Author Topic: Are most of the members here high earners?  (Read 48619 times)

NinetyFour

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #100 on: March 29, 2014, 11:19:41 AM »
Great--thanks very much for that info!

libertarian4321

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #101 on: March 30, 2014, 12:32:03 AM »

Around here you can't call yourself an engineer or do "engineering" without a PE (or supervision by a PE). You will get fined by the board and given a cease and desist order. They actually do it, too, and tell everyone about who they wrist-slapped in the newsletter.

Edit: I suppose I should clarify that engineering work is stuff that only a PE is supposed to do. If you are a programmer and call yourself a software engineer, they aren't going to care. For that matter, an electrical engineer working for a manufacturer isn't required to have a PE despite probably being more technically demanding a job than the PE specifying his products. So, whatever I guess.

I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA.

I got a BS in engineering from Rensselaer Polytech I in '85, an MBA from BU in '89, and a MEng from MIT in '95.  I passed the EIT in '85, and never even bothered to take the PE, because, frankly, I saw no need for it.

I call myself an engineer.  For almost 30 years, I have done engineering work.  I have hired, fired, and supervised engineers (some with PEs, and some without).

If I had to do something that requires a "PE" stamp (which, frankly, was pretty rare), I just did the work and had one of the "dime a dozen" PE's stamp the work. 

I'm not hiding from the "board" (who the hell are they?).  I'm pretty well known and have even run for political office (US Congress- publicly identifying myself as an engineer). 

Despite "high profile" public engineering life, I have never been sanctioned, threatened, or even questioned for calling myself an engineer without a PE.

BTW, there are a lot of really, really bad engineers who have passed the PE.  For a lot of engineers, the "PE" was just a test they passed at age 22, without ever having done a day of real engineering.  It's an academic qualification that doesn't always have a lot of applicability to real life engineering work.  I don't care if you passed a test at age 22, I want to know what the Hell you have done since.


libertarian4321

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #102 on: March 30, 2014, 01:00:31 AM »
My hubby is a PE engineer and many engineers are never able to pass the exam. It is the gold standard for this occupation.  I really doubt anyone would let that go unless they never intended to work again-ever!

Son of a bitch, I've been collecting a paycheck as an engineer for almost 30 years without a PE. 

Oh lawdy, lawdy, I hope no one ever finds out I don't have a PE...



wtjbatman

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #103 on: March 30, 2014, 02:17:46 AM »
ITT, engineers get upset about certifications and argue what professions actually qualify oneself as an engineer.

Which kinda explains why they decided to become engineers :D

T-Rex

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #104 on: March 30, 2014, 03:17:57 AM »
I am not. I think the biggest barrier to retirement is lifestyle inflation and not saving.

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #105 on: March 30, 2014, 06:30:32 AM »
We are on the lower side of things, I make $27k and wife makes $36k.  She has some room to grow in her career, but not a whole lot to be honest.  She loves it though, and if we ever hit FI I'm sure she would still want to work.

I have no real career to speak of, just a job to pay the bills.  Looking for something better, but I feel like my options are fairly limited with my education and experience, and going back to school seems too expensive to be worthwhile with $59k of the wife's student loans left to pay off still.

TomTX

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #106 on: March 30, 2014, 08:44:11 AM »
What do you consider a high earner?

An individual income in the 90's or higher.

Wow, not even close. Just got a raise to almost $65k last fall, first big raise in a long time.

Fixed expenses are pretty high: $16.5k a year in mortgage + property tax + insurance alone. Most of that will go away in 7.5 years when the mortgage is paid off... but after recent discussions here, I am starting to regret getting such a short mortgage when we refinanced.

stevewisc

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #107 on: March 30, 2014, 10:04:55 AM »

Around here you can't call yourself an engineer or do "engineering" without a PE (or supervision by a PE). You will get fined by the board and given a cease and desist order. They actually do it, too, and tell everyone about who they wrist-slapped in the newsletter.

Edit: I suppose I should clarify that engineering work is stuff that only a PE is supposed to do. If you are a programmer and call yourself a software engineer, they aren't going to care. For that matter, an electrical engineer working for a manufacturer isn't required to have a PE despite probably being more technically demanding a job than the PE specifying his products. So, whatever I guess.

I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA.

I got a BS in engineering from Rensselaer Polytech I in '85, an MBA from BU in '89, and a MEng from MIT in '95.  I passed the EIT in '85, and never even bothered to take the PE, because, frankly, I saw no need for it.

I call myself an engineer.  For almost 30 years, I have done engineering work.  I have hired, fired, and supervised engineers (some with PEs, and some without).

If I had to do something that requires a "PE" stamp (which, frankly, was pretty rare), I just did the work and had one of the "dime a dozen" PE's stamp the work. 

I'm not hiding from the "board" (who the hell are they?).  I'm pretty well known and have even run for political office (US Congress- publicly identifying myself as an engineer). 

Despite "high profile" public engineering life, I have never been sanctioned, threatened, or even questioned for calling myself an engineer without a PE.

BTW, there are a lot of really, really bad engineers who have passed the PE.  For a lot of engineers, the "PE" was just a test they passed at age 22, without ever having done a day of real engineering.  It's an academic qualification that doesn't always have a lot of applicability to real life engineering work.  I don't care if you passed a test at age 22, I want to know what the Hell you have done since.

Amen!!   (RPI!!)

dragoncar

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #108 on: March 30, 2014, 12:41:55 PM »

Around here you can't call yourself an engineer or do "engineering" without a PE (or supervision by a PE). You will get fined by the board and given a cease and desist order. They actually do it, too, and tell everyone about who they wrist-slapped in the newsletter.

Edit: I suppose I should clarify that engineering work is stuff that only a PE is supposed to do. If you are a programmer and call yourself a software engineer, they aren't going to care. For that matter, an electrical engineer working for a manufacturer isn't required to have a PE despite probably being more technically demanding a job than the PE specifying his products. So, whatever I guess.

I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA.

I got a BS in engineering from Rensselaer Polytech I in '85, an MBA from BU in '89, and a MEng from MIT in '95.  I passed the EIT in '85, and never even bothered to take the PE, because, frankly, I saw no need for it.

I call myself an engineer.  For almost 30 years, I have done engineering work.  I have hired, fired, and supervised engineers (some with PEs, and some without).

If I had to do something that requires a "PE" stamp (which, frankly, was pretty rare), I just did the work and had one of the "dime a dozen" PE's stamp the work. 

I'm not hiding from the "board" (who the hell are they?).  I'm pretty well known and have even run for political office (US Congress- publicly identifying myself as an engineer). 

Despite "high profile" public engineering life, I have never been sanctioned, threatened, or even questioned for calling myself an engineer without a PE.

BTW, there are a lot of really, really bad engineers who have passed the PE.  For a lot of engineers, the "PE" was just a test they passed at age 22, without ever having done a day of real engineering.  It's an academic qualification that doesn't always have a lot of applicability to real life engineering work.  I don't care if you passed a test at age 22, I want to know what the Hell you have done since.

Lol, I was going to say that engineers tend to be a very libertarian minded group, and that's probably why the PE matters so little in actual industry (excepting thing like bridge design, as previously mentioned).

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #109 on: March 30, 2014, 02:53:43 PM »
It might be just what you notice. As a defined high income earner, I always think I am one of the minority and that this board is mainly populated by those under that income!

The beauty of the shockingly simple math is it works at any income level, but I agree its easier/faster with a higher income.  Although as we've seen here from the occasional poster, high income jobs often come with trappings/expectations of ridiculous consumption that takes the ability to be strongly internally directed to resist.

As for age, its never too late. I'm 55, hoping to retire at 60,  and if I live to 100, (who knows, there are some long livers in my family) then I've still got 40 years to plan for, quite long enough.

Happy yes, I think that's true true that high income jobs come with trappings and expectations.  One of the major issues is financial aid for college -- we're not getting any.  So I have to have the money when the kids are ready for school in a few years.  There are also serious expectations about clothes for work, and having recent haircuts/dye jobs.  I do the minimum acceptable on some fronts (probably get my hair cut and dyed every 4 months), but I do spend too much $ on clothes.  I need to start looking at the vintage shops nearby more seriously.

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #110 on: March 30, 2014, 02:57:19 PM »
I'm a high earner, but started late.  At age 35, I was a single mother with no money (I mean no money -- no 401K, no savings, nothing), $44,000 in student loans, a $511 monthly car payment, $3,000 in monthly childcare bills, a 1.5-hour commute each way (which directly caused the enormous childcare bills), and a $2,400 monthly rent.  Eight years later my situation is vastly different (I have no non-mortgage debt now, around $100,000 in home equity and around $200,000 in investments, including 401K and college savings).  This is mostly due to going after a higher income, but I am also starting to learn to save.

I'm still way, way behind.

Thanks for sharing. That's a whole lot of progress in just 8 years and is very admirable.

Thanks.  My company's 10% 401K match has played a large part in it. 

gobius

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #111 on: March 30, 2014, 07:51:04 PM »
My hubby is a PE engineer and many engineers are never able to pass the exam. It is the gold standard for this occupation.  I really doubt anyone would let that go unless they never intended to work again-ever!

Son of a bitch, I've been collecting a paycheck as an engineer for almost 30 years without a PE. 

Oh lawdy, lawdy, I hope no one ever finds out I don't have a PE...

Haha I found this post awesomely hilarious.

In my field (power plants) lots of engineering grads don't get their PE.  It's only required to move up in pay after about 13 years with my employer.  Then again, we don't really do a lot of engineering.

sol

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #112 on: March 30, 2014, 08:27:38 PM »
My wife and I qualify as high earners by the criteria specified here, and yes it makes saving most of your income pretty straightforwad.  We're not engineers, but we do work in a field that typically requires professional licensing.

Except that we both work for the federal government, so we're not required to get licensed.  When the licensing requirements were instituted (maybe 15 years ago?) they were widely believed to be a power grab by the licensing agency which charged ridiculous fees to give you permission to do a job that everyone in the state had already been doing for generations without their intervention.  A few people in my office bit and got licensed, but most of them have since dropped it because of the annual fee and the exactly zero benefit it provides to federal employees.

The only person I know who still carries an active license is a collector of initials after her name, and she basically does it out of vanity.

Mazzinator

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #113 on: March 30, 2014, 09:00:12 PM »
We have a household income north of $110,000, but it took until my wife was 37  (she's currently 37) to really break $75,000 and I'm a stay at home dad.    Add to that mondo student debt and other debts we incurred while working in seriously low paying jobs and starting a business and it really doesn't feel like we make 6 figures.

Now that we're finally making money, I'm spending less than ever (being at home really helps in that arena).    Now I feel like we have to catch up to the 10+ years we've been out of school making crap wages.    Sometimes I wish I had just been able to make $40,000 out of school and had modest raises over the years instead of grabbing for the brass ring.   We'd probably be in a better financial position right now.

We're in a similar boat. We had at one point something like $300k in debt (no mortgage) 13 years of college between us, and 14 years to break six figures? We've both been out of college about 7 years now. Now we're down to ~$75k in debt (all SL) and my husband makes ~$130k gross (it feels like more because we pay $0 in taxes) and i'm a sahm. So, same for us...debt paydown, and catch up. If i could only get him into full mmm we'd be golden...

RealCanadianSavings

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #114 on: March 30, 2014, 09:55:26 PM »
My spouse and I are DINKs. He's an Engineer. Combined we make ~200k. We do live in Vancouver Canada, so I'm guessing housing and taxes are a bit higher than most of the people here. It's pretty nice though, we're making good progress on FIRE.

Cassie

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #115 on: March 30, 2014, 09:59:56 PM »
Wow-I guess you guys do not work or live in the West Coast. The 6 figure jobs need PE's.  Many people are not smart enough to pass the test.  It is very difficult but that is fine since many lower level jobs need to be filled. 

dragoncar

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #116 on: March 30, 2014, 10:26:19 PM »
Wow-I guess you guys do not work or live in the West Coast. The 6 figure jobs need PE's.  Many people are not smart enough to pass the test.  It is very difficult but that is fine since many lower level jobs need to be filled.

This may be true in your husband's particular industry (I can only guess this is civil engineering?), but I live in the San Francisco Bay area where every other person on the street is an engineer and nobody has or requires PEs.

Cassie

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #117 on: March 30, 2014, 10:32:14 PM »
Yes he is civil with environmental certifications as well doing traffic & project management for huge projects.   I am thinking if that is really the case we should come to SF.  Thanks for the info!

Eristheunorganized

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #118 on: March 31, 2014, 01:16:20 AM »
Yeah, I often feel out of the normal demographic here- I made just over 30,000 last year. I'm saving about 38% of my income, but I am unsure if could get to 50% without doing something very drastic. I suppose I could ditch my (paid for) car...


arebelspy

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #119 on: March 31, 2014, 06:41:34 AM »
Yeah, I often feel out of the normal demographic here- I made just over 30,000 last year. I'm saving about 38% of my income, but I am unsure if could get to 50% without doing something very drastic. I suppose I could ditch my (paid for) car...

Yeah, one big difference is having a partner who is on board and also earning.

That's really accelerated my time to FI.  I started making a similar amount to you, mid-30ks (teacher), and spent similar to you.  The big difference is that I also had (and still have) a spouse.  That pushed our spending to low 20s instead of high teens (like you), but we could basically live on 2/3 of one income (like you) and save the other 1/3 of the first income (like you), but then also save all of the second income, which gave us about a 66% savings rate (which was boosted to 70-75% with side income earned, eventual pay raises to about 40k each after getting Master's Degrees, etc. etc.)

A spouse on board only raising your spending by a few thousand but adding a whole extra income to save is FIRE lighter fluid.
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EconDiva

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #120 on: March 31, 2014, 08:32:22 AM »
Yeah, I often feel out of the normal demographic here- I made just over 30,000 last year. I'm saving about 38% of my income, but I am unsure if could get to 50% without doing something very drastic. I suppose I could ditch my (paid for) car...

Yeah, one big difference is having a partner who is on board and also earning.

That's really accelerated my time to FI.  I started making a similar amount to you, mid-30ks (teacher), and spent similar to you.  The big difference is that I also had (and still have) a spouse.  That pushed our spending to low 20s instead of high teens (like you), but we could basically live on 2/3 of one income (like you) and save the other 1/3 of the first income (like you), but then also save all of the second income, which gave us about a 66% savings rate (which was boosted to 70-75% with side income earned, eventual pay raises to about 40k each after getting Master's Degrees, etc. etc.)

A spouse on board only raising your spending by a few thousand but adding a whole extra income to save is FIRE lighter fluid.

On that note, the funny thing is, I'd been considering ways to get myself to FIRE sooner, and recently got a promotion/raise, which was one of my goals. Now I'm thinking what else can I do?

And the first thing that popped into my mind was getting married lol. I could save so much more if I were splitting expenses with someone. I guess I could get a roommate, but I'm 35 and not too keen on living with strangers at this point in my life. Sigh...

DoubleDown

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #121 on: March 31, 2014, 08:47:44 AM »
I was a high earner before retiring at the end of last year (at age 47). You can file this in the "cry me a river" category, but one downside is it really can make it hard to walk away from a high paying career when you're at the peak of your game and earning a lot of money. It's so easy to think of things you could do by working just a little more, even noble things like charity -- definitely easy to get sucked into the "one more year" illness.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #122 on: March 31, 2014, 08:54:24 AM »
It's so easy to think of things you could do by working just a little more

I will be thinking hard about those things (missing the two hour commute, $70,000 in taxes, office politics) while sipping a drink in the Florida Keys.

skunkfunk

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #123 on: March 31, 2014, 08:58:51 AM »
Quote
I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA.

I got a BS in engineering from Rensselaer Polytech I in '85, an MBA from BU in '89, and a MEng from MIT in '95.  I passed the EIT in '85, and never even bothered to take the PE, because, frankly, I saw no need for it.

I call myself an engineer.  For almost 30 years, I have done engineering work.  I have hired, fired, and supervised engineers (some with PEs, and some without).

If I had to do something that requires a "PE" stamp (which, frankly, was pretty rare), I just did the work and had one of the "dime a dozen" PE's stamp the work. 

I'm not hiding from the "board" (who the hell are they?).  I'm pretty well known and have even run for political office (US Congress- publicly identifying myself as an engineer). 

Despite "high profile" public engineering life, I have never been sanctioned, threatened, or even questioned for calling myself an engineer without a PE.

BTW, there are a lot of really, really bad engineers who have passed the PE.  For a lot of engineers, the "PE" was just a test they passed at age 22, without ever having done a day of real engineering.  It's an academic qualification that doesn't always have a lot of applicability to real life engineering work.  I don't care if you passed a test at age 22, I want to know what the Hell you have done since.

I'll copy below an example of one of the thirteen disciplinary actions the board took in this months newsletter.

In the Matter of United Consulting Group,
LTD and Patrick J. Carr, P.E. 21196; Through Consent; For offering and/or
practicing engineering in the State of Oklahoma
without a Certificate of Authorization to do so,
United Consulting Group, LTD was found Guilty,
assessed an administrative fine of $1,000.00 and is
hereby ordered to Cease and Desist. For aiding
and assisting United Consulting Group, LTD in the
offer and/or practice of engineering without a
Certificate of Authorization Carr was found Guilty,
assessed an administrative fine of $1,000.00 and is
hereby Reprimanded.

Yeah, $1000 fine is barely a slap on the wrist. Every project that I work on does have to be signed and sealed prior to construction. We have 2 jobs right now that I'm not even allowed to work on, as the client has required that all work be done by the licensed engineer; usually, we can get by just having it supervised by the licensed engineer.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #124 on: March 31, 2014, 10:36:14 AM »
I was a high earner before retiring at the end of last year (at age 47). You can file this in the "cry me a river" category, but one downside is it really can make it hard to walk away from a high paying career when you're at the peak of your game and earning a lot of money. It's so easy to think of things you could do by working just a little more, even noble things like charity -- definitely easy to get sucked into the "one more year" illness.

+1

If my calculations/assumptions are correct, I will be ready to walk right about the time my salary, which is already more than enough, will grow by 20-40%. It's going to be tough to explain/justify to co-workers and my wife, but enough is enough right? I understand exactly what you mean.

Eristheunorganized

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #125 on: March 31, 2014, 11:22:31 AM »
Yeah, I often feel out of the normal demographic here- I made just over 30,000 last year. I'm saving about 38% of my income, but I am unsure if could get to 50% without doing something very drastic. I suppose I could ditch my (paid for) car...

Yeah, one big difference is having a partner who is on board and also earning.

That's really accelerated my time to FI.  I started making a similar amount to you, mid-30ks (teacher), and spent similar to you.  The big difference is that I also had (and still have) a spouse.  That pushed our spending to low 20s instead of high teens (like you), but we could basically live on 2/3 of one income (like you) and save the other 1/3 of the first income (like you), but then also save all of the second income, which gave us about a 66% savings rate (which was boosted to 70-75% with side income earned, eventual pay raises to about 40k each after getting Master's Degrees, etc. etc.)

A spouse on board only raising your spending by a few thousand but adding a whole extra income to save is FIRE lighter fluid.

On that note, the funny thing is, I'd been considering ways to get myself to FIRE sooner, and recently got a promotion/raise, which was one of my goals. Now I'm thinking what else can I do?

And the first thing that popped into my mind was getting married lol. I could save so much more if I were splitting expenses with someone. I guess I could get a roommate, but I'm 35 and not too keen on living with strangers at this point in my life. Sigh...


Living with roommates isn't so bad, I've done it pretty much all my adult life. The only problem is that it's very unstable. Houses you're renting get sold from underneath you, roommates leave. Then you have to pay for another deposit and your moving costs.

Marrying someone on board would be awesome. My higher-earning boyfriend is too interested in living the high life right now.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 11:24:07 AM by Eristheunorganized »

AlmstRtrd

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #126 on: March 31, 2014, 11:48:54 AM »
Quote
I was a high earner before retiring at the end of last year (at age 47). You can file this in the "cry me a river" category, but one downside is it really can make it hard to walk away from a high paying career when you're at the peak of your game and earning a lot of money. It's so easy to think of things you could do by working just a little more, even noble things like charity -- definitely easy to get sucked into the "one more year" illness.

DoubleDown (or anyone else reading this),

Just curious... did you have a specific amount of assets in mind that you wanted to hit before you pulled the plug on working? I have the feeling I will fall victim to "number creep" where I keep raising the figure I feel we need to really retire.

DoubleDown

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #127 on: March 31, 2014, 05:12:24 PM »

DoubleDown (or anyone else reading this),

Just curious... did you have a specific amount of assets in mind that you wanted to hit before you pulled the plug on working? I have the feeling I will fall victim to "number creep" where I keep raising the figure I feel we need to really retire.

I did have a number, or more accurately several numbers. I've broken down my retirement into several phases, drawing on different assets at different times (taxable accounts and real estate right now, then a small-ish pension that will kick in plus other real estate, 401k/IRAs starting at age 59.5, Soc. Security at age 62+). It's inexact though, with all kinds of assumptions built in on rates of return in the future, inflation rates, etc. I've structured things so I should have a steady income stream over the years, drawing on the different assets with hopefully a large enough buffer to handle unexpected expenses or downturns.

I can definitely sympathize with the number creep tendency. I worked at least an extra year to build up a safety margin, and once felt I had enough of a buffer I decided it was safe to pull the plug. I guess time will tell if I was overly conservative, or not conservative enough! There was some difficulty though in leaving the high salary plus giving up on some lifetime benefits if I worked until typical retirement age (higher pension, lifetime healthcare, etc.). But man, I would not change anything so far -- ER has been great! So my humble suggestion would be don't fall victim too much to raising that number, having your time and freedom is priceless.

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #128 on: March 31, 2014, 05:30:23 PM »

Around here you can't call yourself an engineer or do "engineering" without a PE (or supervision by a PE). You will get fined by the board and given a cease and desist order. They actually do it, too, and tell everyone about who they wrist-slapped in the newsletter.

Edit: I suppose I should clarify that engineering work is stuff that only a PE is supposed to do. If you are a programmer and call yourself a software engineer, they aren't going to care. For that matter, an electrical engineer working for a manufacturer isn't required to have a PE despite probably being more technically demanding a job than the PE specifying his products. So, whatever I guess.

I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA.

I got a BS in engineering from Rensselaer Polytech I in '85, an MBA from BU in '89, and a MEng from MIT in '95.  I passed the EIT in '85, and never even bothered to take the PE, because, frankly, I saw no need for it.

I call myself an engineer.  For almost 30 years, I have done engineering work.  I have hired, fired, and supervised engineers (some with PEs, and some without).

If I had to do something that requires a "PE" stamp (which, frankly, was pretty rare), I just did the work and had one of the "dime a dozen" PE's stamp the work. 

I'm not hiding from the "board" (who the hell are they?).  I'm pretty well known and have even run for political office (US Congress- publicly identifying myself as an engineer). 

Despite "high profile" public engineering life, I have never been sanctioned, threatened, or even questioned for calling myself an engineer without a PE.

BTW, there are a lot of really, really bad engineers who have passed the PE.  For a lot of engineers, the "PE" was just a test they passed at age 22, without ever having done a day of real engineering.  It's an academic qualification that doesn't always have a lot of applicability to real life engineering work.  I don't care if you passed a test at age 22, I want to know what the Hell you have done since.

Amen!!   (RPI!!)

While you are all beating your chests telling us this does not happen in America I would invite you to read the two posts where it has been stated that this IS happening.. IN Oregon for one, where people are being fined for using the term "engineer" without a PE license.

I agree its overkill but the FACT is fines ARE being levied buy the state for this very thing.

How do I know because the State has sent me a magazine telling me where they have done exactly this..

Do you want to disagree some more?.. I will happily got get the reference and you can look up these FACTS.. Note I said FACTS!!!!!.. yourselves.

Frank

dragoncar

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #129 on: March 31, 2014, 05:51:37 PM »

Around here you can't call yourself an engineer or do "engineering" without a PE (or supervision by a PE). You will get fined by the board and given a cease and desist order. They actually do it, too, and tell everyone about who they wrist-slapped in the newsletter.

Edit: I suppose I should clarify that engineering work is stuff that only a PE is supposed to do. If you are a programmer and call yourself a software engineer, they aren't going to care. For that matter, an electrical engineer working for a manufacturer isn't required to have a PE despite probably being more technically demanding a job than the PE specifying his products. So, whatever I guess.

I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA.

I got a BS in engineering from Rensselaer Polytech I in '85, an MBA from BU in '89, and a MEng from MIT in '95.  I passed the EIT in '85, and never even bothered to take the PE, because, frankly, I saw no need for it.

I call myself an engineer.  For almost 30 years, I have done engineering work.  I have hired, fired, and supervised engineers (some with PEs, and some without).

If I had to do something that requires a "PE" stamp (which, frankly, was pretty rare), I just did the work and had one of the "dime a dozen" PE's stamp the work. 

I'm not hiding from the "board" (who the hell are they?).  I'm pretty well known and have even run for political office (US Congress- publicly identifying myself as an engineer). 

Despite "high profile" public engineering life, I have never been sanctioned, threatened, or even questioned for calling myself an engineer without a PE.

BTW, there are a lot of really, really bad engineers who have passed the PE.  For a lot of engineers, the "PE" was just a test they passed at age 22, without ever having done a day of real engineering.  It's an academic qualification that doesn't always have a lot of applicability to real life engineering work.  I don't care if you passed a test at age 22, I want to know what the Hell you have done since.

Amen!!   (RPI!!)

While you are all beating your chests telling us this does not happen in America I would invite you to read the two posts where it has been stated that this IS happening.. IN Oregon for one, where people are being fined for using the term "engineer" without a PE license.

I agree its overkill but the FACT is fines ARE being levied buy the state for this very thing.

How do I know because the State has sent me a magazine telling me where they have done exactly this..

Do you want to disagree some more?.. I will happily got get the reference and you can look up these FACTS.. Note I said FACTS!!!!!.. yourselves.

Frank

Nobody is saying it doesn't ever happen.  We are saying that, for the vast majority of practicing engineers, the PE license is irrelevant.

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #130 on: March 31, 2014, 05:59:09 PM »
I'm sorry but I would have to say this statement is saying exactly that..

"I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA."

I would also say that I totally disagree with the states position, even though I do hold a PE license.

Frank

dragoncar

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #131 on: March 31, 2014, 06:11:37 PM »
I'm sorry but I would have to say this statement is saying exactly that..

"I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA."

I would also say that I totally disagree with the states position, even though I do hold a PE license.

Frank

I'm pretty sure he means it is "NOT the case" that you "will get fined by the board and given a cease and desist order."  You may get fined, but if you take the number of times someone without a PE in the USA tells another person "I'm an engineer" and divide by the number of fines levied, the chance of actually being fined seems infinitesimal to me.  The risk is surely different if you are, say, opening your own engineering firm and actively soliciting contracts.

BlueHouse

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #132 on: March 31, 2014, 06:23:34 PM »
What the heck are you guys talking about Engineers vs. PEs?  I work with hundreds of engineers (people with engineering degrees, but not licensed).  We work on very large Federal programs ($100s Million - 10s Billions)   I'm pretty sure if there was a requirement for the license, none of these programs would get off the ground.  So could someone please explain why the government doesn't require being licensed on some pretty high profile programs?

dragoncar

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #133 on: March 31, 2014, 06:42:16 PM »
What the heck are you guys talking about Engineers vs. PEs?  I work with hundreds of engineers (people with engineering degrees, but not licensed).  We work on very large Federal programs ($100s Million - 10s Billions)   I'm pretty sure if there was a requirement for the license, none of these programs would get off the ground.  So could someone please explain why the government doesn't require being licensed on some pretty high profile programs?

I think the point is... they often do, but you just need one guy with a PE who "supervises" a hundred other engineers (read: signs off on whatever his boss tells him to sign off on).

HappierAtHome

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #134 on: March 31, 2014, 06:58:29 PM »
Back on topic...

I consider myself and my partner to be very high earners, but hilariously nobody else in our lives thinks we're more than average earners (probably because they're all "struggling" on household incomes of $250k+) and nobody understands why we won't join in complaining about taxes, being "poor", etc. I particularly love it when somebody who earns $300k+ a year and has a spouse earning $200k or more complains about being poor.

Right now, I earn $107k (26y.o.) and the BF earns $163k (33y.o.). To me this is an insane amount of money; enough that I think we have an obligation to use it wisely and make the most of this ridiculous opportunity.

It definitely makes getting to FI easier.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #135 on: March 31, 2014, 07:29:03 PM »
To the OP - Yes, I suspect the income levels on the board "skew" higher than median for the US. I think what we have in common is a desire to retire early, live below our means, and find happiness outside of material possessions.

I grew up pretty poor and these days our income is high. Sometimes I feel downright embarrassed at our good fortune - surely we are no more worthy than anyone else.

I think we all have more in common than we do differences, but I realize that listening to rich people strategize about frugality is a bit like seeing a skinny person complain about the calories in their healthy lunch.

Yes, skinny people can worry about calories too... but don't you kinda want to smack em upside the head?

"You're already gorgeous... shut up already!"
"You're already rich.... be quiet about your bagged lunch for crying out loud."

:)

I get it. So I just try to focus on what we have in common, and I try not to take my situation for granted. I recognize that FI is easier on a high income. That makes everyone who does it on a low or average income like a superhero of frugality to me.

Cassie

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #136 on: March 31, 2014, 08:35:03 PM »
Frank, you are absolutely right. I asked my hubby and he said there is title protection nationwide for civil engineers. If you are an engineer & work for an engineering firm you can not put engineer on your business card unless you have a PE.  Many just use other titles such as project manager, etc if they do not have a PE.  We know someone that can not pass the PE but has a civil engineering degree so she works as a eng technician.  The PE test is extremely difficult & many can never pass it.

dragoncar

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #137 on: March 31, 2014, 08:50:35 PM »
To the OP - Yes, I suspect the income levels on the board "skew" higher than median for the US. I think what we have in common is a desire to retire early, live below our means, and find happiness outside of material possessions.

I grew up pretty poor and these days our income is high. Sometimes I feel downright embarrassed at our good fortune - surely we are no more worthy than anyone else.

I think we all have more in common than we do differences, but I realize that listening to rich people strategize about frugality is a bit like seeing a skinny person complain about the calories in their healthy lunch.

Yes, skinny people can worry about calories too... but don't you kinda want to smack em upside the head?

"You're already gorgeous... shut up already!"
"You're already rich.... be quiet about your bagged lunch for crying out loud."

:)

I get it. So I just try to focus on what we have in common, and I try not to take my situation for granted. I recognize that FI is easier on a high income. That makes everyone who does it on a low or average income like a superhero of frugality to me.

My wallet's too small for my fifties AND MY DIAMOND SHOES ARE TOO TIGHT.

sol

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #138 on: March 31, 2014, 09:05:11 PM »
The PE test is extremely difficult & many can never pass it.

Around here, the difficulty of the test and the qualifications of the individual do not correlate.  The test is full of lots of arcane information that is in no way related to the job we do.  It is administered, for profit, by a group of individuals that benefits from suppressing the labor supply and that had to spend millions lobbying the state to give them permission to collect fees from people or forbid them from working.  They charge annually for the license, they charge to take the test, and they charge to train you to pass the test.  The whole thing is a racket, and widely recognized as such.

The only people around here who carry the professional license are job hoppers or straight-out-of-school noobs who don't yet have a body of work that speaks for itself.  Everyone else gets work based on their skills and abilities as demonstrated by their track record.  Maybe things are different in engineering?

arebelspy

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #139 on: March 31, 2014, 09:27:17 PM »
My wallet's too small for my fifties AND MY DIAMOND SHOES ARE TOO TIGHT.

You can't have two cats.  Joey's the kind of guy that could have two cats.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #140 on: April 01, 2014, 12:14:20 AM »
Frank, you are absolutely right. I asked my hubby and he said there is title protection nationwide for civil engineers. If you are an engineer & work for an engineering firm you can not put engineer on your business card unless you have a PE.  Many just use other titles such as project manager, etc if they do not have a PE.  We know someone that can not pass the PE but has a civil engineering degree so she works as a eng technician.  The PE test is extremely difficult & many can never pass it.

Same goes for architects (not the IT kind) I am an architect and had to pass exams and register for my license. Without the license you would also use other titles like project manager, drafter etc. Usually there is only one licensed person signing amd sealing the drawings per firm, but you would get paid more if licensed.

nicknageli

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #141 on: April 01, 2014, 10:58:19 AM »
I think we all have more in common than we do differences, but I realize that listening to rich people strategize about frugality is a bit like seeing a skinny person complain about the calories in their healthy lunch.

Hahaha.  That cracked me up. 

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #142 on: April 01, 2014, 11:01:07 AM »
I think we all have more in common than we do differences, but I realize that listening to rich people strategize about frugality is a bit like seeing a skinny person complain about the calories in their healthy lunch.

Hahaha.  That cracked me up. 

Too funny, although that is how the skinny people stay skinny and the rich people stay rich.

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #143 on: April 01, 2014, 12:00:42 PM »
Around here, the difficulty of the test and the qualifications of the individual do not correlate.  The test is full of lots of arcane information that is in no way related to the job we do.

This is true of the FE as well. I have never once had to use Maxwell or calculate a Thevenin equivalent in order to design an electrical distribution system.

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #144 on: April 01, 2014, 12:43:47 PM »
Around here, the difficulty of the test and the qualifications of the individual do not correlate.  The test is full of lots of arcane information that is in no way related to the job we do.

This is true of the FE as well. I have never once had to use Maxwell or calculate a Thevenin equivalent in order to design an electrical distribution system.

I did the FE 25 years out of college and it was a very challenging exam.. But like you ... Simpsons rule for integration?.. Please!...:)

Frank

libertarian4321

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #145 on: April 01, 2014, 02:20:52 PM »
Quote
I'm not sure what country you live in, but that certainly is NOT the case in the USA.

I got a BS in engineering from Rensselaer Polytech I in '85, an MBA from BU in '89, and a MEng from MIT in '95.  I passed the EIT in '85, and never even bothered to take the PE, because, frankly, I saw no need for it.

I call myself an engineer.  For almost 30 years, I have done engineering work.  I have hired, fired, and supervised engineers (some with PEs, and some without).

If I had to do something that requires a "PE" stamp (which, frankly, was pretty rare), I just did the work and had one of the "dime a dozen" PE's stamp the work. 

I'm not hiding from the "board" (who the hell are they?).  I'm pretty well known and have even run for political office (US Congress- publicly identifying myself as an engineer). 

Despite "high profile" public engineering life, I have never been sanctioned, threatened, or even questioned for calling myself an engineer without a PE.

BTW, there are a lot of really, really bad engineers who have passed the PE.  For a lot of engineers, the "PE" was just a test they passed at age 22, without ever having done a day of real engineering.  It's an academic qualification that doesn't always have a lot of applicability to real life engineering work.  I don't care if you passed a test at age 22, I want to know what the Hell you have done since.

I'll copy below an example of one of the thirteen disciplinary actions the board took in this months newsletter.

In the Matter of United Consulting Group,
LTD and Patrick J. Carr, P.E. 21196; Through Consent; For offering and/or
practicing engineering in the State of Oklahoma
without a Certificate of Authorization to do so,
United Consulting Group, LTD was found Guilty,
assessed an administrative fine of $1,000.00 and is
hereby ordered to Cease and Desist. For aiding
and assisting United Consulting Group, LTD in the
offer and/or practice of engineering without a
Certificate of Authorization Carr was found Guilty,
assessed an administrative fine of $1,000.00 and is
hereby Reprimanded.

Yeah, $1000 fine is barely a slap on the wrist. Every project that I work on does have to be signed and sealed prior to construction. We have 2 jobs right now that I'm not even allowed to work on, as the client has required that all work be done by the licensed engineer; usually, we can get by just having it supervised by the licensed engineer.

There are, of course, certain projects that must be certified by a PE by law/regulation.  Or, as you mentioned,  you might have a client that asks for all work to be done by a PE if he so chooses- but I suspect that is pretty rare, as I've never had that happen.

Of course you will be fined if you sign as a PE when you are not a PE.  That's not only potentially dangerous, it's just plain dishonest. 

Any engineer who does that should not only be fined, I imagine he seriously endangers his chances for future employment.




skunkfunk

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #146 on: April 01, 2014, 02:37:17 PM »
Or, as you mentioned,  you might have a client that asks for all work to be done by a PE if he so chooses- but I suspect that is pretty rare, as I've never had that happen.

Technically the COE is our client on this, but one of the facilities that they required the PE for is this. I think it is readily apparent why that one might have special requirements.

libertarian4321

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #147 on: April 01, 2014, 03:27:30 PM »
Wow-I guess you guys do not work or live in the West Coast. The 6 figure jobs need PE's.  Many people are not smart enough to pass the test.  It is very difficult but that is fine since many lower level jobs need to be filled.

It's a difficult test, but to be honest, it's not likely to be all that challenging to someone who did reasonably well academically at a decent engineering school.  If you spent 4-years getting drunk and pulling C's at East Central New Jersey State-Hoboken, you probably aren't going to pass.  But if you were a decent student, you'll probably do okay.
 
The PE pass rate is usually a bit north of 60% overall.  About the same as for the Series 7 (broker) exam. 

But as with the Series 7 (or the EIT/FE), the numbers are a bit misleading. 

The number who pass the exam on their first try is actually significantly higher than the overall pass rate.  As someone else here pointed out, there are a lot of folks who take these exams, and fail them, multiple times.  Those people drag down the overall success percentage.

I can't speak to taking the PE, because I never bothered to take it, but when I took the Series 7, I was told all kinds of horror stories about how tough it was- tales of people who had taken the thing 6, 7, 8 times before finally (barely) passing.  I went into the exam thinking it was going to be brutal.  In the end, I passed it with flying colors on the first cut. 

Which left me wondering why the pass rates are so low.  My conclusion is that these sort of exams do what they are supposed to do- weed out the people who aren't qualified- we really don't want a guy with a C average from Upper Southwest Texas State -Waco signing off on a bridge design (nor do you want that guy giving financial advice to people).  But if you are a little above average-ish, and have prepared for it, you should be able to pass the exam, and probably on the first cut, so don't be intimidated by the horror stories. 

That said, if I took the PE today, despite tons of experience and good academic qualifications, I'm 100% convinced that I'd FAIL in a big way, because it's been so long since I worked on the sort of problems that would be part of the PE.  The stuff that's on the exam just isn't the kind of stuff that engineers typically do on a day to day basis- which is why it's best to take the EIT/FE and PE when you are young, and still remember the academic stuff that will be on the exam.

I should also mention that not every PE has actually passed the exam.  Depending on the state, some older folks (like myself) can get a PE under the grandfather clause without taking the exam- you basically just need to pay a fee, have a certain amount of experience and get some current PE's to vouch for your skills as an engineer.

I know, some of you think "oh my GOD, this unqualified old fool might go out and get his PE through the back door putting people in jeopardy!" 

Don't worry, it won't happen.  Because I'm too cheap to pay the application fee and the yearly license fees for a certification I'd never use. 

To say nothing of the bribes I'd have to pay to get my PE friends to vouch for me.  :)


libertarian4321

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #148 on: April 01, 2014, 03:36:52 PM »
Frank, you are absolutely right. I asked my hubby and he said there is title protection nationwide for civil engineers. If you are an engineer & work for an engineering firm you can not put engineer on your business card unless you have a PE.  Many just use other titles such as project manager, etc if they do not have a PE.  We know someone that can not pass the PE but has a civil engineering degree so she works as a eng technician.  The PE test is extremely difficult & many can never pass it.

That is simply NOT TRUE.

You can't put "PE" on your business card if you aren't current on your license.

But you can call yourself an engineer, put it on your card, put it on your email sig.  You can fly a flag from your car saying "I'm an engineer!"  You can hire a plane and to fly above a 4th of July crowd and sky-write "libertarian4321 is an engineer" in red, white and blue smoke.  All of this is perfectly legal.

I've worked for a bunch of consulting firms, from small ones like I work for today, up to some of the largest firms in the country.  I've had "engineer" slapped on my email and my cards.  I was listed as an engineer on bids and proposals. I was listed as an engineer on hundreds of documents and deliverables- including those going to state and federal regulatory agencies.

libertarian4321

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Re: Are most of the members here high earners?
« Reply #149 on: April 01, 2014, 03:41:01 PM »
Or, as you mentioned,  you might have a client that asks for all work to be done by a PE if he so chooses- but I suspect that is pretty rare, as I've never had that happen.

Technically the COE is our client on this, but one of the facilities that they required the PE for is this. I think it is readily apparent why that one might have special requirements.

The one thing that is true is that the client gets to make the rules, because he's paying the bills.  If he wants PEs, he gets PEs!

If he wants us to show up for meetings wearing Mickey Mouse ears and MC Hammer style parachute pants, we'll do it (if the money is right). 

Actually, that might make an otherwise boring meeting a lot more fun.