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Well, some numbers have changed as my income has gone up ~15%. However, of my gross income, I only spend ~ 43% (THP is 74% of gross, and another 31% goes to house payment and savings).

Kids are 7yo, 6yo, 2yo, and 4mo.

College savings only up $2K due to my investment in NEW (lost about $3K in college savings).

T-IRA and 401K now are 2.0X Gross, 2.7X Net. These look smaller than the 2.2/3.2 numbers from January, but that's due to my salary going up. The total of those accounts is up 6% since January, and that's with losses in NEW (lost about $15K in T-IRA).

Total net worth not including college and retirement is in the same relative range (0.9X gross & 1.3X net), which is progress since income rose 15%).

Mortgage is still about 72% of home value (30 yr fixed at 5 5/8% - payoff in 2033). Payments are 17 of gross income, 24% of net income.

Home equity is 3.9% of home value, but it has been transfered to a 0% CC (until January, '08). However, I have more than half of it saved up in our savings account, and am currently saving about $500/mo towards paying it off. In addition, I have a new offer of 0% with no balance transfer fee until September '08 which I'll probably lose (why not make 5% on that money for 9 months).

No Other Debt (own both cars, no credit card debt, etc.)

Ongoing Savings

College: $400/month + about $700/yr given by family as Bday/Xmas Gifts to Kids' for college
401K: 9% contribution - Employer Contributes another 5%
Cash Balance Pension: 5% Employer Contribution, will increase to 6% in 2 years, and then go up 1% each 5 years
Home Equity: ~$500/mo, not needed after January '08 so it will be freed up for other purposes (expanding grocery budget and additional savings).

The concerns

- I'm once again humbled about my investing ability. NEW cost me alot of money (about $18K). No more coming up with my own ideas! At this point, I'm going to stick to index funds, large well established companies, and Hidden Gems recommendations. As you'll note, though I lost $18K in NEW since January, both my retirement and college savings are up. This is due to stellar performance out of HG selections (I bought BWLD at 30 about 2 years ago, and it's at 87 today!).
- I have no Roth IRA
- I have a new car and took on no debt for it (it was a gift)
- Grocery Budget is increasing faster than inflation (You can't imagine how much a 7-year-old girl can eat!!). The prices aren't going up, but quantities are coming down.

The Plan

1) Pay off Home Equity
- Will do by January, unless I transfer it to get 0% until September '08, at which point I'll just earn extra interest on their money.

2) Plan for college
By my estimates (murky, since they depend heavily on assumptions for college inflation), I should have at least (with pessimistic assumptions) 75% of the cost of college covered. As we get closer, we'll determine the best way to cover the rest, if necessary (with a heavy emphasis on the kids contributing to the cost of their education).

3) Pay off the house early
If I devote a little more than 1/2 of the home equity payment to a house payment, I should have the house paid off on or before my 55th birthday.

4) Keep on track (not updated since January)
According to the calculator at fireseeker.com, I have a 90% chance of reaching my goal if I assume:

- Spending at 55 is the same (inflation adjusted) as spending today - this seems like a conservative assumption since we will no longer have kids living with us at that point
- Reality Retirement, where spending naturally decreases with age
- Average market returns with a fully invested portfolio
- House is paid off in 2033 (again, should be conservative based on #3 above)

5) Get better investment returns
- Hopefully I've learned my lesson. NEW cost me alot of money (about 9-10 months of growth), though stellar performance out of HG recommendations has helped. The college accounts are basically even with January levels (up $2K, but I've put in $2K), while retirement accounts are up about 2% (after factoring out contributions). Even still, I'd like to see close to 1%/month, so I've only gained 2 months in the last 5.
- A new college account I opened in January is up 20% (!!) using HG recommendations.

6) Increase Income
- Income has increased by 15% this year. This is less than I think it should have been, but there is some company rule the total increase someone can receieve in a year.
- Some of this has to go to increasing the home equity payment (I've been relying on overtime up until now)

7) Find a way to fund a Roth
- We always get a boost in the spring with our tax return (I put 13 exemptions on my W-4 and still get a couple grand back every year!!) and a bonus. This year that has to go to home equity, but after that, we can divert a part of it to Roth IRA's
- Once the emergency fund is built up to 3 months take-home (by 2011 at current savings rate), I can use that money for Roths
- I do have to watch out though, since my expenses will probably grow faster than inflation over the next 11 years as the kids grow.



Summary
I've made progress over the last 5 months, but not as much as I should have. I'll stick to large caps, stock index funds, and HG receommendations for the forseeable future. If I can gain 10.5% per year until retirement (average S&P 500 returns), my plan works out.

I suppose there are some things we could give up (cell phones, high-speed internet, satellite, the NFL football package, downsize the house, vacation every other year), but I don't just want to retire early, I want to live!


Bruce
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I feel your pain with NEW. I'm the proud owner of a few thousand shares of NovaStar, another sub-prime originator that has gotten decimated. The result is my ROTH account was looking rather nasty for awhile. When the price tanked down to $3.50 in sympathy with NEW declaring bankruptcy, it was gutshot time for me. I decided to hang on and buy more at the depressed prices and so far so good. Things are looking up for NovaStar, but I do feel bad for those that got burned with NEW and other companies that bit the dust during the sub-prime blow up. Just goes to show how important it is to be diversified.
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2) Plan for college
By my estimates (murky, since they depend heavily on assumptions for college inflation), I should have at least (with pessimistic assumptions) 75% of the cost of college covered. As we get closer, we'll determine the best way to cover the rest, if necessary (with a heavy emphasis on the kids contributing to the cost of their education).


While you should plan for college, don't set their sights for just 4-year colleges/universities. In our experience, not all kids are university material upon high school graduation. Some are better suited to community/technical colleges. While 3 of our 4 boys went to a university (4th is still in HS), two weren't ready for it and should have gone directly to a community/technical college. This is a much cheaper route to go. Unfortunately, we paid for a couple of years at the university to realize this, even though there were signs. So the 75% may be enough if some end up going for a 2-year degree.

Calvin
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(I bought BWLD at 30 about 2 years ago, and it's at 87 today!).


I bought BWLD just below 30 as well and made the boneheaded move of selling a bit over half my position at $66, just before the earnings announcement a month ago. It was my largest stock holding and I wanted to diversify into another HG pick IIVI. BWLD is still in my top 5 holdings despite the sell off, but boy would my returns look much better....

Anyway, I have been trying to fight grocery inflation as well.... trying to minimize waste, and also eat more basic foods like black beans and in season fruit and vegetables. I do the grocery shopping now for the most part instead of my DW, which helps. Also, focused on my garden growing this year, 10 tomato plants and 5 squash plants.

Other cost-cutting measures include sneaking CF bulbs into our house (DW hates them), better water management for the outside irrigation, etc...

I'll post my FIRE update at the end of the month, but I've managed to stay just ahead of the S&P500 which is up 8.5% so far this year.

--
whyohwhyoh
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3) Pay off the house early

If I devote a little more than 1/2 of the home equity payment to a house payment, I should have the house paid off on or before my 55th birthday.


I would re-think this one. I know it is part of the conventional wisdom, but my strategy was to improve the house, re-finance and then use part of the equity to buy more real-estate. I worked hard at building a portfolio of rentals as well as my primary dwelling, and came out substantially ahead. I kept my overall debt-to-value ratio for all real estate combined at 50% or less, so there were no real worries of being slammed by a bubble.

One of the real issues we need to face is that a house suitable for raising a family and holding down a job is not likely to be well suited to retirement*. Devote the extra money to a different investment, let the leverage of a mortgage work for you, and plan to move to a paid-up house in retirement. Plus, you have the option of getting a new house, hopefully with much less maintenance, than the one you have lived in for decades.

DW and I have sold the rental properties, exchanged into rentals in our retirement location, and have enough left over to build a really nice house in an area with less traffic, more recreation, and a better lifestyle. The next chapter in this saga is to sell our primary dwelling, which will produce enough cash to completely pay off the construction loan on the new house.

* In retirement we no longer have to commute to a job, so the location can be very different, we no longer need rooms for all the kids, walking distance to a school is no longer an attraction, etc. DW and I chose a low-traffic location in the country and love every minute of it.
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I would re-think this one. I know it is part of the conventional wisdom, but my strategy was to improve the house, re-finance and then use part of the equity to buy more real-estate. I worked hard at building a portfolio of rentals as well as my primary dwelling, and came out substantially ahead.

We've tried the rental property route, and it didn't work out for us. Basically, I like to believe the best of people, and give them extra chances. This just didn't work out for me as a couple of renters took advantage of my good nature. I decided I could either change who I was, or get out of the rental property game. I chose the latter.

One of the real issues we need to face is that a house suitable for raising a family and holding down a job is not likely to be well suited to retirement*. Devote the extra money to a different investment, let the leverage of a mortgage work for you, and plan to move to a paid-up house in retirement. Plus, you have the option of getting a new house, hopefully with much less maintenance, than the one you have lived in for decades.

This is s possibility. I suppose I look at paying off the mortgage as a diversification move. And by the time I retire, my youngest will just be 18 (with another one at 20), so I'll still need some extra bedrooms for summer vacation / winter break. I may not be ready to move down until 4-5 years in retirement.

Thanks for the input.

Bruce
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I'll stick to large caps, stock index funds, and HG receommendations for the forseeable future. If I can gain 10.5% per year until retirement (average S&P 500 returns), my plan works out.

----

I would suggest a different approach: a fully diversified portfolio of low-cost mutual funds, divided among different asset classes (large cap, small cap, international (both developed and emerging markets), and REITs, for a start). Whatever your allocation is, the HG picks should be a portion of your small cap allocation (i.e., if you decide 20% should be small cap, then no more than 20% of your portfolio should be in HG picks).

Also, a 10.5% return, to me, is an aggessive assumption. But I'm conservative in my assumptions so that I make sure I'll have more than enough.

I also wouldn't feel the need to fund 100% of 4 college educations. You can always borrow for college, you can't borrow for retirement (for the most part, anyway).

Karen
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I also wouldn't feel the need to fund 100% of 4 college educations. You can always borrow for college, you can't borrow for retirement (for the most part, anyway).

Karen


I feel the same way. DW made the decision to stay home with our 3 kids and home school them. So I put forward the following choice. I have no problem being a 1 income family, but I'm not going to sacrifice retirement saving (20% of gross at the time) and I'm only willing to limit my lifestyle to a point. So saving for college had to go. She agreed and off we went.

The kids knew that as they grew up and worked like dogs to get athletic scholarships.

It worked! We avoided the mess of kids having the entitlement mentality of gradle to 25 year support like the vast majority of the other spoiled brats that they hung around with.

decath
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I also wouldn't feel the need to fund 100% of 4 college educations. You can always borrow for college, you can't borrow for retirement (for the most part, anyway).

Except that if I retire at 55, I'll have a Junior and a Freshman in college. At that point, borrowing money for college is not a good plan.


Bruce
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At that point, borrowing money for college is not a good plan.


They can borrow, and they can then pay it off themselves when they get a job.

--
whyohwhyoh
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They can borrow, and they can then pay it off themselves when they get a job.

--
whyohwhyoh


This is an issue I've thought, studied and have pondered over for many years. Saving and paying for your children's education is for the most part a good thing. However, it really is unrealistic for most people. Unless you are in the upper middle class at least, most people cannot afford to raise a family, set aside for their retirement, have a decent lifestyle without living in a trailer and eating out of tin cans and provide for your children's education all at the same time. They days of company provided pensions are over. People need to focus on their own retirement and put college educations on the back burner unless they are high income earners.

There are ways around it and it can be done. Start late having kids in your 30's and you should be able to be already set up and have an income level to save for both college and retirement at agressive clips. But most poeple start having kids in their 20's while they are saving for a house, paying off school loans, buying furniture etc. Only the smart ones (those of us with the FIRE/LBYM nature) even start retirement investing at that time. After that, it takes a substantial income to set aside college funds as well. With families with more than one kid, then it seems daunting and impossible to put any meaningful funds aside.

Other options include joining the military, school loans and scholarships.

However, I think the best approach is to start coaching your kids as early as they understand that college is not an entitlement to be funded by their parents. It gets them thinking early in life about what they want to do with themselves. They will be more inclined to focus on targeted areas and pursue excellence in those areas in order to earn scholarships. Kids need to have that presure put on them. Things are too easy for them and they are idle too much. Gives them time to get into trouble. Parents pay for expensive birthday gifts, cars at 16, expensive out-of-state camps. I say get them working early on to save up and buy their own cars and entertainment expenses.

Help your children work on their "God given" natural talents whether they be music, sports, science, writing or any number of academic disciplines. If they don't, then they will have to understand that college is expensive and they will rack up 50k-100k in school loans if they don't get scholarships or work there way through it.

If they know mom and dad are footing a 100k bill to goof off in college for 4-6 years, they are more likely to delay making the tough decisions about what their talents and interests are. In addition, they will tend to see college exclusively as a life experience instead of what it is supposed to be. That is, a combo of life experience, education and career prep.

You also run the risk of wasting a ton of money considering a large chunk of kids go to their "dream" college their freshman years and waste 10-20k of money and flunk out. Our next door neighbor's 2nd child came home last weekend from Texas A&M, flunking out her freshman year. She is suspended and is going to try a local JC now. TA&M costs something like 20k per year. She had a rich uncle foot the bill. Boy, what my 2 older responsible kids would do with 20k. Invest in IRA's perhaps? But it is not to be. No rich benefactors in my family.

So when discussing this issue with other's, I always am amazed at how they feel pressured and intimidated to provide for their children's education. Who wrote that down as a command? Where is it in the "good parent's" manual? Can someone please tell me how all that got started?

decath



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If they know mom and dad are footing a 100k bill to goof off in college for 4-6 years, they are more likely to delay making the tough decisions about what their talents and interests are. In addition, they will tend to see college exclusively as a life experience instead of what it is supposed to be. That is, a combo of life experience, education and career prep.


Well stated. I have no issue and plan to save money for my kids' college educations, but I plan to make no promises. My parents (4 of them) paid for my undergrad, and I paid for graduate school so I feel some duty to help out my kids. However, when I completed my undergrad I worked hard to minimize costs for my parents by completing as many credits as possible in local community colleges during the summers, and working odd jobs to pay for misc expenses, car, food, books, etc.

I didn't mean to come across harsh in my comment, but worst case, the kids have to borrow to go to a local state school or borrow some portion of it. College costs vary from school to school. Here in California a state 4 year university costs $3300 per year plus your books. I believe in my home city of Houston, UofH is even cheaper. Most kids can then work to pay for their own room and board and misc. expenses.

--
whyohwhyoh
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Can someone please tell me how all that got started?

I think it got started with the boomers. I am included in the age group ,but most decidedly not included in the average mindset I see in many of my friends and slightly younger associates. They seem to be afraid of damaging the poor child's self-esteem, so everybody wins all the time. This follows through in school with A's for B work or less. This sets up an entitlement mentality, worsened by a lifetime of instant gratification for the kiddies. These parents are invariably maxed out all the time and working to pay the minimums, no time for the kids.
I will admit to funding about 50% of my first son's education, but this was really based on a per year dollar amount he was aware of for at least 5 years before he started college. He got about 37% from academic scholarships, and for the rest he got student loans.
My second son will be closer to 80% funded for four years, once again based on a set dollar amount, not a percentage, because he chose a state university over a private one.
I disagree that the average family cannot help greatly in funding college, though I will admit it takes planning from day one and LYBM,
especially while the kids are in college. Many things are put off or foregone as a result of the choices we have made. Retirement savings is not one of them.
Mom and Dad are high school grads only. This was and is a very important goal for us. It will delay retirement for 3 years, but we should still be done by the age of 57.

JK

Hoping to be the parent of two children with at least masters degrees.

P.S. Mom and Dad are high school grads only. This was and is a very important goal for us
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Can someone please tell me how all that got started?

First a little about me. 1 BS, 1 BA, & 1 MS degree. Age: 34.

I was groomed in the late 80s onto my senior year in high school to believe that an education was the only way that I was going to be able to provide for myself and a family. I find this to be a bit bogus now.

Case in point, a recent trip to the Honda dealership for a friend was an enlightening experience. $109 for a diagnosis fee. ~$90 hour for service.

I believe we will reach a reversal in a few short years where the trades may start overcoming the BS and BA degrees on salary by the hour. In my book there is nothing wrong with being a blue collar worker that has a trade under his/her belt. Maybe it's a grass is greener there thing, but I think the blue collar workers appear more satisfied with their work than the computer people I have been finding in my field in the last several years.

Briansan
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Briansan,

Your potential salary trajectory is huge compared to any tradesman, or semi-skilled employee. Trust me.


JK
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I was groomed in the late 80s onto my senior year in high school to believe that an education was the only way that I was going to be able to provide for myself and a family. I find this to be a bit bogus now.

Case in point, a recent trip to the Honda dealership for a friend was an enlightening experience. $109 for a diagnosis fee. ~$90 hour for service.


A couple of points here:

1) The $90/hour did not go to the grease monkey turning the wrenches on your car. A fairly large chunk went to the dealership. The mechanic probably gets around 20-30 per hour depending on his certifications and time at that shop.

2) As a general rule, a college degree of some sort still gives you the potential to gross more over your lifetime than a high school education will. There are and probably will always be exceptions to the rule. This link http://money.cnn.com/2004/09/21/pf/college/starting_salaries/ lists average starting salaries for various college majors. This link http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/wb/wb/xp-118845 is one article on average starting salaries for high school graduates. There is quite a difference between the two.

In my book there is nothing wrong with being a blue collar worker that has a trade under his/her belt. Maybe it's a grass is greener there thing, but I think the blue collar workers appear more satisfied with their work than the computer people I have been finding in my field in the last several years.

I agree with this.

I think that the key to being able to FIRE is to save a decent chunk of your salary and to manage your own expectations.

Cheers,
Nuclear Redneck
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Case in point, a recent trip to the Honda dealership for a friend was an enlightening experience. $109 for a diagnosis fee. ~$90 hour for service.
-----------------
A couple of points here:

1) The $90/hour did not go to the grease monkey turning the wrenches on your car. A fairly large chunk went to the dealership. The mechanic probably gets around 20-30 per hour depending on his certifications and time at that shop.


I knew a young man who got a job as a mechanic's assistant. He came back from work really upset one day.

He'd put a new antenna on a Jaguar. He got paid for 15 minutes at minimum wage. The Jaguar dealership charged for one hour at their very expensive rate. Using $90/hour and $5.15/hour Federal minimum wage, the dealership made about $88 profit.

Vickifool

Vickifool

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This is a wee bit of a threadjack, but as a subject which is close to my heart, I'd like to point out that college doesn't have to be a burden IF you plan for it. I am agnostic on whether planning to pay large chunks of it is a good thing for your kids or not.

>>
After that, it takes a substantial income to set aside college funds as well.
>>

$100 a month for 18 years stuffed in the mattress pays for 4 years at a state school without a single summer job, lawn mowed, or scholarship earned. If you take it out of the mattress and put it in an ESA with a fairly conservative 60/40 equities/bonds allocation, then it would be closer to $50k. (Or, um, could lose money right before junior matriculates. I don't know how secure I'd be doing that, personally, if I thought I *had* to pay 100% of expenses.)

If you want to pay for four years at my alma mater (which, I take perverse pride in saying, was the most expensive school in the country when I was there*), then you have to be a little more creative. Say, socking away Christmas gifts, having them work summer jobs and save the money from age 14 to 22, and writing those $500 scholarship essays like its their job.**

* Money well spent for me, although not necessarily worth six state school educations for everybody. In terms of credentials, for most professions, a BS is a BS is a BS, regardless of whether its from Harvard or Iowa State.

** Do not discount the bite $500 puts in the cost of college when you devote a year of your life to writing. Not only was it the best paying job I've ever had (hoping to change that, someday, as I'd like to think I'm worth more at 25 than I was at 18), I learned more about persuasive writing in that year than I learned in a lifetime of English courses. My personal favorite was a federal defense scholarship I finangled on the strength of an essay saying that the US should send more engineers, like me for example, to Japan to study. My mental title was "Send me to Japan or Osama wins".

I don't have any problems with recommending any level of student loans required to get a bachelor's degree or any degree which improves career prospects. Its the ones that don't measurably improve career prospects (Masters in Asian Philosophy, ho!) and saddle you with six figures of debt that are bad ideas.

On the subject of "Bachelors versus trades":

There is nothing wrong with being an auto mechanic, but when you get charged $100 for a consultation and $100 an hour as a mechanic, the mechanic doesn't see $200. On the other hand, when a hypothetical consultant engineer charges you $60-100 (and up, up, up) an hour, they can retain a very large percentage of it. (The specifics depend on how they were hired and whether there is an intermediary.)

There are also options with bachelors to decouple your income from the time you work every week -- as an example, I sell software over the Internet, and when somebody buys it I get paid (and keep 95% of the cost, less taxes) regardless of whether I devoted thought to the fact that I am a small businessman on that particular day. Its a bit harder for a mechanic to get paid for "work" done while sleeping.
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I believe we will reach a reversal in a few short years where the trades may start overcoming the BS and BA degrees on salary by the hour.


They already do - depending on the trade and the degree. Example, journeyman (electrical) lineman versus public-school teacher.
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Hi Bruce,

I'm with whyohwhy - I meant that your KIDS can borrow for college, or work and save their own money to pay for it, or get scholarships, not that you personally should borrow it once you are retired.

Karen
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One alternative is for the parents to help pay off the school loans after they graduate.

For a FIRE'd person who has already built up a nest egg and is looking forward to stop working in the 50-60 age range, then it would be a nice guesture to help your kids pay off the school loans, considering you made the decision to not save for education early on.

Given that situation, I would make it conditional. Did the student work hard, get good grades, avoid trouble, make reasonable school choices, avoid substance abuse, etc..

decath
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WARNING - OFF TOPIC POST

warris wrote (in reference to trades earning more than those with a BS or BA on salary by the hour):
They already do - depending on the trade and the degree. Example, journeyman (electrical) lineman versus public-school teacher.

This is not true. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, Electricians average ~46K/yr compared with ~$48K/yr for elementary teachers and ~$51K for secondary teachers. When you consider that school teachers only work 9 months out of the year compared with the whole year for electricians, that means weekly earnings for teachers are 39-46% higher than electricians. Add to that the fact that teachers have superior benefits to electricians. Teachers make much more than electricians, and even make more than many other professional occupations on an hourly or weekly basis. However, the teachers' union doesn't want you to know this, which is why they only quote annual figures.

Bruce
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Karen wrote:
I'm with whyohwhy - I meant that your KIDS can borrow for college, or work and save their own money to pay for it, or get scholarships, not that you personally should borrow it once you are retired.

My wife and I started out with $40K in college debt. I don't want that for my kids.

We're saving $100/mo/kid (along with $175/yr/kid in gifts and a $2000 starting seed at birth); we expect that to pay for ~75% of the cost of tuition, room and board for an in-state public school (Purdue is currently $15K/yr for TR&B). The kids will be responsible for the rest, though I won't let them go into debt aproaching 1XAI unless it's due to a choice to attend a much more expensive university.

And if they get scholarships, so much the better. I'll be able to use that money for something else.

I can save for retirement and college at the same time, and that's what I'll do. We don't live a meager lifestyle (we have a nice house, go on vacation every year, etc.), and I plan to retire at 55. No undue sacrifice in my opinion. If I cut my college savings in half, then I could retire 10 months earlier. I think 10 months is worth it.

Bruce
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warris wrote (in reference to trades earning more than those with a BS or BA on salary by the hour):
They already do - depending on the trade and the degree. Example, journeyman (electrical) lineman versus public-school teacher.

This is not true. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, Electricians average ~46K/yr compared with ~$48K/yr for elementary teachers and ~$51K for secondary teachers. When you consider that school teachers only work 9 months out of the year compared with the whole year for electricians, that means weekly earnings for teachers are 39-46% higher than electricians. Add to that the fact that teachers have superior benefits to electricians. Teachers make much more than electricians, and even make more than many other professional occupations on an hourly or weekly basis. However, the teachers' union doesn't want you to know this, which is why they only quote annual figures.

Bruce


I know that the plural of anecdote is not data. However, my father was a union electrician for a number of years. Until he "settled down" and got a desk job, he always made much more money than my mother who was an assistant professor at a large university.

-Steph
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This is not true. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, Electricians average ~46K/yr compared with ~$48K/yr for elementary teachers

Please note I specified journeyman electrical linemen.

These guys are electricians that routinely work with hot lines, at higher voltages, outside, up a pole, at night, in a storm. And if it's a big storm they'll probably be up there for long hours for several days after the storm is over.

They get paid extra.

According to the BLS, "Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers" average $49,900. But this is assuming 40 hours a week 52 weeks a year. Throw in a few storms, a boom in construction, and a general shortage of qualified linemen, and it shoots up. WAY up. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=citylight12m&date=20070512&query=%22city+light%22+%22puget+sound+energy%22+overtime
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varney:
I can save for retirement and college at the same time, and that's what I'll do. We don't live a meager lifestyle (we have a nice house, go on vacation every year, etc.), and I plan to retire at 55. No undue sacrifice in my opinion. If I cut my college savings in half, then I could retire 10 months earlier. I think 10 months is worth it.


Good deal. Looks like you have it all worked out.

One thing I'm hoping to be able to do for my grandkids is gifting them annual $$ for both education accounts and an IRA.

DW and I could FIRE at age 50 if we wanted to. However, we are going to wait until 53-54 so that we can have a substantial nest egg in order to not only have fun money for ourselves but to be able to help out both our kids, grandkids, great-grandkids etc. It will be conditionally of course on behavior and work ethic. Needs will not be a factor. IMHO, 99% of those in need in the land of America are that way because of their own poor personal choices. Also, I'm not going to give money to a child that takes it and buys a HumVee.

Also, I won't help out some kids just because they are less well off than the rest. DW and I busted our tails to get where we are and never asked a dime from either of our parents. After years of hard work, self-sacrifice, LBYM and investing, we our clearly the most affluent out of all family members except my parents (but quickly catching up I might add) yet, both sets of parents have shoveled out thousands of $$ to other kids and grand-kids other than ourselves. In some cases, giving gifts to kids that turned around and sold them so that they could buy drugs.

In both family's cases, we saw our 3 kids passed over because they had responsible parents.

I won't let that sort of family socialism happen as a result of my benefacting.

"To each each according to their work ethic. From each according to their own personal fancy" ;)

decath
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<<Briansan,

Your potential salary trajectory is huge compared to any tradesman, or semi-skilled employee. Trust me.


JK
>>



I think you are wrong about that.


Trades like plumbing, electricians, HVAC repair automotive repair and such offer the enterprising person a chance at self employment that can earn the capable person very generous amounts of income.

My old blue collar co workers at a local utility make $30/hour, and double time for most overtime. There was an article in the local paper recently about blue collar utility workers making more money than the CEO due to generous overtime policies.


Longshoreman willing to work a lot of overtime are famously pulling down $150,000-200,000 a year.

There are lots of lousy blue collar jobs, and a fair number of excellent ones.




Seattle Pioneer

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<<1) The $90/hour did not go to the grease monkey turning the wrenches on your car. A fairly large chunk went to the dealership. The mechanic probably gets around 20-30 per hour depending on his certifications and time at that shop.>>


In my furnace repair business, my $95 minimum charge DID go to me. Add on to that generous markups on parts I sold and I was making $125/billable hour.


I did well enough at that to retire early a week or so ago.



Seattle Pioneer
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<<1) The $90/hour did not go to the grease monkey turning the wrenches on your car. A fairly large chunk went to the dealership. The mechanic probably gets around 20-30 per hour depending on his certifications and time at that shop.>>


In my furnace repair business, my $95 minimum charge DID go to me. Add on to that generous markups on parts I sold and I was making $125/billable hour.


I did well enough at that to retire early a week or so ago.



Seattle Pioneer


Yep, you would be the exception I was talking about.
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In my furnace repair business, my $95 minimum charge DID go to me. Add on to that generous markups on parts I sold and I was making $125/billable hour.

That's exactly what I was talking about. Owning your own business. That is where the money is. Oddly, I'm seeing more and more folks doing something on the side. One guy is hoping to get into wedding photography, another is trying his hand writing fiction, and I'm working my stocks. I've been thinking of picking up a trade, but can't seem to figure out what would be the best fit.

Briansan
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Hey SP,

For every anecdote there is a rebuttal. This is drawn from my personal experience. My BIL was working as a painter (unionized). This is Chicago afterall. He quit to go to college and after 6 long years of working and going to College, and 4 years experience in his field he is earning 150K per year, with the possibility of 250k or better in the next few years. The right degree and the right mindset will out-earn all but the most diligent blue collar type all day long. There are always exceptions of course, but on balance the degreed person has the advantage.


JK
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<<Hey SP,

For every anecdote there is a rebuttal. This is drawn from my personal experience. My BIL was working as a painter (unionized). This is Chicago afterall. He quit to go to college and after 6 long years of working and going to College, and 4 years experience in his field he is earning 150K per year, with the possibility of 250k or better in the next few years. The right degree and the right mindset will out-earn all but the most diligent blue collar type all day long. There are always exceptions of course, but on balance the degreed person has the advantage.


JK>>


A talented tradesman who runs his own business can make hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars per year. Of course, not many have talent and ambition on that scale.


And of course there are plenty of college educated professionals making huge amounts of bucks, just as you describe.



Seattle Pioneer


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According to the BLS, "Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers" average $49,900. But this is assuming 40 hours a week 52 weeks a year. Throw in a few storms, a boom in construction, and a general shortage of qualified linemen, and it shoots up. WAY up. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=citylight12m&date=20070512&query=%22city+light%22+%22puget+sound+energy%22+overtime

Great, so you've vaulted their mean annual earnings to somewhere in between elementary and secondary teachers.

But you still haven't taken into account the amount of time worked. Elementary and secondary teachers work 9 months of the year. That makes their weekly earnings $1230-$1310, compared with $940/wk for linemen.

Bruce
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>> Great, so you've vaulted their mean annual earnings to somewhere in between elementary and secondary teachers.

But you still haven't taken into account the amount of time worked. Elementary and secondary teachers work 9 months of the year. That makes their weekly earnings $1230-$1310, compared with $940/wk for linemen.
<<

Have you taken college costs and 5-6 years of lost income (from going to school rather than working) into account in your estimation?

#29
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Have you taken college costs and 5-6 years of lost income (from going to school rather than working) into account in your estimation?

The question at issue wasn't whether one course or the other was the most economically beneficial over the long term. It's whether trades people or college graduates have higher hourly income. I simply disputed the notion that electricians make more (per unit work) than teachers.

College educated individuals make more than trades people. In the case of electrician vs. teacher, it may well be economically beneficial to pick electrician. However, you have less opportunity for advancement, and you won't get every summer off.

Bruce
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Trades like plumbing, electricians, HVAC repair automotive repair and such offer the enterprising person a chance at self employment that can earn the capable person very generous amounts of income.

And college educated individuals can't start their own businesses?

Longshoreman willing to work a lot of overtime are famously pulling down $150,000-200,000 a year.

Yes, but the question was about hourly earnings, where college educated individuals (even teachers) make more on average than people working in trades. College educated individuals also tend to have more opportunity for advancement (school administration for teachers), and better benefits (time off, medical, retirement, etc.)

There are guys in the plant pulling down a little more money per year than I do. But they're working 60 hrs/week to do it. A union worker in our plant would have to work something like 54 hrs to make what I can make in 40. I only get paid straight time for OT, but my rate is still slightly more than their time-and-a-half rate. Now if they work on Sundays or Holidays, they get double time and out-earn me per hour; but I'm more than willing to make that sacrifice.

Bruce
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<<Trades like plumbing, electricians, HVAC repair automotive repair and such offer the enterprising person a chance at self employment that can earn the capable person very generous amounts of income.

And college educated individuals can't start their own businesses?

Longshoreman willing to work a lot of overtime are famously pulling down $150,000-200,000 a year.

Yes, but the question was about hourly earnings, where college educated individuals (even teachers) make more on average than people working in trades. College educated individuals also tend to have more opportunity for advancement (school administration for teachers), and better benefits (time off, medical, retirement, etc.)
>>



It depends on what you want to do with your life.


I'd argue that the trades are a good way for people of pretty average ability to maximize their incomes and earn some pretty respectable bucks if they want to work a lot of overtime in the right job and trade.

People who have a level of intelligence consistant with graduating from college may find themselves able to earn a very good living self employed as contractors, avoiding student loan debts and getting several extra years of earning that college students are spending in school, and paying for the privilege.



And yes, college educated people can start their own businesses. But I see plenty of self employed college graduates earning no more and perhaps less as conmtract workers.

If you were to compare people of comparable intelligence who were skilled tradesman and teachers, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find those tradesmen getting the highest pay for their premium ability and skills and often enough self employed and earning bigger bucks.


I'm nor ranking down college educations, which can pay off spectacularly well. But plenty of college graduates are have mediocre earnings at mediocre jobs, may have spent a lot of bucks for college and lost out on four or more years of earnings.

<<College educated individuals also tend to have more opportunity for advancement (school administration for teachers), >>


You are overlooking the opportunities for people in the trades to be promoted to supervisory and managerial positions in construction companies, utilities, government regulatory agencies and other areas. Again, if you were to compare college graduates with people in the trades who have the intelligence to graduate from college, I'd suppose that the opportunities for promotion into supervisory and managerial positions is at least as available, if not more so.




Seattle Pioneer


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But you still haven't taken into account the amount of time worked. Elementary and secondary teachers work 9 months of the year. That makes their weekly earnings $1230-$1310, compared with $940/wk for linemen.


Perhaps you should read the article. Many of these linemen work - on average - 40 hours a week at regular time and another 30+ hours at double-time.

But why do you have such a resistance to the notion that SOME blue-collar jobs pay better than SOME white-collar jobs? Nobody's saying that this is the normal case - just that some cases exist?
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I like to look at the big picture. I know of very few white collar workers who get paid for their overtime, but they have to put the extra time in to get the job done. I think the hours are awash in these comparisions and that the yearly income is what is to be compared.

I know I'm at the point in my life where I'd rather get paid hourly for my work or get paid by the job. Getting paid for the year and working more than 40 hours a week but must put in 40 hours per week is for the birds.

Briansan
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Trades like plumbing, electricians, HVAC repair automotive repair and such offer the enterprising person a chance at self employment that can earn the capable person very generous amounts of income.
Bingo. Trades offer a quite decent income even as a mere journeyman, but with more responsibility (to a GC super, say) comes more $$$. And going into business for ones self pushes the earnings even more.

I earn a very good living. But most of the trades guys I know do as well. Not working class, but a truly good living. I'm not talking about the laborer pushing a broom to keep the jobsite clean. I'm talking smart carpenters, superintendents, and hardworking GC PMs who started out as plumbers, drywall guys, carpenters, etc.

Plus, they genrally like what they do. They are good at it, their skills are in demand, and at the end of the day something exists that didn't before due to their work.

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>> Plus, they genrally like what they do. They are good at it, their skills are in demand, and at the end of the day something exists that didn't before due to their work. <<

And their jobs are pretty darned tough to ship off to India.

#29
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Pero no se necesita hablar el ingles para hacerlos, mi amigo.

(The toughest working guy I know is our family's painter, who has helped us out on a variety of projects for going on twenty years now. He doesn't do that poorly for himself as a small businessman, and got his US citizenship last year. Mom baked him a cake in the shape of an American flag. I bear him no ill will whatsoever. Its just, if you get into say painting now, you're not just competing against the him from right now -- you're competing with quite numerous him-from-twenty-years-ago. I'd much rather be a programmer, myself. Well, then again, I am a programmer myself, and I enjoy it a heck of a lot more than the time I painted my grandfather's garage with our painter guy, so I guess we both lucked out in life. Irony of ironies, though, my job is a heck of a lot less at risk to recent immigrants than his is*.)

* I'm a recent immigrant myself, by any useful definition of the term. Legal, too.
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I am a programmer myself . . . my job is a heck of a lot less at risk to recent immigrants

Well yeah, because programmers don't have to emigrate. They just work right there in Bangalore. Painters will emigrate because they rather can't work remotely.

Point is, one's always at risk to be replaced by someone willing and able to do the same work more cheaply.

- Erik
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Perhaps you should read the article. Many of these linemen work - on average - 40 hours a week at regular time and another 30+ hours at double-time.

But why do you have such a resistance to the notion that SOME blue-collar jobs pay better than SOME white-collar jobs?


Because THEY DON'T on a per hour basis, which was the point to which your response (saying that linemen are paid more than teachers) was addressed. Don't make a claim that linesman are paid more per hour than teachers, and then use 30+ hours/wk of overtime to back up your position.

Sure, a linesman who works 3500 hours a year will make more than a teacher who works 1500 hours a year. So what?

A college education is still of economic benefit. That economic benefit doesn't have to be in terms of dollars paid in salary; it can be in terms of free time (or other benefits). Teachers are paid well ($50K/yr is above median household earnings for the US), and still get an enormous amount of time off compared to most workers.

Bruce
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Because THEY DON'T on a per hour basis, which was the point to which your response (saying that linemen are paid more than teachers) was addressed. Don't make a claim that linesman are paid more per hour than teachers, and then use 30+ hours/wk of overtime to back up your position.

Sure, a linesman who works 3500 hours a year will make more than a teacher who works 1500 hours a year. So what?


Many of them DO make more per hour worked. It is a simple fact that you are incredibly reluctant to accept.

Don't use 1500 hours/yr for teachers just because it is a 9-month job (and most places it is a 10-month job, but you have more time off during the year). Most teachers work more than 40 hours per week, so 1500 hours/yr is a very low-end estimate.

Acme
(Leaving the corporate world to become a high school teacher.)
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I am fairly sure that the general superintendants I work with make more on a per hour basis than I do. That is if you account not only for my client billable hours, but also my own office management time. I'm am a highly-educated white collar worker. Yet my blue collar colleagues do as good or better.

Total compensation, I make more. But I work many more hours.
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Many of them DO make more per hour worked. It is a simple fact that you are incredibly reluctant to accept.

You simply stating it is a "fact" is meaningless. If you want to provide some data, then go right ahead. I have provided data which proves my point.

Don't use 1500 hours/yr for teachers just because it is a 9-month job (and most places it is a 10-month job, but you have more time off during the year).

A standard school year is 180 school days. Add in as many as 15 extra days, and you arrive at 39 weeks, which is precisely 9 months.

Most teachers work more than 40 hours per week, so 1500 hours/yr is a very low-end estimate.

Elementary school here is from 9-3:45 (less than 7 hours), and teachers have 2 "free periods" per day when the kids are at "specials" (gym, music, computer lab, etc.), which provides ample time for grading papers and lesson planning. The situation was the same where I grew up (same general region of the country, but a different state). Most teachers I know have told me that after the first few years, they are able to get everything done during the school day.

Bruce
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I have seem some people that change the rules of debate over and over before, but I have never seen someone work so hard to cherry pick information that supports their view while summarily dismissing any data that damages their claims. How sad...

Acme
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And college educated individuals can't start their own businesses
As far as construction goes, I'd generally trust a GC founded by someone who had worked in the trades more than someone like me - college-educated. I'm very knowledgeable about construction and work with it day-to-day, but in this field I would defer to tradespeople.
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Because THEY DON'T on a per hour basis, which was the point to which your response (saying that linemen are paid more than teachers)

Sorry, but "per hour" was a later introduction to the thread, and nobody suggested it was the point of the thread until the message I'm replying to.

For that matter, full-time public-school teachers typically are NOT paid by the hour. And the large majority (even more so the large majority of decent ones) work rather more than 40 hours per week (for their base salary, no overtime pay), plus they have continuing-education requirements that impose extra EXPENSES on them, decreasing their effective annual salary.

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You simply stating it is a "fact" is meaningless. If you want to provide some data, then go right ahead. I have provided data which proves my point.

You have provided data which proves your point under the assumption that overtime pay doesn't count and that teachers work 40 hours a week for 9 months a year. And on average.

We have provided data which proves our point in specific instances, wondered why you are introducing the notion that overtime doesn't count and trying to pretend it hasn't counted all along, and pointed out that teachers work more than 40 hours a week (but without overtime pay).
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I have seem some people that change the rules of debate over and over before, but I have never seen someone work so hard to cherry pick information that supports their view while summarily dismissing any data that damages their claims.

I haven't dismissed any data. I've dismissed anecdotes. Just because you find one tradesman who makes more than a teacher doesn't mean that "many" tradesmen make more than teachers.

The only one who's actually referenced any data here is me. If you care to show me some data (not anectdotal evidence) that supports your side, then go right ahead.

But thinking that anecdotal evidence constitutes backing for an opinion? Now that's sad.

Bruce
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warrl wrote:
Sorry, but "per hour" was a later introduction to the thread, and nobody suggested it was the point of the thread until the message I'm replying to.

You're either a liar or you have poor reading comprehension.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25564470

That's the first message you posted on this thread. As you can see, the statement you are replying to references "salary by the hour".

And the large majority (even more so the large majority of decent ones) work rather more than 40 hours per week

Well you'll excuse me if I put more trust in data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics than I do in your musings.

Bruce
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Well, as this thread has degenerated into insults and no longer bears any resemblance to the original discussion in the thread, it appears that I can safely ignore it now without missing anything.

#29
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warrl wrote:
You have provided data which proves your point under the assumption that overtime pay doesn't count and that teachers work 40 hours a week for 9 months a year.

The BLS numbers includes all hours worked. The fact that you think teachers probably work more hours, or that you've found one instance of a linesman that works 80-90 hours a week is immaterial. Provide some data that proves your point. Annecdotal evidence is not data.

And on average.
Of course, on average! I'm sure I can find you individual examples of teachers and school administrators with egregious salaries. There was a school superintendant here who was fired a few years back and got a $300K severance package.

But examples of individuals who are way off the average are not useful when it comes to determining if college provides economic benefit in general. If it were, then you might as well tell your kid to forget school and play basketball, because I can provide you with hundreds of examples of people making more money playing basketball than your typical college grad makes. Of course, that would be nonsense, as is your position.

We have provided data which proves our point in specific instances,</i

If you can't understand that a survey of millions of employers & employees should carry more weight in forming a conclusion than one or two specific instances, then I suppose there's no point discussing anything with you.

Bruce

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I haven't dismissed any data. I've dismissed anecdotes. Just because you find one tradesman who makes more than a teacher doesn't mean that "many" tradesmen make more than teachers.

Ah, but we DIDN'T find "one tradesman".

We found whole trades. Such as electrical linemen.

First you utterly ignored this data, then you tried to retroactively introduce qualifications to the discussion (even though they didn't help your case), and now you dismiss it.
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Ah, but we DIDN'T find "one tradesman".

We found whole trades. Such as electrical linemen.


I showed the data on electrical lineman. Their average annual earning slot in between elementary and secondary public school teachers. But of course, they don't get 3 months off.

Bruce
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I showed the data on electrical lineman. Their average annual earning slot in between elementary and secondary public school teachers. But of course, they don't get 3 months off.


What you mean is, exactly as I stated, their average hourly straight-time rate, slots them between the two categories of public school teachers - assuming that everyone works 40 hours a week.

Which would, by itself, support our contention that some trades earn more than some degreed professions: at the very least, electrical linemen earn more on average than elementary-school teachers.

But while public-school teachers routinely get 2 to 2.5 months off, a portion of which must be spent in continuing education which they usually pay for themselves, they also work long hours without extra compensation.

And electrical linemen work long hours also - WITH extra compensation, putting many of them at more than double the total take-home pay of high-school teachers.

Sorry you find the facts so incompatible with your theories that you must reject them.
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warrl wrote:
Sorry, but "per hour" was a later introduction to the thread, and nobody suggested it was the point of the thread until the message I'm replying to.

You're either a liar or you have poor reading comprehension.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25564470


Talk about poor reading comprehension:

(1) The message you refer to was well into the thread, making it a later addition.

(2) What my reply said is true. Unless you believe that working overtime isn't really working, and getting paid for it isn't really getting paid.
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Which would, by itself, support our contention that some trades earn more than some degreed professions: at the very least, electrical linemen earn more on average than elementary-school teachers.

Not on a per-hour basis, which was the original contention to which you responded.

But while public-school teachers routinely get 2 to 2.5 months off, a portion of which must be spent in continuing education which they usually pay for themselves, they also work long hours without extra compensation.

Not according to the BLS. But I guess that your personal experience and opinion should be weighted more heavily than data collected from thousands of employers. According to BLS, elementary school teachers average 36.6 hours per week, while secondary school teachers average 40.1 hours per week (of course they only work those hours for 9 months of the year as well).

And electrical linemen work long hours also - WITH extra compensation, putting many of them at more than double the total take-home pay of high-school teachers.

Some do, but according to the BLS, the average for "Supervisors, electricians and power transmission installers" was 40.2 hours per week.

Sorry you find the facts so incompatible with your theories that you must reject them.

Your rantings do not constitute facts. And the annectdotal evidence of a few linesman in the northwest working 80-90 hours a week doesn't outweight studies with data from nearly 1 million employers. Most electrical linemen make significantly less per hour than public school teachers.

Bruce

Note: Data on hours worked is from 2000, but I doubt that work habits have changed tremendously since then. Data can be found at: http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/sp/ncar0002.pdf
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(1) The message you refer to was well into the thread, making it a later addition.

It was the first post by you in the thread. It was also the 19th post in the thread, but only the 5th on the subject we are now discussing. And in fact, the 14th post in the thread, which introduced the idea that tradesmen make more than college educated individuals, was the very post which contained "salary by the hour". Thus, "per hour" was part of the discussion of trades vs. college FROM THE VERY FIRST MENTION OF THE TOPIC.

(2) What my reply said is true. Unless you believe that working overtime isn't really working, and getting paid for it isn't really getting paid.

It is not true, as I've shown from BLS data. The fact that you can find a lineman that makes more than a teacher is immaterial. The average lineman makes less (per hour) than the average public school teacher.

Bruce
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Note: Data on hours worked is from 2000, but I doubt that work habits have changed tremendously since then. Data can be found at: http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/sp/ncar0002.pdf

Using the data that you base everything on, there are trades positions that make more, PER HOUR, than college-educated positions. Your very data proves the point we are trying to make. Yet you continue to argue the other side...

Just a few examples:
Longshore equipment operators -- $28.91/hr
Elevator Installers and Repairers -- $26.88/hr
Supervisors, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters -- $25.35/hr
Supervisors, electricians, and transmission installers -- $25.09/hr

VERSUS

Elementary school teachers -- $28.86/hr
Industrial Engineers -- $26.81/hr
Medical Scientists -- $25.03/hr;
Atmospheric and Space Scientists -- $24.59/hr
Biological and Life Scientists -- $23.36/hr
Architects -- $23.22/hr
Computer Programmers -- $23.19/hr

As we say when completing a proof... Q.E.D.

Acme
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Which would, by itself, support our contention that some trades earn more than some degreed professions: at the very least, electrical linemen earn more on average than elementary-school teachers.

Not on a per-hour basis, which was the original contention to which you responded.


From the source - YOUR source, by the way - http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm

Power-line installers have a median hourly pay of $24.41 for regular time. We provided documentation of a GROUP of these people who routinely earn more than $100,000 per year, which at 70 hours per week for 50 weeks comes to an average rate of $28.57.

Elementary school teachers have a mean annual pay of $48,700. At 50 hours per week (and the teachers I've known well enough to comment on, ALL worked longer hours than that) for 40 weeks that's $24.35 per hour worked.

Perhaps you need to consult one of them about which of these hourly rates is greater.

But I would add:

Construction managers move up from the TRADES of construction workers, more often than they come from college. They earn, directly reading of the BLS chart (so no allowance for overtime), $35.43 median per hour.

First-line supervisors of construction workers, even more likely to be promoted from the trades (actually, often an in-between position that both manages the trades and practices them): $25.89 median.

Elevator installers/repairmen: $30.59 median per hour.

Power-plant electrical-equipment repairmen: $27.60.

Power-plant operators: $26.44.

Gas-plant operators: $25.80.

Locomotive engineers $27.88.

Railroad conductors and yardmasters $26.70

Plainly, according to the BLS, there are trades that routinely get paid more for hour - STRAIGHT TIME - than some college-education-required jobs.

Yes, there are many more trades that get paid less. But the only one insisting on a universal statement was you.
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Man, all this talk about teacher and electricians has me salivating over the big money they make.

I'm a police officer with over 9 years in. I make $36,000 a year. I work year round, carry a gun, wear a dark uniform with a vest that makes me sweat, have a certain percentage of society who wants to kill us all and so on.

If my wife didn't make her $14,000 a year working at a pre-school, I think I'd qualify for HUD housing.

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Construction managers move up from the TRADES of construction workers, more often than they come from college. They earn, directly reading of the BLS chart (so no allowance for overtime), $35.43 median per hour.
I'm a CM, and I don't know any who earn this low a rate. Generally it's well over this. My billable rate sure is.

It's 50/50 with CMs as to their background. Many come from the trades, but many (like me) come from engineering or architecture. Trades give you a good entry though.
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Man, all this talk about teacher and electricians has me salivating over the big money they make.



If you had it to do over again and I could have influenced you, I would have encouraged you to spend your Navy years with the SeaBees.

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Acme wrote:
Using the data that you base everything on, there are trades positions that make more, PER HOUR, than college-educated positions.

Actually, I usually use the data in http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.t01.htm since it is more up to date and splits thing out into 800 occupations rather than 450. However, the OES data doesn't indicate hours worked directly (and leaves it out for seasonal workers, including teachers) - unfortunatly, the categorizations are different, so there is no entry in the OES data for "Longshore equipment operators".

The rate for elementary school teachers listed in the NCS data is very different from the OES data, which indicates an hourly rate of over $34/hr - I'll need to investigate why the rate is so different (I suppose wages could have risen that much from 2000 to 2006).

In any event, the OES data, which is more up to date and more comprehensive, shows all of the professional jobs listed above as earning more per hour than than the trade jobs you've listed (except for "Longshore equipment operators", which are not shown in the OES data).

You'll note two that 2 of your examples are supervisors. That's not an apples-to-apples comparison, unless you are comparing to school administrators, engineering managers, etc. And you should note that a much larger percentage of most professionals get promoted to supervisory roles.

At least you've look at some data now, however, rather than presenting a piece of annectodal evidence or your personal opinion as proof. What remains is a determination of which data series is more applicible to the discussion at hand.

However, note that the main reason for my original disent was the example of teachers. The teachers union has engaged in a massive public relations campaign to convince people that they are under-paid, when in fact, they are paid comparably with other college-educated individuals on a "per hour" basis.

Bruce

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Ahh...continuing to prove your true colors, you again discount the facts presented that are contrary to your view...

I am willing to debate reasonable people. I am not willing to debate people whose minds are closed tighter than Ebenezer Scrooge's grip on a $100 bill. You fit into the latter category, so on ignore you go...

Acme
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Data can be found at: http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/sp/ncar0002.pdf

Thanks for the reference!

Vickifool
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I'm a police officer with over 9 years in. I make $36,000 a year. I work year round, carry a gun, wear a dark uniform with a vest that makes me sweat, have a certain percentage of society who wants to kill us all and so on.

You appear to be underpaid. (I'm convinced that you are very good at your job, just from your postings here.)

$21/hour
http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/sp/ncar0002.pdf

$23/hour
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.t01.htm

Any chance of you getting a raise?

Vickifool
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<snip>
Computer Programmers -- $23.19/hr
</snip>

Don't know about the rest of the careers but $23.19 per hour for a programmer. Only in their first year! The average programmer, especially one with up to date skills, should be making at least $30-40 per hour in almost any reasonable size business city. If not, give me a call and if you are really qualified I'll hire you and give you a satisyfing job and salary. :-)

l0ngterm
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Power-line installers have a median hourly pay of $24.41 for regular time. We provided documentation of a GROUP of these people who routinely earn more than $100,000 per year, which at 70 hours per week for 50 weeks comes to an average rate of $28.57.

You can't use one news article to rebut a survey with nearly 1 million responses. On average, power-line installers work close to 40 hours a week.

Elementary school teachers have a mean annual pay of $48,700. At 50 hours per week (and the teachers I've known well enough to comment on, ALL worked longer hours than that) for 40 weeks that's $24.35 per hour worked.

Again, you can't use numbers from a few teachers that you know personally to rebut a survey with nearly 1 million responses. Do SOME teachers work 50 hours/week. Sure. But on average, they don't.

Construction managers move up from the TRADES of construction workers, more often than they come from college.

And engineering managers never move up from the trades. Don't compare construction managers to teachers - if you want to use a high-value individual with many years of experience on the trade side, then you have to use a high-value individual with many years of experience on the college side.

Bruce
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Ahh...continuing to prove your true colors, you again discount the facts presented that are contrary to your view...

I have data that is contradictory. I have to pick which data set is more reasonable to believe. Is the data set that is more recent and more comprehensive not a reasonable choice? That's why I chose the OES data to begin with. I only brought up the NCS data because it reports more detailed "hours worked" information. That doesn't change the fact that the OES data is more reliable. Since I picked the OES data when I initially researched the topic of teacher pay due to it's better reliabiality, it's a mischaracterization to say that I'm cherry-picking data - in fact, it's my position that is "cherry-picked" because that's what I found in the most reliable data set.

I am not willing to debate people whose minds are closed... so on ignore you go...

How open-minded of you. Rather than discuss the issue of which dataset is more reliable, you simply cut off the discussion.

Bruce
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Construction managers move up from the TRADES of construction workers, more often than they come from college.

And engineering managers never move up from the trades.


Again, you try to use the acknowledged fact that NOT ALL trades earn more than ALL degreed professions, to rebut the allegation that SOME trades earn more than SOME degreed professions.

Why do you have this strange need to maintain the truth of a universal statement, even when it's been disproven?
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Ahh...continuing to prove your true colors, you again discount the facts presented that are contrary to your view...

I have data that is contradictory.


Why don't you present it? The data you present, confirms our claim: that SOME trades earn more per hour than SOME degreed professions.
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When I started out right out of architecture school in NYC I was earning under $20K a year. I would have made well more than that as a journeyman carpenter. Over time, and especially owning my own business, things have evened out, but my GC collegaues (if they are owners of a business) still make as much as me (also owner of a business).

Yes, not all tradespeople do well, but many of them do. I wonder all of you who are arguing so vociferously actually know any people in the trades? GCs? Supers? Carpenters? Seems like not. Many of them are smart and do very well for themselves. It's a legitimate path that should be respected, and it doesn't mean slaving away in the lower-middle class.
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Again, you try to use the acknowledged fact that NOT ALL trades earn more than ALL degreed professions, to rebut the allegation that SOME trades earn more than SOME degreed professions.

The original statement to which I responded stated that lineman made more than teachers, not that SOME lineman make more than SOME teachers. As a group, teachers make more per hour than lineman (by rougly 33%). As I've pointed out, I have a pet peeve about claims that teachers are underpaid (because they aren't), which is, in part, how I interpreted your original statement.

Bruce
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Why don't you present it?



I've presented the OES data (which is more reliable, and was the information I consulted while researching the topic of teacher pay) and the NCS data in this thread - just scroll up and you'll see both links.

The data you present, confirms our claim: that SOME trades earn more per hour than SOME degreed professions.

Again, my main gripe was with the idea that linemen make more than teachers per hour. They simply do not as a whole. Are there some individual linemen that make more than some individual teachers per year? Sure. But that wasn't the point of contention.

In fact, both sets of data show secondary teachers as being paid more than ANY trade. The NCS data does show 1 trade (longshore equipment operators) making more than elementary teachers, but as I've said, this doesn't bear out when you look at the OES data. I believe the OES data is more reliable (I picked it before looking at the results based on the study methodology, the "freshness" of the data, and the amount of data collected), so I will continue to maintain that on average, teachers make more per hour than people in the trades. If you want to present any data (something you have utterly failed to do up to this point) to the contrary, go right ahead.

Bruce
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