Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

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skor99
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Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by skor99 » 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.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by triceratop » 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 edit: for my age(according to survey of consumer finance data), almost entirely in index funds. I consider myself a pretty unremarkable individual and am definitely not rich. In a sense, if you are employed, save, and use Boglehead principles you cannot help but become rich, barring personal disasters of some kind.

What information actionable to your situation are you trying to obtain about us not-so-rich Bogleheads?
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by livesoft » 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.

When I was between 35-40, we didn't even own a home ... we had been lifelong renters. And we weren't thinking about college expenses either. And we didn't even have 2 cars for some of that 5 years. And we had to pay for daycare for one child and then 2 children.

We were in quite the predicament you might say.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by midareff » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:11 pm

When I was 35 and freshly divorced it took me 3 or 4 months to save $10 to go out and buy myself 2 Scotchs at $4 each and a $2 tip for the pretty lady who brought them to me. Saved all my pennies, nickels and dimes, there were no spare quarters. It took me a long time to dig out of that situation, but I did and for every promotion, every COLA, every bump in pay or bonus I took a little and saved the rest. Never made big money, but saved a nice portion, some years as much as 35% or more, and got there inch by inch.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:12 pm

OP: Why didn't you go first (e.g. provide the information you are asking others to provide)?
That's typically good etiquette (at least in my opinion) - you are asking others to provide information to embolden but then don't do so yourself.

I do believe there are more commoners than millionaires here from my readings.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sport » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:13 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.
While this is how it seems to you, I do not believe that it is necessarily true. We don't know the wealth level of most Bogleheads.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by 10YearPlan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:17 pm

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.
I understand where you are coming from. Had I joined this forum in my 20s, most Bogleheads would have thought I was a bit of a hot mess. Because I was. I had debt--the good and the bad kind (mostly bad). I had limited savings and I frequently dipped into it, despite making decent enough money. I didn't get my financial act together until my late 20s. Even then, I probably didn't do it the "right" way. I have always been a bit of a spender. But I have also (since my late 20s anyway) been very diligent about saving. And it has paid off.

I suspect that a lot of Bogleheads are a bit older, which skews the view quite a bit. While I am sure many of them started right out of the gate with good habits and excellent financial discipline, I am sure there are others who have made some major mistakes along the way or were late bloomers as well.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by avalpert » 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?

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:24 pm

A lot of folks come here for retirement advice ... either just before they retire or just after they retire or several years into retirement. That may give one the impression that there are not that many younger individuals and families. However, I think that might just mean one doesn't read all the threads of the forum.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by triceratop » 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.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:32 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?
You're off by nearly an order of magnitude. For a 25-29 year old, $190k is the 93rd percentile. see here: https://dqydj.com/net-worth-by-age-calc ... ed-states/ If you broke that down to just 25-year-olds, I suspect the figure would be in the $150k range.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by triceratop » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:34 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:32 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?
You're off by nearly an order of magnitude. For a 25-29 year old, $190k is the 93rd percentile. see here: https://dqydj.com/net-worth-by-age-calc ... ed-states/ If you broke that down to just 25-year-olds, I suspect the figure would be in the $150k range.
The only resource I see online that breaks this down by individual year is based on the 2013 SCF data, here: https://www.shnugi.com/networth-percentile-calculator/ . With the 2015 SCF data I'd probably be in a bit lower percentile, but the point wouldn't change.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by avalpert » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:36 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:32 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?
You're off by nearly an order of magnitude. For a 25-29 year old, $190k is the 93rd percentile. see here: https://dqydj.com/net-worth-by-age-calc ... ed-states/ If you broke that down to just 25-year-olds, I suspect the figure would be in the $150k range.
He didn't initially say it was the percentile for his age - so no, I wasn't off by an order of magnitude.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by ddurrett896 » 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.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by lazydavid » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:46 pm

avalpert wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:36 pm
He didn't initially say it was the percentile for his age - so no, I wasn't off by an order of magnitude.
We can agree to disagree. I understood, but if you want to be pedantic, that's fine too.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by avalpert » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:47 pm

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.
I say without knowing how much they spend it is hard to tell but my hunch is Person 2 is in a better position to have more lifetime expenditures - to the extent they are both equally good at using their money for utility, Person 2 is better off.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by livesoft » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:48 pm

ddurrett896 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:41 pm
Person 1 makes $50,000/year and has a net worth of $500,000.
When I was making $50,000 a year, I had a net worth of less than $10,000, but I had no debt partly because I didn't own a home and didn't own a vehicle (if you don't count my bicycle).
Last edited by livesoft on Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by avalpert » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:49 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:46 pm
avalpert wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:36 pm
He didn't initially say it was the percentile for his age - so no, I wasn't off by an order of magnitude.
We can agree to disagree. I understood, but if you want to be pedantic, that's fine too.
If you call reading what is written being pedantic so be it - I don't think percentile of net worth at age 25 is of much interest at all or tells you about how well off you will be long term - just think of the trajectory of all the doctors we have here.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by delamer » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:49 pm

We averaged a 10% contribution to our 401(k)s, including our employer matches, during our married years. Nothing close to maxing out our contributions or the 15%-plus savings rates that are mentioned often on this forum

Today, 23 years after we both started contributing, we have 145 times what we did after that first year. So for every dollar that we had at the end of 1994, we now have $145 thanks to that 10% savings rate and the price appreciation of a 70/30 allocation that we stuck with through thick-and-thin.

I would have never predicted our less than $10,000 then would have grown as it has. (Well, maybe I would have if I'd been a Boglehead back then.). We just kept plugging away.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Fallible » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:54 pm

skor99 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:47 pm
... 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 understand what you're saying, but we simply don't know for certain that this forum is "generally dominated" by millionaires, multi-millionaires, or soon-to-be ones when still young. Even if that could be proven, we would not know for certain whether it creates resentment sufficient to scare off others.

What we do know is this:
It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered. ~Aeschylus
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by triceratop » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:55 pm

I really wasn't trying to make this thread controversial, but now I see that I have. I will concede both that my wording was unclear and that physicians have a differing earnings trajectory which makes a snapshot of net worth not a full picture. Of course, most Americans and most Bogleheads are not physicians either. And, not all doctors are physicians (livesoft and future me being two in this very thread).

My real point is that there are plenty of Bogleheads who aren't rich at all, who just save ordinary amounts, and are doing just fine. I don't share the OP's perception that most here are rich.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by chicagoan23 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:57 pm

My two cents: the stories about average or moderately high earners who have amassed huge fortunes have been very motivating to me. As I've slowly followed the advice I have read here, I've seen my net worth go from under $1 million in 2013 to $1.65 million today. Even better I've rid myself of some bad habits that should allow for that number to take off from there, hopefully.

Also, there's always someone on here who has a lot more money than the next guy or gal. Those who post here with $4 or $5 million in their early 30s aren't discouraging to me; they are dealing with fascinating issues. And those with $30 million who feel financially stressed are even more interesting to me.

While it obviously does a lot of things, this site is exceptionally good at explaining how to get and then manage/maintain a lot of money.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by harvestbook » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:59 pm

My general rule of thumb is not to offer any (solicited) advice on someone's portfolio if they have more than I do. In general, though, all I care about are principles and experience, not personalities or size. I'm here to learn, not to measure or brag. Plenty of rich people are miserable and terrible at money and plenty of "poor" people know how to save and live below their means.
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by bigred77 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:00 pm

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.
I'll take person 2 everyday :D

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by bigred77 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:13 pm

I can see how one gets the impression that this board is teeming with millionaires and huge income earners. Those groups are certainly over-represented many times over here (and it makes sense that they are; those are the ones with the most excess capital to deploy).

It helps to just think of discussions in terms of percentages. I have no problem responding to multi-millionaires who pose questions on here. The more informed participation we have here the better. One can learn a lot here regardless of if they have a $5M portfolio or a $50K portfolio.

I can see how people with more modest amounts of money and incomes MAY feel a little intimidated but I hope they overcome that and participate. It helps everyone. There's probably a number of other lurkers out there too who have the same question who would be helped and better informed if someone decides to just overcome any apprehension they may feel and ask it.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by aristotelian » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:24 pm

Most people on this forum come here because they have reached a certain threshold such that their investing decisions can make a big difference in their lives. A 1% expense ratio or advisory fee might not mean a lot when you are younger and just starting out. When you are young, you can invest in 100% stocks without giving too much thought to asset allocation. These things become more important when you start to add a few zeroes, and you are planning for 30 years in advance instead of 30 months.

I am not sure if I count as "too rich" for OP. I am close to $1M at Age 42. I was fortunate not to have debt coming out of college, and my kids' college is paid for. Otherwise, I have gotten where I am through gradual accumulation, maxing our Roth IRA's and contributing to my employer plan up to the generous company match. I have a good job in a LCOL area but my wife has been part time since we had kids. We are comfortable but don't feel wealthy. I sport a cheap Android phone and would like to travel more.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by warowits » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:30 pm

While there are alot of wealthy posters on bogleheads, if you pay attention for long enough to the bogleheads I think most people will be fairly wealthy eventually.

I have been coming for about 2 years. When I got here I assumed I was doing great (I had enough extra money I was looking up investing forums after all!). I learned very quickly that I was spending well beyond my means, even if it was an average level of consumption for someone of my income range. Bogleheads taught me a lot about investing without losing your shirt to advisors or fees, and I am sure 30 years from now I will be grateful. I also have learned the value of diversification and avoiding market timing. But what they really helped me with was understanding what I need to be saving for retirement, and why saving enough is important. They helped me realize how important it is to insist on getting paid what you're worth.

They also helped me decide I didn't need a boat, a new car, a bigger house, a pool, a vacation condo, or to cosign for a relatives home. They may have more money than me, but because of them I have more money than me from 2 years ago. And they didn't ask me for a penny, which is pretty cool.

Sure life is easier when you make 180k a year. I know the big numbers scare some folks off. I think a 'blue collar bogleheads' would be a good idea. I do not, however, have anything but appreciation for the posters who have helped me, regardless of their wealth.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Nearing_Destination » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:43 pm

I'll have to disagree with your premise, in the over ten years I've browsed and then posted a large majority have been on how to get started; setting up their accounts etc.

Personally, my very early years were spent getting prepared for my "earning years " -- undergraduate and graduate school, early years getting up to more senior levels. I saved, rented more modest digs, and when at work limited lunches to around $2 and not the $5 others spent. I also made coffee at work, stored sodas and frozen lunches in a refrigerator in my office. I didn't purchase a house until I was securely above a certain level at work and had adequate reserves for emergencies. When I did get married, we both had homes and we sold both to get a nice, but still reasonable, house that fulfilled our needs. Our cars were decent but definitely not extravagant-- one car was cheaper than some of spouses employees kids. After some corporate relocations, we ended up in a place that, while it wasn't too bad (then) it didn't fit our retirement needs. In our last transition before retirement, we planned our purchase of house on only one paycheck-- most everything above that was either saved or used to pay off the mortgage earlier. Most of the bonuses and RSU's were saved-- some increase in spending did occur though.

Now, retired in early sixties, with paid off house in a different part of the country (with views) and small pension plus a couple of mill-- we should be what the BH aspires to (at least). We're still not extravagant, but can enjoy ourselves to a reasonable extent (we're currently enjoying the Rockies on an extended vacation with no definitive end date (a first for us!).

Hopefully those perusing these threads take the messages to heart and learn about LBYM. This is more preferred over those that have to scramble for money in a treacherous unpleasant retirement

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:55 pm

I don't think a BH must be 'rich' to qualify. I fit in much the same bracket as the OP. (OP, read The Millionaire Next Door and you'll feel much better :wink: )

We share certain characteristics regardless of income level:
- Strive to live within our means
- Saving & investing are a priority
- Enjoy charting our own course rather than taking paid financial advice

What shocked me after joining BH was not how well everyone here was doing but rather how much better I could be doing if I hadn't squandered some of my best years spending all my income! :oops: But some of us must learn the hard way!

Focus on yourself, make a plan and stick with it. You'll soon be posting your own milestones here :beer

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by mainiac » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:51 pm

What shocked me after joining BH was not how well everyone here was doing but rather how much better I could be doing if I hadn't squandered some of my best years spending all my income! But some of us must learn the hard way!
This is so true!

When I was 35, we had two young kids and barely had 2 dimes to rub together. We finally have a positive net worth!

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by cherijoh » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:01 pm

warowits wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:30 pm
But what they really helped me with was understanding what I need to be saving for retirement, and why saving enough is important....

They also helped me decide I didn't need a boat, a new car, a bigger house, a pool, a vacation condo, or to cosign for a relatives home. They may have more money than me, but because of them I have more money than me from 2 years ago. And they didn't ask me for a penny, which is pretty cool.
+1
your post epitomizes the power of Bogleheads. In today's materialistic world where "stuff" is the yardstick of success it is tough finding the appropriate balance between saving for the future and living for today. Especially when everyone you know is buying all the good "toys" and living it up.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by itstoomuch » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:07 pm

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.
Wishful thinking.😂
I've suggested the same.
I've put up as much as 144 char would allow on the signature line.
I never pay much credence to for any advice unless I know their credentials.
YMMV.

If you have questions about my signature line or other, just ask.

PS, I never, or mostly never give advice because the revealing of information works both ways. Typically I would say that I don't have enough information about you or any poster.
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:28 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.

When I was between 35-40, we didn't even own a home ... we had been lifelong renters. And we weren't thinking about college expenses either. And we didn't even have 2 cars for some of that 5 years. And we had to pay for daycare for one child and then 2 children.

We were in quite the predicament you might say.
+1
lifelong renter and delayed gratification
Poured every dime into my company with little left over.....
.....predicament to predicament to .........

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by BanquetBeer » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:32 pm

I lived great spending about 30k in my 20s - could have reduced more on the bar tab but I was keeping up with the coworkers (and having fun).

Now I spend 50k/yr and that is with kids ($18k/yr daycare and expenses) and other items like yard/maid ($2k/yr) and many other fancy things to keep the SO happy - step down for them, big step up for me. I would feel more comfortable with less "things" and less house to fret over. Relationships = compromise. I have a hard time imagining the 'low income' people on this forum make less than 50-60k; enough for me to easily save 20% a year.

While I can save a large % with a higher income, I was basing my investment decision on a few conversations with my high school girlfriends father. I came to learn more and I agree when someone posts higher numbers than me I'm envious. However I use that as motivation to work harder, save more, because I want to compete. Not all bad feelings are bad for you.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by sambb » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:35 pm

of course lots of wealth here - isnt that how BH end up? We are at the top of a bull market, and people want to be wealthy.

If I go to the gym, i see a lot of people who are very muscular and in shape. Sure there are many that arent, but there are alot of people who are. And if you go to a pizza place, i bet you see alot of people who like pizza. So if you go to BH - where the focus is to develop financial independence, of course you see people who have money to invest and are trying to get to a certain degree of wealth. It doesnt mean everyone is wealthy, but I think this is the point. There is a another blog, based on facial hair, where there are extreme savers. It is that type of place. And when i go to a yankees game or a lakers game, i am more likely to see fans of those teams. This is how it works?

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teen persuasion
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by teen persuasion » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:35 pm

Around age 35, DH was unemployed due to his employer closing its doors. He decided to take the NAFTA benefits to pursue a graduate degree for a new field. I was SAHM to our then 4 children, so unemployment was our income, at least for the first year. When it ran out, he reluctantly took a job with the only nearby competitor (who paid poorly compared to his closed employer) while he finished his graduate studies and got certification. I believe his 401k from the previous employer was maybe $20k at best, and he'd received a small inheritance of $10k. I had wanted to prepay our ugly 9.75% mortgage with the inheritance, but decided to hold it as an extended EF during the uncertainty. Of course, he now again had student loans, after paying off the undergrad loans.

We never had to touch our EF during that period, so once DH had a stable position, I began knocking down the mortgage quickly in big chunks. We paid it off in less than 15 years.

He was only contributing the 5% necessary to capture the match to his 401k. When they cut the match during the recession, he wanted to stop contributing anything. I wanted to double his contribution to replace the match, so I tweaked his withholdings to keep take home roughly the same. When I saw how that affected other credits, I kept tweaking withholdings and doubling his 401k contributions, especially if we removed a bill (student loans) or added income (new step increase, or when I began working part-time). Eventually he reached 50% to max his 401k, and I diverted the excess mortgage payments to Roth IRAs for each of us.

We had enough cushion that DH could leave his employer when conditions grew terribly stressful, without having another job locked down. He had a good bit of sick time banked that he could cash out at 50% when he left. We put 50% of it in his 401k to near max it for the year, and the remainder would cover expenses for the rest of the year. Incidentally, he learned thru the grapevine that they capped sick time cashouts at $2500 just a few months later. Not a coincidence, I think.

His new position was initially a pay cut (after benefit costs) but no stress and a different field. My income has risen from negligible to ~50% of DH's, and his has risen to his highest ever with promotions, but we are still roughly average in combined household income. I predict we will be FI around age 55, before DS5 leaves for college.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Slacker » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:50 pm

Reading stories of the wealth others have amassed inspires me to keep working towards my goal because it IS achievable.

While our incomes are modestly high right now (we are in the $200k-250k range as a household), 5 years ago (at 35) we were barely making $75k as a household. Even worse, we were living like we earned $80k.

Therefore, our networth does not reflect what you would expect based solely on our present day income. Not even close to rich @40 if I were comparing myself to bogleheads posters. However, I think we have a great plan, we're sticking to it, and we'll hit our goals eventually.

@35 networth = negative $90,000 (not homeowners at this time)
@40 networth = $350,000 ($250,000 in retirement, taxable and savings accounts and $100,000 estimated value in cash flowing rental property)
Current goals are to hit $1,000,000 networth by 46. $1,000,000 in retirement, taxable and savings accounts by 47.

How did we get our incomes to increase so drastically (from $75K to nearly $250K)? Equal parts hard work (the right educations with high GPA), persistence (looking for the right opportunities and not giving up until we grabbed them), and luck.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Ice-9 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:11 pm

I discovered the predecessor to Bogleheads, the old Vanguard Diehards Forum on Morningstar, at about age 32 when I was in the net worth range the OP listed.

It is now more than a decade later. Twice during this time, Bogleheads have set up a really neat Net Worth Survey, and both times I was the very bottom dot for my age on the resulting Google Spreadsheets chart.

That dot is where I ranked among Bogleheads for my age. However, Bogleheads are not representative of the population at large. I've learned a lot from this site. One of the most helpful things I learned, early on, was to save aggressively while I could, especially the first Boglehead years when I was a single renter. I also learned to come up with an asset allocation I could stick with, even through the 2008-9 crash.

I input our numbers into Firecalc near the first of each year and take a screenshot of the results page, and the outlook gets better every year. Even when I handicap the returns by 2.00% annually by adding to our 0.07% overall expense ratio, Firecalc still reports a high success rate. I think we're on the right track, largely thanks to lessons learned here.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by alter » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:44 pm

200k at 35 is not a small amount. It means you will retire a millionaire even if you don't contribute anything else to your retirement fund until you retire. So you are already relatively well-off.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:50 pm

I started investing in 1988. It seemed like I was making very little progress. Turns out you just need to keep stuffing in more money. You slowly get to a place where retirement is possible. My salary is good now, not so much when starting out.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:13 pm

sambb wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:35 pm
of course lots of wealth here - isnt that how BH end up? We are at the top of a bull market, and people want to be wealthy.

If I go to the gym, i see a lot of people who are very muscular and in shape. [...]
There is a lot of truth to this. If you want similar advice but a very different demographic you can check out Reddit's /r/personalfinance/ and /r/financialindependence/ where instead of 50-year old millionaires :twisted: it'll be mostly 22 year olds with credit card debt asking about whether driving for Lyft on the weekends makes sense.

For instance, here's the investing FAQ for /r/personalfinance (with some selective quoting on my part)
What Should I Invest In?

Diversify by holding assets of different types.

It may be unwise to only hold stocks of U.S. large companies. Most people would recommend diversifying across US stocks, international stocks, and bonds.

Diversify by holding funds, not individual securities.

It is the general philosophy of the /r/personalfinance community that the best approach to investing, especially for beginners, takes advantage of diversified funds of stocks and bonds.

Prioritize funds with low expenses.

Research continues to show that in general, people holding low expense index funds out perform people holding actively managed funds. Source 1. You can't predict the future, and the past performance of any given mutual fund is no indicator of future performance. One of the few things you can control when selecting investments is the expenses you pay.
It is basically down-the-line Bogleheads advice. Though they aren't quite as anti-active funds as the Boglehead consensus is.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by heyyou » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:40 pm

I delivered packages for 30 years then retired at age 55, highest annual income was less than $70K. My no-COLA pension, my SS at age 70, and 4% of my portfolio, are each near the same number.

When the 401k opened at my employer in the early 1980s, one of the equity fund choices was an S&P500 fund. Those shares are now worth more than 15 times their purchase prices. I'm not wealthy because my contributions were 15% of just over $20K in those days. Buy stock index funds and keep them for 35 years and some magic will occur. We have enough because of how and where we live, not because we have big numbers.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by JoMoney » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:43 pm

I like getting advice from experienced (which usually means older) successful people.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by northernisland » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:18 am

I think there are different issues at different income brackets. Over the years here the advice I've most appreciated has been on: figuring out how to begin investing, how to weather market changes, which tools are better for which purposes, and how to think about money.

We're 40ish with about 200,000+ saved in a mix of mutual funds, roth iras, and 401k. We don't own a house or cars and live abroad.

There are a lot of people here with major $$$. In some ways, however, the advice is most important for those of us without a lot of money. If I can figure out how to take my $200,000 at age 40 and use it in 10-20 years to buy a modest house, with some money left over for kids' education and retirement, that's great. My goal is to keep adding to it, and also to be able to live on SS + a small pension. I think bogleheads is not bad for that.

I do feel like the Elizabeth Warren four expenses (I think they're house, transportation, children's care, and health care) that affect the middle class are bigger obstacles at a lower income level. My brother makes more than us but seems to be perpetually wiped out by unexpected medical expenses, getting a more reliable car, the house needs new siding, etc. For us, a big part of having a sustainable life where we can save some has been figuring out how to manage those four expenses and invest what we have in a sane way.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by MossySF » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:35 am

OMG, if I posted my situation at 35, the forum moderators would tell me to remove it as it would be way too personal information for them to feel comfortable hosting.

So to have $100K at 35 or so and on the upwards trajectory, be happy -- this is not a competition. No matter how much you have, how talented you are, how smart you are, how handsome you are -- there's always somebody better in that category (unless you're Bill Gates or Michael Phelps or somebody similarly unique).

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:47 am

bigred77 wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:00 pm
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.
I'll take person 2 everyday :D
I'll take the younger, better looking person! :mrgreen:

heybro
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by heybro » 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.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Dude2 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:22 am

It has also been stated that there are many engineers/IT/Software people on the forum (which makes sense given that being on the Internet is probably a higher priority in our lives). I don't think that our job category is associated with wealthy. We do alright - some better than others. A defining characteristic is that we should listen to logic. Topics get bandied about here and very intelligent people contribute. Regardless of the level of wealth, we should all pay attention.

I opted to take Sociology in college versus Psychology. Sociology scientifically studies the relationships among groups and their characteristics. It is much more of a hard science. One of the topics is wealth and about how (as a general measured principle) you will tend to stay at the same economic level that you come from. You may go down a bucket or up a bucket, but the trend is not to leap upwards several buckets. So, accepting that as a general truth can help you to cope with your position. Regardless, BH helps people of any bucket not to be ripped off via high fees and other various snake oil salesmen.

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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by bayview » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:52 am

Well, this thread sure went sideways from what I was expecting.

I count myself among the not-so-rich Bogleheads. With retirement planned for ~3 years away, we will NEVER have the retirement savings that many post about here, but we're happy with the AA though and nervously confident in the retirement spending plans. As I once posted, our legacy goal is to not turn up on our kids' doorstep with two suitcases and the cat carrier. Maintaining independence for as long as we can, enjoying ourselves within reason, is the goal.

Most of the time the numbers here don't get to me, although sometimes yet another hand-wringing "oh noes" post does. I'd sure be able to retire on $2 million; I'd file my papers tomorrow. Shoot, $1 million would be just fine. But then, as George Jones and Tammy Wynnette once sang, we're not the jet set; we're the Chevrolet set. <-- that rhymes, btw. :D

Of note, DH and I have been frugal all our lives, but our joint lives just began less than seven years ago. Don't ever discount what divorce x2 can do to savings.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

Naismith
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Re: Calling out the not so rich bogleheads

Post by Naismith » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:19 am

Dude2 wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:22 am
One of the topics is wealth and about how (as a general measured principle) you will tend to stay at the same economic level that you come from. You may go down a bucket or up a bucket, but the trend is not to leap upwards several buckets.
Okay, but this assumes that buckets stay the same over time, and that may not be true.

My dad served in WWII and went to college on a generous GI Bill, with no debt afterward. My brother served in the Army, including a year in Mosul mostly outside the wire, training local police forces (it was a good day if they didn't shoot at him when he pulled up to the station.) He did get some educational benefits, but they did not cover as much as my dad's.

After graduation, my dad worked for the same company his entire life, which offered a generous pension and health insurance into retirement. He didn't have to save for retirement.

Most of today's workers are having to face a DIY retirement after changing jobs several times, including a layoff. They could handle what my dad did--they are just struggling with what THEY must do in this new era.

I feel for the OP, but I have found that comparing with others is never helpful.

Yes, it is hard to be in the middle of trying to raise kids and care for elders. When my parents were failing, I flew halfway across the country a few different times. We had to arrange daycare for our kids at home, but that cost was not tax deductible since I was not employed. Our society is not really very pro-family.

We were blessed that kids got various scholarships for college, and I fully acknowledge how much of financial success is a healthy dose of luck.

When I returned to the workforce after all the kids were in school, I opted for part-time professional work that allowed me to be home after school, practice cost-effective household managment (home-cooked meals, gardening, sewing, financial), later fly out to help when grandkids were born, and yet still save for retirement. We might have more retirement savings if I had gone the traditional full-time route, but our cost of living would be higher and I should have over $400,000 in retirement savings when I stop employment.

I was ridiculed and unsupported in going part-time, but we felt strongly that was best for our particular situation. If we cared too much what other people think or compared ourselves too much by dollar figures with other families, we would have not done that.

It's great to hear other people's stories and learn from them, but in the end, each of us has to choose our own unique path through life.

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