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Author: phantomdiver Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 753169  
Subject: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 1/31/2000 10:25 AM
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I've been reading with great interest your messages about early retirement in general, intercst, and yours about Costa Rica, galeno.

I'm 43 and my husband is 41. We have four kids, the youngest of whom is 11. Having kids was our choice, and I know they have delayed our retirement -- and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. Thing is, we gotta get them through school, and to do that we gotta fatten our savings. We also need to stay in this area so that our #2 child can continue to attend the excellent public high school she's in now and so that #3 and #4 have a shot at it, too.

So what's my point? I don't have a question. I'm just posting informationally.

We want to retire at about 57 and 55. We'd love to live on several acres in the country, preferably in or near mountains and within a couple of hours of the city we now live near. We've taken one step by buying a vacation cabin near where we'd like to retire.

"You bought a vacation cabin! But that will set back your retirement by X years!" Maybe. But I've found since we bought it that it is more than worth its price in stress reduction. When we do retire, we will be much more relaxed than some who flee the rat race because the other rats are nipping at their heels.

We have some chronic health problems, so we do have to keep paying for health insurance -- unless my company will still give them to us for free, as it does now for retirees meeting certain criteria.

And lastly, I wouldn't want to live overseas. I've spent time in some other countries, both living there and on vacation, and I like living in the US better than anywhere else.

So we'll postpone our retirement until we can afford it, and it won't be early by the standards of many on this board -- but it will work for us, which is what counts, I think.

This board is great! Thanks, everybody, for your input!

phantomdiver
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Author: SusanRV One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2777 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 12:10 AM
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Phantomdiver wrote: We have four kids, the youngest of whom is 11. Having kids was our choice, and I know they have delayed our retirement -- and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. Thing is, we gotta get them through school, and to do that we gotta fatten our savings.

I've been lurking on this board for quite some time and haven't posted yet. But I just thought I'd respond to this point -- which may actually belong on the parenting board, but here goes.

What do people think about the notion of paying for their kids' college educations? I don't have children -- yet -- and it's something I think about. Both my partner and I paid (well, we're still paying) for our bachelor's and master's degrees. Neither of our parents were able to pay tuition. Why do people feel an obligation to pay for their children's college educations? That's a LOT of money. I suppose if I had children, I'd instantly "get" this. But I honestly think -- well, I think this now sans children -- that I'd have a hard time spending an extra three, five, ten or however many years it took in the workplace to pay for my kids' college education. Especially given that I paid for my own education and think that the act of having to take out student loans to pay for it -- and then spend years paying them off -- was an education in and of itself.

Susan

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Author: jgoss1074 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2779 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 12:51 AM
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SusanRV said:

"Especially given that I paid for my own education and think that the act of having to take out student loans to pay for it -- and then spend years paying them off -- was an education in and of itself."

I agree. I graduated only just 3 years ago from an expensive school and paid my own way through with $0 (literally) contributions from my parents -- apartment, food, tuition, books, everything. I think I got twice as much out of school as most of the people I was with. From my perspective, if you grouped the people whose parents paid you'd find that many (certainly not all, there were definitely exceptions, but many) were pretty obviously taking it for granted, or coasting, or didn't really care. On the flip side, NONE of the people I knew who were footing their own bill had that sort of attitude - they were just thankful they could be there at all and tried hard not to waste a second of it.

Which is why I was able to graduate a semester (almost 3 quarters) early and save about $8,000. :)

To each his own, and I'm not saying I wouldn't have gladly taken money for school (heck, I had about $14k a year in scholarships). But if I ever have kids, I'm not sure I could pay for college (or a car at 16, etc) because I would never know if I was doing them a service or a disservice.

Jim

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Author: JAFO31 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2782 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 3:57 AM
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SusanRV:

<<<<Phantomdiver wrote: We have four kids, the youngest of whom is 11. Having kids was our choice, and I know they have delayed our retirement -- and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. Thing is, we gotta get them through school, and to do that we gotta fatten our savings.>>>>

"I've been lurking on this board for quite some time and haven't posted yet. But I just thought I'd respond to this point -- which may actually belong on the parenting board, but here goes.

What do people think about the notion of paying for their kids' college educations? I don't have children -- yet -- and it's something I think about. Both my partner and I paid (well, we're still paying) for our bachelor's and master's degrees. Neither of our parents were able to pay tuition. Why do people feel an obligation to pay for their children's college educations? That's a LOT of money. I suppose if I had children, I'd instantly "get" this. But I honestly think -- well, I think this now sans children -- that I'd have a hard time spending an extra three, five, ten or however many years it took in the workplace to pay for my kids' college education. [emphasis added by JAFO] Especially given that I paid for my own education and think that the act of having to take out student loans to pay for it -- and then spend years paying them off -- was an education in and of itself."


Best as I can tell, having children (and I would not trade mine) and raising them to majority is a net economic loss (except maybe for certain child actors and athletes). If potential college costs cause that much "difficulty" how will you feel about all the other necessary expenses of raising a child or children, all of which extend by years your stay in the workplace?

I believe that one of the early retirees on this board indicated that being single and childless facilitated better control of living expenses and the ability to retire early. If the question is how to retire early the soonest, then I think that the whole question of having children needs to be weighed carefully. If the question is not how to retire early the soonest but one of where to draw the line, then I think that each person and family is different and there is no universal answer that applies to everyone.

For me, paying for college would be a gift of love that would allow my children to avoid starting post-school life with substantial debt and negative net worth resulting from school loans. I know that I would be much further along if I had not started with the millstone of significant student loans.

Just my $0.02. Regards, JAFO



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Author: phantomdiver Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2785 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 8:42 AM
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Best as I can tell, having children (and I would not trade mine) and raising them to majority is a net economic loss (except maybe for certain child actors and athletes).

Absolutely. And even for those child actors and athletes, why should they kick back their earnings to their parents? Unless the parents are really destitute, I mean.

If potential college costs cause that much "difficulty" how will you feel about all the other necessary expenses of raising a child or children, all of which extend by years your stay in the workplace?

I saw an article once weighing the pros and cons of having children early and late. The only good thing they could think of about having children early was that you'd get them out of the nest sooner. My feeling is that if you want to get rid of them that much, why have them at all?

I believe that one of the early retirees on this board indicated that being single and childless facilitated better control of living expenses and the ability to retire early. If the question is how to retire early the soonest, then I think that the whole question of having children needs to be weighed carefully. If the question is not how to retire early the soonest but one of where to draw the line, then I think that each person and family is different and there is no universal answer that applies to everyone.

At one point, there were a bunch of posts on how to retire early. One post said "Don't have kids." And it's true, having kids sucks away your money. But not all of life is about retiring early; some of life is actually about living it, and having kids for me is part of that.

I've been lurking on this board for quite some time and haven't posted yet. But I just thought I'd respond to this point -- which may actually belong on the parenting board, but here goes.

It could go both places. Welcome!

Why do people feel an obligation to pay for their children's college educations? That's a LOT of money. I suppose if I had children, I'd instantly "get" this. But I honestly think -- well, I think this now sans children -- that I'd have a hard time spending an extra three, five, ten or however many years it took in the workplace to pay for my kids' college education. Especially given that I paid for my own education and think that the act of having to take out student loans to pay for it -- and then spend years paying them off -- was an education in and of itself.

You make an excellent point. And no, if you had kids, you wouldn't necessarily get this. I have friends with kids who feel as you do.

JAFO put it well: For me, paying for college would be a gift of love that would allow my children to avoid starting post-school life with substantial debt and negative net worth resulting from school loans. I know that I would be much further along if I had not started with the millstone of significant student loans.

For me -- well, it's complicated. My parents paid for my education, and I am able to pay for my kids' education, and I am happy to do it. Would they be more self-reliant if they paid for it themselves? Possibly. Would they have less time for their studies that way? Almost certainly. And I want them to concentrate on their studies while they're in school.

My parents always made it very clear that I got four years of college paid for -- actually they wanted to pay for only two, because they strongly disapproved of my choice of college, but they quietly paid for the whole thing -- and then after that I was on my own. So I graduated with a few hundred dollars to my name and lived a life of relative poverty for a few years. (There was a recession at that time, and I had majored in Greek and religion.)

If I had been paying for my own education, I would probably have majored in something that would have paid off immediately as a career, something I would not have enjoyed as much. I would have worked harder to get a good job. I would have put more of a priority on my career -- and I would have been a less successful wife and mother.

YMMV, of course. I'm just saying how it was for me.

phantomdiver






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Author: msumney Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2787 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 10:08 AM
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What do people think about the notion of paying for their kids' college educations?

My wife and I decided long ago that it would not be a good idea to give our children a free ride at college. We also did not want our children to be deeply in debt when they graduated. The plan we came up with was to pay their tuition on a reimbursement basis and half of their room and board. They would have to pay the remainder of the room and board, books and any other costs. They paid the tuition for each semester and were reimbursed at the end of each semester based on the grades received, 100% if they got a C or better in any class; nothing for D or F.

My daughter will graduate this spring and she has no debt. She has told us several times how much more she is getting from her entire college experience because she had to work and pay for a good part of it herself. Our son will start soon, and the same plan will be followed. It has worked well for us.

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Author: rjstanford Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2788 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 10:40 AM
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What do people think about the notion of paying for their kids' college educations?

This was briefly fribbled about a few months ago -- I think the folk here on this board could get a lot of mileage out of it though. These musings assume that you've raised your children to be fiscally responsible, or at least to see the advantages in not having a 9-5.

Rather than pay for your child to go to college, take the $40k (or whatever) that you have set aside for them, and use it to start their retire early fund. Maybe you set it up in a trust, or give them control, depending on the children in question. Tell them to take the next 10-20 years or so and relax, and have some fun.

The only reason that putting yourself through school is a real hardship for some people is that they're trying to get a degree in 4 years -- maybe even less.

If your kids want to go to school, they can get a job and work through it. Knowing that their future is secure, they can study whatever they enjoy, rather than trying to pick a field that is financially rewarding. If it takes them 8 years to get a Bachelor's degree -- so what? They're studying something that interests them, probably have a 20-30 hour a week part time job that's entertaining (remember, they don't have to consider future employment when looking for part-time work) and they're having a good time. Maybe they want to persue a Masters while waiting for their fund to compound -- if so, so much the better because they're doing it because they love learning.

If they're not into education, they can take jobs that they really enjoy. One of my friends in high-school knew that he was coming into a substantial inheritence (a good chunk of one of the larger ranches in Texas) and that he didn't need to worry about the future. He took advantage of that safety net and started business based on one of his hobbies -- and for quite a few years, did better at it than I did with my 'real' job.

Finally, if they're just lazy they can work at a Taco Bell (or whatever) to pay the bills, and you can rest assured that their future will be taken care of.

To wrap up, think of why you want to pay for your child's education. The scenarios above cover the following reasons:

So that they can have fun learning something that interests them.
Without the need to worry about earning lots of money to save for the future, they have all the time in the world to put themselves through a rewarding educational program.

So they can have a four year party
There are cheaper ways -- and if they want to do that, they can get a job! For that matter, they can choose to take a few years off and hike through Europe, without the fear that they're losing valuable compounding years. In short, there are better parties out there :-)

To free them from debt after school
If you're learning what you love, why worry about 'after' school so much? Knowing that they don't need the MBA (or whatever) they can put themselves through school more slowly without incurring debt.

I'm not saying that paying for college is bad, but I would ask you to take a close look at your reasons for doing so, and your child's reasons for going to school, and see if there isn't a better solution out there.

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Author: hocus Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2796 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 12:27 PM
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Why do people feel an obligation to pay for their children's college educations? That's a LOT of money...I'd have a hard time spending an extra three, five, ten or however many years it took in the workplace to pay for my kids' college education.

Many people feel guilty because their work keeps them away from their children and want to compensate by paying for college (and many other things). Many also worry that a college degree is becoming a basic admission ticket to the good life (about equivalent to a high school degree not too many years ago), and are frightened to think where their children will end up without one.

My suggestion is to employ Retire Early principles to counter the static being transmitted on this issue from conventional information sources.

One, think hard about whether college "pays" as an investment. It did at one time. Today, I'm less sure. Eighteen years from now, I'm less sure yet. Use the courage you developed considering early retirement to question dubious premises here as well. For example, you might conclude that you want to do something to give your child a good start in life, but that college isn't the way to go. Perhaps providing the money to start a business makes more sense.

Two, take full advantage of the tools offered by early retirement in finding a way to offer your child that good start. You'll have less money, but more time. Perhaps by spending a lot of that time in intense research and discussion with your child about alternative ways of making a living, you can do more to offer your child a good start than the parent who mindlessly provides for college. Many times people spend money because it is the easy thing to do, not because it is the smart thing or necessary thing to do.

Three, consider using the power of compounding returns that is central to an early retirement plan in the area of college funding as well. I haven't done the math, but I've been told that putting $30,000 aside today will pay for tuition, room, and board at a public college in 18 years. If you believe that the child should contribute a good part of the funding for college, you might be able to reduce the up-front funding needed to $25,000 or $20,000. Hopefully, figures in that range wouldn't delay your early retirement for too long a time.

Fourth, challenge the idea that children represent only a cost. I may be in a minority on this, but I believe that children can add to one's lifetime earnings and security, at least in some circumstances. For one, they are an inspiration to earn more. If you check statistics on who earns more, couples with children or couples without children, you'll find that the former group earns more (holding all else--such as education, etc.--equal). That's not always because only those with more earnings elect to have children. Another factor is that having children gives you motivation to come up with some new ideas to make money (not only through corporate work, but also through investing, or non-traditional forms of work that you might want to engage in after retiring).

Also, children can keep you awake to new ideas that you would never hear about if you did not have them. That can lead to investment successes or independent work successes that were not "planned" when you decided to have children. This ability to open oneself to new ideas is one of the big advantages of retiring early, in my view. It can be achieved without children, but children can be a plus in this regard in the right circumstances.

Fifth, if you decide that you do want to provide something in the way of college funding, come up with the money by cutting in other places. There are hundreds of ways of saving on raising children: buying clothes at yard sales; avoiding theme birthday parties; homeschooling over private school; etc.

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Author: phantomdiver Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2798 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 12:45 PM
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One, think hard about whether college "pays" as an investment.

We had a discussion about this on The Value of Education board.

I think the whole idea of quantifying the value of education in terms of dollars is missing the point. To my mind, the whole point of getting an education is, well, getting an education. That's not just from books; that's from living away from your family (which I think is very important as a transition), making decisions, and charting your own future.

Disclaimer: I majored in two seemingly useless fields (Greek and religion). Maybe I just want to justify my decision to do that. Maybe, on the other hand, I really see the value in majoring in fields that I loved. Besides, they've both come in handy later, especially the Greek.

Three, consider using the power of compounding returns

We've done this in a slightly different way. We've told each child that we will match the first $2000 that he or she makes and we will set up an IRA with that money. It took us a while to make good on it, but we finally did last November. We set up our oldest child's IRA with 15 shares of QQQ. It's done very nicely for him. He saw how it works, and he asked if he could take some of his savings and set up a taxable account for himself!

All the kids understand that if they salt away $2000 a year and invest in stocks, they will be able to retire at 65. They are beginning to understand that further investment can hasten their retirement.

We're working on it. :-)

phantomdiver





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Author: hocus Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2800 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 12:59 PM
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I majored in two seemingly useless fields (Greek and religion).

No! Not useless! Not useless!

The purpose of my Retire Early plan is to spend more time on things like Greek and religion. I realize you weren't saying what you yourself think, but just to read those words felt like a stake though my heart.

They've both come in handy later, especially the Greek.

Now, that's the spirit.





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Author: WilliamLipp Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2805 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 1:39 PM
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What do people think about the notion of paying for their kids' college educations? I don't have children -- yet -- and it's something I think about. Both my partner and I paid (well, we're still paying) for our bachelor's and master's degrees. Neither of our parents were able to pay tuition

I also paid for my own education, although my wife had here undergraduate education paid for. But I received financial aid based on family need - the only kid who gor more than me was an orphan. We've been blessed with careers that we enjoy that also pays well - my kid will not qualify for aid based on need. I feel an obligation to cover his undergraduate education, assuming he applies himself to his studies.

Another piece of the question is that, when you are successful, you get to decide how to spend the money you've accumulated. We expect to retire comfortably in our mid 50's and afford a college education both. For us, this is the right combination of retiring early enough, enjoying life, and feeling good about our family.

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Author: phantomdiver Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2811 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 2:10 PM
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I majored in two seemingly useless fields (Greek and religion).

No! Not useless! Not useless!

The purpose of my Retire Early plan is to spend more time on things like Greek and religion. I realize you weren't saying what you yourself think, but just to read those words felt like a stake though my heart.


Gosh, I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to put a stake through your heart. Unless you're a vampire, that is . . . in which case, I can see why it'd be interesting to you to figure out how to stretch your savings for a very long time . . . never mind!

I was just trying to forestall what I figured others would say. I get a little tired of defending my choices of major.

They've both come in handy later, especially the Greek.

Now, that's the spirit.

And that's how I really feel, too. For example, our dog is in surgery today. He may have a histocytoma. If one knows Greek, it's a piece of cake to figure out what that means. (Basically, a cyst that stands up, from what I can tell.)

But it's also been wonderful to know Greek just to enrich my life. I love knowing what words mean and where they came from. It's one of my life's passions, and I wouldn't trade my knowledge of Greek and Latin for anything.

There, hocus, are you happy now? ;-)

phantomdiver




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Author: fleg9bo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2819 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 2:30 PM
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Here in California there is a decent system of community (2-year or "junior") colleges and state universities which are relatively inexpensive for state residents. If such a system is available to you, why not offer to pay for these in full or apply this amount to a more expensive college, letting the child make up the difference? That guarantees a college education and also gives the child the opportunity to take responsibility for upgrading it if he/she wants to.

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Author: soui Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2825 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 3:00 PM
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One, think hard about whether college "pays" as an investment.

We had a discussion about this on The Value of Education board.

I think the whole idea of quantifying the value of education in terms of dollars is missing the point. To my mind, the whole point of getting an education is, well, getting an education.


Not to be a smart ass, but what does college necessarily have to do with getting an education? While it is true that it gives you easier access to learning some esoteric fields, it seems to me that the structure of college with its emphasis on grades can often be a hindrance to getting an education...

Was it Mark Twain who said "Never let school get in the way of education"?

Cheers,
soui


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Author: backslash Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2842 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 5:13 PM
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My daughter is in the 9th grade now, and we've already been talking to her about college. We've told her that we would pay for 2 years in community college (we have an excellent system), plus two years at any VA college she can get into )or equivalent money for attending elsewhere). If she wants anything more than that, she has to come up with the money, either through scholarships or grants (not loans), or by working or joining the service first. I am a rabid no-debt person, and I will do what I think is reasonable to allow her to get a college degree (and hopefully an education) without saddling herself with years of indebtedness. I want her to be able to make her own decisions, and it seems like knowing what she can expect from us gives her a starting point from which to make them. I paid for my school, but I don't think you can feasibly do that anymore without incurring a lot of debt. I don't know if this will work, or even if it's a good idea, but it makes sense to me.

Harley

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Author: horlander One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2846 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 5:39 PM
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Please don't mistake "education" for things you learn in a classroom. Those who propose paying for a community college, or (although this hasn't been said) the local university down the street, this certainly limits the education your child receives. Not in what those schools teach, the quality of their staffs or facilities, but in the whole growing up department. If, as a parent, you are financially strapped or your child is a borderline student, these are certainly good options. But you will never convince me that my friends who attended excellent universities in their hometown, and were required to live at home the entire time, came away with the "education" that I did, being on my own at 18 (even w/parents footing the bill). Somewhere there must be a compromise - making sure your child is in the best environment to learn and experience life, and making them responsible for their decisions. College can be a wonderful transition between being a child and being an adult, so if it is in your ability to do so, I would think that you would want to help them on that journey.

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Author: galeno Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2848 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 5:54 PM
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horlander wrote:
But you will never convince me that my friends who attended excellent universities in their hometown, and
were required to live at home the entire time, came away with the "education" that I did, being on my own at 18 (even w/parents footing the bill).


If you cannot be convinced, I will not even try.

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Author: arrete Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2858 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 7:51 PM
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/Harley

Right on! - or something, I can't get all the jargon right.

Anyway - we had three kids, growing up in Virginia. Starting when the first was about 12 we would show them William and Mary, UVA, etc. The deal was, we would pay Virginia rates for 4 years. If they wanted Brown, Harvard, they could pony it up themselves. As of now we have one Psychiatry, MD (that's scary)(UVA, MCV), one summa cum laude (VA Tech), and the "experimental" child-Northern Viginia Community College, entering into George Mason University.

Thing is - they knew the costs. The UVA'er had a chance for Brown, but when he saw it was "his" dollars that were going to pay for Brown, he went for the in-state tuition. Virginia has a great system. Not everyone is so lucky.

arrete

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Author: tamfish Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2863 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 8:43 PM
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As of now we have one Psychiatry, MD (that's scary)(UVA, MCV), one summa cum laude (VA Tech), and the "experimental" child-Northern Viginia Community College, entering into George Mason University.

Congratulations!

We have five children, when they were born, we set aside a certain amount of money (each a one time shot) in a u.t.m.a. for each child. Over the years each has grown to be a nice amount of money to apply toward whatever education or whatever else they choose to apply it to. We did this, not knowing at the time, what our children would show interest in--to address a perhaps unspoken question from some posters--(why)--because it is the hope of every parent in my family (and perhaps yours) that their children go on to be even more successful then the parent is. And I'm not speaking just financial reward. Quite frankly we didn't and don't have a lot of money. We chose to raise our children on one salary in a very modest paying field. (broadcasting) But because we started early, the power of compounding will pay off for them quite nicely. It may not cover everything our children decide to do, but it will give them a good start. It may pay for an entire education, or just part depending on what each child chooses. Now that the children are older my wife is back to school to become a nurse. Meantime I just keep plugging away in the 401k, hoping to have enough at 55 to hang it up. It won't be a million, but we've never lived like that anyway.
Thanks for letting me poke my head out of the ground.

Jim

Lurking mode on.....



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Author: hbogart Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2869 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/1/2000 10:48 PM
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I don't think there is a right answer to this question. Just different ways of doing things.

My mother paid for both me and my brother to go to college. We also took out what we qualified for in loans, in my case about $10k. I paid those off while in grad school, Foolishly enough.

Not paying for my own tuition and living expenses meant that I could explore and take advantage of the many resources available where I went to school. Late-night concerts, weekend trips, midday talks on "The biology of sub-cretaceous insects" (OK, I made that up. Maybe those talks didn't make such an impression! But I did go to them. I was nerdy). I also took one semester abroad and graduated one semester early, having taken course overloads virtually every semester.

For my brother, having his costs paid -- my mom told us she'd pay for anywhere we could get in -- meant he could go to a music conservatory and try to reach his dream. In the end (after 1 year, to be precise), he decided that what he had thought was his dream, wasn't. But he had tried and now doesn't spend his life thinking, "if only." He went to an ordinary 4-year college and got an ordinary 4-year degree.

I think of paying for college as an intergenerational transfer (in my family). Yet this in inaccurate because my mother, who paid for us, didn't go to college herself.

Now I pay for my stepkids to go to school. Wouldn't have it any other way, though hubby and I struggle financially. Stepdaughter takes school seriously, might take finances more seriously if she had to pay her way. She needs to learn (actually, she has started) about $$$ and budgeting but her non-knowledge is the fault, as much or more, of the failure of her parents to educate her about money when she was still at home. She would learn, by paying for college. But it would be a tough lesson and I do not think it fair, now, to pull the rug out from under her. That is my view.

My kids, I will also pay for. But I will set money aside (as hubby has not for his) to let them go anywhere if they work hard enough to get there. I will also teach them about money, but for me that will be separate, not something they learn from paying for college.

We can earn money to pay for them (especially if we set it aside early), much more easily than they can. I earn far more than my stepdaughter, as an hourly wage (she earns minimum). She will earn more when she graduates, and will graduate with manageable student debt, hopefully in a position to get a good start on her adult life. Much more important to me than retiring early!

-- HB

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Author: phantomdiver Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2891 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/2/2000 9:52 AM
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I think the whole idea of quantifying the value of education in terms of dollars is missing the point. To my mind, the whole point of getting an education is, well, getting an education.

Not to be a smart ass, but what does college necessarily have to do with getting an education? While it is true that it gives you easier access to learning some esoteric fields, it seems to me that the structure of college with its emphasis on grades can often be a hindrance to getting an education...

Sometimes that's true. If it's true for you, then probably you should avoid college unless you need it to "punch your ticket" in a career that requires it.

I found that learning how to learn was one of the main points of college. Also learning how to live with other people sort of on my own. It was a useful transition between living with and under strict control of my parents and living on my own with my own rules.

phantomdiver



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Author: backslash Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2895 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/2/2000 10:47 AM
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In regards to those who point out the difference between attending college and getting an education, I agree with you completely. I probably use a lot more of the knowledge I obtained by reading and experience than I ever did the information I got in college.

However, even though it can still sometimes be done, it is much more difficult to get started in many professions without a piece of paper telling the world that you've got "an education". Most places won't even give you an interview without it. I'm not saying it's right, but I bet it is significantly more efficient. Can you imagine how many totally unqualified people an HR person would have to wade through in order to find that rare diamond in the rough, if they didn't use filters such as degrees and experience?

As far as the experience of living away from home, and learning to deal with others and take personal responsibility, I think that is probably one of the biggest reasons to go to college. You can also achieve this by moving out, but staying near home. It doesn't really matter. Most people will leave the nest when they are ready, when they can't stand the restrictions placed on them by their parents. So even if one person does it later than another, most do eventually learn to deal with the world.

JMO,

Harley

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Author: soui Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2897 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/2/2000 10:52 AM
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Not to be a smart ass, but what does college necessarily have to do with getting an education? While it is true that it gives you easier access to learning some esoteric fields, it seems to me that the structure of college with its emphasis on grades can often be a hindrance to getting an education...

Sometimes that's true. If it's true for you, then probably you should avoid college unless you need it to "punch your ticket" in a career that requires it.


My career did in fact require it (Ph.D.), and I too learned a lot in college. I do think, however, that it is a mistake to use "school" and "education" interchangeably. Often they overlap, but often they do not.

If your goal is really education and not school, then, depending on what field you are studying, it is often possible (IMHO) to learn a lot more outside of a formal setting than inside of one.

Actually, I always rather liked Thomas Jefferson's original conception for the University of Virginia...

Cheers,
soui

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Author: soui Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2899 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/2/2000 10:59 AM
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However, even though it can still sometimes be done, it is much more difficult to get started in many professions without a piece of paper telling the world that you've got "an education". Most places won't even give you an interview without it. I'm not saying it's right, but I bet it is significantly more efficient. Can you imagine how many totally unqualified people an HR person would have to wade through in order to find that rare diamond in the rough, if they didn't use filters such as degrees and experience?

I understand the idea that college serves as a (very imperfect) filter for employable qualities. What you are talking about above, however, is not education, but competency certification (and not necessarily a very thorough one). I have seen firsthand the importance attached to degrees in my field, where you are only taken seriously with a Ph.D. or an M.D. (but are universally envied if you have both).

I will never argue about going to college if it will aid you in pursuing your chosen occupation (I did it myself after all) -- it's just that I think that we should understand those reasons explicitly.

Cheers,
soui

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Author: pyrotech One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 3062 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/4/2000 12:23 AM
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A view from the far, far left...........

A true rebel, I was in line to be valedictorian in high school but instead skipped 12th grade to work.
I was told that I could get any number of scholarships
but chose trade school over college. My guidance counselor was furious that I was 'wasting' my intelligence. My first full time job out of high school was as a laborer in a sawmill. My father joked that after a few days there I might change my mind about college. I didn't. (It made me want my own mill). I have worked for several companies, and several times have run my own varied businesses. I have been sole proprietor of a food concession, sawmill, automotive repair shop, and courier service. Looking back, I still don't regret passing up college. My only regret is that I didn't spend a year hitch-hiking around the world. Even now, despite a love for learning, not many courses appeal to me except journalism, and with no degree at all I still manage to get published occasionally. Learning is vastly different than education. And life can be a far better teacher than academics, if you pay attention.
I know too many people who are not using their degree. And yes, too many of them are working as clerks or waitresses. They were pushed to college by a system that says this is the routine, whether it makes sense in your life or not. A degree is not necessarily a guarantee of anything, and the lack of one not always a detriment. My older brother teaches at MIT, and has NO degree from any college! What he does have is life experience and knowledge that couldn't have been 'bought' at a university.
Through an eager curiousity, I have learned to invest quite successfully. If and when I have children of my own, that will be one of the primary lessons at home.
For better of worse, financial independence does bring freedom of choice in many ways, at least at this time in history and in this country.
The four years I should have been in college were spent working, and my logic was that I saved thousands in tuition plus made thousands that I never would have otherwise in those years (early compounding right?).
I expect to 'retire' at 40, though I'll never stop working because I love it too well, and have so many plans for the future. Good luck to everyone with a dream.....

-pyro

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Author: vickifool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 3306 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/7/2000 8:26 PM
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phantomdiver wrote:
I found that learning how to learn was one of the main points of college. Also learning how to live with other people sort of on my own. It was a useful transition between living with and under strict control of my parents and living on my own with my own rules.

I agree! I've already discussed with my children that they will have to move away to college, even if it is in town. It's a really nice transition. In retrospect, I majored in "moving away from home" the official major of civil engineering was secondary.

I wish we could re-title threads. This one has wandered far from the thread title.

Community colleges have advantages and disadvantages. Ours are close to free in cost. I've taken several courses at my local one and I find that I tend to "push" the class. I keep asking for more rigor. Why do we just take role and don't learn anything on the first day of class? Can't we have more of the Spanish class taught in Spanish? Etc. Etc. I remind me of the little old ladies who sat in the front row of my music survey class and actually took the time to do ALL the recommended homework.



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Author: 4aapl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 3380 of 753169
Subject: Re: Musings about "early" retirement Date: 2/8/2000 1:38 PM
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I'm attempting to catch up on all the messages, so I haven't had a chance to read all of the responses, but...

PhantomDiver, it sounds like you have done well. The whole RE thing mainly centers around making you happy. Some people would rather skip having kids and be able to retire early, while most people with kids wouldn't give it up from the world. 57 and 59 is still retiring early by nearly everyone's standards, and you will probably be doing it better than most people. But I think what more people are figuring out is that it's all about enjoying your current situation. If you have to work another 10 years to stay int he area for your kids and to get the best health coverage, so be it. But in that time you will also know why you are doing it and that if you really wanted to you do have options, which will probably make each day a little happier. It's amazing what a difference it makes to take a little weight off of the shoulders.

SusanRV, having graduated 2 years ago I have some strong opinions on the college payment thing. My parents paid about $5k/year, which was the amount for room and board my first year. This roughly worked out to half of my total expenses. I had saved a fair amount before college, and I worked at a fairly well paying job each and every summer, x-mas, and spring break...and one or 2 years I also did some web development through the school year. I had about $2k total in scholorships, and went to a good state school (UC Davis) (though it looks like they didn't do to well in teaching me how to spell :)

In the end I came out ahead, at the end of my 4 1/2 year stint, but about $20k. I figured out that basically if my parents hadn't contributed at all I would have been dead even.

I was on sports teams throughout college, and along with a Chemical Engineering curiculum there was really no extra time. But looking back, the only thing I would have done differently would be to not work during xmas and spring break as I didn't get to go on a spring break trip until just after I graduated.

My vote is for parents to pay half. This way the kids still have to work, but not during the school year. This makes sure the kids don't just waste away their time at school, and also gives them good experience to put on their resume. It would be a little rougher finnancially for someone not in the engineering field, or for someone who spends more than I did...but it is still doable.

Also, I cringe when I hear some of my friends here at work have a huge debt from loans. Add in a new car and a new house and there's no way they are going to get out of the rat race anytime soon, and they're even having trouble getting their 401k up to the mac that our company matches.


I think each family has to work it out for theirselves, but I will probably follow this method somewhere down the road when/if kids come about.

4aapl

(while I'm at it, my parents paid for my car insurance back in HS, though if I got a ticket or in an accident I would have to start paying it. I didn't get a car for college, though i bought one from them 4 years into it. My sister OTOH was given a car, and they are still paying her insurance even though she graduated 9 months ago.... I think there is a corralation here about how I think about where my money goes while she is oblivious, but I'll leave that for a different story)

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