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"Speaking for myself; my wake-up call didn't occur until I was 55."

Hi TB,

Fortunately my "alarm clock" was set a little earlier and I woke up at 41, basically living pay check to paycheck like most folks I knew were doing...

Starting from a base of $2,000 in savings and $2,000 in CC debt along with a new car debt ~8K(IIRC), I bought a small house thanks to a no down VA loan @11% The seller paid a point to bring it down from the 12% going rate. I could have qualified for something costing 50% more, but didn't want to be house poor. I paid off the CC debt with my savings in order to get an automatic approval on the loan..

LivingBelowMyMeans before it became fashionable, at first I paid an extra $100 a month on the mortgage which cut the loan by 4 months, 3 times and the loan was cut by a year. When my car was paid off, $252/mo, that money was added on to the mortgage payment, paid it off in ~10 years, dumped as much as I could into my 401K & an after tax savings plan the company also had, on which the earnings were tax deferred. One vacation during those 10 years and that was paid by the $3,000 settlement after a guy fell asleep on the freeway and rammed me doing >55mph, totaling the car I was in. Thankfully I did not suffer any major injuries.

I just started out thinking whatever I could do would be better than doing nothing. That maybe I would only be able to buy one last Big Mac by the time I retired but things did go a little better than that... Between Social Security, which cover all my basics with some left over and a bit out of my IRA I live all right. I don't have expensive hobbies. http://photos.yahoo.com/lv2dance

All the best to late starters, may God bless your journey.

Regards, Ken
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