Bogleheads' accomplishments

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

How have you performed financially?

Much better than I expected
81
37%
Somewhat better than I expected
60
28%
About what I expected
46
21%
Somewhat worse than I expected
23
11%
Much worse than I expected
8
4%
 
Total votes : 218

Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby EternalOptimist » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:43 pm

Compared to where you thought you'd be at this stage of your life financially, how are you doing?
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby The Wizard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:48 pm

I'm 63 and freshly retired and doesn't look like money will be a big problem at this point.
Back 40 yrs ago when fresh out of college, I expected as much, tho I pondered retiring earlier.
But a divorce around the halfway point can change your outlook...
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby midareff » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:53 pm

I'm 65 and retired a year. At a 2.5% withdrawal rate I'm living on about 140% of my working yearly income (after savings) and looking to raise the withdrawal rate a little, maybe 3.0% ? Old savings habits die hard.

PS. I never met my college goal of retirement at 40, and I will never have to live under a bridge.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby investingdad » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:53 pm

I began forecasting net worth at 22. So I knew what could be realized. Doing a bit better than forecast.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby SteveNet » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:03 pm

59 now, Where I am based on thoughts at what age?
I'll use age 25... Much Much better than I thought I would be. (I really had no clue).
Always Frugal and even though I hadn't had the slightest idea of how to invest, I just saved the best I could with the thought that I couldn't do more, so this will have to do.
No plan then, just keep saving and stay frugal.
1993, got my first computer and had a class in investing for retirement at a seminar at work. Eyes opened wide :shock:
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Sheepdog » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:05 pm

Almost 80 now. Having lived off of my savings (4.5% average withdrawal) for almost 15 years and have more than when I started, that is much better than what i expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Confused » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:21 pm

My spouse and I don't even combine for $50k gross, even though we both have a BS and both work full time. I consider that much worse off than I expected. That being said, my savings/investing rate is much better than expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby chaz » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:31 pm

EternalOptimist wrote:Compared to where you thought you'd be at this stage of your life financially, how are you doing?

Much better than I expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby WHL » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:36 pm

Dang, I'm the only one who's voted for "worse than I expected?" I'm still doing well, 200k in funds @ 31, maxing 401k / Roth IRA / i-bonds, but...Maybe the poll isn't exactly tailored to my situation, but if I had started investing earlier, particularly with maxing a Roth IRA, I'd have much more money right now.

I also used to make my 5k Roth contribution and leave it in the money market fund for months and months because I couldn't determine what I wanted to put it in.

Wish I would have found this site years ago!
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby TomatoTomahto » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:38 pm

Except for a financially devastating divorce, I'm doing much much better than I expected. Even with the divorce, better than expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby mhc » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:03 pm

In 2000 I extrapolated where I thought I would be. Bad idea. I missed the 1st goal horribly, but due to more earned income than I expected, I have hit my second goal which occurred this year.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby G-Money » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:07 pm

In grade school, I thought I was going to be a professional athlete. So I've fallen quite a bit short of those expectations. :oops:

In high school and early college, I thought everyone in my chosen profession was stinkin' rich. Turns out they're not. I'd say I'm slightly behind those expectations. :(

In graduate school, I finally figured out the range and distribution of incomes in my profession, and developed expectations based on that. I'd say I've met or exceeded those expectations. :moneybag
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby fsrph » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:11 pm

Sheepdog wrote:Almost 80 now. Having lived off of my savings (4.5% average withdrawal) for almost 15 years and have more than when I started, that is much better than what i expected.

That's great Sheepdog! I think I'm doing better than I thought I would too.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby livesoft » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:14 pm

In 2007 when I joined this forum, the stock market and our portfolio was cooking along. I projected where the portfolio would be 5 years later based on traditional metrics like 7% a year. So to be truthful, the portfolio is somewhat worse than expected for this stage of my life. However, financially, we are not doing bad at all. Knock on wood.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby BBL » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:15 pm

mhc wrote:In 2000 I extrapolated where I thought I would be. Bad idea...


Yes sir. I stopped making those projections sometime between the Asian flu and the dot bomb episode. They always fell badly apart in such a hurry. I lost interest in making a new 10/20/30 year projection every six months after the present one went over the cliff - or shot the moon. I'm happy with where I am but probably in a reasonably predictable range. No complaints. :wink:
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby mickeyd » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:18 pm

Prior to retirement I did not fully appreciate how dynamic a series of guaranteed income streams can affect one's (my) life. Prior to about 10 years ago I did not appreciate how true the "rule of 72" was.

Life's too good, but I can't worry about that as I have too much to do.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby hicabob » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:36 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:Except for a financially devastating divorce, I'm doing much much better than I expected. Even with the divorce, better than expected.


Yup - divorces are certainly net-worth destroyers - I came out of mine with a vengeance though and exceeded expectations.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby DoubleDraw » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:34 pm

WHL wrote:Dang, I'm the only one who's voted for "worse than I expected?" I'm still doing well, 200k in funds @ 31, maxing 401k / Roth IRA / i-bonds, but...Maybe the poll isn't exactly tailored to my situation, but if I had started investing earlier, particularly with maxing a Roth IRA, I'd have much more money right now.

I also used to make my 5k Roth contribution and leave it in the money market fund for months and months because I couldn't determine what I wanted to put it in.

Wish I would have found this site years ago!


I'm with you! I think I'm doing better than most my age but I know I made some bad decisions with money along the way. Based on my opportunities in life, I would say I am way behind where I should be. I made some good financial decisions in my work and investing, I just wasn't smart about spending when I was younger.

I recently turned 30 and have started trying to figure out my net worth goal at 40. I figure I can't do anything about my past, but I can work harder now to make up for it!
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby LadyGeek » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:57 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (net worth, financial status).
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby scrabbler1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:54 pm

I did not expect to retire in 2008 at age 45 until about 18-24 months before I actually retired. Before that, I thought I'd be able to retire some time in my early 50s. So I got there at least 5 years ahead of schedule.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby BHCadet » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:35 am

I felt we can always do better.
But, life is good.
In reality, we're doing what has been expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby harrychan » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:46 am

About what I expected.

34 and finally hit the 6 fig club. Savings in the $180k range combined 401k, mutual funds, 529, etc. Bought first home through mortgage at 3.5% 3 years ago. With 20% downpayment, I am literally paying the same mortgage as what rent was 3 years ago. Outright own one car and leasing the other at a ridiculously low amount. The wife should be able to stay at home towards end of this year so that would be a great accomplishment.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby lwfitzge » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:10 am

Reached my number. Left the rat race and now self-employed, part-time at 48 yr-old. My expectations were that I'd reach that financial milestone by 59.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Professor Emeritus » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:37 am

I went back and looked up the financial plan I created in 1992. That was when I sold the one and only stock I ever bought. I have a DB pension that I started in 1977. DW also was in a pension plan. I remember telling DW that we would never lose the house and the kids would go to college. All of our savings started going into index funds. I remember 1994 as the first year we maxed out our TSP 403 b 401 k and IRA contributions. We are far better off today than I projected in 1992. Much was pure dumb luck. After doing a pension plan income analysis in 1999 I switched investments from50/50 stocks and bonds to 100 percent stock in 2000 right after the crash. Been there right up to where I started buying Wellesley in 2012.


Actually wondering now if I should "cash out" of the gains into more income oriented holdings as DW finally retires. Actually drawing on the retirement funds seems almost heresy
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:47 am

I joined the forum in early 2007, was just married, didn't own a home, no kids.
Since then, Company pension plan - frozen, then eliminated. 401k match reduced. Wage income growth - nonexistent.
Always practiced LBYM and sacrificed though today it doesn't seem like the hardship it was back then, always saved and invested to avoid having to be dependent on things beyond your control like all of the things above. Today, own home (not outright yet - working on it), have kid, still married, still employed and net worth has grown - knock on wood. I know I'm doing better according to my own benchmarks and am extremely grateful for it.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby nodenuff2 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:02 am

63 and only 10 months to retirement. Never dreamed i could accumalate so much. I am blessed beyond any deserving. Yes I have made some mistakes along the way trading commodities as a young man was stupid. Worldcom almost a disaster but continued knocking along. Anticipate a withdrawl rate of 2%. Pension and SS will cover basic expenses. We will see no drop in monthly income in retirement. So yes yes yes I am doing much better than I ever imagined.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby stoptothink » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:11 am

Made some bad investments (ex-wife's undergrad and dental school, real estate development) that will take some time to overcome. My net worth is slightly less now than it was at 25 because of those two sizable investments that resulted in zero return. Luckily, at 31 I have plenty of time to recoup.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby EternalOptimist » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:17 am

Sounds like a lot of success stories
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby MnD » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:37 am

investingdad wrote:I began forecasting net worth at 22. So I knew what could be realized. Doing a bit better than forecast.


I still have a hard copy of a Lotus 123 investment compounding spreadsheet I made around age 25 - and 25 years later the numbers are pretty close.
My actual return rate was somewhat lower but my earnings and savings were somewhat higher than the spreadsheet so that balanced out.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby kenyan » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:45 am

In terms of wealth, better than I expected. In terms of income, worse.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby fareastwarriors » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:05 pm

I never thought at the age of 25 that I would own a 300k Triplex and have over 100k in retirement/regular investments.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby feh » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:51 pm

Not applicable, as I really didn't have any expectations. I've simply found good jobs, lived frugally, saved and invested.

Quite happy with our current status.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby WHL » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:56 pm

DoubleDraw wrote:
WHL wrote:Dang, I'm the only one who's voted for "worse than I expected?" I'm still doing well, 200k in funds @ 31, maxing 401k / Roth IRA / i-bonds, but...Maybe the poll isn't exactly tailored to my situation, but if I had started investing earlier, particularly with maxing a Roth IRA, I'd have much more money right now.

I also used to make my 5k Roth contribution and leave it in the money market fund for months and months because I couldn't determine what I wanted to put it in.

Wish I would have found this site years ago!


I'm with you! I think I'm doing better than most my age but I know I made some bad decisions with money along the way. Based on my opportunities in life, I would say I am way behind where I should be. I made some good financial decisions in my work and investing, I just wasn't smart about spending when I was younger.

I recently turned 30 and have started trying to figure out my net worth goal at 40. I figure I can't do anything about my past, but I can work harder now to make up for it!


Ditto :) I honestly hate it when people tell me "Wow, you're doing much better than average!" because in no aspect of my life to I want to ever be considered average or above average. Additionally, average in financial terms is so pathetically poor and in debt that it has no real business being used as a metric.

Be careful making projections about the future! I know that all I can do is save as much money as possible, so when I look 10 years to the future, I'm looking to have saved a minimum of 330k in those ten years (maxed 401k, rIRA, i-bonds). Everything else is out of my control.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Andyrunner » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:25 pm

I'm better then expected up until this point (ages 28/30). Wife and I have $150k in funds she is vested in our pension and I am 1 year away, own 50% of our house, and never really kept a budget since we always knew we spent well below our means.

Now we are expecting our first and hoping the wife will drop down to .8FTE, looking at a new house, did a budget for next year and Wow! Are we better off then expected or about average? Kids are eye opening...even if they are still cooking in the oven.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Rodc » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:25 pm

I'd say about as expected. Though I can't say I spent much time thinking about it.

I have a wife I love and kids I adore. We are all healthy. I have a very decent job well aligned with my education and interests, as does my wife, a good amount in the bank, a very decent retirement is getting closer every year, college savings coming along very nicely, decent home, decent cars. We take nice vacations more year than not.

In short a solid upper middle class life.

But nothing extraordinary. No Italian villa, no top of the line German luxury car or Italian sports car, no retiring at age 45.

And I am pretty happy with that.

I feel fortunate.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Fallible » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:08 pm

Considering I didn't start saving seriously until I was in my early 30s, and have made investing mistakes since then, I'd have to say that in retirement I'm doing much better than expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby reggiesimpson » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:19 pm

Beyond my wildest imagination.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby cherijoh » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:43 pm

kenyan wrote:In terms of wealth, better than I expected. In terms of income, worse.


That describes me as well. "Stay the Course" has served me well. However, my salary is down at least 10% in nominal dollars from where it was 10 years ago (at a different employer in a different field). Fortunately, my LBYM lifestyle still lets me max out my retirement plan. But my retirement will likely be several years later than I projected 10 years ago, due to absence of retiree medical benefits and a truncated DB pension. :(
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby i<3Investing » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:16 pm

Since the wedding about a year ago the wife and I have been flying through previous financial hurdles. So the excitement right now makes me say that I'm feeling better than I expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby kd2008 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:59 pm

I am disappointed in how little my profession pays compared to the effort required. I have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Some times I feel given my brains I would have done ok in software but would have made a whole boat load more money.

As for my financial situation at 31 yrs old, I am happy where I am at with my net worth - all because of LBYM. But considering pay raises of just 3 to 6%, I could be enticed to do something that pays substantially more easily.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby kitteh » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:18 pm

stoptothink wrote:Made some bad investments (ex-wife's undergrad and dental school, real estate development) that will take some time to overcome. My net worth is slightly less now than it was at 25 because of those two sizable investments that resulted in zero return. Luckily, at 31 I have plenty of time to recoup.


I've read from time to time about women who work for years to put their husbands through, say, medical school, then the guy graduates and takes off. The divorce courts have given the women substantial compensation. I would think it would work in reverse.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby stoptothink » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:29 pm

kd2008 wrote:I am disappointed in how little my profession pays compared to the effort required. I have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Some times I feel given my brains I would have done ok in software but would have made a whole boat load more money.

As for my financial situation at 31 yrs old, I am happy where I am at with my net worth - all because of LBYM. But considering pay raises of just 3 to 6%, I could be enticed to do something that pays substantially more easily.


My PhD is in a much more obscure field (Obesity Studies) and I guarantee pays far less (I am in public health). It basically came down to that program or medical school. I chose the PhD because my (ex)wife was in dental school at the time and the PhD program offered a better immediate situation (a very generous stipend, less stress so I could support her). Both of us in intense programs at the same time would have been rough. Obviously have second-guessed that decision numerous times.

I have an older brother with no education and no work experience outside of 6yrs in the military who makes 2x what I do working in the oil fields. My GF, who dropped out of college as a junior to help out her family financially, makes nearly 2.5x what I do as a glorified party planner (director of events for a megacorp). But I enjoy what I do and I make a decent living...I'll just have to do it a little longer than I initially expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby tibbitts » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:46 pm

The answer really depends on when the expectations are based on. Maybe much better than you expected at age 16, much worse than you expected at age 40, etc. etc.

Paul
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Juniormint » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:52 pm

While I'm not surprised by my savings rate, I am extremely surprised (thanks to this forum) by my financial and investment knowledge and at how I save money and make it work for me. So, much better than I expected.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby woof755 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:24 pm

Two answers, really:

1. By the very nature of index fund investing, I'm doing "about as I expected."

2. By virtue of the fact that I found my way to this site in 2007 (actually starting at M*), I'm probably doing better than I would have expected to be doing if I was still trying to pick the next awesome Fidelity Select sector fund.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby fareastwarriors » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:29 pm

Ditto :) I honestly hate it when people tell me "Wow, you're doing much better than average!" because in no aspect of my life to I want to ever be considered average or above average. Additionally, average in financial terms is so pathetically poor and in debt that it has no real business being used as a metric.


:oops: All I tell myself is just be above average and I will get pretty far.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby rr2 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:39 pm

tibbitts wrote:The answer really depends on when the expectations are based on. Maybe much better than you expected at age 16, much worse than you expected at age 40, etc. etc.

Paul

Exactly. In my case, a little worse than what I expected in my mid 20s, but a lot better than what I expected in my mid-30s.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby musbane » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:50 pm

I didn't expect to be alive and I certainly didn't expect to be solvent.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby EmergDoc » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:23 am

I expected it would be a lot harder to blow through a 6 figure salary. It turns out it's the same game whether you're living on $40K or $100K or $300K or $3M. Carve out a good percentage to "get rich", "get comfortable" or "become financially independent" or "save for retirement" and spend the rest.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby jollystomper » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:01 am

At 55 doing much better than expected with both salary (making more than double what I thought would be a good salary in my industry) and investment/savings (never imagined I'd have this much money put away). But I was raised in a lower middle class but happy family, so perhaps my expectations were low.
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