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Old 11-30-2007, 05:10 PM   #61
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You want to get by on one salary? Live in a real 50s size house. Have your children share bedrooms. Get by with one car that you drive for 10-15 years. Get your TV (and children's clothes, tools, books, etc) from rummage sales. Don't bother with cable. Cook from scratch.
That's pretty close to how I live.

I have an *actual* 1950's 3 bed, 1 bath ranch. One kid. My pickup truck is 9 years old and will last another 10 years easy. I cook from scratch.

My spreadsheet tells me that I'm paying $70,000 a year to sustain this lifestyle. $20,000 of that is income tax (including SS, medicare).

I'd say more, but I have to go cook the perogies.
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:25 PM   #62
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A little more context on how great the world was for the baby boomers---

In the 1960s up to the early 70s, many male baby boomers got drafted into an unpopular war. Approximately 58,000 US forces were killed in the war with more than 150,000 wounded in action.

In the 1970s and 80s the job market, at least in my part of the country, stunk big time, especially following the crash of the steel industry. My city went from over 100,000 in population to about 75,000.

After years of relatively low inflation, inflation skyrocketed in the 70s. Watergate started years of cynicism about government.
A couple of oil crises didn't help. Recession time.

Houses may have been cheap, but in my community loans were difficult to come by. Our first house didn't cost a lot in today's terms, but the interest rate was 14%. And we couldn't afford a house until we were in our 30s. The kind of house we bought after I started at my law firm is nothing like the kind of house new lawyers at my law firm are willing to settle for now. We also pay them a lot more than what I first made, even accounting for inflation.

But, in this pre-aids world, the sex was good and the rock and roll could not be beat.


Every generation has its struggles and the future is always uncertain.
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:47 AM   #63
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A little more context on how great the world was for the baby boomers---

In the 1960s up to the early 70s, many male baby boomers got drafted into an unpopular war. Approximately 58,000 US forces were killed in the war with more than 150,000 wounded in action.

In the 1970s and 80s the job market, at least in my part of the country, stunk big time, especially following the crash of the steel industry. My city went from over 100,000 in population to about 75,000.

After years of relatively low inflation, inflation skyrocketed in the 70s. Watergate started years of cynicism about government.
A couple of oil crises didn't help. Recession time.

Houses may have been cheap, but in my community loans were difficult to come by. Our first house didn't cost a lot in today's terms, but the interest rate was 14%. And we couldn't afford a house until we were in our 30s. The kind of house we bought after I started at my law firm is nothing like the kind of house new lawyers at my law firm are willing to settle for now. We also pay them a lot more than what I first made, even accounting for inflation.

But, in this pre-aids world, the sex was good and the rock and roll could not be beat.


Every generation has its struggles and the future is always uncertain.
Well said. This is really the way it was, at least from my perspective.
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:41 PM   #64
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Nicely put Martha!

I'd also point out that many of the problems, such as job out-sourcing, that Gen X'ers are experiencing, are also simultaneous problems for the Boomers. The two groups overlap in the job market. Most X'ers are now working and suffer the consequences of the economy. Most Boomers are now (still) working and suffer the consequences of the economy. But when the Boomer gets laid off due to out-sourcing, he/she is in his/her 50's, is dealt a tough blow losing that DBP pension or not yet vested retiree health plan coverage late in life with no time to recover, and struggles to start a new career as a geezer.

While neither situation was fun, I think the layoffs and other economic problems I suffered in my 20's were easier to overcome than if the same things would have happened in my 50's.

This ball could be batted back and forth forever. The generations career periods overlap and whether the pros or cons are more beneficial or detrimental to one group or the other can be debated endlessly.
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:15 AM   #65
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I'd also point out that many of the problems, such as job out-sourcing, that Gen X'ers are experiencing, are also simultaneous problems for the Boomers. The two groups overlap in the job market. Most X'ers are now working and suffer the consequences of the economy. Most Boomers are now (still) working and suffer the consequences of the economy.
Makes sense to me.

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But when the Boomer gets laid off due to out-sourcing, he/she is in his/her 50's, is dealt a tough blow losing that DBP pension or not yet vested retiree health plan coverage late in life with no time to recover, and struggles to start a new career as a geezer. While neither situation was fun, I think the layoffs and other economic problems I suffered in my 20's were easier to overcome than if the same things would have happened in my 50's.
All other things being equal, someone in their 50's is definitely going to have a more difficult time recovering from job loss than a person in their 20's or 30's. On the other hand, the 50+ person (presumably) has their house paid off, (presumably) has some savings to fall back on, and typically will be entitled to a larger severance package. So it should be more or less a 'wash'.

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This ball could be batted back and forth forever. The generations career periods overlap and whether the pros or cons are more beneficial or detrimental to one group or the other can be debated endlessly.
Agreed. And it is a somewhat pointless debate (kinda like arguing over who has the uglier spouse ... why would you want to win that argument?).
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:38 AM   #66
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But, in this pre-aids world, the sex was good and the rock and roll could not be beat.
I can relate to the music but not the sex....too young.............
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This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:26 PM   #67
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I can relate to the music but not the sex....too young.............
Don't sweat it...the music has changed, but the sex is the same.
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:24 PM   #68
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After reading a number of these forums, I pretty much believe and very few of us "Generation Xers" are ever going to "retire". To be honest, I believe in retirement as much as I believe in Santa Claus.

I spend just about every dollar I make in bills, food, stuff for kids, etc that there is no place I stop paying for to "save" for retirement. To be honest, I am sick of hearing the word "save". It sounds like the word "f-ck" to me.

On the subject of an earlier post of a person in his 50s being laid off with no time to recover, it is not better for the 20 or 30 somethings. I am 32 now and back in 2003 to 2005, I was out of work for 18 1/2 months. I just this year finally got a stable non-contracting position and I will stick with it until they decide to fire me again where it just starts all over. Needless to say, I have not recovered and now I am worse off. I have a mid 450s credit scores, many charge-offs, and no money to file bankruptcy. Even though I qualify for a chapter 7, the cheapest lawyer I found wants $3700 in advance. He might as well ask me for a $1 million in gold bars. I am going to let a car get repo'ed so I can buy a used vehicle I can own outright.

Since our neocon friends stole bankruptcy and forced us into this 401k scam that pushes everyone into the stock market ponzi scheme, I certainly hope a future generation sets up some kind of program for indigents in their 70s and 80s who are broke and unable to work.

I suspect I (and millions of others) will need it.

America is a sham unfortunately, and most people never see it for the sham it is until they have no money. Money = Life in this country.
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:35 PM   #69
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After reading a number of these forums, I pretty much believe and very few of us "Generation Xers" are ever going to "retire". To be honest, I believe in retirement as much as I believe in Santa Claus.

I spend just about every dollar I make in bills, food, stuff for kids, etc that there is no place I stop paying for to "save" for retirement. To be honest, I am sick of hearing the word "save". It sounds like the word "f-ck" to me.

Since our neocon friends stole bankruptcy and forced us into this 401k scam that pushes everyone into the stock market ponzi scheme, I certainly hope a future generation sets up some kind of program for indigents in their 70s and 80s who are broke and unable to work. I suspect I will need it.
Robert, welcome to the forum. Since you don't believe you will ever retire, much less retire early, why are you here? Whatever the reason, always nice to have another hard working young person with a positive outlook on life join us.
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:47 PM   #70
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$3700 for a bankruptcy? What part of the country do they charge that much? NY? CA?
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:48 PM   #71
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RIO,
Sorry you believe you are being treated unfairly by the system. A little free advice (which is often worth just what you pay for it): Work every day to find something good about your life and to slowly let go of the bitterness. I don't expect you to believe it, but you have more opportunities, in this location and in this time, than 99% of humanity has ever had. Really. Sounds like you've had a rough time over the last couple of years, but 90% of what happens from this point on is in your hands, not some amorphous external oppressive force. Look around, find someone worse off with which to compare your lot, and then dig in for the adventure. If you really want to feel good, help someone who has less than you do. If you let things happen to you rather than taking control of things, the picture won't get any better.

All trite, but all true.
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Old 12-14-2007, 01:51 PM   #72
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After reading a number of these forums, I pretty much believe very few of us "Generation Xers" are ever going to "retire"....

I spend just about every dollar I make in bills, food, stuff for kids, etc. that there is no place I stop paying for to "save" for retirement. To be honest, I am sick of hearing the word "save". It sounds like the word "f-ck" to me....

Since our neocon friends stole bankruptcy and forced us into this 401k scam that pushes everyone into the stock market ponzi scheme, I certainly hope a future generation sets up some kind of program for indigents in their 70s and 80s who are broke and unable to work. I suspect I (and millions of others) will need it.

America is a sham unfortunately, and most people never see it for the sham it is until they have no money. Money = Life in this country.
Delightful! Thanks for sharing.

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To be honest, I believe in retirement as much as I believe in Santa Claus.
Then you'll probably also want to contribute to this site: Write Santa Claus Christmas Letters.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:08 PM   #73
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What I was trying to point out is America does not work for everyone. I know homeless people here eat better out of the trash dumpsters than the rest of the 3rd world, but that does not mean life is better here. You do not see 3rd world people in Africa screwing each other over for jobs or percentages, because none of that exists there. Maybe what the rich have created for us here was a bad idea after all.

Sorry to be a kill joy, but I think retirement is going the way of the dodo , and unfortunately, it will take an entire generation of people starving to death in America in their 70s and 80s before it is realized the 401k/stock market ponzi retire scheme is a failure. If you do not believe me, ask someone who worked for Enron.

I'll never put on dollar I earn in a stock market or real estate. I'd rather be homeless and hungry than lose everything I worked for over my life in a stock market, just so I can die in an office cubicle anyway.

America & Capitalism are frauds. They just are.

Look at the threads on owning renter properties. How do you think those renters are doing? I am renter. I do not know property nor have I have ever so I can pretty much guess how those people are doing.

If you gamed the system and have millions, you have my congratulations. GOOD JOB! But unfortunately, America does not work for everybody and some people are just destined to be worker bees for their entire lives. Maybe I will luck my way into a pension, or win a lottery and come out ok.

OH! I forgot to add that in Chapter 13 bankruptcies, the lawyers fee are divided over the payments, in a Chapter 7, the lawyer wants the fee up front.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:38 PM   #74
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There are several good studies on the impact of beliefs concerning "external vs internal causation" and happiness. People who believe they are responsible and largely in control of their destiny are happier than people who believe that things just happen to them and luck drives outcomes. It also appears that the a belief in internal causation is predictive of better outcomes (higher pay, better health, more internal satisfaction with their life). IIRC, the studies were longitudinal and appeared to indicate that a belief in internal causation resulted in these better outcomes, rather than the outcomes causing the beliefs (I'm doing well, therefore I must be smart" or "I'm doing poorly, the system is keeping me down.")

It's easy to identify beliefs in external vs internal causation by looking at the word choices in a post like RIO's.

In large part, America "works" for those who "work." The reference to African/third world systems and fairness is funny. I'd urge anyone who thinks the US system is "dog eat dog" to spend a year in a third world country. Yes, the poor are often kind to each other and there is often a close sense of community, but the kind of ingrained structures to keep the poor in that state are much more prevalent in those countries than in the US.

In the words of a sage man (RAH), (paraphrasing) "Of course the game is rigged! Don't let that stop you. If you don't play, you can't win."
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:44 PM   #75
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Thank you for your explanatory follow-up post.

I am sorry that things seem bleak for you. Whether that is because of personal choices, matters entirely beyond your control, or a bit of both, I don't know. In any case, it isn't much fun to be poor.

If Enron is the sole sample, then yes I agree capitalism appears entirely corrupt. But that is like saying "all dog owers are cruel people: just look at Michael Vick". There are a huge number of legitimate publicly traded companies that have conducted themselves properly and have made their shareholders weathly.

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I'll never put on dollar I earn in a stock market or real estate. I'd rather be homeless and hungry than lose everything I worked for over my life in a stock market, just so I can die in an office cubicle anyway.... Maybe I will luck my way into a pension, or win a lottery and come out ok.
We all make our own decisions regarding such matters. Perhaps you will find empathy and encouragement for your plan in other quarters. But I don't think many people on this forum will agree.
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:00 PM   #76
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There are several good studies on the impact of beliefs concerning "external vs internal causation" and happiness. People who believe they are responsible and largely in control of their destiny are happier than people who believe that things just happen to them and luck drives outcomes. It also appears that the a belief in internal causation is predictive of better outcomes (higher pay, better health, more internal satisfaction with their life). IIRC, the studies were longitudinal and appeared to indicate that a belief in internal causation resulted in these better outcomes, rather than the outcomes causing the beliefs (I'm doing well, therefore I must be smart" or "I'm doing poorly, the system is keeping me down.")

It's easy to identify beliefs in external vs internal causation by looking at the word choices in a post like RIO's.

In large part, America "works" for those who "work."

In the words of a sage man (RAH), (paraphrasing) "Of course the game is rigged! Don't let that stop you. If you don't play, you can't win."
There is a difference is playing a rigged game and having control over one's own life. I do not think anyone has control over their own lives. I think that comes down to perception of control, or a belief in it. I know I have no control over my life, I just go with it and hope something good comes along to out weigh the bad.
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:08 PM   #77
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There is a difference is playing a rigged game and having control over one's own life. I do not think anyone has control over their own lives. I think that comes down to perception of control, or a belief in it. I know I have no control over my life, I just go with it and hope something good comes along to out weigh the bad.
If luck and external factors are what you are banking on, I hope that works for you.


There was a famous study of rats in Skinner boxes. One set of rats could avoid getting shocked by pressing a bar at a certain rate. The rate was very high in some cases. Another set of rats got shocked at random regardess of what they did with the bar. The rats in the second ("random") condition experienced much more stress (measured, IIRC by cortisol release) than the rats who could control their fate. Even if the "random" rats actually got shocked less often, they had more stress. I think our perception of who is really in control of life's "shocks" (me or "the man") makes a big difference in our happiness and our success.
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:11 PM   #78
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RobertInOhio,
Even though yes, the market is propped up by the 401k scheme, that is just replacing what in the past used to be huge pension fund investments in the market. I hope you are still taking advantage of the 401k at your workplace, if only into a mm fund, because otherwise you will miss out on free pay in the form of the company matching contributions.

Re: spending every dime you make on bills and food and stuff for the kids...

1. Bills-- you need to borrow money in whatever way you can to pay the bankruptcy fee. Either from family or from Prosper.com. Write up an intelligent prospectus, you can easily demonstrate where all your debt payments are going now, and how easily you will be able to pay the BK fee back once you are out from under the current bills. Prosper will charge you a high interest rate(20%+), but a high interest rate for a short term on $3700 I'm sure pales in comparison to the totality of your current debt.

2. Feeding a family has never been cheaper as a percentage of the median wage.

3. Kids don't need to be consumers, what they experience through home environment and the media tells them how to be consumers. Much overspending on kids is due to parental guilt or ego.
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:16 PM   #79
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I know I have no control over my life.
I've heard enough.
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:20 PM   #80
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Robert, I'll ask again: If you don't believe you or those of your generation will ever retire, why are you posting on an early retirement board?
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