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Old 06-25-2013, 11:58 AM   #21
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And look at it the other way - drop a bunch of good luck on someone, but w/o some hard work and long-term thinking attached to it, they are unlikely to be successful for the long term. There are exceptions of course, lottery winners, some silver-spoons. But in general I think it holds.
+1

Like my old grand pappy used to say, "Luck is when opportunity meets preparation."
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #22
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I think I've been very lucky.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:31 PM   #23
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I don't for a second believe that if you took my brain and all that it is, then placed it in the body of a black man in 1890, or a child with abusive parents growing up in the same time I did, or a woman in the Middle East, or even into my own body two thousand years ago, that I would achieve a single drop of the same success I have. I don't think those circumstances could ever even out to where my brain, work ethic, etc would bring me to the same places. Even today I lucked into a ton of what I have just by being in the right place at the right time.
I would suggest you are correct as to the magnitude of success in each hypothetical case, but wrong as to the presence of success.

Some people really want to succeed and apply themselves to that end, eventually reaching varying levels of success.

Others just kind of exist and hope that through some stroke of luck they continue on that inertial path indefinitely.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:06 PM   #24
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I think luck plays a role. I would not have had the same job and educational opportunities if I had grown up disabled or in a third world country or a hundred years ago when women had few rights.

But even in my neighborhood growing up, there was a low cost, public university with good engineering and IT programs recruited by major companies close by but many of my friends didn't see the long term value in attending. Some started but never finished their degrees. One friend dropped out to work low stress jobs and party and then called me to borrow money after I graduated. I wouldn't call that luck that I was more on the path to ER than her.

Even among households with good incomes, spending habits play a large role. There are many examples in The Millionaire Next Door of high income households with low net worth which would make it hard to retire early.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:23 PM   #25
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In my immediate circle, I've seen that luck plays an incredibly large role.

One of my closest friends has a son that was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Just watching what they've gone through has been hard. I don't want to imagine going thru it myself.

Another close friend went to the hospital with stomach pain one night. They sent him home, and later his appendix burst, destroying his kidneys. That's a bad draw.

I was born in the first world, to smart, caring, hard-working parents. I was born smart and healthy. I didn't die in some stupid alchohol or drug mishap in my teens or early twenties (it wasn't from a lack of trying). I didn't run into violence, or an accident, or bad health. I lucked into a very good field to work in for the last 15 years. I met the right woman, and my daughter was born healthy and smart (so far, she's only two )

I've tried to play my hand well, and I think that for the most part I have done so, but I also got dealt much better cards than most.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:49 PM   #26
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In my immediate circle, I've seen that luck plays an incredibly large role.

One of my closest friends has a son that was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Just watching what they've gone through has been hard. I don't want to imagine going thru it myself.

Another close friend went to the hospital with stomach pain one night. They sent him home, and later his appendix burst, destroying his kidneys. That's a bad draw.

I was born in the first world, to smart, caring, hard-working parents. I was born smart and healthy. I didn't die in some stupid alchohol or drug mishap in my teens or early twenties (it wasn't from a lack of trying). I didn't run into violence, or an accident, or bad health. I lucked into a very good field to work in for the last 15 years. I met the right woman, and my daughter was born healthy and smart (so far, she's only two )

I've tried to play my hand well, and I think that for the most part I have done so, but I also got dealt much better cards than most.
How lucky some of our bodies can be resilient during our youthful years of indiscretion. Approaching my 50's quickly, I do not think my body could process the abuse my 20 year old body handled.....And live to be 60 and tell about it.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:06 PM   #27
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I guess I was "lucky" to have taken a financial education class during my first year of w*rk. It really opened my eyes to the value of time in the compounding of wealth. After seeing this, I made active choices to prioritize saving over spending.

I was also lucky to have an interest in engineering/math/science, an interest in computers back in the late 1970s, a high IQ to allow me to get good grades, born to parents who valued education etc.

BTW, the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell attempts to study this issue.

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Old 06-25-2013, 09:05 PM   #28
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I was lucky to have the grandparents I had for LBYM role models. My siblings had the same grandparents I did, and they had more education than I did, and one of them earns a great deal more than I do, yet their financial lives are a mess, and mine is (knock wood) stable and on track for retirement.

All three of us are single, so no difference there. All three of us are healthy.

What accounts for the difference? It is a case of choices made (spend spend spend or delay gratification; live on credit or LBYM; buy "stuff" to impress others or buy used, so on and so on) year after year.

I'm not going to say one way is empirically "better" than the other. People are free to choose what works best for them. But it burns me up when these siblings then claim that I am in better financial shape because I am "lucky." Nothing lucky about it. Just years of making different choices.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:02 AM   #29
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It's not all luck, but to pretend there's none involved is just silly.
I agree. There are a lot of opportunities to fail that you can't control, and you can't recover from in order to ER. Get back on your feet, yes, but it hurts your chances at ER.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:29 AM   #30
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I have been lucky to choose a profession with a good level of remuneration. This helps when saving. However, I never had the chance of getting an inheritance, marrying a rich wife, winning the lottery etc. I also had to study hard until I was in my 30s. The rest is just hard work, LBYM, and avoiding litigation.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:06 PM   #31
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Lucky enough to be layed off at age 49 (planned retirement at 63).

Ticked me off so much my frugal went into high gear and the rest as they say is history - er ER. .

heh heh heh - 1993 to 2013 and a tad less grumpy.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:03 PM   #32
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I am not really happy about the freewheeling conclusions in the article.
"One person's spending is another person's income". Really?
The Paradox of Thrift is a specific scenario requiring recessional spiral economic climate in a closed economic system. The author has taken great liberties by using it to justify his own parochial beliefs.
Not a well written article IMHO.

PS This spell checker is really working well.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:04 PM   #33
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I never worked hard in school, but I'm doing a lot better than those who did so far, while I watch them vie for foodservice jobs on Facebook because there's just nothing else for them. They're good, professional people. For some, maybe they weren't lucky enough to have parents who could afford college, we were all unlucky enough to go to school in a time where all of the local service jobs were filled by laid off adults with more experience, so there was no saving up for college for any kids without a connection to a job.

It's not all luck, but to pretend there's none involved is just silly.
I agree. I think I'm fortunate that I graduated college a decades ago. College tuition was cheaper and my school debt was nothing compared to today. Plus, there were jobs available, even for people with "useless" majors. I had a pretty successful career for 20+ years until I left the workforce. I never felt like I worked very hard though. I felt the same way with school. Nothing was particularly challenging for the most part. I worked in an office. I wasn't saving lives in an ER, roofing houses or doing cold calls on commission.
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:17 AM   #34
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I'm going to put a twist on the old sayings and say that "Luck is when preparation helps avert disaster".

I twisted my ankle pretty severely the other day, but I was "lucky" to be able to walk it off and have little damage because my bones and ligaments are extremely strong from years of running and weight lifting.

When the stock market tanked in 2009, I was "lucky" that I did not panic and sell at the lows because I understood my risk tolerance and had allocated my assets accordingly after reading a stack of books by guys with names like Bogle and Bernstein.

I have been "lucky" to survive numerous rounds of layoffs in my company over the past decade because I have always been very diligent in my work and as a result have always been rated an above-average performer.

In the above the "lucky" in quotes is not luck at all, but in each case a certain amount of true luck helped get me to the point where I could do the preparation necessary to avert disaster.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:32 AM   #35
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I guess it was "luck" that I decided to take a horrible job as a bank teller while my friends were traveling or taking odd jobs at the beach. I got a total of two days off that summer, but I met the people who helped get me into their commercial bank training program. It was still the worst job I ever had, but helped me meet the right people.
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:46 AM   #36
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I have been "lucky" to survive numerous rounds of layoffs in my company over the past decade because I have always been very diligent in my work and as a result have always been rated an above-average performer.
Have the places you worked at only laid off poor performers? No layoffs because of the economy? Outsourcing? Company relocation? Highest paid? Covert age discrimination?
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:58 AM   #37
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IMO, people who inherit millions when they are young could be considered "lucky". If you work at a j*b and are constantly LBYM and are able to ER due to your planning and good investments, you have self-discipline.
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:49 AM   #38
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I think except for the very lucky and the super talented, that a big dollop of both luck and hard work are required. At my last job, we hired an intern who failed the interview process but got another look because his parents were high-up executives at a client company. This second chance wouldn't have been available if he were from a poor or even middle class family.

The kid was smart and will do well (he got a full time offer), but there's no doubt that his luck in parents gave him a big boost over his peers.
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:58 AM   #39
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I guess I can see where people might discount the good luck factor in an individual's success and attribute it to hard work and planning. Do you also discount bad luck, like young people who bought their first house in 2006, or Boeing folks who got laid off when the company headquarters moved?
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:53 AM   #40
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It's not just luck in financial, professional, or cultural matters. It's luck in health also. While lifestyle does affect health, so do genes, birth circumstances, etc. In my case, I have what is now called sensory perception disorder (SPD), but before that, I was just odd. But I've been able to stumble to FI through the hard work/luck combinations described by others. But even the hard work/luck combination isn't always enough, if your health does not cooperate. If your health goes to heck, or starts out from birth poorly, you probably will be considered unemployable by most people, no matter how hard you can work.
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