Author Topic: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...  (Read 4101 times)

fruplicity

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How did you "get this way"? Did you have one huge wake-up call? Was it a gradual thing? Did you learn from your parents or someone else?

I was born and raised a saver, but I didn't really "get" what to DO with money and what it meant until after college. My mini wake-up call was getting an entry-level job in which I had to talk to others about their finances while slowly realizing I had no concept of my own. BUT because I was fortunate enough to never want to spend a lot of money anyway, I didn't have a huge hole to crawl out of. But I can understand where some college grads are coming from when they "suddenly" realize that they have a boat load of debt to pay off (mine was more a truck load).

I'm fascinated to learn how people got to where they are today. Especially because I'm interested in financial literacy, education, and spreading this message. The next part to this question (which deserves its own thread) is how to get others to see that this way of living is not only possible, but desirable?

velocistar237

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 02:28:31 PM »
I'm an engineer, I'm interested in optimality, and I love solving puzzles.

My step-mother was a financial planner, and she told me in high school that if I saved half my income all the way to age 35, I would become a millionaire. That certainly planted a seed.

I saw some of the bad decisions of my family members and how they turned out. With houses too big, they had big mortgage payments and more to clean, for example. I saw that before I was ten.

My spending had always been low, but it all came together when I found the ERE site in 2008 and read Your Money or Your Life. With those examples, I knew it was possible, and upon finding a community with a common goal, I felt the moral support to not have to keep up with the Jones.

Getting others to see this life as desirable is a tough problem. I'll settle for having others accept that it's okay for me to do it.

Somnambulist

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 02:38:00 PM »
My wife and I were in a load of debt from school loans, home, credit cards, failed business we started and she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. We realized if she woke up one day and was disabled we couldn't maintain our current life style. We also realized since we weren't saving anything for retirement that when she eventually did have MS based health problems that would effect her mobility or ability to work we would be really screwed.

I found Get Rich Slowly and an accountability partner at work who was in a similar boat but not much debt and we kept each other on task. Another coworker turned me onto ERE about a year into our work to pay off our debt and get it together and I read through the entire site in a couple months. At that point I shifted from the focus of paying off debt to becoming financially independent. I am an Engineer so I love solving problems and optimization so it's become one of my big hobbies.

We paid off like 80k of debt in 2 years and right now we just have our house and car left to pay off. We now have 401k's we're contributing 6% of our income to for the full company match and two years of full ROTH IRA contributions. This year I am hoping to get a brokerage account opened so I can start optimizing our asset allocation based on tax benefits.

I bought a bike a year ago trying to get back into biking but it needs some work. The wife is now interested too and we have decided since the financial day to day stuff is nearly on auto-pilot we can address the hardest thing (for us) to fix - personal fitness and getting in shape.

zinnie

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 03:03:42 PM »
I undoubtedly became this way from my parents, specifically my father. It wasn't the value of saving that was taught so much as the anxiety that comes along with giving up your money for something you don't really need. I'm sure this came from grandparents on both sides who were immigrants to the United States and came from war-torn countries with nothing. To them money meant security in an uncertain and dangerous world--money was given away only when absolutely necessary and only on necessities. My grandparents on one side saved for 10 years to buy their first car, and it was an event so monumental that they still talk about it to this day with pride. They repaired their socks, and still do. They walked everywhere within walking distance. They took the kids camping on every single vacation for their entire lives--hotel rooms were never an option. None of my grandparents had anything but low-paying, mostly factory jobs, and they all retired at age 60 with a good amount of money in the bank because they saved and invested. My dad became the same way, and I always admired him for it. So from my point of view and upbringing, saving money is a family value. Keeping my money for a rainy day instead of giving it away to companies gives me security and freedom.

I am one of those where almost EVERYONE in my social circles is the complete opposite as me, and I find it so frustrating. They want stuff so badly and they don't even know why. It's so heavily cultural, I think, this wanting things, that people don't even think about it. And there's always either money or credit available to get anything that they want, because they make good salaries. They're never told no and they never have to deprive themselves. I work with a lot of women in their early 20's and the topics of investing has come up a few times; I'm surprised at how many of them say they know absolutely nothing about it because in their families money wasn't something you talked about. I've explained the basics to the few who seemed interested, set them up with Mint, etc. I'd like to help educate people as well, particularly young women who (it pains me to say) often assume that later on down the line a guy will take care of this for them.

shedinator

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 05:10:57 PM »
I grew up in a family of 8 with a combined income that might have topped off around $75k (pre-tax, plus benefits) when I was in high school. Since graduating, I've mostly lived below the poverty line, got married at 18, and had a child a year later. Frugality's never really been one of the options, it's only been THE option. But at some point we got sick of the hand-to-mouth existence, and decided we needed to do a tiny bit better. We cut back our expenses and had a few thousand saved up, and then my wife's hours got cut, so we were back to paycheck-to-paycheck living. At some point this past year, I realized that doors weren't really opening up in my chosen career path, and we needed to have a backup plan, part of which had to involve saving. So we cut our expenses even further, and have the early makings of a 'stache in a Roth, 401(k), and savings account. Hoping to ratchet that up through a combination of increased income and more affordable lifestyle in the coming year.

AJ

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 05:25:28 PM »
I would credit any money-savviness I have to my first real job: a Customer Service Rep for a bank. Not only do they teach you about the various financial products, but you get to see into the bank accounts of a wide variety of people. After a while, you begin to notice something. The folks with low balances are the ones with daily Taco Bell and Chili's transactions. The millionaires are the ones with the direct deposited paycheck, then very few transactions. They tended to have 1 credit card (if that), while the poorer folks had several (all with balances). The poorer folks would call in with no idea what their balance was or how it got that way. The rich would call in because, by their calculation, they should have received a penny more in dividends this month and want to know why there is a discrepancy. Most importantly, though, the poorer ones had paychecks of, say, $1000 while the richer ones had paychecks more like $5k-10k. All that made my young brain go "huh, how about that?" That was the seed, and reading personal finance blogs was the water.

Skinnyneo

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 07:26:23 PM »
The seeds of frugality, as many of us here, were sewn into me when I was very young.  Not that my family was frugal, just that we were poor.  My mom would often confess in me that she didn't know how she was going to pay the rent, or buy groceries for the coming weeks.  Growing up sometimes I didn't really know when the pantries would be replenished.  I often times tried to make friends just so I could go over to their houses and have dinner with them.

As I got older and got my first few jobs I seemed to completely forget about what I had experience as a child and was very irresponsible with my money.  I never needed bailing out of my credit card debt but I could have been better.

It was after moving to Japan and having a real paying job that I started to remember what it was like as a kid.  Plus the over frugal nature of many of the Japanese people around me helped as well.  Then I read "How to live on under $10,000 a year" and a light went off.  I paid off all of my debts and recently started to invest. 

I am one of those where almost EVERYONE in my social circles is the complete opposite as me, and I find it so frustrating. They want stuff so badly and they don't even know why. It's so heavily cultural, I think, this wanting things, that people don't even think about it. And there's always either money or credit available to get anything that they want, because they make good salaries. They're never told no and they never have to deprive themselves. I work with a lot of women in their early 20's and the topics of investing has come up a few times; I'm surprised at how many of them say they know absolutely nothing about it because in their families money wasn't something you talked about. I've explained the basics to the few who seemed interested, set them up with Mint, etc. I'd like to help educate people as well, particularly young women who (it pains me to say) often assume that later on down the line a guy will take care of this for them.

I know what you mean here.  Many of those in my social circle are very bad with money.  After I paid off all of my debts a buddy said "Now you can get a big screen TV!"  I currently have a pretty nice 24" Samsung HDTV which I got for about $230 two or three years ago.  I tried to explain about frugality, and financial independence, and he just said "Good luck!"  Good for you trying to talk some sense into your friends.  If I ever reach FI I would like to be a volunteer financial planner.  I like the feeling of empowering people.

I would credit any money-savviness I have to my first real job: a Customer Service Rep for a bank. Not only do they teach you about the various financial products, but you get to see into the bank accounts of a wide variety of people. After a while, you begin to notice something. The folks with low balances are the ones with daily Taco Bell and Chili's transactions. The millionaires are the ones with the direct deposited paycheck, then very few transactions. They tended to have 1 credit card (if that), while the poorer folks had several (all with balances). The poorer folks would call in with no idea what their balance was or how it got that way. The rich would call in because, by their calculation, they should have received a penny more in dividends this month and want to know why there is a discrepancy. Most importantly, though, the poorer ones had paychecks of, say, $1000 while the richer ones had paychecks more like $5k-10k. All that made my young brain go "huh, how about that?" That was the seed, and reading personal finance blogs was the water.

Oh man!  That's just like my experience.  I used to work for a cell phone company in their financial services department.  The customers that were passed due never had any idea what was going on with their accounts, their credit cards wouldn't go through, and in general would complain that they didn't get paid for two more weeks (meaning they just spent their whole paycheck they day they got it).  From those days I always tried to use a credit card for emergencies only.

Green Manalishi

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 05:38:10 AM »
My father is a retired small businessman and my mother is a retired government employee. Both of them were frugal and conservative savers when I was growing up and built up a substantial 6 figure 'stache plus reasonable pensions. I don't think they have ever been in debt. Only now that they're elderly have they started to spend in an extravagent manner i.e. several foreign holidays per year, eating out regularly, new cars every 2 years, employing a cleaner, heating on full blast in the house etc.

I would regard them as "savers" rather than "investors" and I seem to be going down the same route with my conservative CD based strategy.

I think it's interesting to look back at my grandparents' circumstances too. My paternal grandfather was a bank manager and I have never known a bank manger to be either non frugal or poor. My maternal grandfather was a gov. employee but died very young and as a result the family ended up in poverty. My mother went to university due to winning a scholarship. At the time it was unusual for people to attend university and virtually unheard of for poor people.


Nancy

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 07:30:15 AM »
I learned a lot from my parents' mistakes. My father made a lot of money when I was younger, but my parents still spent more than they earned, and they were careless with paying bills on time. My siblings and I always had the newest toys, clothes, and gadgets. I learned early on that things do not bring happiness, and they lose their appeal quickly (hedonistic adaptation). I remember thinking how useless all my stuff was at age 10. My father sat me down and taught me the intricacies of credit at age 12, and so I never got into credit card debt, and I set up auto payments and reminders as soon as I had any bills.

However, it took facing the payment of my student loans for me to make the real radical shift in mindset. Previously, I believed my friends, financial aid advisors, and family when they told me that student loan debt was good debt, not something to worry about, something that everyone has, etc. Now, I know that student loan debt is no different than any other kind of debt, and that I have zero tolerance for it. Despite the grind of sending 75% of my take-home pay to my student loans for the next 20 months, I'm glad that I put myself in this situation. Otherwise, I might have taken out a mortgage/bought a car/inflated my lifestyle without realizing what it would feel like to sit under that debt for years. Or worse, I may not have learned to avoid the well-trod lifestyle plan that just doesn't suit me.

I think the best way to teach others is by living your life and answering questions when they arise.

larsenju

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2012, 09:58:24 AM »
I lost my job about a year and a half ago.  At the time we had some savings, and I was going to school, so I took a semester off from working, and focused on my studies.  We fell into the mentality that I was a student, so a little debt was ok (we had maybe $500 on credit cards at that point, no student loans).  As a result of this line of thought, the savings dried up quickly, and pretty soon we had maxed both credit cards ($6k, total). 

Finding ourselves unable to keep up on just my wifes income, and facing my last tuition payment in a few months I took a job making less than I have since I was 18 (27 now).  I think that when I got my first check and realized that even working full time we could not support our lifestyle triggered my 'stache growth.  I looked back on our lifestyle for the years previous and was shocked at just how much money we had blown on frivolous things, and then I reviewed our current budget.....

Somewhere around this time I found MMM, and began putting us through financial boot camp.  We certainly miss our lavish lifestyle, but we frequently talk about how nice it is to see the debt going away and the savings building. 
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 07:26:48 PM by larsenju »

Guitarist

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Re: To start growing a 'stache, you first have to WANT to grow a 'stache...
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2012, 03:01:00 PM »
My parents were always really frugal. My dad started at square one in the Army and my mom was usually doing about any job she could get (day care, school cafeteria worker, seamstress). My mom showed me some of the paychecks they were getting soon after my sister was born (she's older, so this is before me), they were incredibly low.
I had a great childhood, trips to the beach and mountains (North Carolina is a great state) where we camped, trips to see family in Pennsylvania and Germany. I never felt like I was missing out on anything important, I had toys and all that stuff. But my parents always told us about saving.
I believe I understood the importance of saving, but something like FI didn't seem like it could be reached until I was in my late 50's at the earliest. I never did the math myself and always listened to the talking heads that tell you you need millions to retire.
I did make an important FI decision in selecting my college. I picked the $5,000/year college over the $30,000/year college. I only needed about $2,500 in loans and worked throughout college. The dumb decision I made was moving out of my parents house (only 3 miles from campus). But oh well, everyone needs learning experiences.

I got my job and automatically put in the full matching value into retirement. But I got a few credit cards and, though I don't pay interest because I am paying them off before the 0% interest period ends, I still hate that I am paying for crap I probably didn't need. But by this summer, they should all be paid off.

It was finding MMM that made it clear just how easy FI and ER can be. Now I have even more motivation to set everything up and get out of the rat race while I still have some youth and health.