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Does ER run in your family?
Old 10-03-2004, 05:37 AM   #1
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Does ER run in your family?

I was wondering if ER runs in some families more than others. My father ER at 57 and now says he should have gone sooner. He doesn't say he early retired, he says he quit. He owned his own company. My uncle also retired in his late fifty's. He retired from the Air Force. My grandfather was living on income from rental properties he owned when he was 60, I don't know how long that was going on.

Everyone in my family was frugal. Always saving and investing. While not as frugal as my grandparents, my parents never borrowed money except for the buisness and home loan. Cars and everything else was paid for in cash. And we always had new cars and plenty of stuff.

My in-laws on the other hand seem to work till their dead. My father in-law is drawing a military pension, SS, and still working a civil service job that he can retire on. They owe on everything, still have car and home loans and home equity loans. I mentioned that I was going to pay off my house and he just thought that was foolish. I believe they think if they die owing money that they are ahead.

Thankfully my wife sees things more my way but its taken years to win her over. Of coarse it helps that I take care of the finances and we do well enough that she can have most of what she wants.
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Re: Does ER run in your family?
Old 10-03-2004, 05:56 AM   #2
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Re: Does ER run in your family?

Hello dm! Interesting post.

ER does not run in my family. My Dad worked until he
was 67 and I don't know anyone on either side who
really retired early. My brother is 58 and still pushing hard. I suppose my maternal grandfather was the
most like me, but he didn't really ER. He was lazy and just quit working (his wife still worked). He had
little or nothing when he died at 72. My father's family was quite poor and living through the depression left it's mark. Thus he worked a long time and managed to accumulate a
modest cushion. My mother's side never experienced
any depression related troubles, and as far as I can tell
(at least in my maternal grandfather's case) this led to
his "spending it all". Anything left behind was pretty
much just an accident.

John Galt
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Re: Does ER run in your family?
Old 10-03-2004, 07:54 AM   #3
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Re: Does ER run in your family?

ER doesn't run in my family. My dad worked as an engineer and my mom never worked outside the home. Dad had a heart attack on the tennis court at age 68. After recouperating, he went back to work for a short time but then retired. He continued playing tennis until he was 85 and died at 89. I asked him how he liked retirement after he had been retired about one year. He said that if he had known how great it was going to be he would have done it earlier.

My folks were raised during the depression and were quite frugal. Paid cash for cars, lived below their means, etc. They were able to accumulate substantial assets on just my dad's salary. My mom came down with alzheimers and they were able to afford to move into a very nice continuing care community with an apartment for dad and skilled nursing care for mom a short walk away.

I'm sure their influence affected my desire to retire early. Since I have had some serious health problems, I was very focused on retiring early enough to be able to enjoy life. I also think my son, who is 30, is looking to retire early to allow him to pursue his desire to coach an age group swim team.


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Re: Does ER run in your family?
Old 10-03-2004, 08:50 AM   #4
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Re: Does ER run in your family?

Yes and no. My Dad had to retire at 60 since he was a commercial pilot. I thought it was early, but now as I get older it really wasn't. He was well prepared both financially and emotionally. He's been retired for 24 years now and still going strong.

My parents sold their house in the SF Bay area (built it for 35K) for 1.8M a couple of years. Even after paying capitol gains, they are in very good financial shape.

I've already paid 2400.00 into each of my son's Roth IRAs to get them started early. Hopefully they will continue to fund them. They are 17 and 18 now. It might lead to ER for them.
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Re: Does ER run in your family?
Old 10-03-2004, 09:57 AM   #5
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Re: Does ER run in your family?

My Dad retired at 55, so I guess there is some precedence. He was a little annoyed that I beat him by retiring at 50. Odd thing, though. Out of 9 siblings and step-siblings, not another one has retired and there are 5 over 50. So hard to tell if it's hereditary.


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Re: Does ER run in your family?
Old 10-03-2004, 10:12 AM   #6
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Re: Does ER run in your family?

My father's cousin retired early. He used to spend hours trying to explain the stock market to me, and telling me how great retiring early is. Other than him, I can't think of any one. Several relatives had their own business though, which let them set their own working rules. I remember my grandparents locking the door to their shop, and taking a nap during lunch.
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Old 10-03-2004, 10:22 AM   #7
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It's good to have choices.

I've thought about this quite a bit. I wouldn't have recognized the opportunity to ER if my dad hadn't brought it up. I certainly would have had a rougher transition if I couldn't have learned from my father-in-law's mindset.

My father was able to ER at 53 to care for my mother. He just turned 70 and, with apologies to John Galt, is literally in the best shape of his life (quit smoking & drinking, lost 30 lbs, hikes 50-60 miles/week in the Rockies).

My father-in-law was able to ER at 60 when the company tried to downsize the management and ended up having to offer the same buyout to the union. After 30 years of 60-80 hour weeks, he was financially astute enough to grab the lump sum and run away fast. My parents-in-law are at/near 70, very active, and will probably stick around until their 90s.

Grandparents-- all eight of them on both sides-- worked until they couldn't. The six that avoided strokes lived well into their 90s.

All the grandparents displayed legendary frugality that probably came from a Depression lifestyle. One of them couldn't understand why today's kids blew their noses on Kleenex instead of a handkerchief-- just one use and you had to throw it away. (Or use it for fireplace kindling?!?) The kids couldn't understand why Grandpa carried around that yucky handkerchief in his pocket. I'm not exactly a spendthrift myself but my FIL still surprises me with his frugal creativity.

I've thoroughly corrupted my spouse. Her Reserve pay billet is nearing its end and she can see that she won't be working for money much longer. Although she says she enjoys working in two-week bites, by Wednesday of the first week she's usually barely dragging out the door to rush hour. I've learned not to load up the surfboards in my car until AFTER she's gone...

Our ER lifestyle sets a pretty high bar for the kid. On the one hand she knows it can be done and that she has to save for it. OTOH she may feel a lot of pressure to take ugly high-paying jobs to achieve ER goals. I tell her that a military career can meet ER goals (for the survivors, anyway) but that she'd be best off in a career she loves. Subsequently I was shocked to see that veterinarians are in the top 10 careers of The Millionaire Women Next Door, so perhaps the kid has already figured it out. We'll keep talking.

Maybe it runs in the family because everyone sees how much fun the ER is having?

I think people will do what they enjoy and will live longer if they can keep doing it. If they love working then that's great, even for Ted, but I think that most humans prefer unstructured time without workplace obligations. LBYM gives you the opportunity to choose your "retirement" without being enslaved to a paycheck. You can't exploit the opportunity if you aren't financially prepared for it...

Co-author (with my daughter) of “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence.”
Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

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Re: Does ER run in your family?
Old 10-03-2004, 10:56 AM   #8
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Re: Does ER run in your family?

None in my family. My parents just retired at 65, though my dad is still working part-time because the money is good. Still, they don't have a lot of savings.

When I was growing up, they were very frugal because they had a family, but they've increased their spending as they aged instead of saving.

One of my brothers has two European cars (bought used, but still), another one I think is a bit more frugal but still has three kids.

Nobody even knows I want to RE.

Oddly, it seems like the prior generation was much better off financially - more savings and better financial discipline. They came from the Depression era, so I'm not surprised.
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