Author Topic: It's Not "Luck"  (Read 20108 times)

Gyosho

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It's Not "Luck"
« on: January 20, 2018, 08:53:11 AM »
I've started mentioning to people that I am probably going to retire in May. The response I ALWAYS get is "You're lucky!" This makes me laugh! The people who say this have cable packages with thousands of channels, go on vacations that cost several thousand dollars, eat out every week-end (in the case of one family - every night), send their children to expensive after-school/summer "enrichment" activities ... etc. Typical spendy Americans.

What I want to say is:
IT'S NOT LUCK.

I have made choices throughout my life that led to early retirement. Why can't people see that?

Does anyone else have this problem?

What I want to hear is: "Congratulations! Well done!"

Psychstache

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 08:56:39 AM »
Why do you need to hear anything from others? Will their congratulations do anything for you?

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Syonyk

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 09:02:03 AM »
I have made choices throughout my life that led to early retirement. Why can't people see that?

Because if they see that, then their lack of early retirement is due to their own choices, and they'd have to face that.  If it's "luck," then it's something entirely external, and you just happened to win the early retirement lottery, and there's nothing they could have done that would have changed anything.

SunscreenYourGreen

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 09:04:56 AM »
I have made choices throughout my life that led to early retirement. Why can't people see that?

Because if they see that, then their lack of early retirement is due to their own choices, and they'd have to face that.  If it's "luck," then it's something entirely external, and you just happened to win the early retirement lottery, and there's nothing they could have done that would have changed anything.

This. It's certainly not luck, but saying that helps them feel better about their inability to do the same.

kayvent

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 09:08:39 AM »
I have somewhat had the opposite experience. My income is in the top 3% of Canadians for my age. Even against the broader Canadian public, I make really good money. I easily make 5x the money my mother made when I was young. When I pass a financial milestone like getting my student loan to a certain point or getting a zero net worth, people congratulate and commend me for being frugal. I appreciate it but the back of my mind tells me that I'm not very frugal, just relatively.

Jules13

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 11:17:54 AM »
I don't know about your situation specifically, but I would argue that some, not all, but some things do in fact have a lot to do with luck.  I feel lucky that I was born into a loving family with educated parents who paid for my undergraduate degree, allowing me no college debt.  I feel lucky that I was able to live with them, rent-free, in between undergrad and grad school and also during my graduate internship, thus allowing me to save money.

I feel lucky that I have children that were born with no medical issues that cost hundreds to thousands each month/year.  I feel lucky that both my husband and I are in good health and don't have a disease/illness with treatment that costs thousands and we are both able to work (though I am a SAHM, which I also feel thankful about) and we have no pre-existing conditions and can get affordable health and life insurance.   

I think some people do have bad luck, through no fault of their own, that has nothing to do with their decisions and that we, as a society, need to stop blaming EVERYTHING on personal decisions.  Sometimes life just deals you a crappy hand and you make the most of it...which might lead to not being able to do things like retire early.  So yes, those people are going to feel that you are lucky.

That obviously is not the case of many, but unless you are living in their house and paying their bills, then you really don't know. 

And, congratulations on your obvious hard work, but also good fortune. 

gerardc

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2018, 11:21:21 AM »
Why do you need to hear anything from others? Will their congratulations do anything for you?

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For the same reason you feel the need to reply to this post. When someone is wrong, you want to correct them; when they're confused, you want to help them. I hate this pop psychology BS


I think some people do have bad luck, through no fault of their own, that has nothing to do with their decisions and that we, as a society, need to stop blaming EVERYTHING on personal decisions.  Sometimes life just deals you a crappy hand and you make the most of it...which might lead to not being able to do things like retire early.  So yes, those people are going to feel that you are lucky.

It's the opposite, luck is overrated, as a society we have to stop blaming everything on luck and make people accountable. What makes you successful is resilience to failure/bad luck and persistence. Unless something big happens to you like illness, accident or death, if you're born in the US you have the luck part down already. It's like investing in a stock market index, you can chalk it up to luck in the ups and downs but if you keep your expenses low, savings rate high and stick it up for 30+ years, you will be successful with a high probability. The more random events you add up, the less variance you get on the final result. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_limit_theorem
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 11:27:12 AM by gerardc »

undercover

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2018, 12:01:08 PM »
I think those who are interested in finance and the concept of becoming free are a self selected group of people. We seek this stuff out, it doesn't seek us. For example, I started thinking about this stuff well before I even seen the concepts published anywhere. Some people will just never even think of it and even if their brain is susceptible to the concept, they may never be exposed to them. So I suppose if they never think of it naturally and are never exposed to it then you could call them "unlucky". I don't judge other people who don't make the same (sound) decisions as me. They're wired a certain way. I'm wired differently.

I'm firmly a disbeliever in the notion of free will. You are born who and how you are and there is no changing that. Your brain is no different than a computer (but you can't upgrade it or change its components). It's all a ride. So no one is going to congratulate you other than people who are A. understand what you've accomplished is beneficial and B. not jealous.

koshtra

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2018, 12:07:14 PM »
http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2011/09/26/genetics-single-greatest-determinant-of-financial

The headline oversells the study (as usual), but it's interesting. They conclude that 30% of saving behavior can be accounted for by genetics.

I suspect much of the rest can be accounted for by upbringing and one's general sense of efficacy in the world (do you have a lot of experiences that suggest that what you do has an impact on your circumstances?)

Which means that a lot of it at least is luck. Which doesn't mean that it's not also a lot of hard work and self-regulation :-)

former player

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2018, 01:15:32 PM »
I live in a beautiful location and often get the reaction "you're lucky" from people seeing it for the first time.  To which I mostly just say "yes, I am".

Truth is, it is partly luck and it's partly about the choices I have made throughout my life.   But in casual conversation I'm not going to go into all those choices and their results, so I just pass lightly over the subject and move on.

BTDretire

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2018, 02:05:21 PM »
 You might reply, no your the lucky one!  I was staying around home while you went vacation.
I rarely went out to eat at restaurants while you did often, I watched 'over the air' TV while you had cable.
Your kids had a private school while my kids didn't. I never bought a new car and had to limit my driving.
 The list is long, but I don't think I'm lucky, I worked hard to get here.  It's Not "Luck", it a plan.

Mac_MacGyver

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 05:35:18 PM »
When people say "your so lucky" are they not just saying "I'm so jealous"? I don't think they actually equate it with a hot streak at craps or a lottery win, more of a colloquial expression of jealousy.

wordnerd

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2018, 06:01:03 PM »
When people say "your so lucky" are they not just saying "I'm so jealous"? I don't think they actually equate it with a hot streak at craps or a lottery win, more of a colloquial expression of jealousy.

Agree.

If you feel the need to say something, try, "it's taken a lot of years and work, but right now, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world"--to both make the point that you worked for it and acknowledge that it is pretty awesome. Better yet, just smile and know that you've won. :)

HawkeyeNFO

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2018, 06:31:53 PM »
Better to be lucky than good.

Seriously, who cares what they say?  It doesn't change your knowledge of how to do it.  If you need a pat on the back, someone here at MMM forums can help.

Retire-Canada

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2018, 07:17:04 PM »
What I want to say is:
IT'S NOT LUCK.

You are not going to hear congrats because they are both jealous and confused. But, it's totally legit for you to say "It's not luck my friend."

Anyways congrats! You rock!

Luck12

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2018, 07:31:31 PM »

It's the opposite, luck is overrated, as a society we have to stop blaming everything on luck and make people accountable. What makes you successful is resilience to failure/bad luck and persistence. Unless something big happens to you like illness, accident or death, if you're born in the US you have the luck part down already.

In America as opposed to much if not all of Europe we tend to ascribe success to hard work.  So I would say you're wrong based on the research. 

Luck is no doubt at minimum one of the most important factors in being able to save enough to retire very early. 

Retiring early is made much easier if you have the following factors in your favor:

1) Being in the upper echelon with respect to academic intelligence (especially in math and science)
2) Having the type of personality (extroverted, able and willing to bullshit) that is helpful to being a successful salesperson 
3) Being born at least middle class/coming from a stable family background
4) Being a a good saver
5) Being hard working

1-3 are mostly if not 100% out of one's control.  4 is mostly due to genetics and background.  So pretty much only #5 is mostly within one's control. 


golden1

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2018, 07:32:30 PM »
I am not sure why people who are about to retire feel the need to look down on others.  Why not just smile, tell them how you are able to do it, and kindly encourage them to do the same?

As far as what is “luck” and what isn’t...I think of the guy at work who was a year out from retirement when his young and healthy wife had a stroke that resulted in expensive bills and rehab so he is now working indefinitely.  Someone tell me how his “resilience” would have helped him.  Or my father, who saved and did all the “right things” financially, only to die of a rare condition at age 47 before he got a chance to enjoy it. 

I think it is the other way around actually.  People who don’t believe in “luck” desperately want to believe that they have control over everything because the alternative is terrifying.  The idea that everything you have worked for could dissipate in a moments notice is not comforting.  But it happens more than most people would realize. 

Personal responsibility goes a long way towards financial independence , but to believe that chance plays no part in it is naive. 

gerardc

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2018, 09:38:28 PM »
Following that fantastic logic, in a deterministic world everything is luck. Very useful definition of luck. Too bad nobody here is well enough versed in probabilities to be able to formulate a more useful definition.

okits

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2018, 12:49:59 AM »
In previous threads about this, two suggested answers:

1) if you don't care about being likeable, say, "not lucky, just smart!" and walk away.

2) if you want to be genial but offer an opening to anyone interested in learning, say, "thanks, my plans came together quite nicely".  You acknowledge that you got the result you wanted but that there was effort and forethought on your part. 

Congratulations on your ER.  In this community, we get what an accomplishment it is. 

SC93

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2018, 01:20:47 AM »
I don't think they mean you are lucky the way you are looking at it. I think they mean you are lucky because you won't have to work anymore.... no more being told what to do by the man.... no more boss.... you get to get up when you want and go to bed when you want...... That's what they mean. Most realize you've worked hard and made a plan. They might have no idea what that plan would look like but they know you didn't just decide..... ooppsssss I'm going to retire in May. What they really mean is that they envy you, not that you had some type of special luck and that's how you can retire. Now me.... I'm lucky. I lucked in to this with no plan.

clarkfan1979

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2018, 02:11:34 AM »
We are lucky to be born in the United States with opportunity, but that's it. Beyond that, it's not luck.

When I see my core group of friends, I see a lot of hard work. Everyone one of my friends has a sad story of something bad that has happened to them.

h82goslw

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2018, 05:49:13 AM »
GOOD LUCK HAPPENS WHEN OPPORTUNITY MEETS PREPARATION

kayvent

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2018, 05:54:23 AM »

It's the opposite, luck is overrated, as a society we have to stop blaming everything on luck and make people accountable. What makes you successful is resilience to failure/bad luck and persistence. Unless something big happens to you like illness, accident or death, if you're born in the US you have the luck part down already.

In America as opposed to much if not all of Europe we tend to ascribe success to hard work.  So I would say you're wrong based on the research. 

Luck is no doubt at minimum one of the most important factors in being able to save enough to retire very early. 

Retiring early is made much easier if you have the following factors in your favor:

1) Being in the upper echelon with respect to academic intelligence (especially in math and science)
2) Having the type of personality (extroverted, able and willing to bullshit) that is helpful to being a successful salesperson 
3) Being born at least middle class/coming from a stable family background
4) Being a a good saver
5) Being hard working

1-3 are mostly if not 100% out of one's control.  4 is mostly due to genetics and background.  So pretty much only #5 is mostly within one's control.

Your analysis is misplaced. In OP's example, it is not the homeless man with dementia who had an abusive single mother telling OP that they are lucky. In this context, we're talking about people in our life or workspace that likely have very similar socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, with similar (or the same) pay/career and life costs.

Chuck Ditallin

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2018, 06:51:49 AM »
I've always been irked by people telling me how lucky I am (and 'tis true, they're people in the same situation as me who could've availed themselves of similar 'luck')...

...but I discovered that replying 'yes I am, aren't I? I've always been lucky and it wouldn't surprise me if [future positive event] happens to me next!' serves to irritate them more than they irritated me.

Gyosho

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2018, 08:26:32 AM »

2) if you want to be genial but offer an opening to anyone interested in learning, say, "thanks, my plans came together quite nicely".  You acknowledge that you got the result you wanted but that there was effort and forethought on your part. 


I like this one.

Or saying (like Hillary Clinton), "I prepared for retirement".

Or saying "I'm happy with the life choices I made that enabled me to retire early".

SC93

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2018, 09:10:23 AM »
Or...... are you ready for this..... sit down for this one...... how about YOU not putting yourself in that position and just keep your mouth shut if you don't like the response you are going to get. I know, it's a shocker :)

Luck12

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2018, 10:16:18 AM »
We are lucky to be born in the United States with opportunity, but that's it. Beyond that, it's not luck.

Lucky not to be born in a third world country, yes, but how about you go look up where the US ranks among developed countries with respect to economic mobility (hint:  not at the top).  And how about you go just a wee bit further in analyzing this whole topic instead of posting dogma?   I don't know what the exact % of luck vs hard work is but to doubt that luck has something to do with being able to retire very early is just fucking arrogant.  For example, thanks to the right wing, something like a pre-existing condition through no fault of his/her own is enough to derail someone from being able to retire early. 

fuzzy math

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2018, 10:22:50 AM »

It's the opposite, luck is overrated, as a society we have to stop blaming everything on luck and make people accountable. What makes you successful is resilience to failure/bad luck and persistence. Unless something big happens to you like illness, accident or death, if you're born in the US you have the luck part down already.

In America as opposed to much if not all of Europe we tend to ascribe success to hard work.  So I would say you're wrong based on the research. 

Luck is no doubt at minimum one of the most important factors in being able to save enough to retire very early. 

Retiring early is made much easier if you have the following factors in your favor:

1) Being in the upper echelon with respect to academic intelligence (especially in math and science)
2) Having the type of personality (extroverted, able and willing to bullshit) that is helpful to being a successful salesperson 
3) Being born at least middle class/coming from a stable family background
4) Being a a good saver
5) Being hard working

1-3 are mostly if not 100% out of one's control.  4 is mostly due to genetics and background.  So pretty much only #5 is mostly within one's control.

Your analysis is misplaced. In OP's example, it is not the homeless man with dementia who had an abusive single mother telling OP that they are lucky. In this context, we're talking about people in our life or workspace that likely have very similar socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, with similar (or the same) pay/career and life costs.

Not everyone within a company performs the same job for the same pay. There are always lower paid positions who do the menial work required within an organization (cleaning, secretary type stuff).

Not everyone comes from the same background and not everyone has the same skills. There are always some worker bees (even in the slightly higher paying positions) who lack the capacity to climb the ladder or become management. Some people get stellar reviews and raises, some just manage to exist and plug away at their jobs without being canned.

I would argue that these differences are what distinguish 2 people with the same job position:

Person 1 does not buck the trends, ask for more, do more, or think outside the box. They spend and work as the masses do. There are lots of people in this position who manage to earn lots of money and have nothing to show for it.
Person 2 questions everything, comes up with creative solutions at work and their own life. This is the person who is more likely to modify their lifestyle for FIRE.

undercover

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2018, 10:51:04 AM »
We are lucky to be born in the United States with opportunity, but that's it. Beyond that, it's not luck.

Lucky not to be born in a third world country, yes, but how about you go look up where the US ranks among developed countries with respect to economic mobility (hint:  not at the top).  And how about you go just a wee bit further in analyzing this whole topic instead of posting dogma?   I don't know what the exact % of luck vs hard work is but to doubt that luck has something to do with being able to retire very early is just fucking arrogant.  For example, thanks to the right wing, something like a pre-existing condition through no fault of his/her own is enough to derail someone from being able to retire early.

I can easily debunk the argument that "place" is the only component to luck by simply pointing out the fact that it's (at least) a combination of place and TIME. Retirement in itself is a relatively new concept brought upon by the advancement of technology and the efficiency/productivity that comes along with it. Retirement wasn't a thing even if you were born in the United States 100+ years ago, except perhaps for the very few elite (lucky, right?). Still, condensing luck down to "time and place" is still far too conservative given the other many facets of your own life that you didn't choose when you were born and can't change.

Bottom line is people who are successful tend to have a survivorship bias and attribute their success to their own hard work since it was them after all who thought of everything, came up with a plan, and implemented it, right?! I'd argue that no, it isn't. You didn't ask to be brought into this world and you didn't decide which hand you were dealt. You are who you are and that's that. There are simply things you can do and things you can't. You might be able to become financially independent with some personal finance skills and stoicism in a 21st century environment where information is freely available and there are plenty of resources to go around, but that doesn't mean you have any chance of becoming a hit singer, Elon Musk, the person to cure cancer, etc.

I do think in general that successful people tend to attribute their success mostly to hard work and themselves making the right choices whereas less successful people do tend to blame their misfortunes for things beyond their control. But I don't think that makes the successful people any less lucky at all. Since things have mostly gone their way, it's difficult for them to see how that could ever change until something truly catastrophic happens. Just because something you did seems like something anyone can do doesn't mean at all that anyone can do it.

Person 1 does not buck the trends, ask for more, do more, or think outside the box. They spend and work as the masses do. There are lots of people in this position who manage to earn lots of money and have nothing to show for it.
Person 2 questions everything, comes up with creative solutions at work and their own life. This is the person who is more likely to modify their lifestyle for FIRE.

Right, and you can't control which person you are. I've seen first hand people who are BORN as "person 2" just as much as I've seen people that are born as "person 1". There is no changing who you are on a fundamental level.

Marmotinha

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2018, 12:36:30 PM »
In a different context, I say: "the more I prepare, the luckier I get" . I feel this is true for FIRE as well. Preparation makes it possible to take advantage of opportunities and not be easily derailed by setbacks.

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rebel_quietude

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2018, 01:59:10 PM »
Um . . . Congratulations! Well done!

;)

Seadog

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2018, 02:13:58 PM »
Just because something you did seems like something anyone can do doesn't mean at all that anyone can do it.


This x 1000.

Anyone who makes it to the NBA generally didn't just get there. They busted their ass and worked hard the whole way. Does that mean that even as a 5'9" slightly chubby white guy in my early 30s I could accomplish the same?  Maybe one day I could dunk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyV8HUMkHNQ, but pro sports? Probably was never even in the cards.

The luck is that you were born into a place where your natural abilities line up very well with what it takes to retire early. Good earning potential, reliable safe economy with rule of law. A disposition for delayed gratification and a society rich enough where accumulation of surpluses is even possible.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about this is his spectacular book "outliers". Bill Gates is one example, he became a titan of computing how? Tons of hard work. But also in that he had access to family members work computers, then later university ones, among the best computers in the world at this point. And he at to be at this exact time and place the forefront of computers were coming of age as he was. Gladwell makes the point that due to this fortunate confluence of circumstance, Gates was probably one of the best programmers in the world at that point because he had both the drive and access. The Robber barons of the 19th century were another example. Hard working industrious people yes, but why was there such a mass confluence of the richest people ever born between 1830-40?

So is it luck? Partially, but not in the way the coworker thinks, because odds are they had similar luck.

gerardc

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2018, 02:34:48 PM »
NBA = luck
FIRE = accessible to almost everyone, not luck


former player

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2018, 05:45:38 PM »
Gates was probably one of the best programmers in the world at that point.
Huh.  As I remember it, you couldn't prove that via MS DOS.

I agree everything else though.  (And I'm not contesting that Gates earned his billions.  Just the idea that MS DOS was "best" programmed.)

jean

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2018, 08:22:41 PM »
Someone at my office announced his retirement last year.  I'm not sure his age - 50 is a reasonable guess, but he could be a little younger.  I said congratulations, and that we were sorry to be losing him. 

Without prompting, he volunteered that he was fortunate that he started saving young and he'd always prioritized his savings. I thought it was a really tactful way of handling it - he let me know that he'd worked for it, phrased at as being fortunate (which is true, although the balance of luck/work/choices is always a mystery), and also potentially could have inspired me to think about saving (if I wasn't already saving a bunch!). 

MrMoneySaver

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2018, 08:54:40 AM »
I have made choices throughout my life that led to early retirement. Why can't people see that?

Because if they see that, then their lack of early retirement is due to their own choices, and they'd have to face that.  If it's "luck," then it's something entirely external, and you just happened to win the early retirement lottery, and there's nothing they could have done that would have changed anything.

Who cares?

MrMoneySaver

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2018, 09:05:34 AM »
Or...... are you ready for this..... sit down for this one...... how about YOU not putting yourself in that position and just keep your mouth shut if you don't like the response you are going to get. I know, it's a shocker :)

You hit the nail on the head.

Livingthedream55

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2018, 09:08:02 AM »
Why not just smile and say" Yes, indeed I am!" and leave it at that?


Gimesalot

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2018, 09:42:37 AM »
I don't care too much about people telling me that I am lucky, but it really bothers my husband.  Once, his mother told him that I was really lucky to get a new job during the recession.  He snapped at his own mother about how hard I worked for that position!  It's true that I did put a lot of effort, but I wouldn't have snapped at her.

In my own life, I worked hard to keep expenses low and save money, but I was lucky to have a lot of that savings (and investing) happen during the great recession.  As a result, my personal rate of return is extremely high, through no work of my own, just timing.

Slee_stack

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2018, 01:58:22 PM »
We are lucky to be born in the United States with opportunity, but that's it. Beyond that, it's not luck.

Lucky not to be born in a third world country, yes, but how about you go look up where the US ranks among developed countries with respect to economic mobility (hint:  not at the top).  And how about you go just a wee bit further in analyzing this whole topic instead of posting dogma?   I don't know what the exact % of luck vs hard work is but to doubt that luck has something to do with being able to retire very early is just fucking arrogant.  For example, thanks to the right wing, something like a pre-existing condition through no fault of his/her own is enough to derail someone from being able to retire early.
If the majority of the population has a certain opportunity or characteristic, should they still be considered 'lucky?

You mentioned pre-existing condition.  (I suppose we all have one because everyone dies.)  Kidding aside, should someone be considered 'lucky' because they don't have a pre-existing condition?  What % of people have them?  What % should be considered 'lucky'?  99%  50%.  Damn lot of lucky people on the planet then!

Why bother trying to debate over corner scenarios anyway?  Of course, there are and will always be exceptions.  I'd rather refer to the exceptions as 'bad luck' cases and I agree that 'bad luck' exists within that context.

However, the OP described a scenario among his/her peers... a (small) population that likely has similar / comparable backstory data.  Maybe the OP started out with a silver spoon?  That's likely irrelevant though as the peer group is in the same (or similar enough) situation today.    'Luck' (in this subset) can probably be ruled as a minor contributor, if that. 

In this situation, basically suggesting to the OP that he was just 'lucky' is mildly insulting.

Warlord1986

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2018, 02:36:14 PM »
Dude, it's just people saying the first thing that comes to mind when they hear your news. It's not like anyone is sitting around contemplating the perfect response to Gyosho's update on his retirement. Get over yourself.

mathlete

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2018, 03:50:44 PM »
Honestly, we probably are a pretty lucky lot.

First of all (speaking to no one in particular here), I've found that internet personal finance communities are often full of professionals and white collar workers who were raised in households at or above the median first world income. That already puts us in a dramatically lucky position in life.

Second, and more applicable to comments from co-workers and peers, I don't know if there is much accounting to be done for brain chemistry. Everyone can improve, build better habits, etc., but it is made a whole lot easier when your brain starts firing off all sorts of feel good whenever you think about compound annual growth rate.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 03:52:45 PM by mathlete »

SwordGuy

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2018, 06:14:58 PM »
We are lucky to be born in the United States with opportunity, but that's it. Beyond that, it's not luck.

Lucky not to be born in a third world country, yes, but how about you go look up where the US ranks among developed countries with respect to economic mobility (hint:  not at the top). 

One of the reasons the USA no longer has the high economic mobility rating it used to have is because more and more of our population won't get off their duffs to improve their situation.  They are too busy whining about how hard it is.   


aspiringnomad

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2018, 09:32:34 PM »
Luck, genetics, preparation, perseverance, bootstraps, and all that jazz...this debate is as old as time and unlikely to be settled in a casual conversation with a coworker or even on this message board. But if you do care enough about external recognition to get really agitated over someone saying "You're one lucky fella/lady," then it's possible FIRE is not the right life goal for you. MMM notwithstanding, very few people have garnered fame and recognition for retiring. In any case, congratulations on achieving your goal!

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2018, 12:10:49 AM »
The usual capitalist myth. Success (or failure) actually boils down to an awful lot of luck. We just don't like to acknowledge that. That's not to say that you haven't made the most of your luck, and others may not for one reason or another. But it certainly is luck, to a large extent.

PhilB

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2018, 02:01:52 AM »
Three simple truths:
  • You generally don't get to FIRE without large elements of BOTH luck and hard work.
  • Everyone tends to overestimate the importance of luck in other people's success.
  • Everyone tends to underestimate the importance of luck in their own success - "a self made man and proud of his handiwork."
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 04:16:05 AM by PhilB »

Bateaux

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #46 on: January 23, 2018, 03:35:06 AM »
The luck part is the timing.  We we're lucky enough to be living in a time of great prosperity.   There have been jobs and savings vehicles in our working lives that promote savings and accumulation of wealth.   The computer allowed common people cheap access to stock market investing.  Before the 90s you had bonds, CDs and savings accounts.  The big brokers controlled who could easily invest in stocks, some had the opportunity to buy company stock if they worked for a big company.   So yeah, luck and timing had a huge amount to do with it. 

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #47 on: January 23, 2018, 04:33:28 AM »
Three simple truths:
  • You generally don't get to FIRE without large elements of BOTH luck and hard work.
  • Everyone tends to overestimate the importance of luck in other people's success.
  • Everyone tends to underestimate the importance of luck in their own success - "a self made man and proud of his handiwork."

THIS. You've summed up what I wasn't articulate enough to say.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #48 on: January 23, 2018, 05:48:31 AM »
Well, I've never liked the saying "you make your own luck" because it does have a sense of certainty behind it I don;t see...I think I am somewhat 'lucky' to have hit my number at 45 even with all the sacrifices and work involved....its more like I greatly increased my probability of success by the things I did as opposed to locked in success with certainty

That is why it would be much more interesting talking to someone who has worked as hard and been making sacrifices and things haven't quite panned out (yet at least, though I think 'odds' are they will...).  Of course, I'm sure 99% of the people you are talking about don't fit in this category though and just haven't given the effort and saying lucky gives them an out when looking in the mirror

Gyosho

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Re: It's Not "Luck"
« Reply #49 on: January 23, 2018, 07:59:09 AM »
I'm surprised at the postings on this topic by people who believe more strongly than I do in the power of luck to attain FIRE.

I thought we were all Mustachians here? One of my favorite posts is "A Millionaire is Made 10 Bucks at a Time". That's how I did it - 10 bucks here, 10 bucks there. It adds up.

Maybe MMM will write an April Fool's day post - "FIRE: Only if you are LUCKY".