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Old 12-07-2007, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
218 posts, read 553,933 times
Reputation: 127

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Kuharai - you are so wise. I started saving at 25. Back then (I'm late 40s), my only option was 2K into a Traditional IRA - no employer sponsored savings vehicle. So I also saved cash. Since then I've had pre-tax employer-sponsored and employer-matching plans, which I've maxed out since age 28, along with saving cash each month. I'll hardly be in the position of some of the posters you read on these forums ("I'll have 3 million" "I'll have 6 gazillion") because I won't have a pension nor will I have any help with insurance, other than any private insurance I purchase and Medicare at 65 (depending on what happens with that). My plan is to be in a lower tax bracket then I am now. I'll travel, but I won't be hiring a private captain to sail me around Greece (wouldn't want to anyway). And then there's social security, whatever that may be be come 2027 -- I'm figuring grocery money maybe. On the other hand, my mortgage will be paid off by age 60 and I'll have amassed enough cash to live simply but comfortably long past my life expectancy. And it's not like I'm going to quit working altogether. I'll probably do something. I can't imagine not doing something, just not working in corporate America, not that my job is that corporate. At the rate you're going, you'll do just fine. Discipline is key.

Codicile: continue to save at the maximum rate, but don't deprive yourself of everything you "plan" to do ... travel to China or whatever. You could always get hit by a bus tomorrow. There are probably many people on this forum who know of someone who saved everything and did nothing during their working years, then had a heart attack or other event happened which ended their life. Common sense and balance. Saving is important, but so is living.

Like others, I'm a child of depression-era parents. They were good teachers.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:55 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,377,376 times
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My parents ... product of the depression era ... always told me to put something away "for a rainy day" from my earnings. They always did so, and we lived far below our means from their two professional incomes.

As a youngster, I was told that I needed to work for my "spending" money. So I was mowing lawns and such from the time I was 12 years old ... and opened up my first savings account then. Having access to the local boating community, it was more fun to "help" out around the boats ... cleaning fish, cleaning boats, helping to paint boats at haul-outs ... so at 14, I was in "business" with my services (and some help from my schoolmates); people used to expect to see us at the marina or call ahead to let me know that they'd be in at a certain time. Maybe they thought that it was "charming" that a couple of kids had the initiative and skills to take care of the boats, etc. .... But I put enough away for college doing this by the time I graduated HS. I'd taken advanced placement courses, so even when I graduated HS, I already had 22 college credit hours accumulated in summer school and paid for by the school district.

I continued with my service business, expanding into cars, motorcycles, and sailboats when I went to college to keep myself in spending money and school.

Ultimately, college didn't work out for me ... I was looking at job opportunities ahead if I was to graduate, and the salary hiring ranges were less money than I was already making. I had time off to boat and fish, race sailboats, travel/camp out, ride/race my motorcycles ... generally, a very good time ... and was still making a good income. So why would I want to get onto the corporate treadmill? I didn't, but I was aware that anything I had for the future would come from my own efforts ... no pension, no retirement plan paid for by someone else. I blew off school for my business and independence.

Again, my outlook on savings and money came easily. By living well below my means, and by being of service to others where they took care of my housing and a large part of my living expenses ... boat deliveries, letting me live on their boats while I did repairs & maintenance ... I was again able to save/invest in hard goods. I bought and re-sold cars, motorcycles, and ... later ... fix-up houses, all the while still running my service business. Interesting to look back on all the years when everything I had could fit into my car ....

I'd say that, for many years, that it didn't look like I was accumulating any real money to retire on. I don't think I had a real grasp of the finances, I just knew I had to keep investing in hard goods and real estate ... and everything I owned was always for sale (at the right price). I think I woke up to what I'd done when I was around 55 ... and owned a large piece of land with a big house in a Colorado ski resort town, a ranch in Wyoming, and a commercial acreage/business in Wyoming. Along with a fleet of cars, collector motorcycles, boats, and my airplane. And no debt, no mortgage, a sizable monthly net income from my rental properties, and almost 7 figures in an investment account (mostly in indexed funds).

Anyway, it's been a blast of a ride along the way, and the "freedom" of living far below my means and not tying myself to money worries along the way has kept it fun. I now work about only 60 hours per week for my rep business, and still have my organic farm and ranch for most of my food production (as well as a small hay business ... fun on the farm, and our organic lamb business; we also raise chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea hens, a calf now and then, and a few hogs now and then).

So when do I "retire"? I'm not planning on stopping working for at least another 10 years. I travel now ... have been for years ... with my airplane, cars, motorcycles; still love to camp out in the backcountry or wilderness. I ski enough now ... not as much as I used to, but that's the body slowing down a bit and being a "spoiled" skiier from Colorado's best seasons ... I don't enjoy crappy days on packed/hardpack snow, I want powder and lots of it. I get to ride my horses as much as I care to, we can camp out on the ranch or head up into the wilderness for our riding. I still can get out salt water fishing when I head to visit friends out on the coast ... it's only 5 hours away. Fresh water fishing is anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours away, just depends upon whether we want stream or lake fishing.

Other than the rep business and my "work" on the farm .... it almost sounds like we're "retired" already. I get more income per month from my investments than we need to live on already, so most of that goes back into the brokerage investment account now. I don't plan on collecting SS until they force me to do so ... I think that's at age 70, which is a ways away. Having too much fun to stop .... and I've got my health in good shape to enjoy what I've worked for all these years.

I suspect that my situation isn't all that unusual. I see families around here where the kids are in 4H or similar programs, and they're learning how to be productive and manage their finances from the time they're around 10-11 years old. I sold some feeding equipment to a 14 year old awhile back, and he came over to the ranch and did his own "negotiation" for the stuff and paid for it with his own check written on his own checking account. His dad stood by to be sure that all was OK and helped his son load up the equipment. I've since run into that boy in town, and he's a successful young rancher running cattle on a piece of his family's property, just now starting his own family. Perhaps this is typical of the independent attitude of folks around here ... I see this, too, in a lot of other families where their children have grown up expected to be contributors to the family and their own success. What I don't see around here is an ethic of "you owe me" simply because of who you are or a big ego or a higher education ....

Last edited by sunsprit; 12-08-2007 at 03:07 AM..
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:09 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,677 posts, read 49,430,310 times
Reputation: 19129
Saving for your retirement is smart, and should be started as early as possible.

I did not really focus on retirement investments until six years into my career.

However with focused investing, I was able to be well prepared for when I did retire.

Working in a career field with a 20-year pension helped. But even then most retirees at age 38 simply do not have any other investment portfolio to assist them, and they so when they get that first pension they need to go and get another job; in the hopes of retiring when they have two pension checks coming in.

I did not get my 20-year pension until I was 42, though with my portfolio I was able to retiree fully at that point.

It can be done.

I bought a farm, cash, and now we are playing on it, hoping that some day it will produce well.

Investing early, and into a portfolio that you understand is important. Collecting pensions is also handy. Most of my colleagues, of course get their first pension at 38-ish; but do not actually retire until their second pension at 58-ish. They do this largely due to their lack of investmenting.

You are smart. Now go get your first pension.
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Old 12-08-2007, 10:39 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,545 posts, read 39,924,861 times
Reputation: 23653
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
./..
As a youngster, ... I see families around here where the kids are in 4H or similar programs, and they're learning how to be productive and manage their finances from the time they're around 10-11 years old. ....
Hurray for 4-H..

I think it should be a pre-req for Presidential candidates, as may current 4-H kids would do a more diligent job of managing the country than what we've seen in a good many yrs...

There seem to be some good ideas here on "when to start saving to retire", an no "win the lottery" responses

One of the most influential recent books I read was "Dying Broke",(~ 10yrs ago) I took this line to heart, "mentally ... Quit your job but don't tell anyone, especially your boss". The lesson was... You are just selling your time, so sell it to the highest bidder and in a job you can enjoy and grow, or be finding yourself a new gig. Do the best job where you're at, but realize you are a "human resource", and no more... Author's premise was; "we are all independent subcontractors, just selling our hours". Put yours to good use, which will be different for each, not everyone can handle a federal / gov job, and not everyone can handle the unknowns of living on the edge. (and some gov jobs can be 'on -the-edge', some are 'on-the-gravy-train', some are maximum boredom for minimal contribution) but private sector jobs can be just as diverse. There are some terrific opportunities for employment coming (or here) with the high median age of some well paying careers. Best for me would have been the schedule of a Fireman / EMT, as I like to work hard and play hard, and really can't stand going to work everyday. Maybe every other day, or 10 per month... and while I'm there, just 'git-er-done', then get the heck out of there and have another life. I just can't imagine punching a clock or working 9-5. I did 'flex-hours' starting in 1973... that pretty well ruined me for any jobs with micro-management. Being a farm kid, I just can't handle being inside while the suns out.

Probably the best strategy was systematic savings which dictates dollar cost averaging, and having lots of time on your side.

I also liked these books -"the millionaire next door", and "The Wealthy Barber", as they don't promote anything unattainable, just plunk away at it, and live within your means, but not as a pauper.


Good luck
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Old 12-09-2007, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,677 posts, read 49,430,310 times
Reputation: 19129
Quote:
Originally Posted by janb View Post
Hurray for 4-H..
Yes 4H is cool


Quote:
...I also liked these books -"the millionaire next door", and "The Wealthy Barber", as they don't promote anything unattainable, just plunk away at it, and live within your means, but not as a pauper.
Good luck
We really liked "the millionaire next door" it helped us a lot.
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:06 AM
 
13,314 posts, read 25,550,246 times
Reputation: 20487
I started saving at age 42, although didn't really hit my stride for several years (when I decided to work at a place where I'd become vested in an old-fashioned pension). I had no concept of retirement or money, very blue collar. How could you save enough money to not work? Etc.
I certainly did everything I thought I wanted to do- schools, move places, jobs/careers, and so on. I've saved none of those things for retirement. At this point, I view retirement as primarily not coming to the job anymore, or at worst, working two days a week ((pro-rated benefits). Due to the pension and my aggressive savings, I should be in great shape in ten years, and good shape in five. If we had national health insurance, I could be persuaded to cut back or cut out sooner, even though it wouldn't be prudent.

Multiple injuries on the job have added up. I am tired of back pain and constant treatments and still being vulnerable to re-injury at the job. One cannot always plan to "work until I die," either for health reasons or no job available. I am glad to be doing the right things now, only wish I'd had a clue a bit earlier. Kudos to those who start early- it's so much easier with time!
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
9,321 posts, read 16,575,490 times
Reputation: 5692
We started to save in our mid to late 40's. We had a nice savings going until our oldest daughter became very ill. Drained us considerably even with insurance. We started up again in our early 50's and peddled very hard, took some risks, built 7 nice speculative homes. Our savings is not huge, but I think we will be ok. We do not have a pension coming, we are self employeed, so we may be working until we are 70.
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:14 AM
 
1,831 posts, read 4,795,523 times
Reputation: 661
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotleyCrew View Post
We do not have a pension coming, we are self employeed, so we may be working until we are 70.
Yeah ... we're starting late also in our mid '40s. But, we both got jobs in state government specifically for the pension and health benefits which extend into retirement.

Between that and our savings, we're hoping to retire in our mid '60s but ... we'll work until 70 if necessary.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:54 AM
GLS
 
1,985 posts, read 4,846,113 times
Reputation: 2408
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheri257 View Post
Yeah ... we're starting late also in our mid '40s. But, we both got jobs in state government specifically for the pension and health benefits which extend into retirement.

Between that and our savings, we're hoping to retire in our mid '60s but ... we'll work until 70 if necessary.
I have two friends that have been independent consultants (sole proprietors)
for most of their working life. Paying both ends (employee & employer) of social security/Medicare and a lack of discipline in setting aside IRA or SEP money has caused them to take State government jobs in their 50s.

The core of their retirement plan is to work ten years to be vested in the State system and to get the health benefits.

PS I will remain an independent consultant. Too late to switch to the State and you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:32 PM
 
5 posts, read 16,641 times
Reputation: 10
Both my wife and I started saving around 36 years old. Started out slow at first but are now able to put away about 30k every year into 401k's, Roth IRA, taxable accounts. Hope to semi retire at about 50 (10 years away) and then stop contributions and let it grow until my military guard retirement and small pension's kick in at 60.
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