story.....

Before we were married my DW and I were staying with my parents over New Year and one evening we went on a pub crawl with my Dad. My home town was absolutely full of pubs so loads of choice. As we approached one particular pub my Dad said, "It's 12 years since I've been in this pub. I went with your Mother and they had a turn on (live music). Your Mother got drunk and ended up on the stage singing. That was the night your sister, Pat, was conceived!".

We entered the pub and walked up to the bar where the old barman looked at my Dad and said, "By 'eck Alan, it must be over 10 years since you've been in here. Remember what happened last time?"
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:50 PM   #114
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Wow, great story, Alan - thanks for sharing. Inspirational!
+2, inspirational story. I hope she just continues to achieve...
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:51 PM   #115
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Also, I wonder if those of us who are financially ok in retirement (just ok not wealthy) will begin to feel isolated. Sometimes even now, because i only work part time, I get some flak , ie. jealous comments, not necessarily from friends, but even from strangers if the conversation happens to touch upon the fact that I work part time. Sometimes it's so annoying.
I work part-time and experience the same thing. I have found if I am honest about how many hours I work that co-workers become envious and in the long run hold it against me. So now I lie a bit and tell them I work at multiple facilities and keep very busy. It's just better to not have others be envious of you.


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My first line of defense against "needy" friends and relatives is to maintain an understated lifestyle. Ya know, you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.

When we do buy something nice like a new TV and get asked how we can afford it with me being "unemployed" and all, we simply reply that we bought it on credit. It's true. We paid the TV with a credit card. They don't have to know that we will pay it off at the end of the month and that we used the credit card for the extended warranty and the generous cash back rebate.
That is very creative and a great strategy. I'll have to remember that one! (And BTW, I've actually had to use the extended warranty feature of our credit card - a great benefit!)
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:57 PM   #116
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FWIW my parents insist that my sister and I were very different from the start despite all the same influences. They always cite the example of how we naturally approached crossing the street. They say I always stopped and looked both ways first, almost without being told to do so. OTOH, they say my sister always ran across the street without looking at all no matter how many times they warned her. We're good friends but could hardly be more different...
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:47 PM   #117
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I was smart enough to sign up for the 401k of my first 'real' out of high school job and I took full advantage of the match. I wasn't smart enough to roll it over when I got laid off and went to college. Took the tax hit and blew it. I just think what that small amount would be worth now if I had just kept it going....

Let me give an example of what it could be....

My mom bought 100 shares of Exxon back in 1980 (IIRC).... a total of $3,500 invested.. she had the dividends reinvested and now it is worth over $100,000...

If we only knew....
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:57 PM   #118
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It will rage on for decades. My sister and I have the same biological parents. We were raised in the same household with the same rules and went to the same school - everything in the environment was the same.

I will always believe, in the nurture versus nature discussion, it is our choices that define us.
But your environment was not the same. You weren't exposed to the same things in the womb. You didn't have the same friends. Your parents did not treat you exactly the same. Etc.

Our choices define us but the question is how do you come to make certain choices. You choices are defined by your nature and your experiences. All those causes lead to the choices you make.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:03 PM   #119
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Let me give an example of what it could be....

My mom bought 100 shares of Exxon back in 1980 (IIRC).... a total of $3,500 invested.. she had the dividends reinvested and now it is worth over $100,000...

If we only knew....
Well, no single stocks in the 401k, but I guess I could have rolled it over into one...
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:22 PM   #120
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But your environment was not the same. You weren't exposed to the same things in the womb. You didn't have the same friends. Your parents did not treat you exactly the same. Etc.

Our choices define us but the question is how do you come to make certain choices. You choices are defined by your nature and your experiences. All those causes lead to the choices you make.
Environment was the same. We were exposed to the same things in womb because Mom was very structured in her life. And we had the same circle of friends which was a by-product of living in a very small town. Parents ignored or yelled at us equally. We have similar intellectual abilities. What eventually made us different was our choices, not the environment. From those choices we gained experience which gave way to more choices. The evolution probably began somewhere around the 6th grade.

Sister made choices. I made choices. They were not the same ones.
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