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I'm putting 8% of gross into 401k and get some company matching. So it's been growing well and it looks like 2011 will be as good for me as, if not a little better than 2010. Jan. was my best commission month ever, but I know it's going to take a miracle to match that anytime soon.
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:50 AM
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I'm putting 8% of gross into 401k and get some company matching.
Keep up the good work & make that 8% a 10% by next year. Everyone in America should be doing this & encouraging others to do the same.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:05 AM
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A trillion is an enormous number that most people aren't even capable of comprehending the magnitude of. It's simply a huge, huge quantity.

If you gave $100 to each and every man woman and child who has ever been born on earth going back to the birth of pre-pre-pre-pre historic humanity (estimates put this number at about 106 billion), that would be roughly a trillion dollars.

Here's another nice graphical representation:

What does one TRILLION dollars look like?

Each person might be willing to pay what - maybe $1,000 or a couple of thousand bucks a year to paying down our deficit?

Let's go with that - let's say there are 150M working, earning people in the USA right now who can do this. Every one of them is going to bear a burden of $1,000 per year towards paying down the debt (either through a combination of tax cuts or spending cuts diverting their taxes into just this purpose). The current debt is around $14T. Assuming no population growth (we maintain an active, earning, tax-paying workforce of around 150M people across all income levels), how long will it take to pay this off?

$14,000,000,000,000 / (150,000,000 * $1,000) = 93.33 years

Yes folks - 93 YEARS. Just to pay off the current debt. That's socking everyone who earns and pays taxes with a realistic and manageable $1,000-per-year "bill" to paying down the excesses of the Baby Boomers.

Thanks guys, we really appreciate that. Our kids and grandkids do too.

And you KNOW there's no way the government will ever let $1,000 from each earner/taxpayer in America go untouched/unmolested/un-diverted for 93 years... They'll find a way to get at it... Just look at Social Security!
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Everyone in America should be doing this & encouraging others to do the same.
Only problem is, it will NEVER happen.

With a rising unemployment rate and large number of families losing their homes, businesses and defaulting on loans, where is this surplus of money supposed to come from?

When the decision is keep the power on or 'save for the future', what do you think someone is going to do?
I'll buy groceries before I find a retirement option...

Again, when your bank folds up and the money has no value, where do you stand?
We're going to see some things, here.


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Old 02-16-2011, 07:42 AM
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Tabs is behind the curve, he still thinks in dollars. Tabs still thinks in terms of structured societies. I have said many times, I hope (but now I pray) that I am wrong. Our only hope right now is to STOP. Freeze everything. Bail out on the wars, reduce spending across the board by a minimum 20%. Tear up the treaties, drill the schlit out of the gulf. What will happen is apocalyptic. It is global. The wonks in DC are talking in 100's of billions. Don't you get it? The problems are in MULTIPLES OF TRILLIONS. A trillion of anything is incomprehensible. A trillion dollars is outright fantasy, it's imaginary, it's meaningless. And that is just in the US.
It's relative...

To help make it comprehensible, consider that there are 300milion people in the US ...

3-Trillion dollars would be $10,000 for each of those 300M peeps.

Okay, now that THAT is comprehensible, try to grasp how much 'money' was created when the typical house rises in 'value' by $20k . . . each Month. . . for a few Years! --that number is staggering to for me.

(disclaimer: I don't know what the average number was, but do remember joking about Zillow telling me I "made" $70k in a month on my house.)

Regardless of the precise amount, the housing bubble created a HUGE number of trillions of NEW dollars. (where was the panic then?)

The point is, it is clear (to me) that the US govt is (has been) making efforts to cushion the fast dropping housing market. ...and they are doing it with new cash that they hope to get into circulation. (aside: Bush did this right; w/ checks to the people. whereas teamO uses the cash for favors, first - making it slow to mainstream)

Anyway, One can argue that what they are doing (new dollars) is too much . . . but it can also be argued that what they are doing is too little.

If it's too little, wage inflation stagnates, forcing more people to be upside-down on their debt. ...people all focus on Savings, because they see that stuffing the bills in their mattress will give more buying power in the future. ...which causes further deflation. (which can spiral us down that way too)

If it's too much, then we have the scenario you describe.

So, there is also a pendulum effect that needs to be watched-out for. ...as the fed tries to push the high-wire walker square again, from that hosing hit.

Let's hope that the combination of of monetary inertia and the efforts of the fed are enough to stabilize the currency-value wobble.
--I think it's likely.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:02 AM
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as for savings...

let's just say that all the babyboomers stuff a bunch of money in an AlGore approved Lock-box.

Then, on retirement, ALLL of those lockboxes get opened up. ---Oooohhhh ...look at all of that money.

The echo generation is doing what now? . .... my guess is, they are saying "wow, look at all of this money chasing my goods and services. I hate to tell you gramps, but that 100k each that you, and your neighbor, and your neighbor's neighbor... all thought you could buy my time with?...it just ain't worth all that much anymore."
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:14 AM
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I am 40 years old and I have managed to save ~$250k for retirement so far. That is not a lot, and could be wiped out by another crash of the stock market. I started working late in the US at 29. Had nothing saved before that, but the nice part is I did not have student loan to repay either.
I'm a little older and a little fatter in the retirement account. Same story - if you don't count graduate school stipend I didn't get a "real" job until my postdoc in '94. The problem is outside of about $30K in emergency funds, everything else is in my TIAA/CREF 401/403 accounts. If they tank, I'm toast. I have it split between annuities and various market funds, and they are fairly stable but the market is the market. Don't see a better option - I put 5%, work matches 10% into it.
Old 02-16-2011, 08:32 AM
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The thing is, most of us here make a decent living. We are the minority.
What, the top 1% of the entire world?

There are people that think $25 an hour is a 'good' wage...

In this economy, It's tough for me to get $50 an hour when I was used to $80.
Guess what? None of the expenses related to running a business have gone down. No. They have all gone up.

Then, we have illegal contractors driving down the earning potential for those of us that run with all the bells and whistles ( legal certs ).

The public thinks they are saving money. Maybe they are, short term.
I think what many homeowners fail to see, is that when their project fails, they are on their own without recourse or insurance protection.



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Old 02-16-2011, 09:40 AM
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I'm a little older and a little fatter in the retirement account. Same story - if you don't count graduate school stipend I didn't get a "real" job until my postdoc in '94. The problem is outside of about $30K in emergency funds, everything else is in my TIAA/CREF 401/403 accounts. If they tank, I'm toast. I have it split between annuities and various market funds, and they are fairly stable but the market is the market. Don't see a better option - I put 5%, work matches 10% into it.
This is exactly what happened to me in 2000. I turned 50 had in excess of over 450K. I figured it would double down in 9 yrs at 8% growth (rule of 72). Maybe double again if I retired at 68. Market crashed in 2000. It never fully came back and crashed again in 2007-2008. I'm 10 years older worth less than in 2000. I will never recover.

2000-2010 is a loss decade for me and many of my age. Add to the loss of value in housing, it is not the picture I thought I would have.

I'm still a believer in saving - but.........
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:56 AM
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I think most everyone believes things are only going to get worse...


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Old 02-16-2011, 10:12 AM
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We can take all the excuses and throw them right in the sheet-can, there is no excuse. Some people are just plain irresponsible.

Case in point:
I know a guy who had a $3000 mortgage payment even though he didn't make very much money.
He decided to stop making payments over a year ago just because it was upside down. he could have kept making the payments, he just didn't want to.
He had to move out a couple weeks ago.
The dirtbag actually called me and asked if I'd help him move. Year right.
Here's the strange part:
his lifestyle did not change. He went from paying $3000 to paying nothing a month, and still didn't have any more money, didn't save anything, still acted like he was broke all the time.
So where did it go? His brother and I call it stool time. He spend the money sitting on a bar stool.

I know people who can't afford a house or insurance and are always broke but have cable TV and spend money on cars they don't need. How many escalades with 24's are there parked in the ghetto? Lots.

I know a guy who is in a wheel chair right now. he had a good business, big house in the 'spensive part of town, a $50,000 muscle car (that he has never driven), a couple of big loud expensive 'murican-made motor sickles, lots of guns, lots of dirt bikes, ate at restaurants all the time, but he couldn't afford health insurance.

Guess what? He got on one of the bis expensive motorcycles, ran a red light and T-boned a car.
He got hurt bad and has racked up huge medical bills which he can't pay and they are only getting bigger. Oh, he didn't have insurance on the bike either so he's facing some expenses from the accident too cause it was his fault.
His business? Basically gone.
His house? Gone soon, aint made a payment in who knows how long (he was behind on payments before he got hurt).
He's gonna end up homeless.
His toys? Oh he still has those, he can't sell his toys!
And get this, the neighbors took up a collection and gave it to them to help out when he first got hurt. The wife spent it hiring a maid to clean her house.

Some people will blow what they make, no matter how large or small that amount is.
Give em a $ million and it'd be gone in a few months.

Others save money no matter how little they make. They do the right thing and get the nessessities like a roof over their heads, basic food, etc and set aside a little bit for a rainy day BEFORE they buy anything extravagant or discretionary. They'll shop at the goodwill store before they blow the last of their money.
If their priorities are straight they will do what is important before they do what is fun.
Old 02-16-2011, 10:14 AM
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This is exactly what happened to me in 2000. I turned 50 had in excess of over 450K. I figured it would double down in 9 yrs at 8% growth (rule of 72). Maybe double again if I retired at 68. Market crashed in 2000. It never fully came back and crashed again in 2007-2008. I'm 10 years older worth less than in 2000. I will never recover.

2000-2010 is a loss decade for me and many of my age. Add to the loss of value in housing, it is not the picture I thought I would have.

I'm still a believer in saving - but.........
You .... lost .... all of it? $450k?
What did you have it all invested in, general motors?
Old 02-16-2011, 10:19 AM
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Having been in nearly the same position as PoP... Was laid off just as I had started saving. Couple that with appendicitis (right into the job market). Luckily I had some money to tide me over while seeking employment. But just being unemployed for a few months then under employed for almost a year... Sets you back quite a ways.

Now that I'm back to what I was making a year ago, I'm paying off debts first, then can work on saving/spending. But literally all of my savings are gone, now.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:30 AM
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Regarding underwater mortgages and making payments, etc:

People are getting rewarded for bad/irresponsible behavior.
Many lenders WILL NOT make adjustments or 'help you' unless you have not made your payments for quite some time.

The responsible borrower is stuck in a bad spot because they are able.


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Old 02-16-2011, 10:36 AM
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Then there's the fact that the only sure fire, low risk, savings method is to bury your cash in a fire/water proof box somewhere.

All of these savings/investments do not come without risk.

But even then, who's to say that when you need to dig up your stash anyone will even accept US currency... Or gold.


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Old 02-16-2011, 10:42 AM
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You .... lost .... all of it? $450k?
What did you have it all invested in, general motors?
Sammy: I did not lose everything. I lost about 45%. I invested in many dot.coms and telecommunications, all went bust. Worldcom, Exodus Communications, Global Crossing to name a few.

After that horrible lesson, I diversified. In 2007, I was probably 100K of returning to my investment level of 2000 when everything crashed. I lost 42% that year. It recovered some and I now have gone very conservative: cash, bonds, etc. I'm saving 10% a year and that's not enough. I'm funding college for my last child. I have a 529 plan but that took a hit in 2007 (very conservative investments) and I'm making up the rest. I don't want him saddled with huge college debt.

I plan on working longer than I thought. The problem: I am willing to work but will anyone hire me? That is a big problem as I see it. Boomers may want to work, there maybe no jobs. I remember the day my dad retired. He looked forward to it, he was happy. Retirement is scaring the crap out of me. Medical cost is the wild card.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:49 AM
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Your all channeling TABS NOW...

My advice to YOU ALL is to learn which brand of dog food tastes best.

With regards to TABS being behind the curve...TSK TSK TSK....I did say there was a possibility of a NEW DARK AGES..as the world fragments in chaos if and when the US goes BK and can no longer maintain its role as global policeman.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:53 AM
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All of the above is true but I'd add that the notion of "paying oneself first" is lost on most Americans growing up. I ALWAYS do this - I even did it while unemployed and drawing UI. 10% minimum comes right off the top and goes into savings - I then figure out how to get everything else paid with the remaining 90%. Unfortunately sometimes unforeseen things do come up requiring those savings to get tapped from time to time (most recently it's dental work I need...) but at least it's there and the discipline to do it is established.

I also don't think a lot of folks realize just how devastating unemployment is... It's not just losing an income - it's losing health care (COBRA is a joke and a rip-off), it's losing self-respect and self-worth, it's losing direction and purpose and it's DEFINITELY losing the ability to meaningfully save for the future. When one considers the loss of compounding interest effect/benefit, this "unseen" loss is enormous.

In my case I did sell off a lot of stuff (usually at significant losses) and had to wipe out my entire savings and 401k just to pay rent/utilities/student loan and a car payment for a year out of work - on top of the cost of running around hunting for a new job (driving, phone service, plane tickets, hotels, etc). It all takes money - unfortunately it can cost a lot to find/land a replacement job even if you're frugal.

I think this is the situation a lot of folks are in - they're out of work and if they're lucky their UI hasn't run out, which might cover their housing. Everything else (utilities, job search expenses, any relocation costs, etc.) all have to come from someplace else... That "somewhere else" is often in liquidation of assets, plundering savings and/or using credit lines. I know this all too well as I went through all the internal debates about all these myself. I got lucky. I'm rebuilding (slowly) but am still nowhere near pre-2008 levels and won't be for several more years - and that's assuming nothing else bad happens in the meantime.

Many more are not so lucky.

It's easy to look down one's nose and say "well you should have planned better", but I find that only holds so much water and is ultimately the position used as a refuge by those too lazy to defend their inherently heartless and callous/spiteful natures (not directed at anyone in particular here, just a generalized observation).

There IS such a thing as being a victim of circumstances beyond (or mostly beyond) one's control. Unfortunately in our society today EVERYONE likes to paint themselves as the victim rather than taking responsibility (even if its partial) for the consequences of their actions/inactions so it's played out and encourages others to adopt the rather heartless and cold positions they do - because they're sick of hearing the whining from everyone and anyone about everything and how it's ALWAYS someone else's fault.

The reality as I reflect on what happened to me is that a lot of it really was beyond by control, but not entirely. There are some things I could have done differently and/or better to help prepare better and avoid the extent of the damage I suffered. I've adapted accordingly and am trying to make the most of my "new lease on life". That's really all I could ask from others in similar predicaments... That they identify the things that WERE within their sphere of influence/control and adjust them going forward to be better positioned for next time. But to simply throw it all on them and say (like some do), "you shoulda earned more and saved more stupid - I ain't helping you one bit and I have no sympathy for you at all" is pretty lazy and disingenuous too.
Now U have some understanding of what I mean by only having the illusion of control..

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Old 02-16-2011, 10:59 AM
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I find the title of this thread just a tad bit judgmental.

I remember when I was growing up as teen.
Both my parents worked, we had no medical and were reasonably poor.
We even lived in a tent for a couple of weeks at a State Park until they found us an apartment.


We made rent and had food, but I will say, when I moved out the house at 18, my parents still owed me back allowance!

So no, saving money for MOST is actually impossible.

And yes the welfare system is messed up- with people living in poverty, eating fast food, driving blinged out cars/SUVs and watching big screen TV's, etc.

For some, in their mind, it's financially better for them to work under the table or not at all and sack the government. It's actually immoral and pathetic.



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Old 02-16-2011, 11:04 AM
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I agree - most people or at least many, many people simply cannot make enuff $$ to save any of it. It all goes for rent, food, and what little medical care they can get.

But there is also a large segment that could save, but does not.
Old 02-16-2011, 11:50 AM
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