Another e-mail, from California:
Good morning, Kathryn
I’m Joe the Lawyer.
After dropping out of high school and spending 4 years in the USMC (1963- 1967), I met the woman of my dreams, married, borrowed $500 to buy our first house, did college and law school at night while working full time, had 3 children, educated all of my kids through college (total cost $340,000…none tax deductible), started my own law practice with $25,000 of borrowed funds 32 years ago, have consistently employed between 2 and 11 employees the entire time, never missed a payroll and have earned about 175,000 to $250,000 per year over the last 10 years.
The American Dream, right?
Well, not having worked for a big corporation or a state or federal govt entity, I’ve had only my own savings to accumulate in a 401K for my retirement. I’m now 64, have a mortgage of about $750K (refinanced for college expenses) and can’t retire on my 401K (especially now with the recent market downturn) unless I sell my house (if I can find someone who will buy it) and severely reduce my standard of living.
So, my strategy (assuming my health continues good) is to work until I’m 70, earn as much as I can (this year I’ve worked an average of 60 to 65 hours per week), pay down my mortgage as much as possible and save, save, save. Sure, I’ll make more that $250,000 this year but I’m working the equivalent of 2 jobs.
Not sure where I went wrong here. Started with nothing; married 40 years; 3 kids grown, educated and off my payroll; and can’t retire until earliest age 70. Obama wants to tax me some more, further extending my working life.
$250,000 per year seems like a lot until you look behind the number. Thinking of letting my 6 person staff go, keeping only my secretary and cutting back on all expenses. Then, even if my taxes go up, I ought to be able to save more.
Of course, 6 jobs will be lost.