Author Topic: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people  (Read 3557 times)

gaja

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Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« on: April 10, 2019, 04:07:08 PM »
I'm always looking for new ways to think and new things to learn, and found a new source of inspiration last week (re: long story below). Do you know any historical people that you think today's mustachians could learn something from?


Last week, I found myself in a church. That doesn't happen very often, but my youngest has started singing in a choir, and I was attending her first concert. The topic for her concert was Hans Nielsen Hauge, a historical figure I remember reading about in school. Back then, the books focused on the religious side of his work, and since I don't believe in that stuff, I mostly ignored him. But now, with the kid singing and all, I had to listen. And the story really got me thinking (while still ignoring the religious stuff).

H.N. Hauge was born a relatively poor farmer's son 250 years ago. The religious part of the story is that he started walking around the country on a missionary quest when he was about 25 year old. But the interesting part of the story is that while walking, he also spread a message about good farming methods, he bought ships and built factories, and he organized groups of like-minded people and convinced them to do the same. In total, it is estimated that he and his friends established several thousand jobs, and some of the factories have survived until today. His main message was about equality, and he tried to empower more people to both speak up and take on more responsibility. If he found a talented farmer, he would find the funds to get him to a larger farm. He would send young people abroad to get training, and bring them back to start factories. His followers were important when the Norwegian constitution was written in 1814, since they made sure that the voices of the farmers were heard.

I've always believed that I need to "save the world", as in doing at least a little bit of good. For me, mustachianism is partly about making room for the important parts in life by sorting out the consumerism, and partly about having the financial freedom to do what I think is important. Until now, I have been thinking about politics, maybe lobbying, or some sort of volunteering.

But one of Hauge's sayings was that to build the country we need to get the money out of the coffers and into work; creating jobs and opportunities for those who need it. It can be said that my index funds are invested in businesses, but I think I might want to do something more. Something were I can see results locally; people gainfully employed, families moving to a village threathened by de-population, or physical changes that make for a better environment. There are a lot of opportunities, it will be a lot of fun to continue pondering this issue.

GoConfidently

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 05:06:38 PM »
I like this topic.

About ten years ago, I ran across a book called Possum Living while researching gardening and living off the land. That book would eventually lead me to MMM through a long convoluted path, but thatís a side note. While reading the book, I mentioned it in class and one of my students looked like she had seen a ghost. Her mom is Dolly Freed, the author. I had no idea the woman even lived in my area (she lived in a very far away state in the 70ís when she wrote the book). Anyway, we met, sheís super cool, and still lives a very mustachian life. There are old TV interviews online now from her original book tour, and she had a blog for a while, but the book was pre-web and meeting her was one of the most unexpected coincidences Iíve ever experienced. Her story is super inspiring (no formal education to working for NASA) and her attitude is super bad ass and empowered.

JustInStarting

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 07:30:31 PM »
I found 3 short YouTube videos about Dolly Freed. (Possum Living Part 1,2,3)
Her book sounds interesting. I'm going to see if it is available at our  library.

Hargrove

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2019, 12:59:13 AM »
I just want to add that your impulse to "do something more" is way better than noting you have "invested in businesses."

After a business has done its initial public offering, stock trading is just like passing WidgetCo trading cards back in forth with other people. WidgetCo doesn't get a dime (though its CEO might be paid extra if the trading cards go up in value). Only the IPO makes the business (and jobs) possible. I don't know that we should incentivize sitting on stocks like we do. I benefit a ton from it, but I would be ok with share buybacks being illegal and long-term holdings not being tax-advantaged, for the good of society at large.

The manager of the Doobie Bros. was apparently a pretty cool guy. The band blew its money on... whatever, you know, as bands do. They went to their manager and complained how terrible it was they were all broke. The manager said no, I kinda had a feeling you guys were going to do that. I opted you all in to these savings accounts in your names. Here's a pile of money for each of you - nobody's bankrupt. Hopefully they made good on round two. Then the guy started BR Cohn winery and sold it for a pile of money. The hardest challenge for many people with sudden wealth is not letting it warp your perspective (in a way that usually leads to unhappiness).

chrisgermany

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 11:43:49 PM »
Helen and Scott Nearing: they had maple and blueberry farms and lived off the land.
They wrote some books on it which are worth reading.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2019, 01:04:39 PM »

Parizade

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2019, 08:55:57 AM »
My first exposure to mustachian ideals was from a book published in 1981 by Charles Long. He coined the term Conserverism as an antidote to Consumerism in his book How to Survive Without a Salary. He didn't focus as much on "early retirement" as he did on accumulating and investing money so you could do your life's work instead of working at a dull job just to survive.

SwordGuy

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2019, 05:53:18 PM »
What a great list of interesting people to go learn more about!   Thanks!!!

My mom told me about Mr. and Mrs. Pfeiffer of Piggott, Arkansas.   They were a wealthy family that owned a really nice home and a fair bit of land.  When the depression came along lots of people in the area were hurting.  They were also proud and did not want handouts, they wanted to earn their own way.

The Pfeiffers bought every single quilt people brought them.   Didn't care whether it was any good or not.  They just bought them.   Every few months they would pay someone to paint the outside of their home.  Apparently the paint is really thick on that house.   Good people.

Oh, yeah, some writer named Ernest Hemingway married their daughter and moved to Arkansas for awhile.

http://arkansaslivingmagazine.com/article/hemingway-pfeiffer-home-showcases-cultural-history/

We own some farmland up that way, my mom and dad are buried thereabouts.


*********************************

What can we, as FIRED people with a stash do to improve people's lot in life?

One, of course, is to spread the word.  Lots of people have the drive to do what needs doing if they just have a good plan to follow.

Another way is to build in a budget for charitable giving.   The problem with giving is that once you give it, it's gone.   You've got to come up with more stash if you want to give more away.

My wife and I decided to treat every 5th or 6th property as a charitable one.

We had been looking for a fixer-upper that we could renovate and donate as a battered women's safe house, for example.   Thought we had found a good candidate but then we realized it was next door to what appeared to be a criminal gang.   Decided to pass on that house. 

Then I got to thinking that there's another way.   

We found a really cool home in our area that was going to be destroyed.   We wanted to save it.  I'm helping someone get their real estate investing business going.   It's employing him and after school starts next year it will also be able to employ his wife.   I pay him to help me renovate my rentals and flips and loan him seed money for investments at very favorable terms.   The intent of those terms is to enable him to acquire some properties that he otherwise wouldn't be able to afford yet.   He'll be able to season them for a couple of years as rentals before refinancing them to more conventional mortgages.  Or use borrow money to make a quick flip for essentially no interest.    I have a cap on the amount I'll make available to him and my only restriction is that I know how to make money on the property.  (That way, if something goes wrong like he and his wife die in a car wreck and I have to take over the property, I'll be able to offload it without losing my capital.)   Before I got into flip #1 I made sure I could get my money back out of the repaired house.   Turned out I was able to sell it after only doing a few repairs for enough to put $10k to $15k into my buddie's pocket and anywhere between $0 to $15k in my own.

So, first property netted my buddy at least $10k.   2nd and 3rd properties we worked on were rentals for me.   He made cash while working on them and then gets the first 12 month's rent payments (minus taxes, insurance and property management fees).   So, that's another $12k-14k in rent plus about $12k in repair wages.   While we were working on #2, I called him up (he was out of town) and told him that I was buying another property, #4.  "Take a look at it when you get back, I'll rent it out if you don't want it."   He decided he wanted it.   I've bought the house and will fund the repairs.  Then I'll sell it to him at cost using seller financing.   Expected terms will be along the lines of 0% for 3 years, then market rates.   This gives him time to build up a repair kitty because he has no mortgage costs plus season the units as rentals so the banks will refinance them.   I'm making that capital available for use in purchases for 3 years, so he could potentially get a flip, fix it up, sell it and then use the proceeds to fund another rental.   All that without the hassle of dealing with a bank and their rules.

What do I get out of that?   An energetic, smart, handy person to help us with our renovations.  We're no spring chickens anymore.   And we get our money back which means we can re-use it to help someone else get started.   That's important!

And, of course, he's being exposed to the value of helping others get started, too, as well as how I treat people I do business with.

Next project will be a rental property for college students to share.   If I can find one at the right price, I can fix it up, rent it out for a few years to get my money back out of it, then turn it into a non-profit that can rent to students at half price (and remain self-supporting).  If I do it this way, I can re-use my charitable capital for another property.

I guess it's kind of like recycling charitable dollars.

Anyway, that's the current plan.  If we come up with one that's better, we'll do it.


SwordGuy

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2019, 06:19:48 PM »
The Roman senator Cato was known to be extremely frugal.    Remarkably so.

Unfortunately, he was miserly and cruel to others, so he doesn't qualify as a true Mustachian.

pecunia

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2019, 06:20:11 PM »
I guess the posters on this one don't believe the market by itself will solve all ills.  I don't either.  This one looks interesting.  Suggest old old Mother Earth News articles maybe the seventies and eighties prior to commercialization.

Parizade

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2019, 07:50:29 PM »
My mom told me about Mr. and Mrs. Pfeiffer of Piggott, Arkansas.   They were a wealthy family that owned a really nice home and a fair bit of land.  When the depression came along lots of people in the area were hurting.  They were also proud and did not want handouts, they wanted to earn their own way.

The Pfeiffers bought every single quilt people brought them.   Didn't care whether it was any good or not.  They just bought them.   Every few months they would pay someone to paint the outside of their home.  Apparently the paint is really thick on that house.   Good people.

Your story reminded me of one I heard while I was in Adare Ireland. The Adare Manor was built during the Great Hunger in Ireland by the Earl of Dunraven and his wife. They employed local craftspeople to do all the work, and Lady Dunraven established a School of Needlework to teach the local women marketable skills. No one in Adare starved to death, all were gainfully employed throughout that terrible famine thanks to this noble family.

Your projects reminded me of an article I read earlier today on the return of "flop houses." Boarding houses used to be a common housing solution, people are beginning to realize that they may be the answer to a rising need for affordable housing. It got me wondering if I could take on a project like that.

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/04/26/the-old-flop-house-emerges-as-solution-to-affordable-housing-crisis


HenryDavid

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2019, 09:51:21 AM »
Bradford and Natalie Angier. Left Boston area and moved way up north and built a cabin.

https://www.amazon.ca/At-Home-Woods-Living-Thoreau/dp/160893442X/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=bradford+angier&qid=1556898521&s=books&sr=1-5

And of course Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, of YMOYL fame.
https://yourmoneyoryourlife.com/book-summary/

spartana

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2019, 12:10:33 AM »
Paul and Vickie Terhorst wrote "Cashing in on the American Dream: How to retire at 35" in 1984 when they retired at 35 to become PTs (perpetual travelers).  Not historical but certainly at the forefront of the pre-internet FIRE movement.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/09/09/30-years-ago-they-retired-at-35-an-update/amp/
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 12:13:51 AM by spartana »

mspym

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2019, 12:32:34 AM »
For the life of me, I cannot find the book I read 25 years ago about a couple that lived on a small sailboat. They realised quite young that they wanted to spend all their time sailing, bought a fixer-upper and fixed it up while working, then saved the cost of a replacement boat in bonds, which yielded enough to cover their annual expenses, and quit working. They were very definite that much of modern spending was to make modern life tolerable but if they were doing what they loved, they didn't need to bribe themselves and their expenses became super low. I wish I could find out the name of the book or the authors because it was a great read. (Sadly this field exploded in the last decade or so and I don't think they kept up with SEO so google yields a lot of results which is Not Them.)

ETA: Found it! Voyaging on a Small Income by Annie Hill. Originally published in 1975 and republished 1993.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 03:49:44 AM by mspym »

Parizade

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2019, 05:38:32 AM »
They were very definite that much of modern spending was to make modern life tolerable but if they were doing what they loved, they didn't need to bribe themselves and their expenses became super low.

I LOVE this expression, it's so true! The clown cars and Mcmansions are self-bribes to make life on the hamster wheel seem tolerable.

cooking

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2019, 02:02:59 PM »
Quote
My first exposure to mustachian ideals was from a book published in 1981 by Charles Long. He coined the term Conserverism as an antidote to Consumerism in his book How to Survive Without a Salary. He didn't focus as much on "early retirement" as he did on accumulating and investing money so you could do your life's work instead of working at a dull job just to survive.

I also read this book years ago and found it an excellent read.  Long gives an example in the book that, for me, illustrates one of the strong forces driving consumerism.  It went something like this:  If I build you a house for a million dollars and you build me a house for a million dollars, we've increased GDP by a total of 2 million dollars.  If instead we each build our own million dollar (worth) houses, how much have we increased GDP?  Zero.  The government has powerful incentive to perpetuate consumerism.

Parizade

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2019, 03:00:24 PM »
Quote
My first exposure to mustachian ideals was from a book published in 1981 by Charles Long. He coined the term Conserverism as an antidote to Consumerism in his book How to Survive Without a Salary. He didn't focus as much on "early retirement" as he did on accumulating and investing money so you could do your life's work instead of working at a dull job just to survive.

I also read this book years ago and found it an excellent read.  Long gives an example in the book that, for me, illustrates one of the strong forces driving consumerism.  It went something like this:  If I build you a house for a million dollars and you build me a house for a million dollars, we've increased GDP by a total of 2 million dollars.  If instead we each build our own million dollar (worth) houses, how much have we increased GDP?  Zero.  The government has powerful incentive to perpetuate consumerism.
Yes, it was very eye-opening! The last few pages of the book were the most inspiring for me, where he talks about how the work we choose to do reflects who we are. If we are only working for money to buy stuff we will never have time to do the work that defines our values and inner voice. That's why so many of us are sick in heart and soul.

SwordGuy

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2019, 05:49:03 PM »
What a great list of interesting people to go learn more about!   Thanks!!!

My mom told me about Mr. and Mrs. Pfeiffer of Piggott, Arkansas.   They were a wealthy family that owned a really nice home and a fair bit of land.  When the depression came along lots of people in the area were hurting.  They were also proud and did not want handouts, they wanted to earn their own way.

The Pfeiffers bought every single quilt people brought them.   Didn't care whether it was any good or not.  They just bought them.   Every few months they would pay someone to paint the outside of their home.  Apparently the paint is really thick on that house.   Good people.

Oh, yeah, some writer named Ernest Hemingway married their daughter and moved to Arkansas for awhile.

http://arkansaslivingmagazine.com/article/hemingway-pfeiffer-home-showcases-cultural-history/

We own some farmland up that way, my mom and dad are buried thereabouts.


*********************************

What can we, as FIRED people with a stash do to improve people's lot in life?

One, of course, is to spread the word.  Lots of people have the drive to do what needs doing if they just have a good plan to follow.

Another way is to build in a budget for charitable giving.   The problem with giving is that once you give it, it's gone.   You've got to come up with more stash if you want to give more away.

My wife and I decided to treat every 5th or 6th property as a charitable one.

We had been looking for a fixer-upper that we could renovate and donate as a battered women's safe house, for example.   Thought we had found a good candidate but then we realized it was next door to what appeared to be a criminal gang.   Decided to pass on that house. 

Then I got to thinking that there's another way.   

We found a really cool home in our area that was going to be destroyed.   We wanted to save it.  I'm helping someone get their real estate investing business going.   It's employing him and after school starts next year it will also be able to employ his wife.   I pay him to help me renovate my rentals and flips and loan him seed money for investments at very favorable terms.   The intent of those terms is to enable him to acquire some properties that he otherwise wouldn't be able to afford yet.   He'll be able to season them for a couple of years as rentals before refinancing them to more conventional mortgages.  Or use borrow money to make a quick flip for essentially no interest.    I have a cap on the amount I'll make available to him and my only restriction is that I know how to make money on the property.  (That way, if something goes wrong like he and his wife die in a car wreck and I have to take over the property, I'll be able to offload it without losing my capital.)   Before I got into flip #1 I made sure I could get my money back out of the repaired house.   Turned out I was able to sell it after only doing a few repairs for enough to put $10k to $15k into my buddie's pocket and anywhere between $0 to $15k in my own.

So, first property netted my buddy at least $10k.   2nd and 3rd properties we worked on were rentals for me.   He made cash while working on them and then gets the first 12 month's rent payments (minus taxes, insurance and property management fees).   So, that's another $12k-14k in rent plus about $12k in repair wages.   While we were working on #2, I called him up (he was out of town) and told him that I was buying another property, #4.  "Take a look at it when you get back, I'll rent it out if you don't want it."   He decided he wanted it.   I've bought the house and will fund the repairs.  Then I'll sell it to him at cost using seller financing.   Expected terms will be along the lines of 0% for 3 years, then market rates.   This gives him time to build up a repair kitty because he has no mortgage costs plus season the units as rentals so the banks will refinance them.   I'm making that capital available for use in purchases for 3 years, so he could potentially get a flip, fix it up, sell it and then use the proceeds to fund another rental.   All that without the hassle of dealing with a bank and their rules.

What do I get out of that?   An energetic, smart, handy person to help us with our renovations.  We're no spring chickens anymore.   And we get our money back which means we can re-use it to help someone else get started.   That's important!

And, of course, he's being exposed to the value of helping others get started, too, as well as how I treat people I do business with.

Next project will be a rental property for college students to share.   If I can find one at the right price, I can fix it up, rent it out for a few years to get my money back out of it, then turn it into a non-profit that can rent to students at half price (and remain self-supporting).  If I do it this way, I can re-use my charitable capital for another property.

I guess it's kind of like recycling charitable dollars.

Anyway, that's the current plan.  If we come up with one that's better, we'll do it.

Put a bid in on a property to donate for charitable purposes.   It was accepted today.

We're not sure whether it will be for inexpensive college housing or (a more recent idea due to some info we got) a halfway house for foster kids who have aged out of the system.  They often have little to no savings, no credit history, and no family who will (or even could) co-sign for them.   Idea is to structure it so they can stay for a year paying low rent (because they are sharing the place with others) without requiring them to have a credit history or a co-signer.   If the place doesn't get trashed while they are there, they would get a portion of their rent back which would enable them to come up with the necessary deposits.   Plus, they would have a good landlord reference and have built a year's worth of (hopefully good) credit history.

The property we picked out would work great for either group.   

It's a property being sold via the probate court so it's subject to being someone bidding more than we did in the next 10 days.   It's been on the market a long time so hopefully that won't happen.

So, wish us luck!

the_gastropod

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2019, 05:57:26 PM »
While this is probably an obvious answer, I still have to add Henry David Thoreau. Walden remains one of the most incredible insightful "Mustachian" books I've ever read. It's hard to find a more elegant distillation of what Mustachianism is all about than this wonderful quote from Walden:

Quote
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

happy

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2019, 06:20:42 PM »
A few other early examples:

Gary Pierce and his wife who decided to retire on a sailboat in 1990 and did it in 1994. https://www.frugal-retirement-living.com/frugal-retirement.html

And I have to mention the inspiring Aussie Anita Bell. http://www.anitabell.com/home.htm. At 16 she needed to buy some land to keep her horse, and worked part-time jobs and saved like a maniac to do it.  Fast forward she started to buy houses : she was a self-confessed maths whizz and worked out how to pay them off as fast as possible to reduce interest payments. In the 1990s she then wrote her first book about that: "How to pay off your mortgage in 5 years by someone who did it in 3",  at a time when mortgage rates were double figures. She is an amazing frugalista and her books are filled with all sorts of frugal tips. She went on to write 7 finance books in total and now writes fiction, always her dream.  I relied heavily on her books when I divorced and became a single parent 2 decades ago.

And not to forget Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette.

happy

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Re: Pre-web (historical) mustachian people
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2019, 06:22:51 PM »
I like this topic.

About ten years ago, I ran across a book called Possum Living while researching gardening and living off the land. That book would eventually lead me to MMM through a long convoluted path, but thatís a side note. While reading the book, I mentioned it in class and one of my students looked like she had seen a ghost. Her mom is Dolly Freed, the author. I had no idea the woman even lived in my area (she lived in a very far away state in the 70ís when she wrote the book). Anyway, we met, sheís super cool, and still lives a very mustachian life. There are old TV interviews online now from her original book tour, and she had a blog for a while, but the book was pre-web and meeting her was one of the most unexpected coincidences Iíve ever experienced. Her story is super inspiring (no formal education to working for NASA) and her attitude is super bad ass and empowered.

I also found Possum Living interviews/films on youtube some time back. Super inspiring. Her reason for making the films/writing the book was to let folk who are down on their luck that they can live on next to no money.