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Old 09-22-2011, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 10,753,055 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
...what would you do different to make today better than it is?

I am officially past that half-way point (at least until they raise the retirement age ) and a couple years short of the half-way point through a government retirement pension plan.

I have three kids, two almost to the teenager stage and one just before kindergarten age. I haven't made any retirement plans because it still seems so far off, but I guess I'm getting older because the first half seems to have gone by fast.

What advice would you give to someone like me?
I would have invested in top line, blue chip companies (steady growth) rather then in risky, smaller ones (high tech) hoping to hit it big. For every Apple, there were tens of thousands (some with my money) that fell by the wayside.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:25 PM
 
391 posts, read 665,020 times
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I don't have a clue because who knows what would happen over the course of 30 years. Funny, I blame myself for any bad decisions back then but any that turned out well, I just attribute to getting lucky.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:31 AM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,873,672 times
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I would have given it some thought, like you are doing!!!!
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:46 AM
 
Location: California Mountains
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I don't think I could do anything different 30 years before my retirement since I was still underage and only a freshman in college.
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,358,064 times
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Make good life-style choices. Stop smoking, if you smoke. Drink moderately. Stay physically active, and cut out junk food. Eat lots of vegetables, and cut back on meat. Don't allow yourself to get fat.

Be very conservative with your money. If you buy a house, choose a smaller, affordable one, and pay down your mortgage as quickly as you can. Don't get mired in credit card debt.

The last part we did, the first part we didn't--my husband finally quit smoking, after on and off attempts stretching over years, about 4 years ago. I'm trying to get my son to quit now--he doesn't see well into the future yet.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Coast of Somewhere Beautiful
2,336 posts, read 4,624,824 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
...what would you do different to make today better than it is?
1. I would have invested more in 401K/IRA type of investments, rather than taxable accounts. Over time, the tax shelter benefits make a big difference. Whatever you do, if your company offers any 401K matching benefits, do whatever it takes to get every penny of it. Don't ever turn down free money, even if it requires some investment up front.

2) I would have sought out more professional planning advice earlier in my career, rather than relying on personal judgment. It took me quite awhile to learn that I don't know everything.

3) Plan for your future prudently but remember that the meaning of life is not all about reaching retirement. Don't be afraid to spend some bucks enjoying the trip along the way. Despite what some folks might tell you, the "golden years" will not be the best times of your life.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:45 AM
 
701 posts, read 1,533,434 times
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We did a number of things posted above. Bought an older house and fixed it up. Stayed in one place for 20 years rather than buying and selling. Encouraged our children to be self-supporting early on with jobs in high school. We gave them each $10,000 for college and paid for their books and a few small things here and there, but otherwise they were on their own for college. We lived near a good university and encouraged them to live at home. None did. All ended up owing money. All have regretted it as it limited their choices upon graduation. But all are working and paying off their loans, so maybe it helped to ground them.

We bought in bulk and ate at home. My husband worked full-time and I worked part-time until the kids were out of high school. This built up my Social Security quarters and helped keep up with the credit card bills, but did not add a lot to the retirement fund. It did allow us to keep close track of the kids. I was always there after school and was able to help with homework and see that they were involved in band, soccer, etc. We have good kids, but even good kids need a nudge now and again. Though I never earned a pension and my SS check is minimal, we feel we made the right choice in my not working full time.

I wished I had gotten serious about exercise. My husband rides his bike and walks the dogs and I try to exercise to video tapes, but we really need to do more. Joining a health club the YMCA is affordable for us now, but it seems like such an unnecessary expense.

My big regret is that we didn't take more vacations with the kids. We have fond memories of the few we did take, but for the most part we used our vacation time and money to help my parents out. They insisted on living out in the country in a place that needed a great deal of upkeep. Unfortunately, they were not physically able to do this upkeep, so our family spent our yearly summer and holiday vacations mowing, painting, repairing their place. I wish we had just said no. They eventually ended up in a retirement community, which is where they should have been all along. Looking back, we sacrificed a lot of family energy, time and money so they could keep playing Lord and Lady of the Manor. I would like to say that it built a stronger bond between my parents and our kids, but it did not.

I think the best thing my husband and I did was to stick together. I have a friend (a psychiatrist, no less) who has been married several times. She stated that though each relationship had its good and bad points, her overall Happiness Quotient was about the same with each husband and had she stayed married to her first husband, she would have saved a fortune in monogrammed towels. Not to mention all she has lost over the years each time a divorce divided their assets.

I am now growing old with my best friend. That's the best part.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:43 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,685 posts, read 40,050,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatRoy1 View Post
We did a number of things posted above. ...

.I worked part-time until the kids were out of high school. This built up my Social Security quarters and helped keep up with the credit card bills, but did not add a lot to the retirement fund. It did allow us to keep close track of the kids. I was always there after school and was able to help with homework and see that they were involved in band, soccer, etc. We have good kids, but even good kids need a nudge now and again. Though I never earned a pension and my SS check is minimal, we feel we made the right choice in my not working full time.

I wished I had gotten serious about exercise. ...
My big regret is that we didn't take more vacations with the kids. We have fond memories of the few we did take, but for the most part we used our vacation time and money to help my parents out. ....I would like to say that it built a stronger bond between my parents and our kids, but it did not.

I think the best thing my husband and I did was to stick together. ...
.

Oh, such a similar story as mine (almost spooky it is so close, even down to the SS qtrs...).

I wish we would have done more camping and backpacking w kids (hint: EXCERCISE, time together, good discipline). We did LOTS of this pre-kid + 100 mile bike rides in Colorado, Mtn climbing... then there were kids... then there was 'the farm' to care for + 'eldercare' from age 18 to 49 for a disabled parent, then living overseas, building 4 houses, quest for income (typical 60hr work weeks).... Way too many interruptions and 'busy-work' (life/ financial / wealth building) things that got in the way of family.

If you have a family... take heed. If you get the chance to be a grandparent (or foster parent) do so with the knowledge & wisdom you have.

Don't worry, be happy.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:13 PM
 
701 posts, read 1,533,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post

I wish we would have done more camping and backpacking w kids.
We did a bit. Wish we had done more.

Our oldest is 30 and if I could go back and do it all over again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Raising kids was such a busy time, that we didn't really think through what we wanted to do more of. It was all we could do to just keep up.

But I will say that the time we put into our kids and our family turned out to be a much better investment than the 401Ks.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,358,064 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatRoy1 View Post
We did a bit. Wish we had done more.

Our oldest is 30 and if I could go back and do it all over again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Raising kids was such a busy time, that we didn't really think through what we wanted to do more of. It was all we could do to just keep up.

But I will say that the time we put into our kids and our family turned out to be a much better investment than the 401Ks.
I agree absolutely. Mine's 30 as well. We did some camping and hiking, and he did end up with a love of the outdoors like me. But I wish I'd spent more time with him.

If I could go back, I would treasure every moment of his childhood, and not be distracted by work and concerns like mortgages and money.
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