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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: psychomoustache on February 18, 2013, 01:59:01 PM

Title: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 18, 2013, 01:59:01 PM
Hi everyone

I remember reading YMOYL way back in the early 90's, then doing the Tightwad Gazette, then never giving up the mall/diet coke/hair highlights/new cars (you name it) until about 10 years later. What's done is done.

I would like to know if anyone on here is over 40 and trying to catch up/get more intense and mustachian in spite of years of stupidity.

We started doing Dave Ramsey back in 2007. Finally paid off our used car - and our only debt is our mortgage. But we kind of petered out on DR - I still like him mostly (aside from the Christian right-wing diatribes). But I think in the long run, his message (IMHO) has been a sort of bait-and-switch approach, rather than the radical facing of reality that I find so refreshing here. What I mean...Dave says...save today so that tomorrow you can "live like no one else" implying somehow that a limitless paradise of consumption will follow your efforts in deprivation. I found this site about 10 days ago, and find my whole outlook on everything changing, and with it, an immense relief and release from the idea that I *should* aspire to "someday" return to   owning a lot of crap.

I grew up upper-middle-class in the States, have a paid-for Ivy education, and am one of those who could never have attained financially what my father did. I am an old Gen-Xer on downward mobility compared to my father who grew up poor in the Bronx. It has maybe taken me 20 years to admit that and be okay with it...maybe a bit more than 20 years - okay to be perfectly honest - listening to Dave Ramsey kept the promise that I could somehow catch up with my parents' wealth alive. I am finally willing to not aspire to the same vision of wealth, and of life, that they did.

OK all this to say (let's get down to brass tacks, i.e. numbers) that we still have about 198K euros left on our mortgage, at about 4.3% and will be done with it at this rate in 2026. Yuck. My husband is an engineer and makes about 80K euros a year. Understand that the system here in Europe is quite different - the government takes out a big chunk of his check, in return our healthcare is very cheap, and he will get a nice pension at the end. We also have practically free universities for our kids (three kids) and we get a check for 360 euros every month from the government because we have those three kids. That's socialism for you. No other debt besides the house, but very, very little savings for retirement - we have an IRA that has been sitting in the States for over 20 years with about 130K dollars in it - this is with Vanguard and has done absolutely horribly for us. We are thinking of rolling it over into a fund with a group called Rebalance http://www.rebalance-ira.com/

As for me, I'm a therapist in private practice. I recently found out (and this is the shock, or punch in the face, that got me to this site) that the government is going to charge me VAT tax on my gross earnings. Normally this is not done for healthcare providers, but because I have foreign (American) degrees, I cannot work in hospitals or clinics here, and therefore cannot be officially considered a healthcare provider. I should have of course found this out beforehand, but of course, I wasn't on anyone's radar until my practice started to take off about 3 years ago. I am booked (the good news) but I only make 800 euros a month (the bad). I am also going to have to reimburse back VAT tax, according to my accountant. This was quite a shock to my system - also considering that as a small business owner, I don't get the nice pension benefits my DH has. The government is NOT going to take care of moi. And if my DH passes away before me, I will only get HALF of his pension. Due to moving here to France and having babies, my own work history has a big gap - I stopped working for about 8 years - of course all the while we were spending as if we were freakin' ordinary DINKS or something... (all right not going there...)

We have gotten in some bad habits too with our children that are going to be difficult/impossible to fix. For example, the three of them are in private schools - understand that here that costs very little compared to the states, but still. Per child, it's about 80 euros a month. My second son is a pianist - music school is 500 euros a year. Again, not expensive compared to the States... the third son is into the Ecole des Beaux Arts and bowling (of all things). We have talked to the kids about going to public school, but they have been with their friends in these schools from Pre-K -  they really don't want to change. The eldest, age 18 will be going to University for about 300 euros (that is not a typo) tuition for the year (I know); but we will still have to find him an appartment, etc.


I would love to hear any and all of your thoughts - my idea so far is that we reduce our expenses enough so that we can at the least save my entire tiny salary...

What I find the most inspiring and liberating, for me, is the idea that from this point on I am no longer working in my practice to spend my money on keeping up, but to provide for something more meaningful and important. I want to protect myself and provide for myself in the future.

Thanks for reading, sorry this was so long.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: James on February 18, 2013, 02:14:39 PM
I am 3 months past 40, does that count?  :)

Like you I only started turning things around over the past 3-4 years.  We got rid of all of our debt except mortgage, though we are underwater and that and trying to sell the house.  It certainly can be depressing to think about the waste over the past 10-15 years, and how much further ahead we could be if we had only started earlier.  But that is water under the bridge, I'm just focusing on getting things where they should be right now. 

The key is probably in your monthly spending.  How much are you spending each month, and how much are you saving?  How much are you eating out, buying stuff, driving, etc?  That is what I keep repeating to myself, it's not about the numbers, it's about the lifestyle.  If you don't spend it, you will be saving it and can put it toward the mortgage or retirement.

Also, start challenging the status quo.  Why are you finding an apartment for your eldest?  Can he live with you?  If he does need an apartment, shouldn't he be expected to work and pay for it?  Some things aren't worth changing, I can understand the desire to maintain the private school, etc.  But question each of those expenses and many others within the light of what MMM would say.  Challenge them and make them justify their expense.  And keep repeating that for all your expenses, since your "normal" will change as you continue to read MMM and adapt your thinking from the consumerist norm.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: kendallf on February 18, 2013, 08:40:56 PM
You're not alone.  :-)

I'm 46, my wife is 41, and I just started reading MMM a few months ago.  I'm making an effort to do exactly what James recommends above, and that is to review every aspect of our spending and make cuts that build over time.

Short version: it's working.  I have cut everything from car insurance, to recently selling my wife's Lexus and buying a Prius, to eating out less, and I'm currently DIYing some renovations on an old, small home we bought cheaply so that we can downsize, rent out our current house, and basically kill our mortgage expense.

All this and I'm not making a dime more (I work for the US Navy; I may actually get sequestered later this year.  Now, if that happens, I can actually survive).  This has given me a feeling of optimism and control that I lacked before; you can do the same, I'm sure!

Working things out with the kids' expenses can be tough; I try to remember that having parents who are financially responsible for the long term trumps a momentary luxury in the short term.  That's one of the most valuable things you can teach them as well, in my opinion.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Paul der Krake on February 18, 2013, 09:08:19 PM
Now that your eldest is about to move out, have you considered downsizing your house? I don't know much about the housing market in Britanny, but depending on when you purchased your house it could have appreciated quite nicely. Assuming that your sons will be going to a large city for their studies, you most likely won't need that space much longer.

You mentionned that you only make 800 euros a month (pre-tax or post-tax?), how many hours does that represent? Last time I checked, the minimum salary for a 35hour week in France was around 1,100 euros post-tax. With your professional skills, there has to be room for improvement there.

Good luck!
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 19, 2013, 12:23:53 AM
Thank you guys so much - a pleasure to read your hopeful optimism  : ), and you were very kind, considering how wimpyass we are   ; )

I totally agree that the changes that need to happen are lifestyle, baby steps (not in DR sense) and speak to keeping up that hopeful optimism in MMM-style. So far - I'm taking  the bike much more often... where I live, it's kind of really embarrasing to admit the distances I was driving (like okay, I'll admit it...500 meters or so... I know, I know). Good thing - we own one ten-year-old car- and we live right in town. My amazing DH has taken his bike everywhere for years. We practically never need to drive, living here (medium-size town in French standards, tiny-tiny in American). I have stopped buying lunches out (yeah I did that too !!) and cut out my fairly generous Dave-Ramsey-inspired clothes/make-up budget. I know, I know...

Appartement (I spell French, I know that too) for eldest...because he's going to school 2 hours from home...because what he's interested in studying (Philosophy! Need I say it again...."I know") isn't taught at the University here. I very much like the idea of making dear-kiddo work during his college career. Jobs for young people have been really hard to come by, but now that he's 18 this should be less of an issue. Besides, qu'il se débrouille as we say here (let him figure it out!)

House - we have a way-too-big house for sure. We were very un-mustache and sourced-out a lot of work on the thing. Now we are here. Spoke to DH about downsizing, but changing houses means basically getting a lot less house for the same amount of money. This is because we got our house really cheap 9 years ago, we are in a neighborhood where everything is REALLY close to us (as said before) and to get in this neighborhood in a smaller house, with the moving costs, means it would all get cancelled out. OK I sound excuse-y even to myself, but moving right now anyway is not in the cards today. But I'm not attached to the lousy house so - ask me again in 3 or 4 years and voilà, it's gone.

My "salary" (LOL).. I'm in private practice. I bring home 800euros Net. (thank goodness). Since my degrees are American, the only way I could practice my métier was to open the practice. Not allowed by the Gov't of France to practice in clinics, hospitals or other institutions (that being said, I have snuck under the radar and teach some classes at the nursing school...SHHHH!) OK here is where I am going to be more revealing - I'm a psychoanalyst. (I know, it's such an Un-mustache métier). This means a HUGE huge part of what I earn in my practice goes to my personal analysis and supervision. Think of it as never-ending Grad School. To most people (out of our nebulous psychoanalytic world) this sounds crazy and it pretty much is - there's a similiar values-quality issue to Mustachian-ism. In analysis, there are not quick-easy "fixes" to human psychic pain (can't just apply a positive thought and voilà you're fine). Anyway that's a whole other post I guess  ; D

Lastly - we are locked into our current way-too-high car insurance until October because of an accident I had in 2010, but that should go way down then. Lastly lastly, I would like to take down the lifestyle in all manner of incremental not-too-painful-for the-kids ways before I get scary-radical on them -that being said, in the past ten days, "being mustache" has been officially adopted into their mishmash Frenchy-English.

OK lastly lastly lastly - still have y'all beat in terms of age - I just turned (gasp !!) 47! DH is 53. But he's totally on board because at heart, he's really really Badass ; ) !

Merci beaucoup everyone.



Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: kythuen on February 19, 2013, 01:48:12 PM
I'm 41, and just started getting my financial house in order.  I haven't even begun to turn the corner - but thanks to a lot that I've learned here, I can finally see the corner in the distance, from where I'm standing now.  :)

I'm not sure I can ever catch up enough to early-retire -- right now, my goal is just to retire "on time."  But being here has given me all the tools I need to feel like my old age will be comfortable and secure, even if my middle-age will have to involve a lot of 9-5 to catch up.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: needmyfi on February 19, 2013, 02:37:05 PM
Hah!  55 years old here, dh will be 58 tommorrow.  Better late than never.  I made my move too soon.  Quit my high paying job almost a decade ago now and various forces have us back working for another 3 years to bridge the gap to SS.

Pluses are that your husband will get a nice pension, you will have healthcare and you can afford kids in college.  But down to the real question-why only 800 euros for your income if you are booked, this seems mighty out of kilter.  I get the whole US educated not qualified in France thing,  but I kind of didn't understand your explanation of salary.  Do you make only 800 euros and then spend that on your own therapy, or do you make only 800 euros net after you pay for your own therapy?  If you are booked-can you charge more?

You could post your budget but I'm afraid many of us will have a hard time making good suggestions on specific items since there seem to be alot of fundamental differences between US and France, but you could give it a try.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: BPA on February 19, 2013, 04:34:31 PM
Hello!  I am 44 and have been playing catch up for much of my life.  I started university two years later than my friends for reasons beyond my control, graduated into a recession which put off finding a job in my field by three years and didn't start my career until I was 28.  Then I was suddenly made a single mother of two small children at 32 and struggled financially on my income, but succeeded in surviving.  I finally paid off my student loans at 35 and bought a house at 36 (by myself). 

Since then I've cut back my hours at work to be around more for my kids, so my game plan is more "be frugal to be around more" rather than to retire super early.  However, if all works out the way I hope it does, I should be on track to retire at 50. 

Good luck.  Nothing wrong with starting late although there is the whole "if I'd gotten things together sooner, I'd be further ahead" thought that runs through my head from time to time.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: WhatMomWears on February 19, 2013, 06:26:15 PM
Turning 44 next month and the husband is 43 :)
You're not alone. We're playing catch up too - we did too much of 'keeping up with the Wall Streeters' with my Investment Bank bonuses and now we're wishing we had banked all of them rather than spending. Sigh.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Jamesqf on February 19, 2013, 10:08:22 PM
Don't know if you could call it "catching up", but I didn't get a college degree until I was in my mid-30s.  Before that, I had worked my way up from field labor sorts of things to a fairly successful construction business, then lost about everything through a concatenation of mishaps.  (Not all my own doing - never go into business with two excessively macho guys who have attractive wives :-))
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: happy on February 20, 2013, 01:36:27 AM
Yes, I'm 54....and I have moved between periods of  frugality and periods or consumption creep. Learning to be happy  with low expenses is a great life skill to have.... I've learnt some and am still learning. I'm also  gradually winding in the spending on the family feeling it inappropriate to suddenly make dramatic changes. My approach is to make no more silly mistakes, and rectify past ones in the most timely fashion appropriate..some can't be quickly fixed.

I've declared myself semi-retired according to MY definition.. ie I only work half-time (semi = half) and the rest of the time I am retired. It will take me longer to be fully retired, but one of the problems of playing "catch-up" is that every year spent working for The Man, becomes a more precious life year wasted.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 20, 2013, 05:46:02 AM
Pretty great stuff.

Thank you MrsKensington for your inspiration and thoughtfulness, and thanks to all of you - there is just so much hopeful wisdom here - I just love it. I'm gushing  ; )


Pluses are that your husband will get a nice pension, you will have healthcare and you can afford kids in college.  But down to the real question-why only 800 euros for your income if you are booked, this seems mighty out of kilter.  I get the whole US educated not qualified in France thing,  but I kind of didn't understand your explanation of salary.  Do you make only 800 euros and then spend that on your own therapy, or do you make only 800 euros net after you pay for your own therapy?  If you are booked-can you charge more?

You could post your budget but I'm afraid many of us will have a hard time making good suggestions on specific items since there seem to be alot of fundamental differences between US and France, but you could give it a try.


OK ...thanks for everyone's really amazing, hopeful responses... I am so glad to see I'm not alone in "catching up".
Let me try to answer this as best I can...

I am booked, yes. In France, there is no health insurance reimbursement for psychotherapy, so everyone sets their prices as they want to. I charge what other therapists in my area charge roughly, that's to say, 45€ a session. Out of that, 20% goes to the government as VAT tax (that's what's hard to take.) So I'm down to 36-ish euros a session.

I have about 25 sessions a week (the rest of the time is taken up by teaching, running therapy groups - these in other places - that's actually just dumb luck for me). Let's round it down to 25 sessions a week for the ups and downs of private practice. For example, if I take a week off (which I'm going to do next week) - no pay. So that makes about 1125€/week without the VAT, 900 a week with... that being said, because I live in a small town and some people have a really hard time paying for their therapy, there are some people I see for less money. So - it's not exactly 900€, it's about 850€ -ish. Again, it all depends on the week - in this business, every single week is different.

Then, I have to take out the other taxes. In this case, healthcare costs that I'm required to pay the Gov't for are no where near as expensive as in the States, to be sure, but still. About 1000€ a year. Then there are the other charges - charges you have just beacuse you're in business for yourself and that's the way it is. These come to about 3000 € a year. So 4000€ for the other taxes, per year.

Then, there's my rent for the office, and electricity, internet access/telephone. These all come to roughly 600€ a month.

Then there's the big huge bite that my personal analysis and supervision take out - this is what's of course the most difficult for civilians (including my poor accountant, and my husband) to understand. Because I live basically in a tiny Brittany town - I have to travel to get what I need for myself. This is also in a large measure due to anonymity issues. So, I take a train, which costs me 75€ a week for two round trips to a town 1.5 hours away. Once there, the nice thing is they have a set-up where you can rent a bike for an annual subscription (35€) so that's what I do to get where I need to go. I have to pay 180€ a week for my analysis/supervision. Yes that's huge, but in the States, it's much worse...FYI...

I pay for these things out of my gross income.

I am also in an analytic institute for the next 2.5 years studying child therapy/analysis - this costs 200 a month.

SO...After all is said, and done and paid for, THEN I pay myself 800€ a month, you see...

SO obviously, yes, once the analysis/supervision/institute stuff is through (but we have to pay for supervision forever in our jobs...it's part of the deal, but it won't be as expensive as the whole package) things should start to get a bit easier. So things should be better in about 3 years or so...

That - and I am going to fight all the same over the next few years to have my American degrees validated. I say "the next few years" because for a colleague of mine, this took 12 years. You can't make this stuff up...!!

I started a journal on here where I hope to get more precise on the numbers - like I said there, I have been a bit of an ostrich about things, and my DH is an engineer and I've kind of been leaning on him way too much in that department... he just LOVES his Excel sheets, LOL...

Thanks, all...

Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 20, 2013, 07:12:40 AM
Back - crunching numbers again a bit (understand math is Not My Thing, so feel Free to Totally correct me at will)

I make then, about 3800€ a month taking out just the VAT tax right away. But, since I told you I pay expenses on the gross, add back 20%  - we're back up to 4,560€. (round it down to 4400 because of ups, downs...every month is different too). Monthly expenses then are rent/internet/telephone/electricity = 600€, Institute expenses: 200€, Analysis/supervision = 420€, Train = 300€. That's then 1520€, a month, just off the top of the gross.

 I forgot that the Yellow Pages called me yesterday to renew my business listing at 640€ a year. Add up the taxes then that I listed above...

Then - if the numbers still don't work - there is also that in France, there is a LOT of vacation, where no one is around to come to any appointments at all. During the summer, this is about a month to six-week period with very few appointments. I have to plan for it of course, and this being France I myself take a month off. Every six weeks here there are two weeks of school vacation. That means, starting from the beginning of the school year, there are two weeks in Oct-Nov, two weeks over Christmas, two weeks in Feb (next week), two weeks at Easter, and then we end the school year. There are a lot of people out of town who don't come in at those times.

My DH does my accounts, along with my accountant. I am trying now to dig into this deeper (so please be patient, you math-heads! ) He (DH) tends to be really conservative and pessimistic about my earnings (then I outperform his dire predictions, so much the better...!) It's his decision right now to pay me very little  - with the idea that (remember this part) I owe VAT tax that I haven't been paying since 2010 - and that we just found out about this - which is what brought me to this lovely site  : )...

That being said, in 2010 I didn't make as much as now. So - somehow this mishmash will come together...

Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: clutchy on February 20, 2013, 05:47:03 PM
Just an FYI you might want to look into this but there's a form called the FBAR TdF 90-22.1.

It's a financial disclosure form for foreign bank accounts in excess of $10,000.

You might want to see if it applies to you b/c the penalties are extreme.

Not sure if you care though or if you're ever coming back to the states.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Captain and Mrs Slow on February 21, 2013, 10:17:24 AM
Hey Greetings to a fellow expat (CDN living in Madrid soon moving to Munich) not much to add other than the principles of frugality can be applied anywhere and anytime.

The wife and I cycled in and out of debt for almost 25 years before finally getting everything turned around. An inheritance helped and now we are planning mode for retiremet 60-65.

So it's never too late!

good luck
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 21, 2013, 01:20:58 PM
thank you again everyone for your replies.

Clutchy - US tax law doesn't apply to me at all, haven't lived in the States in 15 years and haven't made any money there since 2006 (as a writer). But thanks anyway for your thoughts.

Captain and Mrs Slow   Thanks for piping in - we aren't in debt but we are in no way going to be able to retire OK unless things come together - so we too are aiming for a "normal" retirement age at this point - the issue is especially salient for me because I myself have about 7K dollars in my IRA in the States - that is IT.

All right, keep on keepin' on - I have started a journal https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/psychomoustache's-incremental-journey-journal (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/psychomoustache's-incremental-journey-journal)

so if you all want to keep up with the ongoing saga, feel free...

Merci encore,
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: SoftwareGoddess on February 21, 2013, 01:29:48 PM

US tax law doesn't apply to me at all, haven't lived in the States in 15 years and haven't made any money there since 2006 (as a writer). But thanks anyway for your thoughts.

But did you not say that you are a US citizen? I'm a US expat living in Canada (dual citizen), and it's my understanding that all US citizens must file not only the FBAR but also a US tax return, regardless of whether they earned money in the US during the tax year. You may want to look into that a bit more closely.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: TN_Steve on February 21, 2013, 01:35:28 PM
[SNIP]

Clutchy - US tax law doesn't apply to me at all, haven't lived in the States in 15 years and haven't made any money there since 2006 (as a writer). But thanks anyway for your thoughts.

[SNIP]


Ouch.  You really need to look at FBAR and, to a lesser extent, FATCA.  They are truly terrible/nasty/execrable laws for expat US citizens.  US (along with Eritrea) has a worldwide tax regime, so any income you make in France is subject to US taxes (after credits, of course).  These rules go further and mandate filings showing your foreign assets, if they exceed a relatively low amount in the aggregate.  The penalties are draconian.   Here is a google search result page for "FBAR impact on Expatriates":  http://tinyurl.com/FBAR-Results  Here is a Forbes article on FATCA: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2011/09/06/expats-call-for-fatca-repeal/ 

Bottom line, this is some serious stuff that you need to get up to speed on quickly. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Spork on February 21, 2013, 02:25:37 PM

US tax law doesn't apply to me at all, haven't lived in the States in 15 years and haven't made any money there since 2006 (as a writer). But thanks anyway for your thoughts.

But did you not say that you are a US citizen? I'm a US expat living in Canada (dual citizen), and it's my understanding that all US citizens must file not only the FBAR but also a US tax return, regardless of whether they earned money in the US during the tax year. You may want to look into that a bit more closely.

...and I had a friend that did 5-6 years in Sweden without filing a US return.  When he returned he was fortunate enough to do so while under the umbrella of a corporation that *really wanted* him back in the States and was willing to sort out the tangle for him.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 22, 2013, 09:29:22 AM
I was informed of the tax issues affecting us by two different sources - an American tax lawyer in Paris, and the American consulate. I am pretty confident in their advice. I read the link on the FBAR, and my impression - (which is what I was told by the above two sources) is that they are especially looking for those expats who make a lot of money here and who plan to return to the States to work... but especially those who are making a large income here.

To be perfectly honest - I was told by both of those sources to just stay under the radar - that our little salaries were not going to be of interest to the IRS - that we would have little or nothing to pay tax-wise anyway and it would just be sending in the return every year to be on their good side - but the biggest risk we have is not being allowed to vote, in not sending in returns at all. Again, the last part comes from my American consular general in Brittany, whom I know pretty well.

Thank you though for reading, and my formulation was obviously incorrect  - of course US tax law concerns us !
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 22, 2013, 10:23:42 AM
http://www.taxplannercpa.com/WP/foreign-earned-income-exclusion/fbar-penalty-for-non-filers/ (http://www.taxplannercpa.com/WP/foreign-earned-income-exclusion/fbar-penalty-for-non-filers/)

I think this is how my two sources are thinking this through. I agree with you all - it's FAR from ideal, and I will have to look into it more...but one challenge at a time, please, I'm busy dealing with the nasty French taxes FIRST.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 25, 2013, 01:10:54 PM
OK we are looking into these tax issues - i recontacted the same tax lawyer I saw back in 2007 to get started on filing again.

We may owe some penalties for failing to file. We probably don't owe tax per se because we are paying tax here (and they don't double tax you thank God - at least that's my understanding)
I prefer to get this information now, and get this straightened out today, rather than dealing with some nasty tax surprise if one day we decide to go back to the States, or when we pull out our American IRA's, or if and when I inherit something from my Dad.

I have to thank you guys for pointing this out to me - obviously I was in denial and didn't want to deal. But Mustaches Deal, Damn it. so I'm dealing.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: clutchy on February 25, 2013, 03:54:49 PM
and you're welcome :)
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Zaga on February 25, 2013, 05:22:22 PM
My husband is 44 and we just started getting serious about retirement savings when he was 40 and I was 29.  So are we over 40?  Yes and no :-)  Are we trying gamely to catch up?  Yes!!!

We have about 3 times our annual expenses in retirement accounts, save 44% of our take home pay, and have between 4 and 5.5 years before we will be completely debt free (we have about double our annual expenses in debt).  By the time the debt is paid off I hope to have more like 6-7 times annual expenses in retirement account, then really ramp up the savings!

On a related note, I love the way of thinking of savings by comparing it to net income!  That was just an eqiphany to me, and it takes out the 30-35% of our income that goes to various taxes!  Of course some of those will still be paid when our income goes down like the property taxes, but others will be gone or diminished greatly.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on February 27, 2013, 10:21:44 AM
I  now spend time playing math games in my head (now THAT means this site has really, really gotten to me, I was an English major) and am hoping I can have a small but decent stash, on the low side, of about 160K euros in 20 years - and that's being pessimistic.

We are now trying to put aside, as a beginning step, 1000 euros a month (out of a salary of about 5500 euros, but with three kids).

I found the Vanguard France site, and am looking into what the minimum is to open an account - probably depends on the account?

Teeny-tiny steps...
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Sweet Tart on February 27, 2013, 05:47:01 PM
I've just turned <gulp> 50 and DH is 45 and we are determined to catch up and retire by normal retirement age.  I went through a breakup/divorce 10 years ago and was really caught off-guard financially.  I was a SAH mom and had to rebuild a career in my 40s.  I wish I had been smarter with so many things in my life, but I'm learning more every day.  I'm so glad I found MMM! 

We've got a small start in 401k and some debt to pay off (all relating to college tuition, DH and DS) and great plans to grow a 'stache. 

ETA:  I was a YMOYL and Tightwad Gazette reader also back in the day.  I still have my original copies of the Tightwad Gazette newsletter in 3-ring binders.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Us2bCool on March 25, 2013, 12:54:52 PM
I'm with you as well. 45, married with a teenager.

We were actually doing pretty well, living an ultra-consumption life with a huge house, a sparkly new pool, and new cars every couple of years, and having no trouble paying the bills. I'm actually pretty frugal, but my husband grew up dirt poor and has a pretty unhealthy view of money and consumption.  The first 15 years of our marriage, he tended to win out on buying whatever he thought would make him happy.

He finally blew it, though. We got a large windfall, he decided to pursue his dream, quit his job and opened a bar.   Two years later we were bankrupt and in debt for half a mil.  It's a miracle we stayed married, but we did.

Four years later, we are out of debt and well on our way to recovery. We don't own a house at the moment, and can't buy one until next year due to the bankruptcy.  The good news is that he has learned that he needs to listen to my opinion when it comes to finances and not try to buy happiness. 

What's really amazing is that we had an extra challenge as well: we relocated with our jobs from a very affordable city to a very expensive one, and with our new lifestyle, we actually have a lot more extra money than we had before our nosedive. Every last dime is being put away, and we're on track to get into a house (this time a nice, small, manageable one) next year.  Once we have the house, we can keep putting money away.  At this rate we are still on track for early retirement.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: I Love Cake on March 26, 2013, 11:52:10 AM
[SNIP]

Clutchy - US tax law doesn't apply to me at all, haven't lived in the States in 15 years and haven't made any money there since 2006 (as a writer). But thanks anyway for your thoughts.

[SNIP]


Ouch.  You really need to look at FBAR and, to a lesser extent, FATCA.  They are truly terrible/nasty/execrable laws for expat US citizens.  US (along with Eritrea) has a worldwide tax regime, so any income you make in France is subject to US taxes (after credits, of course).  These rules go further and mandate filings showing your foreign assets, if they exceed a relatively low amount in the aggregate.  The penalties are draconian.   Here is a google search result page for "FBAR impact on Expatriates":  http://tinyurl.com/FBAR-Results  Here is a Forbes article on FATCA: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2011/09/06/expats-call-for-fatca-repeal/ 

Bottom line, this is some serious stuff that you need to get up to speed on quickly.

I would trust a tax lawyer too but I have heard that every American citizen is affected in this. I am in Canada and know a few American ex-pats. One was a baby when his family moved to Canada and even he had to pay back some taxes for income he earned here in Canada-and he never worked in the States-never even went to school there. He hired someone to work it out for him. I also know a woman who moved to Canada as a child. She, like you, is going to try to stay under the radar and hope they don't sniff her out
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: I Love Cake on March 26, 2013, 11:59:48 AM
Salut psychomoustache!
I think you are doing quite well. I wouldn't take the kids out of private school-the cost isn't exorbitant and switching schools is tough on children.

I am a late bloomer too-in more ways than one. I am 47 and have a 7 year old and an 8 year old



I'm not too worried because I have always maxed out my CPP and I know I will get that every month when I retire (it's guaranteed for the next 75 years or so) plus RRSP and RPP we'll be fine-not rich, but fine

This year we are dedicated to saving more than ever. Our problem is being too risk adverse to ever really 'catch up'

When I read about people having close to a million in retirement-wow!

Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on March 26, 2013, 02:53:40 PM
Salut to you! I love cake too  : ) !!

No, we aren't taking the little Psychos out of their beloved schools. In my journal today (another thread), I kvetched quite heartily about my current angoisse about whether or not to go get the lousy f-ing diplôme de psychologie... I could plan and spare the time to do it in about 3 years or so - when my current training ends and the mini-Psychos are a bit bigger. But ...

I'm looking at the classes required and they make me Wince in Misery. Misère. Cognitive variance models, and memory retention confabulations. You know. Has a whole lot of relevance to my work...

SO - is it worth it to say F-it to the degree, and accept that I will pay a 20% tax for my saying "F-You, Degree", for the rest of my life (another 20 years of work or so, no ER happening here)...

OR- do I bite the bullet and return to school for painful classes for 3 to 4 years?? School isn't expensive here, but the time, and effort, and getting there - IS.

I am thinking that mustachianism is maybe preferable to the pain of this degree...???  Je ne sais pas. Anyway, this will take some time and some reflexion.

Time for bed here in Brittany... ça suffit.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on March 27, 2013, 02:00:02 PM
Attitude, schmatitude! I have No Idea what you mean! Of course all of this has happened to *moi*, and I am just a passive Victim of the Evil System! Obviously!

OK, taking deep meaningful breaths and calming down, and not shooting nasty looks in the direction of China to *you* Ihamo (can you feel my eyes sending nasty looks)

OK - you are putting down exactly what my thoughts these days are... is it worth it (the 20%?) given I'll be about 50 when I can start doing this program, it will take about 4 years, and then I'll have about 10 to 15 years of work left? Given what it's going to cost to do the program (given that it costs very little to do here...France has that going for it)...

And yeah, part of me would like to jump in with both feet *today* but I can't handle the training program I'm in plus University classes (plus my practice, plus my family...) But- I *would* like to find out if I could just begin taking a couple of classes and start breaking it down that way...

And yeah, I'm in my own psychoanalysis, where my wonderful analyst says most of the time "Oui", to much of what I say  : ) Not that it's not helpful, it's essential, but he is doing the Profoundly Neutral Analytic Stance thing, y'know.

Expat life - I think in China it must be quite different from here... In France  -on the news this evening- a report how in this country there are more piddling, obnoxious rules than in any other country on the planet. Seriously. Like, you can only serve apples in schools that weigh *exactly* 100 grams. That sort of thing. Or you are fined.

Thanks for your comments (sending nasty look anyway ; b )
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Freckles on September 02, 2013, 03:52:07 PM
Me!  I'm 41 and my husband's 43.  I just discovered MMM a couple weeks ago and have been reading like crazy.  I've never understood money and my husband and I have been tragically bad at managing it.  We have a lonnnnng way to go.  So I don't know about retiring early but at least now retirement at a normal retirement age seems possible.  We haven't really started saving much yet, but I signed up for mint and am tracking where the money goes to make better decisions in the near future.  We decided to sell our financed 2012 minivan (of course!) and my husband even agreed to sell his classic car that I never thought he'd let go. We both bought used bikes and I'm going to be commuting to work on mine.  I want to cry when I think of how wasteful and stupid we've been, but what's done is done.  Better late than never, right?

I realize the original post was from this past winter.  How are things going for you, psycho?
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: MKinVA on September 02, 2013, 05:09:58 PM
Don't know if you decided to go back to school or not, but I wanted to suggest perhaps changing professions. Not completely but maybe using your education for a job without those practice restrictions (and maybe more income). What about a life counselor at university? Or general counseling at a retirement community? I'm using counseling in the broadest possible terms, obviously.

Overall, I look at my challenge as traveling down the road. Does this purchase move me toward retirement or hold me back? Look even at the small expenditures. They may not be a lot of money, but saving even a small amount is motivating. I'm spending the entire holiday weekend cleaning out closets, getting rid of stuff (mostly donations and trash). Very liberating and inspiring which prevents me from wanting to bring any more junk into my life.

By the way, I'm 53, two in college, and I pretty good shape to retire in five years (with a pension).
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: oldtoyota on September 02, 2013, 07:57:47 PM

US tax law doesn't apply to me at all, haven't lived in the States in 15 years and haven't made any money there since 2006 (as a writer). But thanks anyway for your thoughts.

But did you not say that you are a US citizen? I'm a US expat living in Canada (dual citizen), and it's my understanding that all US citizens must file not only the FBAR but also a US tax return, regardless of whether they earned money in the US during the tax year. You may want to look into that a bit more closely.

I think SoftwareGoddess is correct that the US requires citizens to pay taxes even if they live in other countries. A work colleague of mine moved to Australia and has been (and probably will be) upset at all the tax she has to pay to a country where she doesn't live. I would look into it too.

Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Left on September 02, 2013, 08:11:00 PM
I'm playing catch up at 27 :( or at least I feel like I am. Even though I'm not really expecting early retirement (earlier than 40s anyways). My main goal is to be FI instead, so I can say screw this if my boss ever makes me unhappy with the job. This hasn't happened yet, but my old job did try to cut my hours, and a week later I gave my two weeks and was working somewhere else. I currently have PRN positions at a few places as well as a full time job. So if I have to cut my job, I just sign up for more hours somewhere else until I settle into a new job. So I don't worry about being "out of work" but I want to be able to know I don't have to "expect a paycheck" hence I want to be FI.

edit: and I'm fairly sure like above, US citizens have to file taxes even if they don't live in US or earn money in US. You might not have to "pay" taxes, but you still have to file it. It's a reason why people drop their dual citizenship if they dont' plan on coming back to US.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 02, 2013, 11:38:38 PM
Really glad I found this thread, I'm surprised it's not much longer.  Gotta get up early but I'll chime in tomorrow.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: hybrid on September 03, 2013, 04:26:06 AM
Really glad I found this thread, I'm surprised it's not much longer.  Gotta get up early but I'll chime in tomorrow.

Maybe it will be now that it has been revived.  I am 47, missus is 59, we've been married 27 years and have raised two kids.  Our daughter is 25 and has embraced many of the ideas from this site.  She and I sat down the other day and compared financial notes.  It was funny.  What worked well for MMM was that he made good coin at an early age and saved most of it early on, setting up his lifestyle today.  Neither of us can achieve that.  My daughter isn't making enough coin to attain financial independence by 31, and for her parents with larger incomes that ship has long sailed.  Daughter was looking at our income with mouth half open, and I was seeing 21 years of opportunity that had long passed.  It was a perfect example of "Is your glass half empty or half full?"  Because, from an MMM perspective, the both of us are only(?) about halfway there.  The better answer is, of course, half full.  That's what I told her to embrace.  She's figured out frugality, the stash will follow in time.  Her parents are in a position to improve upon a decent, if unspectacular in MMM terms, foundation.

IMO a notion that one must be financially independent by age XX is missing the forest for the trees.  By changing our habits we are improving upon our financial security fairly dramatically.  In the case of the missus we hope she will retire at age 62 instead of "normal" retirement age.  In my case the long term goal is to retire at age 60.  While that will not sound particularly early at all to a twenty-something reading this thread, here are the two takeaways financially independent that work for us.  Any extra time is good time, and we should be financially independent when a whole host of other people will never enjoy that kind of security.  That's what is getting me on a bike at age 47 when the joints are protesting more than they would have a mere 10 years ago. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: NinetyFour on September 03, 2013, 05:11:35 AM
Um, yes, I am over 40.  Have been for 12 years!  And yes, I am now trying to catch up.  I have always been fairly frugal, mostly just because I never made a lot of money.  The teaching profession.  Sigh.

In 2006, I bought a house for $320K with no money down and interest rates that were out of this world.  But within the last couple of months, I have made improvements to that situation:  I borrowed money against my retirement and paid off my second mortgage (which had a rate of 7.5%--I know) and then I refinanced my big mortgage.  In the process, I had an appraisal which showed that the value of my house had rebounded (from '08 and '09) to $298K.  I owe $236K.  Nice to know I am no longer underwater.

I have a 2003 Toyota Tacoma, which has been paid off for several years.  Since April, I have done NO clown car driving.  I commute to my job on foot or on bike, and have done so for 15 years.

I am a tenured Associate Professor, and, after 15 years, am finally making a comfy living ($68,000).

Other changes I made recently:  called my internet company and got my monthly fee changed from $55 to $30, switched from Verizon to Ting (monthly phone bill should change from $50 to $25-30), and am considering changing insurances.

I hope to attack the loan against my retirement and my mortgage and retire within the next 10 years.

Yes, many of us have made mistakes in the past, but now, with the help of the MMM community, we can use our collective wisdom, flex our frugality muscles, and progress towards FI.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Charlotte on September 03, 2013, 05:31:21 AM
Yes! My husband and I are mid-40's. We had zero debt for years in our 30's, but fell back into the trap. Finally made the decision to bang out our current debt (approximately $60,000 at the beginning of the summer). If all goes well, in 2016 we will be 100% debt free again!

Prioritizing debt payoff was hard (especially with my car loan at 2%) but it's silly to have debt when we just simply can't handle it.

I'm just glad we never took out a mortgage on our house....
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Daleth on September 03, 2013, 03:34:56 PM
Psychomoustache, one thing that jumps out at me is the 600 euros you pay for your office. Isn't it possible for you to have your office--yes, including the room where you see clients--in your own house? Especially since your house is larger than you need, and is also located in such a convenient area--I assume if it's convenient for you to get from home to shopping/town, it's probably also convenient for others to get to your house.

Perhaps some rearranging of furniture and/or minor renovations might be necessary to make this workable, but especially since your children are in school and your husband works--in other words if I understand correctly the house is empty much of the day--couldn't you save a lot of money (600 euros/month, to be exact) by seeing your clients there? Such an arrangement is permitted even in the US, which has much more draconian zoning laws than France does.

As for US taxes, I remember having to file when I lived in France, and not paying because (you are correct) they don't double-tax. There is an amount of income--not gross income--that is excluded every year, in other words if you make less than that amount (which these days is around $90,000) there is not even a possibility that you would owe any US income tax. And if you make more than that, then the taxes paid in France would be credited against any tax you could theoretically owe in the US, so you're once again generally not going to owe anything. This is a very simplistic sketch but hopefully it will help reassure you somewhat.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: pachnik on September 03, 2013, 10:34:01 PM
I'm definitely over 40 (49).  I found out about the MMM website 4 months ago. 

Clearly, too late for early retirement but I will be able to retire in 10 years or so making me 59 or 60 years old at retirement.  Basically, I don't have to add much to my RRSP/TFSA's for this to happen.   However, my spending patterns have changed dramatically because of what I have learned here so who knows. 

What I get from being here is the ability to live on less money and have a good life while doing so.  This gives me a double-whammy of financial security - saving more money and needing less to live on.   This website has completely changed my perspective on money.  I am willing to look at things with an open mind and see if there is an inexpensive way of dealing with the situation.  I used to just spend without thinking about it.  And actually, some of the inexpensive ways of dealing with things are more fun to do - such as baking someone a birthday present rather than just buying something at the mall. 

I really can't catch up (for an early retirement) but I sure have a new way of doing things which will serve me well regardless of what happens.  That is the gift here for me.



Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 04, 2013, 05:20:58 PM
Sigh, I am 55 years old, and I can't believe I'm writing this, or I should say I can't believe I'm in a position to be writing this.  Although I'm glad I found the MMM site, and I'm totally bought into the lifestyle, I find that I have to constantly fight feelings of hopelessness over my situation.  I don't think catching up is really an option.

I didn’t start earning a nice salary until my late 39's, but since that time I’ve done ok.  I’ve worked in several areas of the Information Technology field for about the last 18 years or so, from pretty technical stuff to management. My last (contract) job as a Network Engineer paid about $130k.

In 1999 I hired on with a large company that I thought I’d stay with until retirement--and along with retirement would be a nice pension.  Then in 2008 I got laid off in a big outsourcing move that was totally out of the blue.  I still had several years to go before getting fully vested for a pension, so that was that.  Since then I’ve jumped around quite a bit, mostly doing long term contracts, most of which were negative experiences in terms of being worked to death or having to endure environments where politics took precedence over, well, everything. 

I’ve been interested in the stock market for over a decade, and over the last 2-3 years I’ve done a lot of day trading in my off hours (I worked mostly swing shift so my mornings were free).  I worked hard at honing my trading skills, and started to consistently make money.  I made nice money from September 2012 through May of this year.  Meanwhile, my regular job required 70+ hours a week in a very stressful environment, plus a long commute (in fact, my entire IT career averaged 65+ hours a week).  I decided in April that just couldn't stand it anymore and would step off of the corporate hamster wheel to day trade for a living. My last day of work was this last May 17th.

Well, that has only gone so-so.  In fact, "so-so" is probably optimistic.  I’m not sure I’m going to make it as a day trader.  I’m really concerned. 

The thing is, at this point in my life I’m just so, so sick of the corporate world I’d endure almost anything to not go back.  And if does come down to having to go back to a job, I have lots of experience but my skills are pretty obsolete and run of the mill at this point.  I don't think I'd be competitive in the job market.  So, I'd have to mount a re-education program for about the 5th time in my life.  Also, I had two jobs over a 17 year period, but since 2008 I've had six jobs.  It can be all be explained, four of the six were contract positions at the same large company from which I got laid off, but

Regarding my personal habits, I’ve never been exactly spendy, never wanted to buy big, showy, expensive things, but until not too long ago I lived my financial life totally unconsciously. I did all the dumb things MMM talks about.  I bought my lunch every day; I commuted almost 40 miles to work one way; if I wanted something, I bought it;  I financed new cars (nothing fancy, ever, but new).  I took money out of my house to buy an “investment property” in 2006 (perfectly timed to hit the top of the market), which I had to short sell last year. 

One more thing:  my wife and I divorced in 2012, after 24 years of marriage.  My now ex-wife worked this to perfection, and as a result I had to pay a six figure sum of money to her, and I further pay a significant amount in alimony.  In California, any marriage lasting 10 years or more is considered a “long term marriage,” which means there is no set end to the alimony.  So, unless she gets remarried, starts earning significant money (not too likely) or dies, I’m on the hook for alimony ($1850/mo.!) for the foreseeable future.  This was a savagely fought divorce--my ex stated to my face that she was out to take everything I had--so it cost a ton in legal fees on top of everything else [Feeling defensive here--no, I didn't cheat on her, LOL].  I can challenge her claim to alimony periodically, but that in itself can be expensive and I'd have to have good inside information on her current situation. It's a tough, tough position to be in.

At this point I live a pretty effing frugal life.  I started riding my bike locally, I’m going to get a scooter, I have no debt other than my house, I don’t have cable TV, I have a relatively pricey mobile phone plan but will be changing to Republic Wireless in the next month, I have AAA car insurance but will be changing that in the next month as well.  My car is relatively economical (a 2008 Honda Accord 4 cyl), and I own it.  I almost never eat out.  I have two room renters who contribute a total of $1150 a month.  I watch the utilities like a hawk, or as much as I can with two tenants.

Still, though, I can’t stop wondering what the use is of all of this frugality, since there's so little time left to change things significantly.  If I didn't have to pay alimony, maybe I could live on next to nothing and save a ton of cash for 10 years, until I was 65.  But, I DO have to pay alimony, and with that and my mortgage payment, even if I start making good money trading again or I (god forbid) go back to a regular job, my expenses are a huge headwind.  Just my combined alimony and mortgage payment are $4480/mo., which means I have to gross around $70k/year just to pay those two items.  My room rental income brings that down to $3330/mo., but that is still a large chunk of cash. It's very discouraging (trying not to use the other "D" word).  It seems like I’m destined to bust my ass until the very end--I have this vision of my coworkers finding my 76 year old body in my worker bee cubicle, slumped over my computer.

Just a few numbers: 

I have about $150k equity in my house (I owe $360k), $50k in my trading account, and a tiny IRA ($90k).  I live in southern California, and my only family, my daughter and grandson, are nearby, so I'm reluctant to move away from them to a cheaper housing market. 

My other bills (other than mortgage and alimony) come to about $1200/mo, including $300/mo. for miscellaneous.  So, it'd be pretty much impossible to get my monthly responsibilities under about $5200-$5300/month.

As far as income...shit I don't even know.  When I was trading part time I was making about $8k/mo, but for the last couple of months it seems that every button in my trading software should say "donate $500".  Trading is very lucrative if you're good, but I've gotten frustrated and down on myself, and have done dumb things just out of being obstinate.  When you try to get into a pissing match with the market you almost always lose. 

Anyway, I'm not even sure what the purpose of this post is, other than to get it off my chest and because, by God, there's a category in the MMM forum called "anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?".
I'll take any feedback, though, if it's offered with positive intention.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Argyle on September 04, 2013, 05:40:06 PM
Mark B., I'm sorry for your situation.  It sounds as if something drastic is going to have to happen for something to change.

I'll just say that I know a lot of people who've tried day trading -- but not one has succeeded longterm.  I'm sure there are some people who have, just by the luck of the draw.  But I do think it's pure chance (though no doubt the successes think it's under their control), and the chances are small.  In short, as you've experienced, I don't think day trading is a way out of the hole.  It's most likely a way of digging the hole deeper.  Like gambling, you have to know when to stop -- and most people don't stop till the losses have started to mount.

I don't know how portable your other skills are.  I do know that you could live in many rural areas in the midwest with a rent of around $300 a month, and fly in to southern California to see your daughter and grandchild one weekend a month -- heck, two weekends a month -- and come out thousands better than you're doing now.

I think to turn this situation around, you can't take any option off the table.  Or else you end up in a corner with no options, as you are now.

If I understand correctly, at this rate you're never going to come out on top with this mortgage, that is, you're not going to pay it off before you're retired.  Is it time to let go of the house? 

Is it possible to start over in a much lower-paying but more tolerable profession?  With a much lower earning potential, conceivably you could reduce the $1850 alimony payment as well.

It sounds to me as if it's time to take the plunge into some entirely different options.  Maybe brainstorm twenty or thirty, and take the ones that sound the most exciting.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Hugh H on September 04, 2013, 05:53:05 PM
Mark,

Seems like you may have to suck it up and go back to work. Like Argyle mentioned, I would move somewhere in the mid West to pay little rent (assuming you can find a job there). I would sell that house and grab the equity to assist you with your plan.

That alimony payment is PURE BS!! I don't know the options but I would devote a significant amount of time and effort on figuring out how to get rid of it. I mean, perhaps since you have no stable income right now the court can take a look at that again?
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on September 04, 2013, 05:59:39 PM
Started really saving at age 35, so a bit before 40 and went from negative net worth to 1.1 million in the past 8 years by extreme saving.  Imagine if we had not wasted the 15 years before that!

I don't think 40 is too late to start, but might take you until 50 or so to get to where you want to be.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 04, 2013, 10:44:26 PM
Mark,

Seems like you may have to suck it up and go back to work. Like Argyle mentioned, I would move somewhere in the mid West to pay little rent (assuming you can find a job there). I would sell that house and grab the equity to assist you with your plan.

That alimony payment is PURE BS!! I don't know the options but I would devote a significant amount of time and effort on figuring out how to get rid of it. I mean, perhaps since you have no stable income right now the court can take a look at that again?

First, thanks everyone for the supportive and constructive comments.

Here's the thing about the alimony--all attorneys and divorce court judges in California use the same alimony calculating software.  They use the previous year's salary, and expenses are generally not even looked at.  When we went through the divorce, I had made about $110k the previous year and she showed a zero income (that is a very long story).  I had a forensic accountant go through her finances, and same result.  There was just nothing to be done.  My attorney, her attorney, and the judge were all in agreement about the amount of alimony.  Well, mine wasn't in agreement, exactly, but he said the figures were the figures.

Now, regarding my current income, an ex-spouse who is paying alimony can't just quit his/her job and say "sorry, can't pay you alimony because I'm not making as much money".  That's a voluntary change of status.  If I got laid off from my job that would be another matter entirely as it's not voluntary, and I'd be able to negotiate a modification.

So, my last job was officially a two year contract, and there was no option to be hired on permanently after the two years.  Follow me on this...I quit before the two years were up.  They would have been up in about 13 months (October 2014).  So, I'm thinking that after that time has gone by, if I'm making less money I can say that no matter what, this $130k/yr job would be over.  That might be a legitimate way to get a reduction, at the very least.

I really, really, don't want this thread to be about my divorce, but the reason my ex showed a zero income in 2011 was that she was awarded the business we had started (I got the house and my IRA).  She was devoted full time to the business and was able to show zero income basically because of an accounting anomaly.  What she's continuing to do, though, is pay her two sons, whom she lives with, nice salaries while taking no salary herself.  She's essentially funneling money through her sons.  We still share the same accountant, and he told me that he warned her this would not fly, that it was a common but easily discovered trick, but she continues to do it.  So, that's something I'll be looking into at the end of this year.

I've been thinking seriously about selling my house, but staying here in southern Cal and doing a very cheap option like renting a room.  I want to try making the rent even cheaper by offering to do some work around the house.  I do everything around this house now, so it would be no problem to do yard work or something for someone.  This solution would also eliminate utilities and home insurance.  It would be hard to swallow giving up my house, though, and I've got two big dogs, one of which I'm very close to. We rescued each other--I rescued him from a shelter and probable death, he rescued me from my funk at the lowest point of my divorce. 

About the trading--I know most of you have no experience with it, and looking at it from the outside it looks like gambling, but really it's not.  Yes, like gambling, you can lose money.  But you can also lose money, or not make any money by starting a business.  Is that gambling?  There is randomness in it and no one can make money 100% of the time, but markets are not random no matter what you've heard. And I don't actually trade stocks, I trade futures, which are a bit different.  Over a 10 month period when I really focused on my trading I traded most days and averaged 8-10 trades per day.  That was a total of around 1200 trades, and 89% of those were profitable. Much better than what random chance would dictate.  Anyway, I'm sure this could be a thread all by itself, but I'm going to continue to trade for the time being. 

So...after the exercise of writing about my situation, then reading the excellent comments, here's what I'm going to do starting tomorrow:

1. Start upgrading my skills by studying for some industry certifications.
2. Start looking for a job (f*ck!).
3. Continue to trade every morning.
4. The house...I had wanted take advantage of the rising market for a little while longer while also paying down the mortage a bit, but I guess I should sell it.  It's gonna take me a little while to be able to pull the trigger on this one though, I've been in this house for a long time.
5. Do a consultation with another divorce attorney.

Thanks again for the input. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Spork on September 05, 2013, 08:30:37 AM
About the trading--I know most of you have no experience with it, and looking at it from the outside it looks like gambling, but really it's not.  Yes, like gambling, you can lose money.  But you can also lose money, or not make any money by starting a business.  Is that gambling?

For the purpose of this exercise: Sure.  They're both gambling.   They're gambling in the sense they both have a very high risk/reward ratio.  And if I understand your situation: it sounds like you really don't have the cash to risk either.

In general, there are a ton of experienced day traders out there that are 100% convinced that they can time the market properly... up until the point that they cannot.

If you are going to do this: do it with money you can afford to lose.  Don't rely on this as your sole investment income.  Do it with the philosophy that you're 100% sure you are going to lose every penny and that you have enough money to cover if that is the case.  Don't do it on margin.

If you make money: awesome.  Take a good percentage off the table and move it into a lower risk vehicle like an index fund and try again -- still with the idea that you will lose it all.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: MelodysMustache on September 05, 2013, 09:43:44 AM
I am 45 and making up for lost time.

I was widowed at the age of 39 after being a caregiver to my late husband for his ten year long illness.  I was also raising my kids during that time and working full time.  My LH didn’t much care about saving for the future because he knew he did not have one.  However, I do and he left me quite a mess to clean up.  Plus the timing of his death was right at the beginning of the recession.  Note that whoever dies with the most toys is still dead.

Since that time I have gotten myself into much better financial shape.  I have not been a MMM level saver, but the debt is gone, my retirement accounts are much healthier, and my current job pays more.  The kids are now grown and almost gone. (The younger one just boomeranged back.)

With a bit of luck and lots of hard work I should be FI in about ten years.  I will probably continue to work in some form, but I want to have the freedom of choices that FI will give me.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Dee18 on September 05, 2013, 10:26:18 AM
Mark B,
You might enjoy reading "How Starbucks Saved My Life" by Michael Gill.  He faced some of the same issues:  job loss and divorce at middle age.  Although not in that situation myself, I found the book inspiring and it made me approach my job (where I have been many years and about which I was a bit jaded) with new energy.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 01:53:38 PM
Mark B,
You might enjoy reading "How Starbucks Saved My Life" by Michael Gill.  He faced some of the same issues:  job loss and divorce at middle age.  Although not in that situation myself, I found the book inspiring and it made me approach my job (where I have been many years and about which I was a bit jaded) with new energy.

Thanks Dee18, I'll definitely check this out (from the library, LOL). 

Just reading the synopsis, I can relate to this book, or at least relate to the fact that I have a ways to go before I get to the "joy and gratitude" stage. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: DoubleDown on September 05, 2013, 01:55:12 PM
@Mark B - As much as it stinks having to re-enter the workforce, I think your plan is good to brush up on your skills and seek the highest paying position you can land, at least for a while. This will have two important benefits: It will give you the highest income possible, and it will also lay the groundwork for a potential reduction in alimony if appropriate. If you find a position paying as much or more than you used to make -- excellent! If you cannot find a position making that much (and please carefully document EVERYTHING you do to find another job) then you have all the evidence you need to support a reduction in your alimony payment. I agree that it could be difficult to get a reduction at this point, not until you have done something to regain your prior earning level, and day trading will not likely be viewed by the courts as a viable attempt. I paid alimony as well (though nowhere near as long as you but a much higher amount), and it sucks. Because of the iniquities in the system, after paying alimony to my ex, I literally was left with $100/month to support myself and two school-age daughters for three years.

YMMV, but I would not consult with a new divorce attorney until you have exhausted the job search and obtained the best salary you can get. Then you can go for a reduction with all the new circumstances at once, because as you likely know, you can't waltz into the court every time there's a minor change here and there. Make your next attempt count, you may not get another one. And if you are unable to command a high salary as before, your ex may be more willing to negotiate a reasonable settlement than you relying simply on trying to prove she's funneling money elsewhere. Her attorney will recognize you have a strong case that you have done everything you can to maximize your salary, and will counsel her as such. Also I would expect to impute a reasonable income to her, as everyone needs something to live. If she claims she has zero earnings, that should fall apart pretty easily.

Definitely do the math on the rent vs. keeping your house scenarios. If I'm understanding your expenses correctly, your out-of-pocket mortgage payment (after renters have offset some of it) is $1400-1500/month. Add in any additional insurance/maintenance/taxes/etc. costs, subtract any tax breaks from writing off interest and taxes, and determine if you could find a better alternative renting with your dogs. It may not be possible in SoCal, so maybe that will give you some comfort knowing the house may not be such a bad alternative after all. And of course you stand to gain from the increases the housing market right now and hopefully in the future, particularly in SoCal.

You've already heard it from others -- I'll pile on and say that day trading should be nowhere on your radar until you have enough money you would feel comfortable putting in a bag and setting it on fire. Stick to prudent investing. Then when you've accrued $1 million, decide if you want to venture back into day trading. As already pointed out, it worked for you -- until it didn't.

Good luck, keep us posted (maybe we should start a separate thread and not hijack this one for future updates)!
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 02:16:52 PM
About the trading--I know most of you have no experience with it, and looking at it from the outside it looks like gambling, but really it's not.  Yes, like gambling, you can lose money.  But you can also lose money, or not make any money by starting a business.  Is that gambling?

For the purpose of this exercise: Sure.  They're both gambling.   They're gambling in the sense they both have a very high risk/reward ratio.  And if I understand your situation: it sounds like you really don't have the cash to risk either.

In general, there are a ton of experienced day traders out there that are 100% convinced that they can time the market properly... up until the point that they cannot.

If you are going to do this: do it with money you can afford to lose.  Don't rely on this as your sole investment income.  Do it with the philosophy that you're 100% sure you are going to lose every penny and that you have enough money to cover if that is the case.  Don't do it on margin.

If you make money: awesome.  Take a good percentage off the table and move it into a lower risk vehicle like an index fund and try again -- still with the idea that you will lose it all.

Thanks for the input Spork. 

I tell you what, I'll post my daily trading results here, so you all can see me dig out of my hole, implode, or (???).  Starting yesterday, the first day of my new plan (Monday was a holiday and didn't trade Tuesday):

9/4/13:  +$336 (not sure how many trades, probaby 4-6)
9/5/13:  +$492 (five trades)

My daily goal is three tiered:  If I make less than $400, my day was a failure as I figure I need to make $100k/yr. to get by with a small cushion.  I shoot for $500/day, though, unless it's difficult day.  If the conditions are great, like today, I'll stop at the trade that gets me past $600.  I actually should have been trading instead of writing this post, conditions were very favorable today, but I just wanted to book a couple days in a row of profit.

I'll be honest about posting the losers, too.  Funny, posting my situation has been pretty cathartic.  I feel like my head is screwed on a little more securely today.  So, I'm thinking you guys will be surprised at my results.

The other parts of my plan are still on the table, of course.  BTW, the realtor who did the short sale of my "investment" property contacted me just this morning about selling my house.  I literally get about one realtor every other day contacting me asking if I want to sell it.  Not that it's so nice, it's just in that sweet spot for southern California homes--the $475k - $599k range, which around here are considered moderately priced.  Isn't that sick?  A $450k home is pretty much a starter around here.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: DoubleDown on September 05, 2013, 02:58:56 PM

I tell you what, I'll post my daily trading results here, so you all can see me dig out of my hole, implode, or (???).  Starting yesterday, the first day of my new plan (Monday was a holiday and didn't trade Tuesday):

9/4/13:  +$336 (not sure how many trades, probaby 4-6)
9/5/13:  +$492 (five trades)

My daily goal is three tiered:  If I make less than $400, my day was a failure as I figure I need to make $100k/yr. to get by with a small cushion.  I shoot for $500/day, though, unless it's difficult day.  If the conditions are great, like today, I'll stop at the trade that gets me past $600.  I actually should have been trading instead of writing this post, conditions were very favorable today, but I just wanted to book a couple days in a row of profit.


I don't want to get in a pissing match, because I definitely want you to succeed! I'll go ahead and ask, and hope you'll believe me that I am doing so in the spirit of trying to help and only with hoping your situation will get better no matter what -

1. What did you have to risk to get those gains (i.e., how much capital was at stake)?
2. What would your capital have earned just sitting in an index fund?

For comparison, I looked up my 401k values yesterday vs. the day before (yesterday's balance is the most recent available). Even though it's split 50/50 between indexed stocks and super-safe bonds/securities, it went up $1300 in that one day. Plus by being at work (not spending my time doing trades), I earned $600 yesterday. I didn't even look at non-401k investments, which also all went up with the rising markets yesterday, probably another $1000 - 2000. So all told, I earned somewhere around $3000 - 4000 yesterday with very little risk, and with the payroll earnings guaranteed.

Is averaging $500-600 a day in gains really sustainable and worth all that risk and volatility and emotional turmoil? What about the losses?
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Spork on September 05, 2013, 03:15:48 PM

I tell you what, I'll post my daily trading results here, so you all can see me dig out of my hole, implode, or (???).  Starting yesterday, the first day of my new plan (Monday was a holiday and didn't trade Tuesday):

9/4/13:  +$336 (not sure how many trades, probaby 4-6)
9/5/13:  +$492 (five trades)

My daily goal is three tiered:  If I make less than $400, my day was a failure as I figure I need to make $100k/yr. to get by with a small cushion.  I shoot for $500/day, though, unless it's difficult day.  If the conditions are great, like today, I'll stop at the trade that gets me past $600.  I actually should have been trading instead of writing this post, conditions were very favorable today, but I just wanted to book a couple days in a row of profit.


I don't want to get in a pissing match, because I definitely want you to succeed! I'll go ahead and ask, and hope you'll believe me that I am doing so in the spirit of trying to help and only with hoping your situation will get better no matter what -

1. What did you have to risk to get those gains (i.e., how much capital was at stake)?
2. What would your capital have earned just sitting in an index fund?

For comparison, I looked up my 401k values yesterday vs. the day before (yesterday's balance is the most recent available). Even though it's split 50/50 between indexed stocks and super-safe bonds/securities, it went up $1300 in that one day. Plus by being at work (not spending my time doing trades), I earned $600 yesterday. I didn't even look at non-401k investments, which also all went up with the rising markets yesterday, probably another $1000 - 2000. So all told, I earned somewhere around $3000 - 4000 yesterday with very little risk, and with the payroll earnings guaranteed.

Is averaging $500-600 a day in gains really sustainable and worth all that risk and volatility and emotional turmoil? What about the losses?

I don't really want to argue your position here (because I really agree with you: I think you're much better off not trying to time the market).

...but: you're stating unrealized gains.  He's stating realized gains.  You're not really up $4000 until you sell.  This is a good thing, because that also means you're not down $10,000 on one of those days where the market wets it's pants.  (And he is.)
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Argyle on September 05, 2013, 03:38:43 PM
There are two things about the day trading. 

The first is: not what are your gains per day, but what is your day-trading profit per year?  And per five-year period?  Are you actually making a sizeable profit over time?  I mean actual money in the bank, not theoretical returns.  If day trading is genuinely profitable, I don't understand why you're in the hole -- ?

The second thing is: how much money do you invest in day trading, which is to say, what amount of money could you lose?  Because the risk is there.  I wonder if you can afford to risk any money.  It sounds to me as if you're operating on the brink of solvency as it is.

I'd suggest that relying on day trading to make an income is indicative of a style of reckless decision-making which has gotten you into this situation in the first place.   Sure, your situation could be everyone else's fault and none of yours.  That sometimes happens.  But usually most of us contribute something of our own to the mix.

That's the face-punch part. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: pbkmaine on September 05, 2013, 04:58:55 PM
+1 Argyle

I have been in finance for 33 years, and don't know any small investor who has been successful at day trading over the long term.  I do, however, know many, many broke people who day traded and will now be able to retire when hell freezes over.  When I think of the most successful active investors - Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham, Joel Tillinghast of Fidelity Low-Priced Stock, Peter Lynch of Fidelity Magellan - they have been buy and hold, for the most part.  The few super active traders like Bill Gross of PIMCO have large research staffs, and sometimes get it very wrong anyway.  David Swensen of the Yale Endowment says that individual investors can't duplicate what his large staff does and says to buy index funds. My company advises on $35 billion in defined contribution funds.  What do the most experienced investment consultants in my firm hold? Index funds. Day to day, the financial markets are influenced by all kinds of events completely unrelated to intrinsic value. Over the long term, things tend to even out, but on any given day, it's the Wild West out there.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on September 05, 2013, 05:04:29 PM
I have done a little trading and been lucky with it, but not the day trading.  Well, my trading account was recently classified as a day trading account with a minimum requirement of $25,000...I still don't consider myself a "day trader".

I do maybe 5 to 10 trades a month.  Sometimes I will do 5 trades in a day, then no trades for weeks.  I think they may call this swing trading.

A recent example, I bought 15 Jan 2014 $38 VWO call options last week for $1.60 when it was trading at $37.20.  I thus had $2400 at risk.  (btw, this trade ticked me off because the low volumes meant I had to pay the exact ask price...but I wanted this emerging market fund for certain reasons).

Yesterday I sold 10 of them for $2.10 and today I sold Jan 2014 $40 call options against the other 5 for $1.40.  Thus I  now have $2800 in cash (minus about $20 in commissions) and I have a $38 $40 call spread expiring in Jan 2014 that could be worth another $1000 if it expires in the money.   $400 for three trades, with $2400 at risk, plus I have a free spread that is worth $550 right now and may be worth $1000 in a few months.

I wouldn't call this day trading...day traders to me are people who close out their position each night, or at least each week.

edit:  I have had this account for 10 years, and I started it with $3000 (a Roth IRA).   It is worth a tad over $65,000 today.  I do it for fun though, not for living expenses.   It was very volatile early on, but I have enough cash now that I can limit each trade to no more than 5% of the portfolio.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 05:26:28 PM
I have done a little trading and been lucky with it, but not the day trading.  Well, my trading account was recently classified as a day trading account with a minimum requirement of $25,000...I still don't consider myself a "day trader".

I do maybe 5 to 10 trades a month.  Sometimes I will do 5 trades in a day, then no trades for weeks.  I think they may call this swing trading.

A recent example, I bought 15 Jan 2014 $38 VWO call options last week for $1.60 when it was trading at $37.20.  I thus had $2400 at risk.  (btw, this trade ticked me off because the low volumes meant I had to pay the exact ask price...but I wanted this emerging market fund for certain reasons).

Yesterday I sold 10 of them for $2.10 and today I sold Jan 2014 $40 call options against the other 5 for $1.40.  Thus I  now have $2800 in cash (minus about $20 in commissions) and I have a $38 $40 call spread expiring in Jan 2014 that could be worth another $1000 if it expires in the money.   $400 for three trades, with $2400 at risk, plus I have a free spread that is worth $550 right now and may be worth $1000 in a few months.

I wouldn't call this day trading...day traders to me are people who close out their position each night, or at least each week.

edit:  I have had this account for 10 years, and I started it with $3000 (a Roth IRA).   It is worth a tad over $65,000 today.  I do it for fun though, not for living expenses.   It was very volatile early on, but I have enough cash now that I can limit each trade to no more than 5% of the portfolio.

Roland (I love the Roland of Gilead books, BTW),

If you buy, then sell a stock or option within the same day four or more times in a five day period, then you'll be identified as a pattern day trader.  I didn't realize this includes options, but I guess so.

I know that sounds confusing, let me try to clarify: 

Monday:  Bought Microsoft.  Sold it the same day.
Tuesday:  Bought IBM.  Sold it the same day.
Wednesday:  Bought Intel.  Sold it the same day.

In this scenario, you can't buy and sell another stock within the same day until the following Monday.  It wouldn't matter if you bought/sold them all on Monday, or if you bought/sold one on Monday and the other two on Thursday.  Once you buy and sell the same stock in the same day, that's your first day trade, and the clock starts ticking from there.  And, it's a rolling five day period, which makes it more complicated and frustrating.

This rule wouldn't apply if you bought these stocks one day and sold them the next.  You can do all of that you want.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on September 05, 2013, 05:43:37 PM
Right, thanks Mark.

I was confused in my post.  I did get the $25,000 minimum balance requirement notification of pattern day trading but that was in a taxable account.  My Roth account is a cash account (I don't think you can have margin in a IRA) so the pattern day trading rules don't apply. 

I should really try hard not to day trade for 3 months in my taxable account so I can get unclassified as a pattern day trader there.  If the market would just stop being so crazy volatile, then I wouldn't be doing things like buying VGT in the morning for $78, selling it midday for $78.90, then rebuying it near close for $78.10.  (I think that is one of the trades that caught me).
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 05:59:38 PM
There are two things about the day trading. 

The first is: not what are your gains per day, but what is your day-trading profit per year?  And per five-year period?  Are you actually making a sizeable profit over time?  I mean actual money in the bank, not theoretical returns.  If day trading is genuinely profitable, I don't understand why you're in the hole -- ?

The second thing is: how much money do you invest in day trading, which is to say, what amount of money could you lose?  Because the risk is there.  I wonder if you can afford to risk any money.  It sounds to me as if you're operating on the brink of solvency as it is.

I'd suggest that relying on day trading to make an income is indicative of a style of reckless decision-making which has gotten you into this situation in the first place.   Sure, your situation could be everyone else's fault and none of yours.  That sometimes happens.  But usually most of us contribute something of our own to the mix.

That's the face-punch part.

I am up about 400% year over year.  I'm just not up 720% like I was.  As I said in my last post, trading futures is not the same as trading stocks.  There is no amount of shares that you buy.  It's more like an agreement to buy at a certain price. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 06:00:54 PM
There are two things about the day trading. 

The first is: not what are your gains per day, but what is your day-trading profit per year?  And per five-year period?  Are you actually making a sizeable profit over time?  I mean actual money in the bank, not theoretical returns.  If day trading is genuinely profitable, I don't understand why you're in the hole -- ?

The second thing is: how much money do you invest in day trading, which is to say, what amount of money could you lose?  Because the risk is there.  I wonder if you can afford to risk any money.  It sounds to me as if you're operating on the brink of solvency as it is.

I'd suggest that relying on day trading to make an income is indicative of a style of reckless decision-making which has gotten you into this situation in the first place.   Sure, your situation could be everyone else's fault and none of yours.  That sometimes happens.  But usually most of us contribute something of our own to the mix.

That's the face-punch part.

Sorry, 490%.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 06:27:08 PM
   Sure, your situation could be everyone else's fault and none of yours.  That sometimes happens.  But usually most of us contribute something of our own to the mix.

I've never blamed anyone for any of this. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 06:45:43 PM
There are two things about the day trading. 

The first is: not what are your gains per day, but what is your day-trading profit per year?  And per five-year period?  Are you actually making a sizeable profit over time?  I mean actual money in the bank, not theoretical returns.  If day trading is genuinely profitable, I don't understand why you're in the hole -- ?

The second thing is: how much money do you invest in day trading, which is to say, what amount of money could you lose?  Because the risk is there.  I wonder if you can afford to risk any money.  It sounds to me as if you're operating on the brink of solvency as it is.

I'd suggest that relying on day trading to make an income is indicative of a style of reckless decision-making which has gotten you into this situation in the first place.   Sure, your situation could be everyone else's fault and none of yours.  That sometimes happens.  But usually most of us contribute something of our own to the mix.

That's the face-punch part.

I am up about 400% year over year.  I'm just not up 720% like I was.  As I said in my last post, trading futures is not the same as trading stocks.  There is no amount of shares that you buy.  It's more like an agreement to buy at a certain price.

One last figure correction--forgot to subtract my initial principal from my high figure when I did the calculation in Excel, so at my high point I was up 620%, not 720%, from a little under 10k to a little over 70k in about 10 months.  For a long time I went weeks without a single losing trade.  Sorry, not used to being called names so my figures were a little hasty.  The 490% current figure is about right.  And yes, it's true. 

Let's pretend I don't day trade--I've already mentioned that I'm looking for a regular gig.  I opened up my life to a group of strangers to get feedback about how to best position myself for the rest of my life, so if anyone has any constructive, non-name calling, non-judgmental feedback I'm all ears. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Roland of Gilead on September 05, 2013, 07:19:57 PM
You say Network engineer...do you know C#?  My wife here in Seattle makes an obscene amount a year as a software engineer and there are several firms hiring.  She could be making a lot more if she were willing to play the games, be useless and get into management.  She likes being productive though and so is stuck at the highest level a developer can get.

She has a few male friends who are your age and get contract work or go full time.  For some reason there are still very few female developers.

$1800 a month in alimony though...ouch.   We don't even spend that much money as a couple per month.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 05, 2013, 08:27:35 PM
You say Network engineer...do you know C#?  My wife here in Seattle makes an obscene amount a year as a software engineer and there are several firms hiring.  She could be making a lot more if she were willing to play the games, be useless and get into management.  She likes being productive though and so is stuck at the highest level a developer can get.

She has a few male friends who are your age and get contract work or go full time.  For some reason there are still very few female developers.

$1800 a month in alimony though...ouch.   We don't even spend that much money as a couple per month.

Thanks for the idea Roland, but nope, I'm a Cisco switch and router guy.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: smedleyb on September 05, 2013, 08:37:32 PM
1. Start upgrading my skills by studying for some industry certifications.
2. Start looking for a job (f*ck!).
3. Continue to trade every morning.
4. The house...I had wanted take advantage of the rising market for a little while longer while also paying down the mortage a bit, but I guess I should sell it.  It's gonna take me a little while to be able to pull the trigger on this one though, I've been in this house for a long time.
5. Do a consultation with another divorce attorney.

Good list, but I would avoid 3 for now.  Not gonna take ya where you need to go emotionally and financially, just reading between the lines. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: worms on September 06, 2013, 01:03:14 PM
Psychomoustache, a couple of thoughts...

I presume that your turnover for each year that is being investigated is above the French VAT threshold, which is currently about €32k per year?

I also hope that you are maximising the amount that is put through the business books and deducting all the input VAT?  Keeping things all decent and above board, you might still be able to justify quite a lot of things as business expenses that would otherwise be paid out of domestic expenditure.  For example your, son could be doing your books for you, hence his need for the VAT deductible laptop and phone that you lend him while he is away at college...
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 07, 2013, 09:09:00 AM
neat thought, Worms : )
Well, my son needed some school stuff, so that of course was also needed in my business.

Yes, last year my business grossed 45K-ish euros, and the years prior were well over the 32K-ish threshold as well...
have a patient coming, will be back in a bit
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 07, 2013, 09:57:13 AM
so yeah... with my type of business I have very few VAT-deductible expenses. Practically none, to be honest, aside from some office supplies or occasional meals. Other businesses (as you must know) like building supply companies etc. come out way ahead - or beauty salons, etc.

And yes we keep very careful books.

The latest is the following - my accountant thinks we can get by (and take the risk) of just NOT paying the VAT for the next few years while I go back to school and get the psychologist title in France. I put the VAT aside in my accounts all the same, but he feels that in spite of the risk, we might as well not wake up the dragon (who could ask me for 10K Euros in back tax !) So, we are going that route for now, even given the risk. I am small potatoes, so I think I'll be okay, and if I'm not, well there will be some penalties - on the other hand I'm showing good faith in going back to school.

Voilà - I had forgotten about this thread (that I started !) now I have to go back and read it  ; ) !
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Peony on September 07, 2013, 12:28:01 PM
Mark B, I think you should start a journal or a thread about your situation. You will no doubt get some serious feedback about day trading (sorry), but also encouragement and useful suggestions crowdsourced from the MMM community, some of whom may have knowledge of California divorce laws as well as your occupation(s). Your case is pretty unusual and I, for one, am very curious to know how it turns out over time. I would like to see you prevail in getting out from under these obligations; your vision of your "coworkers finding my 76 year old body in my worker bee cubicle, slumped over my computer" is just a bit too vivid for comfort! I, too, hated-hated-hated my time in the corporate world, so I can relate.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 07, 2013, 12:49:45 PM
Psychomoustache, one thing that jumps out at me is the 600 euros you pay for your office. Isn't it possible for you to have your office--yes, including the room where you see clients--in your own house? Especially since your house is larger than you need, and is also located in such a convenient area--I assume if it's convenient for you to get from home to shopping/town, it's probably also convenient for others to get to your house.

Perhaps some rearranging of furniture and/or minor renovations might be necessary to make this workable, but especially since your children are in school and your husband works--in other words if I understand correctly the house is empty much of the day--couldn't you save a lot of money (600 euros/month, to be exact) by seeing your clients there? Such an arrangement is permitted even in the US, which has much more draconian zoning laws than France does.

As for US taxes, I remember having to file when I lived in France, and not paying because (you are correct) they don't double-tax. There is an amount of income--not gross income--that is excluded every year, in other words if you make less than that amount (which these days is around $90,000) there is not even a possibility that you would owe any US income tax. And if you make more than that, then the taxes paid in France would be credited against any tax you could theoretically owe in the US, so you're once again generally not going to owe anything. This is a very simplistic sketch but hopefully it will help reassure you somewhat.

Hi

My office rent costs about 450 euros a month... 600 (I didn't look at my numbers again) includes maybe electricity, and phone, etc.

So - as far as seeing people in my house... I did that for four years. It was hard (noise an issue when you have three sons and you're trying to do therapy) and we had work done on our house in the meantime which would make doing that now impossible. My practice grew exponentially when I left the house behind. I think I can concentrate better, and it seems a lot more professional.

That being said, maybe in the future we could think about switching the house back to a therapy-friendly professional space - when the kids are much older. But I don't think so - only because our whole downstairs is now one room - it would be very complicated... and probably lower the value of the house. But thank you for your suggestion.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 07, 2013, 12:59:32 PM
Don't know if you decided to go back to school or not, but I wanted to suggest perhaps changing professions. Not completely but maybe using your education for a job without those practice restrictions (and maybe more income). What about a life counselor at university? Or general counseling at a retirement community? I'm using counseling in the broadest possible terms, obviously.

Overall, I look at my challenge as traveling down the road. Does this purchase move me toward retirement or hold me back? Look even at the small expenditures. They may not be a lot of money, but saving even a small amount is motivating. I'm spending the entire holiday weekend cleaning out closets, getting rid of stuff (mostly donations and trash). Very liberating and inspiring which prevents me from wanting to bring any more junk into my life.

By the way, I'm 53, two in college, and I pretty good shape to retire in five years (with a pension).

Hey , yes I decided to go back to school : )

The system here is really quite different - much more strict. I am NOT ALLOWED to work in a university or retirement home or anything as a counselor or therapist with my foreign degrees. Luckily here going back to school costs next to nothing (at least comparitively). For example my coming year, the undergrad portion (I have a couple of undergrad classes I MUST take in order to have the title of "psychologist" in France. Just don't ask - it's a freakin' mess) will cost us about 300 to 400€. Yes, for a YEAR of SCHOOL. My eldest son is starting college - and his costs about the same.

I thought about changing professions but the only other thing I'm able to do here is teach English. Been there done that, got the very skimpy T-Shirt (because it's an f-ing GHETTO system that pays NOTHING - unless of course you pass the Specialized English Degree Diploma that Allows you to make money - I am Not Kidding). (Said Diploma is also a Master's degree that takes two years). In any case it would be a hell of a lot more painful to give up the work I love to teach English at this point.

Advice - don't move to France unless you don't mind teaching English for peanuts, or you have an amazing degree not in a specialized (read: health care) field that lets you do whatever you want. Just sayin'.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 07, 2013, 01:02:58 PM
Me!  I'm 41 and my husband's 43.  I just discovered MMM a couple weeks ago and have been reading like crazy.  I've never understood money and my husband and I have been tragically bad at managing it.  We have a lonnnnng way to go.  So I don't know about retiring early but at least now retirement at a normal retirement age seems possible.  We haven't really started saving much yet, but I signed up for mint and am tracking where the money goes to make better decisions in the near future.  We decided to sell our financed 2012 minivan (of course!) and my husband even agreed to sell his classic car that I never thought he'd let go. We both bought used bikes and I'm going to be commuting to work on mine.  I want to cry when I think of how wasteful and stupid we've been, but what's done is done.  Better late than never, right?

I realize the original post was from this past winter.  How are things going for you, psycho?

Still very Psycho, Freckles - thank you for asking. If you wish, you can keep up with me in my very Exciting Journal. If you do, I will try to do the same for Your Exciting Journal.   : )

In other news:

I am battling Diet Coke/Coke Zero addiction. It's ODAAT, but I'm better than I was. There should be a place where I could go dry out. Bummer.
Other than that, Mustachianism has truly saved our poor little Psycho-French butts. I am so happy to be here, albeit sometimes not as frequently as I'd like.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 07, 2013, 01:19:45 PM
BTW Mark B

I too feel for you - I hope you can start a journal thread where we can follow your progress - nah I don't care that you hijacked this one - it just gets confusing - a few things going on at once - two different conversations... like being at a table where the person next to you is talking to the person on the other side of you. But it's all good, I'm glad you got some good feedback (that I myself couldn't have given you).

And thanks to all the hopeful older souls who are catching up with me.

And YES - we are filing our taxes in the States now. Thank you.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: golden1 on September 07, 2013, 02:28:53 PM
I found this site at age 40.

I had spent the last few years digging myself out of credit card debt, and was looking for the next goal to focus on to keep me from back sliding.  This forum is one of the few personal finance strategies that appealed to me, because it attacks what I believe is the core issues around why people overspend, and offers a basic philosophy that supports a low consumption lifestyle.  I feel like a lot of personal finance people are just parroting "Stop spending money!", but if there is no analysis of why you are spending and what you can do to fill the gap, the behaviors just creep back in.

It sounds stupid, but just the idea that one can be happier spending less was very alien to me.  I grew up in an extreme high consumption household.  My parents had high paying careers, but bought new luxury cars every few years, and even built new luxury homes at the rate of one every few years. 

So I developed a habit of using money to soothe myself when I was upset, just like they did, and I still struggle with it.  In my 20's I was really bad.  I would stop at the mall after work almost every day and buy something useless.  I ate out 2-4 times per week.  In my 30's when I stayed home with my kids, I also spent money when I was bored.  I also stayed out of work a few years too long, hence the cc debt.  It was never a huge amount, topping out at around $17K.  I went back to work 2 years ago and just finished paying it off, which feels really good.  We have decent retirement funds luckily (the pay yourself first thing was my one saving grace throughout my younger years).   My goal now is to be FI and retire by age 55 or earlier.  I will be done with my mortgage by 2025 or so, and after that, my expenses will go down dramatically. 

I don't think it is ever to late to make a new goal.  I do envy the youngsters on this board who discovered this early enough to be retired by my age.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Hugh H on September 07, 2013, 02:37:01 PM
Better late than never, golden.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on September 07, 2013, 03:33:12 PM
I just found mmm this summer. I'm 42 and Dh is 44. We are not in a bad financial situation, but we want to improve it to achieve our goals of FI. I have been a mostly SAHM for 19 + years, and will be applying for graduate school spring of 2014. It's funny to me to hear people want to RE, when I am trying to get into my career finally!  Since this summer, we have been optimizing and scaling back our lifestyle. Ive always been a penny pincher, but I've now put that together with more anti-consumerism. I used to buy things because I found a great deal. Now I only buy when we need something. 

My only complaint about his forum, is that 40's is SO old!  I feel like I'm in my twenties and have hope and excitement for he future!  My SIL is getting her PhD at age 56, after years of SAHM. Life isn't over after 40!!
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: avonlea on September 07, 2013, 03:38:15 PM
I just found mmm this summer. I'm 42 and Dh is 44. We are not in a bad financial situation, but we want to improve it to achieve our goals of FI. I have been a mostly SAHM for 19 + years, and will be applying for graduate school spring of 2014. It's funny to me to hear people want to RE, when I am trying to get into my career finally!  Since his summer, we have been optimizing and scaling back our lifestyle. Ive always been a penny pincher, but I've now put that together with more anti-consumerism. I used to buy things because I found a great deal. Now I only buy when we need something. 

My only complaint about his forum, is that 40's is SO old!  I feel like I'm in my twenties and have hope and excitement for he future!  My SIL is getting her PhD at age 56, after years of SAHM. Life isn't over after 40!!

+1 
Preach it! :)
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Peony on September 07, 2013, 03:44:34 PM
Crazyfun, for me it's inspiring to hear about your mid-50s SIL and her PhD! I am 51 with a rapidly emptying nest and am toying with the idea of an advanced degree, or of learning some completely new skill (like the bane-of-my-existence math which I actually think I might be able to do if I truly apply myself, or coding). It is hard to stay optimistic that it is not too late ... But it isn't, is it?
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: pachnik on September 07, 2013, 04:01:28 PM
I found this site at age 40.

I had spent the last few years digging myself out of credit card debt, and was looking for the next goal to focus on to keep me from back sliding.  This forum is one of the few personal finance strategies that appealed to me, because it attacks what I believe is the core issues around why people overspend, and offers a basic philosophy that supports a low consumption lifestyle.  I feel like a lot of personal finance people are just parroting "Stop spending money!", but if there is no analysis of why you are spending and what you can do to fill the gap, the behaviors just creep back in.

It sounds stupid, but just the idea that one can be happier spending less was very alien to me.  I grew up in an extreme high consumption household.  My parents had high paying careers, but bought new luxury cars every few years, and even built new luxury homes at the rate of one every few years. 

So I developed a habit of using money to soothe myself when I was upset, just like they did, and I still struggle with it.  In my 20's I was really bad.  I would stop at the mall after work almost every day and buy something useless.  I ate out 2-4 times per week.  In my 30's when I stayed home with my kids, I also spent money when I was bored.  I also stayed out of work a few years too long, hence the cc debt.  It was never a huge amount, topping out at around $17K.  I went back to work 2 years ago and just finished paying it off, which feels really good.  We have decent retirement funds luckily (the pay yourself first thing was my one saving grace throughout my younger years).   My goal now is to be FI and retire by age 55 or earlier.  I will be done with my mortgage by 2025 or so, and after that, my expenses will go down dramatically. 

I don't think it is ever to late to make a new goal.  I do envy the youngsters on this board who discovered this early enough to be retired by my age.

Yes, Golden1 , I think what separates MMM from more conventional PF people is the emphasis on low consumerism. 

I really thought I was doing well until I met Mr. Money Mustache. Before I followed the advice of saving 10% and I did do this (thank God) through my 20's , 30's and 40's (am 49 now).  I never had credit card debt but I just spent thoughtlessly on little things which added up over decades of my working life.   These days I am happy spending less.

And I agree, it is never too late to make a new goal or to turn over a new leaf.  My goal is to get a permanent job (I quit my old job a few months ago and have been doing contract work since) and then my next goal is to put a higher percentage of my money into my retirement account.  I hope to be retired in 10 - 11 years at 60 or so. 

Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: steveo on September 07, 2013, 05:47:33 PM
I really thought I was doing well until I met Mr. Money Mustache.

I'm 40 now and just recently found MMM. I also thought that I was doing really well but the truth is that I've wasted a lot and made some poor big ticket decisions.

I also love the low consumerism lifestyle My happiness has never been dependent on buying stuff although in the past when I got a bonus I just figured spend it on something.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Mark B on September 07, 2013, 09:11:04 PM
Mark B, I think you should start a journal or a thread about your situation. You will no doubt get some serious feedback about day trading (sorry), but also encouragement and useful suggestions crowdsourced from the MMM community, some of whom may have knowledge of California divorce laws as well as your occupation(s). Your case is pretty unusual and I, for one, am very curious to know how it turns out over time. I would like to see you prevail in getting out from under these obligations; your vision of your "coworkers finding my 76 year old body in my worker bee cubicle, slumped over my computer" is just a bit too vivid for comfort! I, too, hated-hated-hated my time in the corporate world, so I can relate.

Thanks for the support, Peony.  I think I'll do that.  I'm already making some progress on all of my list items. 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 08, 2013, 08:03:44 AM
Wow, I love the PhD at age 56 too.

OK on this forum maybe the 40's are old - but here in France, it's freakin' ancient. People don't attempt new things the way they do in the States in their 40's, or very rarely.

I agree that what makes this board so helpful is the focus on what one *can* do - on the anti-consumerism - on focusing on how lucky most of us are to have as much as we have. I too made a lot of dumb decisions in my 20's, 30's... but soothing myself with money was really an addiction (and can still be tempting)... and I only have today to fix what I can. I kind of like the 12 step philosophy (though I'm not in any programs) for dealing with life and money. I can just do what I can do with this 24 hours. For me -it's staying away from Diet Coke. I kid you not. (and certain tempting sites and places of course)

Gotta start somewhere...
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Freckles on September 08, 2013, 09:45:14 AM
Me!  I'm 41 and my husband's 43.  I just discovered MMM a couple weeks ago and have been reading like crazy.  I've never understood money and my husband and I have been tragically bad at managing it.  We have a lonnnnng way to go.  So I don't know about retiring early but at least now retirement at a normal retirement age seems possible.  We haven't really started saving much yet, but I signed up for mint and am tracking where the money goes to make better decisions in the near future.  We decided to sell our financed 2012 minivan (of course!) and my husband even agreed to sell his classic car that I never thought he'd let go. We both bought used bikes and I'm going to be commuting to work on mine.  I want to cry when I think of how wasteful and stupid we've been, but what's done is done.  Better late than never, right?

I realize the original post was from this past winter.  How are things going for you, psycho?

Still very Psycho, Freckles - thank you for asking. If you wish, you can keep up with me in my very Exciting Journal. If you do, I will try to do the same for Your Exciting Journal.   : )

In other news:

I am battling Diet Coke/Coke Zero addiction. It's ODAAT, but I'm better than I was. There should be a place where I could go dry out. Bummer.
Other than that, Mustachianism has truly saved our poor little Psycho-French butts. I am so happy to be here, albeit sometimes not as frequently as I'd like.

I will check out your journal, Pscho.  I need to start one of my own.  Time to start putting all my new-found knowledge to work.

I'm working on a sugar addiction, myself.  I've got myself drinking my coffee without sugar now, which was a big step for me.  I'm not drinking soda, but I still struggle to resist treats when offered.  I work at an elementary school so I get offered little treats a lot- chocolates at staff meetings, cookies left in the office by parents, that kind of thing.  Must muster will power!
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: NinetyFour on September 08, 2013, 09:49:24 AM
I introduced myself upthread--I am 52 and have just recently completely adopted the mustachian lifestyle.  Just this morning, as I was getting some cash out of my wallet for my trip to the coffee shop (I know, but I only spend $3 there, and it gets me out of my house and among people--which is important for a recluse/introvert/shy person like me), I noticed how the cash in my wallet just stays in there these days.  I also have $100 in cash on a shelf in my house, and it just stays there.  I love NOT spending money!  I wish I had reached this mindset waaaaaay back in my 30's.  But not beating myself up about learning late.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: pachnik on September 08, 2013, 11:47:35 AM
I can relate so much to what I am reading on this thread that I just have to chime in again! 

I think the reason those SAHMs who are out getting new careers, PhDs later in life are doing this is because they needed a change/ or a new challenge, however you want to look at it.  They've been caring for their kids for maybe a decade or 2 and now are looking forward to doing something else.  It is the reverse of my situation - a non-parent who has worked for 25 years.   

Durangostash94 - I think exactly the same thing about my wallet too.  For years, I have been taking out $200.00 cash per week for groceries and the crap I used to buy before I got here.  Anyway, no crap buying for the last 4 months and the money just sits in my wallet.  I don't have mid-week trips to the cash machine - even over a long weekend- anymore.  I wish I had come to this mindset 20 years ago too.

Psychomoustache - You are correct in that  following the MMM program as I like to call it is a lot like working a 12-step program, from what i understand about it.  If I screw up, I just pick myself up, and carry on.  One day at a time. 

Maybe we got here later in life than some of these lucky young'uns but we can still learn and improve our lives. 

Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: avonlea on September 08, 2013, 12:04:33 PM
I think the reason those SAHMs who are out getting new careers, PhDs later in life are doing this is because they needed a change/ or a new challenge, however you want to look at it.  They've been caring for their kids for maybe a decade or 2 and now are looking forward to doing something else.  It is the reverse of my situation - a non-parent who has worked for 25 years.

Yes, I think you are right.  I have nothing against people choosing ER.  It's a great option to have.  I loved Crazyfun's post because I am a SAHM, and have been since my mid-twenties.  I haven't yet decided what I want to do when my kids grow up--attend grad school, find a job right away, start a small business, etc.--and sometimes that uncertainty makes me a bit anxious.  My husband once told me, "I don't care if you ever work again.  I just want you to be excited about the future.  I want you to look forward to it." (sweet guy, that man o' mine)  I am inspired to hear about women in this situation who are enthusiastically turning over a new leaf. :) 
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 08, 2013, 01:14:13 PM
I introduced myself upthread--I am 52 and have just recently completely adopted the mustachian lifestyle.  Just this morning, as I was getting some cash out of my wallet for my trip to the coffee shop (I know, but I only spend $3 there, and it gets me out of my house and among people--which is important for a recluse/introvert/shy person like me), I noticed how the cash in my wallet just stays in there these days.  I also have $100 in cash on a shelf in my house, and it just stays there.  I love NOT spending money!  I wish I had reached this mindset waaaaaay back in my 30's.  But not beating myself up about learning late.

I love it...! Don't beat yourself up, we are all still learning. That's what makes life still interesting, n'est-ce-pas?

Today I went out to a flea market with the youngest Psycho (age 11) and found him some 5 euro sneakers, two pairs of pants ( a euro each) and some stuff for Eldest Psycho's college studio (glasses, forks and knives). So no the money didn't stay in the wallet, but gosh I love that kind of shopping...


Yes, I think you are right.  I have nothing against people choosing ER.  It's a great option to have.  I loved Crazyfun's post because I am a SAHM, and have been since my mid-twenties.  I haven't yet decided what I want to do when my kids grow up--attend grad school, find a job right away, start a small business, etc.--and sometimes that uncertainty makes me a bit anxious.  My husband once told me, "I don't care if you ever work again.  I just want you to be excited about the future.  I want you to look forward to it." (sweet guy, that man o' mine)  I am inspired to hear about women in this situation who are enthusiastically turning over a new leaf. :) 

Yeah, your guy is great - I have one like him too -  : )
I for one believe that you gotta keep things fresh and guard against getting too comfy. I so love being all comfy - but I use my mother as a cautionary tale. She loves her comfort so much, and was so afraid to trust herself and try new things, that today she is twice-divorced (married the second time for money) and living off what's left of her nest-egg, (200K)... but what kills me is she spends most of her time in her apartment sitting on the couch with her cat in front of the TV. She's about 50 pounds overweight, always has been, but especially is just scared of challenges - whether they be intellectual or physical. Part of my decision to work - even if I don't "need to" - is to make sure that I do what I need to remain engaged with life.

And as for FIRE vs ER...I'm just aiming for FI. I stopped my career as a therapist for 8 years, moving to France and having babies, and teaching English as a money-making side-show. I picked up doing therapy again because I was so sick of teaching English and didn't see myself doing it for the rest of my life - I really missed what I was trained to do. I didn't expect my practice to take off as well as it did -but so much the better. I don't see myself stopping until I'm pretty old - why would I? I don't have a commute, I don't have a boss....OK I don't make a lot of money right now, but heading back to school for the French psych degree makes it a lot better financially speaking.

There's an article in the Business section of the NY Times on women/gender issues at Harvard Business School, with a link to a video of the commencement speech by a young woman graduate. It's good stuff - about courage, leadership... I think it applies to any of us.

And it makes me think 'thank GOD I never went to Harvard Business School' (nor any other Business School for that matter) - I would have been freakin' miserable. Personally.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 09, 2013, 12:52:37 PM
Bonjour avonlea

oops still in French sorry... I think your mom's piano is great. I also kind of exagerated my mom's situation - she *does* try a little to get out... she goes certainly to a lot of movies, but she also  has signed up for classes at the University...

I HAD HUGE news today - I am admitted directly into the second year of the Master's program!! THere were only 15 sure slots for about 100+ people - and I squeaked in at 15th place! Yay me! Going to write it in my journal.

I am therefore soon going to be disgustingly horribly busy, and neglectful of my family (who's supporting me, but still...)

It's amazing and worth it though - I will finally not have to worry about my future financial life in Fuh-fuh France. Y'know. Enough said.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on September 09, 2013, 04:55:59 PM
Wow, I love the PhD at age 56 too.


You'll like also that she's getting her PhD as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.  She finished her Masters this spring and was accepted to the PhD program.  She wants to counsel children and adolescents.  She'll be great at it!  She was a fabulous mom to six kids and now a fabulous Grandma to 14(at my last count)!!

I love to read about your life as an expat!  I love to watch a HGTV show over here called "House Hunters International", which totally has me romanticizing life outside the US.  It's great to hear a bit about the real side of life abroad.  And as I think about your counseling practice, I like to imagine Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Pink Panther movies) with his eye twitch.  ;)
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 10, 2013, 02:11:39 AM

I love to read about your life as an expat!  I love to watch a HGTV show over here called "House Hunters International", which totally has me romanticizing life outside the US.  It's great to hear a bit about the real side of life abroad.  And as I think about your counseling practice, I like to imagine Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Pink Panther movies) with his eye twitch.  ;)

YEah my mom is obsessed with that show - she tells me all about the housing prices in Paris, Nantes, Nice... because obviously here I have no access to that information, deprived as I am of that particular reality TV show.

Yeah I try to control the twitch while practicing.... and the Tourette's... ooops sorry the screen is covered in spit now...

(NO OFFENSE TO *real* Tourettes Sufferers Please !)
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on September 10, 2013, 07:40:21 AM
What I meant was I picture you in session with Dreyfus, randomly shouting out "Clouseau!" to see if he gets in a murderous rage! ;)
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Daleth on September 10, 2013, 10:53:24 AM
I HAD HUGE news today - I am admitted directly into the second year of the Master's program!! THere were only 15 sure slots for about 100+ people - and I squeaked in at 15th place! Yay me! Going to write it in my journal.

Fantastic! Magnifique! Felicitations! That's wonderful!
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: avonlea on September 10, 2013, 11:27:10 AM
I HAD HUGE news today - I am admitted directly into the second year of the Master's program!! THere were only 15 sure slots for about 100+ people - and I squeaked in at 15th place! Yay me! Going to write it in my journal.

Fantastic! Magnifique! Felicitations! That's wonderful!

Way to go, Psychomoustache!
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 11, 2013, 01:42:27 AM
Yeah - someone said to me yesterday "well, one *almost* wants to congratulate you!" This is b/c now things are very complicated. But I don't want to cracher dans la soupe as we say in French ("spit in the soup!" means be ungrateful for something great). Anyway I don't want to complicate this thread with my other business - I like that Over Forty people stop by and say that they are here too.

That's this thread...We are Old, and We are Here. LOL. (I guess...)  : b
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: Theadyn on September 11, 2013, 06:19:29 AM
I am 42 and basically starting with nothing. 

The late hubby and I got out of debt a few years back and am still out of debt, except my little mortgage.  He fought cancer for 2 years and lost, and the mess it leaves isn't fun.  So here I am now, still no debt, but nothing in retirement.  It may take me a while longer as my income isn't the huge amounts like others here.  I work part time, good pay per hour, doing a job I love at a place that is a 3 minute walk from my house, and that is okay with me.  Since I am part time, I get no benefits.  So it is up to me to save for retirement myself.  Luckily, my mortgage is small and I live cheap!  It allows me to save every month.  I do have a second part time job that is a few hours here and there, can work more if I need it.  I consider my third job saving money at home, lol.  Hey, if you aren't spending it, then you're saving it, I call that earnings, right?

I've reduced and paired down and have zero interest in the consumerism lifestyle.  This outlook will keep with me years later when achieving FI, as the need for 'stuff' just won't appeal to me.  That means, to me, there won't be a need to invest an obscene amount.  Which is good on my smaller income, lol.   It's all relative, no?  :)   May take me 10 years, but I'm cool with that as right now I'm not working my tail off at a high stress, tons of hours type of high earning job.  Will probably keep working this part time job even after reaching FI, I love helping my patients.
Title: Re: anyone over 40 and trying to catch up?
Post by: psychomoustache on September 11, 2013, 08:05:00 AM
Wow, Theadyn I'm so sorry for your loss.
What do you do? It sounds a bit like me - I too have a job I love that doesn't make a whole lot, but is close to home and gives me time to pursue other things...
Yeah I think a good perspective is also living in today - not having to postpone the day when one can actually be happy in one's life... that is to day not working in a cubicle is a very good thing, for me. I did it for awhile back in the States - I was working for a managed care company and my job was to approve contracts for people to get psychotherapy. A very inhuman way to deal with a painful human need, IMHO. But that was then... thank goodness.