Author Topic: Too old to start?  (Read 9552 times)

dustinseth

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Too old to start?
« on: April 03, 2015, 03:23:45 PM »
Before discovering Mr. Money Mustache I thought that life's two options were 1) be a slave to the rat race, or 2) be poor and free. Unlike most folks, I chose the latter. After college (rather than apply for jobs) I went into music full time: playing, recording, touring, etc., but rarely getting paid. Now I find myself 33 years old, and while I have very low expenses and zero debt I also have basically no income. I live off of about $500 a month in odd jobs (music and other small things). I never cared about it before, but MMM has stirred up my excitement about the potential of not only being free, but doing so without being poor.

My question to the Mustache community is - where do I begin? Is it as simple as picking up a minimum wage job somewhere and starting to save? Is there any way to leverage a pointless degree in philosophy and political science into money? Should I just hit the craigslist grind like everyone else? I've never really "looked for a job" in my life, and am sort of clueless. Plus, other than occasional pizza delivery I have essentially no experience.

arebelspy

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 03:32:42 PM »
It's never too late. You're young and have some great advantages in no debt and low expenses - so many have lifestyle inflation and can't get used to spending little.

So now you just need to focus on income.

Listen to this Radical Personal Finance episode about how to become a millionaire on minimum wage: http://radicalpersonalfinance.com/my-plan-for-how-i-would-become-a-millionaire-with-a-minimum-wage-job-at-walmart-rpf0043/

Also it sounds like you already have a lot of the freedom one seeks from FI, so look at it as a glass half full thing - you're semi-ER'r by living on part time side gigs. Now put in some work to build up a stache.

There's lots of threads on here for earning money, especially from side-gigs.  Start by getting a full time job, if that's what you want, and then expand outward.

Good luck!  I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey, both past and future! :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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Doulos

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2015, 03:42:43 PM »
My suggestion is to keep the dream alive!
Start looking at your life as a musician as a business.  And figure out how to make that business profitable.
- I know that bands that play at my local bar make more than $500 a month.  I think they can make $200+ a night.
- You just need to find some bars that provide entertainment, or would profit from starting.

Your degree seems utterly useless for making money, I must admit, but that kind of training can surely be applied to marketing yourself as a musician?

You have survived this long off the money, no reason you cannot going forward.
The things usually suggested here, such as putting money in tax sheltered accounts; 401k, HSA, Roth, are the game changers.

This is part answer part question.
I believe you can get yourself a 401k by starting a business.  I have no idea how that works.

mxt0133

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 04:51:00 PM »
Good new is that with your low expenses you only need like $150k to fully retire!  Which is more than doable with a few minimum wage jobs in like 12 years you'll FI. 

If all your going to be making is minimum wage then I would start at something that helps you build a skill that become worth more as you get better.  Like teaching or tutoring, keep practicing music, basically anything other than taking orders or making fries.  Eventually your earnings will increase if you hone your skills.

southern granny

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 04:52:54 PM »
You are only 33.  You are still young enough to do anything you want.  Plus you have a degree which is helpful.  You won't have to settle for minimum wage, at least not for long.  Find a job, if you don't like it then find another one.  You are already used to living on very little so you should be able to save a healthy percentage.  Good luck to you!

Lordy

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2015, 06:14:35 PM »
When I read "too old" in the title I expected something like 60+.

Dude, you are 33, it's not even half-time. Get your game on!

deborah

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2015, 06:28:42 PM »
I agree with doulas - turn music into a business. Branch out - you could certainly teach some kids (you probably need to get some qualifications to teach more than beginners). I know people who run workshops about how to write music - you could probably do that. People in institutions including old people in nursing homes, and schools are always on the look out for some entertainers - and these gigs can be done during the week, extending the hours you can work.

BlueHouse

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2015, 09:40:19 PM »
At 33?  no way is that too late.  I helped a friend who was 49 and had been a struggling actor his whole life.  I paid $3000 for him to take a 4-day training course in a software scheduling product.  That got him enough on his resume to get an interview with a defense contractor that hired him for $75K.  One year later he stayed with the job, but changed employers and got a raise to $110k. 
In my area, defense contractors are looking for warm bodies because they have positions that need to be filled and they don't get paid until those positions are filled.  So you find the jobs that are in demand and that can be self-taught quickly, and jump in.   

dustinseth

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2015, 02:24:41 AM »
Thanks for all the great stuff here! And such fast responses too. I look forward to updates on my progress.

Runningtuff

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2015, 03:17:08 AM »
All the best!
Have to say I have strong sympathies with 'poor and free' too, and a similar background and age.
It often means that a, you're well tuned in to what makes you happy etc, and b, you're good at having low expenses.

My happy medium is p/t work, and an improved consciousness about spending/saving extras/putting optimum into retirement accounts etc. I may never be FIRE and am ok with that but it's great having a 3 month emergency fund and 5 figure retirement for instance, which I didn't have last year. Baby steps.


SMCx3

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2015, 04:47:52 AM »
Forget your age now is the time to start building for your future.  Having no debt at 33, it will not be long before you are posting about progress and increased net worth.

arebelspy

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 09:28:39 AM »
Is there any way to leverage a pointless degree in philosophy and political science into money?

I was a philosophy major and polysci minor.  So I can totally relate to you.  :D

I'm about to FIRE (after working as a teacher for 8 years, and investing lots into real estate).  You might not have a typical path of an office drone (or maybe you will), but wanted to throw out some encouragement: it is possible for us oddballs and liberal arts majors to be successful financially too.  ;)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, 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.

john c

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2015, 03:19:18 PM »
Being 33 years old and having a net worth of zero, you are WAY ahead of the game!  Most people your age have significant negative net worth (owe more than they have in assets). 

You may have a worthless degree, but you have a degree.  Surprisingly, this matters a lot for office jobs. 

The real thing I think you need to determine, is how much do you want to work?  Going from zero to a full time lame job at Walmart or an office temp might be too much.  You might want to start transitioning into it, working a couple days per week, leaving time for music, etc.

The other thing to think about is how presentable you are.  That will determine what sort of work you can do.  Do you need a haircut, have visible piercings or tattoos?  I'm not saying change any of this, just understand that it will limit your ability to land certain jobs.  Jobs that you probably don't want anyways.

When I was in college, more than 20 years ago now, I drove big rigs hauling tomatoes all summer with a lot of guys that spent their winters working at ski resorts.  We worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week from July through October, at which point we were laid off and could collect unemployment.  That gave them 10 or so weeks to cruise to the mountains and start working as bartenders or ski lift operators.  This usually was only 3 days/week, and they skied the other days.  Some ski resorts had bunkhouses for staff to stay in for very low rent.  Then the ski resorts closed in April, and they got unemployment for 12 or so weeks until the tomato season started up again in July.

This is just an example, but with a little imagination and mustachianism, you could do something like this and retire for good in 12 years or so.  Also, I'm in California, but I'm sure there are similar types of things to do in Florida, Colorado, NY, or wherever you are.

Good luck!

tardis

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2015, 10:10:24 PM »
Avidly following.   22 and will be graduating in 5 months with 2 years work experience in the relevant field, no debt and after my multiple co-ops have become quite sure I wouldn't be able to get through, by my calculations, 10-ish more years of a "normal" job to get to FI without becoming very bitter and unhappy.

Exflyboy

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2015, 12:46:27 AM »
I was about $160k in debt at age 37 approx. although I had a good job.

RE'd at 53.. probably FI'd at 50.

See my blog in the link below.

dustinseth

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2015, 12:01:10 AM »
So my pursuit of happiness/identifying my priorities led me to a sizable life change, which was moving from St. Louis to Nashville last month. I'm mostly settled in and wanna start saving by committing $100 a month. Hopefully once I get some other expenses taken care of I can commit more.

where should it go? Where's the best starting point for saving for early retirement?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 12:09:04 AM by dustinseth »

shadowmoss

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2015, 12:33:23 AM »
Have you looked into substitute teaching?  With your degree you should qualify.  Also, check with temp hiring agencies.  They have jobs from 1 day to a few months at a time.  Nashville is a tourist trade city (I lived there for 18 years) so jobs either in food service or other parts of the tourist trade should be available.  There is always busking, which happens a lot down on Second Ave and Broadway during tourist season.  The bars along that area might give you gigs if you can/will do country music.  Nice place to land.  Fairly cheap cost of living as well.

MDM

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2015, 12:46:08 AM »
So my pursuit of happiness/identifying my priorities led me to a sizable life change, which was moving from St. Louis to Nashville last month. I'm mostly settled in and wanna start saving by committing $100 a month. Hopefully once I get some other expenses taken care of I can commit more.

where should it go? Where's the best starting point for saving for early retirement?
You could do worse than something similar to this:
0. Establish an emergency fund to your satisfaction (e.g., 3 months expenses + $1000).  This could go in a "high" yield savings account, e.g. GE Capital Bank, Ally, etc.
1. Contribute to 401k up to any company match (do you have this option?)
2. Pay off any debts with interest rates ~5% or more above the 10-year Treasury note yield. (Today that is ~2% + 5% = 7%)
3. Max HSA (do you have this option?)
4. Max Roth or Traditional IRA based on income level.  E.g., take that extra $1000 from your emergency fund and put it into Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 Fund (VFIFX) or similar.
5. Max 401k (if 401k fees are lower than available in an IRA, swap #4 and #5)
6. Pay off any debts with interest rates ~3% or more above the 10-year Treasury note yield. (i.e., ~2% + 3% = 5%)
7. Invest in taxable account with any extra.

GoldenNeko

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2015, 05:57:41 AM »
When I read "too old" in the title I expected something like 60+.

Dude, you are 33, it's not even half-time. Get your game on!

Same here! OP, go for it! You can do it!

deborah

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2015, 03:27:01 PM »
Most people who become frugal seem to be ale to be FI in 10 years. If you are deep in debt, you MAY need to double that figure. Even then, you would be ER (although only a bit), at 53. AND it would mean that you would have a reasonable retirement. Surely it is worth it.

Bakari

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2015, 05:04:08 PM »
Your path sounds exactly the same as mine was!!


I basically answered this question a few months ago in a blog post, so I won't retell it here...


http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2014/03/all-of-money-stuff-condensed.html

dustinseth

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2015, 07:24:52 PM »
Wow man, same path is right. Your pre-savings mentality and lifestyle has been mine almost exactly.

At the end you allude to the nuts and bolt of how to make your money start working for you. That's what I'm interested in, because other than a savings account at a bank I don't know much about where to turn.

dustinseth

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2015, 07:26:48 PM »
Also, to the person that asked about substitute teaching - I've done that a little bit, but I'm not a morning person, and even when I was rally trying I found it difficult to be up at 6:30am. Plus, I would dread it so much that I would sometimes refuse offers to sub. Not my thing, but a good way to get easy cash with a degree for sure.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2015, 09:04:36 PM »
Some ideas on making more than minimum wage.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/

Also maybe learn at team treehouse?
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02/07/interview-with-a-ceo-ridiculous-student-loans-vs-the-future-of-education/
https://teamtreehouse.com/

Lastly, you could attempt to become an apprentice or preapprentice at anything you think you would like to do. I have a friend who is a pre-apprentice linemen for a utility making $18/hr, when he becomes an apprentice linemen he gets a huge raise, when he becomes a linemen he gets a huge raise, and when he becomes a journeyman lineman he gets a huge raise. You could also become an apprentice for an electrician, someone in construction, a plumber, etc.

mathy

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2015, 09:25:23 PM »
So my pursuit of happiness/identifying my priorities led me to a sizable life change, which was moving from St. Louis to Nashville last month. I'm mostly settled in and wanna start saving by committing $100 a month. Hopefully once I get some other expenses taken care of I can commit more.

where should it go? Where's the best starting point for saving for early retirement?
I started with an account on Betterment.com  It's crazy simple to open and if you set up a recurring deposit their fees seem reasonable.  You can open an IRA but there are limits.  You can only deposit $5,500 or your taxable income, whichever is less.  So, say your taxable income is $4,000 for the year, you can only deposit $4,000.

Once you accumulate a few thousand, you can move it to a vanguard fund.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Too old to start?
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2015, 09:38:05 PM »
Wow man, same path is right. Your pre-savings mentality and lifestyle has been mine almost exactly.

At the end you allude to the nuts and bolt of how to make your money start working for you. That's what I'm interested in, because other than a savings account at a bank I don't know much about where to turn.
If you want to learn about investing in the stock market, read this stock series
http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/

Other ways to get more than a savings account can include anything from CD's, to Real Estate Investment, Peer to Peer Lending, Buying a business, starting a business, investing directly in a business, and many others.