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How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 08:04 PM   #1
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How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Seems most posters here have a good amount of money and assets. Alot more than the average guy/gal/couple.

If you were them...say 50-55 years old,
small house or a renter, 30K in savings, 70K in a retirement fund, kids on their own, moderate pension at age 62, SS at 66

Would your views of retirement be the same?




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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 08:12 PM   #2
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald
Seems most posters here have a good amount of money and assets. Alot more than the average guy/gal/couple.

If you were them...say 50-55 years old,
small house or a renter, 30K in savings, 70K in a retirement fund, kids on their own, moderate pension at age 62, SS at 66

Would your views of retirement be the same?
How could they be?

If I looked like George Clooney, would my views on dating be the same?

I doubt it.*





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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 08:40 PM   #3
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Hi
Never to late to change and start throwing as much cash into investing as possible. I still like real estate in some areas. Not as a get rich scheme but as something that will be throwing off income in the yrs down the road. Of course it doesnt work today if your in rei boom area.
Otherwise there is always everyones idea of a retirement plan . Social security> Now that would be a lesson in lbym's...
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 08:54 PM   #4
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Actually, I've helped (more some than others) a lot of average Joe's here at work. I couldn't reach anyone with the ER gospel, but my constant chatter about portfolio diversification and expense ratios got some people to ask questions. Nobody is going to be rich because of me, but I've helped several people go from "I don't know how I'm going to retire" to actually having a SWR of $800 and up from their portfolio once I put them on a plan for their last 5-10 years of work. May not sound like much, but when retiring at 62-67, that can make the difference between squeaking by on SS and getting to enjoy life a little!

I don't have sympathy for average Joe though, and not for the reasons you might think. I believe most people chose to enjoy their money now with toys and material things. That's their choice and it's what they valued. Who am I to look down on them with pity? Who knows, they may be happier than me!
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 09:32 PM   #5
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Laurence:

I sometimes have the same thought -- what, if after years of LBYM, saving and investing diligently, I just up and die? My neighbors, who rarely pass up the chance to buy a new, expensive toy, may in fact turn out to have been smarter than me. They appear to enjoy life in the here and now.

On your other point, I do have sympathy for the average Joe. There was a book recently called "Nickeled and Dimed" about people who have poor educations, come from dysfunctional families, work at minimum wage jobs and are just falling further and further behind. All those, me included, who congratulate ouselves on the financial acumen, self control, etc leading to our ability to FIRE should read it and thank our lucky stars

The point of the book, and something I have observed in my own family, is that once you get behind the eight ball in this country, it is hard to recover. It is easy enough to say that they should have known better, behaved better, etc. But how many hormone addled 16 year olds can see beyond next week, especially when rasied by parents with no parenting skills. They don't finish school, get pregnant as teenagers and end up in dead end jobs. Asking them to recover from that is like asking me to fly to the moon -- it won't happen.

In sum, while I am happy/proud to be in my current position, I never forget how close run a thing it was, and I am extremely grateful.
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 09:44 PM   #6
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

I am always at fault for self selecting a distorted "average" by just looking around me. My neighborhood, coworkers, etc. are all above average for the nation, nobody around me is truly in financial trouble. But the OP example was of someone who actually had some assets, not someone totally down and out.

The reason I have so much respect for my wife is how she climbed the ladder compared to her parents where I actually fell down a notch. She is the first person in her family with a graduate degree, and the first to get a B.S. from a top tier school. She makes more in 15 hours a week from home than all but a couple of her relatives. I come from ten generations of graduate degrees (M.D.s, PhDs, J.D.s, ancestor founded a university etc.) and I barely nabbed a B.A. from a state school. I know my mother wishes I could afford a higher lifestyle ( I could but that's a different conversation).

I think where you came from is a much better measure than where you are at, believe me. So yes, my comparison was just between me and the other fat, dumb and happy solid middle class white guys around me.
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 10:05 PM   #7
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Gumby..

this is a 'memory' from something I had read a long time ago about the demographics of our great country... it was during one of the Fortune 400 richest people months... there were a good number of last years rich who did not make the current year.. well, they said that there is a good percentage of the people who move between the deciles (sp?)... ie, there are a good percent in the bottom 20% that move up one or two slots and some at the top that move down... and some that are in the top 20 that move to the bottom 20% and vice versa...

So, the people who get behind and stay behind have something else keeping them down.. maybe education or just plain abilities... (not everbody is smart.. there are some dumb people)>..
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 10:21 PM   #8
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
How could they be?

If I looked like George Clooney, would my views on dating be the same?

I doubt it.


Very good answer


Quote:
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-01-2006, 10:25 PM   #9
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Most people I personally know dont know the meaning of lbym. If they can afford the monthly payment they buy it...
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 01:10 AM   #10
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald
. . . If you were them...say 50-55 years old,
small house or a renter, 30K in savings, 70K in a retirement fund, kids on their own, moderate pension at age 62, SS at 66

Would your views of retirement be the same?
Obviously not.

A better question might be, "If you were say 50-55 years old,
small house or a renter, 30K in savings, 70K in a retirement fund, kids on their own, moderate pension at age 62, SS at 66 and suddenly became interested in retirement, what would you do?"

And the answer to that would be learn to live below your means, invest as much as you could in a diversified portfolio while minimizing fees. . . and don't waste those dryer sheets.
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 10:22 AM   #11
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald
Seems most posters here have a good amount of money and assets. Alot more than the average guy/gal/couple.

If you were them...say 50-55 years old,
small house or a renter, 30K in savings, 70K in a retirement fund, kids on their own, moderate pension at age 62, SS at 66

Would your views of retirement be the same
My bother is in much the same boat, he has worked in home construction most his life, now laid off, with his body breaking down he has taken a CDL course to become a truck driver at 50 years of age. Not that he likes the idea of being on the road for weeks on end. There aren't many high paying jobs he could land in his situation. He plans on working his tale off till 65. Then retire with hopefully a meager pension and IRA. The thing is there are tons of people in the same boat or worse. They really have dismal outlooks, work till they physically can't , then SS poverty........Shredder
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 10:53 AM   #12
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

As I see it some of these simple principles can work for the average joe as long as they set up a Roth/401k/some kind of saving and let it run on autopilot. This is sort of the way it used to work with big, stable companies with lifetime employment with a defined benifit program. My Dad did live pretty simple but was always a truck driver, he retired at 62 for medical reasons (had a stroke, not all that uncommon a reason for retirement). But between his company pension, SS, profit sharing and some savings he had 100% replacement of his modest salery and decent medical coverage.

He and his coworkers did not have to plan a lot. I am under the older(pre 1984) Federal retirement (CSRS) system, not the new 401k type and its similar, just work as long as you want (and there is no reason to retire early if you don't want to) and there should be "enough" to maintain the lifestyle while working. I am fortunate to be under that system. I think that, in part, the average joe has had his compensation & benifits reduced and hasn't quite noticed it. Sort of like the frog slowly cooking.
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 10:57 AM   #13
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald
Alot more than the average guy/gal/couple.

If you were them...say 50-55 years old,
small house or a renter, 30K in savings, 70K in a retirement fund, kids on their own, moderate pension at age 62, SS at 66
Interesting topic. *First thing comes to mind is: *Is that the actual average?

Personally, I know more than a few couples in that situation. *But the circumtances leading to that point are different.

The first group consists of people who work very hard, LBYM their whole life. *Because of the lack of education, and perhaps of guts and luck, that as far as they can go. *I have nothing but respect for these people. *None of them ever discusses ER. *It just not in their vocabulary.

The second group consists of people who make decent money, but is more concerned about living it today and about keeping up with their friends/neighbors than about saving or ER. *These people do talk about ER, but can't find the way to make it happen. *I have mixed feeling about these. *Sometimes, I think of irresponsibilty. *Sometimes, I envy them.
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 11:35 AM   #14
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby
I sometimes have the same thought -- what, if after years of LBYM, saving and investing diligently, I just up and die?* My neighbors, who rarely pass up the chance to buy a new, expensive toy, may in fact turn out to have been smarter than me.* They appear to enjoy life in the here and now.
Well, if they "enjoy life in the here and now" more than the peace of mind associated with having a high probability of a secure/affluent/early retirement and not having to worry about losing their jobs, then more power to them. I don't find most of the expensive toys available these days a godo deal when I translate their cost to the number of extra days that I would have to work to pay for them, but that's just me. Different strokes for different folks*
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 12:41 PM   #15
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

I think retirement at any age, early or not, is a pretty recent arrival on the social scene for any other than the economic cream of the society. The farmer's retirement was his son or daughter and SIL, working the farm. Very few people had any surplus to speak of My mat grandfather farmed until he died at age 84 (literally-he keeled over dead one January morning after feeding his hogs). Lucky for him he was fit and healthy until then. If they needed medical care, my Mom and Dad picked it up. Of course, before Medicare, care wasn’t near as expensive. When he died, Grandma came to live with us.

My other grandfather was a tool and die maker, and he was on course to work until something medical happened to stop him. Then the most amazing thing did happen to stop him- my grandmother inherited a good wad of money from a childless uncle who had become very successful in the tobacco business.

Talk about a happy ER! My grandfather was close to ecstasy every day after that, until he died maybe 20 years later. We were often daily companions.

So it may be that the norm of the past 50 years or so, where more or less ordinary people could look forward to a long comfortable retirement is going the way of the dodo. If this is true, the transition will be very painful for the workers, and for the US consumer driven economy.

Ha
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 01:44 PM   #16
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

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Originally Posted by Shredder
My bother is in much the same boat, he has worked in home construction most his life, now laid off, with his body breaking down he has taken a CDL course to become a truck driver at 50 years of age. Not that he likes the idea of being on the road for weeks on end. There aren't many high paying jobs he could land in his situation. He plans on working his tale off till 65. Then retire with hopefully a meager pension and IRA. The thing is there are tons of people in the same boat or worse. They really have dismal outlooks, work till they physically can't , then SS poverty........Shredder
Hey... have him take a look at the railroads... one of the ladies up here had her husband laid off... he looked into it.. great pay, but like a truck driver, you are away a lot... but also good retirement benefits... worth a look..
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 01:52 PM   #17
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Re-tool/retrain, you can sign up for a bunch of computer courses at a Junior College (sounds like some of these guys are hanging out there anyway), get some certs, and get a desktop support job making 40k+, no backbreaking, no "would you like fries with that?".
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 01:56 PM   #18
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Laurence, are 50 year olds really hired for these jobs? My sisters BF is in his late 40s and worked construction for years. He was looking to move from less physical work and fewer layoffs, so he took a bunch of computer courses and tried to get that kind of job. No luck at all. He finally found a non-contruction job, but not in that field.
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 02:21 PM   #19
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

We have half a dozen here at my work - I won't lie, we call them "retreads" or "retrains", but there are two of them I can think of on the top of my head who are doing very well. One guy was a fireman who hurt his back, now making 60k as a sys admin. It's not for everyone, but it's an option.
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe
Old 08-02-2006, 02:42 PM   #20
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Re: How about Mr. & Mrs. average Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Re-tool/retrain, you can sign up for a bunch of computer courses at a Junior College (sounds like some of these guys are hanging out there anyway), get some certs, and get a desktop support job making 40k+, no backbreaking, no "would you like fries with that?".
It's just not that simple.
Not everybody can or would take computer classes, in my brothers case there is no local community college, if there were, who would hire him? He lives in Northern MI. Never had or used a computer. This is not a high tech mecca. Tourist industry is about it. Blame him if you want, he would rather hunt and fish than about anything. Never had enough to save or invest, just enough to live on. But now at 50 he is realizing his body won't hold out forever, and he has never had a job with good Bennie's. I don't envy him or his situation, but I do like the fact he is trying to make it the best he knows how. The point is there are lots of people like him. Screwed by NAFTA, health care bills, debt, the "new" economy,* downsizing, their own faulty choices, or whatever, not willing, or able to relocate, and facing a dismal future. I have no answer, I just think it's sad........shredder
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