Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-20-2007, 11:33 AM   #21
Recycles dryer sheets
beowulf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 466
Quote:
Originally Posted by nun View Post
Actually the US has the most rigid social class system. Its very hard to move up the socio-economic ladder in the US
I hate to take an absolutely different view from someone on a forum, but that's got to be pretty much the most incorrect and ridiculous statement I have ever seen. As cheesy as it may sound, the US really is a land of unlimited opportunity for those who are willing to take the risks and do the work. Yes, we still have the Rockefellers, the Kennedys and their ilk, but how many of today's billionaires and millionaires came from totally humble, if not downtrodden, roots. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, politicians such as Harry Truman, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and many others grew up on the other side of the tracks and became wildly successful. Most families with money in the US are new money - made in the last 50 years.

Anyone in the US can go to a 4 year college - maybe not Harvard or Yale, but I know many people who went to those schools and grew up in a rambler in the suburbs. How many Brits who do not come from old families get to go to Eton or Cambridge? How many of the unwashed millions in India ever get to rise out of poverty?

My parents were emigrants in the early 20th century. I grew up in a small apartment in NYC and my father was a carpenter, my mother a secretary. I've spent a career in the military and government, gone to some of the finest schools in the US (to include Harvard). I've had opportunities that would never have existed for me in the "old country."

I didn't choose to go for the money and picked public service instead, so I'm not privy to the high social classes. But I had the opportunity to do so and it was not to my liking.

To say that pretty much any American can be anything they want is a truth demonstrated all the time. Maybe there are some old society rich folks who put their noses in their air when mere commoners walk by, but there sure aren't many of them and the new money has equal access to anything they want.

Last time I checked, this is the only country people are fighting to get into and even willing to die in the effort. Hard to move up the socio-economic ladder?? Not in the America I know.
__________________

__________________
beowulf is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-20-2007, 11:43 AM   #22
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Okanagan Valley
Posts: 805
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milton View Post
On the other hand, Americans enjoy substantially lower taxes, so they are able to save/invest more money than Canadians and should thus be in a position to afford private health insurance in ER.
For what it is worth, a number of studies have been done that show the aggregate tax burden for individuals (income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, capital taxes, FICA, health insurance) is not much different between Canada and the US. It is erroneous to differentiate between the ability to afford private health insurance with universal health insurance paid for via income taxes. They are the same thing except one is theoretically voluntary while the other is not.
__________________

__________________
AltaRed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 11:53 AM   #23
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Okanagan Valley
Posts: 805
Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
Last time I checked, this is the only country people are fighting to get into and even willing to die in the effort. Hard to move up the socio-economic ladder?? Not in the America I know.
That is most preposterous. Virtually all OECD countries have in-migration, and the G7 (plus Australia) have the most in-migration. It is also an insult to suggest it is hard for Canadians, Australians, Brits, Francophones, etc to move up the socio-economic ladder. As an example, the vast majority of the Top 100 in Canada (in wealth) is based on new money.
__________________
AltaRed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 12:06 PM   #24
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, politicians such as Harry Truman, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and many others grew up on the other side of the tracks
Actually, to pick a nit, Bill Gates' parents were very, very wealthy.
__________________
kombat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 12:19 PM   #25
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 886
Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
Last time I checked, this is the only country people are fighting to get into and even willing to die in the effort.
You should check around more.

I can't turn on the news here without seeing boatloads of poor North Africans trying (and dying) to get themselves to Europe.

The Associated Press: Immigrant Boat Lands in Canary Islands

News | Africa - Reuters.com

(UPDATE) 51 immigrants drown off Turkey -- official - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

And people are willing to die smuggling themselves from North Korea to China. Or from Moldova to Russia. Or Iraq to Iran.

A lot of different places offer people a better life.
__________________

Trek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 01:17 PM   #26
Recycles dryer sheets
beowulf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 466
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trek View Post
You should check around more.

A lot of different places offer people a better life.
That is true - but even when most of them get where they want to be, they have limited opportunities to do anything but survive. And lots of them leave because their country is getting chewed up by war. And leaving is a lot better than dying. In the US, immigrants actually succeed and can move up the ladder through hard work and pure guts.

And to respond to another post: "That is most preposterous. Virtually all OECD countries have in-migration, and the G7 (plus Australia) have the most in-migration. It is also an insult to suggest it is hard for Canadians, Australians, Brits, Francophones, etc to move up the socio-economic ladder. As an example, the vast majority of the Top 100 in Canada (in wealth) is based on new money"

Having in-migration is not the same as having people willing to die to get into those countries. And I never mentioned Australians, Canadians, and whatever Francophones are (new type of cell phone??) - I did point out England because it is extremely hard for lower class working folks to have their children attend universities. There is a definite pyramid that takes a lot of fighting to climb.

As to Bill Gates - yes, I agree, his family is wealthy, but they had nothing to do with his success with Microsoft. It's not like some of the other old money families that will buy businesses or positions for their children. So I do believe he is totally self-made.
__________________
beowulf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 03:52 PM   #27
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Milton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,078
Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
Having in-migration is not the same as having people willing to die to get into those countries.
Many undocumented immigrants / refugee claimants have risked death using unseaworthy vessels to attempt illegal entry into Australia, Canada and Italy ... among other nations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
That is true - but even when most of them get where they want to be, they have limited opportunities to do anything but survive.
Absurd. Immigrants to most countries (including America) face significant hurdles (language, education, financial, cultural) on the road to success. But the great majority persevere and eventually thrive. Some first-generation immigrants actually assume positions of huge financial clout in their new countries: for example, Canada has Thomas Bata and Frank Stronach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
Whatever Francophones are (new type of cell phone??)
This is the sort of distainful stupidity ("ignorant ... and proud of it!") that gives rise to the "Ugly American" stereotype abroad.

I agree that America is a land of opportunity and does not have "the most rigid social class system". It's laudable that you challenged that remark, but regrettable that you went on to make patently inaccurate statements about other countries.
__________________
"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive". Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage (1878)
Milton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 03:56 PM   #28
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Milton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,078
Quote:
Originally Posted by AltaRed View Post
For what it is worth, a number of studies have been done that show the aggregate tax burden for individuals (income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, capital taxes, FICA, health insurance) is not much different between Canada and the US.
Sounds plausible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AltaRed View Post
It is erroneous to differentiate between the ability to afford private health insurance with universal health insurance paid for via income taxes.
I'm not expert, but I suspect that while the above comment is likely true for the middle class, it is less so for the poor and the rich.
__________________
"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive". Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage (1878)
Milton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 04:33 PM   #29
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,361
This is a ridiculous statement.

Anyone who is reasonably smart and hard-working is able to do quite well in this country. If they get some good luck as well, they can end up extremely wealthy.

My grandfather on my dad's side was a Lutheran minister. He and my grandmother were poor but not destitute. They had 4 children.

My dad got my mother pregnant when they were 17. Not exactly a dream start to building wealth, but he joined the Navy, got into their nuclear program, and now runs a nuclear power plant. He does very well for a man with no degree. I don't know what he makes, but it is much more than I make (about 90k). If he didn't own a boat, he could probably retire at 55

My uncle started selling cars after he dropped out of college. He is a gifted salesman, and is now the sales manager at a large car dealership. He is very affluent.

One of my aunts is very marginally employed. Her marriage ended badly, and she has never been good at providing for herself. She gets by with some help from my grandmother, my dad, and my uncle. Her children are struggling but seem to mean well.

My other aunt is a complete waste of air and food. She's on and off drugs, and has been scamming my grandmother and anyone else that has tried to help her for the last 30 years. Last I heard, her children were petty criminals. My grandmother still tries to help her. My dad and uncle are done throwing good money after bad.

These four children all started in the lower to lower-middle class, but two of them are in the very upper-middle class wealth-wise. One of them is lower-middle class, and one of them is a complete failure economically and personally.

Your starting place in this country makes a difference, but you can have great success with modest beginnings. Most important is that your parents teach you to work hard and not to live beyond your means.

Bad parents are a bigger disadvantage than poor parents. If you combine the two, though, you are going to have real trouble moving up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nun View Post
Actually the US has the most rigid social class system. Its very hard to move up the socio-economic ladder in the US
__________________
Hamlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 06:08 PM   #30
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,695
Oh no, another food fight . Guess I'll just retire for the day, I'll go have my glass of Cabernet and a piece of good guyere cheese and read my copy of The Birth of Plenty. Could care less about moving up a social ladder.
__________________
Lsbcal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 10:10 PM   #31
Recycles dryer sheets
beowulf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 466
"This is the sort of distainful stupidity ("ignorant ... and proud of it!") that gives rise to the "Ugly American" stereotype abroad. "

Why would someone post the name of countries and then put in a term that's obscure to probably 90% of the rest of the world? Yes, I know it means French speaking - but that does not mean France - lots of places are French speaking. So the term is totally out of place in a list of countries and I was trying to put some humor on it.

As to the Ugly American part, I haven't seen too many examples of countries that turn down our aid and genorosity. If we are that bad, they don't have to take anything from us - as a taxpayer, it certainly won't offend me. You want Ugly American?? This quote is real - off the calling card of one of my company commanders way back when:

Your Name Here
CAPT, USMC
Travel to far off beautiful places
Meet friendly, wonderful people
And kill them

Maybe you don't like the reality of it, but that pretty much summarizes the last several wars our soldiers have fought so you can live as a free person. Pretty much the same as the old one about the French objecting to something or other that the US had done and asking us to leave - with the response being "Would you like us to also take the bodies of all our men who died fighting for your freedom on your soil?"

Semper Fi
__________________
beowulf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 10:47 PM   #32
Full time employment: Posting here.
toofrugalformycat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Anchorage
Posts: 731
Quote:
Originally Posted by AltaRed View Post
It is erroneous to differentiate between the ability to afford private health insurance with universal health insurance paid for via income taxes. They are the same thing except one is theoretically voluntary while the other is not.
Ah, but they are not the same. You have to have more than money to get private health insurance. You also have to have chosen your ancestors well, so you do not have pre-existing conditions that cause private insurers to exclude you. So in my case, having made poor decisions as a primordial germ cell, private insurance is not an option, at least where I live.
Lucky for me I could get a low-paying gubmint job that eventually provided health care and pension. But not everybody can do that.
__________________
toofrugalformycat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2007, 10:54 PM   #33
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
lazygood4nothinbum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,895
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbcal View Post
Oh no, another food fight . Guess I'll just retire for the day, I'll go have my glass of Cabernet and a piece of good guyere cheese and read my copy of The Birth of Plenty. Could care less about moving up a social ladder.
gruyere!!! i'm so glad i read through this thread. i was at the store the other day when i wanted cheese for a nice omelet. my favorite sidewalk cafe does these scrambled egg & smoked salmon crepes with gruyere but i couldn't think of the cheese so i came home with camembert which of course was all wrong.

i can't wait for the supermarket to open tomorrow. gruyere, yummy. thank you.
__________________
"off with their heads"~~dr. joseph-ignace guillotin

"life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages."~~mark twain - letter to edward kimmitt 1901
lazygood4nothinbum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2007, 02:36 AM   #34
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 886
Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
Maybe you don't like the reality of it, but that pretty much summarizes the last several wars our soldiers have fought so you can live as a free person. Pretty much the same as the old one about the French objecting to something or other that the US had done and asking us to leave - with the response being "Would you like us to also take the bodies of all our men who died fighting for your freedom on your soil?"
If you're going to get into historical wars, maybe you could thank the French for helping us to win the American Revolutionary War so that you could live as a free person in America. Without their sacrifice there would likely have been no United States of America, no Marine Corp, and I dare say, no ER forum!

They helped us first. We owed them one. But you don't see them rubbing that in our faces every time there is a foreign policy disagreement.


In early 1778, shortly after an American victory at Saratoga, France signed treaties of alliance with the new nation, and declared war on Britain that summer.

French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading to the surrender of a British army at Yorktown in 1781.


The northern, southern, and naval theaters of the war converged in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia. In early September, French naval forces defeated a British fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake, cutting off Cornwallis' escape. Washington hurriedly moved American and French troops from New York, and a combined Franco-American force of 17,000 men commenced the siege of Yorktown in early October. Cornwallis' position quickly became untenable, and he surrendered his army on October 19, 1781.

With the surrender at Yorktown, King George lost control of Parliament to the peace party, and there were no further major military activities on land.

Financial costs - The French spent 1.3 billion livres (about £56 million). Their total national debt was £187 million, which they could not easily finance; over half the French national revenue went to debt service in the 1780s.

Historical assessment
-The war of American independence could be summed up as a civil war fought on foreign soil, as opposing forces comprised both nations' residents. That said, it is a war that America could not have survived without French assistance.

American Revolutionary War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
__________________

Trek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2007, 06:36 AM   #35
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
If by "peculiar" you mean "different from the usual or normal", well, then, yes, perhaps it is.
I'm based in the UK and I would entirely agree with Nords that ER (or even better FIRE) is "different from the usual or normal". I think this is true in every country though (including the US) because achieving FIRE takes a degree of discipline and determination that most people don't have. Most people I know choose to "play now and pay later" but I suspect the majority of people on this forum choose to "pay now and play later".

Personally, I am fortunate to enjoy a good job with lots of holiday but I would still far rather achieve FIRE and have the freedom to choose how I spend my time (with my family, travelling, giving my time to charity etc). As a result, although I am in my mid-30s I now manage to save and invest in excess of 50% of my earnings.... certainly not "normal" but necessary given my desire to FIRE.

I haven't come across any UK or European forums as good as this one... so thank you all for creating such a great community... I truly feel like I am amongst kindred spirits. Fantastic - let's all continue being "not normal"
__________________
Aspire2FIRE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2007, 08:09 AM   #36
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
nun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,836
Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post
As cheesy as it may sound, the US really is a land of unlimited opportunity for those who are willing to take the risks and do the work.... how many of today's billionaires and millionaires came from totally humble, if not downtrodden, roots.
I bet most millionaires inherited their wealth.

I think you've been drinking the cool aide if you think its easy to move up the social ladder in the US. Sure its not impossible, but a kid has to over come the terrible public education system first. The single most important tool to help a child progress is education and that's where the US fails. next you'll be saying that the US style of representative democracy is the best in the world, rather than a corrupt 2 party state.
__________________
nun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2007, 08:23 AM   #37
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,134
Quote:
Originally Posted by nun View Post
I bet most millionaires inherited their wealth.
EDIT: Never mind. I'm not going to get drawn into this food fight...
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2007, 08:24 AM   #38
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
nun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,836
Quote:
Originally Posted by restonham View Post

As to the Ugly American part, I haven't seen too many examples of countries that turn down our aid and genorosity. If we are that bad, they don't have to take anything from us - as a taxpayer, it certainly won't offend me. You want Ugly American?? This quote is real - off the calling card of one of my company commanders way back when:

Your Name Here
CAPT, USMC
Travel to far off beautiful places
Meet friendly, wonderful people
And kill them

Maybe you don't like the reality of it, but that pretty much summarizes the last several wars our soldiers have fought so you can live as a free person. Pretty much the same as the old one about the French objecting to something or other that the US had done and asking us to leave - with the response being "Would you like us to also take the bodies of all our men who died fighting for your freedom on your soil?"

Semper Fi
US Foreign Aid comes with lots of strings attached, and as a %age of GDP the US gives less than most countries. It does give lots of milirtary aid though, the largest recipients being Israel and Egpyt.

I agree that the US seems to get involved in lots of foreign wars, however, if its doing so for any other reason that its own security I think the Founding Fathers would turn in their graves.
__________________
nun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2007, 08:36 AM   #39
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 514
Quote:
Originally Posted by nun View Post
I bet most millionaires inherited their wealth.
Well that part is easily provably false. According to Thomas J. Stanley's book The Millionaire Mind, only 2% of millionaires inherited their wealth. The other 98% earned it themselves, or are "first generation millionaires."

I don't know how accurate his numbers are, but I'd be shocked to find he was off by more the more than 48% he'd have to be in order to validate your assertion that "most" inherited their wealth.

Another study published in the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Journal paints a slightly more detailed picture, yet still clearly shows that very few millionaires inherited their wealth:

Quote:
Millionaires fit the following description: only 19% receive income or wealth from a trust fund or estate; fewer than 20% inherited 10% or more of their wealth; more than half did not inherit any wealth; fewer than 25% received $10,000 or more from parents, grandparents, or other relatives; 91 % did not receive the ownership of a family business as a gift
Quote:
Originally Posted by nun View Post
I think you've been drinking the cool aide if you think its easy to move up the social ladder in the US.
This point is a little harder to disprove, but suffice it to say I don't think anyone claimed it was "easy." Merely that it's not impossible. It certainly still takes a great deal of effort. It helps to have the right attitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nun View Post
a kid has to over come the terrible public education system first. The single most important tool to help a child progress is education and that's where the US fails.
I'd say having good parents and a good attitude are more important than the quality of the public education system. After all, lots of kids are homeschooled, completely bypassing the public school system. Lots of them end up very successful, and lots of them end up down-and-out; just like the public system.

I'd suggest that as long as a child can read and has a good understanding of basic to intermediate math, then they have all the skills required to be very successful in life. Learning another language, memorizing historical dates and facts, carrying out chemistry and physics experiments are a good way to keep kids busy while their parents are at work, but I don't think they're at all necessary in order to mold a child into an intelligent contributer to society. Thus, if the system does a poor job of teaching kids those meaningless dates, foreign language, literary works, or other topics, I don't really believe it matters all that much. As long as the kid can read and understand math, I believe they have all the tools they need to be successful.

If our schools are graduating alarming numbers of illiterates incapable of understanding compound interest, then I'd agree we have a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nun View Post
Next you'll be saying that the US style of representetive democracy is the best in the world, rather than a corrupt 2 party state.
I think the fact that the US chose to install a democratic system in Iraq that is different from its own is a tacit admission that its own system is imperfect.
__________________
kombat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2007, 09:40 AM   #40
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 886
Quote:
Originally Posted by kombat View Post
If our schools are graduating alarming numbers of illiterates incapable of understanding compound interest, then I'd agree we have a problem.
Illiteracy Statistics
  • 42 million American adults can't read at all; 50 million read at only fourth or fifth grade levels.
  • The number of functionally illiterate adults increases by approximately 2.25 million each year.
  • 20 percent of all graduating high school seniors are functionally illiterate.
Source: National Right to Read Foundation


Grim Illiteracy Statistics Indicate Americans Have a Reading Problem -- Education-Portal.com
__________________

__________________

Trek is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Have you ever heard of the "infinite banking" concept? markf57 Other topics 71 07-18-2008 09:09 PM
Bank of America - Anyone use 'em? Shabber2 FIRE and Money 10 11-08-2007 10:27 AM
Nothing Wrong With America That Can't Be Fixed By What's Right With America Danny Other topics 12 02-18-2007 12:06 AM
Poor habits lead to poor future~an old concept mickeyd Other topics 0 05-29-2006 11:24 AM
The Three Level Concept JWR1945 FIRE and Money 23 09-13-2004 06:06 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:31 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.