Author Topic: Art of Manliness - "Building Financial Independence Beyond the Stock Market"  (Read 1338 times)

mike_fernlea

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I was listening to an episode of this podcast called "Building Financial Independence Beyond the Stock Market" thinking it's bound to have something useful in it.
https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/financial-independence-beyond-the-stock-market/

The topic of FIRE comes up at 27m 26s. The interviewee, Sam Dogan, seems quite down on the FIRE movement and believes there's a lot of bullshitting going on. Talking about having enough gross passive income to cover your expenses, he says:
"Where the lines get shady, or grey, is that a lot of people who are proponents of the FIRE movement don't have that concept - their passive income does not cover their living expenses. What they're doing is talking about Financial Independence/Retiring Early meanwhile they're hustling like hell on their blog or on side hustles to try to make a living in a non-traditional way"

lhamo

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Oh, the ironies of someone pushing his own blog (Financial Samurai) criticizing other bloggers for not being "truly FIREd".....  He's been all over the financial media lately, obviously trying to boost his own clickthru rate.

I am 100% FIREd, no side gig, live a very happy and non-deprived life in a HCOL area and disagree vehemently with Mr. Dogan on just about everything.  There are plenty of us who FIRE and have no need/desire to monetize it.  Or to develop an alternative niche where we can be the guru to those who we convince they need 500k/year to live a decent life.  If you want to go the high income route, try Ramit Sethi -- at least he's honest about what he's up to and doesn't try to drag others down. 

Paul der Krake

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I mean, there's the bond market too.

Telecaster

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The topic of FIRE comes up at 27m 26s. The interviewee, Sam Dogan, seems quite down on the FIRE movement and believes there's a lot of bullshitting going on. Talking about having enough gross passive income to cover your expenses, he says:
"Where the lines get shady, or grey, is that a lot of people who are proponents of the FIRE movement don't have that concept - their passive income does not cover their living expenses. What they're doing is talking about Financial Independence/Retiring Early meanwhile they're hustling like hell on their blog or on side hustles to try to make a living in a non-traditional way"

The bullshit is mostly coming from San Dogan. 

nereo

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The topic of FIRE comes up at 27m 26s. The interviewee, Sam Dogan, seems quite down on the FIRE movement and believes there's a lot of bullshitting going on. Talking about having enough gross passive income to cover your expenses, he says:
"Where the lines get shady, or grey, is that a lot of people who are proponents of the FIRE movement don't have that concept - their passive income does not cover their living expenses. What they're doing is talking about Financial Independence/Retiring Early meanwhile they're hustling like hell on their blog or on side hustles to try to make a living in a non-traditional way"

The bullshit is mostly coming from San Dogan.

+1.  I wrote a diatribe a while back about one of his more ridiculous postings (his support of Suze Orman's statement that you need $10MM to be FIRE).  In it Sam decided to ignore - permanently - any and all money put into retirement accounts and SS because an FIREe 'cannot access' those accounts'.  Since then he's posted a lot of other really dubious and/or misleading things, including some bond diatribe that cherry picked a bunch of data to show that bonds were not quite as good over long periods as stocks, but that is preferable because of their lower volatility (so... yay?)

He seems to have sold out and is chasing clicks while making a bunch of misleading statements.

bacchi

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I'm not a fan of FS, and agree that's he going for the upmarket FIRE crowd too aggressively, but he's not entirely wrong (and I recognize the irony). There are some newish FIRE bloggers that raise red flags. We all know the type. "I retired a millionaire at 32 and my only job was a cashier at Safeway. Click my google-syndicated blog to see how!"

The "Be a success (by writing a book about being a success)" crowd has been around for a long time. It shouldn't be a surprise that it's infected FIRE blogging.

lhamo

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FIRE bloggers are a tiny, tiny percentage of the overall FIREd pool.  Using them as the only example of what it means/looks like to FIRE is like looking at an extremely small pool of quants in hedge funds doing high risk investing and saying that they somehow represent the entire financial sector. 

If you spend just a day or two browsing this forum, or ER.org you can find PLENTY of examples of people who have FIREd successfully who haven't tried to monetize it in any way.  And people like @Nords (wish there were more like him) who did take up blogging to spread the message, but donate all their proceeds to causes they believe in. 

dandarc

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I have flashbacks of the Billy Madison speech every time I see or hear anything from Financial Samurai.

Nords

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If you spend just a day or two browsing this forum, or ER.org you can find PLENTY of examples of people who have FIREd successfully who haven't tried to monetize it in any way.  And people like @Nords (wish there were more like him) who did take up blogging to spread the message, but donate all their proceeds to causes they believe in.
Thanks, lhamo!

And yeah, Sam’s changed his behavior over the last few years.  I had a reader complaint about one of Sam’s blog post comments, and I no longer follow FS.

sol

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I mean, there's the bond market too.

Also real estate, plus health savings accounts, 529 plans, and a variety of high-interest savings accounts for day to day spending needs.  Oh and pensions, if you're one of those types.  That pretty much covers your "beyond the stock market" options, I think.

BFive55

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I don't think it's necessarily wrong. A lot of critics of FIRE, myself included, see it as inherently self-limiting. I like many concepts of FIRE, but I don't want to FIRE and have to rely on frugal or being a cheapskate the rest of my life if I don't have to. A lot of people don't want to have to reuse sandwich bags to save 3 cents on their budget or buy almost expired meat and make a stew.

And it's not ironic he's plugging his own blog. That misses the point. His point is that many people who "FIRE" aren't really doing it because they have side hustles where they are making money or rely on that side hustle to support being "FIRE'd". When I have enough to be financially independent I don't want to rely on a side hustle to make any money... and a lot of people see relying on a side hustle for extra "spending" cash to not really be FI. I'd like my savings to be able to keep me at a nice standard of living and provide for some luxuries here and there or travel costs.

nereo

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I don't think it's necessarily wrong. A lot of critics of FIRE, myself included, see it as inherently self-limiting. I like many concepts of FIRE, but I don't want to FIRE and have to rely on frugal or being a cheapskate the rest of my life if I don't have to. A lot of people don't want to have to reuse sandwich bags to save 3 cents on their budget or buy almost expired meat and make a stew.
If you think MMM's blog is about extreme frugality you're missing the point.
This is not about saving 3¢ on sandwich bags or buying almost expired meat. Most of us (Pete included) would describe our lives as an exploding volcano of luxury and comfort.

Nords

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I don't think it's necessarily wrong. A lot of critics of FIRE, myself included, see it as inherently self-limiting. I like many concepts of FIRE, but I don't want to FIRE and have to rely on frugal or being a cheapskate the rest of my life if I don't have to. A lot of people don't want to have to reuse sandwich bags to save 3 cents on their budget or buy almost expired meat and make a stew.

And it's not ironic he's plugging his own blog. That misses the point. His point is that many people who "FIRE" aren't really doing it because they have side hustles where they are making money or rely on that side hustle to support being "FIRE'd". When I have enough to be financially independent I don't want to rely on a side hustle to make any money... and a lot of people see relying on a side hustle for extra "spending" cash to not really be FI. I'd like my savings to be able to keep me at a nice standard of living and provide for some luxuries here and there or travel costs.
I’m a little confused by “self-limiting”.  What if you’re imposing limits on yourself, and those limits you’ve identified don’t exist for others?

If you want to FIRE without extreme frugality then... FIRE with more money in your budget.  Save and invest, and accumulate enough assets (by exchanging your life energy) to FIRE the way you want.

Some people want to FIRE like Jacob and Pete, and for their personal reasons.  Those bloggers are writing for that leanFIRE audience.  If you don’t want to FIRE that way then it’s better to find bloggers who are writing more to your style of FIRE.

If someone is dependent on a side hustle (blogging?  selling online classes?) for their FIRE, then they’re doing it their way as well.  I’d have to let the Internet Retirement Police draw the line on the distinction between “FIRE and never earning another dollar ever again” versus “FIRE with a real estate or blogging or coaching side hustle”, but I suspect that both people would be equally happy.

Meanwhile Sam is blogging for the same reason that I write:  we can’t stop.  There are millions of other bloggers out there, and at least one of them will resonate with your interests.

For every blogger like Sam who gives the appearance of needing blogger money to FIRE, there’s at least one more blogger who’s donating all of their blogger money to charitable causes which are important to them.  Maybe Sam attracts a bigger audience by bringing the drama, or maybe the other bloggers don’t need a bigger audience and don’t have to care... they just keep writing about their lifestyle and concerns for their audience without worrying about getting more readers.

Regardless of the personalities (and their credibility), the math is independent of the marketing:  assets of 25x your annual spending.  After 25 years, the research seems to have hammered out enough verification to make it worth implementing.  You can complicate that part all you want (30x?  50x?  annuities?  real estate?  stocks?) but when you reach FIRE it’s at your standards.

sol

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I don't want to FIRE and have to rely on frugal or being a cheapskate the rest of my life if I don't have to. A lot of people don't want to have to reuse sandwich bags to save 3 cents on their budget

I'm definitely spending more in retirement than I was while working.  My life doesn't feel terribly frugal at all.  It used to, when I was saving money and working towards FIRE, but now that I'm there?  Money is no longer scarce, relative to my desires, so I don't really feel the need to conserve it and build it.  I'm supposed to be spending it down at this stage of my life.

While working towards FIRE, my asset total was kind of like a game score, a number to be constantly managed and improved and kept at the forefront of my mind.  Everything I could do in pursuit of that goal seemed worthwhile, including seeking out voluntary hardship in support of extreme frugality, because that's what the game was about.  Now the game is over.  I played it for ~10 years, and then I won!  The score doesn't really matter anymore, because the goal has been achieved and the struggle is over.  I no longer think about hitting my savings goal, just like I no longer think about finishing my PhD, or earning my black belt or eagle scout, or finding the right spouse spouse, or buying the right house.  Mission accomplished!  Now it's time to move on to other concerns, like how to live my best life for myself and my kids.  There are always new challenges to pursue, but life's big mandatory pass/fail tests are all behind me now.  Including money.

Saving 3 cents on sandwich bags?  Not part of my universe anymore.  FIRE set me free of all those concerns that you seem to think define the FIRE movement. 

MrDelane

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I no longer think about hitting my savings goal, just like I no longer think about finishing my PhD, or earning my black belt or eagle scout, or finding the right spouse spouse, or buying the right house.  Mission accomplished!

I want to be Sol when I grow up.

sol

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I no longer think about hitting my savings goal, just like I no longer think about finishing my PhD, or earning my black belt or eagle scout, or finding the right spouse spouse, or buying the right house.  Mission accomplished!

I want to be Sol when I grow up.

I was kind of a box-checker when I was young. 

Even FIRE was just another life goal to cross off the list, in a way.  I no longer consider most of that stuff to be half as important as I once did. 

Except for the spouse, that one is way more important than all of the others combined.  With the right partner your life is joyous no matter the circumstances, and with the wrong one you'll be miserable regardless.