Author Topic: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?  (Read 6611 times)

BlueHouse

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Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« on: March 30, 2014, 07:10:00 PM »
I'm 46 and up until a month ago, I really thought that 0 CC debt meant I was ahead of the game.  My illusions were shattered and now I understand what "early" retirement means.   I have a few things working in my favor, and a few things working against me (mainly time).  Anyone else out there in the same boat?  Anyone else who started late and made great progress?   

Exflyboy

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 07:21:50 PM »
Well it all depends on what you mean.. Where exactly are you?.. How much do you have saved for retirement?

I started basically at Zero with around $50k saved in my late 30's and have just retired at 52.

This was on an average salary of 90 to $95k.

It all depends on how much of your take home you can save (invested in ETF's) vs your spending rate.

Frank

Gray Matter

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 07:33:15 PM »
As Frank said, not sure if we're in the same boat without more information, but we are 43 and 46 and only recently discovered MMM.  We have decent retirement savings (no where near it would be if I had discovered MMM earlier, though).  And we have no debt besides mortgage, but we have blown through a lot of money in the past 20 years through a pretty luxurious lifestyle that I now find ridiculous.

kkbmustang

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 07:54:22 PM »
As Frank said, not sure if we're in the same boat without more information, but we are 43 and 46 and only recently discovered MMM.  We have decent retirement savings (no where near it would be if I had discovered MMM earlier, though).  And we have no debt besides mortgage, but we have blown through a lot of money in the past 20 years through a pretty luxurious lifestyle that I now find ridiculous.

We are 41 and 43 and we discovered MMM about a year and a half ago. Before then we saved a lot in our 401(k) accounts but were not at all frugal with the rest of our money. Pretty wasteful actually. We've taken a slow and steady path as opposed to doing a 180. We've learned so much from MMM and this community and are super grateful.

carloco

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 08:17:09 PM »
BlueHouse, I am in the same situation.   I thought that saving had to do with percentages of income instead of reducing expenses.  I always found those retirement calculators disheartening; they always calculate your future needs according to your salary instead of your expenses.  The amount was always ridiculous large and almost impossible to reach. 
Just as Mustang, we are trying to correct our course slowly.   

pachnik

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 09:02:53 PM »
Hi, yes, I started here at 48 y/o not quite a year ago.  An excerpt from the WaPo article caught my eye in a financial blog that I get in my email on a weekly basis.  I too am really grateful that I looked at the blog. 

I also thought I was doing pretty good.  I had no debt and lived within my means.  My savings rate was about 15%? I can't really remember but I think that sounds about right.  I never really looked at my expenses the way that we do here either.  I spent 8 months of last year doing temp work and reducing my expenses.  Right now I am saving one-third of my income (33%) and seeing how that goes.   

Frugality never appealed to me before because I didn't believe people could retire early unless they inherited big or had a buyout.  In my case, I can't retire early because I got here late in life but I don't think having my financial house in order is going to hurt me in any way.  Learning to live on less is smart.

I can't say I have made great progress but I am making some progress.  I also didn't have any financial goals before and I do now. 

   
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 09:09:28 PM by pachnik »

BlueHouse

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 09:12:49 PM »
I had no debt and lived within my means. 
This was me.  I don't consider myself stupid, but for whatever reason, I really couldn't calculate what I would need in retirement.  The calculators based on my spending told me I needed 2.6 million (in today's dollars) to retire 20 years from now.  That's never going to happen! 

carloco

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 09:16:21 PM »
That's because the calculators try to replace your income...After the kids are gone and the house is paid etc... expenses are greatly reduced!!

happyfeet

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 05:13:37 AM »
Yes age 55 here.  I am retired but DH is not.   We have no debt but sure have wasted a lot of money over the years on dumb stuff. We did do some right stuff - saving bonuses but still had spending creep and buying too much crap.

Those financial calculators were disheartening - along with the financial planner we used to use (Vanguard Index Funds now).  It was always a percentage of your income.  We would never make those amount suggested.

Now, looking at expenses - what we control spending wise - makes sense and retirement is very doable in the next few years for DH.

That and being content with what we have is enough and it is.

MMM has helped us in two areas - food buying and saying no to consumerism.

NinetyFour

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 05:26:43 AM »
I also got a late start.  In my fifties now.  Plan to retire right around 60.

For most of those retirement calculators--I think the assumption is that most Americans do indeed spend most or all of their income--hence, the equivalence of income and expenses.  Not that I make that much money, but the idea of spending all of my income every year is mind blowing--not sure I could do it, even if I wanted to.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 07:56:43 AM by NinetyFour »

Squirrel away

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2014, 06:52:46 AM »
I thought we were doing quite well when we I was in my mid 30's and had paid off most credit card debts and was paying extra to mortgage. I realise now we were spending far too much on stuff that I didn't even value that much.

I was the same as others on here when I used the retirement calculator, I thought that was ridiculous and we would never be able to have that much money.

When I worked out how much we could live on in retirement with a more frugal lifestyle it was a different matter, I realised it should be quite easily achieved with some planning and effort.:)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2014, 06:55:31 AM »
Not a late start at 29, but I still dream of knowing what I know now at 18.

Truckman

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2014, 07:16:26 AM »
We got a late start, and I still don't know if I'd say we're living frugally - yet.  We're getting there, though. I discovered MMM back in....October/November?  Don't recall off hand. Have always been horrible with money and finances. To say we lived above our means is THE UNDERSTATEMENT of understatements. Frankly, it's quite embarrassing how bad we were, but I'm slowly coming to terms with it and being able to be more open and talk honestly about it.  But now we're well on our way to a full 180 - hell, at least we have a goal and we're working on a game plan.  Oh, I'm 42 and wife is 43, with 2 girls 16 and 13.  So yeah, not only have we gotten a late start, but we're climbing Mt Everest, too. 

Indio

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2014, 07:42:06 AM »
Not sure I could totally qualify as having a late start because I went through phases. All along I've been saving and investing, but I defintiely could have done better if I was more consistent about it. There were times when I would loosen the purse strings for a year or 2, and then tighten down when some event looked like it might happen or it definitely was happening, for example when I had kids or recession was underway. When finances were humming along and salary increases were regular, I loosened up a bit and signed kids up for after school activities. Now I'm back in save and invest mode because I want to ER in 2-4 years or change jobs to a slower pace and pursue a different career path.

lizzzi

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2014, 07:54:54 AM »
I guess I was always fairly Mustachian and just didn't know it…also had two husbands over the years who were good with money, although not completely Mustachian. I found over the years that I just couldn't be as consumerist as many people are. (A co-worker spoke of "upgrading" her diamond stud earrings and diamond rings every ten years or so to bigger ones…I almost threw up.) But I liked working, and didn't really plan to ever retire--until I had to leave the workforce 15 months ago at age 63 to care for family members. I am having no trouble whatsoever living within our means--I like this rather minimalist lifestyle much better--bought a small house facing a park (just like MMM--so funny to read his blog about it-- Great minds do think alike.)--So a late start is working out fine--makes me a little more "mindful" than before--about keeping the bills down, and being able to savie 54% of retirement income. I discovered MMM by chance sometime last year--love "visiting" with people who share my philosophy about things.

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2014, 08:12:50 AM »
Not a late start at 29, but I still dream of knowing what I know now at 18.
+1.  I thought I was doing well by living within my means and funding an IRA every year.  If I had known what I know now though I would have spent less socializing, bought less crap when I was in my early 20s and saved like a banshee when my living expenses were practically nothing.  Small changes then would have shaved several years off my FI date.

Quote
I'm 46 and up until a month ago, I really thought that 0 CC debt meant I was ahead of the game.
The sad reality is that being in your 40s with $0 debt and no major loans (except maybe a mortgage) puts you above about half the people in the US.

MKinVA

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2014, 08:48:17 AM »
Husband and I are both 54 and I hope to retire in 4 years. Husband is involuntarily semi-retired because of the abysmal job market. We were always good with the big money decisions, but allowed little moneys to leak out of the bucket all over the place. It's easier now that the kids have gone to college to control those little things. This year we are working on getting set to retire, fixing up out house to sell (want to downsize considerable in size, costs, and expenses), putting a rental on the market (the house is not where we want to be and don't want to be long distance landlords), and getting rid of furniture and accumulated stuff (hopefully for cash!) that we don't want or need in retirement. I am finding the whole process liberating. I think my husband finds it daunting, but is getting on board.

dude

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2014, 08:57:47 AM »
I wouldn't say that even now I qualify as "frugal," but this site opened my eyes wide to the number of ways I could cut many frivolous expenses and increase my already above-average savings rate even further.  And the knowledge gained here has reset my ER(ish) date about 5-7 years earlier than originally anticipated.

skunkfunk

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2014, 09:17:21 AM »
I found this site and started embracing the changes not 1 month after I bought too much house for 5% down and a new car for the wife. And a fancy-pants riding lawn mower. So I feel like I got a late start, but then again I'm only 27.

gobius

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2014, 09:27:40 AM »
Not a late start at 29, but I still dream of knowing what I know now at 18.

Also 29, and also dream of the same thing.  I have always been a saver but would have done even better had I done this at 18 (before taking on student loans), or even 23 when I got out of college.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2014, 01:50:20 PM »
The old saying its never to late to start applies here. At the end of the day you start now your in a better position than if you didnt start.

Not trying to be sarcastic but it just leaves you with the 2 choices right?  I can say from my own experience 49/DW 45 I was in ER 2 years ago but was clueless on what the hell I was doing. Now at least I have a plan that a continually revisit. I was able to ER soley by playing offense (years of good income) but now that we are playing defense , when my wife decides to stop working (which I am giving her 3.5 years max or ????haha) we will be alot further along then if we didn't do the self help we needed to do! I have learned more in the last 4 months +/- then I did in the rest of my life in getting my ducks in order.  (ducks in order..in row..//, never understood that analogy). So yes late start in frugal living and being rewarded daily by doing it in more ways than one.

BlueHouse

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Re: Anyone else get a late start on frugal living?
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2014, 02:26:57 PM »
Thanks for the great responses everyone.  It really helps to know that I'm not alone and that great progress can be made.  I'm sure the changes I've already made will help me catch up to where I "should" be for my age, and I'm hoping that with some additional changes I can go beyond the norm and accelerate to where I may actually be able to retire "early" (for me). 
Luck to all and keep kicking ass!