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Old 08-10-2007, 03:46 PM   #41
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Instead, as I perceive it to be, work is a world very reminiscent of junior high school, where popularity (or in this case, getting ahead) depended on image and being "in with the in crowd". One gets ahead by knowing and flattering the right people, not by being a qualified, experienced person who is very good at the job.
Amen to that! And I don't really know why I expected it to be different. After all, the kids who were "cool" and "popular" would naturally feel the sense of entitlement and have the expectation that they should continue to reap the social rewards attached to the workplace (favoritism, promotions, higher pay raises, etc.)---and that sense of entitlement and expectation results in confidence. And as much as I hate to admit it, maybe they do actually have more social skills/emotional intelligence, which I know does count as much as hard skills. And the system perpetuates itself because the people in power---who got there by their social "skills" ---are more comfortable with similar people, so I don't ever see it changing.
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Old 08-10-2007, 05:11 PM   #42
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It was very clear to the two of us that we weren't defined by our jobs
That's a key trap for people in my profession (medicine). One of the reasons I have been able to avoid it is that there are no other doctors in my family. I decided to become a doctor because I thought it would be interesting. When it stops being interesting, I'll move on.
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Old 08-10-2007, 06:37 PM   #43
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tangomonster - there's a song out that basically says the same thing - it's like high school all over again, who's dating who, who's bulemic, who's weird - the kid wonders why he bothered to 'grow up' - very funny.
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:20 AM   #44
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  1. Most people do not even think it is possible to ER early (at least in their situations). They assume they will need to work. If they do not figure it out soon, they will not have the benefit of compounding and it really is not possible for them.
It didn't occur to me that ER was possible until nearly last Christmas, when I realized that I will someday need to take care of my aging parents, and it would be great if I didn't have to work full-time then. As an only child, there's no sibling I can rely on. That one thought prompted me to look into saving, investing, and retiring early.

I work for the municipal government, and a lot of people retire in their early 60s. Of course the pension system is different now and we don't get to have full benefits when we reach the "rule of 90" like folks hired in the 70s and 80s do.

But if one is serious about ER and can save somewhere between 30-50% of their income, there's no reason one can't retire within 10 to 15 years of serious saving. It's easier to do for a two-income household, but plenty of single folks do it, too.

In terms of our attitude, I don't think we're that different than the general population. Most people seem to be barely tolerating their jobs.

I must admit, though, that the discovery of the possibility of ER highlighted the imperfections in my job. I tend to daydream a lot about ER. It has become somewhat of an obsession. On the one hand, I tell myself it's just another 10 years, then I'm done, so I don't really want to get involved in the office politics. On the other hand, it's so much more fun to daydream about ER than living in the present (and the board is reaffirming my fantasy life). I feel that this is not really healthy, that I shouldn't put my life on hold and just wait for FIRE.

I hope this obsession is like a new love affair that will lose its grip on me as I become more familiar with it. Perhaps it will make the graceful transition from a new hot date so to speak to a familiar best friend (ie spouse). For now, though, it's really hard to find the balance of living my life fully while obsessing over ER.

Just random thoughts...
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Old 08-11-2007, 02:09 AM   #45
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I guess it sounds like I am in the minority. I am work-averse. I love the movie Office Space cause Peter Gibbons describes my feelings so well when he talks about "his dream of doing nothing"
"I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be"
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Old 08-11-2007, 05:02 AM   #46
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Many of us can disprove #1, above...
Some do figure it out if they are sufficiently motivated. I am glad you did! You are proof that people can make it work. Although, I suspect that you are not typical. It seems that many/most do not figure it out... or maybe they know and just do not have the motivation or self-discipline.

Also to clarify about my previous post - When I was writing the statement, I was not clear about what I was thinking (trying to communicate). I was thinking more in terms of someone being able to ER fairly early ( 45-55 age range). My mistake and lack of clarity. (why can't you guys read my mind )


Someone else posted that people could be prepared for Retirement in 10 - 15 years. That is probably true in some cases. But I think it is typically rare unless one has a (relatively) high salary and LBYM lifestyle (careful expense management). I am not sure that combination exists for the majority of the population. I have not studied it, but my impression was that for most people, it would take maybe 20-25 years to save for ER. That is based on some assumptions that I have about most people's earning power and expenditures. For example if the household (family) makes $60k/yr and typically spends $45-50k/yr. Saving and Investing 10k/year is probably not going to get them there unless they take an inordinate amount of risk and luck out. Conversely, if the household makes $150k/year and can save $100k (pre-tax)... 10 - 15 years can build a substantial portfolio that might be able to support them for 35 - 45 years.
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Old 08-11-2007, 08:31 AM   #47
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I have not studied it, but my impression was that for most people, it would take maybe 20-25 years to save for ER.
I don't see it that way, and the point of my post was to encourage those who may have been terribly discouraged by such statements.

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That is based on some assumptions that I have about most people's earning power and expenditures. For example if the household (family) makes $60k/yr and typically spends $45-50k/yr. Saving and Investing 10k/year is probably not going to get them there
True. I think that your hypothetical family in which husband and wife each make only $30K/year, need to raise their income or lower their expenditures if they expect to retire in less than 10 years. Moonlighting and waiting before having children (or choosing not to have children) are both part of many young American families' experience, unfortunately.

My salary has been considerably more than $30K during the 9 years of saving for retirement, though not always more than $60K. I chose not to have a spouse/roommate to help with the expenses.

As a rule of thumb for last minute retirement savers, I really think that if one expects to retire in less than ten years at the very least it is necessary (in addition to substantially/fully contributing to any pre-tax retirement plans) to put 1/3 of one's take-home salary towards paying off debt and then, once that is done, towards retirement. If the remainder is not enough to live the desired lifestyle, the adjustment needs to be made at either the income end (by changing jobs or moonlighting) or the expenditure end (by figuring out how LBYM even more and coming to terms with living that way indefinitely).

Nobody said that preparing for retirement in less than 10 years was easy, but to imply that it is impossible is (in my opinion and experience) misleading.
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:54 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
I don't see it that way, and the point of my post was to encourage those who may have been terribly discouraged by such statements.



True. I think that your hypothetical family in which husband and wife each make only $30K/year, need to raise their income or lower their expenditures if they expect to retire in less than 10 years. Moonlighting and waiting before having children (or choosing not to have children) are both part of many young American families' experience, unfortunately.

My salary has been considerably more than $30K during the 9 years of saving for retirement, though not always more than $60K. I chose not to have a spouse/roommate to help with the expenses.

As a rule of thumb for last minute retirement savers, I really think that if one expects to retire in less than ten years at the very least it is necessary (in addition to substantially/fully contributing to any pre-tax retirement plans) to put 1/3 of one's take-home salary towards paying off debt and then, once that is done, towards retirement. If the remainder is not enough to live the desired lifestyle, the adjustment needs to be made at either the income end (by changing jobs or moonlighting) or the expenditure end (by figuring out how LBYM even more and coming to terms with living that way indefinitely).

Nobody said that preparing for retirement in less than 10 years was easy, but to imply that it is impossible is (in my opinion and experience) misleading.

Oops... Sorry, I just posted the follow-up to expand on what I wrote to ensure you did not misunderstand what I was thinking in terms of FIRE (ing) well before the typical age people retire.

One last clarification. I did not use the word impossible. I went back and reread my posts... I did not imply it to be impossible to accomplish. I suppose that what I was implying was that most people do not have the inclination or will to change their habits until it gets late and it is much more difficult... heck I believe that it does not even occur to most people to consider ER (other than at 62 when SS is available).

You are likely to be correct... People can make it work if they are absolutely determined to do so and follow through.
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:20 AM   #49
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You are likely to be correct... People can make it work if they are absolutely determined to do so and follow through.
You are right: I feel sure that ER within about 10 years (after thinking about doing it and starting to save, not after starting one's first job) CAN be done, and I think I may not be the only one on this message board who has had that goal in mind; some may even have done it.

As for the determination, you are right about that too. It's not easy, especially without a $100K+ salary or other source of wealth. I think several of us here can probably relate to that issue as well.

I am not sure that my planned ER age of 61 (or maybe 62, depending on the market) would give me any advantage as opposed to the ages you mention of 45-55, especially near 55. Here's why:
  • I am not planning to take social security for 4-9 years after I retire, nor do I plan to rely on it since in my case it will be pretty small (and possibly non-existent at some point). I have saved more than will be required to "pay myself social security" during these years just since December.
  • At 62 I will be getting exactly the same small pension (a whole $535/mo or less after taxes) as a 50 to 55-year-old "early out" retiree from my job
  • I will even get the same senior discount as 55-year-olds get at my local theater.
As far as I can tell, the only thing I will have that a 55-year-old wouldn't would be a lot more aches and pains from arthritis!
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:58 AM   #50
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[quote=Want2retire;546055]
  • I am not planning to take social security for 4-9 years after I retire, nor do I plan to rely on it since in my case it will be pretty small (and possibly non-existent at some point). I have saved more than will be required to "pay myself social security" during these years just since December.
  • At 62 I will be getting exactly the same small pension (a whole $535/mo or less after taxes) as a 50 to 55-year-old "early out" retiree from my job
  • /quote]
I'm curious why are you delaying SS since your pension is so small . Wouldn't it be better to let your savings grow rather than depend so heavily on them ?
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:38 AM   #51
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  • I am not planning to take social security for 4-9 years after I retire, nor do I plan to rely on it since in my case it will be pretty small (and possibly non-existent at some point). I have saved more than will be required to "pay myself social security" during these years just since December.
  • At 62 I will be getting exactly the same small pension (a whole $535/mo or less after taxes) as a 50 to 55-year-old "early out" retiree from my job
I'm curious why are you delaying SS since your pension is so small . Wouldn't it be better to let your savings grow rather than depend so heavily on them ?
Only if the market is on the upswing. My plan is to have enough fixed income to survive. Then, especially during those crucial first ten years, I will only have to withdraw from my main nestegg when the market has done pretty well. During those good years, or I think even at an SWR of 4%, it will provide the majority of my income whether I spend it or not.

Like most people, I have customized my retirement plan for me. When it comes to spending, I have a lot in common with Khan (though he is definitely the King of Frugality in my opinion). I don't think I could spend $2K/mo (in 2007 $) if my life depended on it. I don't ever want to have to worry about where the first $1K/mo to $1.5K/mo is coming from, though.
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:59 AM   #52
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I don't think I could spend $2K/mo (in 2007 $) if my life depended on it. I don't ever want to have to worry about where the first $1K/mo to $1.5K/mo is coming from, though.
Wow and happy with a coffemaker as a gift too! The perfect woman.

Seriously, have you and Frank had any serious budget discussions about ER together in Springfield?
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Old 08-12-2007, 02:54 PM   #53
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Wow and happy with a coffemaker as a gift too! The perfect woman.
LOL!!! Well, simple things do make me happy sometimes. Now I wouldn't turn down diamonds and roses, but at least the coffee maker showed me that he was thinking about me and trying to be kind and considerate. That's pretty terrific.

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Seriously, have you and Frank had any serious budget discussions about ER together in Springfield?
One of the reasons Frank and I get along so well together, is that we don't live together or mix our money (or plan to do so). We talk about how we are going to manage our retirement budgets in Springfield, all the time. He is younger (52 to my 59) and although he is not quite the LBYM'er that I am, he figures that he can always take a short term job or do something if he falls short. He is one of those guys who always has an iron in the fire (or three). I, on the other hand, would not work for all the tea in China after I retire.

We have no desire to travel, or to keep up with the Jones and such. Cost of living in Springfield is very low. In Springfield, there will be expenses for heating the house in the winter. That's taken into account. My health insurance will cost about $150/mo plus the usual increases, since health insurance for life is one of the benefits of being a federal retiree.

My pre-retirement budget is in the range I indicated ($1000-$1500/mo) on average, and that includes the broken A/C, the root canals, the TV that blew up, the new circuit breaker box, and unusual things like that, plus buying furniture and artwork for the house that I bought in 2002 (though not the P&I on the house, which I have since paid off).

This year my budget has been $700/mo, because I haven't had any of those unusual expenses (knock on wood!).

I love to get exercise by walking around big box stores and gawking at the stuff, but I don't feel like I have to actually BUY everything I like. Does that make sense? For example, I can see a beautiful $5000 entertainment center, and appreciate the craftmanship and elegance, and then happily leave it in the store. To be honest, I really haven't bought into all this Madison Avenue cr*pola and I don't intend to change at this age.

Frank knows all this and his usual comment is, "Well, whatever makes you happy!"
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:02 PM   #54
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Okay I'm a LBYM but $700 a month with property taxes ,utilities ,food ,clothes and an occasional gift . That's unbelievable Khan will be asking you for suggestions.
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:34 PM   #55
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Okay I'm a LBYM but $700 a month with property taxes ,utilities ,food ,clothes and an occasional gift . That's unbelievable Khan will be asking you for suggestions.
Oh no, I am not THAT good at LBYM. I was probably misleading. Khan is still the King of LBYM. The $700 figure was from December through July and doesn't include the homeowners' insurance and flood insurance which I just paid, or property taxes, which are due at the end of November. This coming year my property taxes will be going back up to what they were, but last year and the year before they temporarily cut everyone's taxes due to Katrina. Homeowners plus flood plus taxes for the past year, divided by 12, would add $163/mo to my expenses (but next year it will be $230, oof!). My overall expenditures for the past five years including everything but P&I on my (now paid off) house, come to $1405/mo. That was computed as take-home pay minus P&I minus money saved and put into Roth IRA etc. The $700/mo is just for regular, usual monthly expenses.

Utilities are around $150-$200/mo, including phones, cable TV, water, gas, electric, sewerage, and cable internet. I am doing weight watchers so I don't eat much, and Frank takes me out to eat on the weekends. I spent about $200 on clothes this year (that includes my New Balance 992's which were $105, and the rest of my clothes which was less). I almost never give gifts, though I sent my daughter $200 for her birthday. I pay $77/mo for weight watchers and the gym. It all adds up to $700/mo since last December.

gifts...........................$0
utilities......................$150-$200
WW & gym.................$77
clothes......................$17
daughter's birthday......$17

These total $261-$311/mo, and food and any other incidental expenses take up the rest (egad, where does it all go? :confused: ). Since Katrina I have been budgeting $800/mo for my regular expenses, but the elevated cost of living here due to the storm is falling back down towards the $600/mo that these cost me before Katrina.
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:46 PM   #56
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Okay I'm a LBYM but $700 a month with property taxes ,utilities ,food ,clothes and an occasional gift . That's unbelievable Khan will be asking you for suggestions.
That is inspiring.

I have had a few $700 months

Most months are $1200 - $1500

I spent very little for many years, especially the 2.5 years after retiring.

Now things are starting to wear out and will have to be replaced.
Sheets, towels, clothes, shoes, TV(1989), washing machine(1993)...

This year I've replaced an car(1989) and a window A/C(at least 20 years, it was a hand-me-down).
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:53 PM   #57
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That is inspiring.

I have had a few $700 months

Most months are $1200 - $1500

I spent very little for many years, especially the 2.5 years after retiring.

Now things are starting to wear out and will have to be replaced.
Sheets, towels, clothes, shoes, TV(1989), washing machine(1993)...

This year I've replaced an car(1989) and a window A/C(at least 20 years, it was a hand-me-down).
Aaaagh!!! no no no !!! - - see above. You still have me beat, though we are in the same ballpark, I think. The $700 was just for recurring costs. My average over four years was $1330-$1405/mo, depending on how I compute it (that doesn't include saving for a new car, which would add another $200/mo, but it does include 4 root canals, a new 42" plasma TV, two new computers, a new central A/C and heating system and circuit breaker box for my house, furnishing and buying appliances for my house when it was new, and so on). This year it will be less, though, since I have not had any unusual expenses. I would guess maybe $1100/mo for the year for everything, $700/mo for recurring expenses.

I plan to retire with a new car, and will keep it for 10 years. By that time, my nestegg investments should be doing pretty well so I don't anticipate a problem in coming up with a lump sum for replacing it.

I have never spent more money than this, actually. I live very nicely and I buy everything I want. Somebody (Thoreau?) said that the secret was to want but little, or something to that effect. I don't buy things I don't want.
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:59 PM   #58
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I knew if I kept posting my 'all time personal low(12k/yr aka 1000/mo)' over time some of the real class act LBYM'ers would surface and post.

Yea!

heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh - INTJ, left handed, en-ga-neer and perfessional(sick) cheap bastard(semi retired) .
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Old 08-12-2007, 05:10 PM   #59
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Uh oh, its an ER forum cheapskate smackdown!
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Old 08-12-2007, 05:36 PM   #60
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Yup

Been a long time since we walked barefoot to school over hot gravel - uphill both ways!

Makes me misty eyed for my old webtv classic and slo mo dial up internet connection back in 03.

heh heh heh - 100 degree's on the front porch. I'm retired from tooo cheap - running the A/C baby!
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