Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

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JohnnyP
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by JohnnyP » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:34 pm

First off, I love this forum. The advice is practical and well-considered. I don't think that my lack of millions prevents or intimidates me from benefiting from the sights put forth here. I'm not rich by western standards, nor do I anticipate becoming exceptionally wealthy. We all make trade-offs in life, and family / quality of life / pursing my dreams outweighed entering the many-commas club in my book. That doesn't mean I can't benefit from the insights on this forum, nor does it mean that I'm financially irresponsible.

However, I do see the benefit of having threads that are going to speak to people who aren't making six-figures, nor anticipate doing so. If your household income is +/-$50K annually, saving 20% of your income looks a lot different from the person pulling in $500K. Bully for the person pulling in $500K, but the next steps toward FI or financial responsibility might look a bit different for the $50K household.

We're all coming into the Bogleworld at different times in different situations. Making it easier for the newbie to get started, rethink their habits, identify next steps and develop a practical plan to FI or financial stability is only going to make this forum better.

Again, I appreciate the time / energy and passion that is poured into this forum. I've benefited a ton, and know that many others have as well.

ze233
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by ze233 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:54 pm

I will bite, I'm currently 34 and in the age range you mentioned...

I lurked here for a long time, since 2005 as a 22 year old, before I created an account and started posting in 2015. I've never felt envious or scared off by all the millionaires, my goal early on was just reading and learning as much as I could from these forums. On the contrary, reading how well everyone else is doing and how they got there is truly inspirational and helped push myself to save and invest to achieve those goals.
Because I've been following the BH philosophy for 12 years, my NW, which started at $0 in 2005 is nearing 2 comma club territory.

Because of BH, I've also learned to watch out for door to door salesmen with Edward Jones business cards, to steer clear of whole life insurance, motivation to stay the course in 2008 while watching the S&P lose over half its value, the best way to buy a new car, what to expect when applying for a mortgage and buying a house, make sure I married the right person, and countless others.

Like one of the other posters above said, reading BH has helped me make better financial and life decisions. Pre-Boglehead me would've pulled out at the bottom in 2008. Boglehead me stayed the course and looked at the long term picture.

I'm immeasurably grateful for all I've learned here. I hope anyone else who is struggling or just starting out feels the same, that there's a lot to learn from on these boards and to not get discouraged.

JDP
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by JDP » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:24 pm

skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
So, what I would like to request is for those folks to speak up and disclose their financial situations ( anonymously, of course) and the progress they are making towards improving that, no matter how small or trivial it may seem. Even if somebody is not making progress at this time, they should disclose the predicament they are in. This would hopefully embolden the others to come out as well and seek help or give advice not from a multi millionaire point of view , but as a fellow commoner. I hope this makes sense.
I'm a not so rich boglehead. Here's my story:

Graduated college in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in social work. After working about five years in mental health case management, I decided to change careers due to high stress and low pay ($26,000-32,000). Yeah, pretty crappy pay. I went back to school at age 28 to get a bachelor's in radiologic science (medical imaging such as x-ray, CT, MRI, etc.). Had no savings, no health insurance, lived with three other people in an apartment and worked part-time jobs to get me through school. I graduated in summer 2014. Since there weren't really any scholarship opportunities for pursuing a second bachelor's, most of my three years of tuition were covered by student loans.

Since June 2014, I have paid off $55,305.80 in student loans. I had $10,000-11,000k debt from my first degree along with the new loan debt. I have $6,378 left in loans.

My 401k has $14,302, which is 100% Vanguard Target Retirement 2055. I have a $3,100 ER fund. Not much but I am proud of the progress I've made in the last 3 years and 3 months. My yearly income at the end of this year will be in the lower $60,000s. So, I never plan on being rich but with my frugal lifestyle I hope I'll be alright. After I pay off my debt, I plan to max out my 401k, double my ER fund and try to contribute to a roth ira.

I live in a cheap apartment in a LCOL area. Car is paid off. No kids right now and bills are split with my fiancée.

huskerfan
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by huskerfan » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:01 am

I really appreciate this forum and those who share their wisdom with others. With the advent of the Internet and technology, many people (myself included) are used to instant gratification. With investing, it's tiny steps over the long run that make a difference. So knowing that if I put aside a certain percentage each month, chances are that in a decade or two we'll be more financially secure and have more freedoms. And hearing from those who did just that is reassuring.

We have a long ways to go to get to our goals, but we've made a lot of progress these past few years. Now that we're out of student loan debt, have built an emergency fund, and have put a down payment on a house, it's easier to put more money aside from retirement and really see it grow each month. So if we made just this much progress in the past few years, we can make a lot more progress going forward.

Another thing that I like about this forum is finding others who are self-employed and can give advice on taxes, structuring, etc. While we do use an accountant, other outside perspectives are helpful as well. So thanks everyone for the wisdom and advice!

goingup
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by goingup » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:14 am

ze233 wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:54 pm
I will bite, I'm currently 34 and in the age range you mentioned...

I lurked here for a long time, since 2005 as a 22 year old, before I created an account and started posting in 2015. I've never felt envious or scared off by all the millionaires, my goal early on was just reading and learning as much as I could from these forums. On the contrary, reading how well everyone else is doing and how they got there is truly inspirational and helped push myself to save and invest to achieve those goals.
Because I've been following the BH philosophy for 12 years, my NW, which started at $0 in 2005 is nearing 2 comma club territory.

Because of BH, I've also learned to watch out for door to door salesmen with Edward Jones business cards, to steer clear of whole life insurance, motivation to stay the course in 2008 while watching the S&P lose over half its value, the best way to buy a new car, what to expect when applying for a mortgage and buying a house, make sure I married the right person, and countless others.

Like one of the other posters above said, reading BH has helped me make better financial and life decisions. Pre-Boglehead me would've pulled out at the bottom in 2008. Boglehead me stayed the course and looked at the long term picture.

I'm immeasurably grateful for all I've learned here. I hope anyone else who is struggling or just starting out feels the same, that there's a lot to learn from on these boards and to not get discouraged.
Your story illustrates what a great resource this forum is. :thumbsup I'm 20 years older but learn new things here all the time.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sunny_socal » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:31 am

My story:
- Came to the USA 26 years ago with $0 and a suitcase full of clothes (for college)
- Graduated with ~$40k of student loans & debt
- Paid it off within 3 years
- Spent the next 10 years completely clueless about finances, but luckily contributed to 401k
- Blew about 100k of my 401k savings due to ignorance!
- Found BH, straightened out my finances. Read about a dozen finance books.
- Expect 1M NW by the end of the year! :beer

I think whatever your situation, LBYM and things will turn out ok. Balance your finances between saving, spending and giving.
(It helps to have a low maintenance spouse as well and stay married :wink: )

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gravlax
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by gravlax » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:41 pm

I moved to CA at the age of 33 with a negative net worth and no job. I did have a fresh degree in Computer Science and a sofa to sleep on. Within two months I had a job and an expensive apartment. I had known vaguely about Boglehead principles (but didn't know they were called Boglehead principles), but now in hindsight feel like I didn't really know them since I hadn't put them into practice. I was living paycheck to paycheck.

The period in which I arrived was the so called "dot com boom" and my CS skills were in heavy demand. I'd get phone calls every day from recruiters offering me higher and higher salaries. I slowly transitioned into a more convenient job that was closer to home and more in line with what I wanted to do. I still lived paycheck to paycheck and was spending all of my money on dining out and drinking at expensive restaurants. All my peers were doing the same - we were young and somewhat highly paid and in demand professionals being fooled and fueled by the boom.

I'm not sure we exactly when, but at one point I restarted my interest in Boglehead principles. I somehow realized that I couldn't live so luxuriously and irresponsibly forever. I dreaded the thought of forced lifestyle deflation. I started reading Boglehead books and started to save a bit. Then, seeing my bank account balance go up became a bit of a fun game for me. I was still able to join my non-Boglehead friend for an occasional fancy dinner and drinks, but walked and took public transportation instead of taxis around town. I made the small cuts and watched how I spent my money and got the most value I could. I still felt like I was living like a king, but was spending 30% less.

Fast forward a few years. I think when I finally had around $200K saved, the veracity of the Boglehead way really started to sink in on a more fundamental level. If my portfolio value went up %5 in value, that was $10K or gains - which was significant to me at the time. At last I finally understood in a real way what compounding was. Living it seemed much more real than looking at a bunch of charts that essentially explained the same thing I was witnessing.

When the 2008 financial crisis happened, I happened to be reading about financial crises through the Boglehead approved book The Four Pillars of Investing. I felt like I was reading about the crisis in real time. I sort of impressed myself by how coldly and without emotion I was able to stick to my plan and continue to invest in the falling markets.

Nowadays, I am approaching my first million in assets, but feel much wealthier. My expenses are pretty low, but I feel like I live the life of a king. I am able to enjoy and spend, but my net worth continues to rise for the time. I feel like I have pushed through, learned to value the times I can spend money and also value many things that do not cost a cent, but are perhaps afforded by having a decent portfolio.

Dolcetto
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Dolcetto » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:35 pm

skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
...

Having said that, I would say that the forums are generally dominated by folks who are millionaires, multi millionaires or soon to be millionaires at very young ages. This has the effect of scaring away and/or creating resentment in a lot of people who are not close to being millionaires or even just plain wealthy with a healthy emergency cushion, say around 100K-200K saved @ age 35 or 40 . I picked that age range as that is around the time in life when the carefree young days have passed and people begin to think about to their future financial needs, thinking about college for their kids, their own retirement etc . Vast majority of the folks in real life do not have that 100-200K kind of savings let alone a million, and then coming to a forum which has people who are serious and responsible about their financial life, and seeing that you in no way are close to them can be crushing.

...
I've read the OP, and skimmed many of the subsequent comments. I want to say that I currently have a negative net worth at 30, in my case largely due to too much education and the debt and opportunity cost that entails. I asked my first question here a few days ago (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=227581) and have been nothing but happy with the responses. There was nothing said criticizing the size of my portfolio or anything I mentioned in that post, just thoughtful, sincere, and *free* advice. It is impressive to me that so many educated and experienced strangers are willing to offer their advice. How wealthy anyone on here is doesn't matter to me and it doesn't seem to matter to the the folks that responded to my post.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:41 pm

Dolcetto wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:35 pm
skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
...

Having said that, I would say that the forums are generally dominated by folks who are millionaires, multi millionaires or soon to be millionaires at very young ages. This has the effect of scaring away and/or creating resentment in a lot of people who are not close to being millionaires or even just plain wealthy with a healthy emergency cushion, say around 100K-200K saved @ age 35 or 40 . I picked that age range as that is around the time in life when the carefree young days have passed and people begin to think about to their future financial needs, thinking about college for their kids, their own retirement etc . Vast majority of the folks in real life do not have that 100-200K kind of savings let alone a million, and then coming to a forum which has people who are serious and responsible about their financial life, and seeing that you in no way are close to them can be crushing.

...
I've read the OP, and skimmed many of the subsequent comments. I want to say that I currently have a negative net worth at 30, in my case largely due to too much education and the debt and opportunity cost that entails. I asked my first question here a few days ago (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=227581) and have been nothing but happy with the responses. There was nothing said criticizing the size of my portfolio or anything I mentioned in that post, just thoughtful, sincere, and *free* advice. It is impressive to me that so many educated and experienced strangers are willing to offer their advice. How wealthy anyone on here is doesn't matter to me and it doesn't seem to matter to the the folks that responded to my post.
Dolcetto, not to mention, you got responses from some of the most highly regarded BHs. Fwiw, I don't know, or care, what their personal NW is, and neither should anyone else asking questions.

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flamesabers
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by flamesabers » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:56 pm

skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
Having said that, I would say that the forums are generally dominated by folks who are millionaires, multi millionaires or soon to be millionaires at very young ages.
I have to disagree. If anything I would say this forum is dominated by people who are learning/striving to become financially independent.
skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
This has the effect of scaring away and/or creating resentment in a lot of people who are not close to being millionaires or even just plain wealthy with a healthy emergency cushion, say around 100K-200K saved @ age 35 or 40 . I picked that age range as that is around the time in life when the carefree young days have passed and people begin to think about to their future financial needs, thinking about college for their kids, their own retirement etc . Vast majority of the folks in real life do not have that 100-200K kind of savings let alone a million, and then coming to a forum which has people who are serious and responsible about their financial life, and seeing that you in no way are close to them can be crushing.
I don't feel aversion or resentment towards members who have a higher level of income/investments/net worth then me, even if they're younger then me. For one, cost of living can vary dramatically. A $100k annual income might not go as far in place A as it would in place B. Second, it doesn't affect me in the slightest that some people on the internet have a greater or lower net worth then me. Third, I see the purpose of this forum is to exchange information and not to brag about how much net worth one has. There's not an area in our profile section to enter what our net worth is and it's not like there is a caste system on the forum that separates millionaires from everyone else.
skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
So, what I would like to request is for those folks to speak up and disclose their financial situations ( anonymously, of course) and the progress they are making towards improving that, no matter how small or trivial it may seem. Even if somebody is not making progress at this time, they should disclose the predicament they are in. This would hopefully embolden the others to come out as well and seek help or give advice not from a multi millionaire point of view , but as a fellow commoner. I hope this makes sense.
I'm 31 and my net worth is about $280k. My immediate financial goal is to max out my 401k contributions this year. I'm expecting to hit $18k at the end of October. Beyond that my financial goals are to continue what I've already been doing: invest in inexpensive index funds and live below my means.

cherijoh
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by cherijoh » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:32 pm

skor99 wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:22 pm
Is it only me or are the non LBYM people hidden in plain sight ? Pretty much everybody I know at work or otherwise seems to be the responsible kind, saving and investing as much as they can. Sure, some people drive the expensive cars but I believe they have a net worth to match those cars.
Actually I think it is the exact opposite - its the LBYM people who are hiding in plain sight. Unless you have a high profile profession like doctor or lawyer, other people are not likely to have any idea that you are bringing in the big bucks. They take their cues from the outward trappings of wealth and assume that the people with the big house or who are driving a luxury car have (as you put it) "a net worth to match". This is often not the case. Conversely, they write off people who don't live lavishly as moderate income earners.

I'm sure many people believe that they are saving and investing as much as they can. But a key tenet to LBYM is to "pay yourself first" and this comes into play when you are contemplating major spending. Since LBYM people are deliberate about savings, they will be a lot more likely to realize the impact of a spending decision on future savings/investing than someone who saves haphazardly.

Many (most?) people do not consider the opportunity cost of decisions like buying a home or a luxury vehicle or putting your kids in private school K-12 until they get closer to retirement and realize they don't have the cash flow available to save as much as they should to guarantee a comfortable retirement. I also think quite a few people are in denial about how much it will cost to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement. They may also assume that retiring later is always a viable option. Unfortunately your health or a late-in-career layoff may torpedo this notion.

IMADreamer
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by IMADreamer » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:47 pm

A lot of people here are pointing out net worth which I guess is a measure of a man of sorts but I'm actually a pretty high net worth person, not compared to you guys, but compared to mortals because of my business interests but my yearly take home income makes me feel pretty average. In fact I sort of have this complex where I feel like everyone must be making more then me because they all have fancy big trucks and cars, houses, boats, etc. I don't want those things though, I do love cars, but my old classic that I take for weekend cruises works for me, and my daily driven pick up truck is almost 20 years old but it's alright too. I hate the idea of debt unless it's something that is going to make me money and I realize a lot of those things I mentioned are all just rolling debt.

I guess what I'm saying is, net worth is nice, but I'd really like to hear from the guys and gals that are like me making close to that national median income, or even under. Our biggest concerns aren't "I made 400k this year and I just don't know what to do with the 300k I don't spend." I think posts like that aren't actually wanting answer just more of humble brags about their income. I'd like to hear from the guy that just maxed out his IRA in November and wants to know with December's extra money.

Anyway, I'm glad some of you realize that those of us who don't make 6 figures have some different dilemmas to deal with than you do. Those post of I have 4 million in my roth, 3 in my ira, 400k in savings, and a house worth 2 million am I doing ok? Are really annoying. The correct answer is you won, congrats go pat yourself on the back, which are really all those posts are anyway.

JD2775
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by JD2775 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:40 am

Age 30: had about $200 in savings and about 19k in student loan debt

Age 35: had about $40k in savings and about 8k in student loan debt

Age 42 (current): have about $300k in savings. No debt.

Biggest change was getting a job that offered a 401k at age 30. Never had anything like that. My 20's were a waste as far as finances go, and even my early mid-30's wasn't as good as it could have been. I am not doing "great" now by any means, but trying to catch up

Only regret is I wish I started sooner, as I am sure many others would say.

Raryn
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Raryn » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:56 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:31 pm
heybro wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:59 am
ddurrett896 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:41 pm
skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
This has the effect of scaring away and/or creating resentment in a lot of people who are not close to being millionaires or even just plain wealthy with a healthy emergency cushion, say around 100K-200K saved @ age 35 or 40 .
You can't get wrapped up in a number. Think about it like this (assuming both people are the same age):

Person 1 makes $50,000/year and has a net worth of $500,000.
Person 2 makes $300,000/year and has a net work of $2,000,000.

Who is doing better? I say person 1.
Very true! Rate of Savings is a huge indicator. Not only does it demonstrate how much you are saving but it also shows how little you are spending.
Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence. We don't know what percentage either of their net worth figures are due to saving. Person 1 might have inherited 1000k and only has 500k left. The only objective numbers we have shows one person with both more net worth and higher savings potential, and that is Person 2.
Not to mention taxes are excluded from consideration of the net worth/salary calculation.

Lets assume they are both single, live in CA, and take the standard deduction
Person 1 makes $50,000/year gross, after federal+state+SSI+medicare+SDI withholdings, they make 36.1k net. That $500,000 net worth is ~13x net salary.
Person 2 makes $300,000/year gross, after the same they make $176.4k net. That $2,000,000 net worth is ~11x net salary

Add in some deductions like 401(k)s and whatnot and it might even out even more. In a different state it might be further apart. Even so though, person 2 might save a small percentage less of their net salary, but is in a relatively comparable situation relative to his earnings, and a much better one overall.

dsmil
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dsmil » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:24 pm

I'm a 30 year old not-so-rich Boglehead, but very happy with where I am. Famly of 4, own a home and have $20k of student loans, $120k income, save 12% of income towards retirement, another 12% for other savings (college, down payment), and $180k of net worth. We put 3.5% down on our first house (FHA loan) and will put 10% down on our next home shortly. We're a one income household and are perfectly fine slowly building our net worth and having a lot of family time together.

I've been a part of this group for 8 years and it has made me a much smarter investor and has helped with many other areas of personal finance. I realize that the average Boglehead is a not-so-average person, and that doesn't bother me. I can see some people getting discouraged from some of the overly critical comments, but people on this board have very high standards.

Catfish Plumber
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Catfish Plumber » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:22 pm

43 years old w/ 38 year old stay at home wife and 7 year old son here.

~220k invested retirement savings and a targeted FI # lower than any I've seen posted here. I have been a little scared of sharing my FI # for fear of hearing that I'm taking too much risk.

I feel very fortunate to be where we are and looking toward where we're headed, and I'm very grateful for all the information and advice offered here by people coming from many different situations.

dbr
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:34 pm

I don't know if you would call me rich today or not, but when we were 30 we had nothing and worked at jobs, sort of, that paid more than minimum wage but probably less than median wage. Obviously we didn't know anything about Bogleheads; the PC nor the Macintosh didn't even exist yet to go read an online forum; but we were wise enough to get educated, lucky enough to find good jobs, smart enough to intuit that LBYM and saving and not having debt made sense, and persistent enough to stick with it with some mistakes along the way.

I find reading about big salaries and multimillion dollar portfolios at age 40 just a foreign as most people would, but it doesn't affect talking and thinking about investing in a prudent manner.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by MrNewEngland » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:36 pm

It's easy to get on here and get frustrated when reading a bunch of threads. Between reading on here and hang out with a group of friends that are a lot more successful than me I sometimes feel grim about where I am. I am admittedly a bit of an underachiever salary-wise, but if I take a step back away from BH and my friends I realize I am doing ok. So I am a not-so-rich boglehead and here's my situation:

39 years old
Mid-$80k salary
NW of a little over $400k

I did recently get my expenses way down and I plan to start getting more serious about my savings rate.

jbird11
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by jbird11 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:15 pm

Great thread--- I'm one of the non-millionaire, not so rich bogleheads.

I'm pretty proud to be halfway to the 2-comma club. Just hit this mini milestone ($500K NetWorth) this month.

Age-- 37 Wife 38. Kids 9 & 5. Maxing both 401Ks, IRAs & ESAs. No debt except mortgage.

10 years left on 15-yr mortgage.

Current Net Worth = 7x Annual expenses with mortgage.

Goal is NetWorth = 50x Annual expenses post-mortgage ($2Mil now, might be $3-4Mil by then) Hard to predict what annual expenses will be in 10years.

It feels like we're in about the 90th percentile for our age... even though we don't have a ton to show for it like our neighbors the Jones's.

dbr
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:21 pm

One of the characteristics of wealth and income even in a relatively more even society such as the US is the incredible extent of the high tails. Probably everyone posting or reading here is fabulously wealthy even by US standards and yet to a man can see plenty of evidence of people much more fabulously wealthy than they are. Conclusion: Contemplating the issue is a waste of time.

dbr
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:16 pm

So I just watched this old Alfred Hitchcock show. This guy embezzles $200,000, turns himself in, does 12 years in prison, gets out, and returns the money, scot free. At the end he is on an around the world cruise bragging to a fellow passenger that he is spending a retirement nestegg of some $100K plus. The passenger asks how he got so rich. The man says by investing $200,000 in the best yielding savings accounts available. "So, where did you get the $200K?" "I borrowed it." Note $100k in 1967 would be worth about $750K today.

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burt
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by burt » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:59 pm

Not so rich, that's me.
Just an average engineer working for Megacorps for 40 years.
Thank goodness for a 25 year pension and retiree medical or I couldn't retiree at age 60.
Retired and moved back "home" to a low cost of living area. Mortgage is less than my association fees in the big city.
No traffic, no crime, no hurricanes, no heat. I'm pretty content.

burt

sawhorse
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:08 am

There is definitely a dearth of people in blue collar and/or very low paying insecure jobs; I'm not counting young people temporarily in such jobs who will likely go on to have white collar careers based on their education, socioeconomic background, and young age.

While some of the general advice is good such as don't overspend, and really that's just common sense, I don't think such a person would find many posters who can relate.

For example, how many times have I seen advice to look for a job that offers health insurance. There are very few low paying hourly jobs that offer health insurance.

"Max out your 401k." Same as with health insurance, very few of these jobs offer 401ks.

"Improve your skill set, go back to school." That's extremely difficult to do when you're at a physically demanding job all day, maybe have more than one job, have a family to feed, and don't have the prior educational preparation to complete a degree.

"Work a few years more" to someone that is 65. A lot of workers in physical jobs develop health problems from their work, and such work is physically demanding for any age, so it's much more difficult than it sounds.

This board can certainly seem intimidating for someone who is in a blue collar and/or so-called menial job, and much of the advice is out of touch. Have you ever tried living on minumum wage or close to it, with kids to support? How much would you have left over? Most of the people here, even though they are living below their means, still spend far more than a minimum wage job would allow. How much could you realistically put away in a retirement fund? Maybe a few dollars a week - anything is better than nothing of course, but it's unrealistic to think they can delay Social Security.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by SGM » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:14 am

I have learned a lot from both rich and not so rich BHs although I came to many core BH principles on my own before finding this forum. The wealth or income of a poster is not of concern to me. There are certain problems or issues that transcend differences in wealth and are common to all. There are other issues that are more specific to one's own circumstances.

Because saving for retirement or other purposes is difficult for many people does not mean that the principles discussed here are not valid.

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celia
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by celia » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:49 am

It is rare for anyone to start out rich. Most bogleheads, I assume, had to work their way up the old-fashioned way. But it may seem like many of them are wealthy. I think what we are really seeing is that those who are wealthy enough to no longer have to work will spend more time posting here than someone who has to get up and go to work. So those with more postings are likely retired and have finally met their financial goals. That may seem like there are a lot of them because they are over-represented in these posts.

I also think that the climb is rarely "smooth" for most people. You can have set-backs; someone in the family can have an extended/permanent illness; some can lose their jobs or voluntarily change to a job that pays less but is more satisfying. Having kids in private school put a strain on our finances in our 40s and 50s, but it was important to us. Both of us being laid off at the same time for a whole year with kids in private school really cut into our finances. We rotated who took (unpaid) time off from work when each kid was born and when we went back to school for other degrees. So you can imagine how "lumpy" our Social Security earnings history is. After many years of family budget travel, clipping coupons, buying used textbooks, helping start up a cost-effective day care center at the kids' school, and helping elderly relatives, we made it to retirement. If I had the chance to do it again, I wouldn't change any of those years. But when I was in them, sometimes I wondered where we were going financially.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by unclescrooge » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:38 am

staythecourse wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:30 pm
livesoft wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:09 pm
My reaction to this is folks should just get over it and not measure their happiness and self-worth against others. I never did.
Great advice. Me personally, I strive to do this. Unfortunately, often failing. It is human nature to want to compare oneself and bemoan what you don't have and others do have. I agree though I have never found happiness comparing myself to others. And as you can imagine folks don't compare oneself to those less successful do so it will always be a losing proposition.

Do the best you can and always be proud what you have accomplished in life. Anyone on this site is showing they are serious about the finances which is the most important thing.

Good luck.
+1

As mom used say, you don't burn down your hut because you realize other people live in mansions.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:46 am

Well put, sawhorse.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by basspond » Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:52 am

The issue with most people I have observed is that the end seems so overwhelming that they don't even try. I started many years ago barely making 5 figures. I made some financial mistakes along the way but I started saving immediately. It took over 20 years until the mass of compounding interest and returns kicked in and overwhelmed the size of my portfolio.

I was helping a hoarder clean out their house. They were so overwhelmed they didn't know where to start. I proceeded to take one little item out and said one thing at a time. The task was completed in a 1/2 day.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by angelescrest » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:35 am

Crow Hunter wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:53 pm
I am 44, wife is 39. Neither of us have ever made more than 6 figures, combined we only broke 150K last year. Our net worth is over $2M.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

However:

- We live in a VLCOL rural part of the US with extremely limited non-outdoor related recreational activities.
- My wife can't have children.
- Both of my parents passed away at an early age leaving me a mid-6 figure inheritance.
- My wife and I have gone on 4 vacations of greater than 3 days in the 17 years we have been married and all of them were less than a days drive away from a combination of being frugal, caring for sick family members and health problems.
-I nearly died earlier this year due to a medical condition that is still causing me health issues.

Don't compare yourself to others. You can only see what people post. If you only saw the top half of my post you might be envious. You likely wouldn't be envious of how I got there.

I would much rather have a negative net worth right now and have children, my parents alive, memories of vacations with my wife instead of watching my parents life ebb away from them and not have "seen the elephant" in my early 40's and the follow-on problems.
One of the best posts I've ever read on the forum. There is so much more to life than your wealth. Hats off to Crow Hunter, and best wishes to you as you tackle your health challenges.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by TheTimeLord » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:46 am

Before contributing to this thread posters should go to this link. Only those with under the 70th percentile for their age bracket should qualify to contribute to this tome.

https://dqydj.com/net-worth-by-age-calc ... ed-states/
Run, You Clever Boy!

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by BanquetBeer » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:15 am

When I was in grade school I was smarter than 80% of the kids
When I was in college I was smarter than 70% of my peers.
When I got a job I was smarter than 40% of my peers.

I changed jobs and now it's back to more like high school. It is good to be a big fish in a small pond. It was a challenge to actually have to work hard for once. Even more of a challenge when I was not 'winning' even with that work. Situations change and there will always be groups way better and way worse than your current situation.

What you should be looking at is what do you want from life and how is your progress on achieving that. People are still throwing out numbers like '100k expenses vs 30k expenses' but I don't feel that's a whole picture type thing.

If you want to live out in the country in a small house and don't have any interest in international travel why would you need or care about those high dollar values? If you can more than meet your needs in the life you want you should be happy.

But being happy with what you have or can achieve is not always the case. There are plenty of people who literally want to be billionaires... I believe the key is not how do you go from $75k/yr and 100k net worth to 1billion. The key is to be happy with your 75k/100k.

When I was a brooding teen, someone told me that I am in control of my feelings - I can choose to be upset and mad but that is my choice. It was a revelation to ask myself I am upset at this event but do I want it to shape the rest of my day by being mad about it?

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sunny_socal » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:43 am

sawhorse wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:08 am
There is definitely a dearth of people in blue collar and/or very low paying insecure jobs; I'm not counting young people temporarily in such jobs who will likely go on to have white collar careers based on their education, socioeconomic background, and young age.

While some of the general advice is good such as don't overspend, and really that's just common sense, I don't think such a person would find many posters who can relate.

For example, how many times have I seen advice to look for a job that offers health insurance. There are very few low paying hourly jobs that offer health insurance.

"Max out your 401k." Same as with health insurance, very few of these jobs offer 401ks.

"Improve your skill set, go back to school." That's extremely difficult to do when you're at a physically demanding job all day, maybe have more than one job, have a family to feed, and don't have the prior educational preparation to complete a degree.

"Work a few years more" to someone that is 65. A lot of workers in physical jobs develop health problems from their work, and such work is physically demanding for any age, so it's much more difficult than it sounds.

This board can certainly seem intimidating for someone who is in a blue collar and/or so-called menial job, and much of the advice is out of touch. Have you ever tried living on minumum wage or close to it, with kids to support? How much would you have left over? Most of the people here, even though they are living below their means, still spend far more than a minimum wage job would allow. How much could you realistically put away in a retirement fund? Maybe a few dollars a week - anything is better than nothing of course, but it's unrealistic to think they can delay Social Security.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
I think you're right, we probably don't have many people on here that are stuck in the lowest blue collar jobs.

I know many people who work blue collar jobs but they have climbed up the ladder. The own the plumbing company, the electrical company, the concrete company. Or they are the foreman, the inspector, the manager. They have grown beyond the entry level jobs in their fields and many of them are doing much better than the white collar people I know. Skilled blue collar jobs can easily pay $100/hr and that's doing pretty good.

For those stuck in the entry level no amount of LBYM or saving/investing is likely to help. They need to find a way to make more money. (I know people in that situation as well and it's their choice - they are simply happy with their lot in life although they could easily achieve 2-3x their income if they tried.)

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:54 am

There is a balance here. This board should be and can be helpful to someone starting out or even to someone not starting out who does not have a lot of money. However, a board formed for the purpose of investing the Boglehead way is hardly going to be very helpful to someone who has nothing to invest and is going to be of great interest to someone who has something to invest, especially someone who has enough to invest that it really matters. The board should also be helpful to people who eventually will have significant assets to invest.

I have seldom, if ever, seen someone rudely treated because they have little in assets and little in income. Being straightforward about financial facts is not rude. There are lots of threads on how to manage saving, elder care, insurance, and other issues that apply to people with low incomes and few assets.

The other side is that some people have high incomes and lots of wealth. It is really an individual issue whether or not one lets oneself become intimidated by that.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by flamesabers » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:10 am

TheTimeLord wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:46 am
Before contributing to this thread posters should go to this link. Only those with under the 70th percentile for their age bracket should qualify to contribute to this tome.

https://dqydj.com/net-worth-by-age-calc ... ed-states/
Two comments on this calculator:

1. It's for the year 2013, so everyone using it will have to adjust their age/net worth accordingly.

2. I think this calculator says a lot more about the dire financial condition some Americans are in then anything else. For instance, for my age group at the time (25-29) having a net worth of $0 puts you in the 27% percentile. Having a net worth of $30k would put a 25-29 year old in the 68% percentile. In comparison, going from a net worth of $150k to $180k only changes your percentile from 91% to 92%.

I may be nitpicking here, but the title of the thread is about "not so rich bogleheads" as opposed to "not so rich Americans." The calculator only does the latter and not the former.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:26 am

flamesabers wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:10 am

I may be nitpicking here, but the title of the thread is about "not so rich bogleheads" as opposed to "not so rich Americans." The calculator only does the latter and not the former.
Just so. And that should grant some perspective that all those not very rich Americans are not going to be posting here and people should not let that hockey stick curve intimidate them.

book lover
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by book lover » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:57 am

Being a citizen of the United States gives us a huge advantage to begin building wealth, however, wealth could be defined as having your needs satisfied and having enough to satisfy a reasonable number of wants. Accumulation beyond that does not seem like a path to happiness.

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Padlin
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Padlin » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:22 pm

I don't qualify as 35 or 40, but can tell about my situation at that age if you're interested, or skip over this.

Married at 20, both in the Air Force, $0 net worth, no family $.
Got out of the service at 24 in 1981, net worth - had some furniture and a car loan so probably negative.
Got a job right away in Tech for a newspaper, stayed there till age 57 when I retired.

At age 40 (1996) I had a NW of $127k, salary at the time was 63k, my wife made 10k+/-, heavy in tech stocks, as everyone was.

Became a Boglehead in about 2001 looking for a better way after the tech bust and 9/11, Read a review of Common Sense shortly after it came out. Found the Morningstar forum shortly thereafter.

Retired at 57 from the paper as a supervisor, 4 years ago, no pension, no debt, just savings till SS at 70. Some medical till 65.

Lived on about 60% of what we made for the last 20 years or so, sticking away the rest. I never put away less then 15%, starting about 1984. Far from rich but better off then many I know, heck I don't have to go to work like they do. Life is good, travel about 4 months a year in the RV.

I do recall feeling like I was a poor man among the well off on the forum early on. I may well have posted a question similar to this one.
Regards | Bob

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Hyperborea
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Hyperborea » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:53 pm

dbr wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:21 pm
One of the characteristics of wealth and income even in a relatively more even society such as the US is the incredible extent of the high tails. Probably everyone posting or reading here is fabulously wealthy even by US standards and yet to a man can see plenty of evidence of people much more fabulously wealthy than they are. Conclusion: Contemplating the issue is a waste of time.
It's not. That's a myth used to keep people at the bottom from revolting. The income inequality in the US is about the same level as many tin-pot dictatorships and a huge distance from that in any modern first-world country. This fact is often left out when you hear all those numbers about how little the average person has saved for retirement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... e_equality

timmy
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by timmy » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:13 pm

I was reminded of this video clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qNGWjDzxpQ

sawhorse
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:15 pm

IMADreamer wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:47 pm
I guess what I'm saying is, net worth is nice, but I'd really like to hear from the guys and gals that are like me making close to that national median income, or even under. Our biggest concerns aren't "I made 400k this year and I just don't know what to do with the 300k I don't spend." I think posts like that aren't actually wanting answer just more of humble brags about their income. I'd like to hear from the guy that just maxed out his IRA in November and wants to know with December's extra money.

Anyway, I'm glad some of you realize that those of us who don't make 6 figures have some different dilemmas to deal with than you do. Those post of I have 4 million in my roth, 3 in my ira, 400k in savings, and a house worth 2 million am I doing ok? Are really annoying. The correct answer is you won, congrats go pat yourself on the back, which are really all those posts are anyway.
Totally agree. Don't get me wrong, this board is extremely helpful, but sometimes it feels obnoxiously self congratulatory.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by MrNewEngland » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:11 pm

MrNewEngland wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:36 pm
It's easy to get on here and get frustrated when reading a bunch of threads. Between reading on here and hang out with a group of friends that are a lot more successful than me I sometimes feel grim about where I am. I am admittedly a bit of an underachiever salary-wise, but if I take a step back away from BH and my friends I realize I am doing ok. So I am a not-so-rich boglehead and here's my situation:

39 years old
Mid-$80k salary
NW of a little over $400k

I did recently get my expenses way down and I plan to start getting more serious about my savings rate.
I just want someone to tell me if I'm rich or poor... because I feel both all the time.

KlangFool
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by KlangFool » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:22 pm

MrNewEngland wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:11 pm
MrNewEngland wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:36 pm
It's easy to get on here and get frustrated when reading a bunch of threads. Between reading on here and hang out with a group of friends that are a lot more successful than me I sometimes feel grim about where I am. I am admittedly a bit of an underachiever salary-wise, but if I take a step back away from BH and my friends I realize I am doing ok. So I am a not-so-rich boglehead and here's my situation:

39 years old
Mid-$80k salary
NW of a little over $400k

I did recently get my expenses way down and I plan to start getting more serious about my savings rate.
I just want someone to tell me if I'm rich or poor... because I feel both all the time.
MrNewEngland,

1) What is your net worth excluding the house? Let's call that number as X.

2) What is your current annual expense? Let's call this as Y.

What is X/Y equal to? If it is much greater than 5, you are rich.

KlangFool

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randomizer
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by randomizer » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:44 am

triceratop wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:27 pm
avalpert wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:22 pm
triceratop wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:08 pm
The vast majority of Americans do not LBYM and are not Bogleheads. Good thing, too, or corporate profits wouldn't be so high.

I'm 25, never had a real job due to being in school, never made more than median American wage, and have a net worth in the 93-percentile (according to survey of consumer finance data), almost entirely in index funds.
Wait, you have over a $1.3 million net worth at 25 having never had a real job? And you don't consider yourself rich?
93-percentile for my age, I should say. To be explicit, my net worth is ~$75k.

My point was not that I have a lot of money, it is that LBYM for even a few years catapults you to the upper percentiles of net worth.
I just assuming all mods were millionaires, and older. Surprised and delighted to see my assumptions invalidated.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:29 am

triceratop wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:27 pm
avalpert wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:22 pm
triceratop wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:08 pm
The vast majority of Americans do not LBYM and are not Bogleheads. Good thing, too, or corporate profits wouldn't be so high.

I'm 25, never had a real job due to being in school, never made more than median American wage, and have a net worth in the 93-percentile (according to survey of consumer finance data), almost entirely in index funds.
Wait, you have over a $1.3 million net worth at 25 having never had a real job? And you don't consider yourself rich?
93-percentile for my age, I should say. To be explicit, my net worth is ~$75k.

My point was not that I have a lot of money, it is that LBYM for even a few years catapults you to the upper percentiles of net worth.
How have you managed to accumulate that much money while being in school without ever having a real job? Do/did your parents cover a lot of your expenses and perhaps gave you some monetary gifts over the years? Have you not have to take loans for school?

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:37 am

Deleted

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triceratop
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by triceratop » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:56 am

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:29 am
triceratop wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:27 pm
avalpert wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:22 pm
triceratop wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:08 pm
The vast majority of Americans do not LBYM and are not Bogleheads. Good thing, too, or corporate profits wouldn't be so high.

I'm 25, never had a real job due to being in school, never made more than median American wage, and have a net worth in the 93-percentile (according to survey of consumer finance data), almost entirely in index funds.
Wait, you have over a $1.3 million net worth at 25 having never had a real job? And you don't consider yourself rich?
93-percentile for my age, I should say. To be explicit, my net worth is ~$75k.

My point was not that I have a lot of money, it is that LBYM for even a few years catapults you to the upper percentiles of net worth.
How have you managed to accumulate that much money while being in school without ever having a real job? Do/did your parents cover a lot of your expenses and perhaps gave you some monetary gifts over the years? Have you not have to take loans for school?
My parents haven't supported me since I was 18. No monetary gifts. As for college, academic scholarships can be quite generous at times. My parents did pay for my first car, valued at $3k, but I didn't include that in my net worth above. I have saved upwards of close to 50% of gross of my graduate student salary in recent years. They do pay interns, and graduate students, sometimes quite generously ;)
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by SGM » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:23 am

Commoner OP?. Are we back in merry old England or what? :D

Most of the financial advice I have read was written after the establishment of the American colonies.

sawhorse
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:32 am

I wonder how many lower socioeconomic class lurkers there are who are curious and would benefit from participating, but they are ashamed and/or intimidated.

How can we as board members foster a more welcoming and less intimidating environment to turn these lurkers into participants? I expect that once there is a critical mass of lower socioeconomic class participants, more will naturally follow.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Bud » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:19 am

I am mostly a lurker because life is busy with family, work, and learning. And after awhile, it seems that the same topics are repeated in various ways over and over again. But, the information is invaluable and I enjoy it all. So here are a few ramblings that hopefully can help someone here...

I consider myself lower socioeconomic because the stats put me in that category (AGI is in the lower 1/3 for family size). However I own two houses and have a net worth over the 90th percentile for all Americans. This is because we match our desires to our income as a family. I have four children who are in high school or younger but we save our income and been satisfied with relationships rather than things to fill our lives.

I was also fortunate to understand what LBYM meant 30 years ago, make some investments in real estate that worked out well, stay the course with my investments, stop investing in individual stocks 15 years ago, have a spouse that embraces this lifestyle, and taught our children to embrace this lifestyle. However, we hardly live a deprived life :) - I will make seven international trips this year alone (3 to Europe, 4 to South America) and one of our joys is to think how we can enrich others lives, not only through what we have but through who we are.

All this is to say what has been posted previously - if you learn to live below your means and stop using money as a measure of success, you will become financially wealthy.

One investing habit that I have that is different than most here is to invest in uncorrelated asset classes rather than trying to match the Total Market or S&P 500. This relies on the work from Mr Bogle (and others) concerning the theory of revision to the mean. Large Value, Mid Caps, REITs, Intermediate Bond, & Total International Stock make up my portfolio and, besides monthly investing, additional funds are added to which ever asset class is out of favor. This is with a caveat that I realize it may take several years for the asset class to rise. Overall this has worked out very well. It takes a discipline that views the indexes in a different way.

Three main lessons: 1) Finances is a team game when you have a family, 2) if you aren't satisfied with little, you won't be satisfied with much, 3) discipline pays dividends in the long run.

Another thought - work to establish various income streams. By the end of the year I will have five income streams - they all help. Think about how you can work for yourself in creative ways - my wife says she never could dream of the different ways that I can to make money. This can mean turning hobbies into income or finding other ways to creative fill time rather than waste time. At an early age, even a couple thousand extra a year helps move a person in the right direction.

One last thing - as my kids come to the college years, I have calculated that our family can pay out 1% of our net worth/ year for four years per child to help them with college expenses. At that rate, they will need to work and get scholarships, but they can graduate debt-free. The 1% calculation allows our assets to continue to grow (essentially a 1% withdrawal rate), gives reasonable help to our children, and establishes a concrete plan that is known by everyone in the family before we even enter into the college search phase.

If you have read this far, thank you for your patience - all the best as you continue to move towards your goals!

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:44 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:43 am
sawhorse wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:08 am
There is definitely a dearth of people in blue collar and/or very low paying insecure jobs; I'm not counting young people temporarily in such jobs who will likely go on to have white collar careers based on their education, socioeconomic background, and young age.

While some of the general advice is good such as don't overspend, and really that's just common sense, I don't think such a person would find many posters who can relate.

For example, how many times have I seen advice to look for a job that offers health insurance. There are very few low paying hourly jobs that offer health insurance.

"Max out your 401k." Same as with health insurance, very few of these jobs offer 401ks.

"Improve your skill set, go back to school." That's extremely difficult to do when you're at a physically demanding job all day, maybe have more than one job, have a family to feed, and don't have the prior educational preparation to complete a degree.

"Work a few years more" to someone that is 65. A lot of workers in physical jobs develop health problems from their work, and such work is physically demanding for any age, so it's much more difficult than it sounds.

This board can certainly seem intimidating for someone who is in a blue collar and/or so-called menial job, and much of the advice is out of touch. Have you ever tried living on minumum wage or close to it, with kids to support? How much would you have left over? Most of the people here, even though they are living below their means, still spend far more than a minimum wage job would allow. How much could you realistically put away in a retirement fund? Maybe a few dollars a week - anything is better than nothing of course, but it's unrealistic to think they can delay Social Security.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
I think you're right, we probably don't have many people on here that are stuck in the lowest blue collar jobs.

I know many people who work blue collar jobs but they have climbed up the ladder. The own the plumbing company, the electrical company, the concrete company. Or they are the foreman, the inspector, the manager. They have grown beyond the entry level jobs in their fields and many of them are doing much better than the white collar people I know. Skilled blue collar jobs can easily pay $100/hr and that's doing pretty good.

For those stuck in the entry level no amount of LBYM or saving/investing is likely to help. They need to find a way to make more money. (I know people in that situation as well and it's their choice - they are simply happy with their lot in life although they could easily achieve 2-3x their income if they tried.)
You're right, and I should have said that I was thinking of very low paying insecure blue collar jobs. Many skilled blue collar workers, usually male because physical strength is often an advantage with these jobs, make pretty good money and work for employers with benefits such as the government and car factories.

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