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Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 02:38 PM   #1
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Attempting to get people to see the light!

Im just wondering if the goal of FIRE is common with people that you know/work with. To me it seems that most people just live paycheck to payckeck. No matter how much they have after all bills are payed they still find ways to spend the rest of the money. THe sad part is most of them have NOTHING to show for the extra money. One of my best friends got a 20K bonus last year and within 3 weeks it was all gone. Its just sad...

Anyway I personally know 2 other people that actually save there money and invest it. That is it. I try and convince others to but it never works. THose new rims for the car always come first.

Is this the situation most people see?
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 03:51 PM   #2
 
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Why bother trying? - The only folks I ever gave advice to, were the ones that asked me. A few did, most did not. They are still working.

This is the main reason that I don't see the Baby Boomers all retiring en masse. Most live from paycheck to paycheck and SS alone will not cut it.

So really you should be glad you are in the minority. Keep the others working and keep Social Secuirty Solvent
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 03:56 PM   #3
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Quote:
Originally Posted by trixs
One of my best friends got a 20K bonus last year and within 3 weeks it was all gone. Its just sad...
I think this is similar to the thread recently on conspicuous consumption and spending of huge bonuses:
http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=4720.0

Conclusion there - Cut-throat says it's all about "balance".

I subscribe to the theory of using money to buy investments rather than "stuff", but in a feeble attempt to play devil's advocate, is it any more sad for someone to spend $20k on a new car than to get $20k and have a heart set on nothing better to buy than more stocks? How fun!

Anyone remember the movie "Brewster's Millions"? (I'm just full of lousy 80s movies...)
He *had* to find a way to blow millions of dollars in order to receive an even bigger payout from his dead relative.

What's that have to do with anything? Eh - just ignore me as I ramble.

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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 05:13 PM   #4
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Quote:
Originally Posted by trixs
Im just wondering if the goal of FIRE is common with people that you know/work with.* To me it seems that most people just live paycheck to payckeck.* No matter how much they have after all bills are payed they still find ways to spend the rest of the money.*
It's gotta be in your blood to RE.

Why would you want other people to RE anyway? Do you know how hard life would be if everyone didn't work?

I hope everyone else works real hard 70 so they can keep buying more stuff. That will keep the economy growing, making companies richer so my stocks and dividends go up, and keep taxes coming into the Treasury so my government bonds and my social security will be more secure.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 05:40 PM   #5
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Quote:
Originally Posted by trixs
Is this the situation most people see?*
Yup, this is the situation I see. Only a few of our friends set aside anything for retirement. I once had a boss who only contributed 2% to his 401K even though we had dollar for dollar matching up to 7%. I couldn't stand to throw away free money like that.

We don't even talk about our FIRE plans with other people anymore. Most people don't even understand what you are saying. I have one friend who "gets it" and thinks our plans are very cool, but even she admits that her identity is to wrapped up in her job to think about retiring early. She is, however, making smart choices to transition to part-time work in about a decade, and I've seen her dump jobs that interfere with the rest of her life. She currently has a low stress job in Europe with plenty of time to travel, so she must be doing something right. Anyway, there's no one else in my life who I feel is even on the same wavelength.

I agree about the balance. We found our balance by putting together a timeline and a plan and figuring out what we needed to save each month to make ER happen. We save exactly that much and feel free to spend everything else. We travel a lot, have an interesting life, eat well, have a few nice things and are set to retire in 12 years at age 43/44. To me, its the best of all worlds - if the plans don't work out exactly we may have to work a few more years, but in the meantime we haven't given much up.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 05:55 PM   #6
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

I would say Yes, most people I know live paycheck to paycheck. Some do so because they don't know any better but most just ignore the future and hope it take care of itself. One guy told me he knew he would work until he died because he just could not save any money. His wife very high maintenance and having lived through that, I really feel sorry for him.

C-T, I also believe that most of the BabyBoomers will retire pretty much on time at age 65. Some will get out early and many will continue past 65 even if it is PT. I asked my brother (56) when he plans on retiring. He gives me this blank look as say 65, why? I just smile and say that I hope he enjoys working those extra 10 years but I don't plan to spend those extra years yoked to a full time job. If I choose to work it will be PT and will be something I want to do rather than need to do. The money will be secondary but will pay for toys and travel.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 07:07 PM   #7
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Quote:
Why would you want other people to RE anyway?* Do you know how hard life would be if everyone didn't work?*

I hope everyone else works real hard 70 so they can keep buying more stuff. That will keep the economy growing, making companies richer so my stocks and dividends go up, and keep taxes coming into the Treasury so my government bonds and my social security will be more secure.
- this is the truth. RE is not very easy.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-13-2005, 10:08 PM   #8
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

My initial urge was not based upon a desire to retire early.* In my 20's I was really trying to figure out who and what I was in the working world.* My saving and investment was actually* driven by a desire for security simply because I saw so many peers get the shaft.. All went well and lo and behold one day I woke up realizing this drive for security would also provide the gift of ER.
The problem for many boomers is that they have not planned for retirement and they are vulnerable for a double whammy when they find out that the plan to keep on working doesn't sit well with the 30 something boss or their heath says no way.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 12:00 AM   #9
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

The goal of FIRE is not common with most of the people I know - but it is not because they are spendthrifts or have a lack of savings. I think it has a lot to do with one or more of the following: 1) Insecurity about making a change in their lives 2) Their identity and self-esteem is directly connected with their career 3) They like their work (or at least not hate it enough to quit) and so don't mind getting paid for something they like to do anyway 4) Their work serves a social purpose as their closest friends are their coworkers and leaving their job would leave a big void in their lives.

I have 2 friends in their mid 60's who could've retired years ago but continue to work full time. One holds a high position with the Federal Govt. and the other is a lawyer/executive. Both earn very high incomes, are very frugal, have their homes paid off, and have considerabe savings and investments. I think both continue to work because they identify closely with their jobs and maintain their sense of self-worth and value from their employment. Sometimes, I think some people feel that once they leave the workforce and are "retired", they have lost their status in life and are "out of the loop". They earn a lot of respect from being a doctor or lawyer or whatever. I also think that it might be hard for some people to walk away from a very high salary, even if their savings are such that they could easily live off the interest and dividends from their considerable savings/investments.

I have a cousin in her 50's who could also retire. She owns high-end rental property, is a prudent saver and investor, and her husband works full-time. She doesn't really need the money but continues to work because she likes structure in her life and her closest friends are people from work.

I don't know if the aforementioned kinds of people are in the minority or not, but it is true that FIRE is not for everyone - and not only because of a lack of money.

I was at the grocery store yesterday and saw either a Time or Newsweek Magazine cover about Ambition, and then quickly perused the article inside as I waited in line. From what I gathered, research seems to indicate that the drive and motivation for material success (ambition) may not only be innate but may also be influenced by family background, family income level, parent's expectations, etc. The article highlighted people like Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Tiger Woods, Jennifer Lopez, Bill Clinton, etc. An interesting read.

I think the FIRE people on this board can be considered somewhat "ambitious", but only up to a certain point! Then, we are willing to "let our guards down", forget about being competitive, and turn into aimless drifters who are willing to have any kind of fun at the drop of a hat. Just kidding. Just kidding.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 08:30 AM   #10
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Just like discussing salary, I've learned over the years not to get too talkative about my lusting for FIRE. Some people try to shoot you down as foolish (you're too young, what'll you do all day, be productive DAMMIT and all the other cliches), others get jealous, while others start planning an agenda to fill all this free time you're supposedly going to have.

My co-worker is convinced that she's going to retire early. Her plan? She's a good christian and she knows she's saved and God is going to give her what she deserves. : I want to be there when she kneels down and hold out her hands just as a flock of pigeons flies overhead! I think she's also counting on a big inheritance. Now I'll admit that I could come into a pretty big one myself, but I'm not devoting my whole life to waiting for it. In fact, I'm planning as if I'm NOT going to get it, because you just never know. Anything could happen, like a horrible illness, or anything else that pops up unexpectedly.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 08:50 AM   #11
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Tons of people at my work retire at 55, and except for this board, that's considered early to most. In addition, anybody who works past 62 is considered kooky because the retirement bennies are so good here.

I have tried and failed to get people to see the ER light, I don't discuss it any more. Why are people grossly overweight when they know it's killing them? Why do they smoke? Why does the guy down the hall still eat crap despite almost losing his foot to diabetes?

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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 09:17 AM   #12
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

I'm not sure about your experience level, but I have learned that if you see a person kneeling under a flock of pigeons you may not want to be there.* But, if you must, at least refrain from looking up and saying Oh wOw, lOOk.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 09:52 AM   #13
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
My initial urge was not based upon a desire to retire early.* In my 20's I was really trying to figure out who and what I was in the working world.* My saving and investment was actually*driven by a desire for security simply because I saw so many peers get the shaft.. All went well and lo and behold one day I woke up realizing this drive for security would also provide the gift of ER.
Agreed. Although the first half of my 20s was spent in graduate school, the second half was my first foray into the high-pressure working world of a private practice attorney. Accompanying my entry was approximately $100k in student loans, along with a sluggish economy that hadn't yet encountered the dot-com boom. Having experienced a bad economy after graduating college (i.e. the early-90s), I didn't fall prey to the temptations of the dot-com legal world. The dot-coms quickly became dot-bombs, and lawyers around me were being laid off left and right from the large firms. My frugality was a great hedge in those days, even though I didn't need to ultimately tap my savings. Today, my savings is beginning to grow, albeit slowly this year.

Quote:
The problem for many boomers is that they have not planned for retirement and they are vulnerable for a double whammy when they find out that the plan to keep on working doesn't sit well with the 30 something boss or their health says no way.
I think the latter is more likely than the former.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 10:09 AM   #14
 
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

There are some spendthrifts who could change if you sat down with them and showed them the advantages of being thrifty, saving, and retiring early. But there's no way to identify them ahead of time, so you're usually just wasting your time.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 10:12 AM   #15
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Retired early this year at age 54. *Most of my friends would like to RE but haven't had the discipline to work, save, invest and plan. *I try not to talk about my retiree life too much because it may sound like bragging. *Every once in awhile someone will jab me about being retired and FI. *I just tell them while they were out partying on weekends and holidays that I spent the last 30+ years working swing shift and many overtime hours in order to get where I am at. *That usually ends the FIRE conversation. *Sad fact is, most people don't plan, save, invest for the future and as a result end up still being in debt well into their 50s. *Personally I think they lack both the interest and discipline and are satisfied working their life away. *
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 10:45 AM   #16
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

I see first hand how hard it is to give advice to people. I manage the 401k here and it just drives me crazy when they turn down the 401k option. My latest line is " So you're going to turn down money the company gives you for free?" That makes them stop and listen, next I tell them that if they put 4% of their pay in the 401k that we match 25% of it, give the $100/$25 example to reinforce it. Even then I still have people that say no thanks and I'm not just talking kids here either.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 11:53 AM   #17
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

A lot of folks have the notion that someday their ship will come in, or maybe they'll win the lottery. Meanwhile, there's plenty of pressure out there to spend your pay on all kinds of things like houses, cars, etc. Self sacrifice is going to be a hard sell to someone who's just biding their time until fortune smiles upon them.

Then there's the people with a financial consience, but they trick themselves into not saving. Once someone has conviced themselves that they "need" a fancy car to impress clients (for example), how do you tell them that they are wrong?

Mind you, I'm talking about youngsters, people under 40. I'd be wasting my time trying to convince someone older about early retirement. If I were 45 and had no retirement savings, even if I gave it my best shot I'd be hard-pressed to achieve FI within 20 years. Even more so, because if I'd made it to 45 without saving, I'd have a pretty deep hole to dig out of!
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 12:17 PM   #18
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Regarding - Attempting to get people to see the light!

"Don't try to teach a pig how to sing...
It just wastes your time and it irritates the pig ! "
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 03:17 PM   #19
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

In 43 years of working, I cannot remember anyone discussing retiring prior to age 55. Some of the military did retire by staying in 30 years, retiring and not getting a civilian job, but I don't know if that was by choice or just coincidence.

In the U.S., people are admired for being workaholics; they're admired for working into their 70s and 80s. Haven't heard of anyone being commended cause he/she just quit in their 40s. And today, with the millions of aging baby boomers, media news stories mostly talk about a longer working life, not the reverse.
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!
Old 11-14-2005, 04:05 PM   #20
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Re: Attempting to get people to see the light!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
In 43 years of working, I cannot remember anyone discussing retiring prior to age 55.* Some of the military did retire by staying in 30 years, retiring and not getting a civilian job, but I don't know if that was by choice or just coincidence.*

In the U.S., people are admired for being workaholics; they're admired for working into their 70s and 80s.* Haven't heard of anyone being commended cause he/she just quit in their 40s. And today, with the millions of aging baby boomers, media news stories mostly talk about a longer working life, not the reverse.
It's that Puritan work ethic that's come back to bite us in the a$$.

Then again, that same Puritan work ethic has allowed the U.S. to stay at the economic and technological forefront for quite a few years...
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