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Old 02-16-2018, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Tennessee at last!
1,886 posts, read 2,040,410 times
Reputation: 3796

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When I was nearing retirement I had several co-workers ask how I could afford to retire. Many were just trying to figure out how I could retire and they could not. It was a federal government position so our salaries are, unfortunately, posted on line each year and our pensions are one percent of the average of our highest three years of salary for each year we worked. So say, for example only, 30 years and $100,000 salary average for the past 3 years gives a pension of $30k a year.

Anyone can figure out anyone else's pension.

But we also have a retirement fund, like an IRA, called the TSP plan that we can put part of our salary into, plus get an up to 5% match. That is the key to being able to retire after 30 years in our plan.

Many of my co-workers did not put much, if anything, into this plan. Many did not put in the minimum to get even the 5% match.

So I explained that, yes, I knew exactly what my pension would be, and, yes, I could not live on it, but I put a lot into the TSP plan and its multiplied quite well.

When folks asked how I could afford to put into the TSP Plan I generally answered based on what they wasted their money on. e.g. I never did drugs, drank, smoked, got divorced (or married for that matter), raised my 4 adopted kids without buying expensive named brand designer clothing for them or me, never bought a purse over $25 (for the lady with $2000 purses, but not much in the TEP Plan), drove cars until they were worn out (for the co-workers with a new car every 3 years), got my hair cut rarely, and never costing more than $25 (for the lady who came in late weekly because she did not want to brush her hair, but let the hair dresser brush it out for her) and so on.

I told them that my priority was to fund my retirement since long life does not run in my family and I wanted to be retired before I died. And their priorities seemed to be higher for new cars, several wives, etc.

Once I was retired and moved to my retirement community, only a few have inquired how I can afford to be retired so 'young' (says the 92 year old neighbor). I explain that I have always managed my money and it does not manage me Only one person asked more specifically and I explained the federal retirement system in general.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:39 PM
 
Location: NJ
972 posts, read 2,421,757 times
Reputation: 1840
Reply, "why do you ask?" . If they continue to press, reply "I never discuss politics, religion or my personal finances."
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,110 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35290
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightengale212 View Post
Just curious, if someone can't afford to rent a 1 BR apartment in a low income complex where rents are calculated on income, and if their income is lower than your then so would be their rent, so if they can't afford a lower rent their yours then what type of living situations are these inquiring individuals from your complex living in now that they can afford ?
Are you asking me about my income?
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,110 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35290
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakin View Post
I'm single, available and willing to relocate. How much did you say you were worth?
LOL! I can't rep anymore today. It says I have given away too many reps in the last 24 hours LOL.
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,110 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35290
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveinMtAiry View Post
You are in a low income apartment building you both live in. To me this conversation made more sense in that environment than somebody asking you in the grocery checkout line how much take home pay you have each month.
The point is that it's retired people who are comfortable asking other retired people details about their finances. So, your comment just makes my point. I'm sure they never would have done this prior to being retired. So, they know it's not cool to ask, but somehow they cross that line now.

It doesn't just happen with low income people. I recently signed up for swim classes at a local senior center in a very wealthy town in Silicon Valley. And even those in the class who were quite well-to-do did the same thing. Asking me and others in the class, even total strangers.

And as I said, I have a friend I met in that class and we had lunch last week and I brought this up and she said it happens to her all the time, too. And she is not low income.

It's just a retired people thing, where the normal rules of asking personal questions about finance, even of total strangers, have gone out the window.
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,110 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35290
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
I understand your point. I'm affluent, and among other affluent friends, sometimes the conversation turns to investments, especially in light of the increases in the stock market since Hillary was defeated. Discussions turn to asset allocation strategies, risk tolerance, etc. Sometimes it turns to discussion of investments in individual corporations or with specific asset managers. Sometimes it is about the mechanics of being a landlord, or maintaining a many-decades-old classic car. Sometimes the discussion turns to Cryptocurrencies and if they are real.

At the same time, no one asks "how can you afford that" or "how much money do you have" -- which I sense is the gist of the OPs point.
Exactly! I ran out of reps for 24 hours or I'd rep you. Thanks. This is exactly what I mean. Instead of asking about how to apply for HUD housing or where to get help with paying your electric bill or whatever, they ask about my personal income. It crosses a line.
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,110 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35290
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
It might have been interesting to see the look on their faces if you had turned the tables on them:

* "How much life insurance do you have? Who's the beneficiary?"
* "Do you have a heart condition?"
* "What are your cholesterol numbers?"
* "What's your Hemoglobin A1c?"
* "How's your prostate? What's your PSA?"
* "Do you have a written Power of Attorney for medical care?"
* "Have you been tested for Alzheimer's?"
* "Do you have a will? When was the last time you updated it?"
* "Do you have your assets in a Trust?" Who's the beneficiary?"
* "Do you still have a mortgage?"
* "Do you receive a pension? How much? Is it a Public Sector (safe) or private sector (less safe) pension?"
* "How old is your car? Is it in good condition? Do you own it outright or do you still make payments?"

and then, of course, if they still don't get the hint ...

* "Do you have anything against 3-ways with one woman and two men?"
* "Do you use Viagra or Cialis?"

and finally

* "How long is your Johnson?" And then frown when he answers.
LOL! You made me laugh so hard I'm crying. That would keep him away from me.
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,110 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35290
Quote:
Originally Posted by lae60 View Post
When I was nearing retirement I had several co-workers ask how I could afford to retire. Many were just trying to figure out how I could retire and they could not. It was a federal government position so our salaries are, unfortunately, posted on line each year and our pensions are one percent of the average of our highest three years of salary for each year we worked. So say, for example only, 30 years and $100,000 salary average for the past 3 years gives a pension of $30k a year.

Anyone can figure out anyone else's pension.

But we also have a retirement fund, like an IRA, called the TSP plan that we can put part of our salary into, plus get an up to 5% match. That is the key to being able to retire after 30 years in our plan.

Many of my co-workers did not put much, if anything, into this plan. Many did not put in the minimum to get even the 5% match.

So I explained that, yes, I knew exactly what my pension would be, and, yes, I could not live on it, but I put a lot into the TSP plan and its multiplied quite well.

When folks asked how I could afford to put into the TSP Plan I generally answered based on what they wasted their money on. e.g. I never did drugs, drank, smoked, got divorced (or married for that matter), raised my 4 adopted kids without buying expensive named brand designer clothing for them or me, never bought a purse over $25 (for the lady with $2000 purses, but not much in the TEP Plan), drove cars until they were worn out (for the co-workers with a new car every 3 years), got my hair cut rarely, and never costing more than $25 (for the lady who came in late weekly because she did not want to brush her hair, but let the hair dresser brush it out for her) and so on.

I told them that my priority was to fund my retirement since long life does not run in my family and I wanted to be retired before I died. And their priorities seemed to be higher for new cars, several wives, etc.

Once I was retired and moved to my retirement community, only a few have inquired how I can afford to be retired so 'young' (says the 92 year old neighbor). I explain that I have always managed my money and it does not manage me Only one person asked more specifically and I explained the federal retirement system in general.
First of all - good on you! This example can also be applied to seniors in subsidized buildings. When I have shared info on how to save more money or get the subsidies I have, they glaze over. They don't want to stop spending their money the way they do. They don't want to have to make any sacrifices - at all.

Okay, I will answer the question for those who don't know - I have a Section 8 HUD voucher. It took me nearly 5 years to get, and I had to move far away and live in funky housing in order to get one, because the lists are closed in the SF Bay Area. And when they do open, and if you're lucky enough to get on it, the wait can easily be 10 years to get one. And all of this involves getting on waiting lists for the places far away, finding housing there you can afford while waiting there to get the voucher in that county where the wait list is open, and being ready to move with good credit and moving money when they finally call.

But, if you are willing to move to Bum Stuff, Egypt, to get one, it can be done. But, it means saving up to move at least twice, moving far away, living there for at least a year, getting on waiting lists back where you really want to live, and living on basically beans and rice for many years so you can afford to do it all and wait. You also have to keep your credit and references stellar, because landlords in the SF Bay Area can be picky, even in subsidized housing.

What I've learned is that pretty much nobody I've shown how to do this - actually will do it. They'll whine and complain and be jealous, but they won't make the sacrifices for the long term gain.

And that's what it takes. Being willing to sacrifice for a long-term gain, just like your story.
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,685 posts, read 49,455,573 times
Reputation: 19134
I live in a small town. We have one store-front business in our town, a gunsmith. Twice a week guys meet-up at the gunshop for coffee. Most of these guys are retirees [or else they are on SSDI]. They will discuss every topic under the sun, which will include how much each person makes on SS or SSDI.

I am 58, I have been on military pension for 16 years. So I could be seen as 'too young' to be retired. Talking to these guys has given me a good perspective on how they look at retirement.
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Old 02-16-2018, 06:57 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 1,980,227 times
Reputation: 18244
I refuse to engage in any conversation about my finances and spending habits. When those who inquire don't take a subtle but gentle hint, I'll tell them it's none of their business. Why beat about the bush? It's not anyone's business and people have some nerve thinking that it does.
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