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May 30, 2006


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The Learning Channel now has some sort of program where it takes a family with fat, lazy kids led by fat, lazy parents and has an expert come in to whip them into shape in three weeks. One of the show's gimmicks is digitally manipulated projections of what the kids will look like at age forty. The expert imposes weekly rules like "no television" and "no junk food" and "dad has to spend time with the family". The program has a great point, but it's almost laughably awful to watch.

What if there were a similar program, but for adults (especially young adults)? What if there were a program where Andrew Tobias or David Bach went into the homes of couples like the one you describe above (or hell, into my house!) and did the same thing? "What are you thinking? New hardwood floors and a pool? Where's that money going to come from? For the next year, you're only allowed $XXX per month for discretionary spending."

Financial boot camp for young adults now there's an idea...

Has anyone ever asked you and your readers about saving via 401k vs. saving via mutual funds in these circumstances?
No 401k employer match
No employer retirement contribution
No debt
Fully funded Roth each year
Fully funded emergency fund
Is there an advantage to saving via a pre-tax 401k vs. saving via a post-tax mutual fund? I've tried to work this out in my head before and I can't get a handle on it. I think it might have something to do with the tax bracket and estimated returns, but I am confused.

It is really hard to understand how a couple that is well educated and successful in their careers can get in such a mess.

As a senior bank loan officer, if he wants a wakeup call he should arrange to spend a few months on secondment to the collections department of the bank. Seeing first hand what happens to people who have their homes, cars etc reposessed can be a rather sobering and, quite frankly, scary experience.

Not only are they shafting their kid by not saving anything for his college bill, their high income will disqualify him from ANY government need-based assistance, and if he takes on loans they will be much more expensive. The poor kid is going to have to get himself declared independent in order to afford anything at all.

Anyone have any thoughts for Terry?

I would love a money reality show.

It all comes down to the old savings It is not what you make, it is what you save.

Terry -- No, I don't think we've addressed that yet. Stay tuned, I'll add it to my list and see if I can get to it. ;-)

I think as people's income goes up they expect more. The Millionaire Next Door really has it right. I see it all the time with my (recently graduated) friends. They spend money because they expect to be making it soon. Also they feel they have to spend this money to maintain status. High speed internet, cars, and plasma tv's are the latest "necessities."

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