Author Topic: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900  (Read 6323 times)

GOFU

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Oh, you don't want to share a room for a week with a total stranger? Make that $3,400 to get in the door.

Let's see: https://www.fichautauqua.com/

Flight not included. So travel hack your way over by opening a bunch of credit card accounts, or pay the flight costs. That should get you up to about $4,000 before you've had a shot of ouzo. Because it's BYOB, no cocktails included in the cover charge. No worries, I'm sure the drinks will be cheap at that modern, ritzy hotel.

This thing is advertised as a 7 day affair, including arrival day and departure day, and includes exactly 3 presentations, one panel discussion and a "sharing FI ideas" session. The rest is touristy outings or free time. Oh, but you do get one whole hour of 1 on 1 time with a Financial Independence celebrity. WOW!!! I SHOOK HIS HAND!! I WILL NEVER WASH THIS HAND AGAIN!!!!

The people who would pay to go to this thing as an attendee (I'm sure the presenters get comped if not comped and compensated) deserve the wallet assault that awaits them. "Hey, want to be financially independent? Here's what you do. You give us a small fortune, pay for the Greek paradise vacation of a few FI celebrities who will surely be hawking their wares the whole time you are there, and we'll let you sit at the cool kids' table for a little while. You do want to be cool, don't you?"

Here's an idea. Save the the $4k and read a few blog posts and listen to a few podcasts FOR FREE. But if you're that desperate and determined to hang out with the cool rich kids that you'll pay upwards of 4 grand to do it then you can't be helped.

e34bb098

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 05:45:10 PM »
But you get free coaching on how to hack your travel miles for the flight!

Shaz_Au

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2018, 06:30:00 PM »
I agree. I kind of assumed that this was a sharing of like minds with everyone paying their own way and sharing the joint costs.  The point being to share ideas, experiences, plans and helping each other in person.  The bonus being enjoying a reasonably priced holiday in an exotic location.  (Run by the community for the community benefit)

To me this just seems like any other for-profit business or professional conference where you are paying speakers (costs/possibly appearance fee) and the organizing company.  There is nothing wrong with this but it should be advertised as such.

facepalm

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2018, 07:49:50 PM »
But you get free coaching on how to hack your travel miles for the flight!

But not until you are there. CATCH-22.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 05:16:33 PM by facepalm »

Stache-O-Lantern

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2018, 10:19:13 PM »
Well, if they take your check at the door, immediately punch you in the face, and then ask if you've learned anything yet, it could help a lot.

acepedro45

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2018, 07:14:15 AM »
I loled twice in a row.

Quote
Well, if they take your check at the door, immediately punch you in the face, and then ask if you've learned anything yet, it could help a lot.


Quote
Ill just wave at myself in.the mirror every morning for free ;-).

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2018, 07:46:05 AM »
The money is totally not worth it to me. On the other hand, I met someone recently who went to one, and it gave him the push he needed to actually quit his job. He would have worked unnecessarily for who knows how many years if not for that intense in person experience. In his case, spending few grand dramatically cut his time to FIRE.

I have seen similar results at a cheaper Camp Mustache, too. And at a Camp FI that I went to for free, there was a huge financial value to going for anyone thinking of starting a blog. Plus the personal connections you make can be huge if you're trying to get into that scene yourself.

dandarc

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2018, 08:04:50 AM »
The chautauqua's have always been pricey - even the ones MMM is/was involved with.  More for the "already FI or very close" than for someone closer to the beginning of the path.

thesis

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2018, 08:20:07 AM »
I'm so glad somebody brought this up, this has been at the back of my mind since starting to see the Chautauqua hype.

To be fair, FI is not about extreme frugality, though this can play a role. It does tend to happen that some form of frugality is required, at least relative to many people's dumb spending habits. I guess if you were already FI you could afford it, and it would be fun to meet some of the big names in the community, but I do agree it seems counter to the principles. 4k in my retirement account seems like a better plan for me, personally :)

GOFU

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2018, 09:57:26 AM »
I guess if you were already FI you could afford it, and it would be fun to meet some of the big names in the community, but I do agree it seems counter to the principles. 4k in my retirement account seems like a better plan for me, personally :)

This is pure jet-setting and conspicuous consumption for rich people, oh sorry, "financially independent" people. And it's the ultimate travel hack for the organizers and presenters. Get a bunch of want-to-be rich financially independent people to pay a huge sum to be in your presence to finance your extended stay in a luxurious mediterranean paradise. And this travel hack is easier on your credit score than opening another MegaBank Super Rewards Preferred Double Platinum Travel Miles credit card account.

I could book a room at that hotel myself today on Expedia, for a week in October, for $109 a night. With tax and upcharges let's say $150 a night. (We won't factor in any group discounts.) For 6 nights that's $900. So.....that leaves $2,500 of the entry fee, per person ($72,500 for a group of 29 attendees), to cover common meals and a few blue hair tourist outings and walking tours. Please. If you pay the freight for this thing as an attendee you deserve a face punch, a throat punch and a kick in the balls with a steel-toe boot.

If you need what these people are trying to sell then you can't afford it. If you can afford it then you don't need it and you could get it anyway for a small fraction of their price.

And that name? Chautauqua? That's stupid too.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 04:16:50 PM by GOFU »

Just Joe

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2018, 10:43:32 AM »
A Davos conference for the regular folks? ;)

thesis

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2018, 01:00:38 PM »
Quote
If you need what these people are trying to sell then you can't afford it. If you can afford it then you don't need it and you could get it anyway for a small fraction of their price.

Hmm. This is true.

GOFU

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2018, 04:23:32 PM »
Code: [Select]
Well, if they take your check at the door, immediately punch you in the face, and then ask if you've learned anything yet, it could help a lot.
Haha. That would probably happen if MMM was there. I could travel around for a couple of months or more full time on.that amount but I know the $800 Blender people here would think that's an.inexpensive vacation and worth it to say Hi to so many FIRE Gurus. Ill just wave at myself in.the mirror every morning for free ;-).

You sure about that highlighted part? His imprimatur is right there in the testimonials.

damyst

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2018, 10:49:53 PM »
Reminds me of a related genre: the rich marketing gurus peddling courses that will teach you how to become a rich marketing guru by selling marketing courses to folks who want to be rich marketing gurus..

When I see someone like jlcollinsnh enthusiastically hawking his book, it makes me wonder if we're being taken for a ride.

bacchi

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2018, 05:30:47 PM »
Reminds me of a related genre: the rich marketing gurus peddling courses that will teach you how to become a rich marketing guru by selling marketing courses to folks who want to be rich marketing gurus..

When I see someone like jlcollinsnh enthusiastically hawking his book, it makes me wonder if we're being taken for a ride.

Jacob at ERE did the same thing and defended it by some song and dance about people not valuing it if it was free.

I believe it was Financial Samurai that wrote about some "FI personality" that wasn't really FI and how stressful it was to maintain the facade.

bacchi

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2018, 05:31:41 PM »
If you need what these people are trying to sell then you can't afford it. If you can afford it then you don't need it and you could get it anyway for a small fraction of their price.

Well stated.

lhamo

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2018, 07:23:21 PM »
It's awfully pricey and I prefer the Ecuador model where they are hosted by someone who lives there long term and is putting the profits (and some volunteer labor) back into the local community.  But many of the testimonials emphasize that it is only for people who are at the stage on their FIRE journey that they can afford a splurge of a trip like this.  Sure, they are marketing themselves, but I like to support the efforts of people with a FIRE mindset, and would probably get a lot out of a personal chat with JL Collins. 

I'll probably stick mostly to local MMM meetups, the occasional Camp Mustache, and eventually (once the kids launch) couchsurfing trips to see forum friends.  To each their own.  I bet they will sell out quickly with only 29 spaces/week.

GOFU

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2018, 03:50:57 AM »
I bet they will sell out quickly with only 29 spaces/week.

And they can all bask in the status, prestige and exclusivity of being among the select few.

It's called scarcity marketing and it's part of the scam.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 08:11:27 PM by GOFU »

Telecaster

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2018, 11:15:44 AM »
I guess if you were already FI you could afford it, and it would be fun to meet some of the big names in the community, but I do agree it seems counter to the principles. 4k in my retirement account seems like a better plan for me, personally :)

This is pure jet-setting and conspicuous consumption for rich people, oh sorry, "financially independent" people. And it's the ultimate travel hack for the organizers and presenters. Get a bunch of want-to-be rich financially independent people to pay a huge sum to be in your presence to finance your extended stay in a luxurious mediterranean paradise. And this travel hack is easier on your credit score than opening another MegaBank Super Rewards Preferred Double Platinum Travel Miles credit card account.

I could book a room at that hotel myself today on Expedia, for a week in October, for $109 a night. With tax and upcharges let's say $150 a night. (We won't factor in any group discounts.) For 6 nights that's $900. So.....that leaves $2,500 of the entry fee, per person ($72,500 for a group of 29 attendees), to cover common meals and a few blue hair tourist outings and walking tours. Please. If you pay the freight for this thing as an attendee you deserve a face punch, a throat punch and a kick in the balls with a steel-toe boot.

If you need what these people are trying to sell then you can't afford it. If you can afford it then you don't need it and you could get it anyway for a small fraction of their price.

^  Indeed.   And look at the speaker list.  JL Collins has rock star status, but I don't think the others do, do they?  I don't spend a ton of time reading FIRE blogs, because well, the concepts are pretty simple, so I might not be the best person to ask.     I've seen the blogs for the other speakers in the past, and none of them were particularly interesting.   I heard the Pop-Up Business guy on the MadFientist podcast, and I can see that might be appealing for some, but to me it sounds like a job.  The Millennial Revolution, Mr 1500, and Choose MI blogs pretty boring blogs, IMO.   Lots of words and not much content.   

GOFU

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2018, 05:52:58 AM »
"^  Indeed. ... Lots of words and not much content."

Gee, I wonder what their presentations will be about.

But more than the content, the numbers get my attention.

The only items of expense covered by the attendee entry fee that I can see are (1) rooms, (2) hotel conference rooms and tour guides, and (3) food.

Let's say nearly everyone is coupled or bunks with a perfect stranger for a week so the average entry fee is $3,000 per person.

$1,000 - room for the week (they don't cost that much, but we'll play along)
$200 - conference rooms and tour guides (they don't cost that much, but we'll play along)
$300 - food (it doesn't cost that much to feed one person for a week, but we'll play along)

That leaves $1,500 per person x 29 people = $43,500 x 2 weeks = $87,000, at least, to the organizers/speakers. It's likely closer to $100,000 at least. That ought to cover their extended stay in Mediterranean luxury and a whole lot more.

It appears Mr. Collins learned some things from his time in the publishing business: (1) How to organize a highly lucrative conference, and (2) how to market it to the right group of suckers.

alanB

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2018, 10:45:56 AM »
I am imagining the SNL "Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford" skit, but a week long.  Or those career panels I used to go to in college, but everyone is telling you to quit your job.

Who can blame the speakers, are they supposed to turn down paid appearances and free trips to Greece to help people become FI?  Likewise, the organizers are clearly filling a demand from the market, no problem there in my opinion.  The too high price is what the market will bear (I guess). 

It would be interesting to get the organizers' perspective on why their event is worthwhile, I will put in a comment on their website pointing them to this thread.  Let's see if they respond!

bacchi

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2018, 09:28:01 PM »
It would be interesting to get the organizers' perspective on why their event is worthwhile, I will put in a comment on their website pointing them to this thread.  Let's see if they respond!

Or if this thread disappears entirely.

Don't upset the FI get-rich-quick boat!

EngineeringFI

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2018, 09:59:24 PM »
I don't spend a ton of time reading FIRE blogs, because well, the concepts are pretty simple, so I might not be the best person to ask.     I've seen the blogs for the other speakers in the past, and none of them were particularly interesting.   I heard the Pop-Up Business guy on the MadFientist podcast, and I can see that might be appealing for some, but to me it sounds like a job.  The Millennial Revolution, Mr 1500, and Choose MI blogs pretty boring blogs, IMO.   Lots of words and not much content.

I'm glad I'm not alone in this feeling. It seems to me the basic pathway to financial independence is fairly simple and has been beaten to death. It consists of a handful of concepts: 4% rule-of-thumb (and the necessary arguments about whether its actually 3.5% or 4.5%), index funds / vanguard, and the Roth pipeline to access tax advantaged accounts. Beyond those concepts, I think the best way to add value to the community is by detailing new ways that you reduced expenses TODAY, or made additional money TODAY. That's why I love reading the "what little things did you do today..." threads. Back-testing a million different asset allocations and withdrawal rates is just mathematical masturbation and doesn't really deliver an actionable result at the end of a too-long blog post. But giving me ideas to cut $20 from my grocery bill, save money on my commute, or reduce my energy consumption is immediately beneficial. Unfortunately, those topics aren't as glamorous as presenting yourself as a financially-independent lifestyle guru.

GOFU

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2018, 03:56:15 AM »
Who can blame the speakers, are they supposed to turn down paid appearances and free trips to Greece to help people become FI?  Likewise, the organizers are clearly filling a demand from the market, no problem there in my opinion.  The too high price is what the market will bear (I guess). 

Should a speaker turn down appearance fees and free exotic stays? Well, does the speaker preach that people, even rich people, should eschew extravagance, opulence, excess and waste? If so, then maybe he should turn it down. It is a question of principles and hypocrisy, just in case those trifles matter to anyone.

As for demand, the organizers are not just filling demand, they are generating it. Nothing strokes the ego of naive moneyed people like the perception of prestige and exclusivity. A fool and his money are soon parted, and this whole FIRE fad is a marketer's wet dream.

So maybe you are right. If the attendees of this thing weren't throwing large amounts of money at Mr. Collins they would probably be throwing it at someone else. Why blame him for capitalizing on the fad and taking the money home in wheelbarrows?

GOFU

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2018, 02:22:33 PM »
"I don't get to worked up about this ..."

I hope I didn't give the impression that I actually give a shit about this Chautauqua*. I just came in here to mock.

*Still a stupid name.

Sisko

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2018, 01:19:51 AM »
The Chautauquas sound super fun to me... but yeah, it is very very expensive. I don't actually think the cost is unreasonable - I just wouldn't pay it... And the speakers at these events wouldn't pay it either - I think that's the disconnect for me - they are promoting it on their blogs, podcasts, but wouldn't themselves attend if they had to pay... they should acknowledge that fact.

That said the cost is reasonable - the ratio of guests to speakers is very low, that's what makes it so expensive for each guest. The guests are paying for themselves and for the speakers. The organizers need to make a bit of a profit for the risk and effort of putting the event on. They deserve to be compensated for that, it's hard work I'm sure. I just wish they were a little more open about acknowledging how expensive it is, considering that this is the FI community, we analyze how much everything costs, why it costs so much, is it a good value, etc..

I'm FI, going to go off travelling soon and would love to hang out with other awesome FI people in awesome and fun places. Those people don't need to be FI celebrities.

K-ice

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2018, 01:38:13 AM »
I found it really expensive for a week in Greece in the off season. I hear it is one of the least expensive countries in Europe.

Just Joe

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2018, 09:40:56 AM »
Couldn't do these classes on the US coast somewhere aka North Carolina or Alabama Gulf Coast?

Telecaster

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2018, 09:51:26 AM »
Couldn't do these classes on the US coast somewhere aka North Carolina or Alabama Gulf Coast?

They could, but the organizers wouldn't get a free trip to Greece. 

Eric

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2018, 05:07:23 PM »
I happened to speak to a presenter scheduled at the Ecuador Chautauqua at a meetup a couple of days before his presentation.  We were chatting and I asked what he was going to speak about.  He said that he wasn't planning ahead for his talk, and that he'd decide what he was going to talk about when he got there.  So not only are you paying a bunch of money to meet these people, they don't give enough of a shit about the actual event to even prepare ahead of time.  (I don't want to name names, because I like the guy and really have no idea whether the talk was a value add or not, it's just the lack of preparation that shocked me)

But hey, what's 4 grand if you get a chance to shake the hand of a FIRE blogger and have them tell you that you spend too much on Starbucks?


Eric

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2018, 05:09:21 PM »
Couldn't do these classes on the US coast somewhere aka North Carolina or Alabama Gulf Coast?

They had a Camp Mustache last year, which is basically the same thing.  I'm sure there will be more.  Here's one recap:

https://www.fierymillennials.com/recap-camp-mustache-se-2017/


Fomerly known as something

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Re: Here's one that's mock-worthy - FI Chautauqua in Greece for $2,900
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2018, 06:44:41 PM »
"I don't get to worked up about this ..."

I hope I didn't give the impression that I actually give a shit about this Chautauqua*. I just came in here to mock.

*Still a stupid name.

Chautauqua (/ʃəˈtɔːkwə/ shə-TAW-kwə) was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s.