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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 12:35 AM   #81
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Re: When did you see the light?

Cal--
My kids (ages 30 and almost 27) are both quite frugal and great savers (but like their Mom, slow to invest--they both have large ING accounts), but not FIRE-oriented. Also like their Mom, they splurge on travel and cut back on other things. They each had to pay ~1/3 of their way through undergrad and all of their way through grad school, which rather enforces practicality. My son did tell me that under his current contract he can retire with full benefits from teaching at age 58, and he seemed pleased. But as a teacher, he's taking his ER one summer at a time anyhow DD has only been working in her new field for a couple of years (and just finished her masters), so she's very gung-ho about work and not really looking further ahead than her upcoming work in Zambia and her new husband finishing his post-Doc job in England and then looking for a professorship.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 06:27 AM   #82
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal

How do your offspring handle the "FIRE" gospel?
My son is 32 and seems to get it. He is maxing his 401K plus adding additional savings (I don't know how much). We will see how he handles things when kids arrive. My daughter is still in college - she has heard a bit about the cool aid but isn't at a point where she is drinking it yet. I will work on her when she gets out of school.

DW and I covered (are covering) college costs for both so they didn't (won't) come out of school with debt.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 07:12 AM   #83
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Re: When did you see the light?

For me it was a slow dawning rather than an "aha!" moment: LBelowYM parents who made a point of putting money away also for us. Worked at a job that I liked pretty well and opened my own small shop without real fear because I knew I had that $100-$200k as a buffer to life's ups&downs. Started realizing that 95% of people didn't have this buffer which caused me to realize its true worth in FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE. A convergence of unforeseen events led to de facto ER. Otherwise I might still be working.. spending more.. not as happy. Stepping off the treadmill is easier as a married lady in small-town Italy. As a 40-yo single in a big Northeast city it would have been harder to 'justify', even to myself.*
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 07:23 AM   #84
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal
I'm curious...those of you that are willing to share...

How do your offspring handle the "FIRE" gospel?
Well, my oldest is just over 2, so I'll let you know in another 10 or 20 years...

My younger sister is 5 years my junior. She has been a bit of a spendthrift, but she knows that I am the financial sophisticate of the family and have done well, so she asks me for advice from time to time. I have been on her about paying off the credit cards, which she is finally done with. I got her to put some money in an IRA, but that's about as far as it goes. But she is getting older, is getting married next year to a nice guy, and she is starting to make different choices that seem more mature. I think in part you have to butt your own head against the wall of life a few times for the important lessons to sink in.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 07:48 AM   #85
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Re: When did you see the light?

I think it first really hit me in 1991. I was 21 years old, in college, and had just started a part time job at a department store after not holding a job for about a year and a half. That was when I discovered mutual funds and made my first investment. That was also the first time I ran a calculation that if you put away $1000 into something earning 20% per year, you'd have a million bucks in 39 years. Looking back I realize just how overly optimistic that was, as not too many investments average 20% per year, but it did get me focused on thinking long-term and not having to work for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, for awhile it seemed like the more money I made the faster it got spent. Then, buying a condo that was really out of my price range at the time and soon after falling into a bad marriage really put my plans into a tailspin. But I pulled through it okay, and I'm on track to retire around 45-50.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 07:58 AM   #86
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Re: When did you see the light?

My son is 31 and my daughter is 28. They are in very different financial circumstances. Son is a software engineer. He makes good money and lives in a relatively low cost area (N.C.). He got a substantial athletic scholarship for college so he graduated with $30K left in the custodial account we had set up for college. He is single and owns a condo in Chapel Hill. He is not as frugal as DW and I were but he does invest in mutual funds, has a Roth IRA and even has dabbled in shorting stocks in technical fields where he has knowledge. He does love his gadgets though. He indulges himself in the latest devices such as high end digital camera, GPS receiver, etc. In other areas, he does not like to spend money. The driver's side door lock on his car has been broken for two years. He won't spend the $ to have it fixed. He unlocks the passenger door and reaches across to open the driver's door! He is saving and investing but he could be putting away alot more. He is not maxing out his 401(k) contributions.

My daughter works in the theater where the pay is poverty level. I have offered her a match on Roth IRA contributions and she did put in $1000 in 2005 that I matched. She currently is on tour with a national company of "Hairspray". Although the salary is meager, the company pays most of her living expenses and she gets an additional expense allowance. She gave up her apartment and car so she should be able to save alot this year. Unlike her brother, she loves to spend money. For someone with so little income she spends a lot on non-necessities. She still has close to $20K of loans from grad school to pay off too.

I don't know if either of them really "gets" it yet.

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 08:15 AM   #87
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Re: When did you see the light?

One of the FI fantasies I had running through my head as a young person was based on the historical novels I used to read. It became clear that in the 1800s there were a class of people who were of a leisure class because they were able to live off (inherited) investments - not necessarily the ultra-rich, but even more "modest" folks who had enough monthly/annual income to fund a modest household and some favorite hobbies, and keep them out of the working class. From what I can gather, 5% was the usual income produced from invested assets back them.

A line in the Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice where the heroine's mother excitedly exclaims about one of eligible young men: "I hear he has $10,000 pounds a year!". That is - he has 10,000 pounds a year of income produced by his inheritance. A pretty considerable sum in 1806.

Anyway - I had this girlish fantasy of having "X pounds a year" and being able to live a life of leisure in the great 1800s tradition - as modest as it might be. Little did I know that true financial independence would work out for me.

If you dig into it more, you will find that many famous scientists/naturalists/explorers at the time, etc., were actually men (and women) of leisure who used their financial independence to pursue their interests. Not really many "professional" scientists back then.

The Classical Greeks actually considered time spent in "work for hire" to be vastly inferior to time spent in leisure. To them leisure time was the time to aspire to a man's highest interests in their purest form, not corrupted by the need for financial remuneration. I tend to share that prejudice......

Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with totally goofing off either...

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 08:23 AM   #88
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Re: When did you see the light?

I grew up on a dairy farm, and got paid for my labor. *I decided I wanted to have money, so I milked cows once a week and worked full time during summers once I got to high school. *I made between 5.00 and 6.50 per hour starting when I was 10. *I realized very early the interchange between money and time spent doing something unpleasant. *Was a $20 thing worth four hours of my time? *Also, parents were not well to do, but were able to live within their means. *So the fact that I could only get some of the things I wanted was drilled into my head early on.

So LBYM was always in my mind. *Which led naturally to the desire to achieve FI. *The RE thought really started in my mind a couple years back when I vaguely remembered SWR studies and really started to think about how much money I'd need in order to stop working. *Internet research on SWR led me around the horn to this message board.

It really is interesting how the desire to collect "stuff" has faded. *I used to dream about having a dream house. *5000 square feet, at least, with some character. *I loved books of house plans. *8 years of being a home owner now equates size with more taxes, more rooms to clean or money spent having someone else clean them, higher utility bills, more stuff on to-do lists. *I no longer want a big house. *Heck, even our 2000 square foot house has a 13x18 living room that we really don't use.

At 32, it will be around 15 more years until FIRE, assuming we can sell our failed business venture that has set back FIRE by a few years.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 02:22 PM   #89
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Hmmmm.. does not sound like she 'won' to me...* *I had heard something like this from my sister who has a B+... she was always pround that a pencil could NOT stay under her boob...* they were 'perky'.. if they can hold the pencil, or the can, then they are 'floppy'...* nobody wants a floppy boob...
Darn, with all this ambiguous data I'd say that additional research is required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal
I'm curious...those of you that are willing to share...
How do your offspring handle the "FIRE" gospel? Twenty years ago, my (then new) step-father tried telling me all of this. He was a real penny pincher, but would buy good value items. He saved a good chunk of his money and educated himself about investments.
Unfortunately, I have a hard head and no matter how many times someone tells me something, I just gotta figure it out for myself. Must be a slow learner...it took me almost 15 years to "get it".
Obviously, many of you have "gotten it" and saved, LBYM and educated yourself about investments. But do your kids "get it"? Have they learned from your example? Are they caught up in the consumer-keep-up with the Joneses crap? Do they "listen" to you when you talk about saving and investing?
Our kid is very generous with our money, especially electricity & hot water. But she's getting tighter with her own. Having to live with us ERs annoys the heck out of her when she's heading up to the school bus and I'm loading a longboard into the car.

I tell her not to push so hard on ER-- that it's probably better to find a career she loves so much it becomes her avocation. Then when she's FI she can work as much or whenever she wants. She came home yesterday proclaiming her first job (age 13 & 9 months)-- she'll be helping with math at our local tutoring center for a few hours this weekend. Unfortunately she told her boss that she'd work for cash or for Jamba Juice coupons and that her parents paid her $10/hour. So the negotiating skills still need work.

I've noticed that she tends to float an outrageous idea ("I need $250 basketball shoes!") for our reaction (her entertainment?) but when she actually digs into the research and the shopping she gets more frugal. So maybe she really gets it after all.

I hope that kids have a hard drive in their heads where our ageless wisdom is recorded for future reference. That way the hormones and consumerism can buzz all they want, but someday when they're trying to bridge the gap between paychecks they can remember what Dear Ol' Dad would have done in their situation...

My BIL & his wife are all over ER. He's a tax-prep CPA and she's a COBOL programmer for an electric utility. Their big benefits kick in at age 55 so that's their arbitrary retirement age and they'll certainly have the money to support it.

My brother and his significant other are more focused on the important things in life. They're rehabbing a 50-year-old house and trying to get their dog-daycare business off the ground while he waits for his R&B band to be discovered. He's a great salesman and could always get a "real" job but I think he's pursuing his dream and worrying about retirement another day.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 02:27 PM   #90
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
So how's that approach working with your daughter?
She seems to have gotten the message in general. *She seems quite frugal in her purchases. *Doesn't buy much, and goes to garage sales. *OTOH she is a teenager, and leaves lights on, buys expensive shampoo, and refuses to reconcile her checkbook. *

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 02:41 PM   #91
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Re: When did you see the light?

COBOL!
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 03:40 PM   #92
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Re: When did you see the light?

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She seems to have gotten the message in general. She seems quite frugal in her purchases. Doesn't buy much, and goes to garage sales. OTOH she is a teenager, and leaves lights on, buys expensive shampoo, and refuses to reconcile her checkbook.
I'm honored to be a member of the same club. Your daughter is going to have to tour our kid around her campus someday and show her a better deal than a military school...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
COBOL!
Yeah, in 1999 they sent her home with a laptop and a company-funded DSL line, threw buckets of money at her, and told her not to come back until their power-distrubution software was Y2K-compliant.

COBOL is a lot bigger than I thought-- Grace Hopper lives!
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 05:00 PM   #93
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Re: When did you see the light?

I liked Grace Hopper. Wasnt she the one that said 'its easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission'?
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 05:46 PM   #94
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Re: When did you see the light?

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COBOL!
Ugh, the work horse of PeopleSoft....Pretty web architecture and then there's COBOL(!) underneath the hood.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 05:48 PM   #95
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Re: When did you see the light?

Ever programmed in Dibol or better still...BLISS?

There are worse alternatives than cobol, which is a kinda pretty language when you read it...
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-03-2006, 06:25 PM   #96
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1
The Classical Greeks actually considered time spent in "work for hire" to be vastly inferior to time spent in leisure. To them leisure time was the time to aspire to a man's highest interests in their purest form, not corrupted by the need for financial remuneration. I tend to share that prejudice......
Nice post Audrey, leisure time was, and still is, my main interest for ER. When I was in high school I thought I had it all figured out, I would get a high-paying job and put $5,000 a month in five year CDs for five years. After that time period I would run off to the woods like Thoreau and live off of $1,000/month in a cabin. Well thanks to this board I am much wiser about investing now.

Another thing that got me thinking about what I liked to call "interest living" is my father. Poor man has been working his a$$ off as an engineer and will retire at 67 relying exclusively on SS for his retirement. He is frugal, but my mom just sucks the funds dry with her love of ancient big ticket items (old houses and cars especially). Having 5 kids didn't help either. As far as his financial life is concerned, my goal is to do just the opposite.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-04-2006, 10:25 AM   #97
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Re: When did you see the light?

I had the opportunity to see the light when I was 24. A friend and his wife asked me to be a guarantor for a contract they were trying to push through. They asked me on the basis of my relatively high salary. This couple's lifestyle was as modest as they come. Imagine my shock when I saw their stated net worth on the contract: easily five times as much as I had at that time. They were the same age as me, worked blue-collar jobs, and never talked about money, and here they were asking me to be their guarantor, probably thinking I was worth twice as much as them!

Shocked: yes . Lesson learned - no . It took me three more years of reckless spending before I truly learned what the real deal was.

I've done a complete turn-around since then. Not so much in trying to increase my percentage of gross earnings saved, but more in being confident in knowing what I don't want in life anymore (namely depreciable big-ticket items. Including buying rounds for the entire bar. That depreciates pretty quick).

And for me that is what's made the difference in getting me kick-started onto the path to FI.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-04-2006, 10:33 AM   #98
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I liked Grace Hopper.* Wasnt she the one that said 'its easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission'?
"It's always easier to apologize than to ask permission."

Or, as naval aviation has now claimed it, "Contrition is easier than permission."

Years ago in an interview Mike Wallace (60 Minutes) described her as "Admiral Rickover without the bitter aftertaste". I've always thought that was his last good quote.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-06-2006, 04:20 AM   #99
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Re: When did you see the light?

i saw the light in mid to late twenties, at the time i thought it was down to being depressed and part of the general negative view i had of everything

i started to question why i had to go to work and what point there was to working, i disliked it sometimes hated work, then i followed the thought process and came to realise that there may be a possibilitly where i could "buy" my way out of working, that took money, which took saving and buying less

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-06-2006, 06:01 AM   #100
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Re: When did you see the light?

Work-wise I saw the light 3 years ago. My business needed upgrading requiring substiantial capital. It was all doable BUT it also meant 5 years of my daily involvement - 3 years to pay off the notes and 2 years to reap the profits. Been there, done that, nufs-a-nuf.

Financially...married a squirrel
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