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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-04-2004, 04:04 AM   #21
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

My wife and I passed 100K in net worth (about 65K in retirement savings) about the beginning of this year; our average age is 32. We're building faster than that suggests though because we're late out of the gate since we both have graduate degrees, thus causing delays getting us into the work force. My grad degree is paying for itself though cause i'm pretty sure it is a main reason i outcompeted others for the GS-12 job i have now.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-05-2004, 02:05 PM   #22
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

It seems like graduate school is a necessary evil these days, delaying one's ability to save money for FIRE from early-20s going forward. At the same time, certain graduate degrees can lead to increased pay, sometimes double that of the average college graduate, making it a worthwhile investment of 2-3 years post-undergrad. Any delay in saving money for FIRE is quickly made up, along with the gains associated with time in the market. Yet the key is determining which graduate degrees are worthwhile invesments, and which ones aren't.

I'd like to think that the average couple can hit $100k by 32, assuming both had 5-7 years of working to save money. As a single guy, I hit that mark at 30, and tripled it by 34. If and when I get married to my longtime girlfriend (who I already call my "better half" since she's in the financial planning industry ) I'm sure that between the two of us we'll have $500k. At that point in time, we may scale back our aggressive savings in order to afford a few luxuries (possibly including kids), and allow the money already saved to just sit in the market and grow.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-05-2004, 04:05 PM   #23
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

How'd you triple by 34? I'm 28 and should cross the $100 K mark by March 2005.... :-/

Nice job btw....good luck on your "other half" 8)

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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-05-2004, 05:37 PM   #24
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

That's excellent guys. I benefited from a rather nice sum of money from a life insurance policy to explain at lot of how i am where i am. If you guys are at that figure with no outliers like me, you're doing great.

Granted, i would have a whole lot more had i not decided to dump it in aggressive growth funds in the late 90s. I lived and learned. Or did I (i'm still in aggressive growth)?

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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-05-2004, 06:20 PM   #25
 
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

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How'd you triple by 34? * *I'm 28 and should cross the $100 K mark by March 2005.... *:-/

Nice job btw....good luck on your "other half" * 8)

TD *
I don't know exactly, other than by aggressively saving 40% of my gross pay, which has increased reasonably well in the past 4 years. Another factor might be the fact that I met my girlfriend in 2001, which may explain everything. She did get me back on track in terms of figuring out which companies I should DCA into, and which losers I should dump, having tried and failed at investing on my own through e*trade.

If I didn't live in a luxury apartment complex throwing my money away on rent, I could probably have had $500k including home equity by now if I had bought a house in 2000 or 2001. Were that the case, I would have planned on FIRE by age 40 or so with $1MM or so in total assets. I wouldn't have stopped working, of course, but I would have most definitely scaled back my work in favor of activities I've sacrificed for my career.

Overall, I don't think I'm doing too bad, and will probably be on track to hit FIRE by 45 or so. Then again, I've toyed with starting my own company in order to accelerate things (and get some nice tax breaks).

By the way, nice work on being able to hit $100k at age 28 or so. 8) That's 2 years faster than me, and if the market cooperates, I don't see why you can't hit $200k+ by age 34.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-06-2004, 09:10 AM   #26
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

hmmm... i think i hit 100K last fall... but of course i don't own a home, furnature, or really much else for that matter except for a car... i'll pick that stuff up after i graduate. so i guess i made it a little while after my 20th birthday. i'm up to around 130k now, so i'm just hoping things keep going well with my equities. had i not had the benefits of some phenominal small-cap pics, i'd probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20k-30k right now.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-06-2004, 09:37 AM   #27
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

Gee, and I thought I was doing well debt free with $68k at 34. I do have a vested non-COLA pension, though; so far I've been discounting it but just received a statement estimating $900+ per month.

It'd probably cost the insurance company around $20k to replace all the stuff in my apartment and another few thousand for the car, but it's certainly not worth that if I were to sell it all.

Now I just got debt free, so I expect my savings to increase quickly from here on out unless I get married and/or have a kid.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-06-2004, 09:37 AM   #28
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

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hmmm... i think i hit 100K last fall... but of course i don't own a home, furnature, or really much else for that matter except for a car... i'll pick that stuff up after i graduate. *so i guess i made it a little while after my 20th birthday. *i'm up to around 130k now, so i'm just hoping things keep going well with my equities. *had i not had the benefits of some phenominal small-cap pics, i'd probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20k-30k right now.
If you're not even 20 and have $130K in net worth, you are in fantastic financial shape. I found that after I hit $100K when I was 28 it just got easier to get to $200K and even easier to get to $300K. I'm at $500K now and hope to be at $900K by age 40.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-06-2004, 12:21 PM   #29
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

I just hit $100k at age 28. Here's my story:

Graduated and started work at 21. Back then I wasn't familiar with ER concepts, and only had the 401k set to 6%. Needless to say I've corrected that and am maxing it out ($13000). So even with a slow start I was able to get where I am now...mostly by realizing that my quick growth in salary wasn't really needed. That is, I was happy in my current lifestyle and rather than change something by throwing money into it, I used the extra income to increase my savings rate or pay off debt (car). For some reason delayed gratification comes easily to me, unlike most people it seems. I'm up to a savings rate of 40% now, for the first time.

With such a high savings rate I should easily double to $200k at age 31, unless the markets go down (a lot)!

By looking at straight $$, ER is projected at age 40 at the earliest; easily at age 45. However, that projection leaves out details like where is the income going to come from if most of my savings are locked up in 401k/IRA. Some of it is now going into taxable accounts...but by age 40 will that be enough to carry me to age 59.5? I don't know. Perhaps adding withdrawal of the Roth IRA contributions plus the "substantially equals payments" option will be enough.

I'm also lucky enough to have a "portable pension" that I can take as a lump sum at any time I leave my employer. Currently that's worth about $15k, after 6.5 years.

As for the grad school thing...this is my first semester in it. Mostly I'm doing it because my employer pays for it 100%. I don't think it is necessary in my field but is generally a "good thing" to have and does help to keep advancing (in responsibility, status, pay, promotions).

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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-07-2004, 07:28 PM   #30
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

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Now I just got debt free, so I expect my savings to increase quickly from here on out unless I get married and/or have a kid.
Marriage can be an advantage for building NW if both are working. My net was just crossing the 100K marker as a singleton in 2002. After marriage, and combining our assets, we were over 200K , and now over 300K. To me, kids are the wildcard.

BTW- Congrats on debt free. That is a *huge* milestone. I wanted to be clear of debt before getting married and remember the relief and joy of feeling free. After that the subsequent next milestones, 100K, 200K, etc will seem to be on a more accelerated pace.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-07-2004, 08:47 PM   #31
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

i hope that after i graduate i get as fine a salary as many of you guys in your late 20s are making. what would you say has been the key to getting paid so well, grades, people skills, being the company's slave...? i think i'd rather be a salve for a while than an indentured servant for a very long time.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-07-2004, 09:24 PM   #32
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

Butt kissing, competence, covering your backside, butt kissing, knowing the political landscape and staying out of the crossfire, get and keep a good manager that watches out for you, butt kissing, maintaining a good positive and friendly attitude at all times, knowing exactly how and why you are measured on your performance appraisals and gaming that system to the hilt.

Oh yeah,and some butt kissing doesnt hurt.

I never went to college, and had no good college grades, and as a first, second and third line manager I dont remember ever caring much about where someone went to school, what their gpa was, and I dont recall any other manager using that as any kind of metric. Unless we were hiring interns.

Being the company slave? I dont think that matters much either. I saw a lot of guys work 70 hours a week get passed over for promos and big raises in favor of the guy who had marketed himself well within the company, been well supported by the manager, had positive exposure to a broad range of other managers, and who had the good buzz wordy accomplishments that played well in the annual review cycle. A couple of those guys might have pulled 30 hours of actual office time in a week.

I think one of the keys for me early in my career was taking on the crappiest tasks or jobs nobody else wanted to do, and doing a good visible job at them while smiling. I kept that up through most of my career...I'd always take on the employee nobody else wanted, fix the group of wild angry people who all wanted to quit, take on the product that everybody thought was radioactive, work on the programs that everyone felt needed to be done but nobody wanted to do. Of course, I "fixed" the "bad" employee, turned the angry department into top performers, and cranked out great results on the products, projects and programs I took over. Doing a bad job or failing at a bad project isnt a plus. A few years into my last job I was told that I was viewed by many of the senior staff as a "troubleshooter that gets it done". Perfect.

I always told my new employees that the people who would succeed would be widely known, but not necessarily well known. The very best is to have 20-30 managers around the local organization respond to a question about you as "Yeah I know him, he's a good guy...helped me with xx or fixed that yy project that was out of control". More isnt necessarily good. Invisibility is very bad.

Write down all of your accomplishments. Even small ones, they can aggregate nicely when you submit your review at the end of the year.

Be reachable and responsive to everyone in your management chain. When they're on their 5th call to get an answer or some help, and you're the only one who answers...big plus.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-08-2004, 05:58 AM   #33
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

I don't think anyone mentioned this yet, but if you go work for a company, butt kissing is also very important.

The only reason I made any money is because I started my own business after college. I don't think I can ever bend enough to kiss my own butt, and I've told people that work for me that butt kissing is not allowed.

Even if you decide to have a "boss" I would highly recommend that you at least start a side business for yourself. Find something you enjoy and/or have a talent doing and turn it into a business. You may be surprised how quickly that business will take off if you are good at what you do.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-08-2004, 06:51 AM   #34
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

FWIW, I never was a very good butt-kisser and I continue to struggle with this issue. However, I have had some success by running my career as if I were an independent contractor. What do I mean by this?

- Remember that you are running a business and that you owe your client a duty of care and good service, but that's it. Loyalty does not exist. They will sell you down the river if it will push the stock up a quarter of a point, so behave accordingly.

- Pay attention to what skills are demanded in the marketplace and invest accordingly. Even better if you can invest in skills that will pay off for you personally in addition to advancing your business. In my case, an MBA in finance and accounting makes me very marketable, but also helps me be a better investor.

- Don't be shy about marketing to new clients. If headhunters are calling you or classmates/peers are moving around, it probably means that other employers are willing to pay more than you are getting now. That doesn't automatically mean you should bail, but it pays to keep an ear to the ground and know the market for your skills.

- Sine you are running a business, pay attention to the balance sheet in addition to the income statement. You wouldn't buy stock in a company with too much debt or lots of questionable assets. Treat your business the same.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-08-2004, 11:58 AM   #35
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

I think you just hit on why I dont own many hats

Brewer...good advice, but couple of things. If your company feels you are loyal (even though I agree they generally show you none), you are better perceived. Perception is everything. Also, feeling good about your place of work, who they are and what they do improves ones sense of fulfillment in the work. A mercenary attitude helps when things go south or when better opportunities present, but it may not be as fulfilling.

I've been away from my job for about 4 years now. I still bristle a little when someone says something bad about them and I start formulating competitive strategies when I see other companies product release information. Granted they had some dumb people and did some dumb things, and probably would have sold me up the river for a quarter point stock boost...but in general it was a good place and I felt like an important part of it. That was an enriching improvement in my life, not just a paycheck for hire.

On the other hand, I ran like hell and never looked back the moment I noticed I was FI...

It all comes down to that perception thing though...broad based recognition of you as a product, and that recognition containing "reliable, strong, approachable, persistent, versatile, reasonable, positive, capable".

So in line with Brewers thinking, you have to create a brand, advertise it, create name recognition, strong brand identity, and make sure the product fulfills the expectations. Although honestly, when push comes to shove, that last part isnt as important as the first parts.

I was never so proud as when I heard one senior manager remark to another over a cube wall "We have to get some more H's into this organization". I was the "kleenex" of employees.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-08-2004, 12:49 PM   #36
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

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I think you just hit on why I dont own many hats

Brewer...good advice, but couple of things. *If your company feels you are loyal (even though I agree they generally show you none), you are better perceived. *Perception is everything. *Also, feeling good about your place of work, who they are and what they do improves ones sense of fulfillment in the work. *A mercenary attitude helps when things go south or when better opportunities present, but it may not be as fulfilling.

I've been away from my job for about 4 years now. *I still bristle a little when someone says something bad about them and I start formulating competitive strategies when I see other companies product release information. *Granted they had some dumb people and did some dumb things, and probably would have sold me up the river for a quarter point stock boost...but in general it was a good place and I felt like an important part of it. *That was an enriching improvement in my life, not just a paycheck for hire.

.
I must just be wired differently, because I have never, ever felt that way about an employer/job. As far as I am concerned, I might get along with and genuinely like a group of people who I work with, but that doesn't mean that any of this loyalty nonsense extends as far as the organization goes. Maybe its just that I've never been offered a job where I had enough of a stake in things that I would care. All this "enriching" stuff, well, that only applies to the comp as far as I am concerned. I can't get past the fact that they will take you out and shoot you when it is convenient for them.

I would agree that you would want to appear to be a good underling. Letting my true feelings out of the bag has cost me upon occasion.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-08-2004, 01:35 PM   #37
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

I guess its an outgrowth of the same mechanism that makes you get out of bed and do stuff every day, with the knowledge that you're gonna drop dead some day anyhow.

Maybe its just that I always tried to instill and foster bidirectional loyalty between my staff and myself, and with my immediate managers.

In the few instances I've had untrusty managers who I knew had my best interests WAY down on their priority list. I transferred or took another job pronto. Thats just too toxic a situation to remain in.

Building those trust relationships is hard work, and sticking up for your people and your manager results in a lot more arrows in YOUR chest. But to me it was worth it in the long haul and had a lot of positive benefits. Every time I went out for cocktails with a crowd from work, people from other groups would actively try to get me to hire them...so picking up good people for open jobs was never a problem. A lot of people took arrow for me on occasion. And I never had anyone quit or transfer out of my department. I only had to fire a guy once, and I did that because he lived an hour and a half away and a customer of mine that was local to him wanted to hire him, but couldnt hire him "away" from us contractually.

Trust and loyalty (to a degree) can be very useful tools.
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-08-2004, 04:59 PM   #38
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

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i hope that after i graduate i get as fine a salary as many of you guys in your late 20s are making. *what would you say has been the key to getting paid so well, grades, people skills, being the company's slave...? *i think i'd rather be a salve for a while than an indentured servant for a very long time.
I've seen plenty of folks make it on superior butt kissing skills. Personally, I have a very strong aversion to the practice. I have to admit I did work like a slave to compensate for my lack of people and butt kissing skills. I am also lousy at hiding my thoughts so I have to get good at what I do to stay off the shaft list.

Grades are mostly irrelavent outside of trying to apply to graduate school. Poor grades can possibly lock you out of an interview with some high profile companies, but if you can get an interview, it isn't a factor in salary negotiation.

PeopleSkills are extremly important. Know your audience. Know what is important to the person on the other side of the desk, be it your boss, your customer, a potential customer. You dont have to like them, kiss up to them, etc... just know what drives them and have all the influence you need.

Manage and nuture your own career. Don't wait for some "mentor" to show you the ropes. Take initiative to go for what you want. Read as much as you can, stay informed, keep written goals, and focus on those activities that help you achieve your goals.

Negotiate your salary well up front. This is VERY VERY important-- it is an uphill battle to recover. I know-- I had to learn that lesson first hand. I did not make that mistake again.

Know what you are worth and demand it. Do not settle for, "I can always ask for a raise after I have proven myself". All your subsequent raises and bonus are a precentage of current salary. If you get low balled coming in the door your options are not pretty. You either have to find a new employer or you have to make a fuss to get the salary adjustments. Even if you get an adjustment, they are never retroactive... significant opportunity lost.

An additional, and a significant factor for me was timing. I got out of school and a really good time, and made a series of decisions that took me down a path clear of mines. And while you can't control timing, you should remember that good timing doesn't do any good if you are not prepared. Hard work will prepare you to recognize and be in a position to jump on the right opportunites.

Good Luck out there!
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings
Old 11-08-2004, 09:52 PM   #39
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Re: Age To Hit $100 K in Savings

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i hope that after i graduate i get as fine a salary as many of you guys in your late 20s are making. *what would you say has been the key to getting paid so well, grades, people skills, being the company's slave...? *i think i'd rather be a salve for a while than an indentured servant for a very long time.
This doesn't speak directly to your question about making big money, but it will provide another way to look at it. I took an entirely different path to ER. I never made as much as $50,000 annually at my job - ever. My wife worked part-time, out of our home, and the most she has ever made was $21,000. I had offers to make more and turned them down. There were advantages to that path:

--I was able to work in a career that enabled me to help people who were hurting. What I did mattered, and now that I'm ERd I'm grateful for that. I didn't fully appreciate that when I was working.
--I was able to work four 10-hour days (three day weekends) for almost my entire career.
--I was able to live in a small, safe, low cost-of-living town, with good schools. I lived 5 minutes from my office. I had lunch at home, with my wife, almost every day.
--I had several weeks of vacation annually.
--I never worked in a cubicle. I had an office with a door, and big windows overlooking manicured grounds and trees. I parked next to my office door - for free.
--I wasn't forced to travel. In 30 years of employment, I was only away from home overnight maybe 5 nights.
--I was able to be there for my kids.
--I had enough free time to write, get published, and develop connections that I can tap later if I decide to do more.
--I never kissed butt - I was able to keep my dignity intact. That probably cost me, but I achieved my goals nonetheless.
--I was never in a position where I was expected to manipulate, back-stab, con someone into doing something that wasn't in their best interests, or violate my principles in any way. I was able to retire at age 51 with my integrity intact, and that was (and is) valuable to me.

Toward the end of my career we were saddled with a new, inexperienced, incompetent management team, but that can happen anywhere. It was miserable for everyone. Fortunately, I didn't have to live with that for very long (about three years) because we had been saving aggressively. It took us 13 years of saving and investing before I pulled the plug. We did receive an inheritance that enabled us to cut off about 3 years. Without it I would have retired at 54 with roughly the same amount, or at 55 with more than we have now.

The point I'm trying to make is that school teachers, social workers, nurses, firemen, and other relatively low paid people can ER if they choose to do so. Making big bucks is probably the best way, but not the only way.
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Old 11-09-2004, 12:04 AM   #40
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I took an entirely different path to ER.
If I was starting over again, I'd do it your way!

I worked for some great bosses and heroic warriors, but those memories don't make me smile. I worked for some real world-class jerks, too, but I've forgiven them. I'm especially forgiving of the senior officers who retired before I did yet are still working.

The memories that keep me smiling are the ones where I was able to help the people who worked with/for me. Show your troops their jobs, train them, clear a few obstacles out of the way (especially upper management), and stand back. And I don't have to rely on those memories, because years later I'm still getting e-mails or phone calls to say "Thanks..."
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