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Sometimes, the message does get through
Old 03-05-2018, 03:52 PM   #1
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Sometimes, the message does get through

We got a phone call from SIL that made my day. She and BIL were just back from Norfolk, VA where a "niece" (no relation but we think of her that way) is active duty Navy. She got a very rough start in life that no child should have to endure and has done very well at creating her own breaks and making her way in the world, including paying her own way through community college. She is now happily married to a disabled Army vet.

Several years ago she had asked me about financial stuff because she had just started her first job that was beyond the pizza parlor range and she had no idea what to do about saving for the 401k, retirement savings, and such. So I sent her about eight or ten books on finance, saving, investing and the mental issues of managing money, and wrote her a letter to go with them. I posted the letter here.

Anyway, SIL called to let me know that Sarah said "those books were slow reading but I got through them. It all makes sense." She said that I'd be happy to know that she (age 27, maybe 28) is now putting away $600/month for retirement.

There is hope for at least some of the millennials.
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Old 03-05-2018, 03:57 PM   #2
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Good to hear, Walt.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:05 PM   #3
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Good to hear, Walt.
+1

Nicely done, Walt.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:26 PM   #4
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Wonderful, Walt! Sarah sounds like an intelligent and amazing young lady.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:35 PM   #5
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Nice Walt. Messages can get through. Your delivery counts!

I'm surprised by another site I frequent, how many 20 something's are asking about saving for retirement.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:58 PM   #6
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Sarah sounds like a mature young lady that had some tough times in the past.

And you're a great guy for taking her under your wing and showing her the ropes! Everyone should be so lucky.

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Old 03-05-2018, 04:58 PM   #7
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Great job Walt. Itís nice to read a success story like this. My DS is still only 22 and Iím certainly not giving up hope. But for now, not only is the message not getting through, itís not even being heard. But Iíll keep hoping and praying for the best. Meanwhile, I appreciate seeing successes!
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Old 03-05-2018, 05:20 PM   #8
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So glad to hear that you got through the static of everyday life. There is a old saying. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Glad for her you appeared at the right time with the right information.
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Old 03-05-2018, 05:40 PM   #9
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Good job and great example of why it's good to not assume. You never know if and when someone will actually follow through. I am particularly impressed that you actually sent her the material as opposed to just a reading list.
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Old 03-05-2018, 05:46 PM   #10
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Great job Walt. Still working on my stubborn son.
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Old 03-05-2018, 06:13 PM   #11
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Well done.
You might suggest she check out Mr. Money Mustache's blog. I know some do not agree with everything he says, but he promotes being thrifty, saving for early retirement and hard work. He also has a sense of humor many youngsters enjoy.
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Old 03-05-2018, 06:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by brucethebroker View Post
You might suggest she check out Mr. Money Mustache's blog. I know some do not agree with everything he says,
Some don't agree with much of anything he says. Read him for entertainment, sure. Read him for real life financial advice?

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Old 03-05-2018, 06:42 PM   #13
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I am particularly impressed that you actually sent her the material as opposed to just a reading list.
After her rough start we're very impressed with the way she rebuilt her life at a very young age. At the time I knew she would be hard pressed to come up with the money to buy them and to a 20-something the concepts are not all that pressing, more of a "hazy distant future thing to think about when I have time".

A bit more on her:

Her younger sister "Heather" is a niece, BIL's daughter. "Sarah" is Heather's older sister from a prior relationship her mother had. BIL got involved with that wench for unknown reasons, and she became pregnant, we suspect solely because she wanted to extract child support money. He stepped up to the plate and tried to do the right thing and married her. The marriage lasted six weeks. The woman is beyond flaky, she is a full-blown nutcase. BIL wanted to do the right thing and gain custody of then infant Heather. The mother gained custody in court.

Things go along rocky for ~five years with lots of drama along the way. Then BIL gets a phone call from the school because Heather hasn't had lunch money for three days running. It turns out the mother had checked herself into the hospital psych ward and left a 10-year-old (Sarah) and a 6-year-old (Heather) in the apartment with no money, little food, and not much else. Sarah managed to get them both to school and back on the bus so no one at school picked up that anything was amiss.

Lots more drama ensues but BIL finally does get custody of both, not wanting to separate the sisters (they're close). For reasons that are unclear several years later Sarah decides to move in with her biological mother but by this time she is 18 or close to it. We suspect because the mother has few if any house rules and BIL & his wife do. Anyway, Sarah graduates HS and continues on at her pizza shop job and eventually saves enough money to buy a car. The mother, who long ago lost her driver's license for multiple DWI's, "borrows" the car and wrecks it.

Sarah overhears the mother and her boyfriend discussing what they're going to do with the insurance money when the check comes in. Say What!? This money is to pay off Sarah's car, that Sarah is still making payments on! (Presumably the mother intended to intercept the check, which would be payable to Sarah, forge the endorsement, and cash it. That's how shortsighted she is.)

The light bulb goes on and Sarah realizes that she needs to get away from her mother and that if she's ever going to do anything better than a pizza shop job it's on her to do it.

She asks BIL if she can move back in if she follows the house rules and goes to school, and he readily agrees. Continuing work at the pizza shop and going to school Sarah earns enough credits to get in the Navy reserves, although I never heard that she actually got the AA degree. Anyway, she sought and finally gained active duty status.

This is a greatly abbreviated version, there was lots more drama than I have described but you get the drift. So it is so great to see things turning out well for her.
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Old 03-05-2018, 07:08 PM   #14
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There is hope for at least some of the millennials.
Great to hear of your niece's success. Many millennials are very successful, make high salaries and run their lives quite successfully. So far it appears to me that they are top drawer, and do not have anything to be ashamed of.

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Old 03-05-2018, 08:10 PM   #15
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There is more joy in heaven...

Dear Walt,

Your niece's story is comforting. Those of us raising - I'll call them "people of foibles"* - can all relate. Good job for her getting her act together, and for the supportive family being there at the right time.

There is a recent thread discussing the Luck Factor, but I don't care what it is that makes these things work out; I'm just cheered when it does.

Too bad about her mother. You can't save people who don't want it.

*I can't claim credit for inventing this term. I read it in the comic strip "Kudzu" twenty or thirty years ago and have been waiting for just the right opportunity to employ it. Today was the day!
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:22 PM   #16
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Awesome. I'd had similar success with a young man that I've mentored through high school, engineering school and now at Megacorp. This is in contrast to many others who pretend to listen and go on their spendthrift ways. It really helps to have a win every decade or so.
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:28 PM   #17
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After her rough start we're very impressed with the way she rebuilt her life at a very young age. At the time I knew she would be hard pressed to come up with the money to buy them and to a 20-something the concepts are not all that pressing, more of a "hazy distant future thing to think about when I have time".

A bit more on her:

Her younger sister "Heather" is a niece, BIL's daughter. "Sarah" is Heather's older sister from a prior relationship her mother had. BIL got involved with that wench for unknown reasons, and she became pregnant, we suspect solely because she wanted to extract child support money. He stepped up to the plate and tried to do the right thing and married her. The marriage lasted six weeks. The woman is beyond flaky, she is a full-blown nutcase. BIL wanted to do the right thing and gain custody of then infant Heather. The mother gained custody in court.

Things go along rocky for ~five years with lots of drama along the way. Then BIL gets a phone call from the school because Heather hasn't had lunch money for three days running. It turns out the mother had checked herself into the hospital psych ward and left a 10-year-old (Sarah) and a 6-year-old (Heather) in the apartment with no money, little food, and not much else. Sarah managed to get them both to school and back on the bus so no one at school picked up that anything was amiss.

Lots more drama ensues but BIL finally does get custody of both, not wanting to separate the sisters (they're close). For reasons that are unclear several years later Sarah decides to move in with her biological mother but by this time she is 18 or close to it. We suspect because the mother has few if any house rules and BIL & his wife do. Anyway, Sarah graduates HS and continues on at her pizza shop job and eventually saves enough money to buy a car. The mother, who long ago lost her driver's license for multiple DWI's, "borrows" the car and wrecks it.

Sarah overhears the mother and her boyfriend discussing what they're going to do with the insurance money when the check comes in. Say What!? This money is to pay off Sarah's car, that Sarah is still making payments on! (Presumably the mother intended to intercept the check, which would be payable to Sarah, forge the endorsement, and cash it. That's how shortsighted she is.)

The light bulb goes on and Sarah realizes that she needs to get away from her mother and that if she's ever going to do anything better than a pizza shop job it's on her to do it.

She asks BIL if she can move back in if she follows the house rules and goes to school, and he readily agrees. Continuing work at the pizza shop and going to school Sarah earns enough credits to get in the Navy reserves, although I never heard that she actually got the AA degree. Anyway, she sought and finally gained active duty status.

This is a greatly abbreviated version, there was lots more drama than I have described but you get the drift. So it is so great to see things turning out well for her.
Wow! Just wow!. Good for her. Get her Nords book. "Military Guide to Financial independence and retirement"
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Old 03-05-2018, 08:28 PM   #18
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Nicely done Walt - great letter and am very pleased that she followed your advice and is situated well for the future.. Congratulations..
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:34 AM   #19
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Classic case of: When the student was ready, the teacher (Walt) appeared!

Edit: That poor "student"! I'm sure you'll keep in touch so she never forgets you're in her corner. All the other corners seem to be occupied by monsters.
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Old 03-06-2018, 12:33 PM   #20
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That's a great story!

Please always encourage them to start early - I didn't, but am making sure my oldest maxes out their Roth while still in undergrad (they've got just over a year before they're working for Uncle Sam full-time)
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