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Old 10-05-2020, 01:11 PM   #81
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Money isn't everything though. I would rather live on $36k a year with good health than be a billionaire with terminal cancer.


Good point. It’s all a matter of perspective.
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Old 10-05-2020, 01:27 PM   #82
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And the saddest part of this, is that it is completely preventable in most cases. Consider this... if your life depended on it, could you save $200 a month? I think the vast majority of people can. And that is all it takes to retire with dignity.
That and the knowledge of what to do with that $200 a month. Tell me again why financial literacy is not just as important as reading, writing, and math in HS? It should be made a requirement for graduation...
I have always thought that Personal Finance should be taught in school.

5th Grade: Household budget, debt, income and expenses.
8th Grade: Refresh and add saving and investing (Stocks, Bonds).
11th Grade: Refresh and add Real Estate, Taxes and insurance.
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Old 10-05-2020, 01:39 PM   #83
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Totally agree that we need financial literacy taught in schools. In times past I have taught a financial literacy class at my Church and I have been disappointed to see how little people know about their finances. When most people buy a car they don't ask --"how much does the car cost"--they only ask--"what is the monthly payment". I think one of the worst things people can do is buy a car on lease but that is what many do because the down payment is less. Then at the end of the lease they have nothing (or even owe money).
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:05 PM   #84
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In another thread I commented on the book "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" by Andrew Tobias. This book showed me how I could using, mutual funds ,build a source of income that was independent of my job. It took me about 25 years but I remember the the time I found that my investments had earned me more money in the previous year than my labor. It was liberating.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:24 PM   #85
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I have always thought that Personal Finance should be taught in school.

5th Grade: Household budget, debt, income and expenses.
8th Grade: Refresh and add saving and investing (Stocks, Bonds).
11th Grade: Refresh and add Real Estate, Taxes and insurance.
There is another aspect to personal finance that needs to be taught. Unfortunately it trays into minefield of "teaching morality".

That is: stop worrying about, and paying attention to, what other people have. Do not base your financial choices on what others have, and do not assume that those who you perceive have "more" than you got it unfairly, and therefore give up hope.

I have seen people who seen to be sensible with their finances go off the rails when they decide they must "keep up with the Joneses". Or put more effort into complaining about - or ever trying to take - what others have, instead of putting that effort into trying to improve what they have.

And sometimes parents are the worst... subsidizing their children beyond the "need" level into the "want" level, as they feel it is only "fair" that he kid has the same material comforts that they perceive others have.

IMHO, when one sees others who may have more than they do, the reaction should not be to grumble "unfair!" Rather, one should examine more closely to see what lessons can be learned that one can apply to themselves. That is why my parents pushed practical education that others would see as valuable. They said "you will never be "white", or may not have what Rockefeller has, but that does not mean you cannot be successful in your own right if you make the most of your skills". They were right.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:53 PM   #86
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Totally agree that we need financial literacy taught in schools. In times past I have taught a financial literacy class at my Church and I have been disappointed to see how little people know about their finances. When most people buy a car they don't ask --"how much does the car cost"--they only ask--"what is the monthly payment".
Totally agreed. During the depths of the financial crisis, a friend and I at church decided to address the decreased pledges by offering a Dave Ramsey course. Times were hard; people needed tools. She works as a financial advisor of some sort; I've been investing my entire adult life and am enjoying a prosperous retirement. We promoted it aggressively. Three people (a married couple and one other person) signed up.

My friend's business involves helping people go over their spending and recommending ways to cut back so they can save more. The answer is always, "Yes, but.." Everyone over age 10 in the household HAS to have the most expensive cell phone plan with upgrades every 2 years. They HAVE to have 2 new cars and a truck. They HAVE to have all those cable channels. Their kids HAVE to have all the expensive extra-curricular activities...

Cutting back on "wants" is hard.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:06 PM   #87
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And the saddest part of this, is that it is completely preventable in most cases. ... Tell me again why financial literacy is not just as important as reading, writing, and math in HS? It should be made a requirement for graduation...
One of the most useful courses I had in High School was done by our phys Ed teacher, they had to teach us household finances and money issues.

It was eye opening for me, the lessons they taught on home ownership as my parents didn't own a house and were not financially smart as they were incredibly risk adverse.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:08 PM   #88
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The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27) comes to mind, with its warning against building one's house on sand instead of rock. When I was younger, I marveled at the big houses, fancy cars and generally luxurious lifestyles that some people appeared to have. I always wondered what they did for a living to afford it (and I was certain I could probably do that job better than they could.) After I became a bankruptcy lawyer, I learned that, for many of them, that fancy life was one built on the sand of monumental debt. I have never had the fanciest house or car or life, but since I left home at 18, I have never had a negative net worth. I built on a rock and I never worry about my house washing away. If I could teach kids anything, it would be that.

*Yes, I know that the rock in the parable refers to faith, but to my mind, it can have equally sound lessons for our finances.
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Old 10-05-2020, 03:12 PM   #89
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I have a former friend in Southern CA who is 71 years old and works as a server in a restaurant. She's been unemployed due to the pandemic and she said she wouldn't want to go back to work even if her restaurant opened for indoor dining, as she is diabetic and doesn't feel safe. She's currently getting unemployment from the government. Her SS is around $1,200/mo after medicare, etc and because she got in a car accident (her fault), her auto insurance is very high. (Can't remember how much tough.) Her rent is $1,100/mo. She has about $100K in savings. Not sure what she's going to do, but she does have one daughter who might be willing to take her in if necessary.
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Old 10-05-2020, 04:28 PM   #90
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I have a former friend in Southern CA who is 71 years old and works as a server in a restaurant. She's been unemployed due to the pandemic and she said she wouldn't want to go back to work even if her restaurant opened for indoor dining, as she is diabetic and doesn't feel safe. She's currently getting unemployment from the government. Her SS is around $1,200/mo after medicare, etc and because she got in a car accident (her fault), her auto insurance is very high. (Can't remember how much tough.) Her rent is $1,100/mo. She has about $100K in savings. Not sure what she's going to do, but she does have one daughter who might be willing to take her in if necessary.
Wow age 71 and diabetic and needs to go back to work when her unemployment benefits end.....I just cannot imagine.
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Old 10-05-2020, 05:28 PM   #91
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Wow age 71 and diabetic and needs to go back to work when her unemployment benefits end.....I just cannot imagine.
I think it happens more often than we realize. A couple of years ago I was at Home Depot making a return and the cashier was having trouble getting it to happen on her computer terminal. She turned to me, obviously frustrated, and said "I'm sorry this is taking so long. I'm new here."

She had to be 80 years old. I want to believe that she had the job as an excuse to get out of the house but I'm afraid that was not the reason.

Did she need to work because she'd been profligate or because she had been unlucky? Does it matter? Sad situation.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:32 PM   #92
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My friend's business involves helping people go over their spending and recommending ways to cut back so they can save more. The answer is always, "Yes, but.." Everyone over age 10 in the household HAS to have the most expensive cell phone plan with upgrades every 2 years. They HAVE to have 2 new cars and a truck. They HAVE to have all those cable channels. Their kids HAVE to have all the expensive extra-curricular activities...

Cutting back on "wants" is hard.
In other words, those billions of dollars companies spend on advertising work. I actually really like the idea of getting what I can from Freecycle type sites, growing some of my own food, using the library and pursuing hobbies that are good for the environment and self sufficiency. I'd rather leave our money to our kids and charities and find ways to enjoy life that do not involve corporation induced spending or adding depreciated consumer goods to landfills.

I do feel bad for those who retire into poverty, self induced or not. It would be nice if people were given a baseline level of living, like a solar cabin, so they didn't have to worry about being homeless. In Oakland they have started putting up Tuff Shed communities for the homeless, which at least is a start.
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Old 10-05-2020, 08:38 PM   #93
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Another 50% stat...everyother couple that marries will divorce. Broke and alone...lifes terrible hidden tragedy.
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Old 10-05-2020, 09:58 PM   #94
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Another 50% stat...everyother couple that marries will divorce. Broke and alone...lifes terrible hidden tragedy.
Nah, they count repeat offenders as unique. I've been divorced twice. I'll probably die alone, but probably not broke.

There is an ironic joke I have made a few times. Everyone is supposed to have a soul mate, at least according to romantics. I think mine is living in a mobile home somewhere with 17 cats. The dwindling of marriage is definitely a contributor to the upswing in impoverished retirees. One thing that's very noticeable to me is the over-representation of married people on this forum compared to the general population.
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Old 10-05-2020, 10:30 PM   #95
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I think it happens more often than we realize. A couple of years ago I was at Home Depot making a return and the cashier was having trouble getting it to happen on her computer terminal. She turned to me, obviously frustrated, and said "I'm sorry this is taking so long. I'm new here."

She had to be 80 years old. I want to believe that she had the job as an excuse to get out of the house but I'm afraid that was not the reason.

Did she need to work because she'd been profligate or because she had been unlucky? Does it matter? Sad situation.


I truly do feel bad for bad things that happen to good people, and I know it really does happen all the time. But the question I always ask, is how many times did you get unlucky, and for how long did that unlucky streak last, before you are culpable for a majority of the bad results that have come your way?
I have never thought about myself as some sort of genius, but as an engineer I guess most would consider me fairly smart (I often view myself as the smallest giant in the land of giants mentally, but that is another story). Maybe it is just a truly alien concept for me to imagine that vast numbers of people here in the US are so mentally or physically unable, that even working to the very pinnacle of their strength and intellect cannot secure a decent retirement for themselves.
Maybe I am just more optimistic that most, to think people have stores of untapped potential, if they just went looking for it. Perhaps I am being overly foolish and just don’t know it...
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Old 10-06-2020, 03:25 AM   #96
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In the early 80's, I was sitting in a watch center late at night, looking at news magazines (which were allowed reading). There was an article about GM auto workers, basically factory line assemblers; my age, uneducated, unskilled, all with homes, multiple cars, boats, and other nice things that I couldn't afford. I felt like, "What am I doing here, and why did I work for that college degree?"

Well, it was a little bubble in time and space, which burst a few years later. Those people would all be in their 60's now, like me. Wonder how retirement is going for them?

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I recall, but with no details, part of a TV documentary a number of years ago where an Ontario town/city, known for its vehicle manufacturing, was drastically reducing output.

The show interviewed a number of families, many engaged in unskilled/semi skilled production line jobs, who had all the 'bells & whistles', boats, multiple vehicles, that kind of thing, but little or no savings.

After all, it was going to sail along forever.....and then there were 'good pensions'........
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Old 10-06-2020, 04:19 AM   #97
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Everyone is supposed to have a soul mate, at least according to romantics.
Divorced once, I, at the time, thought my late wife was 'it' - after she died and I started 'dating' again, a few women passed through & by. (Told my late wife's best friend that I had the feeling that she was 'up there' with a check list, going "Naah, naah".)

Met DW 17 years ago; one of those little 'head voices' (yeah, I'm crazier than a loon) said, at first glance, (and it had never happened before), "This could work".

We've been inseparable since then...we are, basically, 'one'. It's nice.
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Old 10-06-2020, 05:23 AM   #98
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Nah, they count repeat offenders as unique. I've been divorced twice. I'll probably die alone, but probably not broke.

There is an ironic joke I have made a few times. Everyone is supposed to have a soul mate, at least according to romantics. I think mine is living in a mobile home somewhere with 17 cats. The dwindling of marriage is definitely a contributor to the upswing in impoverished retirees. One thing that's very noticeable to me is the over-representation of married people on this forum compared to the general population.
The over-representation of married people on this site makes sense, as this is one of the more important factors in obtaining and KEEPING wealth.
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:04 AM   #99
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The over-representation of married people on this site makes sense, as this is one of the more important factors in obtaining and KEEPING wealth.
Well, not necessarily.

I divorced a financially irresponsible first husband when I was 43. If I'd stayed married to him I'd be broke and crazy- he had very expensive tastes and eventually his alcoholism made him unemployable. I remarried 7 years later to a dear man who shared my financial priorities; he started collecting SS (he was 65) and did a little freelance work but mostly kept the house up while I worked FT. He brought little into the marriage other than $100K equity released after his house sold- nothing to sneeze at, I know, but not much retirement savings for a 65-year old and far less than I'd accumulated. He died in 2016.

And now I'm happily single- in a relationship but we've cheerfully agreed that neither of us wants to remarry. While I'm not living on half the expenses of a married couple, it's definitely lower than it was for the two of us, and the scary scenario in which one spouse goes into LTC and the other stays in the home is not a concern for me.

And here's an example of spending on "wants" from another Board I'm on- the poster is probably in her early 40s, good job, single mother, two adult or almost-adult daughters. This is a $220 trip to TJ Maxx.


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I got two dog toys, two pairs of sunglasses (for me, not the dogs), 5 bras, 3 pairs of underwear, an eyeshadow palate, a dress, a high end lipstick (ABH), a wallet, a purse, and 4 pairs of leggings. Not bad for $220 I think. Now if I can just stay out of there for a while.

ETA: I just consulted my receipt. I also got a robe and some kitchen towels.
I just find this mind-boggling, especially since she posts frequently about new purchases from Ulta Beauty- I'm guessing she buys more makeup about once a week.

I wonder what I've saved over my lifetime by not wearing makeup. I just never liked the look of it on me and foundation makes me feel like my pores are smothered.
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Old 10-06-2020, 08:16 AM   #100
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Divorced once, I, at the time, thought my late wife was 'it' - after she died and I started 'dating' again, a few women passed through & by. (Told my late wife's best friend that I had the feeling that she was 'up there' with a check list, going "Naah, naah".)

Met DW 17 years ago; one of those little 'head voices' (yeah, I'm crazier than a loon) said, at first glance, (and it had never happened before), "This could work".

We've been inseparable since then...we are, basically, 'one'. It's nice.
What a wonderful story, Nemo
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