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My first $100,000 seems impossible.
Old 05-26-2010, 05:17 PM   #1
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My first $100,000 seems impossible.

I finished school in 1997. From that date forward it seems that I have seen little if no gains in my portfolio. Strictly growing through contributions. As soon as I think I'm getting close, this past month in the market happens (again!) and crushes my energy for awhile. It's really disheartening.
What are others doing? I know I can't be the only person of this generation facing the same experience.
From those that are more experienced, how long did it take to get to $100k? Am I correct in understanding that the first $100k is the hardest?
Thanks for letting me vent!

/rant!

Cheers, TheDude!
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:31 PM   #2
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I don't remember when I crossed that mark, which was some time ago (check my signature for my age). But when I was your age (you are 35, correct?), I did not "count" my money every day like I do now. They say water won't boil if you watch it. So, don't.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassius King View Post
I finished school in 1997. From that date forward it seems that I have seen little if no gains in my portfolio. Strictly growing through contributions. As soon as I think I'm getting close, this past month in the market happens (again!) and crushes my energy for awhile. It's really disheartening.
What are others doing? I know I can't be the only person of this generation facing the same experience.
From those that are more experienced, how long did it take to get to $100k? Am I correct in understanding that the first $100k is the hardest?
Thanks for letting me vent!

/rant!

Cheers, TheDude!
I didn't start saving for ER until I was 37 and had a much higher salary than right after graduating 15 years earlier.

That was in '92 and it took 6 years to accumulate the first $100k, which consisted of $80k in contributions.

Don't get disheartened, you are doing great to have started so early
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassius King View Post
I finished school in 1997. From that date forward it seems that I have seen little if no gains in my portfolio. Strictly growing through contributions
I feel your pain. I've been maxing out my retirement accounts since 2003 (all in targeted retirement funds) and I've seen very little growth in those accounts besides my contributions. I keep plugging away, though, and continue to hope that someday I'll see the benefits of compounding interest.

I guess I should focus on the bright side, though...at least my retirement accounts no longer have less in them than I've contributed (as they did in the recent past).
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:27 PM   #5
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I was 33 when net worth crossed $100K, probably several years later before actually had that in investments. Thanks to a high-paying profession which I loved at the time. The last few years have been tough slogging for us all. I've been close to ER for several years: that "last" $100K is feeling pretty hard too!

I guess the moral, young or old, is be sure you're enjoying the present: who knows how long it will take to reach the future, or if it will even arrive the way we envision.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:41 PM   #6
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You may not have reached $100K yet but you're way ahead of most people when it comes to retirement savings.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:42 PM   #7
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It starts out slow but then it grows. Compounding - the most powerful force in the universe (attributed to Albert Einstein).

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Old 05-26-2010, 06:44 PM   #8
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I remember buying my first house at 30 and wiping out much of my savings in the process. Paid a lot down to assume a low rate note. So I had to be in my late 30's before I crossed the magic number. And it seemed like it took forever.

Hang in there, it will come. I wish I could say it will snow ball from there with good stock returns, but who knows in this crazy world.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:54 PM   #9
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You are young, so I can say this... Take that lemon and make lemonade. By that I mean, turn that burning desire (to accumulate $100K) into your burning motivation to see how much less you can spend so that you can save more.

By the time the market turns around again, you'll have more money than you had ever planned or expected and you will need less than you ever imagined.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:06 PM   #10
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It took me 8+ years(age 21-29) to reach $100K in savings. I'm soon to be 31 and still have never earned $50K in a year and won't any time soon. What you spend is at least as important as what you make. So keep your expenses low and you'll get there soon.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:14 PM   #11
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Seriously, I have no idea partly because I never believed the paper numbers. I started investing in 1972, all equities until, this date I know, July '91, when I took a good look at the paper numbers, and thought, "ye gods, I should diversify."
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:16 PM   #12
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I didn't start building a nest egg until age 31 - took me 10 years to get to $100k.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:29 PM   #13
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Looks like it took me 21 months after graduating college to get to $100k net worth (at age 25). Then roughly every year after that another $100k in net worth accumulated itself.

But I somehow managed to have a nicely positive net worth upon graduating college, so I had a "head start" on that first $100k in net worth.

I'm including debt reduction in my net worth calculations. Paying down principal on student loans and mortgages adds right into the bottom line on my net worth calculations.

And only recently did our household earned income creep into the six figure range (and just barely at that).

Enjoy these days of cheap stock prices Mr Market has given you. You will keep plowing money into the cheap market, and some day it will start going up again. Just think what your portfolio will be worth if we get back to Dow 14,000 or so. That would be a 40% increase from today's levels.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:30 PM   #14
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I honestly don't remember when we hit the $100k mark. If I took a guess I suppose it would have been in our late 30's. But at that time the thought of early retirement was not in our thoughts. We just kept pluggin' away and enjoyed life.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:32 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the responses!
I know I'll keep chugging away, but I have had mental goals of where I would like to see myself and where I think I should be by a certain time.
Like was stated earlier, in this recent market, without the help of compounding, it's hard to build real growth.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassius King View Post
Thanks for all the responses!
I know I'll keep chugging away, but I have had mental goals of where I would like to see myself and where I think I should be by a certain time.
Like was stated earlier, in this recent market, without the help of compounding, it's hard to build real growth.
As I posted here before, I just practiced LBYM and didn't even think of retiring early or compute out what it would take to ER when I was still working. Only when my wife and I were tired of work, it occurred to me that we might not have to.

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Looks like it took me 21 months after graduating college to get to $100k net worth (at age 25). Then roughly every year after that another $100k in net worth accumulated itself.
You must be a good trader. You wrote that after 21 months you got $100K, and then another $100K at the 21+12 month mark. But in terms of percentage gains, you have been trailing off in recent years, else you would get more than $100K for the next 12 months, and the next 12 months after that.

Maybe your gains are more lumpy than you thought. But no matter... You ARE a good trader. I would have many $M if I could compound my portfolio the same way in the last decade.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:57 PM   #17
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If you're saving for your retirement, you don't need the money now, so don't worry about it. When I was in your situation (early career), I kept my allocation at 80% equity 20% ST. bonds. The bond portion provided some stability.

Keep trying to maximize your savings & focus on earning more too (Build your skills, look for and be open to new opportunities etc.) One day, the market will soar and you'll be amazed at how fast your net worth will grow.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:37 PM   #18
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It took us about 10 years to get to 100K. What does your portfolio look like? Ours grew a lot faster after we got rid of the loaded funds and went to indexes. But I don't discount the effects of timing.

One positive thing I see in the experience has been that being younger (mid-30's) we have plenty of time for things to work themselves out. We saw some big drops, but as someone who's still learning I'd rather be on the roller coaster with a smaller portfolio than 30 years' worth of savings! I figure all this is making us tough

I agree that it does seem to take forever to get to what feels like a "substantial" amount, which is why I never looked too often at how were were doing (although initially that cost us because we were slow to realize what a drag the loaded funds were).
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Old 05-26-2010, 10:40 PM   #19
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Why would you want the market to go up when you're still trying to buy securities? You want cheap prices when you're a buyer, not higher prices. I've always said the market can stagnate or go down as long as it wants, so long as it sky-rockets the day after I retire ;-)
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:05 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
Looks like it took me 21 months after graduating college to get to $100k net worth (at age 25). Then roughly every year after that another $100k in net worth accumulated itself.
...
And only recently did our household earned income creep into the six figure range (and just barely at that).
That is a heck of a run - how'd you do it? Your NW goes up by as much as your salary every year, and you're just getting started?

As for the original question, it took me about 2.5 years after graduating to hit $100k, but that was ALL from saving - not really much investment return to speak of. What others have said is true - the amount you save is really what matters, not how much you make. Live like you are still on a college budget and it's much easier.

Having said that, I feel your pain about investments. The market has gone nowhere in the last ten years. What I always tell myself though is that net worth is relative, so if the market is flat for you, it's flat for almost everyone, so you are not losing ground anymore than the next guy (me included). It'll all eventually work out... but if not, we're all screwed anyway
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