Author Topic: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism  (Read 40591 times)

Big Boots Buddha

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Age: 36
  • Location: NE China
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #100 on: June 12, 2015, 10:41:09 PM »
The ďprivilegeĒ debate always rubs me the wrong way.

It is disrespectful to the supposed recipient of the privilege.  It implies that their hard work, positive attitude and good choices meant nothing and the only reason they achieved what they did is because of who they are.  Think of this scenario, Michael Jordan (now retired for how long?) plays a high ranked but mostly unknown semi pro basketball player in a one on one match.  No matter how much he trains and practices to get back in shape, everyone will say ďof course he won, heís Michael JordanĒ.  Hard work+positive attitude=better than luck.  Hard work+positive attitude+luck=life is a breeze.

It is disrespectful to the people who arenít recipients of the privilege.  It implies that only a select few of non-white males can achieve success.  So black people canít be successful through hard work and smart living?  Women canít?  Hispanics?  How do you explain people like Ben Carson?  Colin Powell?  Thomas Sowell?  Fucking Frederick Douglas started out his life as PROPERTY!!!  There is no situation that makes success more difficult than that.

You're right its disrespectful.  Its OK though, because in the last 10 years it has become acceptable to say terrible things about white men because clearly they get everything in their life from luck and kicking black / hispanic people, women and babies in their face (no one can explain how East Asians are so successful though, must be the boot of white males can't find them).

This kind of hate / self-hate will never end until all jobs have a ration system where jobs are given based on the % of population race/gender. I guess this is what everyone is looking forward to? Soviet Russia?




grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4308
  • Age: 25
  • Location: London
  • This night has silence and very little fear
    • The MMM Blogger Community
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #101 on: June 12, 2015, 11:42:22 PM »
So your point is that since some other people have said things you consider disrespectful, you are now above engaging with other people on their ideas and can refute their point through petty non sequiturs alone?

FrugalToque

  • Global Moderator
  • Bristles
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
  • Location: Canada
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #102 on: June 13, 2015, 05:34:11 AM »
Its OK though, because in the last 10 years it has become acceptable to say terrible things about white men because clearly they get everything in their life from luck and kicking black / hispanic people, women and babies in their face ...

I would like you to examine what you've written above.
Next, try to find a black, female or disabled person who has complained about not getting ahead because of white, male, able-bodied privilege, because she can't get into a building without a wheelchair ramp or because the other scientists in her lab keep mistaking her for the custodial staff.
See if you can tell the difference.
Then, look at the average people in each group and see if you can tell who is making out better when it comes to: poverty, getting a taxi, being called for a job interview, being ripped off by a mechanic, being innocent and getting harassed by police.
Finally, make the realization that your complaint is without merit and turn away from a life of Complainypants.

This kind of hate / self-hate will never end until all jobs have a ration system where jobs are given based on the % of population race/gender. I guess this is what everyone is looking forward to? Soviet Russia?

I hope it is clear now how crazy your hyperbole is here.

Toque.

EscapeVelocity2020

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Houston
    • EscapeVelocity2020
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #103 on: June 13, 2015, 05:19:54 PM »
I don't even know why I'm going to wade deeper into this, but here I go :)

Quote
Quote
from: LiseE on June 12, 2015, 10:49:01 AM
Anyway .. I chimed in earlier on this thread ... the entire point of MMM's BLOG post, as with most of his posts,  is about attitude .. about making the best with the circumstances and keeping a productive attitude .. about having a spirit of optimism. 

Yes.  Yes, that is the point.

Toque.

When people of privilege start all agreeing that the status quo and even the point of this blog is all to their liking, I am a bit put off.  I've already admitted that I am more privileged than I even realized when I started my life, when I started to travel the world a bit, and even before I started to read this thread.  Telling others to do the best they can with the cards they are dealt and stay optimistic is simply too smug for my liking.  Sorry, but it just is.  When you are talking about being FI for the rest of your life at an early age, and telling others that are struggling to get their feet under them that they just need to work harder and spend less, they will probably look at you like you are from a different planet.  I get plenty of that already when I talk to 'privileged' people (which this blog is intended for).  I can't even imagine how it would be received at a homeless shelter, or jail, or bankruptcy court.

There are people that need real help.  If we think FIRE is hard, but we are close or have achieved it, why not spread the wealth a little.  It won't kill you!  Maybe it will delay your RV travel or homesteading plans, but holy crap will it ever be appreciated!  There are plenty of lost causes out there, sure, but don't write people off as 'lazy, complainy, and face-punch worthy' just because they haven't been able to implement Mustachianism (and probably never could, because they are working so hard they don't have time and energy to move up Maslow's pyramid, let alone the skills or a mentor).

So, yeah, from now on when I read posts, I come wondering if this is all just about being privileged and just cutting back on silly consumption to reach FIRE earlier (which applies to maybe 30% of the First World workforce (which is but a small fraction of the global workforce)).  And that's fine, that's good for the environment in a small way, but I'd hoped it would be something bigger.  Something universal. 

And the fact that people with privilege change the subject to 'the message is all about making the most of everything' (which of course applies to us people of privilege, so we of course agree) is like watching a beautiful racehorse put blinders on.  Run straight ahead until you see the wall, and then veer left a little at full speed, because that's progress. 

The message is 'make the most of privilege', plain and simple.  And then, once you accept that, maybe you can start to balance that with helping others.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2015, 05:24:36 PM by EscapeVelocity2020 »
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 25745
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #104 on: June 13, 2015, 07:57:30 PM »
Oh boy what a thread.

If you are privileged, make the most of it.  Don't waste it.  Recognize that you are privileged.

If you are not privileged, you'll have to work even harder.  But that's about all you can do, because you didn't choose that circumstance.  No one is going to give you anything.  So make the most of what you can.

Either way, hard work and optimism is the way to go.  But yes, the majority who "make it" will be privileged.  It certainly helps.  But it doesn't help the individual either way, they are or aren't, but still need to do what they can.

I'm ridiculously privileged and lucky.  But I also had to do some work.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

actualethan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Seattle Area
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #105 on: June 13, 2015, 08:32:04 PM »
Oh boy what a thread.

If you are privileged, make the most of it.  Don't waste it.  Recognize that you are privileged.

If you are not privileged, you'll have to work even harder.  But that's about all you can do, because you didn't choose that circumstance.  No one is going to give you anything.  So make the most of what you can.

Either way, hard work and optimism is the way to go.  But yes, the majority who "make it" will be privileged.  It certainly helps.  But it doesn't help the individual either way, they are or aren't, but still need to do what they can.

I'm ridiculously privileged and lucky.  But I also had to do some work.

THIS.

I would add:  If you ARE privileged, and you HAVE made the most of it, and you have NOT wasted it, and you have RECOGNIZED it, then by all means DO practice compassion and do your part to help those who need it.

There is NO SCENARIO where trying to be a better version of yourself will fail to benefit both you and (almost definitely) others.  If you struggle against adversity, strive to overcome it, and then share your story.  If you manage to inspire even a single person to BELIEVE, to STRIVE, then you have done well.  If it is only the most marginal of victories, well, it counts regardless.  For my part, it was MMM who inspired me.  Not to strive to be average (which was, in all honesty, a pretty big accomplishment for me, after the massive level of fail I achieved in my earlier years), but to strive to do SOMETHING MORE. 

I believe in compassion.  I am not some bootstrap pushing conservative.  Far from it.  But compassion, to my view, is something to be applied to OTHERS (I am very familiar with Kristin Neff, in case anyone cares to cite her work).  When it come to the SELF, nothing beats inspiration. 

End rant.

Disclaimer:  I posted this comment in spite of great reluctance, as I was told, by matchewed, to drop the mic.  It is quite likely I should have listened.  I do not have enough forum prowess to know if there was any kind of veiled meaning in his instruction, but I took it as a massive compliment.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2015, 09:44:40 PM by actualethan »

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 25745
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #106 on: June 13, 2015, 10:27:29 PM »
Oh boy what a thread.

If you are privileged, make the most of it.  Don't waste it.  Recognize that you are privileged.

If you are not privileged, you'll have to work even harder.  But that's about all you can do, because you didn't choose that circumstance.  No one is going to give you anything.  So make the most of what you can.

Either way, hard work and optimism is the way to go.  But yes, the majority who "make it" will be privileged.  It certainly helps.  But it doesn't help the individual either way, they are or aren't, but still need to do what they can.

I'm ridiculously privileged and lucky.  But I also had to do some work.

THIS.

I would add:  If you ARE privileged, and you HAVE made the most of it, and you have NOT wasted it, and you have RECOGNIZED it, then by all means DO practice compassion and do your part to help those who need it.

Great addition.  Love it.

Thanks!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

EscapeVelocity2020

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Houston
    • EscapeVelocity2020
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #107 on: June 14, 2015, 07:33:20 AM »
We say we have compassion, but that is just a word, unless you read something like this (linked below) and realize that we need to do something in our off-line life -

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/article/A-homeless-man-rides-out-the-storm-6309862.php

Sorry to be melodramatic Mustachianism will be a powerful source of good, I'm still wondering where Pete will take it...
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 07:58:49 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 25745
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #108 on: June 14, 2015, 08:15:08 AM »
We say we have compassion, but that is just a word, unless you read something like this (linked below) and realize that we need to do something in our off-line life -

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/article/A-homeless-man-rides-out-the-storm-6309862.php

Maybe that's a good heart tugger for others, but doesn't do it for me, when I think of the people who've never gotten multiple, multiple chances and continued to make self-destructive choices.  Girls in third world countries not able to go to school just because of the circumstances they were born in make me more sad than him.  I do feel for him, and wish him the best.  I hope he makes the right decision, as they end the article with, but I don't feel as compelled to act on that versus the many other poor out there that--with a hand up--might have a lot better chance.
 
Sorry to be melodramatic Mustachianism will be a powerful source of good, I'm still wondering where Pete will take it...

Financial education is a great place to start.  Environmentalism (resource reduction) another.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3167
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #109 on: June 14, 2015, 12:24:34 PM »
If you are privileged, make the most of it.  Don't waste it.  Recognize that you are privileged.

If you are not privileged, you'll have to work even harder.  But that's about all you can do, because you didn't choose that circumstance.  No one is going to give you anything.  So make the most of what you can.

Either way, hard work and optimism is the way to go.  But yes, the majority who "make it" will be privileged.  It certainly helps.  But it doesn't help the individual either way, they are or aren't, but still need to do what they can.

I'm ridiculously privileged and lucky.  But I also had to do some work.

I believe in helping people who can help themselves to help themselves.  I believe in helping people who cannot take care of themselves do so.

I sure as hell do not believe in helping people who can help themselves but choose not to do so.   

I'm helping the young man who lives next door to rental #1 get a yard business established.   I'm overpaying him for services to prime the pump a bit.  I 'll offer mentoring advice on an as-need and as-wanted basis.   

I'm helping the son of one of my best friends.  He's learning a lot of useful skills, making some money helping me out, and hopefully picking up some entrepreneurial thinking skills.  Plus some self discipline.

I hire unemployed people I know to do tasks for me at above market rates as I can afford it.    I've hired folks to deliver my car to another city so I could drive back instead of fly, dig French drains, organize my garage, etc.  Why?  Because they are good people trying hard and I can help.  I pay taxes for social services to help those I don't know, plus taxes for schools, medical care, etc.

But help folks who choose to be ignorant, choose not to graduate from school, choose not to work, choose not to work hard, choose to fail?   F them.   They can starve for all I care.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 25745
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #110 on: June 14, 2015, 01:04:16 PM »
Okay.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Runrooster

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 111
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #111 on: June 14, 2015, 06:36:12 PM »
Ethan's story and the rebuttal that follows reminds me of every diet/blog about healthy living in the history of mankind.  There are always outliers, always amazing stories of people who have beaten the odds and we are left to ponder whether that applies to us.  Obviously the contestants on biggest loser work very hard, but is it healthy for other people to be exposed to that standard?  In terms of dieting, a 60% savings rate is questionable, and pushing the envelope leads to long term psychological issues.

I think the same could be said about this blog post, which is cherry picked as not average results for mustachian concepts. How far away from average is it?  Three standard deviations, four?  I went through a completely different career reboot, and I did eventually succeed but on his scale I would have been running the organization in 5 years.  There's nothing wrong with working your tail off, which I/Ethan did, but society does throw these outlandish expectations at us.  It would be nice if mmm bucked that trend. 

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 25745
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #112 on: June 14, 2015, 07:50:24 PM »
Outliers provide better inspiration than averagers.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3167
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #113 on: June 14, 2015, 09:27:13 PM »
I graduated with a degree that was largely useless where I settled.   I did not have a decent paying job until I was over 30.  Before that my wife and I (together) made about 1/3 the median family income - and we paid child support, too.  That first decent job got me to just over median family income.  My wife (10 years older than me) went to college in her early 40s and graduated with a phd 10 years later.  She didn't have a decent paying job until she was over 50 years old.

During those years before she was gainfully employed I worked my ass off to get ahead.   I studied on my own time.  I practiced on my own time.  I wrote professional articles and conference papers on my own time.  I wrote a book on my own time.   I volunteered to edit software user group technical journals on my own time.   As my skills and professional connections improved my salary improved.

So we won't be retiring very early - but we could EASILY  have done so had we known MMM principles two decades ago.

Hard work, smart work, spending discipline, investing discipline, and optimism beat whining pessimism every time.

cerebus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South Africa
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #114 on: June 14, 2015, 09:55:12 PM »

We say we have compassion, but that is just a word, unless you read something like this (linked below) and realize that we need to do something in our off-line life -

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/article/A-homeless-man-rides-out-the-storm-6309862.php

Sorry to be melodramatic Mustachianism will be a powerful source of good, I'm still wondering where Pete will take it...

It does require some privilege to retire at 30 even with excellent habits, like Pete. It doesn't take privilege to learn how to be badass and very happy living below your means and below the income levels that most people would consider survival level. That's something universal. Or to learn to manage money or pursue opportunities... I remember one post where he cited a case of a badass dad who raised his kids with practically nothing and made it work.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8780
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #115 on: June 15, 2015, 06:51:25 AM »
Outliers provide better inspiration than averagers.

Maybe.  They can also push people away from the message by being so fantastical and unusual that they seem to be untrue and unrealistic.

FrugalToque

  • Global Moderator
  • Bristles
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
  • Location: Canada
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #116 on: June 15, 2015, 07:45:13 AM »
I don't even know why I'm going to wade deeper into this, but here I go :)

Quote
Quote
from: LiseE on June 12, 2015, 10:49:01 AM
Anyway .. I chimed in earlier on this thread ... the entire point of MMM's BLOG post, as with most of his posts,  is about attitude .. about making the best with the circumstances and keeping a productive attitude .. about having a spirit of optimism. 

Yes.  Yes, that is the point.

Toque.

When people of privilege start all agreeing that the status quo and even the point of this blog is all to their liking, I am a bit put off.
...
When you are talking about being FI for the rest of your life at an early age, and telling others that are struggling to get their feet under them that they just need to work harder and spend less, they will probably look at you like you are from a different planet. 

I'm just going to quote this part, because that's the point where I've clearly failed to communicate my position.

If you are a poorly privileged person, the best you can do for yourself is to make the best of your life.  That is obviously true.  It doesn't mean I'm going to berate someone without privilege as lacking in effort.  It doesn't mean I'm without sympathy.

If you are a privileged person, you obviously have more opportunities to do good with your life.  Part of that is, obviously, an obligation to help out those less fortunate.  It's why I give to charitable causes, why I agitate wherever I am for greater fairness and justice, and why I spend so much time explaining the concept of privilege to people on the Internet who don't understand it.

I am not pleased with the status quo, although the message of this blog is something I agree with.  I am not saying that people in poor positions of privilege should be left to their own devices.  I am not saying we live in a fair and just society.

I am interested to know, though:  how should the message of this blog change to accommodate privilege?  Should MMM say, "Here is some advice, but it's okay not to use it if ... if what?"

Toque.

LiseE

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #117 on: June 15, 2015, 10:08:38 AM »
Much of what is espoused here in the forum and in the blog surround the little changes that we can all make in our lives.  Privileged or not, most of us can find areas where we are being wasteful with spending and make changes that will impact the bottom line.  I recently watched a documentary on three families who were struggling to get off of government support.  They were all hard working families ... it was their spending habits that were killing them.  At one point, they had a home and lost it .. spent some time in a shelter .. also living in their car .. and throughout the story (which spanned six months) I noticed that the mom in this one family always had her nails done .. complete with a full set of tips.  Here they are struggling to put food on the table for their kids but have money for nails?  Really .. is that the priority?  Even if she is doing them herself .. that shit costs money and quite a bit. 

DO NOT GET ME WRONG .. I'm totally not judging here ... I realize that many .. dare I say most people in this country are not taught about finance and how to manage money.   It wasn't until last year and reading this blog that I took a look at our own finances and started working it all out and it's been an ongoing project but we've come a long way.  But until finding MMM last year,  like many people .. I was just spending blindly .. and on credit .. etc.  Dug a big debt hole and worked our asses off to get out of it. 

MMM pushes us to look at our lives and find the areas where we spend wastefully.  To analyze what you are purchasing and the relative need for that item.  Sometimes he pushes too hard for my liking but you take what you agree with and apply it.

Quote
If you are privileged, make the most of it.  Don't waste it.  Recognize that you are privileged.

If you are not privileged, you'll have to work even harder.  But that's about all you can do, because you didn't choose that circumstance.  No one is going to give you anything.  So make the most of what you can.

Either way, hard work and optimism is the way to go.  But yes, the majority who "make it" will be privileged.  It certainly helps.  But it doesn't help the individual either way, they are or aren't, but still need to do what they can.

I'm ridiculously privileged and lucky.  But I also had to do some work.

+1

Roses

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #118 on: June 16, 2015, 01:18:33 AM »
I don't even know why I'm going to wade deeper into this, but here I go :)

Quote
Quote
from: LiseE on June 12, 2015, 10:49:01 AM
Anyway .. I chimed in earlier on this thread ... the entire point of MMM's BLOG post, as with most of his posts,  is about attitude .. about making the best with the circumstances and keeping a productive attitude .. about having a spirit of optimism. 

Yes.  Yes, that is the point.

Toque.

When people of privilege start all agreeing that the status quo and even the point of this blog is all to their liking, I am a bit put off.
...
When you are talking about being FI for the rest of your life at an early age, and telling others that are struggling to get their feet under them that they just need to work harder and spend less, they will probably look at you like you are from a different planet. 

I'm just going to quote this part, because that's the point where I've clearly failed to communicate my position.

If you are a poorly privileged person, the best you can do for yourself is to make the best of your life.  That is obviously true.  It doesn't mean I'm going to berate someone without privilege as lacking in effort.  It doesn't mean I'm without sympathy.

If you are a privileged person, you obviously have more opportunities to do good with your life.  Part of that is, obviously, an obligation to help out those less fortunate.  It's why I give to charitable causes, why I agitate wherever I am for greater fairness and justice, and why I spend so much time explaining the concept of privilege to people on the Internet who don't understand it.

I am not pleased with the status quo, although the message of this blog is something I agree with.  I am not saying that people in poor positions of privilege should be left to their own devices.  I am not saying we live in a fair and just society.

I am interested to know, though:  how should the message of this blog change to accommodate privilege?  Should MMM say, "Here is some advice, but it's okay not to use it if ... if what?"

Toque.

Bolding the part I'm responding to but I share your sentiments completely.  I think MMM has done us all a great service.  However, in the last year or so I've started to think that at some point the blog content could expand a bit to include people born into clearly underprivileged circumstances.  Once you have the following that he has, and the level of influence that comes with it, isn't it a matter of ethics to go there?  I know mustachianism can help the poor in many ways, but it will be different than what we 'the privileged' get out of it.  Maybe it's not 10 years to FI but something else.  I'm sure someone that smart and charismatic could come up with some helpful posts speaking directly to that demographic, even if it's not his personal experience.  I keep getting the sense lately that he's preaching to the choir and the choir doesn't need any more help!  I know, I know, I say this because I'm a longtime reader but the message still hasn't reached everyone.  I just keep thinking there are people out there who are really struggling and could use this type of guidance so much more than we 'the privileged'.  This is mostly my own frustration with not being able to do much to help.  Giving to charity and a little activism feels so impotent in comparison to what this blog could do.  Big sigh...
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 01:20:26 AM by Roses »

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3167
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #119 on: June 16, 2015, 11:37:51 AM »
So, let's assume that "privilege" exists and that some people have it and some do not.

That's not a hard assumption to make, it's simply true. :)

So what.

What portion of MMMs advice would be different for someone who has "privilege" and someone who does not?

I posit that nothing about his advice of spend less, spend wisely, improve yourself and your skills, and invest what you can would change one iota.   Regardless of privilege, those who follow that advice are far more likely to get ahead than those that do not.

So, what's the point of bringing it up?

If you want to use it as an excuse for choosing not to do the right things to improve one's circumstances then you're full of horseshit.  In fact, you're evil to be preaching a doctrine based on choosing to fail when a better option that increases the odds of success is available.

If you just want to point out that those with "privilege" will have an easier time of it than those without, you win the "Mr. Obvious" award.   Whoopee.  Tell us all something we don't know.

Me?  I'm going to continue going to my local professional real estate investors group to learn more about how to make money in real estate from really savvy folks who really know how - most of whom are black and don't seem to have gotten the memo about how they can't succeed because of my white privilege.  They are too busy making money and helping other people learn to do the same to feel sorry for themselves.   

 So, if you want to really help those who need help, insist that there are ways that they can improve their lot in life.  It will require lots of hard and smart work, improving themselves, and growing as a person.   Point them to MMM for good ideas.  There are plenty of other sources of inspiration, too.  But don't sell them short, they are capable of great things if they are pointed in the right direction and held accountable for staying that way.   After all, they are part of the human race, which is the single most adaptable higher order species on the planet.

Roses

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #120 on: June 17, 2015, 01:08:32 AM »
Ok, ignoring the weird belligerance in the above response (horseshit, evil, yada yada)...  All this talk about using lack of privilege as an excuse for doing nothing is kind of annoying.  Are people doing that?  Ok, yeah, that's lame.  But I'm not talking about them.  Iím talking about* the guy from the hood who canít get a job better than night-shift clerk at the mini mart.  The single mom of 3 working a couple jobs to make ends meet.  The kid from the foster system who has trouble staying in school.  The religious girl who got pregnant at 18 and married the father out of obligation, both leaving school to work at the local supermarket.  The immigrant who spent the last decade surviving on dog food at a refugee camp and suddenly finds himself in the land of opportunity with no education or work experience.  And on and on.  People like that.  Don't tell me the advice is exactly the same.  I wonít even mention race since that is such a touchy issue around here.  I know MMM canít be Jesus Christ to everyone in every situation.  But expanding out a little bit beyond the usual software engineer, farther even than the Ethans of the world would be very interesting and could do a lot of people a lot of good.  Itís no use to say Ďjust apply the same principles to those examples on a different scaleí.  People donít really listen if the message isnít directed at them.  They barely listen when it is.  Iím talking about taking Mustachianism to the people who need it most, the poor.  Maslowís hierarchy and all that.  But maybe mustachianism doesnít work for the poor and disenfranchised?  Is that the case?  Is it hopeless?  Iím actually asking.  Because if it is, then one admission of that would suffice.  That might put an end to the privilege or no privilege debate for good. 

*Actual people Iíve met.

cerebus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South Africa
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #121 on: June 17, 2015, 03:43:13 AM »
Ok, ignoring the weird belligerance in the above response (horseshit, evil, yada yada)...  All this talk about using lack of privilege as an excuse for doing nothing is kind of annoying.  Are people doing that?  Ok, yeah, that's lame.  But I'm not talking about them.  Iím talking about* the guy from the hood who canít get a job better than night-shift clerk at the mini mart.  The single mom of 3 working a couple jobs to make ends meet.  The kid from the foster system who has trouble staying in school.  The religious girl who got pregnant at 18 and married the father out of obligation, both leaving school to work at the local supermarket.  The immigrant who spent the last decade surviving on dog food at a refugee camp and suddenly finds himself in the land of opportunity with no education or work experience.  And on and on.  People like that.  Don't tell me the advice is exactly the same.  I wonít even mention race since that is such a touchy issue around here.  I know MMM canít be Jesus Christ to everyone in every situation.  But expanding out a little bit beyond the usual software engineer, farther even than the Ethans of the world would be very interesting and could do a lot of people a lot of good.  Itís no use to say Ďjust apply the same principles to those examples on a different scaleí.  People donít really listen if the message isnít directed at them.  They barely listen when it is.  Iím talking about taking Mustachianism to the people who need it most, the poor.  Maslowís hierarchy and all that.  But maybe mustachianism doesnít work for the poor and disenfranchised?  Is that the case?  Is it hopeless?  Iím actually asking.  Because if it is, then one admission of that would suffice.  That might put an end to the privilege or no privilege debate for good. 

*Actual people Iíve met.

Even MMM said that the principles of FIRE can't necessarily work as easily for everyone in all situations. There's a couple of articles where he tried to coach people with much more difficult situations than his and it isn't always easy to provide an answer. If there is no spare money, it's very tough to get one's saving rate high enough to achieve early retirement. Right now with what I earn in this country with my family responsibilities, I can't see an easy way of doing it - but I'm fortunate in that I can still make the changes in time.

It doesn't mean that people can't be helped to live a more badass lifestyle. Even the disenfranchised and hopeless can improve their situations and take some measure of control over their finances. They can get out of debt, understand the principles of money, budget properly, and find a way to increase their incomes. Even if they could manage to save 10% more than they were doing, that can mean a huge improvement in living standard - much more than it does for someone who earns a large salary. So yeah, I think there is some universality to the principles.

swick

  • Global Moderator
  • Magnum Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2916
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #122 on: June 17, 2015, 04:06:14 AM »
I know MMM canít be Jesus Christ to everyone in every situation.  But expanding out a little bit beyond the usual software engineer, farther even than the Ethans of the world would be very interesting and could do a lot of people a lot of good.  Itís no use to say Ďjust apply the same principles to those examples on a different scaleí.  People donít really listen if the message isnít directed at them.  They barely listen when it is.  Iím talking about taking Mustachianism to the people who need it most, the poor.  Maslowís hierarchy and all that.  But maybe mustachianism doesnít work for the poor and disenfranchised?  Is that the case?  Is it hopeless?  Iím actually asking.  Because if it is, then one admission of that would suffice.  That might put an end to the privilege or no privilege debate for good. 

Why is it MMM's responsibility to reach everyone? His gift is being able to communicate with a specific market. He doesn't necessarily have the same life experiences or skills that would make his message immediately relevant to large segments of the population.

 He does what he can with the tools he has - why is he anymore responsible to fix these social problems then the rest of us? We are ALL responsible.   We can sit here and ask "why isn't he doing more, or different, or x"  Or we can take what we have learned and help others.

How many mustachians out there are using their skills/interests and abilities and making a real difference in the wold? How many of MMM's target audience have been able to use their position of strength to help others? (hint: quite a few) I have rebuilt community non-profits, I have created programs that mentor at-risk youth, put on free programs to teach life and parenting skills to low income families, worked to raise money for Canadian Doctors volunteering in Syria... None of which I could have done if I hadn't taken and applied the lessons MMM has shared.

There are other people on the boards engaged in volunteer and social non-profit work and using their own skills, gifts, and talents to make a difference in their world - none of which would be possible if they  had not built a position of strength/financial security from which to live from. There is a trickle down effect I think you are discounting.

The Mustachian lifestyle is not a religion. MMM is a messenger, not a deity. We can sit around on the forums and constantly argue about how the message is delivered.... or we can get off our asses and use OUR talents and skills to help in the areas we can.

MLKnits

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 277
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #123 on: June 17, 2015, 06:43:06 AM »
But maybe mustachianism doesnít work for the poor and disenfranchised?  Is that the case?  Is it hopeless?  Iím actually asking.  Because if it is, then one admission of that would suffice.  That might put an end to the privilege or no privilege debate for good. 

Honestly, I think most people living in poverty could teach courses on mustachianism (though presumably they'd call it something else)--they don't need to be taught it by high-income people. Making do and making your own are how people manage when they don't have any way of getting around it. There's some hubris in suggesting that a bunch of well-paid professionals should show poor people how to stretch a dollar--they're definitely already doing it.

I do a fair bit of poverty law, and I frequently work with people who live on $8-12,000 a year with no access to credit and a minimal financial support network (eg they might be able to borrow $100 from mom, once every few months). When it comes to cash side hustles, finding deals, living with roommates (or staying with subpar spouses because you can't afford to leave), stretching a bag of rice--believe you me, they should be teaching the class, not taking it.

If y'all have ever read Poorcraft--that's basically the badassery parts of mustachianism, for people who didn't grow up poor but have found themselves in tough circumstances.

So I'd say yes, mustachianism isn't really a useful tool for people living in poverty. The parts they can use, they already know or deserve to learn from sources meant specifically for them; other parts just aren't very useful (like "it's easy to save half your income by cutting minor luxuries"). And I'd say that MMM has acknowledged this in the past, using case studies of people who have clearly cut their spending to the bone already and who just don't have the options that many of us do for easy reductions.

FrugalToque

  • Global Moderator
  • Bristles
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
  • Location: Canada
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #124 on: June 17, 2015, 07:49:55 AM »
I think the relationship between poverty and MMM's philosophy is something he mentioned himself in a couple of blog posts.

For example, here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/09/26/reader-case-study-minimum-wage-with-a-baby-on-the-way/
"...due to the 20 year period since my own Minimum Wage Days, I have not known what to say."

There's another post/comment where he mentions that his only real experience with minimum wage was while he was still in high school, living with his parents.  From that point of view, he didn't feel it appropriate to lecture people on minimum wage, since he'd never really had to live it himself.  (except to say that human beings deserve way better for themselves than to take such low wages).

So part of the issue is simple humility: it's inappropriate for people like us to condescend like that.  It's better to have people like Ethan and the "young guy" in that article explain what they've done, how they've overcome obstacles, as they understand it better and won't accidentally trivialize something serious.

Toque.

tooqk4u22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2031
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #125 on: June 17, 2015, 08:10:21 AM »
.....However, in the last year or so I've started to think that at some point the blog content could expand a bit to include people born into clearly underprivileged circumstances.  Once you have the following that he has, and the level of influence that comes with it, isn't it a matter of ethics to go there?  I know mustachianism can help the poor in many ways, but it will be different than what we 'the privileged' get out of it.  Maybe it's not 10 years to FI but something else.  I'm sure someone that smart and charismatic could come up with some helpful posts speaking directly to that demographic, even if it's not his personal experience. ....

Well that is not sensational....that is more normal and doesn't "sell" so to speak.....but I agree with you....some stories/examples of people that started in poor circumstances and climbed out through education, hard work, risk taking, being financially prudent, etc would be great and resonate more with the general populous.....but it still wouldn't be exciting or dream worthy.

....Iím talking about* the guy from the hood who canít get a job better than night-shift clerk at the mini mart.  The single mom of 3 working a couple jobs to make ends meet.  The kid from the foster system who has trouble staying in school.  The religious girl who got pregnant at 18 and married the father out of obligation, both leaving school to work at the local supermarket.  The immigrant who spent the last decade surviving on dog food at a refugee camp and suddenly finds himself in the land of opportunity with no education or work experience.  And on and on.  People like that.  Don't tell me the advice is exactly the same.  ....

These are largely societal issues....where education, mentorship, community involvement would go a long long way.   

Honestly, I think most people living in poverty could teach courses on mustachianism (though presumably they'd call it something else)--they don't need to be taught it by high-income people. Making do and making your own are how people manage when they don't have any way of getting around it. There's some hubris in suggesting that a bunch of well-paid professionals should show poor people how to stretch a dollar--they're definitely already doing it. this in the past, using case studies of people who have clearly cut their spending to the bone already and who just don't have the options that many of us do for easy reductions.

Agree but poor people (out of circumstance) still make poor decisions, spending on crap food, video games, cars, large TVs - although I struggle with this a bit because it is hard to be poor and climb out living in areas where crab-mentality prevails - so these things provide a bit of escapism from their lives even if they are misaligned.

Spud

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #126 on: June 24, 2015, 11:32:07 PM »
MMM and Mrs MM had a high joint income when they were working and that certainly helped their situation. Saving 50% or more of a higher income is always going to be more than an equivalent percentage saved from a lower income.

That said, I don't think this was their greatest privilege.

Their greatest privilege, if you could even call it a privilege was learning about the principles of FIRE/Mustachianism/ERE/whatever at a young age.

I started learning about the principles at the age of 31, and I am going to turn 33 in a few months.

MMM was already retired by that age.

I also read a post from someone on the forum a while back who was just 19 years of age. I was insanely jealous. Imagine learning about Mustachianism when you were that young?

Even if it was pre-internet and investing was harder work, you could still compile a very fat stache before 30 and save yourself a whole heap of heartache over debt and all that consumer driven nonsense.

If I'd learned about the principles even at the age of 25, I'd be so much further down the road than I am now.

I guess I just have to be grateful that I found this place at all.

So even if you're from an ethnic minority and you never went to college and you work a minimum wage job, and you're a woman, and you're in poverty, if you stumbled across this blog and started reading it in an internet cafe before the age of 20, that could be all you need to completely transform your life.

Mustchianism is a mindset. The earlier you can adopt it, the better. Right?

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3833
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #127 on: June 25, 2015, 06:17:51 AM »
If I'd learned about the principles even at the age of 25, I'd be so much further down the road than I am now.

Yeah, this is very true.

I started on this journey about 3 years ago around that age and we should pretty easily be at $300k+ net worth at age 30.

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8780
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #128 on: June 25, 2015, 06:43:02 AM »
I started learning about the principles at the age of 31, and I am going to turn 33 in a few months.

MMM was already retired by that age.


This is true.  Presumably though, you're in a better position than the 19 year old learning about it now.  You should be further in your career and making more money . . . so retirement should be sooner for you.

Cheddar Stacker

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3752
  • Age: 39
  • Location: USA
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #129 on: June 25, 2015, 09:50:58 AM »
I started learning about the principles at the age of 31, and I am going to turn 33 in a few months.

MMM was already retired by that age.


This is true.  Presumably though, you're in a better position than the 19 year old learning about it now.  You should be further in your career and making more money . . . so retirement should be sooner for you.

I've had these thoughts as well. However, I've come to the conclusion that I wasn't ready to truly "listen" to a message like this until I was around 30. I found this site at 35. I might be retired by now if I found it at 30. I would've likely laughed at this site when I was 23 even though I was already relatively frugal. I was just too thick headed and self absorbed to listen to anyone else at that age.
Indecision may or may not be my problem.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 25745
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #130 on: June 25, 2015, 12:30:54 PM »
I started learning about the principles at the age of 31, and I am going to turn 33 in a few months.

MMM was already retired by that age.


This is true.  Presumably though, you're in a better position than the 19 year old learning about it now.  You should be further in your career and making more money . . . so retirement should be sooner for you.

I've had these thoughts as well. However, I've come to the conclusion that I wasn't ready to truly "listen" to a message like this until I was around 30. I found this site at 35. I might be retired by now if I found it at 30. I would've likely laughed at this site when I was 23 even though I was already relatively frugal. I was just too thick headed and self absorbed to listen to anyone else at that age.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear sort of thing?

Whenever I found it, I'm glad I did.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5788
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #131 on: June 26, 2015, 11:01:09 AM »
I started learning about the principles at the age of 31, and I am going to turn 33 in a few months.

MMM was already retired by that age.


This is true.  Presumably though, you're in a better position than the 19 year old learning about it now.  You should be further in your career and making more money . . . so retirement should be sooner for you.

I've had these thoughts as well. However, I've come to the conclusion that I wasn't ready to truly "listen" to a message like this until I was around 30. I found this site at 35. I might be retired by now if I found it at 30. I would've likely laughed at this site when I was 23 even though I was already relatively frugal. I was just too thick headed and self absorbed to listen to anyone else at that age.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear sort of thing?

Whenever I found it, I'm glad I did.

I was much older when Jacob, JD and finally Pete appeared on the scene. Had they been there earlier, I'm sure I could have FIRE'd sooner. Either way, I'm glad each of them cared enough to make time in their lives to raise the lamp to light other's paths. Talk about makng a difference in the world.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

Yuuki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #132 on: July 06, 2015, 06:59:41 PM »
This post really rubbed me the wrong way. Privilege as a concept is stupid. I am not a long time reader, but the entire point of this blog to me seems to be based around the idea that if save money, you can make that money work for you and not live a worse life because of it.

The reason I've started reading through the articles on this blog is because of the "retire early" article. I don't know how I ended up there, but basically the idea resonated with generally how I felt about life in the first place, but it just put it in a more numerical perspective.

That being said, while this is anecdotal evidence, people always seem to bring up the problems others incur that make their situation impossible to manage like another person does, simply because the other person has incurred some magical "privilege" that allowed them to do so.

I am a young black male. I come from a family that commonly lived my entire life below the poverty level. FAR below the poverty level. The total household income for 6-7 of us has only exceeded 20 thousand dollars once, and generally is around 15 thousand dollars. Because of this, there were times when I was hungry, and had no food, and we could not afford air conditioning in a very hot area (40-47c in summer, meaning I live in the worst part of California) and statistically not much is expected from me from pretty much anyone because I was a poor inner city youth where the only thing going for me is I had both a mother and father (disabled) in my home. 

My life felt pretty bad, but luckily I was an ok mathematician and a realist. Rather than sitting around being hungry, I asked my mother how much money we made total in the house. The main issues I wanted to solve was the issue of never having money and the issue of being hungry at the end of the month. To my surprise, when I ran the numbers I figured easily even being extremely poor we could save out money every month and have a reasonable (at least I thought it was reasonable at the time) food budget combine with assistance the government gives us to actually live an ok life.

My mother told me I was young, stupid, and had no idea what I was talking about.

Fast forward a few years to when I was an adult and still lived with her, and I refused to give her any money for anything unless she attempted the plans I had refined over the years to keep money in the house. The plans worked, but my mom simply did not want to sacrifice the changes in life style that had incurred upon us because of my choices, EVEN THOUGH IT IS AN EXTREME DETRIMENT TO US BECAUSE OF THE LEVEL OF POVERTY WE LIVED AT.

Do you see the pattern? Regardless of any privilege, it's exactly as the owner of this blog has said. Being poor, middle class or whatever was irrelevant. The mentality is the only thing stopping my mother from saving money. She refuses to give up cable, and even on cable wants some "premium" packages, and spends lots of money on cigarettes, and buys microwavable processed food from the store.

It has started to annoy me when I see on the news how poverty is never the fault of people who are in poverty, or their lifestyle choices aren't. We did not have a car, so it is hard to go to the grocery store. Thankfully, I don't live in a food desert, but if I did, a car would be a necessity. Why then, does my mother not give up cable to be able to quickly accumulate the money required to get the car?

And this pattern was not something I only observed in my own family, I observed it in OTHER families as well while living in poverty, around people in poverty. Eventually I moved to a neighborhood that was bussed to a school with kids you would consider "privileged," and the habits of them and their parents did not seem to change. Nothing changed. People were the same at all income brackets.

Personally, I figured there was no reason to live like this. Without going to college I taught myself how to program and began work in the field. When everybody else through high school was screwing around, I was learning how to code and making things. Instead of wasting time in college like others around me were doing shuffling through degrees, I studied all day to learn skills because I enjoyed them and it could become a career.

To put that in perspective I was black, poor, and live in America and was able to overcome all of that to become successful. Even before learning this blog existed, I lived frugally because not having much as a child made me quickly realize having "much" beyond being able to eat and not having to sit in 47 degree weather in your home (Sorry Mr. Mustache guy, 42+ degrees is fucking hot and no human should subject themselves to that in their own house, but I do agree bringing down the temperature relatively at peak heat times is a much better alternative to aiming for 20 degrees at all hours) Meanwhile, at my age everybody around me is still eating out, working dead end jobs, giving up everything they pursue, buying tons of crap they don't need and cannot think in terms beyond a few months at best.

But I'm sure the only reason they will never be successful is simply a "privilege" they didn't have, only the people with well off parents I know are the bad ones! 

cerebus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
  • Age: 39
  • Location: South Africa
Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #133 on: July 06, 2015, 10:30:40 PM »
This post really rubbed me the wrong way. Privilege as a concept is stupid. I am not a long time reader, but the entire point of this blog to me seems to be based around the idea that if save money, you can make that money work for you and not live a worse life because of it.

The reason I've started reading through the articles on this blog is because of the "retire early" article. I don't know how I ended up there, but basically the idea resonated with generally how I felt about life in the first place, but it just put it in a more numerical perspective.

That being said, while this is anecdotal evidence, people always seem to bring up the problems others incur that make their situation impossible to manage like another person does, simply because the other person has incurred some magical "privilege" that allowed them to do so.

I am a young black male. I come from a family that commonly lived my entire life below the poverty level. FAR below the poverty level. The total household income for 6-7 of us has only exceeded 20 thousand dollars once, and generally is around 15 thousand dollars. Because of this, there were times when I was hungry, and had no food, and we could not afford air conditioning in a very hot area (40-47c in summer, meaning I live in the worst part of California) and statistically not much is expected from me from pretty much anyone because I was a poor inner city youth where the only thing going for me is I had both a mother and father (disabled) in my home. 

My life felt pretty bad, but luckily I was an ok mathematician and a realist. Rather than sitting around being hungry, I asked my mother how much money we made total in the house. The main issues I wanted to solve was the issue of never having money and the issue of being hungry at the end of the month. To my surprise, when I ran the numbers I figured easily even being extremely poor we could save out money every month and have a reasonable (at least I thought it was reasonable at the time) food budget combine with assistance the government gives us to actually live an ok life.

My mother told me I was young, stupid, and had no idea what I was talking about.

Fast forward a few years to when I was an adult and still lived with her, and I refused to give her any money for anything unless she attempted the plans I had refined over the years to keep money in the house. The plans worked, but my mom simply did not want to sacrifice the changes in life style that had incurred upon us because of my choices, EVEN THOUGH IT IS AN EXTREME DETRIMENT TO US BECAUSE OF THE LEVEL OF POVERTY WE LIVED AT.

Do you see the pattern? Regardless of any privilege, it's exactly as the owner of this blog has said. Being poor, middle class or whatever was irrelevant. The mentality is the only thing stopping my mother from saving money. She refuses to give up cable, and even on cable wants some "premium" packages, and spends lots of money on cigarettes, and buys microwavable processed food from the store.

It has started to annoy me when I see on the news how poverty is never the fault of people who are in poverty, or their lifestyle choices aren't. We did not have a car, so it is hard to go to the grocery store. Thankfully, I don't live in a food desert, but if I did, a car would be a necessity. Why then, does my mother not give up cable to be able to quickly accumulate the money required to get the car?

And this pattern was not something I only observed in my own family, I observed it in OTHER families as well while living in poverty, around people in poverty. Eventually I moved to a neighborhood that was bussed to a school with kids you would consider "privileged," and the habits of them and their parents did not seem to change. Nothing changed. People were the same at all income brackets.

Personally, I figured there was no reason to live like this. Without going to college I taught myself how to program and began work in the field. When everybody else through high school was screwing around, I was learning how to code and making things. Instead of wasting time in college like others around me were doing shuffling through degrees, I studied all day to learn skills because I enjoyed them and it could become a career.

To put that in perspective I was black, poor, and live in America and was able to overcome all of that to become successful. Even before learning this blog existed, I lived frugally because not having much as a child made me quickly realize having "much" beyond being able to eat and not having to sit in 47 degree weather in your home (Sorry Mr. Mustache guy, 42+ degrees is fucking hot and no human should subject themselves to that in their own house, but I do agree bringing down the temperature relatively at peak heat times is a much better alternative to aiming for 20 degrees at all hours) Meanwhile, at my age everybody around me is still eating out, working dead end jobs, giving up everything they pursue, buying tons of crap they don't need and cannot think in terms beyond a few months at best.

But I'm sure the only reason they will never be successful is simply a "privilege" they didn't have, only the people with well off parents I know are the bad ones!

Oh hey, fake MMM account guy :p

I got an immense amount of enjoyment from reading that, thanks.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Yuuki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #134 on: July 07, 2015, 11:06:08 AM »

Oh hey, fake MMM account guy :p

I got an immense amount of enjoyment from reading that, thanks.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Maybe I should take a picture with a timestamp lol.

Cheddar Stacker

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3752
  • Age: 39
  • Location: USA
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #135 on: July 07, 2015, 11:36:11 AM »

Oh hey, fake MMM account guy :p

I got an immense amount of enjoyment from reading that, thanks.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Maybe I should take a picture with a timestamp lol.

Yuuki, welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing your story.
Indecision may or may not be my problem.

wepner

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 196
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Yokohama, Japan
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #136 on: July 19, 2015, 02:28:48 AM »

Oh hey, fake MMM account guy :p

I got an immense amount of enjoyment from reading that, thanks.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Maybe I should take a picture with a timestamp lol.

If you are real and really from America then why do you say 47 degrees is hot? Are you a snowman?



probably my favorite map btw

willow

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 95
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #137 on: July 28, 2015, 05:02:13 PM »
Regarding the newest post: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/06/05/success-even-after-self-destruction/

MMM is quick to point out that the Medium article is very complainypants, but that really rubs me the wrong way. I think the Medium article touches on (briefly) a very important, very relevant criticism of the MMM philosophy, which is that all of us who retire early or are on track to are RIDICULOUSLY PRIVILEGED.

Okay, okay, if MMM is only targeting people who have enough money and who waste it needlessly, then I guess this post is pointless. However, the idea that 'I worked hard for what I got', especially in light of the recent reader case study, is problematic. That user says he didn't finish a college degree, was a former addict, and ex-convict. However, he is also male and (I'm guessing) white, in America. Think about if he was black, a woman, transgender, a person with a disability, someone with a different background, different support, and different opportunities.

A lot of people work hard. A lot of people work really fucking hard and had hard fucking lives and continue to have really hard lives. A lot of people experience institutionalized racism, sexism, ableism, etc. that prevents them from the opportunities you think you achieved from mere hard work alone. I understand that it's hard to target everyone, and yeah maybe some people need to hear that 'hard work is all it takes.' However, that completely disregards the experience of so many people.

I'd recommend reading this for a much better explanation of why 'I worked hard for what I got' is still completely laced with privelege: http://www.vagabomb.com/This-Comic-Will-Forever-Change-the-Way-You-Look-at-Privilege/

I think this is what people always miss in the privilege conversation. He's not comparing privileged people to unprivileged people. He's comparing privileged people to privileged people. There are plenty of people with plenty of privilege who still complain and don't work to have the same success as the people they complain about.

Johnez

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 592
  • Location: Southern California
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #138 on: July 29, 2015, 07:23:08 AM »

It does require some privilege to retire at 30 even with excellent habits, like Pete. It doesn't take privilege to learn how to be badass and very happy living below your means and below the income levels that most people would consider survival level. That's something universal. Or to learn to manage money or pursue opportunities... I remember one post where he cited a case of a badass dad who raised his kids with practically nothing and made it work.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

This sums it up. You don't need privilege to live MMM's ideas. You need to be (or become) a badass. In some ways coming in from behind is actually quite helpful! How many posters here came from poor families who knew how to stretch a buck? Lots! How many had to learn to bust their ass? Lots!

Privilege abounds in these forums, but even the most disadvantaged can take MMM's words and put them to action. Or do you think its impossible for them? Go tell that to their face. "Yeah, this here writer helped me dropmy phone bill from $1200 a year to $130 a year, save me $2000 a year in gas after I traded my Explorer for a Civic and gave me a shit ton of ideas for changing my job to something better paying. Nothing useful to you, since you're poor, black, and female though." Does this make any sense?

tanzee

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
  • Location: Asheville, NC
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #139 on: August 18, 2015, 06:04:59 AM »
But maybe mustachianism doesnít work for the poor and disenfranchised?  Is that the case?  Is it hopeless?  Iím actually asking.  Because if it is, then one admission of that would suffice.  That might put an end to the privilege or no privilege debate for good. 

Honestly, I think most people living in poverty could teach courses on mustachianism (though presumably they'd call it something else)--they don't need to be taught it by high-income people. Making do and making your own are how people manage when they don't have any way of getting around it. There's some hubris in suggesting that a bunch of well-paid professionals should show poor people how to stretch a dollar--they're definitely already doing it.

I do a fair bit of poverty law, and I frequently work with people who live on $8-12,000 a year with no access to credit and a minimal financial support network (eg they might be able to borrow $100 from mom, once every few months). When it comes to cash side hustles, finding deals, living with roommates (or staying with subpar spouses because you can't afford to leave), stretching a bag of rice--believe you me, they should be teaching the class, not taking it.

If y'all have ever read Poorcraft--that's basically the badassery parts of mustachianism, for people who didn't grow up poor but have found themselves in tough circumstances.

So I'd say yes, mustachianism isn't really a useful tool for people living in poverty. The parts they can use, they already know or deserve to learn from sources meant specifically for them; other parts just aren't very useful (like "it's easy to save half your income by cutting minor luxuries"). And I'd say that MMM has acknowledged this in the past, using case studies of people who have clearly cut their spending to the bone already and who just don't have the options that many of us do for easy reductions.

I'd say this mostly hits the nail on the head.  However, I would add that in my experience there is still a pressure among the poor to keep up with the consumptive habits of the middle and upper classes.  I have seen this working as a mental health counselor as well as working in youth centers that serve underprivileged populations.  I remember a mother who was living in a shelter, getting a check from the government and buying her 3 sons each $30 haircuts.  Or kids from impoverished families coming in with brand new smart phones and/or sneakers. 

This is an area where I believe MMM's message can further support folks in poverty.  Consumerism certainly impedes folks in the middle class, but it's even more damaging to those people who stretch their budgets to incorporate extraneous consumer goods when they can barely afford the basics.  Certainly this isn't a universal trend, but I think there is a real urge among the folks I've worked with to not appear to be poor, and thus to display some semblance of a middle class lifestyle. 

I don't mean any of this as a "the poor bring it upon themselves" message.  I'm simply concluding that I have seen our Bullshit Consumer Culture be incredibly damaging to the people with the least.  In my view, MMM's unabashed criticism of this strain of Western culture is indirectly helpful to the poor. 

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4826
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #140 on: August 18, 2015, 01:37:41 PM »
Hmm, reading over what I just wrote it would appear my advice to struggling addicts is to just go to prison then switch over to hard liquor...?  See, we knew it!  You are privileged! You had prison to help with your addiction!  It's so unfair, why can't I go to prison???

Seriously, seeing that you are in the Seattle area now, I wanted to give you a heads up about Grocery Outlet.  If you don't got there already, check it out.  I think they are the best money savers around here.

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5788
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #141 on: August 18, 2015, 02:01:16 PM »
Hmm, reading over what I just wrote it would appear my advice to struggling addicts is to just go to prison then switch over to hard liquor...?  See, we knew it!  You are privileged! You had prison to help with your addiction!  It's so unfair, why can't I go to prison???

Seriously, seeing that you are in the Seattle area now, I wanted to give you a heads up about Grocery Outlet.  If you don't got there already, check it out.  I think they are the best money savers around here.
Don't forget Winco. And the 99 Cents Only Stores. There are only three genuine 99 Only Stores in the greater Seattle area, don't settle for copycat stores. Funny, just did a google search and it looks like there are only three Winco's, too. Map it out and make a visit, because both are budget stretchers, along with Grocery Outlet.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3167
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #142 on: April 22, 2016, 03:51:44 PM »
Ok, ignoring the weird belligerance in the above response (horseshit, evil, yada yada)...  All this talk about using lack of privilege as an excuse for doing nothing is kind of annoying.  Are people doing that?  Ok, yeah, that's lame.  But I'm not talking about them.  Iím talking about* the guy from the hood who canít get a job better than night-shift clerk at the mini mart.  The single mom of 3 working a couple jobs to make ends meet.  The kid from the foster system who has trouble staying in school.  The religious girl who got pregnant at 18 and married the father out of obligation, both leaving school to work at the local supermarket.  The immigrant who spent the last decade surviving on dog food at a refugee camp and suddenly finds himself in the land of opportunity with no education or work experience.  And on and on.  People like that.  Don't tell me the advice is exactly the same.  I wonít even mention race since that is such a touchy issue around here.  I know MMM canít be Jesus Christ to everyone in every situation.  But expanding out a little bit beyond the usual software engineer, farther even than the Ethans of the world would be very interesting and could do a lot of people a lot of good.  Itís no use to say Ďjust apply the same principles to those examples on a different scaleí.  People donít really listen if the message isnít directed at them.  They barely listen when it is.  Iím talking about taking Mustachianism to the people who need it most, the poor.  Maslowís hierarchy and all that.  But maybe mustachianism doesnít work for the poor and disenfranchised?  Is that the case?  Is it hopeless?  Iím actually asking.  Because if it is, then one admission of that would suffice.  That might put an end to the privilege or no privilege debate for good. 

*Actual people Iíve met.

So, what about the advice would be different?   

Let's see:

Work harder.    How would not working at all, or slacking off, or just putting in a so-so effort help them more?

Work Smarter.  FYI, Work Smarter includes the concept of taking stock of your circumstances, strengths and weaknesses.   It includes capitalizing on one's strengths (and improving them) and minimizing one's weaknesses (or removing them) in order to improve one's situation.   If a strength that one has is qualifying for aid or assistance or needs-based scholarships or earned-income tax credits, then working smarter would include making use of those strengths if no better option existed.   It would include thinking out of the box to find something, anything, to give oneself an edge.   

So, again,  how would failing to collect money and resources one is due, or a better job, or failing to learn skills so one could get a better paying job, or doing things as dumb as possible help them more?

Minimize Spending.   How would spending money on things that won't improve their situation help them more?  How will spending money on things that will actually make their situation worse help them more?   

Increase Income.   How would never trying to get more money for the same amount of labor, or never trying to improve one's income with a side gig help them more? 

Invest Surplus Income.   Well, obviously, until the income and spending issues aren't solved, there won't be any regular surplus.  But, if they have a surplus at some point in their life (a windfall or they get their income/spending issues solved), how would failing to invest their money in a sensible way help them more?

Be Optimistic   Going back to Ethan's story, do you know what got him that job that started it all off?    His attitude.  His unwavering determination to do the absolute best job for his employer he could possibly do.   The absolute faith that if he did all that he could, given copious amounts of work and some time, make things work out.   I have to tell you, when I find someone like that, I do what I can to help them along.   They are a treasure to know.   And other people I know who have been successful thru following the same principles tend to help them along, too.

So, how would being so pessimistic that they never even try to improve things help them more?  How would being so pessimistic that they are a downer to everyone around them help them get a better paying job, better networking prospects, or even a life partner?

As for my "weird belligerence", I don't think it's weird at all.  I have suffered thru too many people expounding upon how people can't get ahead today when it's a well demonstrated fact that people can do so.    Telling someone they must suffer in poverty because there is no way out while knowing there is a way that can work IS evil.   How else would you describe stealing the hope that might have fueled their success?   And that includes telling them they are helpless until society comes along and gives them a hand out.  That brings out the belligerence in me pretty darned fast.

To believe that they must suffer in poverty because their is no way out in the face of repeated examples of how someone has succeeded is true folly based on horseshit logic.   

Now, to be completely fair, it WOULD be better if we did not have structural inequalities in our systems.  It would be better if society made the playing field more fair and just.   I vote for people who want to do that.   And maybe, in some future day, maybe even while the poor persons we are giving advice to today are alive and young enough to benefit from, it will happen.  Or maybe things will get worse for the poor.   It's not in my control and it's not in their control. 

But when I make that point, I make DAMN SURE that I NEVER say they can't get ahead unless we fix the system.   FYI - the system will NEVER be completely fair for all people until there is only one human left alive.

In the meantime, I choose to help people help themselves.   I choose to offer advice to people who are making poor choices and only help them if they start making better choices.  Otherwise I'm wasting my limited time and resources when I could help someone else out instead.






The simple answer is that trying the MMM philosophy in life is often going to be the best (and only!) way for people to succeed.   The worse their situation the MORE they need to try it, not less.


 


ariapluscat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 475
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #143 on: May 02, 2016, 02:21:53 PM »
I wish people would be more compassionate. :<
And educated on these fields. Social science has been researching and validating things like privilege, microaggressions, tokenism, and the glass escalator for years at this point. These are entry level concepts for people studying these fields or living these realities. Talking about them is not whining or anything like that and it's not up to debate whether they exist or not - they exist and we need to talk about these issues to fix them. It's several data driven fields of study. ++ to the invisible backpack.

Privilege isn't discounting the hard work of privileged people. I really like the comic from the op's post bc it highlights that they both worked hard. It's just that the system is set up to work better for a person from a certain background but also make invisible the benefits received. The comic also highlights how it's compassion that lets us learn about the roadblocks in the waiter's path to a different career even though she made a lot of the right boot-strappy choices. And the few ppl from marginalized communities who managed to make it into places of capital and wealth aren't enough; the talented 10th is kind of a shot theory.

Sometimes I think MMM needs a careful application of compassion and the Audre Lorde quote "caring for myself is not self indulgence. it is self preservation and that is an act of political warfare" [for a black lesbian]. Sometimes people need to take a break and sometimes taking care of yourself can mean something different if you didn't grow up with stability or certain middle class type things.

I do like the point that MMM simply isn't in the place to preach to poor people or structurally disadvantaged people bc I think about that a lot myself when trying to help and advise, but there may be some language slippage in most of his posts wrt 'anyone can do it! everyone should be a badass!' enthusiasm vs his actual 'this is much harder for min wage and i haven't actually done this on min wage' nuance. Certainly a lot of forum posters didn't get the nuanced view or weren't clearly expressing it to my eyes.

Goldielocks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4289
  • Location: BC
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #144 on: May 26, 2016, 09:09:23 PM »

Think about if he was black, a woman, transgender, a person with a disability, someone with a different background, different support, and different opportunities.

......I understand that it's hard to target everyone, and yeah maybe some people need to hear that 'hard work is all it takes.' However, that completely disregards the experience of so many people.



I agree that MMM is suited for the privileged, indeed.   

I disagree that only a few people have that privilege in North America, Europe, etc.   A great many of the people you mention above, have a lot of privilege available to them, by virtue of being born in a country with social supports, permission to move to gain employment, free education, etc. etc. etc.

My guess is that 80% of people in North America could be considered Privileged to some degree.   I know I am, and I am a woman. Do i run into disadvantages at times? of course!  But net, net, the privilege I received is still larger.

 I am sure many (of course not all, but many) black persons can point to net advantages over the disadvantages, as can those with some disabilities, or hard upbringing, etc.  Perhaps it is moreso in Canada, with a minimum family support level (cash) combined with a MUCH lower incarceration rate, but perhaps not?


So from my viewpoint, yes, MMM is suited for privileged persons, and that is pretty much all of us with access to this blog and MMM.

The One Dude

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Location: Las Vegas
    • Alpha Jon
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #145 on: July 08, 2016, 08:14:35 AM »
I'll bite on this one. I'll be the first one to say that things don't start out fair. But notice what I said...I didn't say life isn't fair.

I think that's a huge misconception that many people have. Life is VERY fair over the long term. If you're familiar with statistics then you know about volatility. You can be sure your life will swing with an 85% or so confidence interval. Bad things will happen to you, but good things will to. If you put in your salt and sweat though for DECADES and YEARS while others squander their time, you better believe the universe will reward you for it, and I'm not even religious or anything.
I Blog About My Online Business Streams: AlphaJon.com

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8780
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #146 on: July 08, 2016, 08:23:42 AM »
I'll bite on this one. I'll be the first one to say that things don't start out fair. But notice what I said...I didn't say life isn't fair.

I think that's a huge misconception that many people have. Life is VERY fair over the long term. If you're familiar with statistics then you know about volatility. You can be sure your life will swing with an 85% or so confidence interval. Bad things will happen to you, but good things will to. If you put in your salt and sweat though for DECADES and YEARS while others squander their time, you better believe the universe will reward you for it, and I'm not even religious or anything.

So, in your opinion there are no hard working people in a place like . . . Malawi, Niger, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo for example?

Where you end up depends a lot on how hard you work.  It also depends an awful lot on where you start.  There are more opportunities in North America than a lot of places around the world, but there are still circumstances that can heavily conspire against you.  Claiming that success is solely due to hard work is a comforting thing to cling to (particularly if you're a successful person), but the dark side of holding that view is that it enables you to place blame that isn't always deserved at the feet of people who may have worked hard but not been as lucky as you.

Nera

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Europe
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #147 on: August 10, 2016, 01:51:21 AM »
Hello, everybody!
I am new to this forum and this is my first post.
I wanted to say that Ethan's letter to MMM is very inspirational to me. I am not this blog's target demographic (at least, as I perceive it) as I am currently unemployed because of mental health problems.
But, let me tell you that even my situation does not stop me from getting my life back on track, mustachian style. My husband and I are paying off our mortgage quickly and I am investing the rest of the money for our retirement. I started saving like a madwoman (no pun intended) since I got ill and discovered that it actually helps me get better because it creates peace in my life. That is my main motivation to stay on track. Financial stability creates a peace of mind and that is essential for people with mental health problems.
As I am trying to get back to work, Ethan's letter motivates me a lot. I saved it and I read it every day. It's not easy to find a job and keep a job if one has metal health issues, but I know I can do it.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 02:10:51 AM by Nera »

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 25745
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #148 on: August 10, 2016, 04:12:59 AM »
That's terrific, Nera.  Good luck!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

actualethan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Seattle Area
Re: Success even after self-destruction: A criticism
« Reply #149 on: August 10, 2016, 08:16:52 AM »
Hello, everybody!
I am new to this forum and this is my first post.
I wanted to say that Ethan's letter to MMM is very inspirational to me. I am not this blog's target demographic (at least, as I perceive it) as I am currently unemployed because of mental health problems.
But, let me tell you that even my situation does not stop me from getting my life back on track, mustachian style. My husband and I are paying off our mortgage quickly and I am investing the rest of the money for our retirement. I started saving like a madwoman (no pun intended) since I got ill and discovered that it actually helps me get better because it creates peace in my life. That is my main motivation to stay on track. Financial stability creates a peace of mind and that is essential for people with mental health problems.
As I am trying to get back to work, Ethan's letter motivates me a lot. I saved it and I read it every day. It's not easy to find a job and keep a job if one has metal health issues, but I know I can do it.

This totally made my day.  I hope everything goes great for you Nera, you are awesome.