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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 07:53 AM   #41
 
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Re: Savings?

I don't know why, but I feel sad today. I hear all the stories about people here that retired early. I look at myself and things don't look promising for me. It makes me feel bad just thinking that most of us in this world spend majority of the time doing things for somebody else whether we like it or not and we can't get out of that until we pretty much have a little time lift to live.
I would love to do things NOW. Things that I love to do, but there is simply no time! When I get home from work there is so little time left that I can't even attempt to do the things I would like to do. I feel unproductive at work and that adds to my bad mood.
It feels to me that I will never be financially independent.
For someone making mediocre money and saving 10% of it in 403(b) is nothing. Do all people here who retired early made tons of money at their jobs and saved most of it?
I have no debt, I have no real spendings. And yet it seems I'll be a slave for the rest of my life.
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 08:17 AM   #42
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Re: Savings?

Maggie,

I think we're in the same boat here...I love this site, and read it almost every day, but now and again it becomes a little discouraging. I'm 30 and my salary is mediocre as well, I have a family to support, and still I have the dream of ER. I'm saving almost 30% (including company match) of my salary and still it seems frustrating sometimes, especially when a lot of folks here are lucky enough to be receiving pensions (do they exist anymore?).
Keep your head up, we can do it! I know we can...

Does anyone else out there feel the same way?

Mike aka simplelife
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 08:21 AM   #43
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Re: Savings?

Maggie,
I can relate to what you are saying. I'm not retired yet, I hope to be in about 21 months.

I am a signle mother with 2 kids - 18 and 16. I've never had child support and have worked my way up to a decent wage just recently. I bought my first house in 1977 and have upgraded 3 more times. This is what will able me to ER. My current house is worth more than 400,000 and I paid cash for it in March (345,000). I added a few dollars to my house payments, sometimes only 5.00, and over the years eventually it paid off.

I also went back to school to get a better education to make more money. I make 75,000 now and which sounds like much less than most of these people made. I cut my expenses as much as possible and saved as much in my 402K as I could. I only have 88,000 in 401K/IRAS but do have a couple of pensions.]

Keep at it. If you want to succeed, you will. I do have to sell my house to ER, but freedom is more valuable than a house. I live near the capitol of CA and this town has grown so much that the value of my houses grew more than they would have in other areas.

Don't be discouraged. you can do it if you want.
I'm 51 BTY.
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 08:31 AM   #44
 
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Re: Savings?

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie.................you need to talk to me girl. Now, first of all, I could be one of those who made tons of money (or inherited it, or won it, etc),
saved a bid pile and then retired to live a life of ease.
I did do the first part (made lots of money) but my first
wife and I spent almost all of it. Then I decided I would
retire anyway (tired of supporting a lifestyle-----mine and others - sound familiar??) So, I just did it
anyway at 49, assuming "we" would work part time
and both be semiretired. "We" didn't want to work part time, so "we" soon became just me. So there I am
with no spouse, and no debt to speak of, but also no
real long term plan. BUT, I am still semiretired and do have some assets. I figured if I could hold onto my base and work a little bit, I could make it until 62
(some luck wouldn't hurt either). Everything worked
out better than expected. I remarried and my new wife
(younger) doesn't mind working a while. I landed a good paying consulting
"bridge job" which I worked until I was 54. I maximized the assets I did have, and most importantly, I got
serious about planning my ER, even though I was already ERed. Now "the rest of the story". I have aged
parents nearby and I am the only sibling nearby to help them. I have several chronic health problems myself which have curtailed some of my activities. I just throw this
in to show my life is not a bed of roses. BUT, am I happy? You bet. I am better off in almost every way than 99% of humanity. It would be pretty dopey of
me to be depressed or singing the blues over my life.
Consider this. My wife works in a nursing home with
all manner of cases, some younger than me. She
works with misery every day, the dead and the dying.
(The woman is a saint). Many of my contemporaries
have died or suffered terrible tragedies. My advice is to
squeeze all you can into every day (regardless of your
financial/ER status) because someday
you will wish you had. We all will.

John Galt
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 11:31 AM   #45
 
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Re: Savings?

Simplelife: I know we can do it, and I know there are many people out there who are in the same boat. It's just that sometimes I have those days when I feel that it's all pointless, all the efforts are for nothing because I'll always be a slave.

KB: If I was making 75K I would consider myself rich, so you can see why ER doesn't seem like an option for me

John Galt: Thanks for the supporting words. I guess I am just having a bad day , but I went and got myself some books on investing Feel a little better now, but I bet in the morning when the alarm clock goes off I'll probably feel the same as this morning. I know there are a lot of people worse off than I am.
Life just seems unfair sometimes

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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 11:32 AM   #46
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Re: Savings?

I think financial independence is more of a journey than a destination. As you make progress, the chains of wage slavery get looser and weigh more lightly on you. More choices and opportunities open up as you go along.

I read something once that said the first step to FI is to become a Thousandaire, that is, to have a net worth of a thousand dollars. That sounds like so little, but many people never make it to that level. I'm sure every person here who has achieved FI would warmly congratulate any new Thousandaire. That's because the know-how to become a Thousandaire is the same skill that will eventually take you much, much further. Young dreamers need to occasionally look with pride at what they have already achieved, instead of focusing on what is yet to be done.

Life clobbered me good a couple of times. I had to become a Thousandaire more than once!

I always found The Richest Man in Babylon to be a good source of inspiration.
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 11:37 AM   #47
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Re: Savings?

Quote:
I bet in the morning when the alarm clock goes off I'll probably feel the same as this morning.
Yep you have at least two advantages.

You were still here when the alarm clock went off.

You own an alarm clock.

I'm betting the majority of people in the world WISH they had an alarm clock.

One step at a time. You'll get there. In the meanwhile you're getting something many people dont get, and none of us ER's have. A paycheck!
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You have it so much better than you even realize..
Old 07-01-2004, 03:56 PM   #48
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You have it so much better than you even realize..

Maggie, yo Maggie!

You are so far ahead of the game.

I'm a relative newbie here. You are at the right place. These people will help you. In the mean time, don't get down about your situation. You are so far ahead of the game compared to most.

You are already THINKING about the ER life. You're beginning to plan for it. You're saving what you can. I run into people in their 30's/40's/50's everyday at my job that have no idea that retirement is something one might actually "plan" for. Maggie, you have a clue. At 26, I was not making didly, had nothing, saved nothing, and thought I was doing pretty OK. But I had NO thoughts to my future. You are totally on the right track. It will take some time.

I'm close to ER after just 6 years of intense planning, but 21 years of working for the same place. When I started in an entry level position, I was the equivalent of the mail-room flunky, and over time by continuing my education and learning the ropes I progressed, promoted, learned, advanced, and now the money is pretty decent. Now I can save more, and there is no reason why you can't do something similar. You'll get raises, be able to put more aside both in percentage, and in very real terms as your salary increases over time.

I'm not one that considers 35 a realistic goal, but I'm not a risk taker. I feel like I could get anyone to FIRE in 20 years who has an open mind to the possibility. You have that Maggie. It is more than doable to set a goal of ER'ing at a respectable ER age with the headstart you've already demonstrated. Any chance you'd talk to my 20 something kid for me?
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 05:15 PM   #49
 
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Re: Savings?

That is right.............almost anyone can do it
with the right mindset and some help. Maggie
has a "leg up" just because she is thinking about it.
I never did until I was almost 50. A big mistake.

John Galt
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-01-2004, 07:23 PM   #50
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Re: Savings?

Quote:
I don't know why, but I feel sad today. I hear all the stories about people here that retired early. I look at myself and things don't look promising for me. It makes me feel bad just thinking that most of us in this world spend majority of the time doing things for somebody else whether we like it or not and we can't get out of that until we pretty much have a little time lift to live.
...
I have no debt, I have no real spendings. And yet it seems I'll be a slave for the rest of my life.
It is a long road to financial independence. You are not the only one who is starting out. Work sucks but if you learn to live on less than you make, you can build up a nest egg. Once you set up a savings plan, just follow it and avoid financial traps such as consumer debt.

One thing that is important is to set up and follow your financial plan, then forget about money. You can't buy happiness. Focus on things that interest you, like learning music, spending time with friends, walking or exercise, learning a language, and doing things that make you feel good that don't really come with a big price tag. Try to steal time for yourself by taking vacations, calling in sick on beautiful days. Do things that improve your life.

Focusing all your attention on money will make you depressed. Go out of the house with a couple of bucks in your pocket and spend an afternoon walking at the park and get some ice cream.
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-02-2004, 05:05 AM   #51
 
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Re: Savings?

Maggie wrote "Life seems unfair sometimes." Life is unfair, obviously. The trick is to take the lemons
and make lemonade. I know not all are able to do this.
Let me explain it this way. There is a bunch of stuff
I used to do that I can no longer handle. That's okay.
I recognize this is part of aging and the process will only
accelerate. Life really is just a big crap shoot anyway.
But, when my wife asks me if I should really be doing this or that, I say "What are the alternatives? Sit in
my chair and feel sorry for myself?" That is no way to
use the unknown amount of time we have. Life is short.
Whatever time you get is luck. The way I see it your
best chance is to focus on something that makes you happy. Imagine working a job you hate and dying in harness. Is there a worse fate?

John Galt
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-02-2004, 06:56 AM   #52
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Re: Savings?

Hey Maggie !

You're 26 eh ? yeah, I know how you feel. I'm 34. When I was 26 and was working on my FIRE plan, I felt overwhelmed too. I looked at how much I thought I needed and how much I was making and how much I was putting away and occasionally felt, why bother ? But, I kept on saving as much as possible, but also traveled like crazy, bought motorcycles, went waterskiing/snowskiing/hiking, blah blah blah. My point is that it takes time, watching it every day is painful and doesn't make it grow faster. When I was 26 I was making 1/3 of what I make now. You will get opportunities to make more money, look for them and take them. If you are single w/o kids you can take lots of chances by switching jobs for huge pay raises. You will get to FIRE b/c you are thinking about it now, but making more money will get you there sooner. You've gotten great advice already from the people here, let me add to that. Right now, you don't make much money, that can be looked at as a good thing. Look at how much it is costing you to live now. Assuming you are still enjoying life, don't let this amount creep up as you make more money, keep it basically the same. If you can do this, you will FIRE. Now, go out and find a friend with a boat to take you waterskiing, here it's a beautiful sunny day ! I'm going for a putt one the Harley.... (Nah, I ain't retired yet, but I AM going to play hooky today !!).

-Pan
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-02-2004, 07:25 AM   #53
 
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Re: Savings?

Jeez Panhead, I thought you disappeared. I'm going riding today also. No idea where I will end up, which as you know is part of the fun.

John Galt
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-02-2004, 07:46 AM   #54
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Re: Savings?

Hey Hey John Galt ! Nah, I'm still lurking. My new job has me traveling the globe and I haven't had much time to post, but I've been reading when I have a chance. Maggie inspired me a bit, and since I'm in the states for a few more days, figured I'd see if I could return some of the inspiration.
Getting lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere with beautiful scenery and lots of twisties is one of the greatest pleasures of riding, enjoy !!!!

-Pan
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-02-2004, 09:34 AM   #55
 
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Re: Savings?

EVERYONE thank you so much for all your help.
I feel a little better today.
This is what I want to do:
"get lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere with beautiful scenery"
Unfotunately, I still can't . But let me tell you one thing. If I at least had a job where I could take time off for at least a month, things wouldn't be so bad.
So far I've been able to take about 4 weeks at a time and travel the world, as I love to do. Recently the situation at my job has changed and it seems like I will not be able to to take all my vacation at once. If they allow me to take a week at once I will be lucky.
I don't have high expectations in life, I am not a spender. I don't need luxuries. I don't buy perfumes and cosmetics. I don't like fancy clothes, actually find them repulsive. All I want to do is enjoy my simple life and travel. Now, travel does cost a lot, not because I stay in expensive hotels and spend on fancy stuff. It's been expensive because when I do take off I want to absorb as much as I can, from the people, places I visit. Transportation costs a lot. I am not one to sit in one spot. I always want to see as much as I can, meet as many people as possible.
This is what I call life-long learning and not some stupid job I don't even think a school can give me this kind of education. Right now with my situation I can't do this any more. I also don't need to go away far to find beautiful places, actually the outskirts of my city have pretty nice spots.
What I sometimes get from people is that I am immature and don't know what I want in life. They tell me that I need a nice car and a house.
It's seems like I need an ER . Having time on my hads would definitely help me achieve MY goals.
I will need to sit down and figure out if I was to take off somewhere once in a while for an extended period of time and the cost would be lower than actual cost of living where I live/will be leaving when I retire, I might need to have less money than I think I need.
Let me ask you this. I know I have asked before. But wil do it again. Other than 401K, 403(b) and IRA. Where else would you allocate your money so they could be taken out in let's say 10 years. Some money at least? Mutual Funds? CDs? Other?
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-02-2004, 01:38 PM   #56
 
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Re: Savings?

Real estate! Easy for me to say though as I have
30+ years of experience in it.

John Galt
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Old 07-03-2004, 06:00 AM   #57
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Open an account with Vanguard. Start putting cash into it. When you get over $3000, choose a mutual fund and transfer your money into it. If you are having trouble deciding which one, use an S&P 500 index fund. It can be very simple if you let it.
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-03-2004, 10:16 AM   #58
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Re: Savings?

Maggie

Here's a Plan B for you. It doesn't start off with First, get a million dollars...

Completely rethink the way you are living, with the idea of getting your expenses as close to zero as you can. All you really need is a tiny room to live in, access to a bathroom, and one or two square meals a day. No apartment of your own, no car, no cable TV, no phone, you get the picture.

Get the room and the two squares a day by resourcefully working your network of friends. Somewhere there is perhaps an older widow who has plenty of house but who has difficulty keeping it up and living alone. Trade domestic chores, lawn mowing, and handyperson efforts for a room to live in.

Since you are interested in travel, maybe pick up a few extra "tax free" bucks by helping immigrants practice simple English conversation around their dinner table. Charge lightly and be charming. You'll get free meals and a network of foreign connections out of this. It could be an opportunity to learn how to travel cheaply to places you've never heard of and maybe even get homestay invitations.

Anyway, just consider the possibilities that might open up if you simply break out of the job/consumption paradigm. I don't know if my specific suggestions have any merit, but maybe they will start you thinking about some alternative ideas.

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Re: Savings?
Old 07-03-2004, 11:21 AM   #59
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Re: Savings?

Plan B sounds like a direct route to "bagladydom"!
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Re: Savings?
Old 07-03-2004, 12:45 PM   #60
 
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Re: Savings?

Quote:
*If I at least had a job where I could take time off for at least a month, things wouldn't be so bad. *
Maggie,
Ah, the 20s. Reading your post bring back memories. The difference was (and maybe this is what you need to think about) that it pained me to take even a day off for vacation. I loved my job. I lived for my job. I even dreamed about what I need to do on the job. All that changed in late 30s and by early 40s, I had nightmares about the job and day dreamed ER.

My point is that your 20s and 30s are the most productive 'go getter' years of your life. You need to find a job that is rewarding and that you can enjoy. The financial rewards were fringe benefits because I was in my 'puppy phase of life' (young, eager to please, frisbee-in-my-mouth-before-you-can-blink).

Your options are:
1. Fake it - your manager will appreciate the attitude and potentially gives you a raise
2. Find another job/career that you can enjoy and reap the 'fringe benefit' financial reward - recommended option
3. Continue on the present course and hope for the best - yes, you can always do that!

BIO: I worked my @&^ in my 20s and early 30s and ER in early 40s.

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