Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:08 am

sawhorse wrote:
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.
Perhaps I’m oblivious, blinded by my good fortune. With very rare exceptions, though, I think that most posts on BH are welcoming and not intimidating. It is my sense that the more affluent BHs got there by hard work and LBYM; I don’t think we’re full of 3rd generation money. So, most affluent BHs at one time had very little, and they remember, mostly.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t be intimidating to lurkers. I think that once they dip their toes in the forum and post, the quality of advice and the respect with which they’re treated will overcome any intimidation they might have felt. But, we can’t welcome anyone who doesn’t knock on the door.

Fwiw, I stopped posting significant milestones when we reached them, because doing so could be perceived as insensitive and bragging. However, I wanted some advice for myself at one point, and it couldn’t be done without some concrete references to where we were financially, as the question was about AA after having “won the game.” I think that thread got the attention mostly of old hands at BH, but I don’t know if any lurkers were further isolated as a result. However, I think it’s a forum available to assist everyone, even the lucky ones.

sawhorse
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:19 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:08 am
Perhaps I’m oblivious, blinded by my good fortune. With very rare exceptions, though, I think that most posts on BH are welcoming and not intimidating. It is my sense that the more affluent BHs got there by hard work and LBYM; I don’t think we’re full of 3rd generation money. So, most affluent BHs at one time had very little, and they remember, mostly.
Hmm it's my impression that while most affluent members weren't born to royalty, very few of them grew up of a low socioeconomic class. Almost all grew up at least middle class and often upper middle class.

And while it's true that they might have had little at one time, it's usually when they were young and were on a path to a decent paying career, not when they were trying to support a family by working 80 hours a week for minimum wage with no benefits at McDonald's.

In addition the percent of people on this board with a college degree or on a path toward one must be well over 90%, and the percent of people with a post-college degree or on the path toward one seems like it's over half.

SimplicityNow
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by SimplicityNow » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:34 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:08 am
sawhorse wrote:
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.
Perhaps I’m oblivious, blinded by my good fortune. With very rare exceptions, though, I think that most posts on BH are welcoming and not intimidating. It is my sense that the more affluent BHs got there by hard work and LBYM; I don’t think we’re full of 3rd generation money. So, most affluent BHs at one time had very little, and they remember, mostly.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t be intimidating to lurkers. I think that once they dip their toes in the forum and post, the quality of advice and the respect with which they’re treated will overcome any intimidation they might have felt. But, we can’t welcome anyone who doesn’t knock on the door.

Fwiw, I stopped posting significant milestones when we reached them, because doing so could be perceived as insensitive and bragging. However, I wanted some advice for myself at one point, and it couldn’t be done without some concrete references to where we were financially, as the question was about AA after having “won the game.” I think that thread got the attention mostly of old hands at BH, but I don’t know if any lurkers were further isolated as a result. However, I think it’s a forum available to assist everyone, even the lucky ones.
I think your posts ( at least ones that I have read) and most of what other high net worth members here have posted have created a very welcoming and warm environment for all new members.

Except for the very few trolls or obvious braggarts everyone here goes out of their way to be supportive, understanding and non judgmental of almost every financial situation. I have been a member of many many online forums over the years and I have never seen a kinder more supportive group of people.
To be honest I don't know what could be done to create a less intimidating environment that already exists.

angelescrest
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by angelescrest » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:44 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:08 am
sawhorse wrote:
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.
Perhaps I’m oblivious, blinded by my good fortune. With very rare exceptions, though, I think that most posts on BH are welcoming and not intimidating. It is my sense that the more affluent BHs got there by hard work and LBYM; I don’t think we’re full of 3rd generation money. So, most affluent BHs at one time had very little, and they remember, mostly.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t be intimidating to lurkers. I think that once they dip their toes in the forum and post, the quality of advice and the respect with which they’re treated will overcome any intimidation they might have felt. But, we can’t welcome anyone who doesn’t knock on the door.
I think this is one of the most wonderful internet communities out there, period. The folks who post on BGs are mostly just really good, thoughtful people. Very welcoming, and I don't sense them bragging at all--in fact the bragging type probably would be someone living behind their means and not on this forum. At least that's how it feels to me.

What I often see on threads like this, though, is that folks on the lower socioeconomic scale are looking for two things. First, they're looking for help and advice. And this forum gives them that aplenty, and truly excels in it. But the second thing they're looking for (and you can see it in their posts--asking things like "anyone else making median income?") is a sense of community from those who might be in the same set of circumstances, or the same socioeconomic background. And that, I think, is where this forum cannot so easily deliver, by virtue of the success it attracts. People who are struggling financially want to connect with other people who are struggling financially or have recently stepped out of it.

AA is successful because people find others with similar backgrounds as they, and they rise out of it together, not simply because they have a bunch of successful, highly educated people telling them how to do it best.

I don't know if the mods would like this, but one idea could be to create a sticky thread that asks for stories from folks making median income or less. The other would be to add more moderators and board members who represent that demographic.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by The Wizard » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:02 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/
That link is for households, not individuals...
Attempted new signature...

sawhorse
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:13 am

SimplicityNow wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:34 am
Except for the very few trolls or obvious braggarts everyone here goes out of their way to be supportive, understanding and non judgmental of almost every financial situation. I have been a member of many many online forums over the years and I have never seen a kinder more supportive group of people.
To be honest I don't know what could be done to create a less intimidating environment that already exists.
I think you're mostly right. It's human nature to feel intimidated by people more socioeconomically well off, and perhaps there's nothing board members can do about it.

And maybe participating here would be of limited value to the people I have in mind. For example, suppose a new poster said the following:

"I'm a 45 year old single mother of two. I work 70 hours a week split between three jobs - hotel maid and a janitorial outsourcing company earning a little above minimum wage, and McDonald's earning minimum wage. I don't have a college degree. We live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my elderly mother. One of my kids has mental health problems, but we can't find a psychiatrist who takes Medicaid. There is a community health center, but the waiting list is 8 months, and I'm afraid to take off work in any case. My back has been bothering me forever, and I'm afraid I'll lose my jobs because it's affecting my work. How can I become financially comfortable? I apologize if it takes a while to get back to you because I don't have a computer, so I can only access the internet from the library."

I'd be surprised if that post would get many really helpful responses. They'd mostly be platitudes about her trying her best and wishing her well. And I'm honestly not sure there is much that can be done in her situation; becoming financially comfortable might be unrealistic. The thread would die quickly.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by flamesabers » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:59 am

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:13 am
And maybe participating here would be of limited value to the people I have in mind. For example, suppose a new poster said the following:

"I'm a 45 year old single mother of two. I work 70 hours a week split between three jobs - hotel maid and a janitorial outsourcing company earning a little above minimum wage, and McDonald's earning minimum wage. I don't have a college degree. We live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my elderly mother. One of my kids has mental health problems, but we can't find a psychiatrist who takes Medicaid. There is a community health center, but the waiting list is 8 months, and I'm afraid to take off work in any case. My back has been bothering me forever, and I'm afraid I'll lose my jobs because it's affecting my work. How can I become financially comfortable? I apologize if it takes a while to get back to you because I don't have a computer, so I can only access the internet from the library."

I'd be surprised if that post would get many really helpful responses. They'd mostly be platitudes about her trying her best and wishing her well. And I'm honestly not sure there is much that can be done in her situation; becoming financially comfortable might be unrealistic. The thread would die quickly.
There's a saying we must learn to walk before we can run. Assuming she isn't getting money for child support or from other sources, she would probably be just above the cutoff for the federal poverty level. I think the most we could probably do for her is direct her to organizations in her area that can help her make the most of her situation. It simply isn't feasible to be striving for financial comfort when you're working minimum wage jobs and you're a single parent of two children. It would be like a person with a broken leg who can barely get around in crutches asking about how to train for a marathon.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:14 am

“SimplicityNow” wrote:I think your posts ( at least ones that I have read) and most of what other high net worth members here have posted have created a very welcoming and warm environment for all new members.
Thank you. Tbh, one or two that might not have been my finest hour were deleted by the moderators for being snarky. In my defense, they were directed at posters of above-average financial luck. As a means to prevent future deletions, or being banned, I will try to stop posting on threads where someone woke up on third base and surmised that that they must have hit a triple.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by stoptothink » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:21 am

sawhorse wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:15 pm
IMADreamer wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:47 pm
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.
I think a lot of this sentiment, which I totally agree with, would be eliminated if every thread which included the statement "am I doing OK?" was just immediately deleted. I don't think there has ever been one of those threads which wasn't a pretty obvious backdoor brag.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by staythecourse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:52 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 agree, but these type of posts are useful for those who are young, i.e. high school and/ or college kids trying to decide what they want to do for a living. It is difficult to follow the same advice for someone on minimum wage vs. that in a 100k white collar job. That doesn't make the advice any less important it just means there are NO magical advice that helps when you only make minimum wage or not that well educated. It just means you have to work longer at your current job or get a better job (usually means better education). That is not easy to hear OR execute, but that doesn't make the advice any more important. As I have said numerous times there is NO substitute for making money and if one doesn't it is not easy/ maybe near impossible to be financially well off.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

Bacchus01
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:51 am

stoptothink wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:21 am
sawhorse wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:15 pm
IMADreamer wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:47 pm
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.
I think a lot of this sentiment, which I totally agree with, would be eliminated if every thread which included the statement "am I doing OK?" was just immediately deleted. I don't think there has ever been one of those threads which wasn't a pretty obvious backdoor brag.
I've never seen one that I thought was an obvious brag. I posted one about anxiety around spending and was tore up pretty hard given my high earnings level, but I still never felt bad about it. I like these "how am I doing threads" as we (not just the OP) get to see how different people approach a situation and I often learn something from them.

I think most people could come here, read the wiki, and be set. They would never have to get to the forum to be successful.

I see fewer threads than maybe the OP does about "I'm a millionaire, can you help me?" I see far more threads with incredibly practical advice about car buying, mortgage ideas, tax strategies, college savings, which TV to buy, etc. these are practical in many ways for 90% of the people here. I have learned way more about these things.

dbr
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:02 am

Hyperborea wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:41 am


It's not my opinion, it's a measurable fact. I don't think the stated fact that the income and then subsequently the wealth inequality in the US is exceedingly high is political. It's a fact. It's the reason that so many people have so little saved and occasionally there are some "oh my gosh I can't believe people have so little saved" posts. The level of inequality is probably the main reason that we don't see as many working class people on Bogleheads or other boards. Not that we don't see any but they are well out numbered.

If we go down the path of discussing why this has occurred or how to correct it then, it seems to me, that we end up becoming political. But stating measurable facts shouldn't be political. If it is then all hope is lost.
I don't see a disjunction between fact and politics.

But my only point was to say that I don't disagree with you. More than that I am not interested in a discussion beyond the fact that I agree with you.

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teen persuasion
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by teen persuasion » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:28 am

skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
I have been an avid follower of this forum for quite some time now and would firstly like to say there's nothing quite like it anywhere on the web. It provides so much useful information on so many different things that I would rate it as one of the most useful websites as it pertains to investing and personal finance as well as other general useful information, that helps improve the quality of life of its readers, in general.

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.

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.
SMH at the lack of reading comprehension. :annoyed

The OP stated he loved this forum and all the great posters and advice, BUT, the overweighting of high NW 30somethings was intimidating to those of lower incomes who could never reach those levels of savings. Would other low NW BHs come out of hiding/lurkdom and please post more to encourage others in a similar life situation?

OP never said BHs were rude to those of lower NW or income, he just is looking for more input from not so rich Bogleheads. Many thanks to those who have posted their relevant stories, it's nice to read them and learn things from them, too. I did notice that the post counts of these posters were often quite low, compared to more prolific posters of a similar join date. Please continue to speak up - your voices are important, too!

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by stoptothink » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:28 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:51 am
stoptothink wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:21 am
sawhorse wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:15 pm
IMADreamer wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:47 pm
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.
I think a lot of this sentiment, which I totally agree with, would be eliminated if every thread which included the statement "am I doing OK?" was just immediately deleted. I don't think there has ever been one of those threads which wasn't a pretty obvious backdoor brag.
I've never seen one that I thought was an obvious brag. I posted one about anxiety around spending and was tore up pretty hard given my high earnings level, but I still never felt bad about it. I like these "how am I doing threads" as we (not just the OP) get to see how different people approach a situation and I often learn something from them.

I think most people could come here, read the wiki, and be set. They would never have to get to the forum to be successful.

I see fewer threads than maybe the OP does about "I'm a millionaire, can you help me?" I see far more threads with incredibly practical advice about car buying, mortgage ideas, tax strategies, college savings, which TV to buy, etc. these are practical in many ways for 90% of the people here. I have learned way more about these things.
And that is because you are one of the posters who has made such a post. Maybe you were being genuine, but you have to realize how bizarre and uninviting those threads come off to those whose means are more in line with the average person. I say this is as someone whose household income is nearly 4x the national household average and is within the 95th percentile for net worth for my age. I would never go into details about my personal numbers on this board, for that very reason.

About 5yrs ago I introduced my GF (now wife) to this forum as a means to begin learning the basics of investing. She was a 26yr old single mom, making <$30k who somehow managed to have a little bit left over each month and wanted to learn how she could best put her savings to use to better her situation. She was immediately turned off by the feeling that she was a total outsider on the board. Today, she has more than tripled her income and still feels the same way on the occasion she briefly visits the board. I think it is her loss, but the point remains. This board is IMO the best place on the net come for investing advice and the majority of the posters are awesome, but there is regularly an obvious disconnect between what is discussed here and what most are going through financially in the outside world; that makes it intimidating for the Average Joes out there.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:45 am

I think many of the high net worth folks that are posting used to be low net worth folks and also had low incomes when they were younger. That is, they were "not so rich" earlier in their lives.
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dbr
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:56 am

livesoft wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:45 am
I think many of the high net worth folks that are posting used to be low net worth folks and also had low incomes when they were younger. That is, they were "not so rich" earlier in their lives.
Yes, I suggested that as well. But, there are also occasional threads where someone is 40 years old and says they have $3M or something. I guess my answer to that is "So what?" Anyway any forum is going to have postings that someone can let cause them to feel some way or another. There are better solutions to that than complaining about it.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:05 pm

^Yes, indeed. If I had learned about careers, investing, saving, car buying, home buying, having children, and paying for college only from my 30-something cohorts back in the day, then I would probably be up to my eyeballs in debt still today.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by BogleFanGal » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:08 pm

In threads similar to this one, I've seen the suggestion by BH posters to explore Mr. Money Mustache for those who feel intimidated. I hadn't heard of it prior to joining here and checked it out, finding a lot I liked. (Although those people put me to shame savings-wise! I feel like a lazy spendthrift over there and I always thought I was a pretty good saver. :shock: ) But the demographic seems more widely diverse - doesn't seem to skew as high income-wise overall. And lots of good savings advice for those maybe not quite ready to invest.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:12 pm

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/
This maybe outdated. The stock market has gen up a lot more since 2013.

MiddleOfTheRoad
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:18 pm

Relatively new member here and here is my observation.

I think for the relative high networth, high income people, there are not many real life forum one can exchange ideas/experience without putting a target on his/her back. This forum is naturally a great place for that demographic, and it shows. A great place to obtain impartial advice without agendas.

For someone starting out, common advice are everywhere. But just like investing, one can also learn a great deal here if emotion is excluded.

Good luck to everyone!

dbr
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by dbr » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:25 pm

MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:18 pm
Relatively new member here and here is my observation.

I think for the relative high networth, high income people, there are not many real life forum one can exchange ideas/experience without putting a target on his/her back. This forum is naturally a great place for that demographic, and it shows. A great place to obtain impartial advice without agendas.

For someone starting out, common advice are everywhere. But just like investing, one can also learn a great deal here if emotion is excluded.

Good luck to everyone!
Those are excellent observations.

Personally I try to completely ignore the wealth and salary of whoever might be posting unless it is relevant to a specific issue.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by triceratop » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:36 pm

For someone starting out, common advice are everywhere. But just like investing, one can also learn a great deal here if emotion is excluded.
This is also only a problem if you judge people by their net worth it consider it meaningful in any way. I find the net worth of an individual one of the most boring aspects of a person's financial situation. More interesting facts: tax efficiency of investments, earnings trajectory and relative position in chosen field (not across fields -- it doesn't impress me when a surgeon makes $300k), lifetime savings (not investment value) as portion of lifetime earnings, retirement account mix, etc.

Net worth is boring.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:37 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:59 am
sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:13 am
And maybe participating here would be of limited value to the people I have in mind. For example, suppose a new poster said the following:

"I'm a 45 year old single mother of two. I work 70 hours a week split between three jobs - hotel maid and a janitorial outsourcing company earning a little above minimum wage, and McDonald's earning minimum wage. I don't have a college degree. We live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my elderly mother. One of my kids has mental health problems, but we can't find a psychiatrist who takes Medicaid. There is a community health center, but the waiting list is 8 months, and I'm afraid to take off work in any case. My back has been bothering me forever, and I'm afraid I'll lose my jobs because it's affecting my work. How can I become financially comfortable? I apologize if it takes a while to get back to you because I don't have a computer, so I can only access the internet from the library."

I'd be surprised if that post would get many really helpful responses. They'd mostly be platitudes about her trying her best and wishing her well. And I'm honestly not sure there is much that can be done in her situation; becoming financially comfortable might be unrealistic. The thread would die quickly.
There's a saying we must learn to walk before we can run. Assuming she isn't getting money for child support or from other sources, she would probably be just above the cutoff for the federal poverty level. I think the most we could probably do for her is direct her to organizations in her area that can help her make the most of her situation. It simply isn't feasible to be striving for financial comfort when you're working minimum wage jobs and you're a single parent of two children. It would be like a person with a broken leg who can barely get around in crutches asking about how to train for a marathon.
Exactly. That's why statements like, "LBYM and wealth will inevitably follow," which has been repeated at least 3 times on this thread alone, give the impression that the board is out of touch. As those statements were made earnestly, it's an accurate impression.

MiddleOfTheRoad
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:30 pm

triceratop wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:36 pm
For someone starting out, common advice are everywhere. But just like investing, one can also learn a great deal here if emotion is excluded.
This is also only a problem if you judge people by their net worth it consider it meaningful in any way. I find the net worth of an individual one of the most boring aspects of a person's financial situation. More interesting facts: tax efficiency of investments, earnings trajectory and relative position in chosen field (not across fields -- it doesn't impress me when a surgeon makes $300k), lifetime savings (not investment value) as portion of lifetime earnings, retirement account mix, etc.

Net worth is boring.
I assume that people who are here strive to have FI one day. Wouldn’t you want to know the pitfalls of getting there to make your journey smoother? Sometimes NW/income has to be given out as variables to a particular question, but usually not to brag.

Imagine the time/money/energy that would take to gather the quality of advice here in real life. Here you get to interact with people in your situation, people trying to get where you are, and people who has been there. And you get to learn their perspective! Check your ego and emotion at the door and take a moment to appreciate that.

And I agree with you, I could not care less of someone’s networth if it is not relevant, or if someone is a hotshot real estate investor or won the lottery etc. Afterall, every one of those scenario is just a number attached to a screen name. Interstingly that is also why this place is awesome :sharebeer

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by technovelist » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:03 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:45 am
I think many of the high net worth folks that are posting used to be low net worth folks and also had low incomes when they were younger. That is, they were "not so rich" earlier in their lives.
I grew up with absolutely nothing, paying for my own (expensive) college degree with work and student loans (that I repaid in full). I was the first in my family to graduate from college.

I believe I'm around the median NW on this board for my age, IIRC from the prior wealth surveys.
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by marcopolo » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:42 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:13 am


And maybe participating here would be of limited value to the people I have in mind. For example, suppose a new poster said the following:

"I'm a 45 year old single mother of two. I work 70 hours a week split between three jobs - hotel maid and a janitorial outsourcing company earning a little above minimum wage, and McDonald's earning minimum wage. I don't have a college degree. We live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my elderly mother. One of my kids has mental health problems, but we can't find a psychiatrist who takes Medicaid. There is a community health center, but the waiting list is 8 months, and I'm afraid to take off work in any case. My back has been bothering me forever, and I'm afraid I'll lose my jobs because it's affecting my work. How can I become financially comfortable? I apologize if it takes a while to get back to you because I don't have a computer, so I can only access the internet from the library."

I'd be surprised if that post would get many really helpful responses. They'd mostly be platitudes about her trying her best and wishing her well. And I'm honestly not sure there is much that can be done in her situation; becoming financially comfortable might be unrealistic. The thread would die quickly.
You know, I wonder if that person might be intimidated by the "obvious bragging" of a post like:
[url]viewtopic.php?f=1&t=159827&p=2398637#p2398637[/utl] :oops:


I have to admit i don't quite understand the hand wringing about discussions involving high-income/net worth. I see threads about portfolio construction and retirement planning at various ages and income/wealth levels on this board. I think there is much to be learned in most of those threads. There are some (many?) concepts that are quite applicable regardless of specific dollar amounts. There are other discussions that are specific to certain income/wealth levels, I think they have value as well. If a thread does not apply to your situation, don't read it. There seems to be a lot of valuable information for most scenarios. If not, ask.

I am doing quite well, but a lot of people on this board are much better of financially, and many are not. I am not sure i have seen a strong correlation between that and the quality ideas they add to various discussions. I initially came here to learn to improve various aspects of my understanding of finances/investing , along the way I have also picked up a lot of great advice about life in general. I find it to me one of the most knowledgeable and pleasant discussion site. If you find this board uninviting/intimidating, i would say you might need to get out more. :sharebeer
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sawhorse » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:21 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:42 pm
You know, I wonder if that person might be intimidated by the "obvious bragging" of a post like:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=159827&p=2398637#p2398637 :oops:
Absolutely they would be intimidated. Despite the fact that I was unemployed (and still am) with $3000 in medical bills a month (now about $4000), my financial situation was and is worlds better than a single mother on minimum wage, and that makes me out of touch and unrelatable.

Thanks for bringing up that post as it allows me to compare now versus then. Our bank account has been depleted due to medical bills and we've sold off taxable investment accounts, so we'll probably have to dip into retirement accounts soon. The fact that those accounts are there makes my situation incomparable to a minimum wage worker.
marcopolo wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:42 pm
If you find this board uninviting/intimidating, i would say you might need to get out more. :sharebeer
Kind of hard when you're in my medical situation. I go for months when I can't get out of the apartment other than to go to medical appointments which are a miserable struggle. I might bite the bullet and get a wheelchair which I've resisted until now. I'm incredibly fortunate that we would be able to afford one.
Last edited by sawhorse on Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by flamesabers » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:23 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:37 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:59 am
sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:13 am
And maybe participating here would be of limited value to the people I have in mind. For example, suppose a new poster said the following:

"I'm a 45 year old single mother of two. I work 70 hours a week split between three jobs - hotel maid and a janitorial outsourcing company earning a little above minimum wage, and McDonald's earning minimum wage. I don't have a college degree. We live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my elderly mother. One of my kids has mental health problems, but we can't find a psychiatrist who takes Medicaid. There is a community health center, but the waiting list is 8 months, and I'm afraid to take off work in any case. My back has been bothering me forever, and I'm afraid I'll lose my jobs because it's affecting my work. How can I become financially comfortable? I apologize if it takes a while to get back to you because I don't have a computer, so I can only access the internet from the library."

I'd be surprised if that post would get many really helpful responses. They'd mostly be platitudes about her trying her best and wishing her well. And I'm honestly not sure there is much that can be done in her situation; becoming financially comfortable might be unrealistic. The thread would die quickly.
There's a saying we must learn to walk before we can run. Assuming she isn't getting money for child support or from other sources, she would probably be just above the cutoff for the federal poverty level. I think the most we could probably do for her is direct her to organizations in her area that can help her make the most of her situation. It simply isn't feasible to be striving for financial comfort when you're working minimum wage jobs and you're a single parent of two children. It would be like a person with a broken leg who can barely get around in crutches asking about how to train for a marathon.
Exactly. That's why statements like, "LBYM and wealth will inevitably follow," which has been repeated at least 3 times on this thread alone, give the impression that the board is out of touch. As those statements were made earnestly, it's an accurate impression.
In order to accumulate wealth, LBYM is a crucial step, just as in order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. LBYM might not make you a millionaire, but it's probably the simplest way to break out of the cycle of living literally paycheck to paycheck. That's not to say that failure to LBYM is smoking-gun proof of fiscal irresponsibility.

I suspect if a single mother like you described did post on this forum, I seriously doubt the members on the forum would just tell her to LBYM and leave it at that. Instead, I think members (especially those who are familiar with this type of situation) would try to find out the nuts and bolts of her income/expenditures and give her the most meaningful type of advice possible.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Dieharder » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:43 pm

I wonder what is the age group of OP :?: are you someone who started saving late, or someone young but starting out, or in between. Whatever it is , I believe there is a place for everyone here. Some of us here started out with the group with very little to invest and have progressed since then gradually to larger figures. Bogleheads aren't millionaires and multi-millionaires who just happend to land here one day, it is the result of long and disciplined approach over the years.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by marcopolo » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:47 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:21 pm
marcopolo wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:42 pm
If you find this board uninviting/intimidating, i would say you might need to get out more. :sharebeer
Kind of hard when you're in my medical situation. I go for months when I can't get out of the apartment other than to go to medical appointments which are a miserable struggle. I might bite the bullet and get a wheelchair which I've resisted until now. I'm incredibly fortunate that we would be able to afford one.
Sorry about your medical condition. I did not mean to be insensitive to that. When i said "get out more", I was actually referring to other discussion sites on the internet that are much more contentious and uninviting than this one.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:24 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:28 am
Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:51 am
stoptothink wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:21 am
sawhorse wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:15 pm
IMADreamer wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:47 pm
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.
I think a lot of this sentiment, which I totally agree with, would be eliminated if every thread which included the statement "am I doing OK?" was just immediately deleted. I don't think there has ever been one of those threads which wasn't a pretty obvious backdoor brag.
I've never seen one that I thought was an obvious brag. I posted one about anxiety around spending and was tore up pretty hard given my high earnings level, but I still never felt bad about it. I like these "how am I doing threads" as we (not just the OP) get to see how different people approach a situation and I often learn something from them.

I think most people could come here, read the wiki, and be set. They would never have to get to the forum to be successful.

I see fewer threads than maybe the OP does about "I'm a millionaire, can you help me?" I see far more threads with incredibly practical advice about car buying, mortgage ideas, tax strategies, college savings, which TV to buy, etc. these are practical in many ways for 90% of the people here. I have learned way more about these things.
And that is because you are one of the posters who has made such a post. Maybe you were being genuine, but you have to realize how bizarre and uninviting those threads come off to those whose means are more in line with the average person. I say this is as someone whose household income is nearly 4x the national household average and is within the 95th percentile for net worth for my age. I would never go into details about my personal numbers on this board, for that very reason.

About 5yrs ago I introduced my GF (now wife) to this forum as a means to begin learning the basics of investing. She was a 26yr old single mom, making <$30k who somehow managed to have a little bit left over each month and wanted to learn how she could best put her savings to use to better her situation. She was immediately turned off by the feeling that she was a total outsider on the board. Today, she has more than tripled her income and still feels the same way on the occasion she briefly visits the board. I think it is her loss, but the point remains. This board is IMO the best place on the net come for investing advice and the majority of the posters are awesome, but there is regularly an obvious disconnect between what is discussed here and what most are going through financially in the outside world; that makes it intimidating for the Average Joes out there.
I did no such thing and it's pretty condescending to imply that I did. Maybe you need to understand who really has the problem.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by visualguy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:26 pm

Hyperborea wrote:
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
Similarly, there's the common myth about high socio-economic mobility in the US, when the reality is that the US and the UK are at the bottom among developed countries.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socioecon ... ted_States

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by marcopolo » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:27 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:28 am
t

And that is because you are one of the posters who has made such a post. Maybe you were being genuine, but you have to realize how bizarre and uninviting those threads come off to those whose means are more in line with the average person. I say this is as someone whose household income is nearly 4x the national household average and is within the 95th percentile for net worth for my age. I would never go into details about my personal numbers on this board, for that very reason.

About 5yrs ago I introduced my GF (now wife) to this forum as a means to begin learning the basics of investing. She was a 26yr old single mom, making <$30k who somehow managed to have a little bit left over each month and wanted to learn how she could best put her savings to use to better her situation. She was immediately turned off by the feeling that she was a total outsider on the board. Today, she has more than tripled her income and still feels the same way on the occasion she briefly visits the board. I think it is her loss, but the point remains. This board is IMO the best place on the net come for investing advice and the majority of the posters are awesome, but there is regularly an obvious disconnect between what is discussed here and what most are going through financially in the outside world; that makes it intimidating for the Average Joes out there.
Seriously...
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=65736&p=910256#p910256

Maybe your GF got scared off by your post talking how you "had approximately $350k cash invested in a number of real estate projects, had another ~$150k in the market".

This whole thread reminds me of the saying "anyone driving slower than me is an idiot, anyone driving faster than me is a maniac"
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:33 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (topic exhausted, derailed, getting contentious). See: Locked Topics
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