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Thread: The Neverending Thread on Money / Finances

  1. #1
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    The Neverending Thread on Money / Finances

    I know that we had had numerous threads on finances, but I wanted to create a comprehensive place to discuss these topics. With retirement a mere 27 years away for me, I figured that I need to start thinking and talking about goals and objectives. I wanted this thread to be a way to discuss all topics involving Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey, or the quick guide to millions.

    Debt, savings, and retirement are all topics that are involved in most of our lives in one shape or another.

    I went back and looked a bit for some finance threads in the past and found some gems...

    Getting Rich in Democracy
    Young People and Debt
    Debt
    Banking and Mortgages

    My original question is how does everyone deal with their personal finances? Do you read books, take college courses, or just figure it out on your own? Do you prioritize the things you do based on income? Vacations, savings, retirement - what goes first? As a planner I would guess most people are making between $30-$120k depending on position and location. Although this is a comfortable living, do you save less than you want, do you put all your money into retirement or do you just live day to day?

    I am sure that websites like bogleheads and such probably have more people that are knowledge in finance, but the collective brian of Cyburbia is much more similar than a lawyer in Sheboygan is to me. What say you?
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  2. #2
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    I will admit for the most part I am terrible with finances. My bills get paid on time and I am consciously trying to clean up my credit report from several dings from my college years.

    The part I am terrible with is saving money. I keep telling myself that as soon as my credit report is cleaned up I will begin to make a more conscious effort to save money. I also think that as soon as I am back to only having to take care of one person or said second person ever decides to work again, my financial life will improve.

    My retirement at this point is being handled by my 457(b) (401(k) for public employees, my office is too small to participate in the state pension) reductions, which ends up being 8% of my salary, which is a decent amount to save, being I am still at least 40 years from retirement. As I hopefully continue to make more money and as I get older I plan on adding additional money to my 457. I always try to set up a budget and fail miserably, which I am trying to improve on.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Why save? Unless you hide it under your mattress the rich will find a way to take it from you. And they will probably find a way to get it out from under your mattress anyways.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Why save? Unless you hide it under your mattress the rich will find a way to take it from you. And they will probably find a way to get it out from under your mattress anyways.
    I was hoping to keep your political beliefs in the Political realm unless they deal with how you deal with your personal finances. I am sure each income cohort has different problems... I really don't know why demonizing the rich makes any sense in this context anyways...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I have always wondered why finance isn't part of the standard curriculum in high school? It seems like such an important issue, yet we leave it for kids to either discover by accident through a college course or through circumstance on their own in life. Some parents do a better job at teaching finance than others.

    Personally, I had to learn the bulk of what I know on my own. Reading books, listening to advice of my elders, and just trying to apply sound financial logic have been my fall backs.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    I was hoping to keep your political beliefs in the Political realm unless they deal with how you deal with your personal finances. I am sure each income cohort has different problems... I really don't know why demonizing the rich makes any sense in this context anyways...
    Has nothing to do with political beliefs. The US is going to collapse. All your investments will be gone. That is my investment advice.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Being self-employed it is especially hard. Consider the problem of earning money in the first place:
    1) I need to deduct my cost of services (data, travel, materials, utilities, office equipment, softare, marketing, etc.) from whatever I make. I am frugal, but this can still average about 25%. $1.00=$0.75
    2) Next I need to deduct self-employment taxes - both the employer and employee shares. Take off another 15%. $0.75=$0.63
    3) Now I need to pay my income taxes. Taking state and federal together, assume I am paying another 25% of my income in taxes. $0.63=$0.47
    That's right, I get to keep less than half of what I take in, and then I still have no benefits or retirement program with employer contributions. Is it any wonder so many people shy away from owning a business?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Has nothing to do with political beliefs. The US is going to collapse. All your investments will be gone. That is my investment advice.
    Off-topic:
    All your base are belong to us!!


    Been wantin' to get that off my chest a while

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    I have always wondered why finance isn't part of the standard curriculum in high school? It seems like such an important issue, yet we leave it for kids to either discover by accident through a college course or through circumstance on their own in life. Some parents do a better job at teaching finance than others.

    Personally, I had to learn the bulk of what I know on my own. Reading books, listening to advice of my elders, and just trying to apply sound financial logic have been my fall backs.
    I took a Consumer Finance course in high school (a private school). My HS teacher wrote in my yearbook that she used to score my test first to make sure her answer key was right. But I already had a good understanding of personal finance from my grandmother, who controlled the money in her household.

    I wish I had started saving for retirement earlier than my late 20s, but I was burdened with student loan payments at the time. I couldn't do it all. Everyone has their own circumstances and priorities. We probably spend more than the average household on travel, but we also don't buy a lot of "things," and don't have children.

    I think financial literacy is sorely lacking among the general population. I agree with TerraSapient that it would be great to see this sort of thing taught in schools, but most teachers have their hands full enough as it is. There are quite a few online programs to teach financial literacy.

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Being self-employed it is especially hard....That's right, I get to keep less than half of what I take in...
    Tell me about it. I was thrilled to receive a check from a client the other day; then I realized how much of it I need to set aside to cover all of the above.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Marry up! That's how I roll...
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  11. #11
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Off-topic:
    All your base are belong to us!!


    Been wantin' to get that off my chest a while
    You know what I'm talking about
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus
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    My current answer is

    NO wife, ex-, girl friend, children, child support, mortgage, car payments, credit card balance,
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    My current answer is

    NO wife, ex-, girl friend, children, child support, mortgage, car payments, credit card balance,
    Off-topic:
    And yet you still have a life?
    Last edited by ofos; 14 Dec 2010 at 3:45 PM. Reason: Admonished by Maister
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  14. #14
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    okay, I was admittedly among the first to sin, but lets get back and stay on topic please.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    My current answer is

    NO wife, ex-, girl friend, children, child support, mortgage, car payments, credit card balance,
    Did someone steal your stapler as well?

    For me, I have a 457(b) account through work. My employer also matches 10% of my annual pay and puts it into a pension plan.

    My wife has a 401(k) account through work.

    We're in our early 30s and probably don't save as much as we could/should through the 457b/401k accounts.

    Between student loans and day care costs, it's still a challenge to save.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  16. #16
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I was on topic. Most of my retirement is in Calpers. The State of California may be forced to cut guaranteed pensions leaving many of us out in the cold. The economy is collapsing, if the US defaults as some suggest even US bonds will be worthless. Before I determined the stock market was inherently evil I invested in some companies that I later found out were being criminally manipulated to take shareholders money. I wouldn't invest in anything right now. I would save my money under my bed- but I am honestly worried that dollars will be worthless soon.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    My private HS also had a financial course.

    My wife and I both make about the US average per person and we pay all bills automatically every month. What differentiates us from other people our age is that we automatically save about $900/month in various stocks and cash savings. It may sound like a lot to my peers but that $50/week into my IRA (and the other places) is not negotiable; it's a bill that needs to be paid before anything else.

    What made it easier for us was that our college was paid for. Hers through her parents and mine through a scholarship and parents. Even with our mindset I still fear we won't be able to provide our children with the lives we had growing up. I know I'll never be able to send my kid out of state for school... I can't imagine trying to raise 2 or 3 kids on a low-paying job. It's complicated enough being average. But ya know... worrying about where to put investments is a GREAT problem to have. It means you're smart enough to save.

    The area where we fail is eating out. We eat out all the time... seriously - like 6 days per week.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I am paying into both deferred comp (457 ?) and State PERF.

    PERF contributions are fixed. Vested in the program at 10 yrs.

    About deferred comp contributions (possible poll question)
    Do you put in a fixed/set number or use a percentage of your pay ?
    How did you decide on the mix for your investment / How often do you chang them ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    I would save my money under my bed- but I am honestly worried that dollars will be worthless soon.
    That's why you should invest in...........GOLD.

    Buy your gold where I buy mine......Rosland Capital. And tell them Gordon Liddy sent you.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  20. #20
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    That's why you should invest in...........GOLD.

    Buy your gold where I buy mine......Rosland Capital. And tell them Gordon Liddy sent you.
    Gold is not worth anything unless people say it is. I would rather have a barrel of gas than a bar of gold. If the world was ending gold has no functional use and oil does. Actually, I've been putting a lot into water companies because I see that commodity going up up up.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Gold is not worth anything unless people say it is. I would rather have a barrel of gas than a bar of gold. If the world was ending gold has no functional use and oil does. Actually, I've been putting a lot into water companies because I see that commodity going up up up.
    Ive been reading alot about that lately. Water being the next big commodity. Major corporations are buying up water rights. If I wasn't fundamentally opposed to the stock market I would be investing in water.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    If I wasn't fundamentally opposed to the stock market I would be investing in water.
    I still don't understand why you are completely opposed to it.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    True, a finance or home-ec course will tell you how to invest, how to put together a budget (discretionary versus non-discretionary), etc. but it is WHOLE DIFFERENT game when you are actually supporting yourself, and even moreso if you live on your own (no roommates or family).
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  24. #24
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I pay as much as I can with my credit card(s), including gas, bills, food, you name it. Then pay them off at the end of the month to avoid any interest. Then, I use the points I get to my benefit. In fact, I just used them today to pay for the majority of Christmas gifts for the family.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
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  25. #25
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    I still don't understand why you are completely opposed to it.
    I just dont think it provides a benefit to society. IMO it actually discourages production and encourages speculation, which damages society as a whole IMO. It allows people with money to use money to make more money, and excludes those who don't have money - furthering income inequality. When people can make billions by doing nothing productive, it damages society.

    But recently I have found an even bigger reason to be opposed. Wikileaks has revealed that the US government has in at least one instance actively and illegally sabotaged a publicly traded American company. I always suspected the market was manipulated to benefit the wealthy - which it is, but i didn't suspect the government was in on it.

    Edit: Here is what I am talking about http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/dec...kileaks-docum/

    So in addition to my opposition on a philosophical/political level, I have zero faith that a lower middle class American of limited financial means (like me) will get a fair shake in the deal. The market is manipulated to benefit the wealthy investors.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

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