Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Pink Floyd – Time

I stumbled across two mind blowing charts yesterday that had me pondering how generations of Americans had frittered their lives away, spending money they didn’t have  on things they didn’t need, utilizing easy to acquire debt, and saving virtually nothing for their futures or a rainy day. We are a nation of Peter Pans who never grew up. While I was driving home from work, one of my favorite Pink Floyd tunes came on the radio and the lyrics to Time seemed to fit perfectly with the charts I had just discovered.

We were all young once. Old age and retirement don’t even enter your thought process when you are young. Most people aren’t sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they are in their early twenties. Slaving away at your entry level low paying job, chasing the opposite sex, getting drunk, and having fun on the weekends is the standard for most young people. But you eventually have to grow up. Because one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one tells you when to grow up. And based on the charts below, tens of millions missed the starting gun.

I graduated college in 1986 and started my entry level CPA firm job, making $18,000 per year. I did live at home for a year and a half before getting an apartment with a friend. I was able to buy a car, pay off my modest student loan debt, go out on the weekends, and still save some money. I was in my early 20’s and had opened a mutual fund account at Vanguard. Anyone who entered the job market from the mid 1970s through the mid 1980’s, which would be the late Baby Boomers and early Generation Xers, had job opportunities and the benefit of low stock market valuations.

P/E ratios of the market were single digits in the late 70s and early 80s, versus 20 today. Dividend yields on stocks averaged 5% for the S&P 500, versus 1.9% today. The Dow bottomed out at 759 in 1980, while the S&P 500 bottomed at 98. A 20 year secular bull market was about to get under way. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers had the opportunity of a lifetime. Even after six years of the bull, when I graduated from college the Dow stood at 1,786 and the S&P 500 stood at 521. I had just begun to invest when the 1987 crash wiped out 20% in one day. It meant nothing to me. I didn’t have much to lose, so I just kept investing.

The 20 year bull market took the Dow from 759 to 11,722 by January 2000. The S&P 500 rose from 98 to 1,552 by March 2000. You also averaged about a 3% dividend yield per year over the entire 20 years. Your average annual return, including reinvested dividends, exceeded 17%. Anyone who even saved a minimal amount of money on a monthly basis, would have built a substantial nest egg for retirement. If you had invested in 10 Year Treasuries, your annual return would have exceeded 11% over the 20 years. Even an ultra-conservative investor who only put their money into 5 year CDs would have averaged better than 7% per year over the 20 years.

Even with the two stock market collapses since 2000, your average annual return in the stock market since 1980 still exceeds 11%. That’s 34 years with an average annual total return of better than 11%. Every person who had a job over this time frame should have accumulated a decent level of retirement savings. That is why the chart below is so shocking. Over 15% of all people 60 and older and 23% of people 45 to 59 years old have NO retirement savings. None. Nada. Zilch. This means 25 million Boomers and Xers are stuck living off a Social Security pittance and choosing between keeping the heat on or eating a feast of Ramen noodles and Friskies. It seems they let 30 years get behind them. They missed the starting gun.

I’m not shocked that over 50% of 18 to 29 year olds have no retirement savings. With the terrible job market, declining real wages, massive levels of student loan debt, two stock market crashes in the space of eight years, and 4% annual returns since 2000, young people today have neither the means nor trust in the system to save for retirement. Their elders had no such excuse. Just a minimal amount per paycheck saved over the last 30 years would have compounded to well over $100,000, even at modest salary levels. It is disgraceful that 25 million people over the age of 45 have saved nothing for their retirement. Far more disgraceful is the median household retirement balance of $3,000 for all working age households. There are 122 million households in this country and 61 million of them have $3,000 or less in retirement savings.

The far worse data points are the $12,000 median retirement balance of aged 55 to 64 households and the $10,100 median retirement balance of aged 45 to 54 households. These people are on the edge of retirement and have less than one year’s expenses saved. There is no legitimate excuse for this pitiful display of planning. These people had decades to save, strong financial market returns, and if they worked for a decent size organization – matching contributions to their retirement accounts. They didn’t need a huge salary. They didn’t need to save 20% of their salary. They didn’t have to be an investing genius. A savings allocation of just 3% to 5% would have grown into a decent sized nest egg after a few decades of compounding.

We know from the data in the chart, it didn’t happen. The concept of delayed gratification is unknown to the millions of nearly broke Boomers and Xers, shuffling towards an old age of poverty, misery and regret. A 64 year old has a life expectancy of about 20 years. They’ll have to budget “very” frugally to make that $12,000 last. The question is how did it happen. I don’t buy the load of crap that you can’t judge people as groups. I judge people by their actions, not their words. I know you can’t lump every Boomer and Xer into one box. Individuals in every generation have bucked the trend, lived within their means, saved for the future, and accumulated significant nest eggs for their retirement. But the aggregate numbers don’t lie. The majority of those over the age of 45 have squandered their chance at a relatively comfortable retirement. These are the people who most vociferously insist the government do something about their self created plight. It’s their right to free healthcare, free food, subsidized housing, free utilities, higher minimum wages, and a comfortable government subsidized retirement. They are wrong. They had a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was up to them to educate themselves, get a job, work hard, and accumulate savings.

The generations of live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow Americans over the age of 45 have no one to blame but themselves. They bought those 4,500 sq foot McMansions with negative amortization 0% down mortgages. They had to keep up with the Jones-es by putting in granite counter-tops, stainless steel appliances, home theaters, Olympic sized swimming pools, and enormous decks. They have HDTVs in every room in their house and must have every premium cable channel, along with the NFL package. They upgrade their phones every time Apple rolls out a new and improved version. They pay landscapers to manicure their properties. They lease new BMWs every three years. They have taken exotic vacations on an annual basis. They haven’t packed a lunch for themselves since they were 16 years old. Eating out for lunch and dinner has been a staple of their existence for decades. That morning Starbucks coffee is a given. A new wardrobe of name brand stylish clothes for every season is a requirement because your neighbors and co-workers are constantly judging you. Nothing proves you’re a success like a Rolex watch, Canali suit, Versace boots, or Gucci handbag. The have it now generations got it then and have virtually nothing now because they acquired all of these things with debt.

Real cumulative household income is up 10% since 1980. Consumer debt outstanding has risen from $350 billion in 1980 to $3.267 trillion today. That is a 933% increase. We’ve had decades of faux prosperity aided and abetted by Wall Street shysters, corrupt politicians, mega-corporation mass merchandisers, and Madison Avenue maggots trained in the methods of Edward Bernays to convince willfully ignorant consumers to consume. And consume we did. Saving, not so much. You can blame the oligarchs, bankers, retailers, and politicians for the fact you didn’t save, but it rings hollow. No matter how much propaganda is spewed by the ruling class, we are still individuals with free will. The older generations had choices. Saving money requires only one thing – spending less than you make. Most Boomers and Xers chose to spend more than they made and financed the difference. When the average credit card balance is five times greater than the median retirement account balance, you’ve got a problem. The facts about our consumer empire of debt are unequivocal as can be seen in these statistics:

  • Average credit card debt: $15,593
  • Average mortgage debt: $153,184
  • Average student loan debt: $32,511
  • $11.62 trillion in total debt
  • $880.3 billion in credit card debt
  • $8.05 trillion in mortgages
  • $1.12 trillion in student loans

I don’t blame those in their 20’s and 30’s for not having retirement savings. Anyone who entered the workforce around the year 2000 has good reason to not trust the system or their elders. There have been two stock market collapses and every asset class is now extremely overvalued due to the criminal machinations of the Federal Reserve. There are far less good paying jobs. Real wages keep declining. They were convinced by their elders to load up on student loan debt, leaving them as debt serfs. The Wall Street/Federal Reserve scheme to boost home prices and repair their insolvent balance sheets has successfully kept young people from ever being able to afford a home. So you have young people unable to save, invest or spend. You have middle aged and older Americans with little or no savings, mountains of debt, low paying service jobs, and an inability to spend. The only people left with resources are the .1% who have captured the system, peddle the debt, and reap the rewards of consumption versus saving. They may be able to engineer a stock market rally to further enrich themselves, but they can not propel the real economy of 318 million people. Our consumer society is dying – asphyxiated by debt – shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

I’d love to offer some sage advice on how to fix this problem, but it’s too late. Too many people missed the starting gun. More than ten years got behind them. No one is going to come to the rescue of people who never saved for their future. The Federal government has already made $200 trillion of entitlement promises it can’t keep. State governments have made tens of trillions in pension promises they can’t keep. They can’t tax young people who don’t have jobs. Older generations who think the government is going to rescue them from their foolish shortsighted choices are badly mistaken. Their benefits are likely to be reduced because the unsustainable will not be sustained. The 45 to 64 year old cohort who chose not to save can run and run to try and catch up with the sun, but it’s too late. It’s sinking. Their plans have come to naught. They are destined for lives of quiet desperation. There is nothing more to say.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter; never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Pink Floyd – Time


  1. Don’t mean to hijack this fine article … but it looks like I’ll be going to the hospital shortly.

    At 10:15AM this morning Ms Freud became a grandmother for a second time, this time to a 9lb3oz (holy shit!!) baby girl.

    They named her Rena. (long “e” … REE-nah).

    Rena??? fuckmedead. My first immediate thought was it sounds like renal failure. Poor kid is off to a bad start ….

    see ya later

  2. Jim…great article as always.

    The 11% return is relative to when you were getting out of the market. If you were about to retire in 2008-9 and hadn’t made prudent adjustments to your investment strategy then you got soaked with huge losses. This happened to a lot of folks. Now they’re trying to chase down bigger ROI in a bubble market .

    My parents lost 100K in the down turn of 2008-9 . My mom has since made it back and then some and she made changes to her stategy at my urging. I loved her feelings about the loss, she told me ” We didn’t lose 100K…you did…that was part of your inheritance ” . LOL

    The wonderful thing is my parents were frugal, saved lots of money and even if mom lost everything in the market she’d still live a comfortable life based on other assets etc.

  3. Hindsight is 20/20.

    A thoughtful person could have looked at market conditions at any time 1982 to now and concluded the trend was unsustainable.

    I call bullshit on anyone who claims they forecasted that people would embrace the delusional narrative that fuels this decades-long orgy of debt creation and its embrace as wealth.

  4. Sometimes, despite some of the shit sandwiches I have eaten over the years, I still marvel at my good luck…

    I married well. The missus is outstanding with finances. Each month, she puts away something in savings. She doesn’t tell me, and I don’t want to know. If I know, then I’ll want to spend it on something.

    The only note we have to pay is the farm, and we actually overpay on that, so we’ll be paid off years ahead of schedule.

    No car note. Every month, the credit card is paid off in full. We don’t use that much – She’s gotten me in the habit of “if we can’t pay cash for it, then we don’t buy it”.

    If we need something that actually costs some bucks – say, like new livestock – then we figure out when we need to have them by (breeding schedules, etc) and work backwards, saving enough each month to purchase them by the time we need them.

    All of this, from her… bless her heart, if not for her, I’d be sunk… and y’all best believe I let her know how much she is appreciated. You don’t kill the Golden Goose… you dote on it, take care of it… make it feel appreciated..

  5. The deeper people dig themselves into debt, the wealthier people collectively feel.

    Who has the balls to claim they saw that Cargo Cult becoming the world’s dominant religion?

  6. So, going forward, the rest of us tax serfs will be paying for boomers who didn’t save, minis who can’t save and our savings will be redistributed?
    Somebody wake me up………………

  7. When an ocean of IOU’s “counts” as wealth, EVERYTHING is overvalued.

    All that overvaluation will disappear when the hive-mind wakes up and realizes that the IOU’s are worth perhaps 10 cents on the dollar.

    Just because a plane keeps flying higher once the fuel gauges read empty doesn’t mean it can fly forever.

  8. So, going forward, the rest of us tax serfs will be paying for boomers who didn’t save, minis who can’t save and our savings will be redistributed?
    Somebody wake me up…………

    Hi Card, Yes, according to the lefties we are evil people who fucked them, that is why we have money and they don’t.

    They don’t believe the part about working hard, savings, doing without, not buying on credit, getting a second job etc.

    The fact that most of them pissed their weekly pay out the head of their dick, is a taboo subject that political correctness doesn’t allow us to bring up.

  9. I have been fortunate to be self employed in the software industry 1971 – 2001 – and made a very good living. My wife is a homemaker and mother. Even though we lived within our means – it was pretty hard to save any significant sum of money till around 1990 – when I started making $100,000 a year.

    I come to the defense of many of the people who have not saved:

    Our economy / society is structured to MAKE you spend money. You can’t do anything without a car, and usually two cars – with that comes maintenance / insurance / repairs. With inflation comes rising home prices and property taxes. Don’t forget that scam / racket healthcare. A single crown on a tooth costs $1200. I just got a filling – $350. All this is take home pay – after taxes. Taxes – sales / income state and federal and FICA eat up earned income.

    Basically, many are just on the ‘Hamster Wheel of Life”. I can see why they say: The hell with it, I’m going to use my credit card for a vacation. It’s foolish – but I can see why.

    My other beef is ‘investment people’ – hell if they knew how to invest to get these great returns – they wouldn’t need clients – they could be billionaires with their own money. You need to be real careful about funds with loads, or no-load funds with ‘expenses’.

  10. The problem isn’t only that Boomers and Gen Xers didn’t save money. They also didn’t start businesses and worked for other people. When everybody was buying in the 1980s-2000s too many were consuming. America is a nation of employees and it is glaringly obvious. Even crappy financial gurus knew you have to invest in yourself first.

  11. Some of us did save, then between our own bad decisions, bad advice, and the casino we call a market, it went away.

    My kid brother worked two jobs through high school, he saved his money and bought his first home for 50% cash down, they didn’t leave the house until the second baby came along and there literally was no room. He paid more than 50% cash for his next house too.

    Then, the unthinkable happened, a company with a long track record of surviving the 80s downturn (barely), and employee owned, went out of business.

    My brother went from making $65k in a tiny town with a tiny mortgage (that he could afford), to unemployment.

    When after a year he was still making less than $30k, but got an opportunity to move to a big city which meant a much bigger salary, but it also meant a much bigger cost of living. He cashed his 401k out to put down on his new house and thankfully made money off his old house in a bad market with no real jobs (sold to a retired boomer).

    Mine was lost when my ex husband convinced me to take my (non-retirement) savings and help him with his IRS debt. Within a year of nearly bankrupting myself for our common goal, he decided his secretary was the better choice.

    Anyway, my bad decision.

    Then, I hooked up with a business guy that needed my help to stay in business, but couldn’t pay me my going rate. I decided to work for my future instead of my today.

    Thankfully, a mere decade later we have knocked nearly $2 million of debt down to a small-ish mortgage on our building and built up quite the sizeable savings (again).

    Here is the problem. And it is also the problem for close to ALL that have been scrimping, working and doing the smart thing of saving for tomorrow.

    Our tomorrow savings are 100% contingent on the full faith and credit of the US gub and FR.

    My gut tells me that all of us that have been doing the right thing, are going to be in the same freaking boat as those that didn’t.

    If the banks declare holidays, the stock market returns to “normal,” the government defaults on something, exactly how long are those amassed fortunes going to be left alone by a banking system and government hell bent on keeping their own golden status quo?

    My guess is less time than it takes the MSM to tell us about it.

    Cyprus was the trial run, and it went so well the IMF declares that all “struggling” economies do the same. One time thing, of course.

    Not only do the upcoming old need to get busy and start saving, they also need to simultaneously repair their health and lives for the upcoming games.

    If there is but one thing my years of research on monetary and societal collapse have taught me, it is that wealth in our modern society is fleeting, and what we think we own today could be blowing away on the winds of change tomorrow.

    Nicely done Admin. Thanks for your continued caring and words. They have helped me so very much.

    Congrats Stuck! New babies are still miracles and blessings, even if their futures look bleak today.

  12. Jim–
    Thank you for taking the time to do what you do. Just a quick story-
    I’m 32 and have been a huge Floyd fan since 1994 when I saw the Division Bell Tour live. I’ve been a reader on your site since 2010, kind of right after I saw Roger Waters The Wall live. A concert which woke my ass up about the realities of this world that are hidden in plain site, a concert which demanded that I dig deeper. Long story short, it lead me to your site and other similar ones.

    At that time I was 28 and doing basically exactly as you described people in their 20’s- Slaving away at my (at the time) entry level low paying job, chasing the opposite sex, getting drunk, and having fun on the weekends. I had maybe $2,000 to my name, a car note, below average credit, and fully running on the hamster wheel month to month. At that time, I had no idea the extent to which that the American people were being pillaged, and had no idea that I was for all intents and purposes a card carrying member of the ignorant masses.

    Since I began reading your site– and reading every damn thing I could, every day, for at least an hour per day, (TBP, ZH, Jesse’s, Huxley, Orwell, Milton Mayer, etc.) for the last 4+ years– my entire life course has changed for the better, dramatically. My overall awareness has grown leaps and bounds, although I recognize there is always room to grow, and have devoted my time to doing just that. Back in 2010 I had no concept of anything finance related. I blew $ on the typical bullshit 20-somethings blow their $ on. Today, I can’t remember the last time I’ve blown my hard earned money on the bullshit I used to, I could give a 2 fucks about the Joneses, brew my own damn coffee, bring my own lunch to work, cook my own dinner every night and stash away all the savings I can each month. I have no debt, no credit cards, and got enormous pleasure when I sat across from my bank manager as she looked at my like I had 4 heads when I informed her of that. She was in shock, and asked me how I could have built any credit. I said I paid all my bills on time, paid back my student loans, paid my car note off. She tried signing me up for a credit card, and I said I wanted nothing to do with it, but I was curious about what limit I’d get. Next time I walk in she pulls me to her cubicle and tells me how much debt I could run up (my limit, lol), and tells me my credit score. She said if anyone ever tries to offer you not the best interest rate, have them call me. I just smiled in satisfaction at her.

    I could go on and on about all the positive changes that have come about for me since I crossed paths on the interwebs with Jim Quinn.

    I guess I just want you to know you have reached some of us 20-somethings (now 30-somethings) out there, and I will remain forever grateful for that.

    Thanks dude, I appreciate you.

    1. Floyd

      That almost brought a tear to my eye. When I’m toiling away on my computer and wondering whether it is worth the time and effort to write what I’m thinking, I never visualize people like yourself out in the real world actually being influenced by what I write.

      Normally it’s just the shit throwing monkeys who comment every day and tell me whether I’m full of shit or accurate in my assessment.

      With 3 Millennial boys I know our future depends upon people like yourself and them to lead us through the Crisis.

      Comments like yours are what keep me doing this,even when I get tired and depressed.

      Thank you.

  13. “Minnie’s will have to buckle down and work 3 jobs to pay for the boomers retirement.”

    I wouldn’t want to be holding my breath waiting for that to come about Sensetti.

  14. Love this article!!!

    “When appearing to be wealthy is more important than being wealthy, we’ve reached the point of collective insanity!”

    The Joy of Skinny—Finances

  15. Admin,

    You should definitely write more articles aimed at Millennials specifically. I found your articles years ago explaining the 2008 crash On Seeking Alpha while looking for anybody writing about the Fourth Turning.

  16. Great article Admin. My wife and I drive 9 and 13 year old vehicles, have a very small mortgage and pay for our kids college. They will leave college with relatively small loans, which my wife and I will gladly help them with. We are quite frugal, I do the majority of the home repairs, we buy what we need, not what we want. I have packed lunch every day since the early 1980s, and today I still pack lunch for me and my wife. We both have 401Ks and my wife will probably retire with a small pension if the system does not melt down before then.

    Still sometimes I wonder if the people who spent it all and borrowed more may have it right. They enjoyed life in the present and when TSHTF the majority of us will be in the same leaky boat. Being a cheap bastard my whole life I don’t think I can change. At least I have skills and a full woodworking shop. I may be old, but I can still climb on a roof and do roofing and sidewall, as I did last weekend and will be doing this weekend.


  17. The big problem is the FSA is going to come after our savings. To catch fish you have to go fishing where the fish are. Look out here they come.

    Stuck, babies are precious. Rena is a good name, she was my Mom. Billy ditto on wife comments.

  18. @BostonBob: “Still sometimes I wonder if the people who spent it all and borrowed more may have it right. They enjoyed life in the present and when TSHTF the majority of us will be in the same leaky boat.”

    For us ‘serfs’ (not the top 0.1%) we have raw, capitalism. Don’t need ya – bye. Got bought out – bye. Too old (make too much) – bye, outsourced to India? China? perhaps you have an employment contract – ha!

    Someone with a modest amount in a 401k – say $100,000. All they have to have happen is be out of work for a year or two – that’s what happened back in 2008. Then you’re wiped out.

    Meanwhile Solindra, GM, Chrysler, etc get the bail outs.

  19. Way to go Floyd. Also congrats to Admin for having saved yet another. It is refreshing to see the “lights” come on for another.
    We live in a world where most think the Jim Quinn’s are full of shit, I know I quit trying to tell the story at least a couple years ago. Most think we are crazy, interesting times.
    Kudos to you for your perseverance and all that you do.

    1. “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

      Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

    2. “Three causes especially have excited the discontent of mankind; and, by impelling us to seek remedies for the irremediable, have bewildered us in a maze of madness and error. These are death, toil, and the ignorance of the future..”

      Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

  20. Articles aimed at millennials is a good idea. It’s really pretty simple though.


    -are being fucked over to a greater extent than any generation since the lost generation of World War One;

    -your future prospects, as of today, are terrible, with “peasant” and “serf” being the most likely descriptions of your life path if you don’t change things;

    -are not going to get anywhere, anywhere by simply voting for one of the two faces of the oligarch party, signing petitions, or doing social media crap;

    -you need to un-brainwash yourselves of all the liberal/advertising crap you’ve been brainwashed with since you were a toddler. People are not all equal, government is not your friend, and many people do not have good intentions for you or anyone else.


    -but, if you actually wake up, pay attention, and start doing things collectively – meaningful things, like the original flavor of Occupy! before it got co-opted – then you can change the world. Try to change it for the good.

    My 2 renminbi.

  21. The two charts don’t match up. For exampe, the 1st says 31% don’t have retirement savings. The 2nd says all have an avg of 3K but if you exclude those with no savings, you have 40K. To make this math work 92.5% of people don’t have any savings! Must be big differences in how they were put together. Regardless they are both depressing.

  22. “you need to un-brainwash yourselves of all the liberal/advertising crap you’ve been brainwashed with since you were a toddler. People are not all equal, government is not your friend, and many people do not have good intentions for you or anyone else.”

    This needs to be said over and over again. Because the truth is Millennials have been brainwashed and they don’t realize it to its full extent until they already have student loans to pay off.

  23. Stephanie, I’m older than a millennial (I’m Gen X, though not by a lot), I’ve been reading on various TBP-like topics for 6+ years now (financial issues, financial collapse, social rotting, peak oil, etc…) and I am still only starting to identify just how much brainwashing I’ve experienced. I’m sure I’m far ahead of most, even many of the TBP crowd, but the rabbit hole goes very, very deep. I have found JM Greer’s writings to be extremely illuminating on this subject. He has a number of books, and a weekly blog at:

    I would particularly recommend last week’s entry for starting to lift the veil off of the assumptions shared by nearly all Americans, which are not the only way of doing things:

  24. No one is being screwed who isn’t asking for it.

    The main effect of the current folly is to see overconsumption of everything. Yes, to the extent this includes capital (including misallocation of resources that won’t be recoverable) it will make young people worse off, but the main reapers of what’s being sown are those in the 35-70 crowd. Over 70’s won’t last long enough to care that much, and those under 35 will have time to recover and retool.

    The rest of us are HOSED.

  25. @persnickety,
    You lost me at “collective.”

    The swamp we’re in is entirely a result of people acting in herds. It may be natural, it may be unavoidable, but it sure shouldn’t be encouraged.

  26. My biggest mistake was getting married . The other we want talk about.I’m afraid I would be laughed off site.As a result I’ll probably be working till the day the Lord takes me to heaven.
    One problem is they don’t teach economics in high school. I don’t remember. one course being offered. Most get out of school and even college still ignorant of economics .Hell ,I only started learning after I lost my job in 2008.I’m doing ok here at FedEx. Just ordered some more Gold coins.

    Good job Jim ,don’t give up.Who knows one day you may end up on FOX business channel.

  27. TE @ 12:21 +1,000 I agree with you 100%, we have the same fears that after a lifetime of doing the right thing and saving for the future, helping our kids get their lives started, living within our means, staying out of debt, buying used cars and keeping them in good repair, growing our own food and on and on, that a day will come and it will all be gone and all the effort and sacrifice will have been for naught. How will the population react to that? The people that didn’t have anything to lose in the first could give a crap less and that would be the majority of the people. What recourse would the people that basically got robbed have? Again that is the kind of crap that keeps us up at night because we don’t think it is that far away.

    Admin – Enjoyed the article, the subject is an eye opener, these are the articles you write that I send to my kids and tell them to read them, and they do. It helps emphasize the messages I repeat and try and get them to understand, it’s amazing how much more they pay attention and agree when the message is coming from somebody other than their old man. Human nature I guess. Your posts have helped make me look smarter to them and it helps open their eyes to the world around them and makes them think more about how they need to take care of their business and avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that their friends are making. Your reach is probably farther and broader than you realize. Thanks for that.

  28. It is what it is. The great reset is coming so even if Boomers had saved for retirement they will still get wiped out in the end. The individual who really prepared for the future lives in a rural location and is self sufficient. Time will prove me correct.

  29. Admin – you must have been reading my rants the last few days. A lot of this stuff was in there. Great job, and great minds think alike and all that.

    There is a lot of ranting around the MSM re “inequality”. It annoys the shit out of me in general. Imagine what would be the case if instead of racking up debt for disposable consumer shit, and blowing every penny, instead the sheeple had invested 10% of their income each year in productive assets. The “inequality” gap would be much different. The economy would be much different – it would be booming along sustained by investment and expenditure based on income and not debt.

    And I doubt that all the good jobs would have been exported – all the capital being invested would have been a boon to local employers and industry. If anything, bad jobs would have been exported, and good jobs kept, instead of the reverse.

    And that is why the screams of inequality annoy me so much – a huge portion of the blame lays at he feet of those doing the screaming, but they are to fucking dense to understand. Living on debt, above one’s means, eating the seeds instead of sowing them and cannabalizing the machines instead of using them to produce, has contributed mightily to the death spiral the country is in. And allowing a huge percentage of the population to produce zero (the FSA) and just consume has had an incalculable detrimental effect.

    It all could have been different. It was once different.

    Dutchman – no offense, but I think you are being a bit of an apologist for the dickheads doing the wrong things. Folks once saved and invested. That they rather blow everything in pursuit of personal instant gratification is totally stupid.

    Your comments re jobs going overseas, etc., ignore what I said above – if folks had invested and not spent and consumed, they would have control over vast amounts of capital and production, and what is happening would not be happening. If instead of $12k in expenditure, if the savings was $300k per person, the impact on industries of all kinds would be incalculable. Instead of just the megarich controlling things, common folks would be able to exert influence decisions.

    Do you think the rich want the rest in debt and poor? Damn right – it gives the rich total control over all capital. The poor did not have to buy in. But they did by the tens and hundreds of millions. They will reap the whirlwind.

    1. Llpoh

      I had been pondering this article for a couple days and your recent comments certainly influenced the final product and conclusions. We are 100% in sync when it comes to this subject matter. People like RE can come up with dozens of reasons why they didn’t save. It’s nothing but bullshit, as you have pointed out with your workers making $50,000 per year.

      The way to accumulate wealth is to spend less than you make. It’s that simple. Delayed gratification is hard when you are bombarded by marketing messages 24/7 to spend, spend, spend. But the final choice are made by each individual. No one forced the Boomers and Xers to spend more than they made. They chose to do it.

      You and I, and many other regulars on this site, chose to spend less than they made and live beneath their means in order to secure a better future.

      I have absolutely no sorrow for the older people who are now screwed. They screwed themselves.

  30. I don’t know if I feel good about the information in this article or not.

    On the one hand, I find out I have roughly 10x the retirement savings of the ‘average’ person in my age cohort. On the other hand, that = less than 1 year of very frugal living expenses in 2014.

    On the one hand, I have zero debt (no car loan, no CC balance, no student loans, no mortgage). On the other hand, I am unable to buy a home in the inflated market (thus no mortgage) and my paid-off college degree cost me a helluva lot more and got me a hell of a lot less in terms of a job/pay/benefits than Boomers got with a free high school diploma – thus the diploma I paid more for gets me less.

    On the one hand, I can gloat about the fact that I’ve been ‘smarter’ with my money and more independent and self-sufficient than the average person my age. On the other hand, welfare moms make a little more than I do (if I remember correctly, a welfare mooch reaps the equivalent rewards of $65k/year worker – I am under that mark by a bit).

    On the one hand, I can be happy that I’m a planner and doing the ‘right’ things in life. On the other hand, the majority of fucktards have all done the wrong things, for decades before I was even an adult, living the high life of easier accumulation, conspicuous consumption and instant gratification – and any meager net worth I struggle, sacrifice and save for will likely be consumed by the fucktard spenders anyway.

  31. SAH – I just got back to you on the “Fed” thread. These are the highlights:

    You are doing fine. The road is hard and long. You are halfway there. It is easy to despair. Don’t change course.

  32. When it comes to savings, do at least 10%. If you think you can’t do it, think of it as circumsion. If they can cut off 10% of THAT, you can cut 10% of anything.

  33. Dutchman, right on the money. Jim, noone can compete with slave labor. What about the people who worked hard their whole lives to save 300 grand, figuring 5 or 6 per cent plus social security and a paid off house, they would be fine? Bennie counterfeiting 3.5 trillion means they can’t get any safe return on thay money. What about the guy with a million dollars tied up in his factory, who wakes up one day to find home depot selling finished goods for cheaper than he can buy the raw materials?

  34. BTW – say 50 million folks had $300k instead of $12k, they would control an additional $15 TRILLION in capital.

    That would have crushed the inequality issues by and large. That would have taken money from the oligarchs that was spent on consumer crap. That would have changed the damn world.

    The oligarchs thank those who spend spend spend for their contributions.

  35. Congratulations Stucky on your grand-daughter, hope your Daughter enjoys every moment of motherhood. My favorite Aunt was named Rena, she was the very definition of a lady- perfect homemaker and wife, composed, sweet and the best cook in the family. I will always miss her oyster casserole on Thanksgiving. Great old time name.

    A big part of our current problem is looking at everything in terms of dollars. A guy with a fortune who has no children dies alone. If you spend the end of your life being cared for by low wage non-English speaking strangers rather than your loved ones, and a big balance in your bank aqccount, was it worth it?

    I understand the need for money but there’s a lot more for you to invest in- relationships, skill sets, productive land, your education, child rearing- and to profit from later in your life. We’ve been brainwashed, tricked, bamboozled and lied to for so long we’re even talking about this amongst our awakened brethren like a group of hostages suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

    I’m grateful that someone keeps us informed about the fraud of our economic system, but I am also bummed out that more people haven’t taken that information and changed their frame. This system has proven one thing to me beyond any shadow of a doubt and that is that they have extraordinary tools, tricks, controls and strategies to maximize their reign. We may implode within the year or it may drag out for another century, there’s no telling. Trying to game their system by continuing to invest in it reminds me of the kid held down by the bully and being smacked with his own hands while the bully asks- “Why do you keep hitting yourself?”

    Good luck Stuck with whatever ails you.

  36. Star – if enough folks had saved, there would be myriad investment opportunities. Bank deposits are not investments as such. You need to broaden your thinking.

  37. “Over 15% of all people 60 and older and 23% of people 45 to 59 years old have NO retirement savings. None. Nada. Zilch. This means 25 million Boomers and Xers are stuck living off a Social Security pittance and choosing between keeping the heat on or eating a feast of Ramen noodles and Friskies.”-JQ

    That’s actually lower numbers than I would expect.

    By definition, 50% of people make less than the median income. That today is $51K. How much money could you save on $51K after taxes, insurance etc gets taken out?

    The Bottom Quartile is making poverty level wages of $25K and less. They obviously cannot save money.

    You can do a lot better than Ramen Noodles and Friskies though on a SS budget.


    1. RE evidently didn’t comprehend the article. He speaks about today and how no one can save. The article was about the time frame from 1980 until 2000 and the old fucks like himself who didn’t save squat during the greatest bull market in history. It sounds like RE is making excuses for his own failure to save, even though his daddy was a Wall Street executive.

      No nest egg RE?

      That is disgraceful for someone of your age and wisdom. 🙂

  38. Lipoh, what are you going to buy, commercial real estate? Ask jim about that one, he’s commented quite extensively. There are two kinds of businesses now, those with acess to bennies unlimited counterfeit money at zero per cent, and everyone else. Think you can compete against that at anything? Give me an example. I didn’t think so.

  39. Star – seriously, do not be so stupid. If you have money, there are still opportunities. Not all commercial property is dead. There are some outstanding small businesses for sale if you have money. There are some residential rental opportunities. There are some farming opportunities. There are opportunities your feeble mind cannot even conceive of out there.

    As always, buyer beware.

    Why would I need to ask Jim about investments? He is a smart guy, with tremendous insight and knowledge, but I suspect my portfolio is outside his knowledge base. His expertise lies in areas outside high net wealth individuals, I am reasonably sure. If I want or need advice re investments, I have specialist advisors to provide it.

    Really, you are being exceedingly stupid.

  40. Star – can I compete? You better fucking believe it, you knitwit. I run a successful business and have done for decades. Just because you are too dull to be able to figure out how to make money doesn’t mean everyone is. I make more in a year than idiots like you make in a lifetime.

    Seriously, do you really think no one can be successful?

  41. Ok, i get the part about me being stupid. Wanna compare assets, son? Because you still are fluttering all over the place and still can’t give me one example of a business or even a business segment that would be a safe place to put money without the threat of being run over by big money.

  42. Besides the fact a minimum of 25% of Amerikans don’t make enough money to save, you have other factors.

    For instance, my mother would not put money into the Stock Market, because her belief from the Great Depression was that Stocks were unsafe. So all she ever got was about 2-3% on CDs.

    Many people also believed their McMansions were their savings, that the value would always go up. However, all the equity they put in was lost in the crash of 2008-9.

    Beyond that, as has been noted on these pages many times, the cost of living has gone up faster than incomes, so many people took out HELOC loans to make up the difference. They also clearly could not save money.

    To be able to save money, you have to have surplus all the time, and that is not true for most average wage earners. Despite myths to the contrary, not all Boomers had high paying jobs, nor did all GenXers. So only 23% with no savings is actually a small number.


    1. RE with his usual bullshit based on nothing but his opinion.

      As noted in the article and proven from the facts CD rates were double digits during the 80’s, still around 7% for most of the 90s and still 5% as late as 2007. You are full of shit about your mother and 2% CD rates.

      Choices RE. Buying a McMansion was a choice. They fucked up and screwed themselves.

      As noted, the annual return on stocks was 17% from 1980 to 2000. The cost of living did not go up 17% per year Mr. deflation.

      You’re are nothing but a one trick pony and whenever I post FACTS that obliterate your storyline, you should just shut the fuck up, because you look like a fool when I point out your lies and mistruths.

      Stick to doom. You don’t do financial issues too well.

      I’m still waiting for your ebola epidemic. Shouldn’t we have 10,000 cases in the US based on your previous blatherings?

  43. Star – I listed several. What, you too stupid to read?

    No investments are risk free. No such thing as “safe”. That is why there are things like “diversify”, due diligence, etc.

    Compare assets my ass – if you had any, you would know this shit.

    But my best advice for folks that have the skills, and are of the appropriate age, and not risk adverse, is to snap up one of the great many profitable small businesses out there where the owners are wanting to retire. They can be had at huge discounts to actual value. Owners are desperate to sell up. They are high risk, high reward. They can return over 50% a year on investment. So if you can milk the cow for around three to four years, you recover your investment, and the rest is gravy. But you need the capital, the skills, and the work ethic to make to go. But it offers a great chance to get rich.

  44. RE – your point re the bottom tranches is accurate, to a greater or lesser extent. They are NOT the issue, in my opinion.

    The issue is that those say between the fortieth and 85th percentile of earnings are saving far below what they could. If those folks saved and invested properly, the nature of the country would shift massively. Those folks are capable of packing away/investing probably $5k to $25k per year. If they were smart and frugal. And by that I mean non-housing assets.

    But it did not happen. So welcome to Fucksville, population 300 million.

  45. Billah

    Where’d ya go? Speaking of burritos, I ate 14 microwaved ones and now I have the runs superbad. It’s way more then the makeshift portajon kin handle so somebody other than me er Billah Jr’s gonna have to handle this brim full 5 gallon bucket. Git yer buck toothed gaggle faced ass hole home pronto. We have a category 5 emergency right the middle of our living room.

  46. I have folks working for me that have made 50k or so a year, steadily, for thirty years. Some of them are millionaires and multi-millionaires now. (Around six). Steady savings and investment and frugal living have made them rich.

    Interestingly, every one of them was foreign born. Except one.

    Tink. The sound of the penny dropping.

  47. Good article: But, you missed a major point. Government employees. They are millionaires.
    Guaranteed 8% per year with a 2% Cola. In Oregon their contribution is zero. Average 30 year
    retirement is $50,000.00 a year which requires with a COLA 1.5 Million. Try saving 1.5 million
    by age 55 while raising a family. Saving $2,000 a year at 6% is more realistic. Just think if your Social Security paid 6% per year compounded over 40 years; become very rich. Do the math.

    1. Fred Starkey

      I didn’t miss that point. Those government employees will not receive what they were promised because the money isn’t there. It’s nothing but a promise and when the next financial crisis crushes the finances of the Feds and States, those promises will vaporize. Ask the government workers in Stockton and Detroit.

  48. I love it when Admin kicks RE in the nuts.

    As I mentioned, RE’s point re the bottom 20 percent being unable to save is true enough.

    But Admin is totally right – the problem is that those able to save did not. Ignorant fucksticks spent everything they made, and then some.

    The entire world would have been different if the majority of people had just a tiny smidgen of common sense.

    Hard work, thrift, planning for the future was to damn difficult, because I can have a big TV now on credit issued by a benevolent bank.

    It is despicable.

  49. Some of this predates me. I was ten years old in 1980 and didn’t graduate from college until 1992. The job market was bad, and I only made $14,500 a year at my first full-time job (so I worked a second job for about six years) but on the good side I didn’t have much debt when I graduated. As time went on, I got better full-time jobs and better second jobs. After three years, my second job paid better than my first full-time job had paid, and I was on my third full-time job by then so that paid better, too.

    Anyway, I didn’t want to start investing for retirement until I got myself weaned down to one job, because I was around 28 by then and had never done anything since college graduation but work two jobs and really wanted to have a life.

    At the end of 1999, I had about $16K in my very first 401K, but then lost that much over the next three years. However, during those years my 401K balance grew because of how much I was putting into it.

    By the end of 2007, I had earned nearly $32K on my investments, only to lose $42K in 2008. It was at that point I realized this was all bullshit. The only people who make money on 401Ks are the people selling them. I waited until the market went back up to my break-even point and got out. Then bought gold, and have been screwed ever since.

    So now I invest in learning new skills (just got extensive training in Hyperion this month – as a contractor, no less!) and only work half the year.

    If I had to do things differently, I would never have bothered with the financial industry. I would have spent every last dime paying off my home – which I did anyway, but I would have done it sooner – and spent less time working at the shitty jobs available in the current day labor market.

    Aaron Clarey is singing my anthem with this:

    Oh, and uh, was I forgetting something? Oh yes!

    Don’t have kids.

    No offense to Stucky, who always makes me laugh. Maybe you’ll make your granddaughter laugh too, someday. She’ll need it.

  50. Excellent article, Admin. Your disdain for Boomers, and now GenXers, has always been palpable.

    “The far worse data points are the $12,000 median retirement balance of aged 55 to 64 households and the $10,100 median retirement balance of aged 45 to 54 households. These people are on the edge of retirement and have less than one year’s expenses saved. There is no legitimate excuse for this pitiful display of planning.”

    Exactly. You have built a case for a legitimate indictment of two entire generations. The stress of being in that situation would have killed me years ago. Fortunately, I didn’t play that game.

  51. Star, llpoh comes from a different time, but he’s hanging onto his small business with the last bare threads of his sanity, and he’s done some good. You have to respect that. And he does have a sense of humor – glad you see that.

    You must be younger, though, and you are speaking truth about the way things are now. And you have a sense of humor, too!

    Peace, indeed!

  52. Admin – thanks. Truly. You have a way of seeing and communicating that is a gift. Me, I tend to bludgeon.

    I have been telling folks that it takes THIRTY years of hard work, frugality, etc., to get to where youeed to be.

    They look at me like I have three heads. “no way in hell I am going to do that! I deserve a big house, a BMW, and nice vacations now, goddammit!”


    Here is my economic life in a nutshell:

    Between 20 and 30, i educated myself and got experience in valuable fields. A couple of wrong turns, but by 30 I could command good salaries, and I avoided stupid debt. Just about cleared student loan debt.

    30 to 40 I began to consolidate – drove a 20 year old car for the decade. Saved money. Bought into a business and mortgaged every thing I owned and then some. Did not eat out during the entire decade, save on my tenth wedding anniversary. Not once otherwise.

    40 – 50 paid off my business debt early in the decade. Upgraded house and paid it off in a year. Packed away money, but lived frugally – no big trips, rarely ate out, etc. bought more business stock. Kept consolidating.

    50 – 60 Eureka! Reached point by 50 where I had more than I needed for rest of my life. Buy what I want, go where I want, live where I want, drink what I want, drive what I want, do whatever the fuck I want. Investments keep churning out income.

    For thirty fucking years I kept my eye on the goal. No varying from the plan. Work, educate, save, thrift. No buying shit. No going into debt except to buy income producing assets. No driving nice cars, no nice vacations, nada. We lived without. We had a goal, and that was it. We did not suffer – we lived just fine. But no extras, even when we had a nice stash in our forties.

    I can remember the day I told my wife – honey, we are there. Whatever you want or need, go for it forever more. We went a bit hogwild for a while. Just because. Now we spend on whatever we want, but tend to really only be extravagant on travel. And booze. We like good booze.

    It will not work entirely the same for everyone. But it will work to a greater or lesser degree.

    It takes thirty years. Admin is there now – the next ten years are the money years for him. He made his future the last thirty. The next ten simply will cement it.

    Thirty years folks. No fucking shortcuts.

    Please spare me the “but I work hard and deserve some luxuries” bullshit. Talk to the hand.

    Thirty years of discipline to assure you are set for the long run.

  53. Star – just trying to keep it lively. All is cool. We need some fights just to keep comments rolling. Admin deserves these articles to be debated and discussed.

  54. I suppose I was fortunate, did save and retired 4 years ago at 58. I even tacked on 10 years of public sector work to get a small defined benefit pension that pays for my health insurance. Paid cash for a condo on the water, bought a small boat and had a million dollars when I quit. I should feel secure but I don’t. Too many things can go wrong. Have gone wrong in the past.

    I have in my possession my great grandfather’s financial statements from the 1930’s. He was a very wealthy man. Net worth reached over $3 million dollars in 1931. Owned real estate, a bank and an insurance company. He died in 1936 and it was all gone. He was too leveraged to survive the Depression.

    There is very little you can own that is really secure. Physical assets are great if you own them free and clear but most people do not have enough money to own the kind of prime physical assets that can endure an economic upheaval and governments have a way of confiscating assets when times are rough. Gold can be made illegal to own. In fact, our government did make it illegal to own and, let’s face it, my small stock of gold coins is worth no more today than when I bought them 6 years ago, especially given inflation and the 28% capital gains tax put on physical gold . Should gold go to $2500 per ounce the government could simply treble the tax too. Don’t think they won’t either.

    Yeah its better to have saved, paid off your debt and arrived at today with a nice nest egg but when the underlying economy is built on unsustainable debt and paper financial assets no one is really rich or secure.

  55. “The issue is that those say between the fortieth and 85th percentile of earnings are saving far below what they could. If those folks saved and invested properly, the nature of the country would shift massively. Those folks are capable of packing away/investing probably $5k to $25k per year. If they were smart and frugal. And by that I mean non-housing assets. “-LLPOH

    Except Jim’s figures indicate that only 15% of people older than 60 don’t have savings, which means that 85% of people in this age range DO. Therefore, people between the 40th & 85th percentiles do have savings. Most people I know in my age range have some kind of savings and/or pensions to supplement SS. Personally I got 2 pensions due me when I retire plus a 401K plus SS plus the Booze Bucks. Sadly of course, I think by that time the Monetary System will be toast and it will all be quite worthless.

    The people mostly unable to save are the more recent generation, but again since the Dollar is toast anyhow, what’s the point in saving them? Spend them now on Preps while they still have some value! If you have some surplus after that, feel free to buy some Gold too!


  56. SSS says:

    Excellent article, Admin. Your disdain for [insert group name here], has always been palpable.

    Fixed it for you, SSS.

  57. but again since the Dollar is toast anyhow, what’s the point in saving them? Spend them now on Preps while they still have some value! If you have some surplus after that, feel free to buy some Gold too!


    Are you now suggesting that Gold might have some value after the dollar or financial system goes caput? Who wised you up on that point? Gold bugs were all ass holes last I heard from you.

    If you really feel that way why haven’t you cashed in your 401K early, paid the penalty and stocked up on preps while you still can?

    A can of beans in the hand is worth a full case in the bush.


  58. I agree with what Llpoh and Administrator say about steady saving and investment.
    That’s the key to your future and your family’s future.

    Fred Starkey makes a good point about too many goverment pensions being outrageous.
    I know from friends’ situations that what Starkey says is true.
    One is being paid 168% by the State of ___ of his final average salary. Two others are being paid from a third to a half more in retirement income than when they were working.
    I quit looking online after that. What I found upset me too much.

    Fortunately I’ve followed the L and A saving approach. For me it has usually been spend a third, save a third, and pay a third for taxes. Fortunately taxes usually haven’t been that high.

    Read what Llpoh writes about five posts above. “Work, educate, save, thrift,” and think about his advice.
    I agree with it.
    You should too and you should teach it to your kids and grandchildren

    Oh, one other comment… Mostly my cheapest pleasures have been my most enjoyable and most memorable. Mostly entertaining myself and creating with family and friends have been the best times and entertainments. In my life mostly less has been more.

  59. Read what Llpoh writes about five posts above. “Work, educate, save, thrift,” and think about his advice.
    I agree with it.
    You should too and you should teach it to your kids and grandchildren

    Great posting Jackson. As for the education part; the greatest lesson ever taught to me about thrift and saving was the miracle of compound interest.

    No lesson of more value when it comes to investing or finance in my opinion. I do all I can to drill it into my grandchildren, it’s not an easy task but well worth the effort.

  60. Llpoh, actually I followed pretty much the same plan as you. But it only took me 20 years instead of 30 because I stayed single and didn’t have kids. I do think others here have a point, though, as our esteemed TeresaE (or TE) has pointed out in the past, those who sacrifice immediate gratification for long term security are going to find they get neither.

    Me, I can only assign percentages. Will the entire financial system collapse during my lifetime? I give it a 60% yes and 40% no. That 60% yes is why I invested heavily in precious metals, and the 40% no is why I still have money in IRA accounts. (Not that this has worked out well for me in the last couple of years, but we shall see – there are two or three decades to go yet.)

    As for now, I am only 44 and just want the next twenty years to be better – the last ten have sucked. That means working less and enjoying life more, since work is not a source of enjoyment, meaning, fulfillment, or purpose for me. (It’s just a paycheck.) Because really, who in their right mind would wake up to an alarm clock every morning, drive to a building where you can’t even open the windows, and sit in a cubicle for eight hours?

    You are right, as you said in a previous thread, that eventually health problems will slay me. I know that. Health problems lay everyone down eventually. If you don’t die from something, you die from nothing. I’ll get a reverse mortgage when I’m 60 and keep working a few months of the year until I just can’t find a job anymore.

    In 35-40 years, when I am 80-85, I don’t think there will be Medicare or any such shit to fix my ailments. By that time, I’ll be old and useless and in failing health, and there won’t be any “other people’s money” to sustain me, nor would I want them to. Speaking of percentages, the likelihood that I’ll have to off myself someday, when I myself become a useless eater? 70%. But I don’t believe it is a sin (my life belongs to me, not “God” or anyone else), and besides by then I will probably want to. I’m not going to want to live in pain, with failing eyesight, unable to do the things I enjoy.

    But so what? I have quite a bit of time yet to enjoy. And “enjoy” is my purpose. When the time comes, at least I’ll head for the white shores on my own terms, not mouldering away in a damn nursing home like my grandmas did.

    If I have anything left over when I die, it’s going to my sweety’s (if he is not still alive, either) niece or the pug rescue network.

  61. Oh my Gawd, pirate jo makes me want to squirt out another Billy jr just cuz I can, and hon, don’t burn up any more of yer lonely boring life sniffing yer own farts in an anonymous cubicle. Maybe you should adopt one uh them brownies from over yonder.

  62. ” All households of age 55 – 64 have 12k savings.”-llpoh

    That’s ridiculous. Obviously ALL households of age 55-64 do NOT have $12K in Savings, since my household fits that demographic and I have way more than that. Where do you come up with nonsense statistics like this?


  63. “Are you now suggesting that Gold might have some value after the dollar or financial system goes caput?”-GO

    No, I am suggesting when you have all the preps you can possibly use and still have surplus FRNs, feel free to sprinkle them around in whatever floats your boat.


  64. I guess there will be a whole lot less boomers retiring. Not the end of the world, and they will get to keep on spending. Good for the economy.

    But bad if you are a young person looking to take that older persons job.

  65. Even on average that is a worthless statistic. If you take the bottom 25% with Zero Savings into the average, obviously the average will be drawn down a lot by this.

    Next, the Savings doesn’t figure in the Pensions many people receive from companies they worked for, as well as Union Pensions, Military Pensions etc. So you don;t really know from this precisely what percentage of people are stuck living on just SS at retirement.

    Pensions are of course a form of savings, deferred compensation which of course assumes the company you worked for never goes outta biz and Da Goobermint never goes outta biz or runs out of money. In fact, Da Federal Goobermint has a fund to pick up pension payments from companies that went belly up over the years, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund.

    My best guess would be the people with no savings at all worked in low paid service economy jobs their whole lives, and probably were at or below the poverty line for most of the time. The next quartile probably has very low savings but some other forms of pensions.

    Moving up the line to the top half, likely the higher your income through the period the more you have in savings. I am sure there are a few people who made 6 Figure incomes around with no savings, but I think it is a very small number. I personally have never met anyone who had income in this category who is without some sort of addition to their SS check.


  66. Great article Jim… – I’ve followed and loved your work for years.

    Those still in this rigged game can use all the help they can get – just trying to lend a helping hand here if one might be needed.

    For anyone fortunate enough to be still prudently riding the waves of the stock market via index funds or ETF’s, and wondering what to do when confronted with that “should-I-stay-or-should-I-go” moment, they may wish to consider some time tested guidance to avoid the inevitable train wrecks like the ones in 2002 and 2008. Can’t say when they’re coming exactly, but come they will.

    This guidance system is very inexpensive, easy-to-use, and effective. Check it out at and let me know if you have any questions.

    There’s a big end of year campaign in progress too > see here:

    Jim, I hope you don’t think I’m spamming your site – just trying to help out with what I’m good at is all – thanks again for your incredible body of work – its classic!

  67. What these charts always seem to leave out is that a huge amount of these people don’t need to have a saved a penny because they have a pension, generously provided by the real working tax payer. Why should a teacher bother saving a dime when they are guaranteed a salary in retirement along with full health benefits? Until we nix all pensions, it will not be a level playing field. A minority of us support the rest.

  68. One of my good friends runs a multi doctor family practice. To hire an experienced jewish american doc costs him 120,000-140,000. Another guy i know is a fireman with the city of hollywood. His total compensation was 154,000. He sat for the leiutenant exam, a 3 hour test. 15 of these positions open. Pass the test, get a 22 per cent bump in salary, benefits, pension, everything. He passed. He now costs the city 188,000. a year. For a fireman. With a high school diploma. Hollywood has 3 or 4 assistant city attorneys that make 325,000. per year. Chief supreme court justice john roberts makes 225,000.

  69. @Billy

    A very old, but appropriate joke for you and your wise wife;

    Bill and Alice had been married for 42 years, when one day Bill returned home from work very distraught. Alice, being a perceptive wife, asked, “Husband, what’s troubling you?”

    Bill replied, “Darling, sit down. I must tell you some very bad news. We are broke. We are Bankrupt. We are paupers. Our Accountant has stolen everything we saved for our retirement. He is somewhere in South America and we will never find him or receive justice.”

    Alice stood from her chair, clasped Bills hand and said, “Come with me my love. We’re going to take a drive in the car. Please trust me when I tell you that by the time we return to our home, you will be happy again.”

    A few minutes later, Alice is driving down Main Street. She tells Bill, “do you see that office building there where all the tenants are attorneys? We own that.”

    Several blocks further down the road, Alice says, “See that apartment complex where 80% of tenants are between the age of 52 and 82 years old and receiving government pensions? We own that.”

    On the outskirts of town, 40 minutes into the drive, Alice informs Bill, “See this little grocery store that does most of its business using SNAP and EBT government subsidies? We own it too! We’re very wealthy, Bill. Please don’t fret. No doubt, our accountant will be murdered by durg lords soon”

    Bill should be happy, but he is confused. He yells, “What do you mean, we own this and we own that? I’ve told you we are broke!”

    Alice explains, “Remember our wedding night? I told you my mother explained that every time we made love, you should place $5.00 dollars under my pillow. No exceptions. I’ve saved and invested all of that money. So, Sweetheart, we have no worries. I’ve been a good wife and we are safe.”

    After arriving home, Bill is angry and pacing the floor and Alice is confused.

    “Husband, I can’t believe that my good news hasn’t relieved your troubled mind.”

    “Oh, Alice, why the hell didn’t you charge me $10.00 dollars!?!?”

  70. Nice story Hallie, except what happens when the Lawyers don’t have clients who can pay and then they can’t pay the rent on the apartment complex? What happens when the grocery store doesn’t have shoppers because the SNAP Cards are cut off? All those $5 Investments are worth diddly squat.

    Reminds me of Driving Miss Daisy.


  71. Llpoh, in case you still read this,

    Describing what worked from 1974 to now is like drawing a treasure map for the Nuesatra de Atocha. You accomplished much, but it was done under conditions that no longer pertain, a fact endlessly propounded on this website.

    Listen to yourselves.

    T.E. describes how she sees great danger in holding any class of investment and all appear to nod in agreement. Then a dozen people discuss the need to save, save, save.

    Save in what?

    Stocks? What do we see discussed endlessly here?

    Real Estate, businesses (Llpoh?), gold,……………What?

    Llpoh, the world is awash in overcapacity. I salute the entrepreneurs who can, in this environment discern a promising niche, but when I see someone trying to sell their businesses I see Goldman Sachs selling overpriced businesses at the top to the muppets lined up like sheep at a slaughterhouse.

    This is the largest credit bubble in human history. Either that statement is true and all paths to wealth of the past few decades are OVER, or it’s false——– which is it?

    I save like there’s no tomorrow. More than my entire net paycheck gets socked away because for all practical purposes I don’t have anything better to do with it. I’ve been a saver most of my life, but I’ve suffered the fate of the pessimist living in times of manic optimism. I’ve missed the huge opportunities presented during times of rampant silliness. Boo hoo, woe is me…..not at all.

    My point?

    Can we all just attempt to be consistent?

  72. @Hallie, I don’t think most people can get rich, or build a real estate empire, from an investment of just $100 or so. I’m guessing you’ve not been married.

    Now, if it was $5 a time for sex before getting married, then your starting investment would be larger by about 15 orders of magnitude.

  73. As a group, the Boomers were not educated in the principles and advantages of investing. Neither our parents nor the educational system taught us that one of the imperative tasks of young adulthood is to strategize for lifelong financial health. In our ignorance, we were easy prey for the deformed capitalism that has held sway over the past 50 years, and now a heavy price is being extracted.

    Economically, the worst thing that happened to the Boomers was the invention of the credit card.

  74. @DC Sunsets – this has been my point exactly on this thread & the Fed Has Wrought thread.

    I’ve worked, behaved & used my money in “the right ways” for the past 23 years (since I started working in 1991 at age 14). As it stands now, I have basically NOTHING to show for it. Nothing meaning, NO DEBT (school loans paid off, no CC debt, no car debt, mortgage debt, etc) but I also have essentially NO ASSETS. I haven’t been able to buy a home, I have no IRA or 401k. I do have a paid off 9 year old car, 2 kids I send to private elementary school (to the tune of $9,000/year), about $15,000 in precious metals (mostly worth that much because I’ve bought at lows, gained value through rising prices – i bought a few ounces gold when it was $300ish, a good chunk of silver at $11-12, few oz of palladium at $300), I have just about 3 months emergency fund in a simple savings account, and some guns. That is it. I don’t own a home.

    I am 37, rounding the corner to age 40. If i were this age 25 years ago, and had made similar judgments and behaviors in the 1970s-1990s, I would be in a more solid financial position. Guaranteed. All the $ i had to spend on inflated college cost (to get out of debt)… my jobs with lower pay and benefits… I’ve had to work a lot harder, and save a lot more just to end up with NOTHING (no debt) than previous generations had to do to own SOMETHING (like a home and retirement fund).

    The path to financial stability and wealth that used to lead to things like home ownership and retirement… in this era, with my “real working” starting point being ~ the year 2000… Well, the best thing you get out of it anymore is NOTHING (no debt). The bubble means I can’t/won’t own a HOME or STOCKS. Cash (my savings account) is actually devaluing.

    Because of my age cohort, my good decisions have gotten me extremely diminished returns compared to what it used to get people. It fucking sucks.

    Also, I promise you, the way I think and behave, if I were 25 years older I would at this point have grown-ass children, and either an off-the-grid self sufficient mini farm or $300,000+ saved to expatriate to Paraguay. Instead, I have struggled my way through from 1995 (age 18) – today (age 37), done way better than most of my peers, and all I have is NOTHING (just no debt) to show for it. I have 2 little kids, and here the crisis is. WTF.

    Its a hard time for the oldsters. I get it. But it is even harder for them to admit that for the people down stream from them that doing the “right things” like education, thrift, and save (which they did in the 1960s-2000s) doesn’t get you anything in the 2000s-forward. They can’t admit that there is no more reward for good behavior. I’ve done education (debt), thrift (low wages & no bennies require this), and save (all going to pay off debt), and what do I have? Nothing. And the crisis is here.

  75. Bottom line:

    It’s a credit bubble. Stocks are skyrocketing in response to yet ANOTHER announcement of VAST debasement of money.

    Hyperinflation? Damn straight!!!! It’s all flowing into STOCKS!

    I’m sorry, but not 1 in a million people seem to get this. The rich are getting richer only in the sense that they’re all in a little club and accepting each other’s IOU’s in the poker game’s pot. Each hand that’s played has the “winner” sitting there with rising piles of IOU’s ———

    —– FROM OTHER PLAYERS. If you don’t understand this, then you can’t understand this moment in history.

    Those PILES of IOU’s are propping up the nominal values of stocks, (paradoxically) bonds, land, businesses, homes, gold coins, silver bars, etc., etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.

    As long as the players believe each other’s IOU’s can be made good, the game continues. We are clearly in a hyperinflation, where wheelbarrows of IOU’s are being pushed into brokerage houses every hour of every day.

    Normally, IOU’s are actually as good as gold. This is what we’re all used to, and informs our decisions and perceptions.

    Only in rare, perhaps once-in-300-years credit manias are there vastly more IOU’s issued than can be “cashed” eventually. No one with an IQ over 70 thinks the current IOU ocean is “money good,” but as Wolf wrote on his website, it’s Party now, Apocalypse Later.

    I still think my guess is that this keeps going until it doesn’t. Everyone then who holds “stuff” (businesses, gold, land, homes, stocks, bonds, etc.) will suddenly find there’s no bid for any of it. Those who own such things on leverage will soon NOT OWN THEM.

    First, everything that’s not nailed down will go (figurative) up on eBay. Prices will crash for everything that can be sold.

    Next, banks will probably lock up (a couple years into the crisis, not imminently.)

    Then Congress, in its members’ infinite wisdom, will try to print banknotes in sufficient quantity to reflate the economy. It is at this point that I imagine those who retained access to dollars (cash or whatever form that one can hold onto) will want to trade dollars for productive assets, gold, etc.

    No one knows the future, but this seems the most plausible progression to me. Not TEOTWAWKI, but a complete inversion of the paths that previously led to success.

    Of course, I’ve been wrong for 20 years, so my opinion’s value might be reasonably questioned. Logic does not guide the world as we know it. That’s the lesson I’ve learned these past two decades.

  76. I think of cash today like a gold bug thought of 1 oz maple leafs prior to 1999.

    To carry the analogy, is it 1994 (and there are still huge losses to be endured before “cash” bottoms and the inflation stops) or is it 1999/2001, and we’re near the point where central bank inflation peaks, the value of cash stop declining precipitously and the entire last 20 years goes into reverse?

    Gold declined a VAST % in real terms from 1980 until the double-bottom 1999/2001, then it rocketed higher, from $253/oz to $1920(?) or so, and remains about $1200.

    Twenty years of hard money people getting sledge-hammered year in and year out while millions of words of newsletters extolled the virtues of owning the yellow metal.

    What if a lifetime of continuous compound inflation, rising exponentially in recent times (just flowing into GDP statistics instead of food & fuel) to sledge-hammer savers (and force them into playing “who is holding the armed hand grenade”) is about to finally reverse?

  77. “…young people today have neither the means nor trust in the system to save for retirement.”

    That 2nd point is crucial. People are realizing the stock market is a rigged game. Sure, you can ride it up with the right funds, but danger looms constantly. Most people who have 401ks don’t have the wits and wherewithall to manage them.

    TE: “Not only do the upcoming old need to get busy and start saving, they also need to simultaneously repair their health and lives for the upcoming games.”

    Nice quote (with the MockingJay Hunger Games III movie starting today).

    BostonBob: “Still sometimes I wonder if the people who spent it all and borrowed more may have it right. They enjoyed life in the present and when TSHTF the majority of us will be in the same leaky boat. Being a cheap bastard my whole life I don’t think I can change.”

    Take pride in knowing you did the right thing, BostonBob, regardless of what’s to come.

    RE: “You can do a lot better than Ramen Noodles and Friskies though on a SS budget.”

    That is a totally arbitrary statement–and depends on what your SS payment is vis-a-vis your expenditures. Further down you mention the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund. They don’t guarantee squat and if you have a lump sum+monthly pension benefit the PBGF won’t pay you the lump sum, AND your monthly could be reduced.

    LLOPH – keep bringing the tough love and sound advice.

    Admin – thanks for the fine article which garners all the comments, which are valuable inof themselves.

    Personally, I’ve made more bad financial decisions that I can count, but am slowing righting the ship,
    so to say. My pension with a large telecom just offered an early buy-out @ 150% of the lump sum of what I could get if I wait out the remaining 4 years to when I’d be 100% vested, and I’m taking the money and running–straight to an fixed index annuity. The yields may not be as big as a good stock market year but I’m guaranteed not to lose money in a down market. For a risk-averse person like myself at my age, that has some comfort. Plus there are no fees and I get an immediate 15% bonus on the upfront amount I’m purchasing. This company has been in business since the 1890s (yes, thats >100 years), is the 2nd largest financial asset company in the world, and is in Europe, and is A++ rated. There is also a rider that pays double the monthly payout if you are confined to a nursing home, although I’d rather die in my own home. So I feel confident I’m doing something right for me and wife (she inherits it with the same benefits after I pass on). Some of the funds in the annuity I selected paid >14% last year. I’ll be happy for half that much. I know some people have negative opinions of annuities but this makes sense in my situation. I will still have assets in a traditional 401k, a modest amount in a CD, enough cash reserves to get my son through his last 2 years of college plus a 6-month cash emergency fund.

    The concern now is if our guv pulls a Cyprus on us and grabs money from overseas assets as well as 401ks and the like.

    Other than that, I just hope to remain employed another 5 years. Then it’s off the the cabin on the lake for the rest of my days where I hope to live a modest but enjoyable retirement, God willing.


  78. Hi Rise Up. Your concern about a Cyprus style bale in concerns and worries me as well.

    One has only to see what happened last night in our country by our community organizer President.

    There is little doubt in my mind that he views your money and mine a his, and property rights laws as
    silly old fashioned stuff the white man thought up.

    As long as him, and his kind are in office we stand threatened.

  79. This is a great article to return to TBP and read. We got moved. Nick retired and we are now devoting all of our time to finishing the inside of the log home on our little piece of the Ozarks. The “tax assessor” is anguished over the fact that we do not plan to live in the log home until after the 1st of the year. He said to let him know if we decide to camp out in the log home even one night in 2014. Uh, right… you will indeed be the first person we will tell, so you can tax us on our hard fought savings all our lives for an extra year. I’m planning to make his life as miserable as possible. I discovered that it is ACTUALLY his wife who was elected County Tax Assessor and she just drives him around and sits in the car while he snoops around to see if you have any new property. WTF?

    Stucky, congratulations on little Rena. What is her middle name… my cousin named her son Drew, because she thought it clever. He went to college and is now “loren” his middle name. Drew is NO MORE.

    Nick and I saved every dime I made after returning to work when our son turned 10. Owe nothing. Working for ourselves now and loving every minute of it. Son came down last weekend from college and I took a nice picture of him in front of our life savings well spent (uploading to Photobucket to share later) I don’t know if we have as much money saved as all the advisors will tell us we need, but I think we have enough. Enough is a lot less than they think it is when you know how to be self sufficient and don’t have anyone to impress.

  80. To those of you saying that things are different today and what used to work no longer works I say this:

    Bullshit. Stop making excuses. You just don’t want to do the hard yards, you want to be gratified now and not tomorrow, you want an excuse. I do not buy it at all.

    In fact, I think it highly likely that folks that do the hard work may be even more likely to succeed now than thirty years ago.

    Why? Because current competition sucks. College students are studying 12 hours per week. I studied fifty. People are getting in debt instead of saving. People are avoiding responsibility instead f embracing it.

    For instance, my accountant says their biggest challenge is finding new partners – young accountants do not want to do it. He says t has NEVER been easier to make partner at his firm, as there is no competition.

    Here are my work hours over the decades:

    Undergrad: 60 hours per week
    Grad school: approx. 105 hours per week
    20- 30: 90+ hours per week
    30 – 40: 75+ hours per week
    40 – 50 70 hours per week approx.
    50+: 25 hours per week and up, depending on exact circumstance. 15 weeks a year off.

    How many of you saying it will not work put in those kind of hours getting an education?
    How many put in those hours getting experience and skills in your twenties? How many put in those hours during your thirties and forties grinding your competition into dust?

    Sound of crickets.

    You think that that kind of effort and dedication and planning and execution will go unrewarded given the current opposition and sense of entitlement out there? Really?

    From a young age I was promoted over the top of older and very experienced managers. By the time I as 29 I was running major manufacturing plants, plants with many hundreds of employees working for me and dozens of managers younger than me.

    So I say again bullshit. I would have eaten this current batch of pussies alive.

    Cling to the “it will not work today” fairytale if it helps you avoid the truth or avoid confronting what you need to do.

    You think that putting in 4000 to 5000 hours a year for thirty years will not pay off, when everyone else is working 1800 and going into debt? That is ridiculous.

  81. Meant to say dozens of manages older than me. I was always the youngest senior manager.

    Coyote if there are I am sure you will find them. Hope that works out for you!

  82. Hey Llpoh,

    You are either a liar or a loser. Anyone working that many hours is only one or the other.

    Incidentally, I call bullshit. You worked 15 hrs/day in grad school? Bullshit. I did three degrees including Law and didn’t work that much per day, even when I was teaching. Unless you are a slave, you are not working that much. That is your third option, by the way.

  83. SAH – you need to take a breath and re-evaluate. You are still young. Just working a job and being thrifty is not enough. You need to work, educate, save, and be thrifty over decades. You have not done that yet, and you ma have left out some steps and/or time/effort.

    You said you worked nine years as a paralegal. What education do you have? Paralegal does not strike me as a financial mecca, so in my opinion you worked nine years for little professional gain. That experience has not given you a competitive advantage in your current field.

    What hours are you currently working? How are you making up any educational or experience deficit? How are you separating yourself from your competition? Do you have a mentor?

    Working and being thrifty is not enough. You have to be smarter, better educated, harder-working, than your competition, and also financially smart.

    Hand on heart – have you really done enough? Have you spent 20,000 hours educating yourself? If not, why not?

    You have done much right. But the road is long and hilly.

  84. Llpoh says: “By the time I as 29 I was running major manufacturing plants, plants with many hundreds of employees working for me and dozens of managers younger than me. So I say again bullshit. I would have eaten this current batch of pussies alive.”

    You were 29 approximately when? 1980? I was 29 in 2007. There basically aren’t any manufacturing plants in the USA to manage anymore. Your story illustrates just how obsolete the old model is. If you had been 29 in 2007, would that opportunity even exist? There have to be manufacturing jobs to have manufacturing managers.

    How much did undergrad and grad cost in the 1970s? Do you think how quickly college prices have gone up, and how much wages have stagnated and declined has no effect?

    I’m happy for you, old man. I really am. You got the golden ticket. Congrat-u-fucking-lations, you had the good fortune of being born a member of the most fortunate and lucky generation in the entire course of human history, and you made the most of it. And now you get to watch your children and grandchildren inherit a world that is in far worse shape than you found it. Must feel good. No wonder the denial.

  85. Carlos – you are an idiot. I held a 15 – 20 hour a week job, plus classes plus study. Routinely worked fifteen hour days.

    I went to a top business school for my MBA. Top MBA schools work you to death. Their reps depend on putting out grads that have extreme work ethics. We lost half the class the first year.

    Law school – so fucking what. There are thousands of law degree mills out there. Any dolt can get one. You are exhibit one proving that.

    Like so many others Carlos the shithead thinks just because he was not capable of that kind of workload, no one is.

    How is that degree mill piece of paper working out for you, asshole?

  86. SAH – public schools today cost less than the schools I went to. Nice try there, tho. A person can still get an education without going into terminal debt. Work a full time job and go to school full time is one option. That is 80 hour weeks. It can be done. The horror!

    You are making excuses. Today, I would perhaps chosen a different field. Software a likely option. You have to adapt.

    Keep telling yourself it is impossible. I am sure that will work out for you in the long run.

    Believe or do not. Do or do not. Whatever.

  87. DC – there are thousands and thousands of very profitable small businesses available now and over the next fifteen years. Anyone interested need only ask any small to kid-sized accounting firm to find them. Those firms ill have clients desperate to retire, but cannot offload their businesses to allow them to do so.

    If a person is creative, they can get into one very cheaply. Buy half. Owner finance. Sweat equity. Etc etc.

    But the buyer must have good skills and work ethic. Otherwise avoid this option like the plague.

  88. You think Yale is better! Bah. Humbug. Dartmouth is a teaching college, or was in my time. Yale is a research institute. Good school tho. Going to Yale should not have lead to insurmountable debt load. The Ivies do not tend to work that way.

  89. SAH – crisis and adversity offer especially ripe opportunity for some. You can be the some.

    Folks dan still go to state schools and work part or full time to get an education. They will need to supplement that with personal study to really get educated though.

  90. SAH take a look at interest rates for houses back in the seventies and early eighties. Guess why maybe prices were lower then. Current interest rates are much more favorable.

    That last chart is crap.

  91. llpoh

    Please let up just for one moment so we kin all take the time to vomit. What a sanctimonious redman you are.

    Hey, here’s an alternative perspective – maybe instead of being some kind of single minded automton who whittles away his youth in a supporting role for the American industrial complex, Billy Jr decides to travel Europe while his knees kin still handle some walkin. Maybe with a broader experiential base in his youth he’ll be able to find something better to do in his 60’s than whittle away his evenings bragging about how everyone should wish they had followed the same depressingly narrow career path as our favorite little injun did.

    What about that llpos?

  92. IS – you are 47. You have positioned yourself for promotion and have done the right things.

    What I say really is this. If people spend decades doing the right things, acquiring the right skills, getting the right education, saving and being thrifty, invariably something good will come of it.

    People get promoted. Or they get good at finding bargain investments for their money. Or they get good enough to start their own business. Something good inevitably happens. Luck is the intersection of hard work and preparation, or something like that the saying goes.

    Will it work for every single person. No, I suppose it will not. But I have never known anyone to do it that does not end up in a pretty good spot.

    Sometimes folks do all the wrong things and still end up covered in roses. But I do jot like their odds – that is pure luck.

    Do the right things, get better than the competition, and luck has a way of finding you. It is a giant economy. There will be winners, for sure. And the competition gets worse and worse. They give up, or do not prepare, or convince themselves it is impossible.

    What is impossible is a dirt poor redskin offspring from a dustbowl Okie going to an Ivy, getting an MBA, running big factories around the world and growing a successful business. That is impossible. Look it up – the stats will tell you so. It cannot be done. It is impossible.

    Hard work, education, thrift, saving will overcome a lot of bad odds. I know it for sure and certain.

  93. Dumbass billy’s wife. By the time I was early twenties I had travelled the world, and had studied at a couple of Europe’s finest universities. Gee, I guess you can have it all. But I did it with a plan. The plan you propose for little billy is bullshit in the long run. Hope he likes Alpo in retirement.

    You know nothing about me. Envy is a terrible thing.

      1. Llpoh

        You should see the comments on other websites that posted this article. They are outraged that I question their lack of savings. Nothing but excuses and finger pointing. They can’t refute my facts, so they just resort to vitriol. Boomers are so predictable. It’s never their fault. The greatest 20 year bull market in history and they somehow failed to save a dime. Nothing but sob stories, as if every person on this earth hasn’t dealt with adversity and setbacks in life.

        The number of whiny pussies in this country is breathtaking to behold. Personal responsibility is an unknown concept. Frugality is laughed at.

        They will get no sympathy from me.

        They should take the Foo Fighters new song to heart.

  94. The author is simply looking at the effects of something without examining the causes.

    If the boomers hadn’t gone out and spent their money in the economy and saved/invested it instead, would the returns have been the same?

    If people hadn’t bought BMWs, Rolexs, Big homes, expensive vacations, HD TVs what would have been the economic effects and, more importantly, what would have been the effects on his investment portfolio?

    My point is, one persons financial asset it another persons debt and, looking forward, that “asset” is not going to be worth a great deal.

    1. lank35

      The author is simply saying that the way to accumulate wealth is to spend less than you make. Don’t try to refute the truth with bullshit. You seem to think consumption creates wealth. Savings is turned into investment – capital investment. Spending money you don’t have generates nothing.

      If people hadn’t OVERSPENT on BMWs, Rolexes, McMansions with money they did not have, we wouldn’t have had the tremendous booms and busts of the last 14 years.

      Your point is wrong. Most people from ages 45 and up have virtually no financial assets and are in debt up to their eyeballs. That is due to their choices.

      I hear nothing but excuses and redirection from people who chose not to spend less than they made.


  95. Admin, I could not be bothered to address the prick. If he does not understand savings results in capital which results in production which results in economic benefit, he is a complete dullard. Nice response to him.

  96. My mom retired in 1995 and sold her house. All the money went into CDs because she did not think the Stock Market was safe.

    Here is the graph of historical CD interest for the last 45 years.


    The highest rate she ever got through the period was around 6%, and it was often lower. When she died and the bank wanted me to roll over the CD, the interest rate was between 2-3%


    1. RE

      Are you capable of reading for comprehension? The fucking article talks about 1980 through 2000. Get that through your thick fucking skull. You read what you want to read and pick and choose your facts. The article was about what Boomers and Xers did from 1980 through 2000 when any idiot could have gotten fantastic returns in stocks, bonds, CDs or money markets. The article is about saving, not about investing.

      You attempt to misdirect the conversation. It’s what you do.

      Why don’t you send me another email whining about me being mean.

      You are out of your league on financial matters. Stick to your bullshit global warming doom and the impending ebola kill off of America.

      Your drivel is tiresome and repetitious. You are a one trick pony. Have you posted this article on the Diner, or are you too afraid to let your 10 readers see the truth?

  97. @ Reply RE

    When i look at that graph I see a wonderful investment opportunity for a saver from about Jan 1960 to about Jan 2002.

    You must remember RE, that the principal was fully insured and there were no commissions. For someone like your mom who wanted to avoid stock market risk and volatility, she did OK in my book.

    Had she been able to capture those wonderful yields of the Volcker era, the compounding from those glorious years for savers would have enhanced her over all yield significantly.

    Slow and steady compounding, minimal risk, adds up to some serious dough for the conscientious saver.

    It’s the old turtle and hare story, and she was able to sleep at night.

  98. There’s a simple point that the younger folk here miss completely or just don’t believe. It was always hard, and usually required extraordinary effort to gain an equity stake in life if you started from ordinary circumstances. It might have been easier to get a decent job and go through life on cruise, but to truly rise wasn’t going to happen without being the most relentless beast in your jungle.

  99. @Reply starfcker

    Not sure about that star,

    With the advent of mutual funds, DRIPS, IRA’s, 401k’s etc it became relatively easy to get an equity stake in America with very limited amounts of capital.

    The financial industry came up with endless products for the small investor of limited means to get a piece of the pie. Major firms like Vanguard, Fidelity, Dreyfus etc. were constantly advertising and promoting equity related savings programs for small investors, as well as most Blue Chip corporations with DRIP plans. Many were even commission free or no load as they were called.

  100. Star – I think maybe we dan get along. I will ask Steph not to pee in your soup.

    Golden – the issue is that the boomers did not do it, easy, hard, whatever. They saved nada. And now they are looking for scape goats and to steal from the young.

    Fuck them. Ignorant evil assholes. I am ashamed of my generation.

  101. GO, i’m not talking about little paper claims. I’m talking about owning and harnessing the means of production. No disrespect at all to working hard and salting a bit away. My friends and peers all own and run old school businesses. All my family on my mom’s side raise cattle and citrus. Production. Farming, mining, manufacturing. Real fucking GDP. 40 hours a week won’t get you there.

  102. Llpoh

    Shirley you realize not every injun gits ter go ter europe. If you ain’t totally plum ass fill of shit which is my inclernation, you have to understand it takes a shit load of wage slaves ter support yer imaginary previous life.

    You also must realize, being a dirty stinking savage, that alpo truly ain’t that bad when mixed with a generous portion of ketchup and slathered on some wunderbread. When Billy was findin his self ( at the business end of a 300 lb negro) and not generating any SNAP benefits me n Billy Jr raided the neighbors dog bowl many a time.

  103. First, I’d like to say that I was not trying to be an ass saying Admin shows disdain for all groups; if he wasn’t willing to expose fuckedom’s foibles everywhere he sees them, he wouldn’t be a great journalist.

    On with my comment:

    I felt all 39 lashes from admins whip. if only we had had a crystal ball, we were the generation that landed on our knees after Viet Nam, high gas prices and 20% unemployment in some places, it was only Reagan’s morning in America bullshit that got us spending again.

    The market flew upwards once Reagan began easing the double digit interest rates Carter imposed to fight inflation. I recall thinking this run up couldn’t last and the crash of 87 proved it. Even when we heard wild predictions the market would go to 10,000 and a book predicted Dow 30,000 we kept looking over our shoulder for another crash.

    The Clinton market bubble became a formula for every president after him. No president wants to be the president that lost Wall Street. Even if you have to start a meaningless war in the middle east. The market is going to 55,000, you’ll see.

  104. Golden – the issue is that the boomers did not do it, easy, hard, whatever. They saved nada. And now they are looking for scape goats and to steal from the young.

    Fuck them. Ignorant evil assholes. I am ashamed of my generation.

    I hear you lipoh and feel the exact same way.

    They were always very immature, and many of them ridiculed folks that worked hard and saved. It is very trite and I apologize but the old Grasshopper and Ants story always comes to mind in this discussion

    Sorry Star, Should have known you were on a different level, forgive the new boy here, still learning.


  105. “Had she been able to capture those wonderful yields of the Volcker era, the compounding from those glorious years for savers would have enhanced her over all yield significantly.”-GO

    In the 1980s she was making just about enough money to make the mortgage payments. The house WAS her savings. There was no extra money around to drop into CDs at that time. As an investment it did pretty good for her since it was purchased for I think $35K and sold for around $150K. Had she retired a few years later she would have done much better, as the NYC RE market skyrocketed, and it resold for $300K.

    She didn’t have to live off the interest, it was bonus money since she had SS and a Pension from one of her jobs.

    In order to save money and invest you have to have a surplus. If you make at or below the median income in any given time period, your bills generally don’t allow for much savings.


  106. Llpoh takes a bucket of shit on this thread. Too bad. He says ….

    “It takes thirty years (to accumulate wealth) ……. thirty years folks. No fucking shortcuts.”

    He’s right. Then again, he may be wrong. It may take longer.

    “Success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.” Tiresome advice, but true.

  107. “Golden – the issue is that the boomers did not do it, easy, hard, whatever. They saved nada. And now they are looking for scape goats and to steal from the young.

    Fuck them. Ignorant evil assholes. I am ashamed of my generation.

    I hear you lipoh and feel the exact same way.”

    Actually, this is not true. Most folks in the 45-54 Age Range category have savings of $50K or more. The Median amount of savings for this demographic is $101K

    Ages 45-54

    Among 45- to 54-year-olds, the greatest percentage (56%) had savings of between $25,000 and $499,999. The median amount saved in this age range was $101,000.

    A full fifth of respondents in this age group had $100,000 to $249,999 dollars saved for retirement, making this the top answer for people of these ages.
    But, unfortunately, a slightly smaller percentage had more than half a million saved than in the 33-44 age group: 6% in this age group have over half a million dollars while 8% in the lower age group have that much.
    Also, 15% still have savings of $24,999 or less, which indicates they need to focus heavily on saving until they retire.

    Almost a quarter (23%) said they did not know or preferred to not reveal how much they have in retirement.

    RELATED: What We Can Learn From Would-Be Retirees

    Want to dissect the results for yourself? Check out our chart.
    Amount Saved 25-32 33-44 45-54
    Less than $5,000 26% 6% 6%
    $5,000 to $9,999 15% 7% 5%
    $10,000 to $24,999 15% 15% 4%
    $25,000 to $49,999 16% 9% 10%
    $50,000 to $99,999 7% 17% 13%
    $100,000 to $249,999 8% 13% 20%
    $250,000 to $499,999 1% 8% 13%
    $500,000 to $999,999 0% 7% 3%
    More than $1,000,000 0% 1% 3%
    Don’t know/Prefer not to say 12% 17% 23%
    Average $37,000 $157,000 $219,000
    Median $12,000 $61,000 $101,000

    Obviously, the amount anyone has depends on how high their income was over the savings period. The top fifth percentile with $250K or more in savings likely had high incomes through their years of savings.

    It’s a myth that Boomers did not save. Plenty of Boomers saved, the Boomers who made higher than the median income. This is commons sense.


    1. Re quotes some obscure survey of 1,300 fucking people who had retirement plans as his response to an article, based on comprehensive Federal Reserve data of actual facts.

      What a pathetic douchebag debater.

  108. Excellent summation with respect to llpoh and admin. It really is as simple as spending less than you make and saving some for tomorrow. My life mirrors llpoh both in years and time spent at the job. The extra hours I put in years ago allowed me to pay shit off much faster than my peers and they all lived for the day. I am having the last laugh, and really couldn’t give two shits about their plight in life.
    None of them listened then as none will listen today. Turtle always wins the race.

  109. Obviously I won’t post an Ideological article like this one on the Diner, anymore than I would post any of the trash you write in your 30 Blocks of Squalor or People of Walmart articles. Its all Libertarian Propaganda. I post your articles that do good economic analysis, and this one does not qualify. It is complete trash.

    You accuse me of lieing about what the return rates were on CDs, when the records are right there for everyone to read. You lie through your teeth and accuse me of lieing. You are full of shit, a complete ideologue and propaganda artist.

    I did write a rebuttal to this piece of trash, it is up on the Diner now. Obviously I will not send it your way for a Cross Post. LOL.


    1. RE

      Fuck you. You are so fucking stupid you can’t read your own fucking chart. The chart confirmed exactly what I said in the article.

      You’re fucking done on TBP. I will never post your drivel again.

      Don’t send me another email, you fucking piece of shit.

      Enjoy the sound of one hand clapping on your website.

  110. “Stucky, congratulations on little Rena. What is her middle name… ” ——— Maggie

    Her middle name is “Grace”. (BTW … my first name is ‘Nicholas’ …ha!)

    We went to see her again yesterday. Lots of babies are butt-ugly … but not baby Rena (and I would be truthful if she was). She’s just ADORABLE. I held her for an hour. Interesting how when you put your finger in the palm of her hand … she immediately latches onto it, even while sleeping. If only my moobs produced milk, I would have fed her.

  111. I am stunned ……. STUNNED, I tell you!!! …………….. that Llpoh’s post @4:31 is getting thumbs down.

    I can only assume those people are either jealous, or simply cry “bullshit!” about working hard …. for the man.

    Due to WWII, my dad never even completed grade school. Came to this country with a couple bucks in his pocket. He’s about 90 now. Has some money, not much but lives comfortably enough, house paid for, and such things. He worked his ass off, and saved ….. and with the exception of the house, NEVER EVER bought anything on credit. Never owned a credit card …. still doesn’t even have a debit card …. in his life. That’s about it.

    But, I’m sure SAH and Clams would say …….. “THAT WAS THEN … THIS IS NOW …. IT CAN’T BE DONE NOW!!!!!!!!”. This is a crockery of shittery.

    Hewlett Packard (USA) back in 1989 was divided into four regions. In 1989 I was recognized as HP’s number 1 employee in the Midwest Region (for the sales and pre-sales and support organizations). Honestly, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. HP tended to hire Ivy Leaguers and those from Top Universities …. not those from podunk NJ colleges … and so I competed against thousands of those folks. I won for one reason, and one reason only. I followed my father’s footsteps. Persistence! I decided that nobody, and I mean NOBODY was going to out-work me. And, they did not. So, I won.

    So, go ahead and vote this down as well. THAT doesn’t take much work.

    I’m writing a post that will go up the day before Thanksgiving … no title yet, but it will be about correcting perceptions and myths about the American Indian. I’m certainly not qualified to write about it, but I know how to do research …. that’s a LOT of work.

    I love work.

  112. RE

    “One should not shit where one eats”
    —-old Austrian proverb

    You stepped over the line, Sweet Jeebus, you stepped over the line.

    Now YOU’RE toast!

    Got regrets?

    Feel free to post any of my original articles on DD … I need moar followers!! (even though they hardly ever get more than a few comments)

  113. Nice going Stucky. I’m sure your strong character and marvelous personality had a lot to do with your success at HP as well.

    Rena appears to have totally captured your heart already; she sounds like one awfully sweet young lady.

  114. Golden, no apology nesessary. Lipoh, i like to rumble, we’re fine. Jim’s timeline isn’t random, it coincides with Reagan. It was the best time ever to start a business. Government just got out of your way. It was extremely hard to raise capital, but if you were young and energetic, the sky was the limit. Work ethic, long term planning, resiliance, delayed gratification

  115. Several posters comment on not having enough income to save and invest. I never in my life got a steady paycheck over 300 bucks. So i worked overtime, got a second job, worked for tips, hustled. I bought my first house after an 18 month stint bartending. All my coworkers let that cash burn a hole in their pocket, i took mine home and saved it

  116. RE bites the dust. He has always bit the hand that feeds him. What a cur.

    Thanks Stuck. Amazing that you post that my post was good, and you get thumbs up, while the original gets shat upon. People cannot stand the idea of hard work. They call you a liar if you tell them how it was. My kid is currently working huge hours in grad school. Not quite what I did as he does not have to hold a job, but around 90 hours per week. It has come as a shock to his system, but he at least had some idea it as going to happen.

    Thanks SSS. Wish you would post more.

  117. Admin – you have shown remarkable restraint with RE over the years. I remember all the times he would scream you were censoring and hindering free speach if you would not post one of his steaming piles of shit. All the while he censored comments on his blog (justified it by saying he does not censor but only moves comments he does not like – to hidden areas on the blog no one can find).

    And he expects you to post his articles, and ADMITS half his traffic comes from your site. And then has the nerve to badmouth your stuff, and refuse to cross post it.

    He is, was, and always will be a steaming pile of shit.

  118. Just read the comments on this article at ZH. And I thought some posters here were dumb. I have never seen so many lame ass excuses in my life. Ie:

    1987 crash scared me so I stopped investing
    Child support
    Lost my job
    My parents did not teach me how to handle money
    Lost it all in 2001.
    Etc etc etc.

    Fucking bunch of losers.

  119. Preach on you stinky red devil. If the entire world was like you we’d all be drinkin ballvennies double wood every night and have one uh the inflatable weiner and whatnot. We could all devote our off time to interweb forums, rubbin all them dumbasses noses in the putrid shit of their wasted lives. If I knew who you really was I’d seek you out cuz Billy don’t have the same drive as you.

  120. I’ll give llpoh one thing. Working hard, foregoing creature comforts, eating out, vacations etc does pay off. No doubt about it. Always has, always will. I do wonder if those things will be enough for minnies to achieve a comparable level of success to that achieved by llpoh. One of the things that boomers and gen x’ers benefitted from was an ample supply of hard working successful individuals and entrepreneurs in their families and communities. “Good Examples” if you will. I think there is less of that nowadays. If ideas are not being inspired by success of those around you then success tends to die out like fatherhood and family in inner shitty black communities.

    Another thing is that a nice, big house, good job, nice cars and nice stuff has, for a long time been seen as symbols of success. Too many people acquire these things and incorrectly assume that they are now successful and maybe they are but the point is long term success. Each of us has a model of success in our minds, from first time poster Floyd (above) to LLPOH. Some might achieve what I have and consider it a success (I don’t….yet) and others like llpoh achieve their level of success and then relax. LLPOH apparently has reached the success level he was aiming for and is not beginning to relax and enjoy the fruits of the years of sacrifice. Still others like Warren Buffet, David Rockefeller, Bill Gates achieve llpoh’s level of success and keep digging well into their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond and become stupid rich.

    I happen to agree that there is NO SUBSTITUTE for several decades of hard, unrelenting work and sacrifice except for dumb luck. Of the two, hard work is the only one you can control.

    I’m 47 and my wife and I have always lived a pretty frugal life though not as frugal as llpoh claims to have lived and despite living below our means, saving money, foregoing temporary satisfactions and working hard it was not until 2005 that my wife and and I began to notice that those things were beginning to pay off. Savings started to look like “real money” as in we had more than we ever really thought we would have. It’s odd but it just sort of sneaks up on you. It’s sort of like paying a 30 year mortgage. For a long time that principal balance never seems to drop but then you notice the principal part of the payment begins exceeding the interest portion. You begin to see signs that your hard work is paying off. I think the hard part is to not get fooled and relax. Keep digging. Re-double you efforts even if only for a few years. Maybe take a second job for a few hours a day if OT is no available to you. Even if only for a couple years. Put all bonuses, raises and secondary income towards debt or savings. It will pay off!

    I have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off every week and I’m thinking about taking a second job for two days each weekend just to get a little further along. I don’t “need” the income but the long, cold, dark days of winter would be a great time to earn some extra FRN’s to increase my savings.

    My biggest obstacle to achieving my modest goal of economic security, besides the ciminal theft by my govt., is the fact that I no longer trust the markets. I understand that reward comes with risk and I’m willing to tolerate some risk but I’m not willing to tolerate outright theft or complete devaluation of “paper” assets. Hard assets may someday make me wildly rich but they come with significant risk in the current environment. My savings should be working as hard for me as I worked for them by now but I do not trust the markets. How the hell do I get past that today?

  121. Iank35 says:
    “If the boomers hadn’t gone out and spent their money in the economy and saved/invested it instead, would the returns have been the same?”

    Absolutely the returns would have been better! If they had lived below their means and simply put the extra money in savings at a bank they would still have been better off than they are today. As llpoh said here or in another thread recently, they would have controlled TRILLIONS of dollars in capital. Instead, the boomers went into massive fucking debt and transferred all of that capital to the banks and bankers.

  122. IS – congrats on how you are going.

    Re being frugal, staying home with family, tossing a burger on the bbq instead of eating out, etc. Was not exactly a punishment. We were not suffering at all. We were well fed and warm and safe. But we did not spend money on what we did not need. Wanting is not needing.

    And they payoff is we now get to have anything we want – forevermore.

    It is not that hard. Just say no, and have a supportive partner.

  123. Reverse Engineer says:
    “Obviously I won’t post an Ideological article like this one on the Diner, anymore than I would post any of the trash you write in your 30 Blocks of Squalor or People of Walmart articles. Its all Libertarian Propaganda. I post your articles that do good economic analysis, and this one does not qualify. It is complete trash.”

    I wonder if admin judges your articles here with the same standards and critical eye? I don’t know, but I do suspect, he is more generous than that. One of the points of blogging is to challenge your readers beliefs. Admin seems to be better at that AND economics.

    FWIW, the PoWM posts are not articles written by admin. Do you not know that? PoWM is Libertarian propaganda?

  124. I may not pass and lose access to TBP forever but I think admin SHOULD require an IQ test before people can post comments. Jeebuz!

  125. IS – a small business from home can spin some cash and some nice deductions too.

    For several years we ran a small Admin business doing typing, monthly statements etc for small biz, and made about a grand a month.

  126. LLPOH, like I said on the FED thread, I may have an incredible opportunity coming here in the next five years or so. It won’t be owning my own business but more in having knowledge and skills that less than five people in the world will have and I’d be one of only two still actively using those skills in a growing market. It basically comes down to my employers failing to plan and that will give me a big position of strength. My current boss and former Co. owner agrees that I likely have a huge opportunity ahead of me. Should this event come to pass, I’d love to pick your brain. I still have a lot to learn and the next crash may not be kind to my employers but I’m not too worried about that.

  127. I meant to say above:
    “LLPOH apparently has reached the success level he was aiming for and is NOW beginning to relax and enjoy…”

  128. @Harsh Reality

    I posted a joke. It went over your head. Evidently, it is you who have never been married. Or worse still, you married a woman who has never bothered to concern herself with your family budget.

    Second point would be that you are either a young whippersnapper or a very old, non-repentant brain-dead 60’s hippy.

    Third point is how disgusting and misleading your ‘Harsh Reality’ misnomer is, as you probably have no experience with harsh reality. I hope and pray you never will, despite the fact that it would do you a whole lot of good to actually face and overcome harsh reality. Unfortunately for you, your day is coming, and soon.

    Research what Stucky has posted here on TBP, regarding his mother’s ‘harsh reality,’ then get back to us.

    After reading Stucky’s account of his mother’s abuse, I was unable to post here. Recalling my own mother and father-in-law’s account of “harsh reality” was so painful to recall that I quite literally shut down.

    So, Harsh Reality, I will continue to hope and pray that you don’t live long enough to witness your entire family butchered, and live to be the only survivor. Unless or until that happens, how dare you claim to know anything about harsh reality.

  129. Wow! I just finished reading all the comments on this thread and RE really “slipped in the shit” to put it mildly. Way to shit the bed RE! Congrats!

    FWIW, I wrote him off as a loser and danger to those around him when he admitted to paying off his education debt with a credit card and then intentionally going bankrupt on the credit card. Never went back to his site after that.

    Integrity……… either has some………..or you don’t.

  130. “It is not that hard (to achieve financial well being).. Just say no, and have a supportive partner.”

    100% true. The big part of that equation is a supportive partner. My wife and I are in a comfortable situation because of ………

    My wife and I.

  131. SSS – dead right.

    I cringe whenever I hear couples are not on the same page financially. When one wants to go on an expensive vacation, and the other wants to save for a rainy day, it leads to many many problems.

    My wife is a godsend. She never wanted things. Family first, and save for our future. I am very fortunate.

  132. A few weeks back I made mention of a meal I had made that was sourced entirely from the bounty of our land and work. Someone who read it divided the cost by the purchase price of our property and concluded that that single meal cost several thousand dollars to eat as opposed to his 80 cent can of chili. He had made a sound financial decision, I was a fool. If that meal had been the only thing we ever got from our decision to buy this place and become farmers it would have been a foolish purchase indeed. Of course that was a ridiculous analysis of our cost benefit, but he had a point. Had I ever really looked at the value of what we had decided to do in purely economic terms and was it worth it. As I commented above not everything we do in life can be boiled down to a monetary equation, that there are some investments we make that aren’t denominated in federal reserve notes yet which still bring value to our lives. Not one person responded to that comment and I decided I had been mistaken to leave out the accounting aspect.

    Yesterday we took a break from splitting food to go look at a small stand of pine and mixed hardwood hat we had filed an intent to cut on. The piece is oddly shaped with some wet, marshy areas but it makes up the eastern boundary to the property and because of the age and size of the pines on it- over sixty years and close to one hundred feet- it has cast a shadow on a much larger piece of grazing land as well as affect the ph of the soil. We had tagged all the oaks we were leaving as well as the sugar maples and tried to get a count on the board feet the stand contained. It was nice walk since the ground had frozen and it gave us an opportunity to really get a feeling for how the cut would expand the adjoining pasture. We’d install new fence afterwards, of course, and maybe rebuild a section of rock wall along the neighbors land, but that was work for another time after the timbering was done. The land was on a grade and fell several hundred feet from the northern end to the southern most point. The total acreage was only two and half or three acres at most, but the age of the trees added dimension and gave us enough board feet to equal a stand twice that size.

    I mention these things because there is a valuation to them. I have come to a point in my life where I think far less in terms of dollars and cents and more in terms of future yields and fertility. However, after a couple of days of reflection based on some comments I read I thought it might be a worthwhile exercise to try and figure out the dollar amounts connected to this sliver of land and it’s future outputs. The cost of the land was tied up in the original purchase which included the house and buildings. Dividing from the total purchase price by acre would skew the numbers, that and the fact that this particular piece was not prime land, but marginal at best. We had made a purchase of an adjoining parcel a couple of years ago that was similar, so I will rely on that figure for my cost basis. Let’s say that the approximate value at current rates would be around $2,000. I estimate that we will harvest approximately 25,000 board feet of pine at a current price of $1,800 per one thousand board foot. Our cost for cutting, clearing and trucking are approximately 75 cents a board foot. The town must be paid a tax based on stumpage- in other words for every tree cut whether it is top quality or rotten- leaving us with a total income on the pine of $20,000. From that I subtract 10% for wear and tear on our tools and equipment, gas and oil for the chainsaws, etc. and we are left with $18,000. We’ll harvest approximately 20 cords of firewood @ $300 per cord for an additional $5,400 (minus 10% for expenses noted above). When completed the number of remaining sugar maples with give us an additional 125- 150 taps with a production rate of one gallon per tap, annually. Syrup currently retails for $60 per gallon, $40 in bulk sales so we’ll use an average of $50 per gallon. There are an additional 100-150 taps potentially on that line based on the number of seedling and saplings. This figure will not generate an income for 15 years, but it is part of the calculation. The remaining oaks each produce enough mast to feed the pigs in the Fall. Calculating the feed rate of mast is next to impossible, but let us assume that out of our total herd size annually, one pig is produced from the nourishment provided in that stand. A single harvested hog will net us $250. This figure is an annuity. When completely harvested and seeded and returned to pasture the total free land will produce approximately 300 bales of hay with one cut, 450 if we get two for an annual average production of 375 bales. The price per bale is currently $4-$5. Less costs in baling (50%) we have a total annual income of just over$2,000. Since we do not sell our hay but use it to feed our livestock based on annual consumption of hay per animal, the hay produced is enough to feed a steer to harvest. Live, on the hoof prices are currently $2.25 per pound. Hanging weight if slaughtered goes for $4.50 per pound and yields 65% of live weight.We harvest at 2 years an under for an average live weight of half a ton. Our average beef income on that single piece of newly cleared land will average $2,500 per year.

    You may have noticed that the one figure I do not include is my labor. I do this for several reasons, first because we do not hire labor on our farm, we do it ourselves because we want to and because we love it. If I were living my old life I would have paid someone to let me do what I do now. I no longer belong to a gym and pay dues because I get all the fitness training I need doing what I do and am in better shape than I was when I did belong to a gym. I get all my meals right here and they are both nutritive and delicious. I have a quality of life that exceeds my wildest expectations and that I couldn’t imagine putting a price on, but if I did it would exceed a $20 an hour pay rate. With the exception of two injuries in the past 6 years (broken wrist, distal bicep rupture) I have not been to see a doctor nor have I taken any medication. I don’t know what the savings in health insurance/health care has been, but based on my last plan it is a minimum of 20-30K. So labor, as far as I’m concerned, is a wash.

    The cost of the land- the ‘investment” for economic folks- was $2,000. The net return on the one year harvest- will be over $20,000. The annualized returns of the product of that effort- the maple syrup, the beef and pork production sustained by the organic matter of that clearing effort- will be $9,000, in perpetuity.

    There are plenty of factors that could affect the annual returns in either direction- if we get a cow calf as opposed to a bull calf she will produce between 10-20 calves during her life greatly expanding our returns on beef. Same for the pigs. If we have a sow who throws two litters per year of 10 piglets we quadruple the return on pork. Of course things could also go the other way if there is a drought (we live on the side of a mountain with numerous springs, streams, wells and cisterns) or if we have severe fluctuations in commodities prices.

    If we had taken our lifetime savings and placed them into a 401K rather than our homestead we would still have to live with the risks of the market. We’d still be paying for energy. We still be buying food, paying our mortgage, health insurance and deductibles, water bills, vacations and distractions, health club, etc. I can’t even begin to figure in the benefits this lifestyle has brought my children and our marriage. I spend the majority of my life in the company of the people I love and care for the most, I get to share with them not only the skills and experiences of self reliance, but the health benefits and intellectual stimulation of living in tune with nature and the seasons. By carefully balancing our income with our improvements we can keep our tax burden at a manageable level where as successful consumers it was onerous. We also enjoy some of the finest meals on a daily basis and deep sleep unencumbered by anxiety and the restlessness that attends a sedentary lifestyle.

    There is a hidden economy in our world that is ours for the taking. It requires hard work, physically demanding labor and long term planning based on timelines much further apart than paydays. There are fewer opportunities for consumer goods and vacations, we do not clothe ourselves in the latest fashions ( I spent the better part of our Friday date night sewing patches on my overalls while my wife and I talked and enjoyed a glass of wine by candlelight) and we haven’t got any of the I-gadgetry that has been at the center of everyone’s lives these days. What we do have is a life based on the pillars of family, industry and an accord with Nature.

    To me there is no more sound investment than that.

  133. FWIW, I wrote him off as a loser and danger to those around him when he admitted to paying off his education debt with a credit card and then intentionally going bankrupt on the credit card. Never went back to his site after that.

    Integrity……… either has some………..or you don’t.

    Hard to believe IS, but he considers it a mark of his superior intelligence. An amazing example of sell love and delusions of grandeur.

    “You Gotta Game The System” is a lesson he teaches his flock with pride and much self admiration.

  134. I save silver/gold, lead, food, cash, and I work toward being as self sufficient as possible. No dividends but no debt; it’s all Millennials can trust these days.

    Great article and a great song to inspire it!

  135. Makes sense Justin, No one can predict the future but at least you are trying to cope in a sane and responsible manner.

    Not many places you can put your trust in these days, and it’s a problem that more groups than the millennials have. Being self sufficient as much as possible certainly alleviates some of the problem.

  136. Excellent article and comments especially from Llpoh.

    An uncle on my mother’s side of the family is the only one (so far) to reach millionaire status. After returning from the Korean War, Uncle Herman worked for someone else for a few years, then decided to start a welding, metal-working business out of his garage. I remember this because my father loaned him $1,000 to get started in the middle or late 50’s, a significant amount of money back then.

    After 10 years of working 70-hour weeks, he was a CEO of a non-public company that manufactured truck-bed tool boxes. Herman was very good with “numbers” and was very strict with his employees as I recall. I don’t think he even had any formal education in business either. Quite remarkable in many ways.

    Most people do not want to pay the price to get ahead or become wealthy: it’s too harsh and difficult. It’s really that simple.

  137. GO, does anyone call him out on that bullshit or do they just fulfill the role of sycophants?

    The thing I’ve noticed about most hoomans is that they constantly give clues as to their true personalities. The amazing part is how few people seem to pick up on it.

    My best friend is a guy I’ve known for 20 years. He has a neighbor who has a small, hobby machine shop in his back yard and I occasionally employ him to make things I dream up. He usually asks me to hang around when he’s just doing a small job that won’t take long. Thing is, this guy gossips more than ten women. What I noticed was that if anyone else was around he acted like their best friend but the minute they left he talked a non-stop stream of bullshit about them. One day he brought up his neighbor, my best friend, and started to run him into the ground like he was the biggest piece of shit on Earth. I cut him off midway through his diatribe and asked what he told others about me when I wasn’t around? He looked genuinely shocked before saying he would never do that to me. I told him it was my observation that he talked shit about everyone……behind their back and reasoned that since this was the case that there was no way he did not talk shit about me in my absence. At that point he suggested I find someone else to have my things made. I’d bet $100 that RE is the same kind of guy or worse.

  138. “You Gotta Game The System” is a lesson he teaches his flock with pride and much self admiration.

    There are a lot of persons making a business out of that idea, from SS planners to money lending or borrowing. How did that work out for Lehman o Bear Sterns? Yet every rube coming down the pike thinks he’s got a sure-fire scheme, ask Bernie Madoff.

  139. “GO, does anyone call him out on that bullshit or do they just fulfill the role of sycophants?”

    Very few do IS, and they are immediately ostracized, ridiculed, censored, until they leave or are forced out by the treatment they receive from him or his gophers. They are a hand picked group of his bummy lickers that he gives power over to censor, remove postings, throw in a dungeon he created, etc, all kinds of silly childish shit, anyone he decries as a CONTRARIAN to his idiotic rantings

    He speaks of liberty, free speech, fairness, but it is all a crock of lying shit.

    His sycophants are a sorry group, they stand in line eagerly to kiss his ass and praise his every silly utterance. He constantly proclaims to the nit wits that they have the POWER OF GOD as Admins on his site, power that he bestowed on them. An amazingly dim group of gophers.

    it would be nice to think he is being taught a lesson, but he is banned from so many reputable sites like this, that it is hard to keep count. The Automatic Earth, Karl Denningers, just recently Zero Hedge, now TBP, to name a few, that he is no doubt used to it.

    He is a strange one, complete hypocrite, grand blowhard of all blowhards, who demands on his site that he be taken seriously in all matters and treated with respect. A sick puppy indeed, who will do anything for recognition and Alexa ratings, his only goals in life. He wants to be the “Super Star of Doom”

    It’s not fair to not mention some good things about someone you are speaking about in unflattering terms.

    The Diner was a great place at one time early on. Free speech was sacred and we attracted some wonderful posters of great merit. It was a pleasure to meet them and learn something from them. We formed friendships, we fought, argued, we were free and the place had the wonderful smell of fresh air and honest conversation, even though tempers got out of control at times.

    Those were the Glory Days of the Diner, that credit has to be given to it’s founder. Such is Life, Power seems to always corrupt.

  140. Golden – We here at TBP have know the asshole RE for a very long time. Everything you say is true. He is the most hypocritical beast ever encountered.

    Many are the times he has screamed and abused the Admin for “censorship” while openly admitting he sensors at will on his site. When he posts (thank God that is over with) something on TBP, he includes about 8 links (no shit – around 8!) to his own site in the very first paragraph or 2. I have never known anyone, anywhere to do such a ridiculous thing.

    He openly admits to shit that would make others too ashamed to show their faces in public. He is proud of having zero integrity. He used to decry that when he could no longer be self-sufficient, he would put himself on an iceflow or some such, as it is good for the world. What happened in reality? Off to the local apartment complex to live with those he has spent years ridiculing and abusing.

    He is a slimy piece of shit. Make no mistake.

  141. “Many are the times he has screamed and abused the Admin for “censorship” while openly admitting he sensors at will on his site. When he posts (thank God that is over with) something on TBP, he includes about 8 links (no shit – around 8!) to his own site in the very first paragraph or 2. I have never known anyone, anywhere to do such a ridiculous thing.”

    IIPOH, Yes, he is known for that link shit.

    Ilargi at TAE got pissed of about it and told him to quit WHORING on his site. The wise ass replied back to him with some nonsense and links to the diner in the posting. Ilargi declared him a smelly whore and banned him.

    Shame is not present anywhere in his makeup, or that of Lefty’s in general. Also the line he uses of hiding someones postings where no one can ever find them as not being censorship is a testament to what a phony he is.

    He recently declared the Diner was no longer free, that it was a dictatorship and he was PAPA DOC. That’s what a fraud he is. I started calling him Baby Doc after that. No shame, NONE WHATSOEVER.

    He is preparing the world for doom nowadays by giving lessons on how to cook Jack Daniels and egg omelets. And you are supposed to take him seriously, He’s as Mad as Hatter!

  142. Wow GO, people with those traits generally, deep down inside, know that they are scum but they still struggle to put on righteous airs. Pride is a terrible thing sometimes.

    I actually ran across The Diner twice before finding TBP several years ago. They were brief encounters and I likely did not find anything there of value. After finding TBP I went back a few times thinking I’d given up too early. I read a few things there from time to time but TBP had already captured my attention. When I got into a discussion here on TBP one night and he took pride in intentionally defaulting on his debt my scumbag meter pegged and that was it.

    You’ll like TBP. Things are on a pretty even keel here but it does turn into the wild west sometimes. The funny thing is that you can never tell what will set off a pissing contest around here. From what you describe about The Diner, you’re gonna love TBP. Just don’t be a pussy and never apologize!

  143. “today (age 37), done way better than most of my peers, and all I have is NOTHING (just no debt) to show for it. I have 2 little kids, and here the crisis is. WTF.”

    You have something to show for it. No debt.

    At age 42, I was in the same situation. Two kids, no debt. 20 years later. Much different story. In a takeoff to a title of a Bob Dylan song, “Save, Lady, Save.”

  144. “You’ll like TBP. Things are on a pretty even keel here but it does turn into the wild west sometimes.”

    Thanks IS, I’m already sure of it.

  145. You have something to show for it. No debt.

    Agreed SSS, A valuable asset that few possess these days.

    The ability to earn a dollar and keep it to yourself, not having to hand over half of it immediately to some friendly bankster who has you in bondage with his credit card usury.

  146. “He is a strange one …. grand blowhard of all blowhards, who demands ….. that he be taken seriously in all matters and treated with respect.”
    —-GO’s description of RE

    Sounds like me!!!! You should see the respect I get when I start in on illegal drugs. The love everyone shows me is suffocating.

  147. I don’t think Admin banned RE from the site. He merely told RE that he wasn’t going to post any more of RE’s articles on TBP. And he did it with classic Admin prose …… “You’re fucking done on TBP. I will never post your drivel again.” Heh, that brought a big smile to my face. And Admin can do that by sending RE’s guest post submissions to the trash bin.

    Take my word for it, Admin has been very tolerant of RE over the years. Very. If this were my blog, I’d have snapped long ago, even though I totally share Admin’s passionate belief in free speech. Enough is enough.

    1. SSS

      He is banned from commenting too. His comments always contain a link to his site.

      He will never get help from me again.

      I hate his fucking guts. I always have, but I tried to be the better man.

      He pushed me too far this time.

  148. I’m actually saddened to see RE banned from TBP. Although I never read any of his articles, since the old days back at RD, I will miss the subtle and not so subtle ass reaming snark born of some of his quirky verbose meanderings, (e.g, 700 million died, negroes don’t assault retards traversing black neighborhoods, pot latch was the best system of currency, evah…and on and on about gubermint and the Illuminati….every tool has it’s purpose and RE’s was the entertaining ass kickings he seemed to inspire others to deliver to his online persona….maybe be the retard for self-preservation was no act?

  149. You hate his fucking guts ?Woe to RE .Not sure what happened between you guys through the years but I’m glad you still love me and little bb.

  150. Admin

    Got it. Thanks for clarifying. As I said, “If this were my blog, I’d have snapped long ago.” Your level of tolerance is much higher than mine. Kudos to you, sir.

    @ Anonymous, who said, “You hate his fucking guts? Woe to RE. Not sure what happened between you guys through the years”

    Years ago, RE launched an unrelenting and unapologetic attack on Admin’s FAMILY, not him, but his family. He never backed off. Never. Do the math. It sat there like a ticking time bomb.

  151. Mr. Quinn, my thanks to you for your long and arduous efforts to keep this site afloat; it has made a difference to me personally. As a first year (1946) BB I would like to chip in my take, and situation on “retirement” readiness, etc. Belief in college, the corporate ladder, and a pension was ingrained at an early age. Our “father knows best” lives (which never existed outside tv land or ann landers columns) ran into the draft when us white trash couldn’t afford college; what a great red pill that experience was. It left many of us with a hatred and distrust of authority in all shapes we will carry to the grave. Made it tough to be a corporate ladder climber, sucking the asses of all those smartass young MBAs telling me to keep paying into the retirement fund. All they could see was the big bucks for being a dominatrix for the company. Then the PC world came in and the old shoes were tossed out for vibrants and feminazis. oops- there went the pension. at least I cashed out ahead of my overpriced suburban mcmansion and used what I had paid in to buy a farm in flyover country. At least I had started reading people like yourself before the SHTF starting in earnest in 2008.
    I feel for those who cannot see ahead, and urge them get out of their current situation to find freedom. No debt, No credit, No Income, No taxes. Freedom is indeed, nothin left to lose.
    My pittance of Social ain’t much- with a garden, a greenhouse, chickens, etc we will maintain until we can’t. We are happy to be poor and not owe nobody nothing, and give what we can of our knowledge and charity to our friends and neighbors. I feel that those who think they will have a retirement, or count on savings will be very disappointed when the PTB steal it from them. The only real savings are your strength and courage to become free from this endless treadmill of consumerism, debt, pointless involvement in politics, and all the trappings of the empire “matrix”. Thanks again, Jim.

  152. llpoh – “There is a lot of ranting around the MSM re “inequality”. It annoys the shit out of me in general.” I too have worked really hard, saved hard, done without, blah, blah. And, as Admin says, a lot did the opposite, choosing to live for the day and not for the future. These people tick me off too because now they expect to be bailed out, their debts forgiven (as if these debts magically appeared and had nothing to do with their lifestyle), etc. So they’re No. 1 Something for Nothings.

    But then there’s the No. 2 Something for Nothings – the 1% – who have and continue to gain their wealth through absolutely no work, through so-called “financial innovation”, fraud, corruption, monopolies. This is where the blatant, in-your-face inequality is coming from. To deny this is just stupidity. Yes, sure, the top 20% pay most of the taxes, but let’s get real where a lot of them get their money from – through a financial system where they are set up to win.

    So, yeah, there IS inequality.

    P.S. I never begrudge someone more money if they choose to work harder than me or are more talented, but I do get angry when they make it from nothing.

  153. Backwards – I object re the characterization of the 1%. A little research will reveal that what you say about the 1% is incorrect. The one percent is made up of doctors (lazy fucks who inherited their degrees, no doubt), lawyers, small businessmen and women, etc. – lazy fucks each and everyone, according to you.

    Re the top 20% – I do not begrudge them whatever affluence they have managed to scrape together. And the vast majority are not doing anything more than going about their business trying to secure their futures.

    The top 1% mantra is a lie. Wish people would stop using it.

    Now, if you substitute the top .05% or thereabouts (probably even less than that, as that is still 150,000 people) for top 1%, I can generally agree with your comments.

    But to chuck doctors, lawyers, small business folks into the same pot as the oligarchs is crap.

  154. “Although I never read any of his articles, since the old days back at RD”

    You didn’t miss anything Flash. Rantings of a Looney Tune with illustrations that reflect a sick, twisted demented mind.

    His financial stuff is plagiarism, stuff he reads at zero hedge mostly, twisted and contorted into his lunatic style and presented as if original. He never had an original thought in his entire life.

  155. llpoh – …lazy fucks each and everyone, according to you.” You apparently can’t read either. I said, “P.S. I never begrudge someone more money if they choose to work harder than me or are more talented, but I do get angry when they make it from nothing.”

    I was speaking above about the people “who have and continue to gain their wealth through absolutely no work, through so-called “financial innovation”, fraud, corruption, monopolies.” Do you think doctors fit that description? I did say “absolutely no work,” didn’t I?

    I’ll use the same words you used on Star: “What, you too stupid to read?”

  156. BE – I objected to your use of 1%. The one percent is not made up of lazy fucks – quite the contrary

    As I said, I largely agree with you save you are overstating the percentages. It is the. 05 percent, not the 1 percent.

  157. llpoh – fine, but I never called anyone “lazy fucks”. It takes work to make “something from nothing”, or at least a lot of campaign contributions and lobbyist fees. 1% (3 million people) haven’t made a good chunk of their money from capital gains?

  158. Not one of you seems to realize that if it weren’t for all those folks spending their last dime (and far more),all those wonderful investment products and opportunities for the savvy Wall street crowd would not have materialized. Such hubris! We should at least admit that a great portion of our wealth was gained on the backs of the workers who worked hard to produce the product then giving back all their wages and future wages until the day they die……,

  159. Dan, isn’t that cannabilism?

    We traded production for Wall St hubris.

    They PRODUCE nothing. They exist to suck off the truly productive.

    In case you haven’t noticed, our country has been hallowed out while our GDP grows.

    Believe reality before your very eyes, or believe the shills.

    Either way doesn’t matter, tis a house of cards and those that worked, or those that sucked, will – by and large – end up in the same boat.

    The 0.1% will be gone, and so will everything we thought we owned and knew.

    I don’t know why I bother, by and large those that believe Wall Street and the politicians “produce” and create things of value refuse to see the world for what it has become.

    Good luck to you, thanks for stopping by.

  160. dan and TE – I’ve said that for years. IF workers had have saved for their own retirement (not getting involved with Wall Street, 401K’s, etc.), in which case they wouldn’t have consumed like they did (and they did consume, a lot of them, because they were relying on what their government told them, that Social Security would have their backs, then these corporations/Wall Street would have nowhere near the money they have now, not even close.

    We traded our souls for Wall Street, believed that globalization was going to benefit us (ha!). Under the guise of helping us through different entitlements (which were brought in in order to lull us into consuming like idiots), we became dependent. That is never a good place to be.

  161. What a bull shit article.

    Yes, if you were smart, had the connections, were a savvy investor, you could be doing well.

    But aren’t you conveniently forgetting that roughly 1 our of 4 people can’t balance their check book???

    Or that the average IQ is 100, and the implementation of 401K programs prevented companies from helping their employees navigate the various retirement avenues?

    You assert that these guys are deserving for what they are going to get, and you, being so smart deserve you rich retirement.

    Take your ego and shove it.


    Tom Johnson

    1. Tom Johnson

      Blow me.

      Cordially Admin

      You sound like one of the assholes who chose not to save. You must be another dumbass Boomer. I love when assholes like yourself open with bullshit article when you have no facts to support your bullshit. You idiots are so predictable and never accept responsibility for your own ineptitude. Blame it on someone else, right asshole?

      You simpletons can’t get it through your thick fucking skulls that saving requires spending less than you make. Because ignorant Americans like yourself choose not to balance their checkbooks is your excuse.

      What a douchebag. I really should require an IQ test for allowing idiots to comment.

  162. Tom J,

    Is my generation and those after mine, whose chances at a life outside of a third world existence you’ve helped squander, deserving of the pain of your generation’s greed and ineptitude?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.