Author Topic: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"  (Read 6809 times)

delturcious

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Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« on: November 05, 2018, 08:15:37 AM »
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-04/retiring-early-sounds-appealing-but-is-impractical

Snippets that were particularly jarring:
  • "Personally, I like to consume. I like nice clothes, nice jewelry and going out to nice dinners. I, too, am a radical saver, but the point of my saving isn’t so I don’t have to work, it’s so I can consume more later."
  • "Working gives people purpose..." "most people do not function well with a bunch of unstructured free time."
  • "Of course, the core of the FIRE movement (and the tiny house movement) is that consumption is not tied to happiness, but that doesn’t exactly jibe with the historical record."

sol

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 08:23:39 AM »
Just another clickbait opinion piece.  Don't take it too seriously.  These magazines hire out to writers like you and me, regular people who will accept $300 and a national platform in exchange for making fools of themselves in front of the entire internet.  It's a transparent attempt to draw eyeballs and page views to a contentious "article" that any person could write in ten minutes.  There is no actual reporting, no facts, no analysis, just a contrary opinion written in the first person. 

I write contrary opinions in the first person for you every day! For free!  Come hang out on the MMM forums instead of bloomberg, and you can get your fill of obnoxious writers and stupid ideas right here. 

Dicey

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 08:29:50 AM »
Funny, I clicked on this thread and saw an answer by sol, so I read that instead of reading the article. As usual, pearls of wisdom from the master. No need to click through. Thanks, @sol!

PizzaSteve

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2018, 08:36:19 AM »
Yet another hack trying to generate traffic by taking a weak jab at sensible living plans.  Sad actually.

magnet18

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2018, 01:14:08 PM »
Lol, article written by someone desperately enslaved to money and chasing happiness they aren't catching, i feel bad for them

PoutineLover

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2018, 01:49:41 PM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

Have the people who write those articles ever considered that plenty of people still live off the median income or higher even while saving 50% or more? That there's only so much stuff anyone could possibly ever use, and most people way own more than that? That not needing to work is not the same as not working? We would just rather have the freedom to choose, and that's a really powerful thing money can buy.
Above my desk I have a post-it note that says FREEDOM > MONEY > STUFF to keep me motivated. Somehow NICE STUFF > MONEY > FREEDOM just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Still Being

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2018, 01:55:01 PM »
The article works well for what Bloomberg needs: views and attention

nereo

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2018, 02:00:38 PM »
What frustrates me so much about these freelance opinion pieces is how the author can disengenuously frame the argument from one side to so easily knock it down. It's a lot of "they say this" without bothering to quote an actual person or provide any context. 

Here he claims that the FIRE community advocates for 'radical saving' (without saying what that is or who is saying it) and that we are using 'generous actuarial assumptions' (again without stating what those are) while claiming out goal is to 'bounce the last cheque (I, personally, don't plan on ever 'bouncing a cheque' (as if I used cheques) and expect to gift a sizeable sum to charity upon my demise).  Later on he claims the 'numbers don't add up' (what numbers is he even talking about). 

Then of course he trots out the normal canards - FIREees can't handle a market downturn, they won't ever be employable again and (the biggest myth of all) they live lives of extreme repression and constant austerity.

ixtap

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2018, 02:03:05 PM »
Just another clickbait opinion piece.  Don't take it too seriously.  These magazines hire out to writers like you and me, regular people who will accept $300 and a national platform in exchange for making fools of themselves in front of the entire internet.  It's a transparent attempt to draw eyeballs and page views to a contentious "article" that any person could write in ten minutes.  There is no actual reporting, no facts, no analysis, just a contrary opinion written in the first person. 

I write contrary opinions in the first person for you every day! For free!  Come hang out on the MMM forums instead of bloomberg, and you can get your fill of obnoxious writers and stupid ideas right here.

BUT I NEED TO BE PAID TO KNOW THAT I AM WORTH SOMETHING!

And while she is at work, I am manning polling stations, protecting human rights...

But I think my favorite part was mixing Ramsey style return estimates with MMM style living situations.

Gremlin

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2018, 05:15:42 PM »
I write contrary opinions in the first person for you every day! For free!  Come hang out on the MMM forums instead of bloomberg, and you can get your fill of obnoxious writers and stupid ideas right here.

I love your brand of obnoxious and stupid, Sol.  I also like to think that you look like your avatar IRL.  They go hand in hand for some reason...

Gremlin

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2018, 05:19:11 PM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

I found this fascinating too.  Almost everyone I know who is FIRE has the ability to fly first class whenever they want.  I know that I could buy a first class ticket to any destination anywhere in the world at short notice if I want to.  But I got here by choosing not to.  And I'll stay here by choosing not to.

delturcious

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2018, 08:34:10 PM »
There is no actual reporting, no facts, no analysis, just a contrary opinion written in the first person.
And yet it still gets published. Sigh.

I write contrary opinions in the first person for you every day! For free!  Come hang out on the MMM forums instead of bloomberg, and you can get your fill of obnoxious writers and stupid ideas right here.
Bloomberg certainly isn't a hangout, but something seemingly relevant occasionally comes across my news feed. MMM would probably chastise me for not strictly adhering to a low information diet!

mizzourah2006

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2018, 06:56:07 AM »
Apparently this theoretical person would be saving 50% of their income for 15 years and only making $30k the entire time according to his footnote of saving $1k/month for 15 years and getting an 18% CAGR.

Kitsune

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2018, 08:08:02 AM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

I found this fascinating too.  Almost everyone I know who is FIRE has the ability to fly first class whenever they want.  I know that I could buy a first class ticket to any destination anywhere in the world at short notice if I want to.  But I got here by choosing not to.  And I'll stay here by choosing not to.

I was just gonna say this. Like, sure, I have the ABILITY... in the same way that I have the ability to eat out every day, to take long lavish vacations, to buy 300$ shoes weekly. I COULD. I just... don't? Because I genuinely don't care about any of that?

And, y'know, I also like jewelry, and wear nice jewelry every day. But I only have one set of ears, how many nice earrings could I possibly wear??

OurTown

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2018, 08:20:45 AM »
Just another clickbait opinion piece.  Don't take it too seriously.  These magazines hire out to writers like you and me, regular people who will accept $300 and a national platform in exchange for making fools of themselves in front of the entire internet.  It's a transparent attempt to draw eyeballs and page views to a contentious "article" that any person could write in ten minutes.  There is no actual reporting, no facts, no analysis, just a contrary opinion written in the first person. 

I write contrary opinions in the first person for you every day! For free!  Come hang out on the MMM forums instead of bloomberg, and you can get your fill of obnoxious writers and stupid ideas right here.

Needs a "like" button.

sol

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2018, 08:28:11 AM »
I love your brand of obnoxious and stupid, Sol.

Thanks! 

Quote
I also like to think that you look like your avatar IRL.

Unfortunately, I don't look much like my avatar.  Years ago, when I still showed my face in public, I met a handful of forum members and they were universally disappointed that I am a somewhat dorky looking white guy with normal sized ears.  Since then, I have been avoiding the MMM meetups in the Seattle area because it seems off-message for one person to drive a minivan for an hour just to spend money on overpriced beers and then turn around drive home, even if the company is good.

PoutineLover

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2018, 08:31:37 AM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

I found this fascinating too.  Almost everyone I know who is FIRE has the ability to fly first class whenever they want.  I know that I could buy a first class ticket to any destination anywhere in the world at short notice if I want to.  But I got here by choosing not to.  And I'll stay here by choosing not to.

I was just gonna say this. Like, sure, I have the ABILITY... in the same way that I have the ability to eat out every day, to take long lavish vacations, to buy 300$ shoes weekly. I COULD. I just... don't? Because I genuinely don't care about any of that?

And, y'know, I also like jewelry, and wear nice jewelry every day. But I only have one set of ears, how many nice earrings could I possibly wear??
Yup exactly. That's why I don't like to say "I can't afford x" but it's more like "I don't value x enough to compromise my other goals and I don't need it so I'm not going to spend my money on that"

Kitsune

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2018, 10:38:54 AM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

I found this fascinating too.  Almost everyone I know who is FIRE has the ability to fly first class whenever they want.  I know that I could buy a first class ticket to any destination anywhere in the world at short notice if I want to.  But I got here by choosing not to.  And I'll stay here by choosing not to.

I was just gonna say this. Like, sure, I have the ABILITY... in the same way that I have the ability to eat out every day, to take long lavish vacations, to buy 300$ shoes weekly. I COULD. I just... don't? Because I genuinely don't care about any of that?

And, y'know, I also like jewelry, and wear nice jewelry every day. But I only have one set of ears, how many nice earrings could I possibly wear??
Yup exactly. That's why I don't like to say "I can't afford x" but it's more like "I don't value x enough to compromise my other goals and I don't need it so I'm not going to spend my money on that"

That's also why I don't like the 'I'm broke' framing.

Like. Right now, I do not have the spare cash to buy a paperback book (my particular addiction) between now and January. True fact.

Because, and this is the important part: I have savings/RRSP goals I want to meet, I want to fund my kids college accounts so that we get maximum government contribution, we are buying a car next month (which has been evaluated on multiple criteria regarding the type and for the timing and need),  I want to set aside a reasonable grocery budget based on our usual (frugal but good) shopping habits, and we just spent a chunk of money making safety upgrades to the house, which doesn't leave 10$ for a novel right now. But. I'm not BROKE. I'm CHOOSING where that money is going. Literally: I could not fund our RRSPs and the kids college accounts and find 5 digits worth of spending money! It's a choice I'm making!

I know people who are actually broke. Like, count the number of snacks in the cupboards and ration them out to the kids because if you eat two snacks you don't get breakfast kinda broke. They don't have that wiggle room. They don't have the choice.

OurTown

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2018, 01:54:54 PM »
Jared Dillian is the editor and publisher of The Daily Dirtnap, investment strategist at Mauldin Economics, and the author of "Street Freak" and "All the Evil of This World." He may have a stake in the areas he writes about.


GuitarStv

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2018, 02:04:52 PM »
I love your brand of obnoxious and stupid, Sol.

Thanks! 

Quote
I also like to think that you look like your avatar IRL.

Unfortunately, I don't look much like my avatar.  Years ago, when I still showed my face in public, I met a handful of forum members and they were universally disappointed that I am a somewhat dorky looking white guy with normal sized ears.  Since then, I have been avoiding the MMM meetups in the Seattle area because it seems off-message for one person to drive a minivan for an hour just to spend money on overpriced beers and then turn around drive home, even if the company is good.

How open are you to crowd funded corrective plastic surgery for your current unsettling lack of deformity?

Gremlin

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2018, 03:41:25 PM »
I love your brand of obnoxious and stupid, Sol.

Thanks! 

Quote
I also like to think that you look like your avatar IRL.

Unfortunately, I don't look much like my avatar.  Years ago, when I still showed my face in public, I met a handful of forum members and they were universally disappointed that I am a somewhat dorky looking white guy with normal sized ears.  Since then, I have been avoiding the MMM meetups in the Seattle area because it seems off-message for one person to drive a minivan for an hour just to spend money on overpriced beers and then turn around drive home, even if the company is good.

How open are you to crowd funded corrective plastic surgery for your current unsettling lack of deformity?
I must admit, I believe there's a special place in hell set aside for those seeking money for frivolous crowd funding causes...

But what the heck...  I'm in for $1.50...


PloddingInsight

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2018, 08:20:52 AM »
I like the part where he says we use generous assumptions and then if you go to the footnote, it says,

Quote
A 25-year-old looking to amass $1 million in savings by age 40 would need to start out with $10,000 in savings, save $1,000 a month and earn 18 percent a year on that pool of money before taxes and inflation.

Teehee this MMM enthusiast is saving 50% of his salary, right?  Which makes his full salary (checks notes) $24k.  If he's living on 12k/yr why does he need $40k/yr in retirement again?

They can't even present the numbers honestly.

nereo

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2018, 08:44:58 AM »
I like the part where he says we use generous assumptions and then if you go to the footnote, it says,

Quote
A 25-year-old looking to amass $1 million in savings by age 40 would need to start out with $10,000 in savings, save $1,000 a month and earn 18 percent a year on that pool of money before taxes and inflation.

Teehee this MMM enthusiast is saving 50% of his salary, right?  Which makes his full salary (checks notes) $24k.  If he's living on 12k/yr why does he need $40k/yr in retirement again?

They can't even present the numbers honestly.

Yeah, the assumptions for this counter-argument to FIRE are pretty hodge-podge. I don't know anyone in the FIRE community that would assume 18% returns for 15 years (which seems to be the heart of the author's argument why 'the math doesn't work').  But at the same time almost no one assumes you can get to FI-hood in 15 years saving $1k/month - even the 'extreme RE" sorts don't do this.

Instead the assumption is putting away just over 50% of your pay if your target is to retire in 15 years.  For most working professionals this is 2.5-5x what the author assumes.  The 'norm' is to max out one's 401(k) and IRA and still have some extra to sock away in after-tax accounts.  But to most of society, the idea of even squirreling away $1k/month is a pipe dream, so saving $3-4k/mo seems impossible.

PloddingInsight

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2018, 08:57:37 AM »
Yeah, the assumptions for this counter-argument to FIRE are pretty hodge-podge. I don't know anyone in the FIRE community that would assume 18% returns for 15 years (which seems to be the heart of the author's argument why 'the math doesn't work').  But at the same time almost no one assumes you can get to FI-hood in 15 years saving $1k/month - even the 'extreme RE" sorts don't do this.

Instead the assumption is putting away just over 50% of your pay if your target is to retire in 15 years.  For most working professionals this is 2.5-5x what the author assumes.  The 'norm' is to max out one's 401(k) and IRA and still have some extra to sock away in after-tax accounts.  But to most of society, the idea of even squirreling away $1k/month is a pipe dream, so saving $3-4k/mo seems impossible.

More realistic figures would be:  A dating/married couple starts from scratch at 25.  Together they earn 80k and spend 40k.  They earn a modest 6% return on their savings.  After 15 years they have $1M.  Then they quit their jobs and continue spending 40k, free from the daily grind.

If they put it that way, people reading the article would say, "Wait a minute! Why can't I do that??"

PoutineLover

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2018, 09:14:47 AM »
Yeah, the assumptions for this counter-argument to FIRE are pretty hodge-podge. I don't know anyone in the FIRE community that would assume 18% returns for 15 years (which seems to be the heart of the author's argument why 'the math doesn't work').  But at the same time almost no one assumes you can get to FI-hood in 15 years saving $1k/month - even the 'extreme RE" sorts don't do this.

Instead the assumption is putting away just over 50% of your pay if your target is to retire in 15 years.  For most working professionals this is 2.5-5x what the author assumes.  The 'norm' is to max out one's 401(k) and IRA and still have some extra to sock away in after-tax accounts.  But to most of society, the idea of even squirreling away $1k/month is a pipe dream, so saving $3-4k/mo seems impossible.

More realistic figures would be:  A dating/married couple starts from scratch at 25.  Together they earn 80k and spend 40k.  They earn a modest 6% return on their savings.  After 15 years they have $1M.  Then they quit their jobs and continue spending 40k, free from the daily grind.

If they put it that way, people reading the article would say, "Wait a minute! Why can't I do that??"
That's almost my exact situation.. plus or minus a couple years and a couple k, but not by much. Such an attainable goal when you put it that way!

sol

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2018, 09:49:56 AM »
Yeah, the assumptions for this counter-argument to FIRE are pretty hodge-podge.

It wasn't even a well-researched hodge-podge.  These sorts of opinion pages usually shout about the rising costs of healthcare and college and the current CAPE ratio as part of their assault on the idea of financial freedom.

But in all honesty those are just distractions.  The underlying sentiment behind this piece and all of the others like it is basically America's Puritan work ethic, that it is somehow more moral to work than to be free of the necessity to work (whether you choose to work or not), which just means that it is perceived to be moral to be bound in servitude.  Which isn't really a surprise, the Church has been teaching this lesson for thousands of years now. 

Entrenched power has ALWAYS taught that it is noble to toil, to labor in service to the Pharaoh/Sultan/King, because those people in power have always depended on the work of others to support their life of idle luxury.  They have justified it at one time or another as a noble obligation, or the duty of royalty to "serve" the people by leading them, but in truth it is hard to serve while being fed grapes by your harem or rolling around in your treasure vault like Scrooge McDuck.

We live in interesting times.  Technology and information sharing has suddenly made it possible for the average feudal peasant to work towards a life comparable to that of the King.  The stock market is essentially a mechanism for sharing the profits of our workforce with a slightly larger number of people, and that allows a reasonably talented and industrious laborer to buy himself free of the obligations to toil in service to another.  Of course the people who have always been free of this obligations are worried about it, because they feel it threatens their own security, and so they work to perpetuate this myth of noble service:

"Oh no, you don't want to be free, work gives your life meaning and purpose!"  (Never mind that I don't work.) 

"Remember serfs, the best life is the most destructively consumptive one you can possible afford!"  (Never mind that I carefully marshal my assets to avoid depleting them.) 

"Financial independence is all built on a mathematical fallacy!  It will never work!"  (Never mind that it has always worked out great for the world's most successful and important people.)

Such an obvious crock of hypocritical bullshit.  And the worst part, to me, is that these deliberately misleading attempts to control you are now being parroted by well-meaning peasants and serfs, instead of just by the financially independent wealthy royalty. 
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 10:15:21 AM by sol »

Gondolin

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2018, 01:48:01 PM »
Quote
And the worst part, to me, is that these deliberately misleading attempts to control you are now being parroted by well-meaning peasants and serfs, instead of just by the financially independent wealthy royalty.

"I can always hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould allegedly

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2018, 08:51:24 PM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

Agreed, but I feel even more strongly about it.  I desperately never want to fly first class again.  Why?  Almost everyone* in first class is there not because they paid for the seats, but because they live in airports and hotels for work and have some status with the airline frequent flier programs.  I never reached any very high levels of airline status, but I often flew 40,000-70,000 miles which was enough to get upgraded about 1/4 to 1/2 the time I flew depending on the route.  To me first class is a tiny crumb of a benefit to compensate for the horrible life disruption flying every few weeks imposed on my life.  I love walking past the first class seats now that I'm in a low stress job that rarely requires any travel.  Not being upgraded means I'm living a life that has balance betwee work and life - a balance I could maneuver into by using my FU money to downshift my career before FIRE. 

Telecaster

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2018, 10:09:58 PM »
Yeah, the assumptions for this counter-argument to FIRE are pretty hodge-podge.

It wasn't even a well-researched hodge-podge.  These sorts of opinion pages usually shout about the rising costs of healthcare and college and the current CAPE ratio as part of their assault on the idea of financial freedom.

But in all honesty those are just distractions.  The underlying sentiment behind this piece and all of the others like it is basically America's Puritan work ethic, that it is somehow more moral to work than to be free of the necessity to work (whether you choose to work or not), which just means that it is perceived to be moral to be bound in servitude.  Which isn't really a surprise, the Church has been teaching this lesson for thousands of years now. 

Entrenched power has ALWAYS taught that it is noble to toil, to labor in service to the Pharaoh/Sultan/King, because those people in power have always depended on the work of others to support their life of idle luxury.  They have justified it at one time or another as a noble obligation, or the duty of royalty to "serve" the people by leading them, but in truth it is hard to serve while being fed grapes by your harem or rolling around in your treasure vault like Scrooge McDuck.

We live in interesting times.  Technology and information sharing has suddenly made it possible for the average feudal peasant to work towards a life comparable to that of the King.  The stock market is essentially a mechanism for sharing the profits of our workforce with a slightly larger number of people, and that allows a reasonably talented and industrious laborer to buy himself free of the obligations to toil in service to another.  Of course the people who have always been free of this obligations are worried about it, because they feel it threatens their own security, and so they work to perpetuate this myth of noble service:

"Oh no, you don't want to be free, work gives your life meaning and purpose!"  (Never mind that I don't work.) 

"Remember serfs, the best life is the most destructively consumptive one you can possible afford!"  (Never mind that I carefully marshal my assets to avoid depleting them.) 

"Financial independence is all built on a mathematical fallacy!  It will never work!"  (Never mind that it has always worked out great for the world's most successful and important people.)

Such an obvious crock of hypocritical bullshit.  And the worst part, to me, is that these deliberately misleading attempts to control you are now being parroted by well-meaning peasants and serfs, instead of just by the financially independent wealthy royalty.

Great  post.  We live in a time, probably the first time in history,  where ordinary people--if they exercise the required mental discipline--can leave the world of necessary paid work and pursue whatever interests they chose.

Many of the greatest scientists of the 19th century were British gentlemen who didn't have to work for a living, they could simply putter around and work on intellectually challenging topics.  Now, potentially, we have huge numbers of all classes who can work on whatever they like.  Science, music, construction, art.  IMO, the FIRE movement will trigger a golden age in all those areas.  We've already seen it in the area of personal finance.  Back in the day, no one knew about low cost index funds.  Now, companies are trying to be the lowest cost provider.  Normal, ordinary people can participate in the gains of the broader economy. 

I'm not that old, but I suspect I am older than most on these boards [kaff, wheez], and I really believe the best time to be alive is right now, and the future looks brighter than the past.  I believe normal people exiting the world of lifetime employment will generate a new renaissance. 

Could be wrong.  Don't think so. 


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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2018, 08:29:20 AM »
Quote
Many of the greatest scientists of the 19th century were British gentlemen who didn't have to work for a living, they could simply putter around and work on intellectually challenging topics.  Now, potentially, we have huge numbers of all classes who can work on whatever they like.  Science, music, construction, art.  IMO, the FIRE movement will trigger a golden age in all those areas.  We've already seen it in the area of personal finance.  Back in the day, no one knew about low cost index funds.  Now, companies are trying to be the lowest cost provider.  Normal, ordinary people can participate in the gains of the broader economy. 

Just thought I'd point this out - no one knew about low-cost index funds 'back int he day' because they didn't exist. IIRC Vanguard was the first to launch a low-cost index fund way back in 1987.  Before the rise of the online brokerages in the early 1990s it was literally impossible to buy or sell stocks in small numbers (hundreds-to-thousands of dollars) without paying some brokerage $50 or more per transaction, and these purchases were often looked down upon by the financial sector as 'broken lots' (a 'lot' was 100 shares and traditional brokerages liked to buy and sell stocks in lots, e.g. 'buy 50 lots of GM! (5,000 shares)'.) If you wanted to have a diversified portfolio without owning a managed mutual fund you'd need to own at least 20 stocks in different sectors, all carrying hefty fees to buy and sell, so it was impractical unless you already had >$20k to invest. Instead, most investors were channeled into actively managed mutual funds to gain the diversity everyone recommended, but these would often have fees of 1.5% or more per year (the worst had front-load and back-load fees as well).

All of which is a roundabout way of agreeing with Telecaster that we are living in the golden-age for personal investors. One can buy/hold/sell shares in large indexes with only a few hundred $ to start.  Fees are practically negligible, and the level of diversity one can have owning just one index fund is much greater than s/he could achieve 'back int he day' with either stocks or managed mutual funds.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2018, 10:43:03 AM »
Yeah, the assumptions for this counter-argument to FIRE are pretty hodge-podge.

It wasn't even a well-researched hodge-podge.  These sorts of opinion pages usually shout about the rising costs of healthcare and college and the current CAPE ratio as part of their assault on the idea of financial freedom.

But in all honesty those are just distractions.  The underlying sentiment behind this piece and all of the others like it is basically America's Puritan work ethic, that it is somehow more moral to work than to be free of the necessity to work (whether you choose to work or not), which just means that it is perceived to be moral to be bound in servitude.  Which isn't really a surprise, the Church has been teaching this lesson for thousands of years now. 


Of course the people who have always been free of this obligations are worried about it, because they feel it threatens their own security, and so they work to perpetuate this myth of noble service:

"Oh no, you don't want to be free, work gives your life meaning and purpose!"  (Never mind that I don't work.) 

"Remember serfs, the best life is the most destructively consumptive one you can possible afford!"  (Never mind that I carefully marshal my assets to avoid depleting them.) 

"Financial independence is all built on a mathematical fallacy!  It will never work!"  (Never mind that it has always worked out great for the world's most successful and important people.)

Such an obvious crock of hypocritical bullshit.  And the worst part, to me, is that these deliberately misleading attempts

Sol's post made the contrarian in me ponder what VALID arguments for not FIRE-ing are...


The main point I could think of is that when you FIRE, you don't give up your work ethic, you just choose where and when to apply it.  This may be to your family, volunteer work (OMG so much volunteer work), or something else.... e.g., the vacation organizer for a group of friends?  Working in your garden or making wooden furniture?


Therefore, the argument is -- If you are going to work at something anyway in FIRE -- why not just stay working and get paid a lot more money to do so, and be able to enjoy a few luxuries once in a while?


The second argument (that doesn't work for me, but does for some people)... Why not keep working and look at all the added donation $ (or Tax $) you can give to make the world a better place?!   Note, that for me, the argument about donation $ or working to "pay your way" and contribute to tax $ is pretty much the same thing.


What other "valid" arguments for no-FIRE are there, in your opinion?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 05:10:16 PM by Goldielocks »

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2018, 11:42:03 AM »
But in all honesty those are just distractions.  The underlying sentiment behind this piece and all of the others like it is basically America's Puritan work ethic, that it is somehow more moral to work than to be free of the necessity to work (whether you choose to work or not), which just means that it is perceived to be moral to be bound in servitude.  Which isn't really a surprise, the Church has been teaching this lesson for thousands of years now. 

Entrenched power has ALWAYS taught that it is noble to toil, to labor in service to the Pharaoh/Sultan/King, because those people in power have always depended on the work of others to support their life of idle luxury.  They have justified it at one time or another as a noble obligation, or the duty of royalty to "serve" the people by leading them, but in truth it is hard to serve while being fed grapes by your harem or rolling around in your treasure vault like Scrooge McDuck.

We live in interesting times.  Technology and information sharing has suddenly made it possible for the average feudal peasant to work towards a life comparable to that of the King.  The stock market is essentially a mechanism for sharing the profits of our workforce with a slightly larger number of people, and that allows a reasonably talented and industrious laborer to buy himself free of the obligations to toil in service to another.  Of course the people who have always been free of this obligations are worried about it, because they feel it threatens their own security, and so they work to perpetuate this myth of noble service:

"Oh no, you don't want to be free, work gives your life meaning and purpose!"  (Never mind that I don't work.) 

"Remember serfs, the best life is the most destructively consumptive one you can possible afford!"  (Never mind that I carefully marshal my assets to avoid depleting them.) 

"Financial independence is all built on a mathematical fallacy!  It will never work!"  (Never mind that it has always worked out great for the world's most successful and important people.)

Such an obvious crock of hypocritical bullshit.  And the worst part, to me, is that these deliberately misleading attempts to control you are now being parroted by well-meaning peasants and serfs, instead of just by the financially independent wealthy royalty.

BINGO!!! The elite in the world cannot amass the kind of wealth they have without worker bees toiling for crumbs. The idea of people dropping out of the workforce to pursue self-actualization is threatening to their existence. They, like fossil fuel companies undermining renewables, will do everything they can to stomp out such dangerous thinking.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2018, 02:50:48 AM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

Agreed, but I feel even more strongly about it.  I desperately never want to fly first class again.  Why?  Almost everyone* in first class is there not because they paid for the seats, but because they live in airports and hotels for work and have some status with the airline frequent flier programs.  I never reached any very high levels of airline status, but I often flew 40,000-70,000 miles which was enough to get upgraded about 1/4 to 1/2 the time I flew depending on the route.  To me first class is a tiny crumb of a benefit to compensate for the horrible life disruption flying every few weeks imposed on my life.  I love walking past the first class seats now that I'm in a low stress job that rarely requires any travel.  Not being upgraded means I'm living a life that has balance betwee work and life - a balance I could maneuver into by using my FU money to downshift my career before FIRE.

A while back I was a top tier frequent flyer with one of the airlines.  Do you know what's better than that?  NOT being a top tier frequent flyer any more.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #33 on: November 09, 2018, 04:43:45 AM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

Agreed, but I feel even more strongly about it.  I desperately never want to fly first class again.  Why?  Almost everyone* in first class is there not because they paid for the seats, but because they live in airports and hotels for work and have some status with the airline frequent flier programs.  I never reached any very high levels of airline status, but I often flew 40,000-70,000 miles which was enough to get upgraded about 1/4 to 1/2 the time I flew depending on the route.  To me first class is a tiny crumb of a benefit to compensate for the horrible life disruption flying every few weeks imposed on my life.  I love walking past the first class seats now that I'm in a low stress job that rarely requires any travel.  Not being upgraded means I'm living a life that has balance betwee work and life - a balance I could maneuver into by using my FU money to downshift my career before FIRE.

A while back I was a top tier frequent flyer with one of the airlines.  Do you know what's better than that?  NOT being a top tier frequent flyer any more.

damn right. the perks are nice but not worth it for a decent life. I used to get upgraded on Virgin all the time. Flights from London to La and back would earn me enough in miles to go anywhere in Europe.
My inlaws would help looking after the kids and in return I'd send them on holidays using the points. First class eurostar to Paris etc.

You know whats better - not being away from my family for most of the summer vacations.
not being 3,000 miles away from my wife when she's due to give birth.

these days I finish work and I'm home in 20 minutes. Thats better.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2018, 08:23:13 AM »
Just another clickbait opinion piece. 
The old Bloomberg used to have very good financial news and opinion pieces. Since 2010 I have witnessed a decline in quality and increase in quantity of articles. Bloomberg, just like CNN, BBC, and pretty much every news source (bar Reuters and AP) peddles fluff and smut. Needs eyeballs for traffic to generate $$$ off the advertising.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2018, 08:38:05 AM »
Just another clickbait opinion piece. 
The old Bloomberg used to have very good financial news and opinion pieces. Since 2010 I have witnessed a decline in quality and increase in quantity of articles. Bloomberg, just like CNN, BBC, and pretty much every news source (bar Reuters and AP) peddles fluff and smut. Needs eyeballs for traffic to generate $$$ off the advertising.

Most "news" sites and papers are basically infotainment. They contain bits and pieces of things that may or may not be true, and they've taken the place of broadcasts and publications previously devoted to actual journalism. Sadly, most of the public did not notice. I used to be a fan of the Bloomberg Report about ten years ago because of its incisive way of looking at trends in different industries. Not anymore.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2018, 08:55:20 AM »
How silly. "If you don’t have the ability to fly first class once in a while, you have probably done something wrong."
Meh. Not something I care about.

Agreed, but I feel even more strongly about it.  I desperately never want to fly first class again.  Why?  Almost everyone* in first class is there not because they paid for the seats, but because they live in airports and hotels for work and have some status with the airline frequent flier programs.  I never reached any very high levels of airline status, but I often flew 40,000-70,000 miles which was enough to get upgraded about 1/4 to 1/2 the time I flew depending on the route.  To me first class is a tiny crumb of a benefit to compensate for the horrible life disruption flying every few weeks imposed on my life.  I love walking past the first class seats now that I'm in a low stress job that rarely requires any travel.  Not being upgraded means I'm living a life that has balance betwee work and life - a balance I could maneuver into by using my FU money to downshift my career before FIRE.

From someone who takes 90+ flights a year (that's more than my friends who are pilots and flying is their job), I agree wholeheartedly. It's the current path to FIRE but I'd consider changing it because, well, it sucks.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2018, 10:02:17 AM »
You know what's just occurred to me is that a wealthier, older generation spent the last ten years telling less wealthy people in their twenties that if we stopped eating avocado toast, skipped out on Starbucks, and saved that money we could get ahead in life.
And now that we're actually doing it, the same generation is telling us that saving more and spending less will never be enough to get ahead, and we should just try to make the best of the moment.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2018, 10:14:38 AM »
Try not to take it too personally - the "latte factor" bit was big 20 years ago, too. Older generations will always have some folks that like to gripe and make generalizations about the younger generations.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2018, 10:17:03 AM »
Try not to take it too personally - the "latte factor" bit was big 20 years ago, too. Older generations will always have some folks that like to gripe and make generalizations about the younger generations.

I can't wait until it's my turn... Damn Kids are ruining everything!!

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2018, 07:10:14 AM »
Try not to take it too personally - the "latte factor" bit was big 20 years ago, too. Older generations will always have some folks that like to gripe and make generalizations about the younger generations.

Thank you for saying some and not lumping us all together.  My only complaint about the younger generation is that not enough of them vote.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2018, 04:14:22 PM »
I bought myself first class tickets for a long weekend next month, only $110 more than coach.  I want to be rich enough that buying 3 first class tickets is the standard instead of the luxury option.  Another $20-$100k salary increase should do it.  After watching "Up In The Air"  I want a high travel job.  In the age of WebEx and GoToMeeting, who and how many people are important enough that work still needs to fly them to elite status?

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2018, 07:32:42 PM »
I bought myself first class tickets for a long weekend next month, only $110 more than coach.  I want to be rich enough that buying 3 first class tickets is the standard instead of the luxury option.  Another $20-$100k salary increase should do it.  After watching "Up In The Air"  I want a high travel job.  In the age of WebEx and GoToMeeting, who and how many people are important enough that work still needs to fly them to elite status?

That's sarcasm, right? Because "Up in the Air" wasn't glorifying the flying-for-work lifestyle.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2018, 09:12:23 PM »
It all just stems from people not wanting to admit their way of life could be "wrong" or suboptimal and inefficient (to put it lightly.) I almost got my head ripped off commenting on a recent Refinery29 Money Diary touting a 50% savings rate to retire early. Everyone basically said I was lying...

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2018, 09:57:18 PM »
I bought myself first class tickets for a long weekend next month, only $110 more than coach.  I want to be rich enough that buying 3 first class tickets is the standard instead of the luxury option.  Another $20-$100k salary increase should do it.  After watching "Up In The Air"  I want a high travel job.  In the age of WebEx and GoToMeeting, who and how many people are important enough that work still needs to fly them to elite status?

That's sarcasm, right? Because "Up in the Air" wasn't glorifying the flying-for-work lifestyle.

George Clooney and Anna Kendrick were too charming for me to get those subtleties.  Yeah they tried to be sad in the end, but it was an amusing movie overall.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2018, 10:23:52 PM »
I bought myself first class tickets for a long weekend next month, only $110 more than coach.  I want to be rich enough that buying 3 first class tickets is the standard instead of the luxury option.  Another $20-$100k salary increase should do it.  After watching "Up In The Air"  I want a high travel job.  In the age of WebEx and GoToMeeting, who and how many people are important enough that work still needs to fly them to elite status?

That's sarcasm, right? Because "Up in the Air" wasn't glorifying the flying-for-work lifestyle.

George Clooney and Anna Kendrick were too charming for me to get those subtleties.  Yeah they tried to be sad in the end, but it was an amusing movie overall.

The only George Clooney movie I really liked was "A Perfect Storm", and it's because of the ending. It was even better than "Titanic" because I wasn't weeping due to the sheer number of wasted hours.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #46 on: November 23, 2018, 07:19:59 AM »
Just another clickbait opinion piece.  Don't take it too seriously.  These magazines hire out to writers like you and me, regular people who will accept $300 and a national platform in exchange for making fools of themselves in front of the entire internet.  It's a transparent attempt to draw eyeballs and page views to a contentious "article" that any person could write in ten minutes.  There is no actual reporting, no facts, no analysis, just a contrary opinion written in the first person. 

I write contrary opinions in the first person for you every day! For free!  Come hang out on the MMM forums instead of bloomberg, and you can get your fill of obnoxious writers and stupid ideas right here.
I love you sol

Just Joe

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2018, 09:10:58 AM »
I had a conversation with a someone close to me over the holidays that insisted that 401K millionaires are a myth, impossible. I assured them that they are wrong. I didn't go so far as telling them about MMM b/c they wouldn't understand the culture here anyhow. And besides - all those strangers on the internet can say anything they want - because one set of strangers (MMM) have no credibility but another set of strangers (on the TV news network) have all the credibility.

This friend has done fine and is comfortably retired. The conversation would not benefit them. I gave up after I explained the math behind FIRE and it was shrugged off. 

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #48 on: November 26, 2018, 09:58:45 AM »
I had a conversation with a someone close to me over the holidays that insisted that 401K millionaires are a myth, impossible. I assured them that they are wrong. 

Many people cannot believe that acquiring a large sum of wealth is possible on a middle class income without being extremely lucky (e.g. lottery winnings) or inheriting it.
This is reinforced by a non-stop barrage of click-bait articles ("The 'American Dream' is dead / A family needs $80k just to make ends meet"), political stump-speeches ('the struggling middle-class needs help NOW!') and of course advertising in all forms ('this gizmo is a must for people just like you!')

It all makes the default situation of having zero dollars at the end of each pay cycle the norm, and anyone who's saving a substantial sum must have it better than the average family. Maxing out a 401(k) becomes as unobtainable and unthinkable to most as running a marathon or raising all your own food - something only the off-key fanatics attempt even though most humans were at least capable of doing this a century or so ago (and far more people do it now than they'd like to admit).  If you can't save, you won't become rich - except if a pot of gold falls fro the sky from your elders or the lotto commission.

Believing it to be impossible is easy - though the end result is a life filled with monetary stress. People can be their own worst enemies.

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Re: Bloomberg: "The ‘Radical Saving’ Trend Is Based on Fantasy"
« Reply #49 on: November 26, 2018, 10:06:58 AM »
Try not to take it too personally - the "latte factor" bit was big 20 years ago, too. Older generations will always have some folks that like to gripe and make generalizations about the younger generations.

Thank you for saying some and not lumping us all together.  My only complaint about the younger generation is that not enough of them vote.

my depression era grandparents would have gottne a kick out of the idea of $7 coffees