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

Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:12 am

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


An important question is whether the "accomplishments" are defined as the absolute values of income and assets or as the income and assets relative to one's needs, expectations, opportunities and desires. My wealth is several orders of magnitude higher than what I thought thirty years ago I was destined for, but my opportunities and desires have also evolved.

Victoria
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby investingdad » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:20 am

MnD wrote:
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.



Nice. I'm turning 40 this year and my 18 year old spreadsheet file is still floating around. I had to modify it after I got married but it's also tracked fairly close. Like you, our savings rate was higher than expected and returns lower than initially estimated. I've made adjustments. If we keep tracking, I have a fair shot of having the ability to retire in my mid 50s.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby scubadiver » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:01 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.


When I was in grad school we would often joke that the best thing that could happen to a Ph.D. student (in the math department) was that they either fail the qualifying exams or quit the program for other reasons.

I voted somewhat better than expected, though I can't really say that I ever had much in way of expectations. We grew up rather poor and being the first in my family to go to college, I am in uncharted territory.

Overall, things are going well and I'm hard pressed to find something to complain about - great wife and kids, great job, great neighbors. Financially we are doing very well despite our decision for my wife to become a stay at home mom. We live frugally, but we're not poor. I could probably do without the northern VA traffic. Is that really enough to drop me from much better than expected to somewhat better than expected though?
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby mickeyd » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:17 pm

67% are either much better or somewhat better~ I take that as a positive.

Are we getting tired of patting ourselves on the back yet?
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby market timer » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:14 pm

Relative to youthful expectations, I've realized I need much less financially than I thought to be happy.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:54 am

scubadiver wrote:
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.


When I was in grad school we would often joke that the best thing that could happen to a Ph.D. student (in the math department) was that they either fail the qualifying exams or quit the program for other reasons.


Interesting comments. As I was finishing MSME my adviser strongly encouraged me to pursue a PhD, because the key ideas and discoveries were already there in my Master's thesis, and the path to a doctorate seemed straightforward. But I was burnt out and had an excellent job offer, and so I left the school with an MS. Since then I was frequently wondering if I have short-changed myself.

Victoria
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Bharat » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:16 am

I am on of the few ones who are doing worse than our expectations. I need to increase my saving % from current 30-35% of gross income to 50%, and need to increase my income by 50%. That should bring me to "satisfied" with my accomplishment.

Some of you guys are doing wonderful, keep it up.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby TomatoTomahto » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:43 pm

Bharat wrote:I am on of the few ones who are doing worse than our expectations. I need to increase my saving % from current 30-35% of gross income to 50%, and need to increase my income by 50%. That should bring me to "satisfied" with my accomplishment.

Some of you guys are doing wonderful, keep it up.


Your goal is tough to achieve without evading taxes :D
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby sschullo » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:37 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
scubadiver wrote:
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.


When I was in grad school we would often joke that the best thing that could happen to a Ph.D. student (in the math department) was that they either fail the qualifying exams or quit the program for other reasons.


Interesting comments. As I was finishing MSME my adviser strongly encouraged me to pursue a PhD, because the key ideas and discoveries were already there in my Master's thesis, and the path to a doctorate seemed straightforward. But I was burnt out and had an excellent job offer, and so I left the school with an MS. Since then I was frequently wondering if I have short-changed myself.

Victoria


I didn't get my PhD till I was 48, I was one of two students with gray hair under my black cap in the 250 graduation class of Phds and MAs at the UCLA Department of Education.
:-) I must be in good company since Alan Greenspan didn't get his till age 53.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Fallible » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:07 pm

sschullo wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
scubadiver wrote:
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.


When I was in grad school we would often joke that the best thing that could happen to a Ph.D. student (in the math department) was that they either fail the qualifying exams or quit the program for other reasons.


Interesting comments. As I was finishing MSME my adviser strongly encouraged me to pursue a PhD, because the key ideas and discoveries were already there in my Master's thesis, and the path to a doctorate seemed straightforward. But I was burnt out and had an excellent job offer, and so I left the school with an MS. Since then I was frequently wondering if I have short-changed myself.

Victoria


I didn't get my PhD till I was 48, I was one of two students with gray hair under my black cap in the 250 graduation class of Phds and MAs at the UCLA Department of Education.
:-) I must be in good company since Alan Greenspan didn't get his till age 53.


My cousin in Frankfurt got his doctorate in theology in his late 40s. If you really, really want something, is it really ever too late? I don't know, just wondering.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:11 pm

Fallible wrote:
sschullo wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
scubadiver wrote:
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.


When I was in grad school we would often joke that the best thing that could happen to a Ph.D. student (in the math department) was that they either fail the qualifying exams or quit the program for other reasons.


Interesting comments. As I was finishing MSME my adviser strongly encouraged me to pursue a PhD, because the key ideas and discoveries were already there in my Master's thesis, and the path to a doctorate seemed straightforward. But I was burnt out and had an excellent job offer, and so I left the school with an MS. Since then I was frequently wondering if I have short-changed myself.

Victoria


I didn't get my PhD till I was 48, I was one of two students with gray hair under my black cap in the 250 graduation class of Phds and MAs at the UCLA Department of Education.
:-) I must be in good company since Alan Greenspan didn't get his till age 53.


My cousin in Frankfurt got his doctorate in theology in his late 40s. If you really, really want something, is it really ever too late? I don't know, just wondering.


I am four months away from getting the second Master' degree, but two M.S. do not make one PhD. I suppose if I really wanted it I could still get a doctorate. But that would require taking courses and doing other work that I am not interested it. And so I prefer my own self-directed studies.

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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby lwfitzge » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:13 pm

Never (or almost never) too late. I had a MS/PhD at 30 but got my MBA at 46. My wife had MS/PhD at 30 and did a career change and got a MSN at 48. Keep living, keep growing, keep learning until the end.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby RobInCT » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:57 pm

I'd be interested in hearing people's ages in their responses. I'm in my early 30s. The first big crash of the last 15 years happened about a year after I graduated from college. A few years of scrambling for work and I was back to graduate school where I was in my final year when the second big crash happened.

I'm doing okay and better than a lot of my peers. But I and many of my friends who are now approaching middle age have worked nearly the entirety of our adult lives under situations of economic uncertainty, declining wages/benefits and threat of layoff and frequently periodic unemployment.

Maybe this is typical, but my age group also grew up in the long boom years, so that probably influenced my expectations of what life was like. I don't remember the 70s. I have a job, but it's not the job I want, and the job market is still pretty terrible in my field. So if you asked the 18 year old me where I thought I'd be in 15 years, I think I'd have hoped to be doing better than I am now. But it could be--and is, for many of my friends--far worse.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby stoptothink » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:31 pm

RobInCT wrote:I'd be interested in hearing people's ages in their responses. I'm in my early 30s. The first big crash of the last 15 years happened about a year after I graduated from college. A few years of scrambling for work and I was back to graduate school where I was in my final year when the second big crash happened.

I'm doing okay and better than a lot of my peers. But I and many of my friends who are now approaching middle age have worked nearly the entirety of our adult lives under situations of economic uncertainty, declining wages/benefits and threat of layoff and frequently periodic unemployment.

Maybe this is typical, but my age group also grew up in the long boom years, so that probably influenced my expectations of what life was like. I don't remember the 70s. I have a job, but it's not the job I want, and the job market is still pretty terrible in my field. So if you asked the 18 year old me where I thought I'd be in 15 years, I think I'd have hoped to be doing better than I am now. But it could be--and is, for many of my friends--far worse.


I am 32, empathize with pretty much everything you said. The market is not good in my field as well. I made more (in a different field) at 24 with just a BS than I do now with a PhD and 9 more years of experience. I enjoy my job, but it as well is not the job I want.

I am also one of the few in this thread who said they are doing worse than expected, but my expectations are skewed somewhat due to being so far ahead in my early 20's. Mid 6-figure losses when the real estate market crashed, putting a (ex)wife through undergrad then dental school, and then divorce brought me back to reality. Still, nothing more than living below my means and good saving habits have put me ahead of all my siblings, pretty much all my friends, and even my mom. Could be worse.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:17 pm

RobInCT wrote:I'd be interested in hearing people's ages in their responses. I'm in my early 30s. The first big crash of the last 15 years happened about a year after I graduated from college. A few years of scrambling for work and I was back to graduate school where I was in my final year when the second big crash happened.

I'm doing okay and better than a lot of my peers. But I and many of my friends who are now approaching middle age have worked nearly the entirety of our adult lives under situations of economic uncertainty, declining wages/benefits and threat of layoff and frequently periodic unemployment.



Ten years older than you. You had two crashes and uncertainty. I graduated into a severe recession, an internet craze followed by an technology crash, 5 buildings falling down in the span of hours, working in a militarized zone in downtown NYC for nearly 6 months, the constant threat of terrorists, level orange, green, red (what have you), another major market crash, company merger(s), company reduction in forces that come with the frequency of seasonal weather changes. In other words, unless you are working a government job or tenured position and even that is not certain any more, what you wrote above is par for the course.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby 100CountryGoal » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:35 am

Much better than expected. Starting at age 21 (16 years ago), I've made life-long income and wealth projections each month. Overall, results are much better than expected, especially on the income side. I now have more saved than I thought I would have cumulatively earned by this point. I've hit my early retirement target numbers, but I'm still working and likely will for at least several years more. I've realized that I desire a higher and higher margin of financial safety. . . and a nicer and nicer standard of living. My younger self would never believe that I would actually buy business class air tickets!
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby M-I-T-M » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:11 pm

I'm turning 30 in August. Haven't written a post here in a couple of years. I made a few mistakes thus far notably buying a house in 2006, trying to pay it off versus dumping it and most recently losing 30k when I got into trading stocks couple of years ago. Fortunately I've had steady decent paying job since I got out of school. I'm disappointed that my net worth right now is lower than projected considering I've dedicated my entire post-college life to making money and trying to be financially independent. I paid half of my mortgage off and am still underwater. I also did not invest properly. Now I'm back on Bogleheads reading my old ignorant comments and hoping to gain some perspective on long term investing from those that have been there done that. I would like to think I'm a bit more wiser and humble now, realizing I have lots to learn. I also think making these early mistakes kind of set me straight for what I need to do (and not do) to be financially independent even thought it has set me back quite a bit.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby Diogenes » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:05 am

Funny thing happened along the way.

In my 20's I took a significant pay cut to follow a job that was my passion. Never really thought about retirement (as I was planning to live forever), but decided to automate my savings anyway to max 401k/IRA/ and later Roth just because I thought it was a good idea.

In my 40's I found myself still pursing my passion/adventure of a career, getting decent but not great pay was a bonus. Decided I should have no bills in my 50's and began to think about 'after'. Automated early payoff of the mortgage.

Now I am retiring from my 30 year adventure this year and have found I have ended up somehow with a lifetime annuity plus investment accounts in the seven figures that I really don't need to live on as I have no bills. Bottom line I ended up ahead by taking that pay cut in my 20's when I went for the adventure. The adventure kept me in better health as well, I frequently give thanks for all.

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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby prudent » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:35 am

RobInCT wrote:I'd be interested in hearing people's ages in their responses. I'm in my early 30s. The first big crash of the last 15 years happened about a year after I graduated from college. A few years of scrambling for work and I was back to graduate school where I was in my final year when the second big crash happened.

I'm doing okay and better than a lot of my peers. But I and many of my friends who are now approaching middle age have worked nearly the entirety of our adult lives under situations of economic uncertainty, declining wages/benefits and threat of layoff and frequently periodic unemployment.

Maybe this is typical, but my age group also grew up in the long boom years, so that probably influenced my expectations of what life was like. I don't remember the 70s. I have a job, but it's not the job I want, and the job market is still pretty terrible in my field. So if you asked the 18 year old me where I thought I'd be in 15 years, I think I'd have hoped to be doing better than I am now. But it could be--and is, for many of my friends--far worse.


I'm in my 50's. Grew up poor (the home I grew up in sold a few years ago for $8,000. That's right, $8,000). The "rich people" in our neighborhood were the ones with a garage. Got a job at a low-tech old company in town but at least it was a desk job, not working in the mill. Almost 40 years later, that low-tech old company keeps chugging along while many other high-tech places started up, burned white-hot for a while, then flamed out. Moved up in the company a couple notches over the years and am on pace for a comfortable, not luxurious, retirement even though there is no pension. I guess when you grow up poor you don't have lofty expectations and that helped us to keep our expenses low (still live in our "starter" home almost 30 years). When I was starting out, my hope was to be able to buy a house someday. No thoughts of accumulating wealth, early retirement, vacation home... none of that. Just to have middle-class living was a dream. Tell you what, it makes you thankful and keeps you humble when you know you aren't any smarter than lots of other people but somehow you got a steady job with good pay for decades while others did not.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby MP173 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:30 am

prudent:

The house I grew up in sold for $5000 back in 1994....I understand your background. We werent really poor because we didnt realize it. My parents were rock solid people and I was blessed to have them.

One thing they were deficient on was teaching me the value of setting goals for my life. I pretty much drifted along until age 34 when I changed careers and sales forced me to plan ahead. Thus from about that age forward I have planned extensively, not only for work, but also 5 year, 10 year and 20 year plans financially.

Realistically speaking, I have done far better than I would have realized 35 years ago coming out of college.

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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby sesq » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:06 pm

I answered somewhat below expectations because I have pulled some 12 or 13 year old spreadsheets that put me about 20% behind schedule, which is pretty much the result of 2008's markets (real estate and stock) and paying off my wife's student loans when we got married. Around 2008 I cut my forecasts back to five years out since my ten year plans/goals weren't realistic and had too much uncertainty.

After reading the comments I agree the start point matters a lot too. Career-wise I am ahead, pay wise ahead, etc. I am 41, happily married with two younger kids.
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby mptfan » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:19 pm

M-I-T-M wrote:I'm turning 30 in August. Haven't written a post here in a couple of years. I made a few mistakes thus far notably buying a house in 2006, trying to pay it off versus dumping it and most recently losing 30k when I got into trading stocks couple of years ago. Fortunately I've had steady decent paying job since I got out of school. I'm disappointed that my net worth right now is lower than projected considering I've dedicated my entire post-college life to making money and trying to be financially independent. I paid half of my mortgage off and am still underwater. I also did not invest properly. Now I'm back on Bogleheads reading my old ignorant comments and hoping to gain some perspective on long term investing from those that have been there done that. I would like to think I'm a bit more wiser and humble now, realizing I have lots to learn. I also think making these early mistakes kind of set me straight for what I need to do (and not do) to be financially independent even thought it has set me back quite a bit.

I admire you for acknowledging your past mistakes and being humble and mature enough to admit them, and learn from them.
I eat risk for breakfast. :)
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Re: Bogleheads' accomplishments

Postby travellight » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:39 am

Much better than expected, especially considering the divorce. I am at 2x where I had hoped to get to.
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