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No. of Recommendations: 34
I've been educating co-workers a bit about retirement things. They're much older than me so you'd think they already know, but unlike me they haven't been "fools" for 25 years.

One thought that on the day he retired he could call up Fidelity and tell them to "freeze" his accounts so they wouldn't go up or down anymore. I told him there is no such thing as a "freeze", his money is all in mutual funds (a.k.a. stocks and bonds) and the only "freeze" is to sell it all and keep it in cash, if that's what he wants. He wants to make money tax-free. I told him tax free municipal bonds would do that, then had to explain what a muni was.

The other thought he could just continue to donate to a Roth even after quitting work. I explained that no, you can't do a Roth unless you have a job earning at least as much as you put into the Roth.

These guys went to college.

I take my stock and money know-how for granted. I guess I shouldn't.
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No. of Recommendations: 16
SG says:
These guys went to college.

I take my stock and money know-how for granted. I guess I shouldn't.


I went to college, too. Masters of Science - major/minor in Biology, Chemistry, MS in Ecology from Texas A&M.

The ONLY thing I'd ever heard/been taught about finances or retirement was "get a good education, get a good job, and they'll take care of you". Yeah.

That was working for me. Not. I had NO IDEA what a traditional defined benefit pension vs a defined contribution pension (401k/403b/IRA,etc). Nor how to buy/sell stocks. My parents did not have any idea about that stuff either. And, I sure wasn't taught it in school.

In 1994 or so, I discovered TMF, and intrcst's retire early homepage. THANK YOU TMF and intrcst.

!!!!

I also believe, after 20+ years of thinking about it, that there are folks who just 'know' how to manage money/finances/retirement... the concepts make intuitive sense, to them. And the majority of TMF'ers are such folks.

There are MANY folks who just don't... their mind doesn't work that way - and they are not on TMF, or if they find TMF, they don't stay cause the 'concepts' are too foreign to the way they think.

I think it's a genetic thing :-)
ralph

PS - Last Sunday, 21 May, at brunch with some friends, one of whom is a mechanical engineer, a couple others are artists (starving, of course), I asked the engineer why so many engineers open up their own business and are successful, while artists with their own business are 'starving'. I specifically asked about 'business classes' etc that he'd taken while in his engineering program. He said that he only had a couple of low level business classes, not anything really about how to successfully run a business. He commented that Federal, State, Local regulations REQUIRE an engineer's input on 'stuff' like buildings, bridges, roads, damns, etc. therefore customers are forced to pay engineers for expertise - and THAT is why engineering firms are more often successful than 'art galleries'.
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In my opinion, it'd be nice if this sort of thing were taught in high school.

Unfortunately, it seems that there may be a $9.2B cut in education spending that "would be spread across K-12 and aid to higher education."

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/05/22/529534031/presiden...


TMFEdyboom223
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No. of Recommendations: 2
I take my stock and money know-how for granted. I guess I shouldn't.

I used to work in a department full of people with college degrees who had also spent large portions (in some cases, all) of their careers working with financial numbers of varying types. When the pointy-haired individual three levels up annoyed me last year, I looked at the numbers and decided to retire at age 60 plus 8 months.

Lots of people said stuff like, "Good for you! I wish I could retire." I was mildly surprised that no one else seemed to be in a position to do so. It appears that one other is retiring early this month, and I expect a contemporary to be out the door when he turns 62; but they both had to live through a year more of deteriorating work conditions than I did. And that leaves a lot of people still working, or being terminated in the current round of force reductions.

Good times, I miss them. Not!

Patzer
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No. of Recommendations: 26
rainphakir writes,

<<SG says:
These guys went to college.

I take my stock and money know-how for granted. I guess I shouldn't.>>

I went to college, too. Masters of Science - major/minor in Biology, Chemistry, MS in Ecology from Texas A&M.

The ONLY thing I'd ever heard/been taught about finances or retirement was "get a good education, get a good job, and they'll take care of you". Yeah.

</snip>


The engineering school I attended (WPI in Worcester MA) offered a couple of 3-day courses my Freshman Year that were by far the most valuable of anything I took in college. (And I also have an MBA from Syracuse.)

The first was a course in Engineering Economics where they covered the standard "time value of money" topics.

The second was a course on Financial Planning taught by the Army Captain who ran the ROTC program. He brought in a stockbroker, a mutual fund salesman, a life insurance salesman, and an estate attorney and had them give their sales pitch to the class. After they left, he picked apart the sales pitch and showed the "Sevens Ways from Sunday" they could screw you if you weren't very careful.

Six days of classes Freshmen Year put me well on my way to retiring comfortably at age 38 in 1994.

intercst
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No. of Recommendations: 5
I work with a few people who are right around 60; I'm almost 10 years younger. I've mentioned in the past that I hope to retire early, and such statements are met with total incredulity. All of them have pensions, and because they've been with the company so long, they have the more generous version because they were grandfathered in. I got numb looks when I suggested they go on the website to calculate different scenarios for different retirement dates. "There's a website? You can get your money before 65?"

They all have 401ks, and I'm sure they've put in at least the minimum for the match, plus profit sharing does in every year. "You can take money before 65?"

What's really amazing is our company has had all of these free classes on retirement planning. I went to all the sessions and they were very comprehensive. We get notices about stuff all the time.

I suspect a lot of these folks are sitting on a good chunk on money and they could easily retire now, even with the uncertainty of health insurance.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
As I've said in the past, I went to a Fidelity 401K meeting when I was about 27. The pretty graphs and numbers dazzled me (a math major) and I went all-in. Convinced my boyfriend (now husband of 25 years) to do the same. I wanna be that BLUE piece of the pie chart! 8D

Around the same time I found the Motley Fool and fell in love with a world of strangers I could bounce money ideas off of, since talking money is sort of taboo in America. I started playing the market back when you had to pay 2% to a discount broker and 7% to a regular one.

My mom taught me real estate investing at the age of 12. Rental properties. She didn't and still doesn't trust stocks because uncle so-and-so lost $40,000 back in the 70's (sigh!).

I'd love to be a financial advisor except that it involves selling yourself as well, and I would suck as a salesman. I'm geeky and introverted, so software design pays the rent and investing for myself is my passion and hobby. I was flattered beyond belief the other day at a women's fundraiser when a LAWYER asked me if she could take me to lunch sometime and discuss finance and income properties. A Lawyer! I've got a measly little BS in math - but 25 years of experience. True, said lawyer did our estate planning and knows what we were worth 8 years ago...
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I've got a measly little BS in math

Me, too - except mine isn't measly. :-D

Earble
Retired at 56
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ralph: The ONLY thing I'd ever heard/been taught about finances or retirement was "get a good education, get a good job, and they'll take care of you". Yeah.

That was working for me. Not. I had NO IDEA what a traditional defined benefit pension vs a defined contribution pension (401k/403b/IRA,etc). Nor how to buy/sell stocks. My parents did not have any idea about that stuff either. And, I sure wasn't taught it in school.

In 1994 or so, I discovered TMF, and intrcst's retire early homepage. THANK YOU TMF and intrcst.


Your story is replicated many times here, including by me. I bought some mutual fund in the '70's, and it immediately went down. I sold and didn't buy another for many years.

CNC
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No. of Recommendations: 1
and I'd just like to add we, smart Fools that we are, can educate our children/grandchildren -- since we can't expect them to get this education anywhere else!

Lisa
in MA
who was a not smart fool for a long time and only recently got educated in this world
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No. of Recommendations: 30
... but I think you have to be interested to be educated. I get the feeling that a lot of people don't care, think it's too complicated, decide to worry about it later, etc. I think for some people you can teach and show and provide opportunities until the cows come home, whether it's retirement investing, cooking, whatever, and they're just not going to do it if they don't care or aren't interested.
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SG: I've got a measly little BS in math - but 25 years of experience. True, said lawyer did our estate planning and knows what we were worth 8 years ago...

Ha. A number of years ago I worked as an engineer at Stone & Webster Engineering. (Do they still exist?
Answering my own question, wiki says they were absorbed by another engineer/construction company.) But, back to my thought, I was doing water hammer analysis. Somehow I was given a technical assistant, a young woman with a BA from Worcester Polytechnic. I gave her some work involving trigonometry, and she had no idea what a sine or cosine function was. I was thunderstruck! It was (and still is) unbelievable that any degree with the word "mathematics" in it would not include Trig.

In her defense, she played a mean game of cribbage. We played over lunch.

CNC
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me: Somehow I was given a technical assistant, a young woman with a BA from Worcester Polytechnic.

Oopsie! That was a BA in math.

CNC
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re: Tax-Free Income per state. Select the Investment Strategy filters:

https://www.cefconnect.com/closed-end-funds-daily-pricing

https://www.nuveen.com/CEF/

http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/investing/how-to-inve...

Just a thought,

Quillnpenn - Retail Trader
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No. of Recommendations: 14
... but I think you have to be interested to be educated. I get the feeling that a lot of people don't care, think it's too complicated, decide to worry about it later, etc. I think for some people you can teach and show and provide opportunities until the cows come home,

Too true. When I retired early, all of my co-workers dropped by (individually) to find out how I could retire so early. When I told them that the last few years I worked 40 hours a week for Motorola and another 10 hours a week on learning stocks & investing. Every single one lost interest after hearing that. They were all looking for a no-effort way to Make Money Fast.

Joke was on them. Between 4 and 8 years after I left, the company had a few waves of layoffs, and now my entire division is gone. Everybody got laid off.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
let's face it we all have different things we really care about and are good at. i can't spell very good, i don't really care. with google i don't need to. $$$ some people just don't get it or care - some people are really good at spending - just don't marry one. some people think about down the road, others thing about tomorrow. i not sure you teach that, they has to be want someplace. up bringing ,not sure, i thing it starts early, maybe you don't want to be broke your whole life. i was and really didn't think that was much fun. let's face it money is freedom, it depends how bad you want it and what you are willing to do to get it. i like the one where you ask someone if you take a penny and double for 30 days what do you have - usually the answer is 5$ - wrong - it's over 5 millon - wake up call - start saving now.
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CountNoCount,

Somehow I was given a technical assistant, a young woman with a BA from Worcester Polytechnic. I gave her some work involving trigonometry, and she had no idea what a sine or cosine function was.

</snip>


That's strange isn't it? When I worked for Corning Glass in the late 1970's we hired an MIT Civil Engineering grad that didn't know what shear and moment diagrams were and had never seen the AISC Steel manual (i.e., the Bible of structural steel design)

He was fine after 3 or 4 months. I guess MIT teaches all theory and no practice.

intercst
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No. of Recommendations: 9
I was fortunate enough to have a father who taught me about the stock market very young...he taught me what a prospectus was, how to read an annual report, what a dividend was, and had me buying stocks before I was out of elementary school (in the 1960's/70's). He was a small business owner and sold photographic supples and stereo equipment...so we "bought what we knew", and I had stock in Kodak, Polaroid, and Sony.
I sold all of the stock after I got married 35+ years ago. Sadly Dad passed before I was out of college, so I was on my own when it came to retirement funds. Hubby and I made some bad mistakes, buying high cost funds through insurance companies before we learned our lesson. 403(b)s were our only option because we were teachers, and I had to fight tooth and nail with my school district to be allowed to purchase funds directly from Vanguard or Fidelity.

Hubby and I recovered from our early losses, learned from them, and were able to retire in our mid 50's with two homes and no debt. We are trying to teach our kids the value of retirement accounts and living below their means, with mixed success.

Schools can't do everything, but a required course in personal finance in high school would be a good start.

Isewquilts2
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No. of Recommendations: 2
"One thought that on the day he retired he could call up Fidelity and tell them to "freeze" his accounts so they wouldn't go up or down anymore. I told him there is no such thing as a "freeze", his money is all in mutual funds (a.k.a. stocks and bonds) and the only "freeze" is to sell it all and keep it in cash, if that's what he wants. He wants to make money tax-free. I told him tax free municipal bonds would do that, then had to explain what a muni was. "


some of the sales pitches you hear on the radio talk about 'investing' then 'freezing' your savings at retirement. Usually that means buying an annuity of some sort to guarantee income...maybe one of the complicated high fee type 'stock market indexed' deals.......until you retire, then choosing when to 'freeze' it (buy a regular annuity)....

I worked with lots of engineers. Most just stuck money in the 401K program.....and when we had a stock purchase plan, bought the stock, and sold it as soon as they could for a quick 10-15% gain......and then promptly spent the money. I saw a lot of expensive cars in the lot when some stock options for management could be exercised, and knew a lot of folks who had 'starter homes' (usually fairly big) but moved up once or twice to giant size houses because, well, they 'could'.

I retired at 52.5. Many of them got the ax six months later as the company went bankrupt, the stock tanked, their 401Ks if invested in company stock plummeted - and they became desperate.

t.
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a course on Financial Planning taught by the Army Captain who ran the ROTC program. He brought in a stockbroker, a mutual fund salesman, a life insurance salesman, and an estate attorney and had them give their sales pitch to the class. After they left, he picked apart the sales pitch and showed the "Sevens Ways from Sunday" they could screw you if you weren't very careful.

This.... is awesome. This should be a required activity for seniors to graduate from high school.

Draggon
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.and when we had a stock purchase plan, bought the stock, and sold it as soon as they could for a quick 10-15% gain......and then promptly spent the money.

Actually, a quick 17.6% gain. 1.00 / 0.85 = 1.17647

I did the same thing. Except I didn't spend it, I added it to my investement account.

We were _all_ engineers. They were all aghast that I put the maximum 10% of my salary into the stock plan. "How can you afford to cut your take-home pay by 10%??!! I certainly could not afford that!"

I pointed out that all you are doing is deferring receipt of 10% of your salary by 6 months, one time--and it's like getting a 1.76% pay raise.

And, like you, I was the only one who was able to retire early. And the rest of them got laid off a few years later, which was before I even reached 65.
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No. of Recommendations: 9
I made just about every mistake described by the posters in this thread. I failed to save early (except for my IRA). I got talked into putting 50K into an annuity. I got talked into buying a $300K whole life insurance policy. I allowed a 'financial advisor' to talk me into the annuity, the whole life policy, and a 'professionally managed' IRA that cost 1.05% management fees plus about .8% mutual fund fees. I was paying him to do nothing more than make sector picks with expensive mutual funds that were correct about half the time combined with great excuses when he guessed wrong. In those cases I lost the 1.05% management fee plus the .8% hidden fees plus the price of the bad guesses.

I did not persuade jgcspouse to fully max her 403(b) until the spring of 2009. That was somewhat fortuitous as it turned out.

Now I am working, saving and cleaning up the mess.

The annuity is growing in value tax free which takes some of the sting out of the fees that I am losing since I am now in a higher tax bracket than I was when I bought it, and is now less than 2.5% of my total port which takes out some of the sting. It has a guaranteed lifetime payout of 5K/year for me and my surviving spouse, so I pretend that it is longevity insurance.

The whole life policy now has about 70k in paid-in capital plus about 50k in increased value, so I may cash it and invest it when we are retired and not yet collecting my SS. It is also growing without incurring taxes which takes out some of the sting of the fees.

The beach house is another form of 'forced savings' that collects some rent and is more recreation than investment.

My IRA is now in a brokerage account mostly in VTI with a dash of preferred stocks and bonds and bond funds and is up nicely since I took it out of the hands of the 'financial advisor' a little over a year ago.

My taxable accounts are now under my control.

This board is helping me dig my way out of the mess I made.
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The engineering school I attended (WPI in Worcester MA) offered a couple of 3-day courses my Freshman Year that were by far the most valuable of anything I took in college.

Let me guess - these were offered during Intersession.

Judging by the dates you listed, I'm guessing I was a couple of years behind you, but I don't remember those courses. Sounds like they would have been fun to take, though. I wonder if they still have them.

I learned everything I know about money management from my family. My Dad taught me about the value of saving. My mother taught me how to budget to live within your means. And my brother taught me about the stock market. I am very grateful to all of them for those lessons.

My brother and I have tried to pass those lessons along to our kids, and for the most part, seem to have succeeded, but his kids are breathing on retirement and my kids are just starting in their careers, so are at very different places in life.
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When I retired early, all of my co-workers dropped by (individually) to find out how I could retire so early. When I told them that the last few years I worked 40 hours a week for Motorola and another 10 hours a week on learning stocks & investing. Every single one lost interest after hearing that. They were all looking for a no-effort way to Make Money Fast.


I've been planning on retiring early, and have moved the date out a couple of times for a variety of reasons. At this point, though, it looks pretty set that I will retire next May just after I turn 60. This is not a secret at the office where they also know that we put the twins through college, and were able to pay for the whole thing by writing checks, so the kids came out without student loans. My colleagues, all of whom have college degrees and are very smart, all ask how I do this, and I explain. They say they want to sit down with me to talk through details, and I say set up some time, but that never happens. And yet, they complain that they have no idea how they will pay for college (still several years away for most of them) or retirement. Now would be the time for them to take the reins on their finances as they do still have time on their side, but the longer they wait, the harder it will be.

For me, Dad said to start planning for retirement when I graduated college, and I listened. I am ever so thankful that I did.
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No. of Recommendations: 9
Financial education or financial literacy education programs in the schools largely have little to know impact on students financial decision making.

http://www.nefe.org/Portals/0/WhatWeProvide/PrimaryResearch/...

I think the problem is that some things need to be taught at a teachable moment or on an as need basis.

PF
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"... little to know ..."

NO, NO, NO!

Please substitute "... little to no ..." where appropriate.

PF (Edit once; post twice.)
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I think the problem is that some things need to be taught at a teachable moment or on an as need basis.

A good role model makes more of a difference than teaching something.
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I did the same thing. Except I didn't spend it, I added it to my investement account.

We were _all_ engineers. They were all aghast that I put the maximum 10% of my salary into the stock plan. "How can you afford to cut your take-home pay by 10%??!! I certainly could not afford that!"

I pointed out that all you are doing is deferring receipt of 10% of your salary by 6 months, one time--and it's like getting a 1.76% pay raise.


Ray, I'm the younger you - I'm 39. SW engineer at the same company, not kidding...

The max is 20% of gross pay. I'm contributing 18% currently - plan to increase it next offering period. I sell as soon as shares get released, and park that money in something else. Zero desire to have my income and investments in the same company basket.
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When I was graduating college my grandfather reviewed my great-grandmother's estate with me (his mother in law). It was an incredible sum to me (and him). She made more in dividends in a year than her care cost in the nursing home. Funny thing was, it was made up almost entirely of one of a handful of stocks her late husband had bought some 35 years earlier, investing a small pittance in comparison to the total value. In the intervening years she had neither bought nor sold a single share of anything.

I thought, "Hey, it all it takes is some small investments and then wait for 35 years, I'm in!" So I started investing with my first job out of college and haven't stopped. I've done max contributions in 401(k)s, I've done only the amount that maxes my employer match, I've done additional investing in taxable accounts, I've liquidated taxable accounts to clear a mortgage on my primary residence, I've maxed the employee stock purchase programs, all I've spent a couple years when income was non-existent making no investments.

Rayvt -- also an ex-MOT guy here. Loved the MOTshare sale every six months, loved the generous VSP they handed out (from MSI by then) at the end of 2013.
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Great thread on what we did or did not get for advice/education in our schooling with regard to finance.

Working with my own children over the past 20+ years when it comes to investing, and financial matters I find it has been hit or miss in terms of my ability to teach them to what I consider a satisfactory level. I've planted enough seeds, and will watch to see over the years how they come to terms with it all on their own.

Simple things seem to work, such as David Bach's premise of pay-yourself-first-plan by automatically saving the equivalent of one hour's working wage each day to achieve financial success.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-to-save-every-day-to...

It strips out all the mumbo-jumbo, and if you have a dollar amount calculated of one's hourly wage - it's easy to instill in a young investor "Hey, you need to save $7 a day. Or $9 a day. Or $25 a day to invest in an index fund." Or whatever the amount their hourly wage calculates out as being. I sure wish that simple premise would have been instilled in me when I was in my teens and early 20's! There are so many easy ways to automate savings these days, and places where young investors can begin investing with a low initial investment compared to decades ago. Pay-yourself-first-plan is a pretty easy concept to grasp and if followed, will build wealth when combined with living within one's means.
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>>automatically saving the equivalent of one hour's working wage each day to achieve financial success<<

I've prompted each of my millennial-aged kids to get set up with Acorns (www.acorns.com). The "invest your spare change" is a little too cutesy and gimicky, but the real value of the site is the ability to make small recurring investments - monthly, weekly, or even daily - with no transaction costs. One could very easily set it up to drop the equivalent of one hour's wage every day. The investments go into a portfolio of Vanguard index funds, with different canned lazy portfolios. For accounts valued at under $5000, they charge $1 a month, and for larger accounts, the fee is .25% annually. For beginning investors, you can't beat it!

Cathy
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BB; ,i.Great thread on what we did or did not get for advice/education in our schooling with regard to finance.


Another subject I would like to see in a school curriculum is goal setting, particularly SMART* goal setting. When I learned about setting goals, I was already over 50, but I feel the experience was a breakthrough.

CNC
*
S - Specific,
M - Measurable,
A - Attainable,
R - Realistic,
T - Time related
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria
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No. of Recommendations: 21
2gifts,

You wrote, I learned everything I know about money management from my family.

Me too! Here are some of the things I learned:

- Don't let friends or clients talk you into investing in their business.
- Don't use whole life insurance or annuities as an investment - even if you are the insurance agent.
- Don't get into multi-level marketing schemes like Amway.
- Don't run away from stock mutual funds just because you lost some money in one. Once. Thirty years ago.

- Don't let someone else tell you what you can and cannot spend.
- Don't let someone else control all the financial purse strings.
- Don't let someone else hold all the communal assets solely in their name.
- Don't shy away from learning about finances just because "it's hard".
- Don't keep giving your kids money just because they're in a tight spot - it makes them dependent on you.
- Don't poll family and friends for financial advice and go with the majority opinion.
- Sticking your financial head in the sand can be expensive.

- Don't stay financially dependent on your parents.
- Don't make stupid purchasing decisions just because you are mad at someone.
- Don't be secretive about your finances.
- Don't blame others for your situation.

- Don't ignore your finances. (For an extended period.)
- Do your own research on finances.
- Question what self-professed christian finance gurus (Dave Ramsey) tells you.

And that special place for my ex-wife:

- Don't spend what you don't have.
- Don't lie to your partner about your financial mistakes and indiscretions.
- Don't keep repeating the same mistakes.
- Don't go blow money on yourself and your friends just because you feel bad about you latest mistake.
- Don't take financially from your partner and not reciprocate when you have the means.

Obviously these are mostly generalizations of things my family (mostly parents and siblings) have done wrong with money. They are the ones that come to mind as I write this. My family has shown me that ignorance is not bliss when it comes to finance. And doing stupid things with money usually has consequences. And there is really no excuse for not knowing for yourself. And relying primarily on others to help you manage your money is usually a conflict of interest and it is likely to produce very sub-optimal results. Sometimes exceptionally so.

For the most part, the positive things I've learned I've learned on my own - by either reading or doing. And of course aj485 has been a handy resource as well. ;-)

- Joel
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That's a lot of "n't".

Do you have any suggestions to do?

PF
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And of course aj485 has been a handy resource as well. ;-)

As you always tell me they say on Red Green, if they don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy......

My family also provided a lot of poor examples, including filing for BK, and all the drama that leads up to filing for BK.

I attribute a lot of my success to 2 things:

- A 'Consumer Education' social studies course in high school, where we learned about checking accounts and credit cards, did problem solving around budgeting and did taxes by hand.

- My manager at my first real job encouraged all his employees to 'give yourself a 6% raise by contributing 8% to the 401(k)' since the company matched 75% of the first 8%

AJ
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PuckFool,

You wrote, That's a lot of "n't".

Do you have any suggestions to do?


Family didn't provide those kinds of examples.

- Joel
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Hey Joel,

What a great list!

I'd like to add two more:

--Don't listen to anyone who tells you they have "a stock tip".
--Don't indulge and spend what you can't afford by using the line, "I deserve it."

Tony
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No. of Recommendations: 14
... but I think you have to be interested to be educated. I get the feeling that a lot of people don't care, think it's too complicated, decide to worry about it later, etc. I think for some people you can teach and show and provide opportunities until the cows come home, whether it's retirement investing, cooking, whatever, and they're just not going to do it if they don't care or aren't interested.

Or they think there's some magical formula to getting astounding returns and free money from some source. When they discover that getting 12% a year on stocks/real estate/commodities is good, or 8% on a whole portfolio might be the most you can plan for, they lose interest and motivation. Also, they lose interest and motivation when they discover that the long haul includes putting in like 10% of their income each year to have assets to invest.

Another data point: A coworker was going on an extravagant vacation, and mentioned that he was borrowing the money from his 401k, "like we all do." I said I hadn't ever done that, and he was shocked that I would forgo the opportunity to pay interest to myself via a 401k loan vs. borrow the money outside and pay interest to the lender. He didn't even consider the possibility of not borrowing the money at all by saving up for expenses like vacations.
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Another subject I would like to see in a school curriculum is goal setting, particularly SMART* goal setting. When I learned about setting goals, I was already over 50, but I feel the experience was a breakthrough.

CNC
*
S - Specific,
M - Measurable,
A - Attainable,
R - Realistic,
T - Time related
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria


Bingo on goal setting!

Back to the investing/saving side of the equation...

I actually took an economics course in high school. As part of the class, the teacher (was also the basketball coach) taught us about the stock/bond market and investing. We each were given an imaginary sum of money and told to pick 5 stocks that we tracked all year using the newspaper (this was back in the 1970's) to get the share price and dividend information. I don't think we all ran out and became investors as a result of that class, but kudos to our teacher for at least introducing us to investing so that we realized early on what companies/corporations did, and what dividends meant to the investor.

I also witnessed another group of teachers from our high school that painted houses in the Summer as their side hustle (my Dad hired them to paint our house). A few other teachers taught a class or two as their side hustle at the local community college (my Mom took some classes from them which is how I found out about it). All in all, I began to really respect what many of my teachers did to boost their incomes (be it coaching, teaching driver's education, or other side hustles), and I do remember speaking with my folks about this at the time. That may have been more of an education for me than I would have received in the classroom.

I had a good lesson in finances during Middle School. Our band director led a paid Summer band of adults that would march in parades and play concerts during the Summertime throughout the Black Hills. Lacking any tuba players, he hired two of us Middle Schoolers to be in the band and play our tubas. So my first wages, as well as contributions to Social Security/Medicare, were in the Summers of 1974 and 1975 as I learned to match in, around, and over horse droppings on the street (we always followed the horses in the parades). 1976 and 1982 are the only two years I have not worked a job in music after those first two Summers of being paid to play my tuba (I worked at KFC and K-Mart in 1976, and 1982 was back at K-mart for my Summer job between junior and senior year of college). Dang, 43 years of working under my belt to date. At age 55, I've got a few more left in me.... ;-)

Summer jobs, or weekend jobs, or however a student can make it work during high school and college are what I consider an important lesson for our children. Actually, each job is filled with lessons they learn - both good and bad - as they learn what it takes to make a buck. I'm happy we pushed our kids to do that.

After reading this thread and thinking about it, I'm not sure what and how in a high school curriculum saving/investing could be taught in a receptive way from the target audience. Those that are saving, are usually being guided/forced to do so by their parents to help pay for college which is a shorter term saving goal. Talking about retirement and saving for it to a teenager is usually received as "blah, blah, blah, boring, blah, shut up with this already, blah, blah, blah....". ;-) However it is done, or could be done - keeping it simple would be ideal.

That's why I like the "save an hour's wage per day" concept. It's hard to fault, and there is little mumbo-jumbo surrounding the concept. The other simple concept is the 2nd Grader's Portfolio (known as the Three Fund Portfolio at Bogleheads.org) which is: Total Stock Marked Fund; Total International Stock Market Fund; and Total Bond Fund. Invest in those three and you'll beat the majority of money managers over time. Simple. No worries about individual stocks. No fuss.

Simple.
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I forgot to link the all important Three Fund Portfolio 16 page reader written by William Bernstein in 2014 entitled "If You Can":

https://www.etf.com/docs/IfYouCan.pdf

That document - all 16 pages of it - would serve as a great curriculum for teenagers and college students. Or those early in the work force, to get going with their saving/investing.
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That's why I like the "save an hour's wage per day" concept. It's hard to fault, and there is little mumbo-jumbo surrounding the concept.

What's also nice about it is, if you base it on a 40 hour week, it's a 12.5% saving rate, which is in the currently suggested saving rate for retirement of 10% - 15%

AJ
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I thought it was pretty bad 18 months ago, when I had my first appointment with our new family doctor. (When I retired we had to change our health insurance to my wife's company plan. Our longtime doctor was out-of-network with them.)

So the first time I met him I told him my background, including all that, and he said, "Wow. I sure wish I could be able to retire at 62!"

There's something wrong there. He's a doctor. He's about 50-55, I think. I'm a CPA. If I can do it, he should be able to do it.

Bill
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So the first time I met him I told him my background, including all that, and he said, "Wow. I sure wish I could be able to retire at 62!"

There's something wrong there. He's a doctor. He's about 50-55, I think. I'm a CPA. If I can do it, he should be able to do it.

Bill


Simple. His household probably owns too much house, too much transportation, and eats out too much. Or he has a spouse that spends too much on furnishings, draperies, landscaping, etc...). Or maybe they don't invest/save in a proper asset allocation.

It's just as easy to get off track whether one makes $50K per year, or $365K per year. We usually have no idea as we drive up and down our streets where we all live who does and who doesn't have it all figured out. Stealth wealth (hide it and don't talk about it) is hard to see.
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It's just as easy to get off track whether one makes $50K per year, or $365K per year. We usually have no idea as we drive up and down our streets where we all live who does and who doesn't have it all figured out. Stealth wealth (hide it and don't talk about it) is hard to see.

I think, in addition to stealth wealth, there is also a lot of undetectable stealth debt.

culcha
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I think, in addition to stealth wealth, there is also a lot of undetectable stealth debt.

This is so very true. Back when I first started working I wondered how the people around me who had the same job as me and the same salary (I was working as an engineer for the DoD, so pay scales are public) were able to afford a house and a new car and a nice vacation when I didn't feel I could afford those things.

Turns out it was debt.

"Big hat, no cattle"
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I think, in addition to stealth wealth, there is also a lot of undetectable stealth debt.

I live in a very affluent part of town where most folks own their own businesses, a few have taken companies public or had their companies bought out by giant companies, and some that work a regular job. I still remember when my twins were getting ready to go to college and I was at a neighborhood party talking to a CFO of a very large company about my kids heading off to college. He mentioned that we must be getting ready for all those college loans. I just mumbled something and changed the subject because I knew that we had the cash set aside for the kids' college, and we were paying for it by writing checks on that money. There were no loans planned, and as it turns out, there were none needed.

Now, my kids graduated high school in 2009 which was at the tail end of the meltdown, but they were still able to go to the college of their choice.

I noted how this particular CFO had a stay-at-home wife, had a landscape company, a cleaning lady, groceries and dry cleaning delivered, and took exotic vacations whenever the kids were out of school. We had none of those, but my kids came out of college with degrees and no debt, and I'm planning on retiring at 60. He's still working, his kids needed school loans, and he's looking forward to when he finally receives a large inheritance from his dad.

I much prefer my life.
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I think, in addition to stealth wealth, there is also a lot of undetectable stealth debt.

It's not how much you earn, but how much you can save from what you earn, that determines your ability to retire and when you will be able to do so.

Debt is a retirement killer and should be managed and eliminated before retirement.

b&w
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I think, in addition to stealth wealth, there is also a lot of undetectable stealth debt.


We had a neighbor who they always went out to restaurants, both had a new car every year, always nice clothes, etc. We always wondered how they did it, because everybody in the neighbor had roughly the same incomes, and we knew that *we* certainly couldn't afford what they did.

Then one day there was a "Sherrif Foreclosure" notice on their front door.

Yeah, you can live pretty well if you don't pay your house mortgage. They went 3 (three!!) years without making a payment before they got nailed.


A few years later, another neighbor, they always had nice cars. Every two years like clockwork, they each had a new car. Then she slipped up and mentioned that their car lease was almost up and they'd be turning them in. (That was before car leasing got so popular.) Yeah, you can always have a nice new car if you never finish paying for one.
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Then one day there was a "Sherrif Foreclosure" notice on their front door.

Many,many years ago I used to manage property for a "Very wealthy Man" in New York City He own many commercial properties in Manhattan. Some of which were mortgage free. He was very liquid. Every property had it's own corporation and checkbook and every checkbook carried a cash balance of at least $50K I remember asking him one day, why he didn't mortgage one or more of his buildings and buy more property?

His answer has stuck with me for the past 60 years.

He said "if you have property that has a mortgage on it---You don't own the property. The bank does--and if you don't believe me, don't pay the bank for a few months and see what happens"

b&w
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I think it depends on who is doing the teachable moment. When I was about 32, I had a fireworks business (still have it) and my 13 year old nephew came to work for me. We were just sitting there during the slow time and I started talking about putting part of the money he earned working there in an IRA, which led to a discussion of compounding and taxes and retirement. I still remember when the light bulb went on and he said "You mean I could just put small amounts away regularly and even if I have a regular job I can have a great retirement? Bingo! I said yes, the key is to start early and let it compound. From that point forward he put half his earnings from fireworks every year in an IRA and then Roths when they became available.

In January of this year I retired from my job and he sent me a card thanking me for having that conversation with him. He said everything I have is because you took the time to explain to me how it works and and how with just a little effort and discipline on my part I can make it work for me. I will forever be grateful for what you did for me that day we were sitting in that tent talking about money. Thank you for making it possible for me to retire some day like you are doing now.

I tell you I cried for ten minutes. You just never know when you will have an impact on someone. Now, if I could have been able to get him to clean up his room...well we will leave that for a different day.
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Really enjoyed and humbled by this thread.

Saving, understanding credit and consequences, determination and learning an investment strategy for and from your own perspective is the key.........balance.

Thanks
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I tell you I cried for ten minutes. You just never know when you will have an impact on someone.

Speaking of teachable moments. The first time that happened to me it made me aware of all the people I had to thank. By that time some of them I didn't know how to find, some of them were dead, and some were otherwise beyond gratitude. I have since made a point of letting people know when they've made a significant positive impact. It makes all the difference in the world.

-IGU-
(I try to pay it forward)
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My guiding principle is don't forget who held the ladder while you climbed to success. It's a good reminder to say thank you as well.
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