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Old 12-30-2017, 03:10 PM
 
Location: WA
605 posts, read 556,256 times
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All financial wisdom is excellent; to add to financial wisdom, find a passion you enjoy, i.e. a hiking group, book club, something you enjoy with other people.
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Southern California
23,679 posts, read 8,235,451 times
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OP: I didn't read the whole thread but at 38 the LAST thing I was thinking of was retirement. I worked over 40 yrs had a full time and do sometimes think I spent some of my money UNWISELY. But we do what we do at the time.

My mother, who is gone, used to tell me to "save your money"..

But enjoy life as we never know when it can be taken from us.

Sound like you live in a fairly inexpensive part of the U.S. so that's a positive for saving money. I moved to CA 50 yrs ago and it's pretty pricey re: housing.

Enjoy, spend wisely and work at work you enjoy and make a decent living.
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:29 PM
 
5,392 posts, read 6,530,997 times
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I am all for having a mortgage free home where you would not mind living by the time you fully retire.

Doesn't mean you can't rent the house out, sell it and buy one more suitable, or use it as a second home, but the financial freedom and personal flexibility of having a paid off house is worthwhile to your typical middle class retiree.

and live below your means though out your work life with no debt.
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:35 PM
 
Location: equator
3,431 posts, read 1,527,565 times
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You've got some good financial advice, though it seems you are well on the way already. I can't add to that, but my 2 cents is if you want to do something adventurous that has a physical component, try to do it NOW at 38. It will be so much easier than waiting until retirement, when physical limitations may hinder or prevent it. So many people put off these "dreams" until it's too late. You might have the money, but not the health.


I knew this at 38 and started my adventure---doing the Pacific Crest Trail on horseback---camping for 5 years. So glad I did it then---knowing my mid-30s and early 40s would be the "best" time to do it.


Now I have arthritis and can't mount a horse so I'm really glad I did it when I could. Think about that kind of thing too---not just finances.


Of course, some would say I "wasted" that 5 years that I could have been socking away retirement $$$
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,769 posts, read 4,827,803 times
Reputation: 19395
Quote:
Originally Posted by southkakkatlantan View Post
Well you touched a bit of a nerve here...I don't really have any good family relations outside of my mom unfortunately (which is only half good on the best day I'd say).


Without going into any detail, due to circumstances that exist beyond my control (just your good old-fashioned family dysfunction), I don't really have any true family. By that I mean family that wants to see me do good and sincerely cares about me/wants to know me/would support me in any way. It is what it is and those are the cards I am dealing with. (Perhaps partly due to "family"), I've never wanted children and am too old to have them. I really have been trying to focus on things outside of a mate because that would be great but I'm getting a bit old for that and it hasn't happened yet so I think that going into retirement I need to have a really strong foundation of self and basically focus on maintaining/building up the friendships that currently exist as well as establishing new ones. I think that's about all I can do right...? If "love" happens for me that would be great but I've had my fair share of heartbreak and after the last one this year I'm kinda just burnt out from thinking/doing anything about that aspect of life. Maybe someone else in a similar boat can chime in on this-a very real and difficult aspect of retirement I already know is loneliness.


Thanks for the food for thought.
Hey just never say never. I started dating my husband when I was 38 and he was 43. We dated 3 years, lived together for 5 years and then got married 13 years ago. The funny thing is we've known each other since I was 22 and he was 27! He was planning to be a life long bachelor, but he screwed up and fell in love. Life is funny. We're a good partnership because we are almost always on the same page about the future, but we give each other space to breathe. Don't sweat it, but don't be blind to people that come your way. Someone you've never thought of in that way may suddenly start to look different in your eyes when you look at their heart and mind and not just their body/face. We all now it's what's on the inside that counts. We've also found that it's a lot cheaper for two people to live together than in separate places. Retirement as a couple gives you more money to work with if she comes with her own financial assets.

Okay, back to the financial. It looks like you're well on your way, and on a very good track to get where you need to go with your current plans. I don't know about the market where you live, but start reading the real estate section in your local paper (online or on paper). Get a feel for whether it's a buyers' or sellers' market in your area, and where the less expensive areas to purchase are. Start thinking about what you're looking for location-wise and what type of place you could afford. There are mortgage calculators on-line to help you see what your payments might be in your price range. You could even call your bank and speak to their mortgage person to get a ballpark idea of what size mortgage might qualify for. Start trying to become more educated about the process and what all is entailed in homeownership. It's more than just a mortgage payment. There's homeowners insurance, property taxes, maintenance, and more utilities than a renter usually pays (water/sewer/garbage), and possibly HOA fees. Also if you are in a single family home rather than a condo, there's yard work, exterior maintenance, and of course repairs and upgrades when they inevitably become necessary. It's a lot for a single to take on as a first timer.

You might consider getting your feet wet in real estate with a condo. In some condos you pay higher HOA fees, but you don't have to deal with the yard or exterior stuff, and a lot of the maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to the major systems (roof, sewer, possibly even the HVAC and hot water) are the HOA's responsibility. Insurance is lower on a condo also. You can also get amenities you otherwise couldn't afford in your home, like a pool/spa, exercise room, etc. Think of it as "homeownership light".

Last edited by TheShadow; 12-30-2017 at 04:00 PM..
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,203 posts, read 3,196,256 times
Reputation: 2031
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
Hey just never say never. I started dating my husband when I was 38 and he was 43. We dated 3 years, lived together for 5 years and then got married 13 years ago. The funny thing is we've known each other since I was 22 and he was 27! He was planning to be a life long bachelor, but he screwed up and fell in love. Life is funny. We're a good partnership because we are almost always on the same page about the future, but we give each other space to breathe. Don't sweat it, but don't be blind to people that come your way. Someone you've never thought of in that way may suddenly start to look different in your eyes when you look at their heart and mind and not just their body/face. We all now it's what's on the inside that counts. We've also found that it's a lot cheaper for two people to live together than in separate places. Retirement as a couple gives you more money to work with if she comes with her own financial assets.

Okay, back to the financial. It looks like you're well on your way, and on a very good track to get where you need to go with your current plans. I don't know about the market where you live, but start reading the real estate section in your local paper (online or on paper). Get a feel for whether it's a buyers' or sellers' market in your area, and where the less expensive areas to purchase are. Start thinking about what you're looking for location-wise and what type of place you could afford. There are mortgage calculators on-line to help you see what your payments might be in your price range. You could even call your bank and speak to their mortgage person to get a ballpark idea of what size mortgage might qualify for. Start trying to become more educated about the process and what all is entailed in homeownership. It's more than just a mortgage payment. There's homeowners insurance, property taxes, maintenance, and more utilities than a renter usually pays (water/sewer/garbage), and possibly HOA fees. Also if you are in a single family home rather than a condo, there's yard work, exterior maintenance, and of course repairs and upgrades when they inevitably become necessary. It's a lot for a single to take on as a first timer.

You might consider getting your feet wet in real estate with a condo. In some condos you pay higher HOA fees, but you don't have to deal with the yard or exterior stuff, and a lot of the maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to the major systems (roof, sewer, possibly even the HVAC and hot water) are the HOA's responsibility. Insurance is lower on a condo also. You can also get amenities you otherwise couldn't afford in your home, like a pool/spa, exercise room, etc. Think of it as "homeownership light".


I haven't given up completely...I'm just (a female ) nearing 40 who is pretty rational in her thinking and just happens to believe at this point and time the likelihood of me finding someone as I get older is definitely decreasing rapidly (especially in the city I live in which is *not* a good city for finding a partner but definitely don't want to get into that lol). Right now I'm just trying to focus on other things since he's not here yet (and the reality is who knows if he will ever come?). I think maybe that means there are other things I should be focusing on and maybe I should be directing my heart towards others that need it now and are here like my mom and friends and maybe through volunteering...those sorts of things.


Thanks for the real estate tips
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,769 posts, read 4,827,803 times
Reputation: 19395
Quote:
Originally Posted by southkakkatlantan View Post
Hi there...I do remember your story. It is very touching and I appreciate you sharing it. It is a reminder to me to save as much as I can for my future self. Honestly I do think to myself all of the time that anything could happen at any point so I am grateful for how things are now but I do worry about the future.


Instead of worrying so much I am trying to take baby steps to do better to prepare. As people can see I am behind but I think there is room to catch up and improve. I wish you the best of luck in re-entering the workforce full time.


The 30% savings part...I assume you meant gross right?


I am saving a certain amount right now for travel but I am working on cutting that amount down.


I feel like 20% down on a house will take me so long to save I might be too old to get a decent home assuming a 15 year mortgage by the time I do get a down payment saved up. Dunno...gotta think more about that. I do want a paid off residence by retirement time.
There are programs for first time home buyers where you can get in with a smaller down payment. We also once had a 10-10-80 loan one time. We put 10% down, got an 80% first mortgage, and a 10% second mortgage (all simultaneously) to avoid paying PMI. I don't know if the 10-10-80 thing is still available, but we used a mortgage broker and he was very helpful. You don't have to get a 15 year mortgage to get it paid off by retirement either, although the interest rates are a bit lower. You can get a 30 year, so the payment that you MUST pay is monthly is lower, and then pay as much extra to the principal as you can, in the months that you can. In months where you get a windfall, you can throw that at the principal too. You can also pay bi-weekly instead of monthly and that basically makes you pay one extra month's payment a year and helps you to pay it off early.
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,203 posts, read 3,196,256 times
Reputation: 2031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
You've got some good financial advice, though it seems you are well on the way already. I can't add to that, but my 2 cents is if you want to do something adventurous that has a physical component, try to do it NOW at 38. It will be so much easier than waiting until retirement, when physical limitations may hinder or prevent it. So many people put off these "dreams" until it's too late. You might have the money, but not the health.


I knew this at 38 and started my adventure---doing the Pacific Crest Trail on horseback---camping for 5 years. So glad I did it then---knowing my mid-30s and early 40s would be the "best" time to do it.


Now I have arthritis and can't mount a horse so I'm really glad I did it when I could. Think about that kind of thing too---not just finances.


Of course, some would say I "wasted" that 5 years that I could have been socking away retirement $$$
Very good points! I (barely) hiked Coco head in Oahu earlier this year and had this same exact thought at the time. Although I like to travel not 'too' many things are really all that physical. Maybe a tad adventurous (nearly had a panic attack in a helicopter with no doors while in Kauai) but not necessarily physically straining things. However I will keep this in mind because one item I'd like to accomplish (learning to swim) I feel I better get a move on fast as I've been talking about it forever and I would love to be comfortable allowing my brother to take me out on one of his dives one day.
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:42 PM
 
6,615 posts, read 3,742,110 times
Reputation: 13666
To my young self:

Dear Bpollen,

1. Hey, girl. Get crackin' with your retirement savings! Time's a'wastin! You can do this, even tho you're not exactly paid a bucket o'money.

2. First, if your employer MATCHES contributions in your 401k, you must, before anything else, contribute to that 401k as much as necessary to get the FULL MATCH from your employer. Otherwise, you're passing up free money!

3. But since your employer contributes anyway and doesn't require you to contribute for a match, then you must FIRST contribute the MAX to a ROTH IRA. The ROTH IRA is the #1 most valuable retirement account you will have, girl. You put in after-tax dollars, but then never have to pay a penny of tax on it....ever. Including the gains.

4. After maxing out the Roth IRA, then contribute to your 401k. Max it out, if possible. But whatever you can put in there, you MUST. Remember that for every $100 you put in, you are really missing out on maybe $80 in your paycheck (since you are putting in pre-tax dollars).

5. Increase the amount you put in to your 401k every year, even if it's only a bit.

6. Learn to sacrifice and live on only part of your income, so you can SAVE SAVE SAVE for your retirement. A new tv? No. Your old one still works. A new phone? No way. Not while your old one still works. A contract for your phone? Get rid of it. Do prepaid only. You're going frugal all the way, girl!

7. Start reading some investment books. No, you won't understand them to the full extent. Read them anyway. You will pick up info through osmosis. You NEED to know the terminology and basics so you can invest the money in your 401k and ROTH IRA wisely. (Benjamin Graham's "The Intelligent Investor" is a must-read.)

8. Pay off that house, girl. Research when it's best to do that. You need the assurance of a roof over your head, no matter what. And all that money for the mortgage...now goes into your retirement accounts.

9. For your next car, buy less car than you need. Don't go for that Lexus you've always been dreaming of (unless you get a great deal on a used one). And plan to keep it for 14 years. (cha-ching. Savings of maybe $20,000.)

10. Going out for lunch once a week or once a month is plenty. Continue bringing your lunch on most days. (savings of maybe $40 month. Cha-ching.)


If you do these things, you will look at your accounts one day when you're 58, and you'll see that you have a sh*tload of money there. You can breathe a sigh of relief. Your future is secure. Whether you are fired, laid off, get a big raise or promotion, have to move, get sick....whatever the future brings, you will know that you will be able to provide for your needs for the rest of your life.
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:50 PM
 
6,239 posts, read 4,721,373 times
Reputation: 12763
Quote:
Originally Posted by southkakkatlantan View Post
I haven't given up completely...I'm just (a female ) nearing 40 who is pretty rational in her thinking and just happens to believe at this point and time the likelihood of me finding someone as I get older is definitely decreasing rapidly (especially in the city I live in which is *not* a good city for finding a partner but definitely don't want to get into that lol). Right now I'm just trying to focus on other things since he's not here yet (and the reality is who knows if he will ever come?). I think maybe that means there are other things I should be focusing on and maybe I should be directing my heart towards others that need it now and are here like my mom and friends and maybe through volunteering...those sorts of things.
...........
You are from Chicago; i.e., Shy Town?


If you want to get out more and meet people and you have an interest in photography and travel, then you are in a good place. There is an association with 35 photography clubs in the Chicago area.
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