Author Topic: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?  (Read 31120 times)

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #100 on: August 19, 2017, 08:38:35 PM »
This has been fun to read.  Boomer here, so was already close to retirement when I found the blog. 

Boomers are as variable as any other age group, for money, social attitudes, etc.   And for you young'uns, we also lived through times of high unemployment (why do you think so many of us went to grad school?), massive high interest rates (19% mortgages) when personal finance books had mortgage tables that started at 7% - and they needed mortgage tables because there were no personal computers to do the math for you.  The internet has made a huge difference, there was no easy access to the stock market (financial advisors and your bank were the gatekeepers), mutual funds were rare.

BTW, people were complaining at least 3 years ago that the forums were getting soft.

Also btw, while I am being a grouchy older lady, Americans (largest single group on this forum) complain like mad about health insurance costs, but the rest of their COL is so low compared to many other places (Canada, the UK and Australia come to mind) that if they are making a decent salary they should have the money for premiums.  And of course we pay for our health care, the premiums are part of our taxes.  We look at things like  house prices, food costs, electricity, etc., convert it into our currency, and gasp at how low they are!
Until the ACA, there were people who could not get insurance for any sum of money, no matter how much they were willing to pay.

Yeah, a lot of people were offered the "Fuck Off and Die" plan from all the insurers.

deborah

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #101 on: August 19, 2017, 09:06:11 PM »
This thread has been a fun read!

Several points

Firstly, MMM DOES NOT travel much by plane - he last went to Hawaii more than TEN years ago. I understand that he travels to his family by land rather than air. He really does try to live the life he preaches. As I understand it, he got involved in the Ecuador camps, so he does fly there, but would prefer to stay at home. My reading of his latest MMM HQ post is that he is trying to bring the world to him, and never leave Longmont again. I could easily be wrong.

Secondly, I have a poll - https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/what-type-of-re-person-are-you/?viewresults - which has had some interesting results. There are NOW an enormous number of people on the forum who are FI - at least 22% of the poll. They HAVE the stash, so they might be getting a bit looser in their spending habits. I traveled overseas three times before retirement (and I retired in my early fifties because I didn't realise I could until then), but I have now gone to the Ecuador camp and the Seattle Camp Mustache, and I am soon going to Canada. I am STILL accumulating money - and most of the people in the post-fire forum seem to be doing the same.

This is reasonable - the blog has been going for six years, and after about five years, the SERIOUS frugal people can possibly FIRE. And then they become looser in their habits. This means that the less frugal mustashians are more dominant - because the frugal ones are FIRE, and the others are still going. So the forum may naturally be getting looser.

However, the other thing is that you are just becoming a bunch of old fogies, and the forum content hasn't changed at all - you are just getting more frugal, and less benevolent toward the idiots (what I called the Spendthrift Splendours and Reluctant Reducers) in the poll.

Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #102 on: August 19, 2017, 10:06:05 PM »
Also btw, while I am being a grouchy older lady, Americans (largest single group on this forum) complain like mad about health insurance costs, but the rest of their COL is so low compared to many other places (Canada, the UK and Australia come to mind) that if they are making a decent salary they should have the money for premiums.  And of course we pay for our health care, the premiums are part of our taxes.  We look at things like  house prices, food costs, electricity, etc., convert it into our currency, and gasp at how low they are!
A while back, someone from Canada asked what taxes were for someone in U.S. making $100K/yr. to see how much more he was paying for taxes in Canada.  As it turned out, he was paying much LESS in taxes.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/what-i-learned-about-myself-politics-and-those-on-the-other-side/msg1630240/#msg1630240

It looks like the property tax rate is lower in Canada than here as well.

-- side thread to a post a few days ago ---

GACK.  That link reference had someone in Canada maxing out RRSP's at $22k per year, so paying net tax on $78k, versus someone only contributing $6k to 401k on $110k.  Of course someone with 78K per year pays a lot less tax in dollars than someone earning $104k per year!!   grrr.     One pays 21 % taxes, at a lower income, and the other pays 28% taxes for a higher income.  There are many other factors that we can't see in this equation as well.

Property tax is a different situation, by city and state, (ex., NJ appears to be horrendous for taxes, overall, really) for both countries. 

In addition, other huge differences -- 5% to 14% sales tax in Canada, (vs many higher sales tax states have low income tax)... no "married filing jointly" discount for single higher earner families in Canada, and those with large HCOL mortgages do get the income tax deduction on mortgages.

I went from the lowest tax province in Canada (Alberta) to a higher taxed state (CA), for nearly the same income, once company benefits were factored in.  I paid the identical tax rate in the following year, after I included my familiy's gold plated employer subsidized health care... (nb, as a renter in California).   So you just need to ask if your province is higher or lower than Alberta, and if your state  has more or less taxes than California.   (Family income / Salary range $100k to $150k with a young family)

Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #103 on: August 19, 2017, 10:15:18 PM »
It's worth pointing out that MMM himself, the original mustachian:
  • Travels for fun: Look up how much fuel is consumed flying round trip to Hawaii, South America or cross country.
  • Drinks beer: Energy and water intensive.
  • Enjoys marijuana: Also energy and water intensive.
  • Owns a smartphone
These are all luxuries and the environment would be better off without them. Just to be clear, I'm not ragging on MMM for these. He doesn't commute and gets around mostly by bike so his carbon footprint is tiny compared to most. And he's not a consumer sucka, does not mindlessly try to fill a void by buying shit he doesn't need. He does these in moderation, and he's not in debt and already FIRE. So the money aspect matters quite a bit.

Is a $800 blender worth it? If you're in debt and/or still working towards FIRE? No! After FIRE I think it depends. I have no idea what could make a blender cost $800 but if you'll use it a lot and it does something no other blender can and you can't find it used and you can easily afford it and you're not buying stuff just for the sake of buying stuff, then fine. How is that any different from enjoying some MJ or jetting off somewhere?
On the surface, this seems to be correct....   then I remember the year he spent only $150 or something on fuel .   Not $1500, but $150 for the year....  That brings it to a whole other level.   Make you realize that adding a few special, lower cost items into your life can make a big difference, but keep the edge tuned on the "everything else"...
------------
BTW  $800 blender is ONLY worth it if you are selling blenders or selling shakes. (ie., using it to make money)  I mean, really, it uses electricity and costs as much as a fridge or a stove...   ?!?  How many people are actually going to use it for 10,000 shakes or whatever?  You don't need perfectly pulverized hemp seeds, or whatever magic it does that no other blender can do.  Sure, it is better than the others, but you don't need better, and it won't make your life better. Even if you just paid $800 instead of $25... Trust me on that one.

-------------
Does anyone remember the guy a few months ago that wanted to buy a new used "nice" truck or car for driving to work, when he already owned a "used" truck to take his RV / ATV into the bush for camping fun with friends, a truck that he could be rougher with, plus had a nice truck that cost a lot to drive, that he wanted to keep nice and only drove once a week because "you need to live a little".  So needed a different car or truck for work?   He mentioned how all of his toys were not as nice as his friends' toys, too, as an example of his frugality.  (hint comparing yourself to friends is a dead give away that you need a facepunch).

Turns out the "old used" truck for trailer hauling / camping was under 7 years old..  The used one he was looking to buy was about 3 years old, etc.  Made me think that the "nice" truck was likely a $60k+ brand new vehicle.   The only thing was that he wasn't financing them, but we have all purchased vehicles without financing, so that does not mean you are MMM.

Yep,  the forum was soft on him that week.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 10:27:17 PM by Goldielocks »

GenXbiker

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #104 on: August 19, 2017, 11:45:19 PM »
GACK.  That link reference had someone in Canada maxing out RRSP's at $22k per year, so paying net tax on $78k, versus someone only contributing $6k to 401k on $110k.  Of course someone with 78K per year pays a lot less tax in dollars than someone earning $104k per year!!   grrr.     One pays 21 % taxes, at a lower income, and the other pays 28% taxes for a higher income.  There are many other factors that we can't see in this equation as well.

Property tax is a different situation, by city and state, (ex., NJ appears to be horrendous for taxes, overall, really) for both countries. 

The guy in the thread asked for the income taxes for someone in the U.S. with a $100K income, so I gave him the real results of someone with $110K with deductions making it about $103K of taxable income, so that was within 3% of what he was asking for.

We're second highest next to N.J.

Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #105 on: August 19, 2017, 11:50:08 PM »
GACK.  That link reference had someone in Canada maxing out RRSP's at $22k per year, so paying net tax on $78k, versus someone only contributing $6k to 401k on $110k.  Of course someone with 78K per year pays a lot less tax in dollars than someone earning $104k per year!!   grrr.     One pays 21 % taxes, at a lower income, and the other pays 28% taxes for a higher income.  There are many other factors that we can't see in this equation as well.

Property tax is a different situation, by city and state, (ex., NJ appears to be horrendous for taxes, overall, really) for both countries. 

The guy in the thread asked for the income taxes for someone in the U.S. with a $100K income, so I gave him the real results of someone with $110K with deductions making it about $103K of taxable income, so that was within 3% of what he was asking for.

We're second highest next to N.J.
I don't have a problem with your reply, it was actually quite generous to provide details as you did.   Just with the original poster who did not state very clearly that maxing out retirements brought his income down to around $78k,  and with the first $11k tax free, well, it was not really a full $100k taxable income..that op was asking a comparison for.

gerardc

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #106 on: August 20, 2017, 12:18:24 AM »
I think a very long bull run has made a lot of people more rich then they thought, so more soft. If we see a bear market for a year or two, or god forbid a crash. I think you'll see this community quicker get more stoic

Yeah, success tends to make you complacent. In a booming economy, it's easy to take things for granted. You get a higher salary, and you stop caring about the little extra expenses that make your life easier as long as they stay < 1% of your income. But doing that, you lose your frugality muscles and you fail to take the opportunity to save more money when it was there, and you might regret later.


EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #107 on: August 20, 2017, 12:39:59 AM »
Yes, the community and especially the lead Mustachian have gone 'soft'.  Why not, when ER is a distant concern, FI was maybe a worry for a while, and now what to do with excess is what you think about.  My goal, long ago, was 1 'meelion' dollars :)  Sounded 'eempossible', but I got there in 2009 after a bumpy ride through the housing bubble.  I thought it would be business as usual eventually, but the Fed has kept rates expansively low for years and just now contemplates reigning in the balance sheet.  Of course there is a huge party in the markets!  I couldn't engineer a more direct cause and effect to the rich becoming richer.  But the bill / payment will come due sooner or later - we cannot borrow from the future forever, the future ultimately demands a little something more favorable. 

We are in a unique time to solve our problems.  The eye of the storm.  If we wanted to, we could put solar panels on roofs and windmills in the sea.  Humankind could make this planet sustain our way of life for at least the foreseeable generations.  But I guess we're not willing to go there yet.  None of our collective dreams are coming true, so I have to wonder what humanity really wants.
Transitioning to FIRE'd albeit somewhat cautiously...

Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #108 on: August 20, 2017, 09:26:13 AM »
EscapeVelocity -- nothing is stopping YOU from putting up solar panels, then starting a club to share with others / encourage them to do the same.    DH and I are thinking about this right now and it is all based on our knowing / visiting someone 15 years ago, who built an ultimate sustainable home within city limits.   If they can do it, and start a club for others about it, so can all of us.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #109 on: August 20, 2017, 10:26:31 AM »
I will admit to needing a swift mental kick in the ass occasionally (okay, perhaps more than occasionally) for my only-semi-mustachianism. I could benefit from seeing more face-punching and choice-questioning here, even if it's not directed at me.

ZCademy

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #110 on: August 20, 2017, 11:51:27 AM »
I'm pretty new here, and new to "Mustacianism", but not new to the concept.

I'll freely admit to being a Boomer ... my parents were Depression babies, they learned thrift from their parents and passed it down. My kids are learning it from me. I started reading the blog, and came here, to find like-minded people.

And I find I'm already giving "shoulder taps" ó not full-blown face punches, not yet.

I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.
Been there, done that

FINate

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #111 on: August 20, 2017, 12:32:42 PM »
Firstly, MMM DOES NOT travel much by plane - he last went to Hawaii more than TEN years ago. I understand that he travels to his family by land rather than air. He really does try to live the life he preaches. As I understand it, he got involved in the Ecuador camps, so he does fly there, but would prefer to stay at home. My reading of his latest MMM HQ post is that he is trying to bring the world to him, and never leave Longmont again. I could easily be wrong.

MMM flew to Hawaii in 2012 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02/10/the-hawaii-project-final-numbers-and-a-few-pictures/) so more like 5 years ago. Then in this interview (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-retire-early-35-years-early-2014-01-17) from late 2014 he mentions "other trips to quite a few other countries in recent years". And Costa Rica in 2013 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/01/15/a-tale-of-two-vacations/).

gerardc

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #112 on: August 20, 2017, 12:41:34 PM »
I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.

Tracking expenses is a waste of time. I save 82% of my net and I just focus on the big expenses (housing, transportation) and monitor total credit card spending. I don't buy what I don't need. If I need something, I buy it, but I try to go for the cheapest version. I don't obsess over details that amount for <1% of results.

I feel only novices or weak people need to track, because subconsciously they're still trying to maximize their spending-related pleasure within budget boundaries. Those who are truly frugal don't need a budget. It's like fat people who are always on a diet and tracking what they eat, VS lean people who eat for function rather than for pleasure, and don't sweat the details.

Capt j-rod

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #113 on: August 20, 2017, 12:46:11 PM »
There is an ancient proverb that goes something like this... "We didn't inherit our land from our forefathers, we borrow it from our children". These words have sunk in deeply since having kids. I fell upon MMM five years ago and laughed out loud. Then I realized that maybe he wasn't so crazy. Then I grew 1/2 a mustache and started to see immediate results. As time has gone by the stache gets a little bigger. I need a good face punch all too often, but all in all I am in a much better place now than before. Where I see the weakness is everyone wants everything right now. This lifestyle is not a scratch off lottery ticket, it is a slow grind. I love all the millennial and their YOLO (you only live once) If they really thought about this they might come to ask themselves why they are volunteering to live a life of debt and slavery in exchange for stupid material items... I too believe in the YOLO philosophy, but I choose to live my life financially independent. I hope to teach my kids the true value of money and the true cost of debt. If you never dig the hole then you don't have to fill it back in. I am by no means a hardcore mustache taking cold showers, but I also have cut my spending in half and simplified my life so that I am not working every week to pay bills. You can call it soft, but it has more than worked for me and I thank this community for helping me achieve what I have done.

FINate

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #114 on: August 20, 2017, 12:54:58 PM »
It's worth pointing out that MMM himself, the original mustachian:
  • Travels for fun: Look up how much fuel is consumed flying round trip to Hawaii, South America or cross country.
  • Drinks beer: Energy and water intensive.
  • Enjoys marijuana: Also energy and water intensive.
  • Owns a smartphone
These are all luxuries and the environment would be better off without them. Just to be clear, I'm not ragging on MMM for these. He doesn't commute and gets around mostly by bike so his carbon footprint is tiny compared to most. And he's not a consumer sucka, does not mindlessly try to fill a void by buying shit he doesn't need. He does these in moderation, and he's not in debt and already FIRE. So the money aspect matters quite a bit.

Is a $800 blender worth it? If you're in debt and/or still working towards FIRE? No! After FIRE I think it depends. I have no idea what could make a blender cost $800 but if you'll use it a lot and it does something no other blender can and you can't find it used and you can easily afford it and you're not buying stuff just for the sake of buying stuff, then fine. How is that any different from enjoying some MJ or jetting off somewhere?
On the surface, this seems to be correct....   then I remember the year he spent only $150 or something on fuel .   Not $1500, but $150 for the year....  That brings it to a whole other level.   Make you realize that adding a few special, lower cost items into your life can make a big difference, but keep the edge tuned on the "everything else"...
------------
BTW  $800 blender is ONLY worth it if you are selling blenders or selling shakes. (ie., using it to make money)  I mean, really, it uses electricity and costs as much as a fridge or a stove...   ?!?  How many people are actually going to use it for 10,000 shakes or whatever?  You don't need perfectly pulverized hemp seeds, or whatever magic it does that no other blender can do.  Sure, it is better than the others, but you don't need better, and it won't make your life better. Even if you just paid $800 instead of $25... Trust me on that one.

-------------
Does anyone remember the guy a few months ago that wanted to buy a new used "nice" truck or car for driving to work, when he already owned a "used" truck to take his RV / ATV into the bush for camping fun with friends, a truck that he could be rougher with, plus had a nice truck that cost a lot to drive, that he wanted to keep nice and only drove once a week because "you need to live a little".  So needed a different car or truck for work?   He mentioned how all of his toys were not as nice as his friends' toys, too, as an example of his frugality.  (hint comparing yourself to friends is a dead give away that you need a facepunch).

Turns out the "old used" truck for trailer hauling / camping was under 7 years old..  The used one he was looking to buy was about 3 years old, etc.  Made me think that the "nice" truck was likely a $60k+ brand new vehicle.   The only thing was that he wasn't financing them, but we have all purchased vehicles without financing, so that does not mean you are MMM.

Yep,  the forum was soft on him that week.

No doubt about it, MMM's footprint is less than most...thought that was clear from my post but will state it again. Yet it's also clear that it's higher than necessary because of travel, booze, etc. I don't blame the guy for enjoying life in moderation, and the planet would much better off if more people followed his example. As the saying goes, don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.

My impression from MMM interviews and almost all the blog posts is that this cult is first and foremost about achieving FI by rejecting consumerism and embracing stoicism and other counter cultural philosophies. The environmental benefits, however desirable, are a nice side effect. If environmentalism is the main thing then I'm afraid MMM needs to revisit some of his priorities.

RE expensive blenders: There are other reasons for these. If you care for someone who cannot chew food then an industrial strength blender is probably a good choice. Or if you're making lots of smoothies every day, or blending lots of difficult stuff (some of the fancy new blenders can take the place of a food processor). I'm sure there are other perfectly good reasons I haven't thought of. That's why I generally don't like absolute value statements, especially when there are those here spending $160/oz for pot (going rate in CO) that literally goes up in smoke and that's perfectly ok.

Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #115 on: August 20, 2017, 01:48:31 PM »
Blenders,  Gah...  No one that posted about a vitamix was doing so because they were caring for a person that could not chew... AND my free magic bullet does wonders in smashing up baby food, so I imagine it would be fine for that purpose.

No one needs a blender than can pulverize things that other blenders can't do.  Want? yes.  Need?  No.  The vast majority of people buying these will not keep making several smoothies a day x 20 years to recoup the cost of a blender that is approx 15X the price of others..  I have had 3 blenders in my life, and went through 5 years of 7-20 smoothies a week (family), one cheap one, was disposed due to a broken glass that I could have replaced, one was a free magic bullet that I use a lot, and the other was a gift to replace the broken one...  and I am coming up to 28 years since I bought the first one, so one blender every 10 years...?

Yes, there have been times when I wanted to make more than a small batch of nut butter, or grind oatmeal for flour, or flax seed, or whatever, but I got over that fast.   Food processors are much less money than a vitamix, BTW...

As to the question of should people smoke <anything>, well, it needs to be part of an overall budget?  But if someone asked if they should buy $800 of pot, fancy coffee beans, or what have you, I would definitely be showing the math on how much that means to the retirement fund... The kind of person that will blow off $800 on one item is often a person that has a lot of other expenses.

FINate

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #116 on: August 20, 2017, 02:14:33 PM »
Again, I don't know all the reasons for having a particular item. It's quite possible that everyone on that thread was just being a spendypants (didn't read the thread) so facepunch away. My point is that it depends on each person's situation. If a person is already FI and can easily afford a $800 blender they really enjoy, meh, I don't see the problem. They'll have that blender for the rest of their life, so amortized over say 40 years that's $20/yr. It's far less than what people spend on beer or pot every year, which again is fine if they really enjoy these luxuries and can truly afford them (not just I have cash available, but it's not a problem for my stash) .

Approximately every 10 years I buy a new mountain bike. Not cheap, last one was about $5000, and by no stretch is it a necessity. I live in an area with fantastic trails that wind through redwood/fern forests, oak and scrublands, and coastal bluffs, all right outside my door. And I love to ride, typically getting in 3-4 rides per week which means I'm getting exercise while also having a great time outside in a climate that's ideal for riding 9 months of the year. I'm FIRE and the cost of buying a new bike every 10 years isn't an issue for the budget. Would I recommend this for someone in debt, working toward FI? Hell no. But at the same time, I don't want make a blanket statement that someone who's already FI(RE), a pretty good indicator that they're good at making good saving and spending decisions, can't buy a blender.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 02:16:04 PM by FINate »

JLee

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #117 on: August 20, 2017, 02:16:50 PM »
But the forums haven't just drifted from the money aspect. I feel like a great deal of people don't fully understand Mustachianism at this point. It's not just about MONEY.

It's also about minimalism, stoicism, being environmentally and socially responsible. I feel a lot of these tenets have lost their fervor on the forums, especially in the past year.
+1 to this. I've seen so many times lately that if you can afford it and it makes you happy then it is okay. Minimalism, stoicism, environmental and social responsibility, frugality, badassity, etc. don't seem to matter.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed the trend.

It's not exactly, though.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/11/23/not-extreme-frugality/

Quote
This is not about being cheap, minimalist, or extreme.

Itís about using logic and science to design a Slightly Less Ridiculous Than Average Lifestyle in order to live more happily.

Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #118 on: August 20, 2017, 02:26:30 PM »
FINate (great name, btw),

The people posting about $800 blenders aren't typically the FIRE ones.   They know what they can and can't afford and usually spend away as they like, but most are naturally frugal so would not choose this...

The underlying question is :  Should I delay FIRE (or another money goal) so that I can buy X.?

The only answer to this question should always be "NO", unless not doing so will create a larger loss later on (e.g., no insurance for those that need it, or not fixing a leaking roof, etc.).   On this forum lately, we get a lot of "if you can afford it, then blah , blah, blah".

I personally think everyone should have free spending money in their monthly budget.  You pre-calculate your buget based on your debt and money goals, then you live within it.   People that are asking about these purchases may not have pre-saved up their $40 per month x 2 years to buy a blender, but are typically diverting it from savings or have not created a budget yet.

FINate

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #119 on: August 20, 2017, 02:41:48 PM »
FINate (great name, btw),

The people posting about $800 blenders aren't typically the FIRE ones.   They know what they can and can't afford and usually spend away as they like, but most are naturally frugal so would not choose this...

The underlying question is :  Should I delay FIRE (or another money goal) so that I can buy X.?

The only answer to this question should always be "NO", unless not doing so will create a larger loss later on (e.g., no insurance for those that need it, or not fixing a leaking roof, etc.).   On this forum lately, we get a lot of "if you can afford it, then blah , blah, blah".

I personally think everyone should have free spending money in their monthly budget.  You pre-calculate your buget based on your debt and money goals, then you live within it.   People that are asking about these purchases may not have pre-saved up their $40 per month x 2 years to buy a blender, but are typically diverting it from savings or have not created a budget yet.

Totally agree this forum getting soft, with things like "if you can afford it, then ..." And I get it that the $800 blender thread is not the FIRE crowd (you've piqued my interest, going to find the thread now). See my earlier comment on this thread about hedonism taking over.

On the other hand, there's a danger that $800 blenders become symbolic, a distraction from the underlying problem. The real issue is that people don't have a healthy concept of money and what it's for. A focus on "don't buy a $800 blender" becomes one of many sins to avoid. "I'm up to my eyeballs in debt and just spend $40 on pot, but at least I didn't buy a $800 blender!" I just think it misses the bigger picture. 

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #120 on: August 20, 2017, 02:46:11 PM »
Why the hate for the boomers?  Being such a large generation presented many problems such as too many people competing for the same jobs, many never moving up the career ladder because not enough chief positions, many went to grad school because they could not find jobs, interest rates on mortgages sky high ( our first home was at 12%). It climbed way above that and then people could not afford to buy homes.  Each generation has their own challenges and I find it weird that you can hate a group as a whole. Each group is made up of individual people both good and bad. Also what I have found as I have aged (63) is that I am more willing to pay for comfort then I did when I was young. Part of that is physical ability, aches and pains and part of that is how much time do I want to waste doing things.  So for instance tent camping is over for me and we have a old RV.  We also like to stay in motels vs sleep in the car.  My balance is no longer good enough to ride a bike. I used to do that. Now I do a ton of walking because it is safer for me. Life changes as you age.

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #121 on: August 20, 2017, 02:53:39 PM »
I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.

Tracking expenses is a waste of time. I save 82% of my net and I just focus on the big expenses (housing, transportation) and monitor total credit card spending. I don't buy what I don't need. If I need something, I buy it, but I try to go for the cheapest version. I don't obsess over details that amount for <1% of results.

I feel only novices or weak people need to track, because subconsciously they're still trying to maximize their spending-related pleasure within budget boundaries. Those who are truly frugal don't need a budget. It's like fat people who are always on a diet and tracking what they eat, VS lean people who eat for function rather than for pleasure, and don't sweat the details.

Congratulations on having the intuition and self-discipline to not need a budget.  People come here because they don't have those skills and want to learn.  For those who say "I have a ton of debt and don't know where my money is going, please help!" teaching them how to budget is a great start.

frugalparagon

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #122 on: August 20, 2017, 03:02:03 PM »
I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.

Tracking expenses is a waste of time. I save 82% of my net and I just focus on the big expenses (housing, transportation) and monitor total credit card spending. I don't buy what I don't need. If I need something, I buy it, but I try to go for the cheapest version. I don't obsess over details that amount for <1% of results.

I feel only novices or weak people need to track, because subconsciously they're still trying to maximize their spending-related pleasure within budget boundaries. Those who are truly frugal don't need a budget. It's like fat people who are always on a diet and tracking what they eat, VS lean people who eat for function rather than for pleasure, and don't sweat the details.

Congratulations on having the intuition and self-discipline to not need a budget.  People come here because they don't have those skills and want to learn.  For those who say "I have a ton of debt and don't know where my money is going, please help!" teaching them how to budget is a great start.

Budgeting is also for people with great frugal instincts but low income. I'm a single mom and part-time librarian. I don't have an 82% savings rate because I make less than $40K per year (counting support). We live pretty well on that, all things consider, but I can't just autopilot. Budgeting tells me whether I can afford a little luxury (something nice at the grocery store, for instance) that month or whether I'd better stick to making something from my giant bag o' pinto beans.
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RetiredAt63

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #123 on: August 20, 2017, 03:17:00 PM »
Why the hate for the boomers?  Being such a large generation presented many problems such as too many people competing for the same jobs, many never moving up the career ladder because not enough chief positions, many went to grad school because they could not find jobs, interest rates on mortgages sky high ( our first home was at 12%). It climbed way above that and then people could not afford to buy homes.  Each generation has their own challenges and I find it weird that you can hate a group as a whole. Each group is made up of individual people both good and bad. Also what I have found as I have aged (63) is that I am more willing to pay for comfort then I did when I was young. Part of that is physical ability, aches and pains and part of that is how much time do I want to waste doing things.  So for instance tent camping is over for me and we have a old RV.  We also like to stay in motels vs sleep in the car.  My balance is no longer good enough to ride a bike. I used to do that. Now I do a ton of walking because it is safer for me. Life changes as you age.

Yes - I posted something similar up-thread.  I'm not a fan of Dave Ramsey, but his "live like no-one else today so you can live like no-one else tomorrow" has a point, just not the one he is making.  Part of being thoughtful about money when you are younger is that your choices will be different when you are older, and your age is going to be playing a big part of that.  I used to do all my own house painting (inside) for example, now my knees just won't co-operate.  Plus we become more aware that time is fleeting and the choice between spending money and spending time shifts.

I don't really worry about it much, except when the boomer bashing starts, because the younger ones on here are still at the point where they need to use time to save money, not spend money to maximize time.  And of course we (at least here) have learned that time is worth more than stuff, so spending money is still not spending ridiculous amounts of money.
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ZCademy

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #124 on: August 20, 2017, 03:18:39 PM »
Budgeting is different from tracking.

Tracking:  paying attention to how you are spending your money, so that you can understand your spending habits and patterns.

Budgeting: determining how you will spend your future money.

You can track money with no thoughts of budgeting, and that's what I recommend to those who say "I want to retire in 5 years, tell me how; I have no idea what my expenses are."

One can also budget without tracking, but that's a fool's errand.

gerardc, I don't know who you are (I'm new here), but I'm happy that you have such a good understanding of your finances that you need to neither budget nor track. For those "novices and weaklings" among us, I suggest you guide rather than criticize.
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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #125 on: August 20, 2017, 03:20:39 PM »
So, does this thread serve as permission to release my inner grumpy old man, ERE, mustachian kracken on the masses?

Please do! As a year-long lurker and newbie commenter, I'm personally here looking for some hard core mustachian whupass. Self-justifying, consumeristic, complainypants discussions already consume 99% of the other forums out there. I want to be challenged and inspired here.
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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #126 on: August 20, 2017, 03:26:20 PM »
So, does this thread serve as permission to release my inner grumpy old man, ERE, mustachian kracken on the masses?

Please do! As a year-long lurker and newbie commenter, I'm personally here looking for some hard core mustachian whupass. Self-justifying, consumeristic, complainypants discussions already consume 99% of the other forums out there. I want to be challenged and inspired here.

+1

FINate

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #127 on: August 20, 2017, 03:30:50 PM »
So I just read the Vitamix thread (this one: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/reader-recommendations/vitamix-blender/100/)

Just FYI - one of the Vitamix folks is taking care of someone who can't chew their food. Someone else made a snide remark about simply chewing food and they reluctantly brought up that wife has cancer. No apology, just dropped like a hot potato.

The thread started out ok. Several posters mentioned other brands that are much cheaper with similar performance. Several others brought up saving a lot buying refurbished. A lot of people mentioned getting them as gifts, and others having issues with burning out many cheaper blenders.

But the thread was derailed by a hard-line position implying that those who buy a Vitamix don't really belong on MMM (the vitamix litmus test). For good measure Audiophiles as a group are summarily thrown under the bus. No discussion of FIRE goals or anything like that, all nuance is lacking and people are accused of using the forum to "brag about your luxury purchases."

This is exactly my worry about discussions becoming symbolic rather than substantive. Someone asked an honest and sincere question. Some folks apparently have a legitimate need for a more powerful blender. People responded with good options to do this for less money (other brands and/or refurbished) but this was eclipsed by a heated debate about the MMMness of $800 blenders (which, after searching the interwebs looks to be a gross exaggeration - more like $300-$500 depending on the model/options).  I wonder if the OP, or people lurking on the thread, are going to risk asking these types of questions in the future?

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #128 on: August 20, 2017, 04:13:32 PM »
I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.

Tracking expenses is a waste of time. I save 82% of my net and I just focus on the big expenses (housing, transportation) and monitor total credit card spending. I don't buy what I don't need. If I need something, I buy it, but I try to go for the cheapest version. I don't obsess over details that amount for <1% of results.

I feel only novices or weak people need to track, because subconsciously they're still trying to maximize their spending-related pleasure within budget boundaries. Those who are truly frugal don't need a budget. It's like fat people who are always on a diet and tracking what they eat, VS lean people who eat for function rather than for pleasure, and don't sweat the details.

Congratulations on having the intuition and self-discipline to not need a budget.  People come here because they don't have those skills and want to learn.  For those who say "I have a ton of debt and don't know where my money is going, please help!" teaching them how to budget is a great start.

Meh, not really. I think if you don't have it in you to be frugal, you should just give up this lifestyle. Ever notice how all diets fail in the long term, and people gain back all their lost weight and then some? There's usually something else going on that prevents weight loss, and obsessing over calories isn't the answer. Otherwise they finish the diet and the only thing they can think of is rewarding themselves with a cake. Similarly, with a tight self-imposed  budget, the non-frugal end up saying things like Dicey above:

If I can't buy what I want occasionally, what the fuck did I work so hard to get to FIRE for?

or from that thread:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/i-want-my-lifestyle-inflation/

They're basically self-imposing a tight budget in the hopes of spending more in the future. So, they don't really get it, and should accept they'll be working for a long time. We all have vices though, if it's not spending, it'll be something else.

Cassie

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #129 on: August 20, 2017, 04:38:59 PM »
Dicey gets it! She saved $ to ensure that when older she would have a decent, comfortable life and nothing is wrong with that.  If you are lucky enough you will get old. Do you want to be scrimping and scraping by and do you want to have enough $ to buy what you need and some of what you want?

Travis

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #130 on: August 20, 2017, 05:41:10 PM »
I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.

Tracking expenses is a waste of time. I save 82% of my net and I just focus on the big expenses (housing, transportation) and monitor total credit card spending. I don't buy what I don't need. If I need something, I buy it, but I try to go for the cheapest version. I don't obsess over details that amount for <1% of results.

I feel only novices or weak people need to track, because subconsciously they're still trying to maximize their spending-related pleasure within budget boundaries. Those who are truly frugal don't need a budget. It's like fat people who are always on a diet and tracking what they eat, VS lean people who eat for function rather than for pleasure, and don't sweat the details.

Congratulations on having the intuition and self-discipline to not need a budget.  People come here because they don't have those skills and want to learn.  For those who say "I have a ton of debt and don't know where my money is going, please help!" teaching them how to budget is a great start.

Meh, not really. I think if you don't have it in you to be frugal, you should just give up this lifestyle. Ever notice how all diets fail in the long term, and people gain back all their lost weight and then some? There's usually something else going on that prevents weight loss, and obsessing over calories isn't the answer. Otherwise they finish the diet and the only thing they can think of is rewarding themselves with a cake. Similarly, with a tight self-imposed  budget, the non-frugal end up saying things like Dicey above:

If I can't buy what I want occasionally, what the fuck did I work so hard to get to FIRE for?

or from that thread:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/i-want-my-lifestyle-inflation/

They're basically self-imposing a tight budget in the hopes of spending more in the future. So, they don't really get it, and should accept they'll be working for a long time. We all have vices though, if it's not spending, it'll be something else.

So everybody who is having problems with their finances either already gets it or they just suck forever?  Why do you think we even talk about this and have a Case Study and Ask a Mustachian forum?  You're really saying nobody who has ever come for advice in this community has ever learned from it and turned their life around? Why are you even here, except to gloat that you think you're superior to others?

gerardc

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #131 on: August 20, 2017, 05:45:13 PM »
Budgeting is different from tracking.

Tracking:  paying attention to how you are spending your money, so that you can understand your spending habits and patterns.

Budgeting: determining how you will spend your future money.

Oh right, I didn't know there was a difference. I guess I do track, in the sense that I have a rough idea where my spending goes in the big buckets, housing, transportation, food, etc., and where my amortized earnings come from, and how much I save per year, month and week as a result. My point is that I keep those in pretty coarse categories, e.g. 50% housing, 30% transportation, 20% everything else, and when the "everything else" category is negligibly small, I stop sub-dividing them, for simplicity.

To go back to the dieting analogy, it's good to have a rough sense of how much you're eating per day, how much is enough and how much is too much, but it's not useful to keep a spreadsheet and be anal about the small numbers. This way, tracking becomes more intuitive and less a mental burden.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 05:52:24 PM by gerardc »

GenXbiker

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #132 on: August 20, 2017, 06:40:14 PM »
I don't track spending that closely and don't make any significant effort in following the budget, it just comes naturally.  I always review my bills, and I'll update the budget if needs to be (e.g. an increase in a utility rate.)

It seems to be working for me.  My savings rate was 83% last year.

The underlying question is :  Should I delay FIRE (or another money goal) so that I can buy X.?

Delaying FIRE to buy stuff reminds me of a discussion I had with a friend when I said I hope to retire in a couple years and was talking about reaching my target stash and wouldn't need any more to live comfortably in retirement, which is how I set my FIRE target date.

He asked, "If you worked one extra year after reaching your goal and didn't save anything, how much could you just 'blow' if you 'let loose for one year' and went on a 'one year spending spree' and waited until the follow year to retire?" I did some calculations and figured I could spend $110,000 OVER my bare bones budget by working one additional year with no effect on FIRE the following year.  Of course, that also means I would lose one precious year of FIRE.  He immediately said that after living frugally for so many years, I deserve to have one last year of work where I can just have "fun" without "worrying" about saving for retirement.  He said that with $110,000, I could buy a new car, a new bike, do home improvements, go out to eat at nice restaurants frequently, etc. that additional year before I retire and just "live it up" for a change.  Of course, I mentioned that the trade-off vs. FIREing on my target date wasn't worth it because I didn't need any of those things and wouldn't even feel happy about spending all that instead of saving.  I'm just not wired that way - I'm a natural saver.  I'm not "worried" about saving.  My two year plan already gives me a cushion to have fun... WHILE FIREd instead of working an extra year.

Dicey

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #133 on: August 21, 2017, 01:26:00 AM »
So I just read the Vitamix thread (this one: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/reader-recommendations/vitamix-blender/100/)

Just FYI - one of the Vitamix folks is taking care of someone who can't chew their food. Someone else made a snide remark about simply chewing food and they reluctantly brought up that wife has cancer. No apology, just dropped like a hot potato.

The thread started out ok. Several posters mentioned other brands that are much cheaper with similar performance. Several others brought up saving a lot buying refurbished. A lot of people mentioned getting them as gifts, and others having issues with burning out many cheaper blenders.

But the thread was derailed by a hard-line position implying that those who buy a Vitamix don't really belong on MMM (the vitamix litmus test). For good measure Audiophiles as a group are summarily thrown under the bus. No discussion of FIRE goals or anything like that, all nuance is lacking and people are accused of using the forum to "brag about your luxury purchases."

This is exactly my worry about discussions becoming symbolic rather than substantive. Someone asked an honest and sincere question. Some folks apparently have a legitimate need for a more powerful blender. People responded with good options to do this for less money (other brands and/or refurbished) but this was eclipsed by a heated debate about the MMMness of $800 blenders (which, after searching the interwebs looks to be a gross exaggeration - more like $300-$500 depending on the model/options).  I wonder if the OP, or people lurking on the thread, are going to risk asking these types of questions in the future?
Thanks for doing the research, FINate. This whole thread, I've been wondering which blender actually costs $800. Answer: In a mustachian world, exactly none.
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Dicey

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #134 on: August 21, 2017, 01:34:45 AM »
Similarly, with a tight self-imposed  budget, the non-frugal end up saying things like Dicey above:
If I can't buy what I want occasionally, what the fuck did I work so hard to get to FIRE for?

Excuse me, did you just call me non-frugal? WTF? Did you not read the part about FIRE?
I did it! I have a journal!
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Dicey

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #135 on: August 21, 2017, 01:43:38 AM »
Dicey gets it! She saved $ to ensure that when older she would have a decent, comfortable life and nothing is wrong with that.  If you are lucky enough you will get old. Do you want to be scrimping and scraping by and do you want to have enough $ to buy what you need and some of what you want?
Thanks, Cassie. I do get it. I had cancer when I was 21, so I was always mindful of saving for the hoped-for future while living fully in the present.
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gerardc

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #136 on: August 21, 2017, 01:50:22 AM »
Similarly, with a tight self-imposed  budget, the non-frugal end up saying things like Dicey above:
If I can't buy what I want occasionally, what the fuck did I work so hard to get to FIRE for?

Excuse me, did you just call me non-frugal? WTF? Did you not read the part about FIRE?

Does (A says X, B says X) => A=B ?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #137 on: August 21, 2017, 07:03:58 AM »
Um, we are not hard-core frugal here, wasn't that ERE (Jacob?)?  We are examining our spending and wants to make sure that we are not just wasting money because our consumer society tells us what to buy.  People say they have no idea where their money went, that is the point of tracking.  And when you track you see that money went on things you don't care about, and you stop that spending.  And you look again at where your money went and you cut something else out.  And then you realise that your life is just as good as it was (often it is better) and you start examining all your spending to see if it gives value to your life.  And you continue to spend less on "stuff".  The next thing you know you have an amazing savings rate.  And you do spend some money, but on things you value that will not mess up your life.  And when you retire and have more free time, you may end up spending more on the things that bring you joy in retirement.

It is a lot easier to do this when you are young and energetic, than when you reach 65 or 70 or 75 and realize you are broke and can't retire.  I talk myself into doing things (or not doing things) by telling myself how much future me will appreciate it - whether future me is the next morning, the next year, or 10 years down the road.  And for the next morning things, I then thank past me for doing it - it sounds silly, but it is a good mindset to develop.  Little things like cleaning up the kitchen when I am tired, so the next morning I walk into a sparkling kitchen with no dirty dishes.  Once you start doing this it is easier to do for bigger things.   It is also easier to make saving and not spending automatic - get the automatic transfers into savings, so money come in and goes out and you don't see it as available to spend.  Cut the recurring bills for things that don't matter - lots of talk on the forums about cutting cable, etc.  Substitute fun inexpensive activities for fun expensive activities.  You all know the drill.
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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #138 on: August 21, 2017, 07:34:52 AM »
Um, we are not hard-core frugal here, wasn't that ERE (Jacob?)?  We are examining our spending and wants to make sure that we are not just wasting money because our consumer society tells us what to buy.  People say they have no idea where their money went, that is the point of tracking.  And when you track you see that money went on things you don't care about, and you stop that spending.  And you look again at where your money went and you cut something else out.  And then you realise that your life is just as good as it was (often it is better) and you start examining all your spending to see if it gives value to your life.  And you continue to spend less on "stuff".  The next thing you know you have an amazing savings rate.  And you do spend some money, but on things you value that will not mess up your life.  And when you retire and have more free time, you may end up spending more on the things that bring you joy in retirement.

It is a lot easier to do this when you are young and energetic, than when you reach 65 or 70 or 75 and realize you are broke and can't retire.  I talk myself into doing things (or not doing things) by telling myself how much future me will appreciate it - whether future me is the next morning, the next year, or 10 years down the road.  And for the next morning things, I then thank past me for doing it - it sounds silly, but it is a good mindset to develop.  Little things like cleaning up the kitchen when I am tired, so the next morning I walk into a sparkling kitchen with no dirty dishes.  Once you start doing this it is easier to do for bigger things.   It is also easier to make saving and not spending automatic - get the automatic transfers into savings, so money come in and goes out and you don't see it as available to spend.  Cut the recurring bills for things that don't matter - lots of talk on the forums about cutting cable, etc.  Substitute fun inexpensive activities for fun expensive activities.  You all know the drill.
Wow, Ra63, this post is golden! Brilliant two paragraph summary of Mustachianism!

I use future me in the distant future (macro me?) all the time. I do not use future me in the tomorrow sense (micro me?) at all. I just make myself do [whatever]. I'm going to adopt this way of thinking immediately. I'll differentiate the degrees of forward thinking by dubbing the new person "tomorrow me". When I use the term to battle my natural sloth and procrastination, I'll think of you. Thanks!
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fluffmuffin

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #139 on: August 21, 2017, 08:22:26 AM »
Um, we are not hard-core frugal here, wasn't that ERE (Jacob?)?  We are examining our spending and wants to make sure that we are not just wasting money because our consumer society tells us what to buy.  People say they have no idea where their money went, that is the point of tracking.  And when you track you see that money went on things you don't care about, and you stop that spending.  And you look again at where your money went and you cut something else out.  And then you realise that your life is just as good as it was (often it is better) and you start examining all your spending to see if it gives value to your life.  And you continue to spend less on "stuff".  The next thing you know you have an amazing savings rate.  And you do spend some money, but on things you value that will not mess up your life.  And when you retire and have more free time, you may end up spending more on the things that bring you joy in retirement.

It is a lot easier to do this when you are young and energetic, than when you reach 65 or 70 or 75 and realize you are broke and can't retire.  I talk myself into doing things (or not doing things) by telling myself how much future me will appreciate it - whether future me is the next morning, the next year, or 10 years down the road.  And for the next morning things, I then thank past me for doing it - it sounds silly, but it is a good mindset to develop.  Little things like cleaning up the kitchen when I am tired, so the next morning I walk into a sparkling kitchen with no dirty dishes.  Once you start doing this it is easier to do for bigger things.   It is also easier to make saving and not spending automatic - get the automatic transfers into savings, so money come in and goes out and you don't see it as available to spend.  Cut the recurring bills for things that don't matter - lots of talk on the forums about cutting cable, etc.  Substitute fun inexpensive activities for fun expensive activities.  You all know the drill.

I just read through this thread and wanted to echo Dicey's shout-out. What you outline is exactly why I'm here! I'm never going to be a hardcore mustachian saving 80% of my income (since that would currently mean living on $9,000...) but I want to do the best I can with what I have, and make sure that I'm spending money on things that align with my values and bring joy to my life. I don't think of budgeting in terms of a diet--I think of my budget as a visual tool to make sure that my money is going to work for my values. I've always been a saver, but YNAB has been incredibly helpful in illuminating my financial blind spots, and throwing up a sign to pump my brakes if my farmers market habit is getting out of hand again (ahem).

I also think there's a lot of room in the movement for filthy moderates, more than people like gerardc would see. But then I also think that early retirement is only one piece of the whole package, and that it's no more or less laudable than working towards financial stability, a healthier lifestyle, and more sustainable, earth-friendly consumer choices. I think that you're going to get a lot more impact on the last two systemic issues if 20 people are supported to make some changes stick, rather than 2 people hewing to the 100% standard of ideological purity...which doesn't even exist in the first place. As many have noted, MMM himself makes plenty of choices that are out of line with his own stated ideals. I will admit to an audible WTF when I read the blog post about the social club.

farfromfire

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #140 on: August 21, 2017, 10:05:07 AM »
I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.

Tracking expenses is a waste of time. I save 82% of my net and I just focus on the big expenses (housing, transportation) and monitor total credit card spending. I don't buy what I don't need. If I need something, I buy it, but I try to go for the cheapest version. I don't obsess over details that amount for <1% of results.

I feel only novices or weak people need to track, because subconsciously they're still trying to maximize their spending-related pleasure within budget boundaries. Those who are truly frugal don't need a budget. It's like fat people who are always on a diet and tracking what they eat, VS lean people who eat for function rather than for pleasure, and don't sweat the details.

Congratulations on having the intuition and self-discipline to not need a budget.  People come here because they don't have those skills and want to learn.  For those who say "I have a ton of debt and don't know where my money is going, please help!" teaching them how to budget is a great start.

Meh, not really. I think if you don't have it in you to be frugal, you should just give up this lifestyle. Ever notice how all diets fail in the long term, and people gain back all their lost weight and then some? There's usually something else going on that prevents weight loss, and obsessing over calories isn't the answer. Otherwise they finish the diet and the only thing they can think of is rewarding themselves with a cake. Similarly, with a tight self-imposed  budget, the non-frugal end up saying things like Dicey above:

If I can't buy what I want occasionally, what the fuck did I work so hard to get to FIRE for?

or from that thread:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/i-want-my-lifestyle-inflation/

They're basically self-imposing a tight budget in the hopes of spending more in the future. So, they don't really get it, and should accept they'll be working for a long time. We all have vices though, if it's not spending, it'll be something else.
This position makes no sense in a forum with a Case Study subforum (in which posters are chastised for not tracking their expenses). Examining the 'details that amount for <1% of results' is at the core of several of MMM's posts. Good for you that you don't need to track yourself, but it is not a 'waste of time' for most here.

Weird conversations indeed.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 10:08:32 AM by farfromfire »

tooqk4u22

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #141 on: August 21, 2017, 10:39:14 AM »
Also btw, while I am being a grouchy older lady, Americans (largest single group on this forum) complain like mad about health insurance costs, but the rest of their COL is so low compared to many other places (Canada, the UK and Australia come to mind) that if they are making a decent salary they should have the money for premiums.  And of course we pay for our health care, the premiums are part of our taxes.  We look at things like  house prices, food costs, electricity, etc., convert it into our currency, and gasp at how low they are!
A while back, someone from Canada asked what taxes were for someone in U.S. making $100K/yr. to see how much more he was paying for taxes in Canada.  As it turned out, he was paying much LESS in taxes.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/what-i-learned-about-myself-politics-and-those-on-the-other-side/msg1630240/#msg1630240

It looks like the property tax rate is lower in Canada than here as well.

Total taxes while I was in Germany were about the same as in California (state + fed).*

Didn't mind paying DE taxes because: clean parks, functioning transit, well maintained roads, low crime, great schools, strong social safety net. A paragon of good governance.

I despise paying US/California taxes. Not because I want to "starve the beast," but because it's so damn wasteful and we get so little value. Roads (and other infrastructure) go unmaintained such that they become much more expensive to repair. Our schools are terrible (we could have an entire discussion about bloated administration, unreasonably high costs to build, low funding, or other potential causes). Crime is high, becoming a problem to run errands by bike because thieves cut locks (and carry bolt cutters) in broad daylight. Now our small county wants to spend $200M+ to build a rail line that, by their own estimates, will only be used by about 2000 people/day (less than 1% of the population) and run huge annual deficits (abysmally low farebox recovery rate of 9-22%) while our road network already has a backlog of over $150M in deferred maintenance and long stretches are almost unrideable by bike.

* Likely due to high income at the time. Now with lower income I probably pay less in California, which may partially explain the difference in services. DE has a broader tax base whereas California relies heavily on high earners because Californians love taxes...but only if the tax is on someone else.

For whatever curious reason I was looking this up last week and found something that compared the US to Germany as it relates to total tax revenue as a percent of GNP.  I was surprised to see that income taxes (combined personal and corporate) weren't all that different in aggregate, property taxes were surprisingly low.  The big difference was from things like sales taxes or VAT where in Germany it accounts for almost half of the total tax revenue. This is why things cost more in Germany and I suspect other countries as well. 

So if the US were to implement a VAT (or national sales tax) similar to other countries the cost of goods would go way up ($800 blender may become a $1000 blender) but it could generate the revenue to pay for health care instead of just focusing on income.  But this would never happen as it would be viewed as highly regressive...

JLee

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #142 on: August 21, 2017, 12:33:07 PM »
Also btw, while I am being a grouchy older lady, Americans (largest single group on this forum) complain like mad about health insurance costs, but the rest of their COL is so low compared to many other places (Canada, the UK and Australia come to mind) that if they are making a decent salary they should have the money for premiums.  And of course we pay for our health care, the premiums are part of our taxes.  We look at things like  house prices, food costs, electricity, etc., convert it into our currency, and gasp at how low they are!
A while back, someone from Canada asked what taxes were for someone in U.S. making $100K/yr. to see how much more he was paying for taxes in Canada.  As it turned out, he was paying much LESS in taxes.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/what-i-learned-about-myself-politics-and-those-on-the-other-side/msg1630240/#msg1630240

It looks like the property tax rate is lower in Canada than here as well.

Total taxes while I was in Germany were about the same as in California (state + fed).*

Didn't mind paying DE taxes because: clean parks, functioning transit, well maintained roads, low crime, great schools, strong social safety net. A paragon of good governance.

I despise paying US/California taxes. Not because I want to "starve the beast," but because it's so damn wasteful and we get so little value. Roads (and other infrastructure) go unmaintained such that they become much more expensive to repair. Our schools are terrible (we could have an entire discussion about bloated administration, unreasonably high costs to build, low funding, or other potential causes). Crime is high, becoming a problem to run errands by bike because thieves cut locks (and carry bolt cutters) in broad daylight. Now our small county wants to spend $200M+ to build a rail line that, by their own estimates, will only be used by about 2000 people/day (less than 1% of the population) and run huge annual deficits (abysmally low farebox recovery rate of 9-22%) while our road network already has a backlog of over $150M in deferred maintenance and long stretches are almost unrideable by bike.

* Likely due to high income at the time. Now with lower income I probably pay less in California, which may partially explain the difference in services. DE has a broader tax base whereas California relies heavily on high earners because Californians love taxes...but only if the tax is on someone else.

For whatever curious reason I was looking this up last week and found something that compared the US to Germany as it relates to total tax revenue as a percent of GNP.  I was surprised to see that income taxes (combined personal and corporate) weren't all that different in aggregate, property taxes were surprisingly low.  The big difference was from things like sales taxes or VAT where in Germany it accounts for almost half of the total tax revenue. This is why things cost more in Germany and I suspect other countries as well. 

So if the US were to implement a VAT (or national sales tax) similar to other countries the cost of goods would go way up ($800 blender may become a $1000 blender) but it could generate the revenue to pay for health care instead of just focusing on income.  But this would never happen as it would be viewed as highly regressive...

This is a debate for another thread, but the US has/spends plenty of money for health care already. We don't need more...we need to be more efficient with how we currently spend.

boarder42

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #143 on: August 21, 2017, 12:55:48 PM »
I've been reading Case Studies ... several people posted saying variants of "I don't track expenses." I'm not the first responder on the thread ... why am I the first to tell them to get off their hineys and start figuring out what they spend? Instead, I see esoteric discussions on the merits of Trad vs Roth IRAs, 403bs vs Social Security ... when the #1 problem is:

The dud needs a face punch and a Mint account!

Grr... more punches to come.

Tracking expenses is a waste of time. I save 82% of my net and I just focus on the big expenses (housing, transportation) and monitor total credit card spending. I don't buy what I don't need. If I need something, I buy it, but I try to go for the cheapest version. I don't obsess over details that amount for <1% of results.

I feel only novices or weak people need to track, because subconsciously they're still trying to maximize their spending-related pleasure within budget boundaries. Those who are truly frugal don't need a budget. It's like fat people who are always on a diet and tracking what they eat, VS lean people who eat for function rather than for pleasure, and don't sweat the details.

agreed.  if you're truly frugal a budget isnt necessary. optimization of tax advantaged accounts and how to access that money is much more valuable than how much you spent on potatoes in the last month.
PM me about how to save 6% on your annual grocery Bill!

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Rollin

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #144 on: August 21, 2017, 06:13:33 PM »
At the risk of pissing off ~1/3 of this forum, I'm going to say that the Baby Boomers are the biggest complainers of any generation.  They stumbled into arguably the most stable 50 year economic period in history, missed out on the horrors of WWII and, thanks to their parents, reaped all of the post-war rewards. To be fair they had Vietnam and the cold war but they were mostly kids during the civil rights movement. In the 1970s it was the boomers (in their late teens and 20s) who partook in the sexual and drug revolutions. By the 80s they were the dominant generation in business, politics and society. What did they do?  Over the next few decades they drove the debt-to-GDP to their highest levels in a non-wartime environment and started the whole 'no-more-taxes' movement.  More recently they've been the group most responsible for increasing the entitlement network for seniors (a demographic they are quickly moving into).  Under this generation the opinion on the federal government has gone from something we are apart of and actively foster to some seperate, almost evil entity that stifles growth, steals our money, is inherently corrupt and must be reduced at all costs ("drown it in a bathtub!"). They deferred maintenance on the bridges and infrastructure systems their parents built while voting to cut their capitol gains taxes. They liked disco. All-in-all the boomers suffered less, demanded more, blamed the government, and kicked the can down the road.  Oh, and who was the demographic who voted most heavily for DJT?  not milllennials or GenXrs, but boomers.

ah, let the hateful responses come raining down!

Wow that was rough, but probably true - except that last sentence (at least for me). Well, come to think of it, I did just miss all that sex and drugs too (my older siblings did partake though). Hmmmm..and I'm a few years from being a senior so no on that entitlement comment. I think public employees are treated very poorly and watched that public opinion transition to the negative occur during my 30+ years as one. I worked to try and build better cities, roads - and things equivalent to bridges (didn't actually do bridge work). Disco was always weird to me - I like rock n roll!

I get your point though and am not offended, just wanted to point out that your statement was a significant over-simplification and generalization. BTW - I know many more boomers who are like me, so its not just me speaking out. And that DJT moment was a low blow :).
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 06:42:18 PM by Rollin »
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GuitarStv

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #145 on: August 22, 2017, 07:27:08 AM »
just wanted to point out that your statement was a significant over-simplification and generalization

As is every sweeping statement about any generation.  :P

caracarn

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #146 on: August 22, 2017, 07:51:20 AM »
Just stumbled onto this thread today.

As one who is coming upon two years in the MMM community, what I have noticed and I think was summed up well by RetiredAt63 is a shift as we get older.  I'm one of the old people here (though not terrible at 47) sitting on the long tail.  It seems to me that the vast, vast majority of regular contributors are in their 20s and 30s.  But I am just entering the phase of life that I'd prefer not to, but that is giving me a hearty middle finger and telling me very clearly "too bad sucker, you're here" and that is what makes it hard to fit the MMM mold.  I used to have no problem doing all my yard work, going to the home improvement store, buying 120 bags of mulch and doing it all in one day over my whole yard.  Now I've spent the better part of two months getting 80 bags of top soil into my backyard because all I have energy for is 20 bags at a time and that takes me two hours and then my knees hurt and I have learned if I don't stop I'll be unable to do the next batch next weekend, but will instead need to wait a month before my back or knees, of muscles can deal with it.  It sucks.  I also have this new problem of getting effected or just having poison ivy new in my yard.  So now I'm fighting with the prospect of can I even work in my yard at all without having a three week rash that is irritating as all get out.  So now I contemplate is it worth the cost to pay someone to come trim my tree, because all I did for two hours last Sunday was trim a tree and then I break out in a freakin' rash even though I swear nothing was around.  Tried to deal with it at home but after a week the rash looked so bad my wife said I looked like a leper and I finally gave in and went to urgent care to get the stupid steroids I had to do last time when it was terrible.  I'd love tell my body to not do these things, but even with a strong MMM desire, there are just some things we cannot overcome.  So I think this ends up being a bit of the softening that seems to be the point of this thread.  I think as more people join the community that are older, more kids and those challenges we definitely bring the "we do the best we can to maximize but there are limits" that Ra63 pointed out. 

tooqk4u22

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #147 on: August 22, 2017, 07:54:46 AM »
Also btw, while I am being a grouchy older lady, Americans (largest single group on this forum) complain like mad about health insurance costs, but the rest of their COL is so low compared to many other places (Canada, the UK and Australia come to mind) that if they are making a decent salary they should have the money for premiums.  And of course we pay for our health care, the premiums are part of our taxes.  We look at things like  house prices, food costs, electricity, etc., convert it into our currency, and gasp at how low they are!
A while back, someone from Canada asked what taxes were for someone in U.S. making $100K/yr. to see how much more he was paying for taxes in Canada.  As it turned out, he was paying much LESS in taxes.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/what-i-learned-about-myself-politics-and-those-on-the-other-side/msg1630240/#msg1630240

It looks like the property tax rate is lower in Canada than here as well.

Total taxes while I was in Germany were about the same as in California (state + fed).*

Didn't mind paying DE taxes because: clean parks, functioning transit, well maintained roads, low crime, great schools, strong social safety net. A paragon of good governance.

I despise paying US/California taxes. Not because I want to "starve the beast," but because it's so damn wasteful and we get so little value. Roads (and other infrastructure) go unmaintained such that they become much more expensive to repair. Our schools are terrible (we could have an entire discussion about bloated administration, unreasonably high costs to build, low funding, or other potential causes). Crime is high, becoming a problem to run errands by bike because thieves cut locks (and carry bolt cutters) in broad daylight. Now our small county wants to spend $200M+ to build a rail line that, by their own estimates, will only be used by about 2000 people/day (less than 1% of the population) and run huge annual deficits (abysmally low farebox recovery rate of 9-22%) while our road network already has a backlog of over $150M in deferred maintenance and long stretches are almost unrideable by bike.

* Likely due to high income at the time. Now with lower income I probably pay less in California, which may partially explain the difference in services. DE has a broader tax base whereas California relies heavily on high earners because Californians love taxes...but only if the tax is on someone else.

For whatever curious reason I was looking this up last week and found something that compared the US to Germany as it relates to total tax revenue as a percent of GNP.  I was surprised to see that income taxes (combined personal and corporate) weren't all that different in aggregate, property taxes were surprisingly low.  The big difference was from things like sales taxes or VAT where in Germany it accounts for almost half of the total tax revenue. This is why things cost more in Germany and I suspect other countries as well. 

So if the US were to implement a VAT (or national sales tax) similar to other countries the cost of goods would go way up ($800 blender may become a $1000 blender) but it could generate the revenue to pay for health care instead of just focusing on income.  But this would never happen as it would be viewed as highly regressive...

This is a debate for another thread, but the US has/spends plenty of money for health care already. We don't need more...we need to be more efficient with how we currently spend.

Your interpretation is that the US spends too much, another could be that the others don't spend enough.  But I agree with you that efficiencies could reduce overall costs with impacting care.  I think of things like MRI and CAT scans - so many facilities have these very very expensive machines that also require very very expense staffing and they most likely aren't being fully or optimally utilized. Would it be more efficient to have one MRI machine per x # of people or per x square miles at a single center - I don't know.

Dicey

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #148 on: August 22, 2017, 12:57:04 PM »
Just stumbled onto this thread today.

As one who is coming upon two years in the MMM community, what I have noticed and I think was summed up well by RetiredAt63 is a shift as we get older.  I'm one of the old people here (though not terrible at 47) sitting on the long tail.  It seems to me that the vast, vast majority of regular contributors are in their 20s and 30s.  But I am just entering the phase of life that I'd prefer not to, but that is giving me a hearty middle finger and telling me very clearly "too bad sucker, you're here" and that is what makes it hard to fit the MMM mold.  I used to have no problem doing all my yard work, going to the home improvement store, buying 120 bags of mulch and doing it all in one day over my whole yard.  Now I've spent the better part of two months getting 80 bags of top soil into my backyard because all I have energy for is 20 bags at a time and that takes me two hours and then my knees hurt and I have learned if I don't stop I'll be unable to do the next batch next weekend, but will instead need to wait a month before my back or knees, of muscles can deal with it.  It sucks.  I also have this new problem of getting effected or just having poison ivy new in my yard.  So now I'm fighting with the prospect of can I even work in my yard at all without having a three week rash that is irritating as all get out.  So now I contemplate is it worth the cost to pay someone to come trim my tree, because all I did for two hours last Sunday was trim a tree and then I break out in a freakin' rash even though I swear nothing was around.  Tried to deal with it at home but after a week the rash looked so bad my wife said I looked like a leper and I finally gave in and went to urgent care to get the stupid steroids I had to do last time when it was terrible.  I'd love tell my body to not do these things, but even with a strong MMM desire, there are just some things we cannot overcome.  So I think this ends up being a bit of the softening that seems to be the point of this thread.  I think as more people join the community that are older, more kids and those challenges we definitely bring the "we do the best we can to maximize but there are limits" that Ra63 pointed out.
This is the reason to save like mad and get to FIRE when you're young. It's so much easier when your body will do whatever you wish. As we get older, it's damn nice to have enough money that to DIY or not to DIY isn't a budget-breaking dilemma.


Oh, and who was the demographic who voted most heavily for DJT?  not milllennials or GenXrs, but boomers.

ah, let the hateful responses come raining down!
Mine is not a hateful response, just a polite request for supporting data. Source, please?


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Cwadda

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #149 on: August 22, 2017, 01:20:12 PM »
Just stumbled onto this thread today.

As one who is coming upon two years in the MMM community, what I have noticed and I think was summed up well by RetiredAt63 is a shift as we get older.  I'm one of the old people here (though not terrible at 47) sitting on the long tail.  It seems to me that the vast, vast majority of regular contributors are in their 20s and 30s.  But I am just entering the phase of life that I'd prefer not to, but that is giving me a hearty middle finger and telling me very clearly "too bad sucker, you're here" and that is what makes it hard to fit the MMM mold.  I used to have no problem doing all my yard work, going to the home improvement store, buying 120 bags of mulch and doing it all in one day over my whole yard.  Now I've spent the better part of two months getting 80 bags of top soil into my backyard because all I have energy for is 20 bags at a time and that takes me two hours and then my knees hurt and I have learned if I don't stop I'll be unable to do the next batch next weekend, but will instead need to wait a month before my back or knees, of muscles can deal with it.  It sucks.  I also have this new problem of getting effected or just having poison ivy new in my yard.  So now I'm fighting with the prospect of can I even work in my yard at all without having a three week rash that is irritating as all get out.  So now I contemplate is it worth the cost to pay someone to come trim my tree, because all I did for two hours last Sunday was trim a tree and then I break out in a freakin' rash even though I swear nothing was around.  Tried to deal with it at home but after a week the rash looked so bad my wife said I looked like a leper and I finally gave in and went to urgent care to get the stupid steroids I had to do last time when it was terrible.  I'd love tell my body to not do these things, but even with a strong MMM desire, there are just some things we cannot overcome.  So I think this ends up being a bit of the softening that seems to be the point of this thread.  I think as more people join the community that are older, more kids and those challenges we definitely bring the "we do the best we can to maximize but there are limits" that Ra63 pointed out.
This is the reason to save like mad and get to FIRE when you're young. It's so much easier when your body will do whatever you wish. As we get older, it's damn nice to have enough money that to DIY or not to DIY isn't a budget-breaking dilemma.


Oh, and who was the demographic who voted most heavily for DJT?  not milllennials or GenXrs, but boomers.

ah, let the hateful responses come raining down!
Mine is not a hateful response, just a polite request for supporting data. Source, please?

http://www.cnn.com/election/results/exit-polls