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When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 08:24 PM   #1
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When did you see the light?

It's pretty clear that most people (even otherwise smart ones) just don't come to grips with the importance of long, long term savings, investing, etc. Virtually everyone here did get FIRE religion somewhere along the line. I am amazed at how early many of you were truly independent.

I was late. Early, actually, compared to my peers, but still late enough to be "just in time." I'd say about age 45 -- I was starting to peak in my career, working hard, not burned out, but wanted to do more than just work. Started saving but not enough at first, full steam ahead at age 50. Now (age 57) we should be OK but not much before age 60 barring some kind of freaky-great stock market, and there'll be a few years of part time at first (both by choice and soft "need/indulgence"). Pretty nice life, but true FIRE won't come til then given our desires and needs. A few regrets about waking up so late, but all I need to do is look at my colleagues and I thank my lucky stars.

So when did you have your "aha" moment? Not just age, but where in your career were you? What tipped you off?
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:15 PM   #2
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Re: When did you see the light?

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:16 PM   #3
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Re: When did you see the light?

Was in my late forties, kids out of the house and educated, house paid for, no debt and work quit being fun. *Had been maxing out my 401 since day one plus had some after tax savings/investments. *Always pretty much lived within my means so I could walk away when the time was right, on my terms and on my time table. *After working 32 years in the chemical manufacturing arena I decided it was time to enjoy life and say the heck with the work BS. *Been happily retired one year and one month and have no regrets whatsoever.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:17 PM   #4
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Re: When did you see the light?

It took me to the age of 47 before I woke up and realized that I needed to save some money. *I didn't realize all the mistakes I made investing until I found this forum a little over 2 years ago.
I've put everything into place and the last thing I have to do is sell my house in NY which I'm not having much luck doing.

I'm 57 now and very impressed with the younger folks here that have a huge advantage by starting early.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:27 PM   #5
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Re: When did you see the light?

For me it was way before I started working. 1963, first grade. I remember hearing "grown-ups" bitch relentlessly with great anger, and fear about money. I knew it was important. Good to have it. Bad to not have it.

When I started first grade that sealed it. I knew I needed more cotrol over my schedule and itinerary. Doing what mornos and sub-humans and other empty barrels told me what to do was no way to live.

I saved every buck I got for Christmas and birthdays. When I started working full time as an adult at age 18, even at 65 clams a week take-home, it seemed easy. Like "We can do this"
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:39 PM   #6
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Re: When did you see the light?

Hi
I decided about 10 yrs ago, but the first 3 I didnt do all that much. I paid down some debt and was doing the ridiculous 2k in the ira . Where do they get those numbers. At some point I decided to pick up speed. I didnt really look at the early retirement though until I found the richdad forums. Now I am 46 and would like to stop working full time at 50 and be retired at 55.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:39 PM   #7
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 73ss454
I'm 57 now and very impressed with the younger folks here that have a huge advantage by starting early.
Me, too. Now my own kids... one gets it and the other (in a 6 figure income) doesn't.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:43 PM   #8
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Re: When did you see the light?

I went to work for Uncle Sam at age 22. I took a good look at the provisions of the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and realized that I would be eligible for an immediate pension at age 55. I pretty much began to plan then how I could be in a position to actually retire at that age. With no children at that point we easily saved the money for a down payment on our first house. DW stopped working for 9 years when our two children were young. Things were tight on my gov't salary but we LBOM and began building a college fund. I also began small contributions to the TSP (gov't 401k type plan). My parents gave us a modest gift with the recommendation that we put it into a mutual fund that they had been investing in. I took their advice and began learning more about investing. We were helped out quite a bit when my son got a partial athletic scholarship. That freed up a good chunk of savings to go toward our daughter's college costs. Once those expenses were out of the way and with my wife teaching full time we were really able to ramp up retirement savings. We also refinanced our house with a 10 year loan with a view to having no debt when we reached age 55. We beat that by two years.

Looking back it seems like it was pretty easy but living through was not. There were lots of times when I thought we would never get there and that the sacrifices we were making were not worth it. Now I am very glad that we stuck with the plan.

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:46 PM   #9
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Re: When did you see the light?

From youth and listening to parents scraping to make ends meet (I thought that was something for dinner then!). * Got married in my early 20's and began saving as I had married a spender! *When he died 15 years ago and I had debt and 2 little kids to feed, then I got big time religion on savings. *Now, at 51 I have choices... *but pretty much enough to fund a nice life. *
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:48 PM   #10
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Me, too. Now my own kids... one gets it and the other (in a 6 figure income) doesn't.
Rich,

My DD is doing fine, married to a guy who's really bright and saves like crazy.

My DS makes 300K+ and spends like he's drunk. *Won't listen to anything I have to say but they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. *He's 32 and still 15 years younger than I when I woke up. *Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll wake up soon.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:48 PM   #11
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Re: When did you see the light?

I was ~28 and had 30-40K in CC debt when I read The Millionaire Next door, and I realized it was possible for average joe (me) to have enough money to choose to work or not. *Then the book "Your Money or Your Life" cemented the ideas, and I've been saving like crazy ever since.

Took me a few years to pay off the debt, then some lucky stock picks and my networth at 34 is 450K (excluding house) and growing nicely.

-d.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:57 PM   #12
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Re: When did you see the light?

Well, Raztaz beats me...

I did start to save when I was 4... remember being taken to the S&L and them putting my latest deposit in my passbook account...

But, it was when I was 17 that I thought about my future.. and planned that I would retire when I was 55 with $1 million... had a schedule of what I would need to be every year... I did not follow the schedule completly.. I did the asset accumulation stage a bit when younger... but still saved about 10% to 15%... but now am at 40% to 50%... I had hoped I would have been married with kids, but things are looking up in that area now , so in the end I will still retire at 55 (or maybe 54 if a few things happen)..
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:58 PM   #13
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Re: When did you see the light?

I spent my 20's living on credit cards, and pretty much breezed along cluelessly until I got married (mid-30's), which inspired me to get out of debt and stay out. Then along came Mini-Bpp, which scared me into thinking more seriously about the future and investing (classic impending-fatherhood response). Can't really claim to have had it more-or-less together until close to 40.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 09:59 PM   #14
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Re: When did you see the light?

I, as did DW, grew up on a ranch where money was very tight and thus we were very conscious of budgeting from an early age. *We always knew we would not incur any debt except for a mortgage, and we also were motivated to pay that off as quickly as possible (mortgage interest not deductible in Canada). LBYM was the single biggest factor in giving us a head start even though we were not remotely aware of investing in the early years. But we both knew we were going to have to put money away so that we could have a better life than our parents.

My first taste of investing came at 30 yrs of age (1980) when I joined a company with an employee savings plan in which the employer matched $1 for $1 up to 5% of pay. No rocket science to figure out that was free money and thus started to invest in company stock and some fixed income products. *9 years later DW and I had paid off the mortgage and then started to seriously investigate investing with that 'newly freed' cash. *

Invested exclusively into actively managed mutual funds with full service brokers for about 7 years before recognizing the brokers were making too much off us. Started DIY with E*Trade about 1998. *Got even wiser when I discovered financial forums in Canada about year 2000 and then this forum a few years ago. *Basically put together our retirement portfolio in less than 17 years.

So no single major event, but a series of steps on a fairly timely basis.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 10:11 PM   #15
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Re: When did you see the light?

I got it pretty young. My mom and her sisters had this ritual of sending all the kids to the grandparents house for the summer. There I noticed that although my grandfather was 55, he was retired and didn't work. For some strange reason I was really fascinated with his lifestyle of working out and running errands each day. I also was very interested in making money, so the two just kind of jelled together for me at 12 or 13. Fast forward 13 more years and I finally found my niche with real estate and the rest they say is history.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 10:37 PM   #16
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Re: When did you see the light?

The ER spark came to me when I was a teenager. I had seen old people work until they died without enjoying their lives much nor enjoying time with their families. I knew I didn't want to suffer the same fate and I was determined to do something not to go down that same road.

Then while I was watching a Sugar Ray Leonard fight on TV (I think the Leonard-Hearns fight in 1981), the commentator stated how Leonard saved every single dollar he had earned as a pro fighter and would only live on the investment income. I decided then that I was going to try to save as much as I could and try doing the same thing.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-01-2006, 11:05 PM   #17
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
So when did you have your "aha" moment? Not just age, but where in your career were you? What tipped you off?
Around 1995-6, at age 35, it was clear that I wouldn't be promoting past O-4 and that I'd be retiring somewhere between 15-20 years of service.

We'd spent the last 10 years living well below our means and investing. My FIL had just retired and was enjoying life. I was kvetching to my dad about not finding any post-military careers that I cared for and he said "Why do you want to work? Haven't you saved some money?"

Shortly after that I discovered "Your Money Or Your Life" and "The Millionaire Next Door"...
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 12:45 AM   #18
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Re: When did you see the light?

Here's an extract from my intro post that answers the question for me:

Quote:
After 4 years of tasting political BS, I started questioning my definition of "rich and successful" and whether I really wanted to be a "corporate type".

These questions led me to a few life-changing books: The Power of Purpose, Your Money or Your Life, and Cashing in on the American Dream. It was at 25 that I decided FI at 35 would be my new goal and definition of success.
While the questions were already pushing me to seek alternative plans for my life, I remember clearly the moment I discovered the book "Power of Purpose". DW and I worked for the same company and I was waiting for her to finish work since we drove together. I decided to go to the company career center, where they had a small book collection started, to kill the time. I discovered the book and decided to check it out to take it home with me. This book started me down the new path to FI and led me to the other books listed above. Typing this post has inspired me to write a letter to Richard Leider, the author of Power fo Purpose, to let him know what an impact his book has had on my life.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 01:00 AM   #19
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Re: When did you see the light?

I don't thinkI had a moment when I saw the light, but at age 41 I took a job working for Satan. Having never worked for an evil demon from h#ll before, I did not know how to deal with the situation. Over a period of about 2 or 3 years I tried to deal with the Prince of Darkness in various ways before I decided that I needed a change of scenery. As long as I was going to change scenery, I figured I should consider all options. At first, I only considered other careers, but eventually I thought about retirement as an option. The more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. By age 44 I had begun serious retirement planning and retired at age 49. Since then I have taken on a 1/4-time job that allows me to choose which hours, days and weeks I want to work, but I do this without a need for the salary and will stop as soon as it becomes unpleasant.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 01:03 AM   #20
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Re: When did you see the light?

http://wokeuptoday.blogspot.com/2007...le-models.html

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