Low probability of FIRE

Financial Independence/Retire Early -- Learn How!
[KenM]
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Post by [KenM] » Fri May 16, 2003 4:23 pm

Saw the following recently (somewhat paraphrased) but unfortunately can't remember where.

If we all lived at the standard of living of the 50's we would all have to only work 20 hours / week and then have more leisure time. Instead we work longer hours at high stress to buy bigger houses, bigger TVs, eat out more, buy expensive boats that we can't afford to move because the gas costs too much, and even find other kinds of WORK to pay for like going to the gym, etc.

Kept a copy because I liked it.
KenM
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

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ataloss
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Post by ataloss » Fri May 16, 2003 4:53 pm

1. Which of the following is comparable to the size of a typical three-car garage?

a. a basketball court
b. a McDonald's restaurant
c. an "RV" (recreational vehicle)
d. the average home in the 1950s.

Answer: d. Many of today's three-car garages occupy 900 square feet, just about the average size of an entire home in the 1950s. Many people use the extra garage space to store things they own and seldom use. Often we hear that Americans have lost ground economically and have less purchasing power. But Americans are buying more luxurious items, partly by working more and going deeply into debt. The homes they live in and the cars they drive today are often bigger and more technologically advanced than those purchased by their parents.

http://www.pbs.org/kcts/affluenza/diag/what.html[/quote]
Have fun.

Ataloss

wanderer
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Post by wanderer » Fri May 16, 2003 4:53 pm

Paying back debt for stuff we no longer had was NOT fun.

I didn't even enjoy paying back the relatively small education debt we had (although the education enabled FIRE).

If we all lived at the standard of living of the 50's we would all have to only work 20 hours / week and then have more leisure time. Instead we work longer hours at high stress to buy bigger houses, bigger TVs, eat out more, buy expensive boats that we can't afford to move because the gas costs too much, and even find other kinds of WORK to pay for like going to the gym, etc.

it's a great quote, kenm. those girls of yours would be wise to heed the wisdom therein. i know, i know: 20 year olds like to step in puddles. :wink:
regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

[KenM]
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Post by [KenM] » Fri May 16, 2003 6:03 pm

i know, i know: 20 year olds like to step in puddles.

In fact it's a quote that my daughters might well have used. I get the impression that the generation now in their 20's are less inclined to the greed/conspicuous consumption of most of those now in their 30's/40's/50's. I may be wrong (I don't know about in the US?).

The paradox is, perhaps, I hope that I'm wrong. Whose going to fund my comfortable retirement by ever increasing stock prices if the conspicuous consumption ethic collapses :?
KenM
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wanderer
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Post by wanderer » Fri May 16, 2003 6:09 pm

ataloss -

that is a remarkable stat re the garage/1950s comparable sizes.
regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

WiseNLucky
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Post by WiseNLucky » Fri May 16, 2003 8:03 pm

Many of today's three-car garages occupy 900 square feet, just about the average size of an entire home in the 1950s.


Both of my grandparents' houses were in this neighborhood. I hadn't really thought about it but that is where my parents were raised in the 40s and 50s.

I loved visiting them and never noticed that their houses were "small" even when crowded with us stuffed in. And we never stayed at motels, we always hung out at Grandma's while visiting. I remember only lots of love.

My current 1400 square feet, including 1.5 car garage, is distinctly lower middle class but is quite luxurious compared to Grandma's.
WiseNLucky

I just wish everyone could step back and get less car and less house then they want, and realize they don't NEED more. -- NeuroFool

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ataloss
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Post by ataloss » Sat May 17, 2003 1:37 am

we are in "The Big House" ( at 2300 sq/ft relative to our parents 1500 sq/ft homes ) and I think we have learned something about diminishing marginal utility- and the fact that possessions reproduce to fill vacant storage space :wink:
Have fun.

Ataloss

Trex
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Post by Trex » Sat May 17, 2003 12:54 pm

Many of today's three-car garages occupy 900 square feet, just about the average size of an entire home in the 1950s.

Just about the size of my house. IMO, there are lots of benefits to owning just enough house.

Trex

JWR1945
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Post by JWR1945 » Sat May 17, 2003 2:51 pm

WiseNLucky
My current 1400 square feet, including 1.5 car garage, is distinctly lower middle class but is quite luxurious compared to Grandma's.

That sounds like my house except that I have a two car garage. The 1400 square feet includes the garage.

This house is the right size. I have been in larger and in smaller. Buying too large a house for your family just makes things harder and more expensive.

Have fun.

John R.

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Post by JWR1945 » Sat May 17, 2003 3:50 pm

This goes back almost to the beginning of this thread.

KenM
Then to have a reasonable chance to obtain FIRE in 30 years it would be necessary to save and invest 20% of each years pretax salary every year for the next 30 years.

It strikes me that this is not nearly as bad as it sounds. That 20% of salary includes 401k contributions plus any employer contributions. In the Federal Government these days, new employees who contribute 5% to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) get a matching 5%. They can contribute up to 10% but only the first 5% gets the special treatment.

By setting aside 10% of their salaries to the TSP, they will reach the 15% level. The TSP fund choices are quite limited, however. They are index funds with lower costs than Vanguard. In stocks you can choose an S&P500 index, a small capitalization index or an international index. You cannot choose fancy, actively managed funds with high expense ratios. There is a fixed income index fund and a short-term (Government agency) fund similar to a money market fund but at much higher interest rates.

One advantage of the 401k's and the Government's TSP is portability. Your retirement account moves with you if you change employers.

Add to this the kind of thing that hocus and wanderer and others keep mentioning. You gain a lot of benefit from these accounts long before you stop working. You can choose a more enjoyable occupation or you can cut back on your hours. You have a wider range of choices as to where to live. You do not fear being laid off.

Talk to your daughters along these lines. It may encourage them.

Have fun.

John R.

[KenM]
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Post by [KenM] » Sun May 18, 2003 5:16 pm

I've frequently been provided with 2500 to 3000 sq ft housing as part of an expat package. Some years ago I managed to get a deal where the employer instead provided a mortgage allowance to buy my own place and I got a 1200 sq ft living area with big garden. Very happy living in that amount of area if I've got outside space but a big shock initially to suddenly change from 3000 to 1200. Family decisions on which "stuff" to discard in order to fit in to the smaller area were somewhat stressful :roll: But liberating nonetheless.
KenM
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Post by wanderer » Sun May 18, 2003 7:38 pm

I strongly recommend Clutter's Last Stand.

Basic thesis from a guy who cleaned houses for a living: less is more. To have it: you have to think about it, desire it, shop for it, protect it, dust it, insure it, worry about it, etc. Better to spend life energy doing something else. In short, you get "possessed" by it.

Again, I have notes if anyone is interested... :shock:(hey, I have summer's off in the Kootenays).
regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

wanderer
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Post by wanderer » Sun May 18, 2003 7:43 pm

Some years ago I managed to get a deal where the employer instead provided a mortgage allowance

very smart, creative idea, kenm.

you pocketed the difference?

One thing I rarely mention as a favorable attribute of working overseas is the flexibility of the rules. Quite often the institutions are new, growing, flexible and lack the same sensibilities that western institutions have. Opportunity to be creative, a la kenm.

There is a downside, of course. Less guidance for the uninitiated (they tried to shuffle our western kids to a islamic/arabic style school - heavy rote memorization), no tradition of public libraries, etc.
regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

[KenM]
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Post by [KenM] » Sun May 18, 2003 9:40 pm

you pocketed the difference?

No, no, no - never so generous - such arrangements have to be agreed with accountants :twisted:- who seem to think that employees getting cash out of such a deal is unreasonable - don't know why? The mortgage allowance was about 30% of the rental value of the housing provided in the expat package and I had to show that all the allowance was spent on the mortgage. So buying 1200 sq ft instead of being provided with 3000 sq ft rent free. However I still finished up with an asset that cost me nothing - always nice to get one over the accountants :P
KenM
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[KenM]
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Post by [KenM] » Sun May 18, 2003 9:59 pm

no tradition of public libraries
some of the former Brit colonies sometimes have good library systems - might not have proper sewage systems though.
KenM
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wanderer
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Post by wanderer » Sun May 18, 2003 10:24 pm

No, no, no - never so generous - such arrangements have to be agreed with accountants - who seem to think that employees getting cash out of such a deal is unreasonable - don't know why?

me neither. molto folks do that with their education/home leave allowances here.
regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

Trex
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Post by Trex » Mon May 19, 2003 4:55 am

from 3000 to 1200. Family decisions on which "stuff" to discard in order to fit in to the smaller area were somewhat stressful

When my parents moved from FL to Norfolk, VA a few years ago, they bought a 1700's colonial house. It's about 2500sqf, and there are about 3 closets. A move like this from a 1970's home where there are 2 closets everywhere you look will really cut down on the clutter factor. I agree w/ Wanderer- less is more. Eventually most of it will end up at Goodwill anyways. :wink:

Trex

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ben
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Post by ben » Mon May 19, 2003 6:20 am

hey wanderer,
Again, I have notes if anyone is interested...

Please let me see your notes - am in the middle of a "de-cluttering" process and any inspiration is appreciated. www.getorganizednow.com is one page adressing this issue - and since I have been a bit of a pack rat I need to cleaned out NOW! (spring feelings or what ? :roll:)
Normal; to put on clothes bought for work, go to work in car bought to get to work needed to pay for the clothes, the car and the home left empty all day in order to afford to live in it...

wanderer
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Post by wanderer » Fri Sep 12, 2003 7:43 pm

regards,

wanderer

The field has eyes / the wood has ears / I will see / be silent and hear

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