An inspiring message for Bogleheads

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Taylor Larimore
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An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:08 pm

Bogleheads:

Today I received a PM (Private Message) from a remarkable 24 year-old Boglehead named Peter who has given me permission to post his message (slightly altered for anonymity).
Mr. Larimore,

I just wanted to say thanks for everything you and the Bogleheads have done for ordinary people like me. You probably have no idea just how much you have helped so many people so that is why I'm writing this message to you. Your constant messages of simplicity and staying the course are always very encouraging.

A little over four years ago I was lucky enough to discover this forum when I was 20 years old. I discovered it after reading Jack Bogle's "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing."

When I look back on the past four years I am very happy with the accomplishments I have made. I had never been taught how to take care of my finances growing up and I picked up Jack Bogle's book after going to the library because I wanted to find out how I could live a life without always having to worry about money.

My dad lost his job during the recession and my family was in a very bad financial position (I live with just my dad only). I dropped out of college after one year because I was worried about family finances and paying the debt for school.

Since 2011, I have been able to pay off my student loan debt (which was around $10,000), max out my Roth IRA each year, and contribute to my company's 401k plan. During this entire time I worked at a grocery store, originally making $10 and hour, now $11.50.

Four years later, at the age of 24, I now have an emergency fund saved up, and about $62,000 in retirement savings (all in a Vanguard target retirement fund - which my employer also offers in the 401k plan). I even contacted and convinced my company's 401k team to make changes to the 401k plan.

I also started going to a community college in the fall of 2012 and graduated in the summer of 2014 and paid as I went. I'm now working on getting my bachelor's degree.

The point I'm trying to make is people like you, and Jack Bogle, and the Bogleheads, really do make a huge difference in people's lives.

If I'm so lucky to reach your age some day, I'll still remember that I owe a great deal of my success to the Boglehead Forum and those who contribute.

Best wishes,
Peter
Thank you for your inspiring message.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by bowtie » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:11 pm

Wonderful!
Taylor, thank you for posting, and thanks to Peter for writing. Congratulations on so much progress.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by tludwig23 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:12 pm

Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing that, Taylor.
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Caduceus » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:17 pm

That's such a great story.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sharpjm » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:53 pm

The math doesn't add up.

Rounding up to 11.50/hour for 4 years the individual has made 95,680 in the past 4 years. Then we consider lowest tax bracket of 10% (just ignore SS and medicare tax for now) = 86112. This is rounding up again.

Then subtract the 10k from student loan debt mentioned = 76,112 (we are ignoring interest here, once again essentially rounding up)

Then we consider maxing out Roth IRA for 4 years.
2011 - 5000
2012 - 5000
2013 - 5500
2014 - 5500
sum = 21000.

76,112 - 21000 = 55,112

Then we consider the retirement savings of 62000 (as mentioned in the post) minus contributions of 21000 which equals 41000.

So the 41000 of retirement savings must come from additional savings and/or from growth in just 4 years.

Then the individual states that they have attended and payed for 2 years worth of community college.


In conclusion, $55,112 must account for the following:
Contribution (minus growth) related to a $41,000 differential between contributions and balance of a retirement portfolio
2 years worth of community college.
An emergency fund of unknown value. We can make an assumption of 4 months at $11.50/hr which equates to $8,000.
Bachelor's degree classes in 2015.
LIVING EXPENSE FOR THE PAST 4 YEARS.

Not a legitimate post.

But a great feelgood story if you live in fairytail land.

But I would love to hear "Peter's" rendition of this story to see how exactly he has come to this wealth.

Cheers.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sharpjm » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:00 am

I could see how this is possible if you live with your parents for the 4 years. And if so, thats great. You've worked hard and saved money.

But that is not the message the OP has presented. The OP has presented a message that portrays some hard working dude from a grocery store just living life and living cheap to achieve financial success.

The major point that should be made, is that this dude lived with his parents and avoided a large amount of living expenses.

If this is NOT the case, please correct me and please explain to me the errors in my assumptions in the post above.

Cheers.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by tludwig23 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:13 am

Maybe the grocery store offered a really good 401k match?
That's what I do: I drink, and I know things. --Tyrion Lannister

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by stemikger » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:14 am

Thanks for posting this Taylor. Peter is indeed a remarkable young man. There is hope for the future. Way to go Peter!! Keep us updated!!
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Miriam2 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:29 am

The math does not need to "add up" for this young man to express his heartfelt feelings of gratitude to Taylor and the Boglehead forum for helping him achieve his dream "to live a life without always having to worry about money."

He took the time to describe how important everyone has been to him and what he learned. He is 24 years old.

I think what he has accomplished, how he expressed himself, what he has done for others, and how he has successfully achieved part of his aim is quite remarkable. The recession was hurting his family, his life, and he pulled himself up and out and at 24, he is so happy to be on his way to living a life without that dreadful pit of "always having to worry about money." I think he has made everyone proud :D

I assume his financial picture is more nuanced than the summary presented. It all adds up to a grateful young man - and I'll bet he's pretty cool too 8-)

Thank you Peter for sharing your story with us! :happy

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by bluejello » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:38 am

The math works out if you assume that Peter was living at home with his dad and incurred no living expenses.

Total income over 4 years: $95,680 ($11.50 per hour x 40 hours a week x 52 weeks a year)
- taxes = $86,112
- $10k student loan = $76112, or $19028 annually

I googled "average cost of community college" and found it to be about $3k - $4k per year, so let's say Peter was left with $15,000 per year to invest.

Over the past 4 years, Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 (as an example) returned on average 11.6% annually. $15k invested every year for 4 years at an annual growth rate of 11.6% results in $71,000. This is very back of the envelope, but definitely puts us in the right ballpark.

Of course he has been very lucky with the great stock market returns recently, but he has also put in a tremendous amount of hard work, been very disciplined about saving, and made smart investing decisions.

Go Peter!

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Day9 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:42 am

I too am in my twenties and discovered the Boglehead philosophy three years ago. I have been been following the principles as best I can, living well below my means and investing in broadly diversified, low cost, low turnover funds in a tax efficient manner. My family is in a much more secure place because of it. Thank you all.
I'm just a fan of the person I got my user name from

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Miriam2 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:47 am

Day9 - You're pretty remarkable - and cool too ! 8-)

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sharpjm » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:59 am

Miriam2 wrote:The math does not need to "add up" for this young man to express his heartfelt feelings of gratitude to Taylor and the Boglehead forum for helping him achieve his dream "to live a life without always having to worry about money."

He took the time to describe how important everyone has been to him and what he learned. He is 24 years old.

I think what he has accomplished, how he expressed himself, what he has done for others, and how he has successfully achieved part of his aim is quite remarkable. The recession was hurting his family, his life, and he pulled himself up and out and at 24, he is so happy to be on his way to living a life without that dreadful pit of "always having to worry about money." I think he has made everyone proud :D

I assume his financial picture is more nuanced than the summary presented. It all adds up to a grateful young man - and I'll bet he's pretty cool too 8-)

Thank you Peter for sharing your story with us! :happy
You are correct, the math doesn't need to add up to express gratitude.

But the math should add up to what is provided in the original post. Gratitude should not need to include lies or mis-information.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sharpjm » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:03 am

bluejello wrote:The math works out if you assume that Peter was living at home with his dad and incurred no living expenses.

Total income over 4 years: $95,680 ($11.50 per hour x 40 hours a week x 52 weeks a year)
- taxes = $86,112
- $10k student loan = $76112, or $19028 annually

I googled "average cost of community college" and found it to be about $3k - $4k per year, so let's say Peter was left with $15,000 per year to invest.

Over the past 4 years, Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 (as an example) returned on average 11.6% annually. $15k invested every year for 4 years at an annual growth rate of 11.6% results in $71,000. This is very back of the envelope, but definitely puts us in the right ballpark.

Of course he has been very lucky with the great stock market returns recently, but he has also put in a tremendous amount of hard work, been very disciplined about saving, and made smart investing decisions.

Go Peter!
I'm not even concerned about the luck associated with the past 4-5 years.

What I'm concerned about is this assumption that Peter has lived with parents meaning he hasn't had to pay for general living expenses during this time.

In my opinion, this is a huge disconnect between what the OP is presenting and what the reality is. This should be made clear for everyone so as not to mis-represent the facts.

Of course, it is possible that the assumption that Peter has been living at home/ with parents is incorrect. But if so, there needs to be an explanation as to how the savings have accumulated so well. Given the analysis provided in my posts.
Last edited by sharpjm on Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by DVMResident » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:04 am

Taylor,

Thank you for sharing the post. Very inspiring.

The math might just be possible if his dad is providing free housing.

When I was a resident making $38-$39k/year (woot, 3% raise once in 5 years), my living expenses were in the mid-$600's/month...in Los Angeles. How? Living nearly rent free house sitting for an uncle who worked out of the country. After expenses including taxes, I was savings >$2k/month. I did this for 5 years and this is what I had to show for it: no debt, a $46k down-payment on a house/rental property, and had $81k* in invested assets plus a $10k ER fund.

It's amazing how much a single, young person living with family can save.

*Yes, that included the great market gains from 2009-2013 plus $3.5k in 403(b) match.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by DVMResident » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:08 am

sharpjm wrote:it is possible that the assumption that Peter has been living at home/ with parents is incorrect.
Peter did say he is living with his dad (easy to miss):
Taylor Larimore wrote:
(I live with just my dad only)

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sharpjm » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:13 am

DVMResident wrote:
sharpjm wrote:it is possible that the assumption that Peter has been living at home/ with parents is incorrect.
Peter did say he is living with his dad (easy to miss):
Taylor Larimore wrote:
(I live with just my dad only)
Yes, but he also states that the father lost his job.

Are we to assume the the son making $11.50 per hour paid for living expenses for both father and son?

Did this occur for 4 strait years?

This is not a strait forward post.

It isn't fair for some kid, who works at a grocery store, to come here and read this post and assume that he can become "well off" after 4 years without knowledge of the full details of "Peter"s circumstance.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by mlebuf » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:16 am

H.L. Mencken described a cynic as someone who smells flowers and looks for a coffin. In the grand scheme of things, whether the numbers in Peter's account add up or not is irrelevant. What is important is that a young man has learned the value of saving, investing and the power of compound interest. That, and his attitude of gratitude expressed so well to Taylor will take him far in life. Attitude plus aptitude equals altitude. Congratulations, Peter and congratulations, Taylor on getting such a well-deserved letter.
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sharpjm » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:21 am

mlebuf wrote:whether the numbers in Peter's account add up or not is irrelevant.
That is false on all accounts.

I could make a post tomorrow that states: "thanks bogleheads, I made 10,000% return in 1 year because of this forum."

And we all know that the number don't add up.

But if you choose to believe in a fairy tail, then I cannot argue with you as you clearly are delusional.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Allan » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:15 am

sharpjm wrote:
mlebuf wrote:whether the numbers in Peter's account add up or not is irrelevant.
That is false on all accounts.

I could make a post tomorrow that states: "thanks bogleheads, I made 10,000% return in 1 year because of this forum."

And we all know that the number don't add up.

But if you choose to believe in a fairy tail, then I cannot argue with you as you clearly are delusional.
Sharpjm:

You have posted 6 times basically saying this young man (Peter) is not telling the truth. With a possible/probable 401k match by his employer, with the growth in the market the last 4 years, using Vanguard's low cost funds, living at home, and being frugal I think the numbers can very easily add up.

It is a very inspiring message about a young man learning some very good Boglehead type principles early in life. Thank you Taylor, for sharing.

Allan

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by bondsr4me » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:47 am

Thanks to Taylor for sharing and best wishes for continued Good Luck to Peter.

It is very nice to hear young people who have discovered common sense investing/saving and the financial power of living below their means.

Jack Bogle, Warren Buffett, Bogleheads, have all been inspiring to me.

Happy Investing to everyone and have a great weekend,

Don

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Aptenodytes » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:06 am

When I think about where I was when I finally hit $62,000 in my retirement savings, I am chagrined.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by meowcat » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:08 am

sharpjm, what is your problem?
More people should learn to tell their dollars where to go instead of asking them where they went. | -Roger Babson

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Toons » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:11 am

mlebuf wrote:H.L. Mencken described a cynic as someone who smells flowers and looks for a coffin. In the grand scheme of things, whether the numbers in Peter's account add up or not is irrelevant. What is important is that a young man has learned the value of saving, investing and the power of compound interest. That, and his attitude of gratitude expressed so well to Taylor will take him far in life. Attitude plus aptitude equals altitude. Congratulations, Peter and congratulations, Taylor on getting such a well-deserved letter.
+1 :happy
By the way,,,Excellent quote from H.L.Mencken :happy
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:31 am

Thanks, Taylor, for sharing that.

Though I'm coming up on my second anniversary as a member of this site, I do not think of myself as a full-fledged boglehead when it comes to the truly one-of-a-kind resource this community is. I'm still more of a taker than a giver.

I suspect many of us, like me, wish we'd had Peter's insight and focus at his age. Time is our greatest ally. Congratulations to him (and Day9).

Hopefully on some future day we can point back to a whole generation of folks like Peter as the fruit of doing our part in helping to further Mr. Bogle's work and "pay forward" our gratitude to him. Certainly the first-generation bogleheads have accomplished a wonderful thing here.

I can't take even a mote of credit for Peter's success, but I can add my thanks to his. I came here as a beaten-down calloused and cynical survivor of the traditional individual investor battlefield. And reluctantly at that. It took a revamping of my company's 401k to essentially all uber low-cost index funds (over which I was initially despondent) to nudge me in the direction of understanding the concept/strategy of low cost indexing and simplicity, which in turn ultimately led me here. Ironically, through my 401(k) I had performance-chased into the VG 500 Index without understanding it. It was just the "hottest" fund in the 401k plan for a number of years through the 90s.

My time here has been short, but my future is much brighter for it.

My thanks to all who make this site the gem it is.
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:42 am

bluejello wrote:The math works out if you assume that Peter was living at home with his dad and incurred no living expenses.

Total income over 4 years: $95,680 ($11.50 per hour x 40 hours a week x 52 weeks a year)
- taxes = $86,112
- $10k student loan = $76112, or $19028 annually

I googled "average cost of community college" and found it to be about $3k - $4k per year, so let's say Peter was left with $15,000 per year to invest.

Over the past 4 years, Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 (as an example) returned on average 11.6% annually. $15k invested every year for 4 years at an annual growth rate of 11.6% results in $71,000. This is very back of the envelope, but definitely puts us in the right ballpark.

Of course he has been very lucky with the great stock market returns recently, but he has also put in a tremendous amount of hard work, been very disciplined about saving, and made smart investing decisions.

Go Peter!
There's also company matching to consider that would contribute to those totals. I agree, it would take very high efficiency, higher than I was capable of at that age, but there's no reason to assume it is incorrect.
Don't do something. Just stand there!

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by More Please » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:49 am

Well done Peter. My family had financial reverses when I was about your age. My father felt badly about the impact on me and the family. In retrospect, I can only be grateful. It gave me the impetus to learn about finances, accounting, investing while I was still young. If I had only known about the Bogleheads 40 years ago!!!

Bogleheads are the best!!

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by onepocket » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:01 am

I would also like to express my gratitude to Mr. Larimore, poster pkcrafter, and the rest of the gang here. You can count me as among the folks who were positively impacted. I found my way here via the old Morningstar board back in 2009 (when I held a motley collection of securities without a discernible plan). These two generous folks took the time to help me craft a porfolio that has endured, enriched, and has given my wife & I both security and confidence. Mr. Larimore's constant refrain urging folks to stay the course is a message that was needed and one that can not be repeated enough. The Boglehead approach to investing has allowed us to know, not guess, that we have made the right choices and can continue to execute the strategy regardless of what the market throws our way.

So, thank you all very much and please continue to do your good work!

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:08 am

sharpjm wrote:
DVMResident wrote:
sharpjm wrote:it is possible that the assumption that Peter has been living at home/ with parents is incorrect.
Peter did say he is living with his dad (easy to miss):
Taylor Larimore wrote:
(I live with just my dad only)
Yes, but he also states that the father lost his job.

Are we to assume the the son making $11.50 per hour paid for living expenses for both father and son?

Did this occur for 4 strait years?

This is not a strait forward post.

It isn't fair for some kid, who works at a grocery store, to come here and read this post and assume that he can become "well off" after 4 years without knowledge of the full details of "Peter"s circumstance.
In every classroom there is always that one individual who stands out because they like to rain on someone else's parade. What your analysis fails to show is the amount of sacrifice one who earns $10 an hour endures on an hourly and daily basis, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for years as they struggle to climb up a mountain. You on the other hand, sit at some desk, perform your analyses and then serve to deride others. Please, take an English grammar course and learn how to spell - your writing skills are atrocious. If you can use the internet you can head over to Khan Academy and take one for "free".
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by PaulW » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:09 am

To Sharpen and other doubters, I would suggest that there is more than one way to achieve a goal. When my son said that it was too difficult to max out his 401(k) contribution, I proposed taking advantage of the 4 or 5 hours of available overtime each week, with the extra income going to his contribution, thereby making the maximum contribution with minimum financial pain. It is amazing what a motivated individual can do.

My goal is to be an encouraged of young people like Peter, rather than one who tells then "it can't be done".

Paul

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:11 am

mlebuf wrote:H.L. Mencken described a cynic as someone who smells flowers and looks for a coffin. In the grand scheme of things, whether the numbers in Peter's account add up or not is irrelevant. What is important is that a young man has learned the value of saving, investing and the power of compound interest. That, and his attitude of gratitude expressed so well to Taylor will take him far in life. Attitude plus aptitude equals altitude. Congratulations, Peter and congratulations, Taylor on getting such a well-deserved letter.
Well stated. +1
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:15 am

Taylor,

Thanks for sharing that message. To Peter - congratulations, keep at it, you will reach your goals. All the best.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by tennisplyr » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:19 am

Thanks for the post Taylor. Often overlooked, the forum provides the emotional benefit of 'hope' for many of us and for that I am grateful.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by mhc » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:29 am

Thanks for the post.

Maybe Peter put in some serious overtime. When I was his age, working 60+ hours a week was common.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by oldzey » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:51 am

tennisplyr wrote:Thanks for the post Taylor. Often overlooked, the forum provides the emotional benefit of 'hope' for many of us and for that I am grateful.
+1 - Agreed and well said, tennisplyr!

Congratulations, Peter, Day9, and thanks for sharing, Taylor! :D
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sschullo » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:02 am

oldzey wrote:
tennisplyr wrote:Thanks for the post Taylor. Often overlooked, the forum provides the emotional benefit of 'hope' for many of us and for that I am grateful.
+1 - Agreed and well said, tennisplyr!

Congratulations, Peter, Day9, and thanks for sharing, Taylor! :D
+2 - congrats Peter, your story shows, time and again, that the qualitative (emotions and hope) is just as important as the quantitative.

Peter, I would be interested in how and what you did to "convinced my company's 401k team to make changes."
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Howard Donnelly » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:26 am

Toons wrote:
mlebuf wrote:H.L. Mencken described a cynic as someone who smells flowers and looks for a coffin. In the grand scheme of things, whether the numbers in Peter's account add up or not is irrelevant. What is important is that a young man has learned the value of saving, investing and the power of compound interest. That, and his attitude of gratitude expressed so well to Taylor will take him far in life. Attitude plus aptitude equals altitude. Congratulations, Peter and congratulations, Taylor on getting such a well-deserved letter.
+1 :happy
By the way,,,Excellent quote from H.L.Mencken :happy
+2

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by RetiredMarine » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:47 am

Peter’s story is a great one and he is definitely to be congratulated. And I just wanted to provide some of my own reinforcement for the Boglehead principles. During my first 12+ years in the Marine Corps right after high school (of nearly 34 total), I made virtually every personal finance mistake possible – lived paycheck to paycheck, had no budget, savings, or investments, had significant credit card debt, put money into some of the “top mutual funds over the past 5 years” (when I finally had some “extra $” after becoming an officer), paid some huge front-load expenses on funds catered to military personnel, etc.

Then I got very lucky and got married – happened to be another Marine – and that would be the start of getting things together financially, but still very slowly. The wife and I both came from “lower middle-class” families (at best) and as a result together we had/developed relatively frugal habits – bought used cars primarily, lived in much cheaper houses than we could “afford”, etc. Over the next decade or so we saved and invested, but it was still haphazardly in a motley collection of actively managed mutual funds that were very inconsistent over time (surprise, surprise), but at least we were living well below our means and putting money aside. I was past age 40 when I finally decided that I needed to get smarter about personal finance and read a number of general books (don’t remember the titles). They led us to develop a plan that resulted in moving all of our non-TSP investments to Vanguard nearly 11 years ago into mostly index funds. Then, a few years ago I came across the Bogleheads site and it has helped tremendously to reinforce that we’re on the right track and it has helped us to better educate our kids so that hopefully they’ll be on a better financial path early on (our oldest daughter in college has been maxing out her Roth IRA and 401ks when available during her co-ops).

Developing goals, plans to achieve them, then executing those plans and monitoring and reassessing things are all critical items learned in the military, but definitely not well as it relates to personal finance where it can make such a difference in many other aspects of life.

The Boglehead site is truly a fantastic resource that I refer to others as often as I can because it advocates sound principles like planning, diversifying, staying the course, etc., but most importantly it does these things in an objective and relatively personable way that helps people learn (if/when they’re ready to). My family has certainly profited from the wise counsel given here and it has helped us to know that my recent early retirement was more than doable given our investments and the generous pension and health care benefits provided by the military.

Everyone, please keep doing what you’re doing on this site – you are DEFINITELY making a big difference. Only thing I’m wondering (out loud) is how to make more people aware of this great resource, as there are obviously so many more folks that Bogleheads could help. I’ll be putting some more thought into this as I want to start doing more to “pay it forward”. Thanks so much to all of you.
Semper Fidelis.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Toons » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:51 am

RetiredMarine wrote:Peter’s story is a great one and he is definitely to be congratulated. And I just wanted to provide some of my own reinforcement for the Boglehead principles. During my first 12+ years in the Marine Corps right after high school (of nearly 34 total), I made virtually every personal finance mistake possible – lived paycheck to paycheck, had no budget, savings, or investments, had significant credit card debt, put money into some of the “top mutual funds over the past 5 years” (when I finally had some “extra $” after becoming an officer), paid some huge front-load expenses on funds catered to military personnel, etc.

Then I got very lucky and got married – happened to be another Marine – and that would be the start of getting things together financially, but still very slowly. The wife and I both came from “lower middle-class” families (at best) and as a result together we had/developed relatively frugal habits – bought used cars primarily, lived in much cheaper houses than we could “afford”, etc. Over the next decade or so we saved and invested, but it was still haphazardly in a motley collection of actively managed mutual funds that were very inconsistent over time (surprise, surprise), but at least we were living well below our means and putting money aside. I was past age 40 when I finally decided that I needed to get smarter about personal finance and read a number of general books (don’t remember the titles). They led us to develop a plan that resulted in moving all of our non-TSP investments to Vanguard nearly 11 years ago into mostly index funds. Then, a few years ago I came across the Bogleheads site and it has helped tremendously to reinforce that we’re on the right track and it has helped us to better educate our kids so that hopefully they’ll be on a better financial path early on (our oldest daughter in college has been maxing out her Roth IRA and 401ks when available during her co-ops).

Developing goals, plans to achieve them, then executing those plans and monitoring and reassessing things are all critical items learned in the military, but definitely not well as it relates to personal finance where it can make such a difference in many other aspects of life.

The Boglehead site is truly a fantastic resource that I refer to others as often as I can because it advocates sound principles like planning, diversifying, staying the course, etc., but most importantly it does these things in an objective and relatively personable way that helps people learn (if/when they’re ready to). My family has certainly profited from the wise counsel given here and it has helped us to know that my recent early retirement was more than doable given our investments and the generous pension and health care benefits provided by the military.

Everyone, please keep doing what you’re doing on this site – you are DEFINITELY making a big difference. Only thing I’m wondering (out loud) is how to make more people aware of this great resource, as there are obviously so many more folks that Bogleheads could help. I’ll be putting some more thought into this as I want to start doing more to “pay it forward”. Thanks so much to all of you.
Semper Fidelis.
+5 :happy
Excellent post,,Thank You for your Service to the Country.
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sschullo » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:57 am

RetiredMarine wrote:Peter’s story is a great one and he is definitely to be congratulated. And I just wanted to provide some of my own reinforcement for the Boglehead principles. During my first 12+ years in the Marine Corps right after high school (of nearly 34 total), I made virtually every personal finance mistake possible – lived paycheck to paycheck, had no budget, savings, or investments, had significant credit card debt, put money into some of the “top mutual funds over the past 5 years” (when I finally had some “extra $” after becoming an officer), paid some huge front-load expenses on funds catered to military personnel, etc.

Then I got very lucky and got married – happened to be another Marine – and that would be the start of getting things together financially, but still very slowly. The wife and I both came from “lower middle-class” families (at best) and as a result together we had/developed relatively frugal habits – bought used cars primarily, lived in much cheaper houses than we could “afford”, etc. Over the next decade or so we saved and invested, but it was still haphazardly in a motley collection of actively managed mutual funds that were very inconsistent over time (surprise, surprise), but at least we were living well below our means and putting money aside. I was past age 40 when I finally decided that I needed to get smarter about personal finance and read a number of general books (don’t remember the titles). They led us to develop a plan that resulted in moving all of our non-TSP investments to Vanguard nearly 11 years ago into mostly index funds. Then, a few years ago I came across the Bogleheads site and it has helped tremendously to reinforce that we’re on the right track and it has helped us to better educate our kids so that hopefully they’ll be on a better financial path early on (our oldest daughter in college has been maxing out her Roth IRA and 401ks when available during her co-ops).

Developing goals, plans to achieve them, then executing those plans and monitoring and reassessing things are all critical items learned in the military, but definitely not well as it relates to personal finance where it can make such a difference in many other aspects of life.

The Boglehead site is truly a fantastic resource that I refer to others as often as I can because it advocates sound principles like planning, diversifying, staying the course, etc., but most importantly it does these things in an objective and relatively personable way that helps people learn (if/when they’re ready to). My family has certainly profited from the wise counsel given here and it has helped us to know that my recent early retirement was more than doable given our investments and the generous pension and health care benefits provided by the military.

Everyone, please keep doing what you’re doing on this site – you are DEFINITELY making a big difference. Only thing I’m wondering (out loud) is how to make more people aware of this great resource, as there are obviously so many more folks that Bogleheads could help. I’ll be putting some more thought into this as I want to start doing more to “pay it forward”. Thanks so much to all of you.
Semper Fidelis.
From the "lower classes" too. I begin saving while I doing my duty in the Marines also and very proud to have saved $500 during my two year enlistment in the late '60s while earning 190 a month. I was already frugal, learned from my parent's dairy farm. Similar to your story, the mistakes I made came years later, learning all of the stuff discussed here about costs, diversification, etc etc and learned it in my middle 50s. But I did not drift from my frugal ways.
Public School K-12 Educators: "Ask NOT what your annuity sales person can do for you, ask what you can do to be a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY)."

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by powermega » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:59 am

I sure wish I was a Boglehead when I was in my early 20s...
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Spectre » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:04 am

Congratulations Peter, Day9 and RetiredMarine!
sharpjm wrote: Are we to assume the the son making $11.50 per hour paid for living expenses for both father and son?

Did this occur for 4 strait years?

This is not a strait forward post.

It isn't fair for some kid, who works at a grocery store, to come here and read this post and assume that he can become "well off" after 4 years without knowledge of the full details of "Peter"s circumstance.
I believe it is possible for "some kid, who works at a grocery store" to assume he can be financially healthy after four years from reading what Peter has done. I was and still am in a similar situation as Peter. I have provided financial assistance for my parent since 2012 (I was 25 years old) when she was forced to accept part time employment and loss of full time employment benefits due to her employer downsizing. I started assisting my mom making roughly $14.00 an hour and as I've supported her I have been able to save up similiar to what Peter has saved in four years all thanks to this forum and the bogleheads who provided priceless guidance.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Silence Dogood » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:42 am

Bogleheads,

I am Peter.

I wrote that message as a private message of gratitude to Mr. Larimore. Originally I did not know it would be posted to the forum (he asked and received my permission to post it). I was very encouraged when he told me it was such an inspiring message. I knew that my situation was atypical but I didn't realize it was that out of the ordinary. I just figured it was the natural consequence of a person being introduced to the Bogleheads at a young age.

If I had known the story would have been posted, I would have provided more details about exactly how it was done. If you feel it is necessary, you can now go through my 350+ posts for at least some form of verification. I have also actually met many Bogleheads last June at a Boston Bogleheads meeting (to those of you who I have met at that meeting, please take special care to still preserve some of my anonymity!) I worry about any potential consequences of people knowing about my personal finances.

The point of my message was to show gratitude and how this forum (and for that matter, the wiki) can have a great impact on people's lives. If I hadn't picked up Jack Bogle's "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing" from the library that day, and if I hadn't discovered the Bogleheads forums, my life would not be as happy as it is today. The Bogleheads have helped me with my own personal "pursuit of happiness."

A few quick notes about the veracity of my claims:

-I lived with my dad during this time period. Although I had to pay for groceries and car expenses, I didn't need to pay for rent and utilities. It is true that I have been very fortunate in this sense. The point of my story isn't to emphasize that I did it all on my own ("up by the bootstraps"), the point is that I was able to figure out a way to turn my financial situation around thanks to what I have learned from the Bogleheads.

-My Roth contributions by year were:

2010: $2,700
2011: $5,000
2012: $5,000
2013: $5,500
2014: $5,500
2015: $5,500

-My emergency fund is $5,000. I figure that if I run into an emergency that requires more money than that I could resort to tapping into my Roth IRA contributions. That wouldn't be ideal, but it is also unlikely that I will have an emergency that will cost me more than $5,000.

-I did start saving before I discovered the Bogleheads, but I had no idea what I was doing. I recall that I started to consciously make a decision to start saving/investing just before I turned 19 and I discovered the Bogleheads when I was 20. I was lucky that I was 18 in 2009 (when the market was at its low point).

I plan on deleting this message in a few days. I hope that you will all respect my privacy. For example, family events would be potentially awkward if some people in particular knew how much I have saved because I would be sort of an outlier in my family. :?

I don't really feel the need to go into further detail about my personal situation, now that I have given up my anonymity. I will have to be okay with some people not believing me (I understand, this is the internet after all - no accountability).

I hope that the skepticism hasn't taken away from my message of gratitude.

Thank you to Jack Bogle for founding Vanguard and giving investors a fair shake. Thank you to Taylor Larimore for being such a great human being. Thanks to all Bogleheads for all the help and information provided over these past four years.

Best wishes,
Silence Dogood
Last edited by Silence Dogood on Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:55 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Howard Donnelly » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:57 am

Outstanding! Thank you for posting. You made my day! :happy
Last edited by Howard Donnelly on Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:01 am

Howard Donnelly wrote:Outstanding! Thank you for posting. You made my day! :happy
Silence Dogood is planning to remove his message above. Perhaps, you should edit out the complete text of his message from your response, too?

I was in Boston at that local Bogleheads meeting, met Silence Dogood there, and I am swearing to silence about his private details.

Victoria
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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Castanea_d. » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:10 am

Peter, best wishes to you in the future, and Taylor, thank you for the initial post and for sharing this with us.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Sheepdog » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:21 am

Peter's story is wonderful and a tribute to all of the Bogleheads and it's predecessor, Morningstar's Vanguard Diehard forum. The latter had it's 17th anniversary yesterday (started 3/19/98). Imagine how many people are succeeding because of that start and the succeeding
Boglehead founding.
I found the Diehard site about August 1998, 2 months before I retired, and I know I would not have succeeded in my retirement if I had not found it and took the advice of Taylor, Mel and so many others. I will add my thank you, as well.
Peter, you are so fortunate to find this site at such a young age. And, as importantly, learning and heeding the advice given. Congratulations.
Jim
People should not say everything they think. They should think about everything they say.

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by sschullo » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:40 am

Howard Donnelly wrote:
Bogleheads,

I am Peter.

For example, family events would be potentially awkward if some people in particular knew how much I have saved because I would be sort of an outlier in my family. :?
Thank you Peter for you story.
I want to leave you two ideas to ponder: 1. there is nothing wrong with being an "outlier," and 2. how do you know that one family member or members will get not get inspired to learn what you have?
Have a great weekend and best of fortunes,
Steve
Public School K-12 Educators: "Ask NOT what your annuity sales person can do for you, ask what you can do to be a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY)."

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Miriam2 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:13 pm

Peter -
Your anonymity is preserved! But as you move through life, please post with the Bogleheads and let everyone know how you're doing.
I thought it was very warm and thoughtful of you to PM Taylor with your letter of gratitude. It shows what a nice person you are inside. Not every young person takes the time to send a letter to thank those who made an influence on their life - even though they want to, it can be hard to find the time and make the effort to do it. You did it and I am sure Taylor was very moved by your effort. 8-)

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Re: An inspiring message for Bogleheads

Post by Twins Fan » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:15 pm

The point of my message was to show gratitude and how this forum (and for that matter, the wiki) can have a great impact on people's lives. If I hadn't picked up Jack Bogle's "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing" from the library that day, and if I hadn't discovered the Bogleheads forums, my life would not be as happy as it is today. The Bogleheads have helped me with my own personal "pursuit of happiness."
That was all most of us saw it as.

Nevermind the one who didn't and felt the need to pick it apart... that was classless by that one.

You're doing great! Wish I had started that young!

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