Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mr. ToughMoneyLove Got No Love for Grace

ToughMoneyLove, which is a blog I regularly read, and which will appear on my blogroll when I get around to updating it later this week, is feeling less than loving about the way I handle money, especially when it comes to family members.

I wish I had some pithy response, but then I'd have to pretend I didn't agree with him.

He got a few things wrong:

I buy for my sister, NOT for her family (which consists of a husband and two cats). I tend to spend what is a lot of money for me, on her gifts, because she spends so much more on me. Witness the fact that I gave her presents totalling about $450, including that ridiculously expensive shipping charge, whereas she gave me a trip to Paris. And let us not forget from whence came the downpayment for my minivan.

Then he characterizes my current retirement savings as "pathetic" whereas Financial Engines tells me that my current $169,572 and annual contibutions of $17,000 give me an 80% chance of retiring with an income of $40,000 a year, more in take-home terms than I'm living on now.

But I have to agree that I'm no role model for how to live one's financial life. If any of my readers are looking to Grace for money answers, they are seriously deluded.

I don't write this blog, looking for cheerleaders. Still, it helps enormously to know that I am not alone in my struggle to get on a stronger financial footing. I do appreciate the support I get from my readers, and, yes, it helps to know that I'm not the only person to engage in financial idiocy from time to time.

Primarily, I write to help keep myself on the right path.

I fall off that path.

Often.

Such is life.

Which is why I write my blog.

And why I enjoy reading about the journeys of others on their paths.

19 comments:

Not My Mother said...

Hmm. While he may have some points, he is pretty judgemental. I don't think calling someone's retirement savings "pathetic" is at all helpful. You may have made some mistakes in the past, but you're trying to fix it now which is a lot more than many other people do. You should feel proud of what you've achieved, whereas a smug comment like that could make you think, "well why the hell am I trying at all?"

And as for the cheerleaders - gosh, I've made some REALLY dumb decisions in my life and made some bad mistakes, but it really helps for someone else to say, "yeah it was dumb, but I've done it too," rather than thinking that I'm the only stupid person in the world and everyone else is better and judging me.

I'm only a new reader but FWIW I think you're doing great.

eemusings said...

I agree w/ NMM. People are too quick to leap to judge when they can hide behind a screen name or a computer. It's never too late to start, and you've had a lot to overcome. There's tough love, and then there's just rude - there's no need to label you 'pathetic'. The P in PF stands for personal! Everyone's situation is different, and even if we don't always make the best choices, we're still putting ourselves out there so we can learn, make better decisions in the future, and keep ourselves accountable.

Karissa said...

I like to think the community could be more supportive. Nobody's perfect ... how nice it would be to get everything right, like MrTML!

I appreciate your support, and even though I'm not around much anymore, I want you to know that I support you too. I think you're doing just fine :)

DogAteMyFinances said...

Whatever, same old jerk behavior. He never does anything wrong and then from his holier-than-thou ivory tower he mocks other people.

There's a reason people don't like lawyers.

Mr. ToughMoneyLove said...

Grace - You missed the point of my post. My criticism was directed at the cheerleading comment. You are at least honest with yourself about your mistakes. Am I judgmental about personal finance - absolutely. As we have learned from 2008-2009, the gross money mistakes of millions have negatively affected us all. Do I hide behind a computer and screen name (like the rest of you)? Absolutely not. With about 30 seconds investigation you would learn that my name is Mark Patterson and I live and work in Tennessee. Dog - You are hilarious. Reading your blog is always interesting - sort of like driving by a train wreck. Your ideas about money are so dysfunctional that I can't blame you for hiding who you are deep inside your blog. There are lots of reasons not to like lawyers - I don't like many of them either - but being honest and direct about personal finance isn't one of them. Anyway, I enjoy reading here. Thanks for the give and take.

Morrison said...

Grace,
The guy's a 'holier-than-thou' type. No one can make a comment on another unless they have walked in his/her shoes. Forgive him, for he know not what he speaks.

Yikes!

Linda said...

I just got caught up and learned about your upcoming trip to Paris. Congratulations! Have great fun.

Your efforts to take care of yourself financially are obvious, and those efforts have always included educating yourself. Glean what's helpful from other sites but try to ignore anything that undermines your efforts and confidence. Your choices may not be the same as someone else's. Your priorities won't be, either. You've obviously put others first, and it's time to expend some of those efforts on yourself, but balancing out when you can do that and when family needs come first requires tough choices that are sometimes financially sound and sometimes are morally, ethically and emotionally sound while hurting your financial standing. Only you can weigh the various pros and cons of your actions. Sometimes you'll weigh them wrong. Most times you won't.

Did it MY way said...

I must say I wonder how my money mistakes would effect any one else but me?

Mr. ToughMoneyLove if you think Grace is a train wreck you would love me. I am totally debt free with an income of $16,000.00 a year. I think nothing of spending $1000.00 on my grand kids for Christmas.

At 68 and retired. I live a pretty good life...Thank You.

So it really does not take a million dollars to live a good life.

You are doing great Grace...and doing it your way. Keep up the good work.

See Ya

Living Almost Large said...

Have fun in paris. and i've been critical of grace, but at least she puts it out there.

frugal zeitgeist said...

Ah, Grace. I wish you would put Grace first more often. Although his post comes across as pretty harsh, I think that's more or less where Mr. ToughMoneyLove is coming from when he's talking about your situation.

At the end of the day, your choices are yours and you own them. If other perspectives are helpful, great; if not, then keep doing your thing. Either way, I like reading all about Grace.

MasterPo said...

Personally, I took Mr. TML's comment about "pathetic" as a functional observation in that the amount Grace says she has saved is not enough for a decent retirement standard of living. Better than having nothing to be sure, but hardly a soft cushion.

Grace. said...

Po--I took his remark the same way. I just disagree that my savings are "pathetic." Not that they are great or even completely adequate. BUT if I continue to contribute $17,000 a year, AND if I retire on my 69th birthday, chances are pretty good that I will have a less than pathetic income ($40,000) each year. Plus, I do have a back-up in that I have a paid-for rental (actually the first home I ever purchased--back in 1975!) that is worth $150,000 even in the current economy. You are correct, of course, that I will owe taxes on the non-social security part of my retirement income. But when I subtract out my retirement contributions, I live on less than $40,000 a year now, and that's counting my mortgage (which I won't have) and car payments (which I won't have). So I think I will have an adequate retirement. But my plan is to do better than that--hence this blog.

Mr. ToughMoneyLove said...

Grace - The "pathetic" adjective as applied to your retirement savings is hereby withdrawn as being unintentionally vague. How about "much less than it could have been?"

Plus, I feel bad for anyone who is compelled by financial circumstances (not by choice) to work to age 69.

Anonymous said...

In case you haven't heard, retirement age in the UK, Scotland and other socialistic countries has been risen to 70 years of age. Phil Gramm and John McCain are pushing for the same legislature here in the states. With the way our country is heaped in debt, I do not doubt for a moment that mandatory retirement will indeed be raised to 70. As it stands now, anyone born after 1960, their retirement age has been raised to 67. Not much difference between 67 and 69 is there?

Grace, if you still have a job by the time you reach 69, you're one in a million. Know how many baby boomers are being forced to downsize? Do you know how awful life can be without a job? Boomers are just starting to realize how stupid it was to retire early. Studies are now coming out that the longer people work, the happier they are, more productive, content, etc. etc. Early retirement was just a pipe dream.
Look at Joan Rivers, Martha Stewart, Warren Buffet, Billie Jean King (who works 7 days a week BTW).

Life is long. People are living well into their 90's. Retirement in your 70's sounds just about right nowadays. The tides are turning. Rather than envy anyone who retired early, we will be envying people who still have jobs and are continuing to work.

Grace. said...

So, TML--I AM pleased to see you withdraw that "pathetic" tag, which is such a loser word. I'll accept your modification.

I love my job so working to age 69 doesn't present a hardship, but you're right--it would be nice to have the choice. (And even though I've recovered nicely from my heart surgery, it sure was a wake-up call from my body to me that I can't count on always being healthy. I could wind up being involuntarily retired.)

Kemkem said...

When is the Paris trip? I am totally excited for you as l am sure you will have a great time... :o) and btw, l am sure there are a lot of older people who wish they had the money you do! In the meantime, brush up on you french!

MasterPo said...

To Anon on 12/31/09 - Already here in the U.S.

For me, to get full Social Security benefits when I retire (that is, presuming SS is still around when I retire!) I will need to wait until age 67!

And my wife until age 70!! :-O

But I don't think it will be such a shock.

By then I'm certain a law will be passed saying that if you have any sort of private retirement savings like a 401k or IRA then you just don't "need" SS - others who were too lazy to do for themsevles all their lives need it more.

And that also presume Sen. Al Frankin et. al. haven't by then seized all 401k and IRA funds anyway!

LC said...

Just found your site through the Retirement: A Full-Time Job blog. Really like the robust discussion. I am retired at 62. Sounds like you have the determination to reach your goals.

Have you ever read Dave Ramsey's money management for eliminating debt?

Shevy said...

I've never read Mr. ToughMoneyLove before. I can't say that I'm impressed. I'm glad he withdrew the "pathetic" comment here, but in point of fact, it remains on his blog. It would be more useful if he were to edit the post that contains that reference.

I stuck my .02 into the comments there too.