Finding Retirement Security

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You've seen them before: 10 mistakes that could ruin your retirement, 6 things to avoid, and so on. But many of those lists are copies of each other. Make no mistake: Common sense is common sense, and there's only so many ways to catalog it.

The common sense behind any successful savings or investment plan? Rhythm, or doing the same thing month after month. When that rhythm gets disrupted, it can take months, even years sometimes, to get re-established It's a funny thing about saving or investing: the more you have to think about it, the less you generally do of it. The best savings plans, therefore, are usually the ones that run on auto-pilot. Starting over — no matter the cause — is costly.

Related >> Finding the Best Savings Rates

The millionaire next door

I have written elsewhere about Jim, my neighbor, who is one of those mythical “millionaires next door.” On our other side lives Mario, whose parents immigrated from Mexico, and who owns the auto repair shop which takes good care of our gizmobile (long story as to why we happily own that gas hog). Ours is a decidedly middle class neighborhood, populated by some interesting people.

Anyway, my wife and I were hanging out in Jim and Eileen's basement after another of her lovely dinners and, having solved all the world's political problems, the conversation turned to money. Now, for those who haven't met (or heard of) Jim, he is as ordinary as neighbors could come. In his 60s, he never had a high-paying job or inherited any windfalls. Although he never heard of Get Rich Slowly before (he turns his computer on once a week only to check for Internet jokes that his buddies might have forwarded), he might as well have been a reader from the day J.D. Roth started banging keys.

I could go on about old Jim, except that that particular evening I thought to ask about something much more relevant — the secret of his retirement success (even though he postpones actual retirement, but that's a different story). As I said, he hasn't read any of those blog posts with X things to do right and Y things not to do wrong so you, too, can retire comfortably. It was refreshing to talk to someone who hasn't read any of those “lists.” What he did for his retirement is all his own wisdom.

He took a deep breath, another sip of his drink, and out came his list of things to do and to avoid if you want to end up being a millionaire without earning a huge income. (The sequence is his, by the way.)

1. Stay married

Jim and Eileen are older than we are, so that makes them older than dirt! Hey, they don't use their computers, so I can get away with the truth here. Hehe 🙂

Along the way, they have seen many of their friends “lose everything” to divorce. (As an aside, it always puzzled me that when you talk to both parties after a divorce, both sides always claim to have “lost everything.” Mathematically, you know that can't be the case — if one “loses everything,” the other one would gain it; but in one of our universe's unfathomed mysteries, that almost never happens.)

As we talked about it, several things emerged which would not be immediately obvious. The obvious financial hit comes when each party has to pay lawyers and split up properties and other assets. It's clear that that sets everyone back. However, the hit to your financial future (and, therefore, your retirement) doesn't stop there. For a few years prior and several years after, it can be difficult to make sound, rational decisions, and that's pretty much where financial decisions fall. Jim and Eileen's commitment to stay married is one of the decisions they make which keeps their financial rhythms on track.

2. Don't move

They had their home built over 30 years ago, and never added to it. By simply keeping up the payments, they paid off their house. Once it was paid off, they had a jacuzzi built next to their deck, but that was paid for in cash from funds they had kicking around.

Few transactions have as high a cost as selling a home and buying another one. It's not only the realtor commission, which can be substantial. There are a host of other expenses attendant to this change, not the least of which is the cost of moving. Then, the new place usually requires some money to make it “just so.” The total cost of a move can be well north of $20,000 — and that's a straight hit to your retirement nest egg. Jim says that's a big reason they decided just to stay put.

3. Use common sense

Although Jim says he never read any financial books or websites, he listed a few items we all know and have heard enough of that we can call them dead horses (which don't need to be beaten again):

  • We always spend less than we make
  • We always have “mattress money” (his term for an emergency fund)
  • We stayed out of debt

As we talked, we agreed on this: Debt is nothing more than impatience expressed in money. If we buy anything with debt, what we are saying is after X months we will have paid enough to buy it. Well, if we saved the money for the same X months, we would be able to buy the same thing for cash. Therefore, the only reason we're doing it with debt is to change the date of the purchase, i.e., we want it now rather than later.

You can argue all you want, but the only difference is the date.

Related >> Retirement Checkup

To move the date forward, you not only pay more (in interest) but you also increase the risk that you would never become able to make the payments. Jim may be a bit of an Eeyore, but he's a patient one.

And frugal — their cars are more than 10 years old, both bought used. Their garage is occupied by a top-of-the-line Corvette, though, one of those scary fast ones which they drive only a few times a year. It was an indulgence bought late in life which he bought used as well, and for cash. But he mows his own lawn and fixes everything that breaks himself. They don't eat out often. In fact, they still owe us a dinner from more than a year ago when he bet against me and lost.

4. Invest your money

Jim is not the world's biggest authority on investing, but from his young days he took the difference between their earnings and their spending and invested it. He didn't do it with IRAs, 401(k)s or any tax-advantaged instruments. He simply did it “old-school,” buying stocks and mutual funds consistently. Over the years, he has tried every way imaginable — with an adviser and without, with stocks, managed mutual funds and index funds, following some trends and then not following them. Some of his investments were good and some were mistakes. But as he put it, “If you do it often enough and consistently, you can't help but come out ahead.” The only thing he didn't do was buy a rental property. (“I deal enough with people already,” he says.)

When I asked him to what he ascribed his investing success, he didn't hesitate: “Just keep on doing it, no matter what.” His returns were never spectacular and pretty much mirrored what everyone else was getting. He just did it for a long time, plugging along even when the markets crashed. And he never took anything out for any reason.

As the conversation wound down, he thought a bit and summed it up: “I guess when you boil it down, not making changes is the biggest reason we don't have to worry about our retirement.” People so often get wrapped up in change because they see only how that change will improve their happiness. What they overlook is how not changing can also add happiness, albeit later in life.

It's not often you'll see that in those lists of things to do or not to do to succeed financially.

Related >> Survey: 71% of Americans are Behind on Retirement Savings

Of course, not everyone can pull off what he did. I sure didn't. But it struck me that when we encounter life's decisions along the way, many of them are not black and white, and very often we overlook the financial cost that change — any change — brings, because that cost is often hidden. Yes, there are things like divorce or moving because you simply cannot find a job, and there are other things like disease and family issues which don't give you much choice. But there are also many changes we sign up for without considering the long-term financial hit to our retirement investments.

I've learned how important it is not to make changes. My wife and I were reflecting on this recently and realized that this is the longest we have lived in one spot. We're also the best off we've ever been. Coincidence? Maybe.

But maybe not.

Is this how you plan to retire successfully? What life decisions have you made that helped secure your retirement?

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Beth
Beth
5 years ago

Jim and Eileen sound a lot like my parents! I worry that I won’t be as financially successful as they are even though I follow most of these ideals. I didn’t have the good fortune to find the love of my life early in life, and I still don’t own property. (The housing market is ridiculous where I live, so I rent and invest the difference). I don’t have inflation working on my side to pay off a home the way previous generations did, and I’ve switched careers rather than having a “job for life” I find it really hard… Read more »

mike
mike
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I tend to agree with you regarding the generational differences. In theory you could have done all of what he did starting out in the 60s right out of high school with a job in a factory. Its harder now as there are less overall opportunities for the masses although there is a larger variety of ways than ever before to make money, many won’t be able to take advantage of them. Its a bit of a mixed bag. Since I still think you can do all of the things that he did, but it is significantly harder due to… Read more »

William
William
5 years ago
Reply to  mike

You make a good point. We said the same about our parents’ generation. The circumstances may offer unequal opportunities from generation to generation, but I’m always on the lookout for strategies that transcend time. I may not be able to follow each and every one, but if I don’t know what they are, I will for sure miss some good ones.

mysticaltyger
mysticaltyger
5 years ago
Reply to  William

I also think there’s a tendency to see the hardships we face today while ignoring the opportunities. Sure, health care costs and college tuition are punishing. But gasoline is cheaper in inflation adjusted terms, and so are a lot of other consumer goods. Home prices are higher, but the number of square feet per person continues to rise. Also, the cost of investing has never been lower. Previous generations paid much higher expense ratios and sales loads and commissions on their stock trades and mutual funds. The economic challenges we face today are very real, but lets resist the tendency… Read more »

Petrish @ Debt Free Martini
Petrish @ Debt Free Martini
5 years ago

Wow…this is an awesome and so out of the box of what we are use to reading in the PF Community. These are some really great strategies of keeping money in your pocket. I guess the key is also to find the right person to marry to ensure you can stay with it through the long haul. I just wonder if he has lived a happy life, and if he had a do over if he would of live the same way he has lived up until now?

William @ Drop Dead Money
William @ Drop Dead Money
5 years ago

I asked him. His reply: “No regrets.” Actions speak louder than words: the two of them still hang out together a lot. They both love gardening, which leads to those “over the fence” conversations. Kind of like Wilson in Home Improvement…

Johanna
Johanna
5 years ago

To anyone who’s read “The Two-Income Trap,” it’s obvious how both parties can lose everything in a divorce. You go from supporting one household on two incomes to supporting two households on two incomes. And if your budget is stretched thin to begin with – if you’re living in a house you can barely afford on two incomes, as many people are, because many other two-income couples just like you are bidding up house prices – then the extra expense can push both people over the edge. That’s how the 50/30/20 rule came about. If your fixed expenses are less… Read more »

William
William
5 years ago
Reply to  Johanna

You’re right about fixed expenses. Debt service is a fixed expense, and that’s why eliminating debt is such an important element of success.

Mr. Frugalwoods
Mr. Frugalwoods
5 years ago

We call it “Frugal Autopilot” but I think it’s the same thing. Basically, success through setting sane defaults and then not messing with things 🙂

I totally agree than too many people mess with their retirement stuff way too much. I know people who actively try (and fail) to time the market with their 401k. It’s ridiculous, and also really harmful to their future.

Tina in NJ
Tina in NJ
5 years ago

We’re about 10 years away from retirement, and we will be moving. New Jersey is simply too expensive.
I remember hearing about a doctor who was retiring in his 50s. All his colleagues wanted to know how he could afford it. His reply was, ” one wife and one house.” In other words, he didn’t upgrade either.

Johanna
Johanna
5 years ago
Reply to  Tina in NJ

“” one wife and one house.” In other words, he didn’t upgrade either.”

I realize that’s a common analogy. But it’s still really gross.

Mysticaltyger
Mysticaltyger
5 years ago
Reply to  Johanna

It depends on how you interpret it. I interpret it as meaning the whole “upgrade” concept is gross.

Carla
Carla
5 years ago
Reply to  Tina in NJ

And that’s assuming that all men who divorce, divorce because they want to “upgrade”.

MechE31
MechE31
5 years ago

I came very close to violating number 2. I’ve got a modest house in a nice neighborhood that started to feel small once I had a kid. I was looking at spending at least 50% more than my current house. Luckily, I came to my senses before falling into the trap.

I could have “afforded” the more expensive places, but it would not have slowed my path to financial freedom. With my realignment, I am looking to have my current house paid off in my 30’s, hopefully by the time I’m 35.

Beard Better
Beard Better
5 years ago

This was an interesting take on what led to success in one isolated case, but I really wonder how realistic points 1 and 2 are for my generation. I don’t mean to make excuses, but I really doubt that I’ll ever have a job in the same place long enough to feel justified in buying a house; company loyalty to employees is nothing more than fever dream now (if ever it really existed, which I’m not totally convinced of). Speaking for myself, my professional loyalty is entirely illusory; I’ll be loyal to a company I work for until the moment… Read more »

Johanna
Johanna
5 years ago
Reply to  Beard Better

“Even taking finances into account, it is more important to get out of a poisonous relationship than to be concerned about the cost of divorce; that isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to keep the costs down anyway, just that cost should not be the number one concern” Great big “yes” to this. Also worth considering is that if your relationship is taking a toll on your emotional well-being, that can affect your finances too. Nobody gets married planning to end up in a poisonous relationship. But things don’t always turn out as planned, because sometimes people change, and sometimes… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
5 years ago
Reply to  Johanna

My husband announced that he was moving out, so I didn’t have much of a choice about divorce. In fact, I lobbied, unsuccessfully, against it. But a year on, we are both much happier, if less stable financially. We are not soaking each other, it’s amicable, but, as he’s 10 years older than I am and facing retirement, he’s in a much more untenable position than I am. I am job hunting now and hoping for something that allows me to pay all the bills, and either sell or (possibly) refi the house on my own and buy out his… Read more »

Wiggles @FirstYouGetTheMoney
Wiggles @FirstYouGetTheMoney
5 years ago

I love his philosophy on investing. Buy investments consistently and set them on autopilot. Don’t check your account each day and make drastic decisions because your stocks were down that day. Focus your time and energy in other areas and let the stock market work for you. Stick with low cost mutual funds and index funds and ride your retirement machine to the beach.

Beth2
Beth2
5 years ago

This couple worked with percentages to get where they are today. They didn’t focus on how limited (or not) their income was but instead stayed the course by committing to investments, disciplined spending and lifestyle choices. We can all do this.

JS
JS
5 years ago

Big +1 on never moving. Now I understand that not everyone can stay in one place for 20 years, but when my wife and I got married, we spent a little bit more than what we originally planned so we could get a house in a great location that we felt we could live in and enjoy for a long, long time. It’s not huge; in fact, with two school-age kids it is feeling a bit small. But I am in no way wanting to up-size it because I know that one day we’ll wish it was smaller again. We’re… Read more »

Amber in Albuquerque
Amber in Albuquerque
5 years ago
Reply to  JS

Big ditto to that. Our house is feeling kind of crampy with two teenaged kids in it, but it will be completely paid off by the time they are college age. And it’s plenty roomy for two old retired people. Our next door neighbors ARE two old retired people and they have the exact same house. 🙂

Quaker Prof
Quaker Prof
5 years ago
Reply to  JS

The house argument is great. I am lucky to be in a profession with tenure, so we really won’t be forced to move at any point in my career. We bought our house with that in mind, and while it will feel a bit tight when our two children are teens, that is a few years of them squabbling over their shared bathroom in exchange for many thousands that we can dump into our savings rather than a larger home. That means never being a financial burden on them, and most likely helping them get a great start as adults… Read more »

Old Guy
Old Guy
5 years ago

“Debt is nothing more than impatience expressed in money.”

THAT is a timeless quote! All I can add is that sometimes debt is also a lack/underfunding of an emergency fund.

And in closing, I believe we only achieve our goals/dreams if we have plans that involve daily/weekly actions, even if those actions are automated.

SavvyFinancialLatina
SavvyFinancialLatina
5 years ago

Great post! Saving consistently is the way to go.

Juli
Juli
5 years ago

This couple is very much like my mom and dad. My parents bought their house in 1973. My dad passed away a few years ago, and all us kids are married with families of our own now, and this house is way too big for just her. But it was paid off years ago, and my mom just hates the idea of having to pay rent somewhere, so she is just hanging out there until she absolutely has to move. I will say, when the time does come for her to move, I hate to even think how much work… Read more »

Beth
Beth
5 years ago
Reply to  Juli

Depends on the person, I guess! I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with no storage so that keeps my clutter in check. My friends who buy bigger and bigger houses? They end up buying more and more stuff to fill them.

I think it’s a personality thing too. Some people hate clutter and practice “one in, one out”. Others don’t want to get rid of anything.

Carla
Carla
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Yes, Beth! I’m one of those who hate tight spaces (would like an apartment or house with more space) but I also hate clutter. When I lived in a larger space, I loved how “open” it felt. Many thought it was empty but I am OK just having a desk and chair in one room. 🙂

Rail
Rail
5 years ago
Reply to  Juli

My Grandparents only owned two houses in their lives and put a lot of years(1961-2009) in the second one. A lot of “Stuff” gets accumulated in that kind of time. One thing to remember about living in a domicile for a loooong time is a person may start to let a few “little” home projects start to slide, especialy when we get older, and then when its time to sell the property all the projects that were put off have to be handled all at once. P.S. Grandparents weren’t hoarders or anything but household goods, furniture, tools etc. add up… Read more »

TurnedMyLifeAround
TurnedMyLifeAround
5 years ago

I look forward to William’s posts. This is another good one! I’ll be forwarding this to my kids. Great information! I learned this all the hard way. My previous wife and I moved every 5 years. We started with a 2 bedroom townhouse and “outgrew” it when we had children. So after 5 years, we packed up and moved to a 4 bedroom. After 5 more years that house wasn’t big or new enough for my ex, so we built a new house that was more than we could afford, although not according to the calculations of the lender… Don’t… Read more »

Kalie
Kalie
5 years ago

Plugging away in your current situation can definitely lead to good returns, so long as you keep investing and living on less. I think the key to this type of stability is contentment, or being grateful for and satisfied with what you have. If you’re always thinking about upsizing your home, upgrading or your car, or updating your kitchen, you’ll always be thinking about what you don’t have rather than appreciating what you do have.

Rail
Rail
5 years ago
Reply to  Kalie

Kalie makes a good point about contentment and enjoying and appreciating what you have. The Greatest Generation LIVED that lifestyle because of their upbringing in the Great Depression and WWII. They were grateful for so many things that we take for granted! Good post Kalie. Cheers!

Jane
Jane
5 years ago

I agree with all of the points in the article. But the reality is that people who are over educated have to follow the jobs. And that has led my husband and me from coast to coast and in the middle a couple of times. Also don’t forget that people who go to graduate school lose years of earning (anywhere from 4 to 6+ years), while also accumulating debt. And while they will presumably earn more per year at some point it doesn’t add up in the long run. And if – God forbid you make a lot of money… Read more »

PJ @ networthnirvana
PJ @ networthnirvana
5 years ago

I interpreted the first point to be more a warning about entering a marriage rather than leaving one – as in, “pick the right person.” Obviously, no one gets married with the thought of divorce, but a lot of people rush into marriage expecting that their spouse will change, and people tend to keep their major personality characteristics throughout life. If you marry singing thinking that they will eventually start respecting your opinion or will stop allowing themselves to be coddled by their mother someday, you will most likely face some costly consequences. I don’t think the gentleman was advocating… Read more »

Amy Kaplan
Amy Kaplan
5 years ago

There’s a lot of judgement in all these points, but, especially #1 and #2. Life doesn’t always work the way this one person and his wife lived it–and never in my lifetime– and this doesn’t mean the rest of us losers (in comparison to these points) are losers.

Julie
Julie
5 years ago

I am also the millionaire next door, and part of the reason is because I did move…several times.. when I was younger. I live in Southern California and bought my first home 28 years ago for $115,000. If I had stayed there, it would be worth about $400,000 today. I bought my 5th home (current home and nothing thrilling compared to what you could get anywhere else in the country for the same price) 15 year ago for $400,000 and it is worth 1.1 million today and it is paid for. (it peaked at 1.3 mil pre-recession and went down… Read more »

Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
5 years ago

Sounds good to me! Let’s see how long I can stay in this house though (4 years is probably the longest I’ve ever lived in any home)

Chelsea @ Broke Girl Gets Rich
Chelsea @ Broke Girl Gets Rich
5 years ago

Same here!

I loved all the points except the never moving one. (Of course, he’s right, but that one hurt a bit.)

As a child, we never lived in any place longer than five years, and as an adult I keep moving from place to place because I crave adventure in the day-to-day. (Though I don’t really care to spend money to embellishing a place, since I know I’m going to be out of it in a few years, but I get the point.)

Dennis Frailey
Dennis Frailey
5 years ago

I violated #1 and #2, but that was mainly due to circumstances beyond my control. I would amend #1 to say “don’t stay married if it is financially poisonous to do so.” A spendthrift spouse can ruin even the best of financial plans. And you sometimes have to move to keep your job or get a better one – this generally entails getting a new place to live. But you can be prudent about what kind of house or apartment you get. I did follow #3 and #4, especially after I reached my 30’s. But there are two other things… Read more »

lmoot
lmoot
5 years ago

I like the advice. I’m in no hurry to marry as right now there’s just too much in the air for me to think about settling down, but when/ if I do it’s going to be with much consideration: what are his goals/ dreams and desire to cooperate. I am a huge proponent of pre-marital counseling. Knowing how to disagree civilly is not innate to a lot of people and it’s something they need to really learn; techniques and all. While I know this isn’t a guarantee against divorce, there is a certain mindset going into a marriage I think… Read more »

Marie
Marie
5 years ago

I do not think we will be able to stay in our current home our entire lives. Our neighborhood is on a very steep hill, and I don’t see us able to mow grass and shovel snow safely once we are in our 60s and beyond. If you want to buy one house in your life, make sure you consider the issue of mobility!

Debi
Debi
5 years ago
Reply to  Marie

Good advice about taking mobility into consideration. My husband and I are in our late 50’s and plan to stay in our home forever. Although we are still in better physical condition than many 10 years younger than us we have begun thinking about the “what about when we’re 80” factor as we do any improvements or repairs. Hopefully, by the time we are forced to slow down our home will still work for us.

Amy
Amy
5 years ago

Never take a Risk. Not one. Ever. That’s what this post says to me. Never move to another house – never take that promotion in another city. Never open yourself to the opportunity to move to a new place or explore a new world because saving money is the most important thing. If Jim was a wife-beater should Eileen stay with him because it is fiscally the better choice? I have never met a divorced person who somehow planned to divorce or wanted it that way. Making good choices is one thing, hiding from the real world is quite another.… Read more »

Beth
Beth
5 years ago
Reply to  Amy

That’s not how I interpreted this post at all. I don’t think the post is saying “don’t ever move to pursue a new opportunity” — I think it’s saying “Resist the urge to constantly trade up your home”.

Lohee
Lohee
3 years ago
Reply to  Amy

You can have the real world right around you but if moving of course you weigh the benefits. Sometimes increase in salary does not mean increase in standard of living. Curbing our habits to prevent unnecessary financial drain. Example eating out every so often. instead you can buy healthy stuff and invite friends to eat with and vice versa so that you control your life and not the market forces around to dictate weather you are penniless or have a bit to ‘trickle investment’ That is what I got from the article’

Adam @ AdamChudy.com
Adam @ AdamChudy.com
5 years ago

People are really misinterpreting “don’t move.” It doesn’t literally mean buy a house and stay forever. It’s a broader statement saying don’t allow for lifestyle creep. Jim bought a modest house and regardless of increasing networth or income never felt the need to get fancier cars, boats, or a McMansion. That’s great advice (if common) that you don’t have to be so literal about.

freebird
freebird
5 years ago

I’d say top of the list should be always take care of your health first. It’s an investment in time and money that never makes sense to do without. Sacrificing sleep and a decent diet for excessive work hours or high job stress is a losing proposition in the long term. In my experience family time is an absolute must for mental health. Second I’d list increase your earning power by going above and beyond in your job. There’s always something that your employer values more than what you do day to day, and it’s up to you to identify… Read more »

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

Relationships involve emotions and I think that often clouds people’s judgements – I dont think most people realize what a unhealthy relationship or divorce can do to both person’s finances. It can be very damaging financially speaking.

William
William
5 years ago

Here’s a postscript, offered without any comment: A Vermont man died last year a multi-millionaire. He was a gas station attendant and janitor in Brattleboro with no more than a high school diploma. You can read the story here:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/04/vermont-frugal-man-bequaeths-millions/22880041/

gizmosdad
gizmosdad
5 years ago

Nice article. It’s a refreshing break from the “10 things…” pattern; it’s also nice to come across someone like your neighbor that happens to have an abundant amount of common sense.

It’s interesting that the neighbor’s advice isn’t as sexy, isn’t as cutting-edge as other approaches; it’s boring but yet effective.

Thanks again for the article – truly a “breakout” idea to apply common sense to get ahead.

Delsy
Delsy
5 years ago

Experiment !! Try it !!

Fred
Fred
5 years ago

I’ve followed this advice exactly, and I can tell you it works. I might add (and it was kind of implied), delay making major purchases as long as you can. I’m still driving a 14 year old car, I just bought my first flat panel TV a few months ago, delayed some home renovations, etc. I take what I would have spent and invested it.

ken tye
ken tye
5 years ago

I too have lived life much as Jim…I never thought my wife and I would have a net worth of more than a million… We both retired recently and will be able to continue in the same lifestyle as before….The secret to our success was the same as Jim’s…However, I did make it a priority to pay off the house as soon as possible…Have not had a house payment in 25 years…Always paid cash for all cars bought through the years and never have had credit card debt. We also managed to raise 3 great children.

Dito
Dito
5 years ago

I’m now 37. I used to live with my 5 brothers (2 brothers ans 2 sisters), my mother, my father and my grandmother. My father passed away in 2000 when I was in the begining of College in another province, 1200 Km away from the rest of the family and my mother in 2003. I decide to continue studing even without knowing where the money to pay would come from. My father was the one who used to pay my studies. I did everything (honestly) to get money to continue paying my studies and sometimes to send to my 3… Read more »

Douglas J
Douglas J
5 years ago

I count myself fortunate to have been raised as much by my grandparents as my parents. They were born pre- and during WW1. My grandfather was never pension eligible because they didn’t exist for men of his generation. He retired with a nice cushion of savings. His advice: Start. You can’t get a million without getting to one thousand, and that first thousand doesn’t happen without the first dollar. Start small, consistency is important because it establishes habits of mind. Split raises, reward yourself with a modest increase in take home pay and rely on living more efficiently to make… Read more »

Pam
Pam
5 years ago

“Debt is nothing more than impatience expressed in money.” This is me to a “T!” I’m in my mid-30’s and I’m constantly trying to change things up (whether is buying crap I don’t need or just not being able to sit still), always ignoring the cost. I went thru a divorce about 8 years ago (a marriage to an older guy that never should have happened). It destroyed me emotionally (and consequently financially) for about 3-5 years. Just recently I bought a used car I really couldn’t afford, but wanted *now*. Of course, like William described, there are a slew… Read more »

Atul
Atul
5 years ago

Very touching….It was equally interesting to read other perspective in comments.

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