Author Topic: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?  (Read 93055 times)

caracarn

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #600 on: October 05, 2017, 01:10:10 PM »
Of course I think high earners should be welcome here, but it just feels like there's almost not a place for average or lower earning MMM people. There also seems to be a real lack of perspective regarding wealth and income, which makes a lot of conversations unproductive. I always loved how MMM was about being positive and making yourself better and stronger no matter the circumstances, but some of these posts have people saying things like "we're not even that high earning, we only make about $150k a year combined!" It's like, newsflash: you are in the top 3% of the United States. And no, living in a HCOL area doesn't completely erase that, because low income people also live in HCOL areas.

I think this also skews people's ideas of spending because most people here just use savings percentages in casual conversations. It's like, yeah 50% sounds great, but if you're making a huge salary it's really not that impressive or even frugal. So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas, and basically a bunch of other trappings of wealth. Just because you can technically afford those things and still save money doesn't make them prudent choices, and it doesn't make the saver someone who really buys into (pardon the pun) a lot of what first attracted me to MMM, which is the philosophy.

And, scene.
Yes, yes, 100% yes.  People will claim that ~100k isn't "that much" and it makes me do a double take every time.  GF and I combined make a bit above my area's household median, which is more like $60k, and it still feels to me like we make silly amounts of money.  It's all about perspective.

This forum is not at all a representative sample of the US, less yet the world as a whole.  There are plenty of people in some parts of the world that could take that $100k and live what they would consider a pretty decent lifestyle off the $4k SWA.  Cost of living may be cheaper where they are, but not that much cheaper. 

That being said, I don't know why people in the forums are so stuck on frugality.  All the MMM articles are just about cutting out the truly ridiculous wasteful things that don't actually help your happiness.  I don't think many people here are planning on going without luxuries like hot water, 21st century health care, or a cell phone.  That's true frugality.

How is going without healthcare “true frugality”?
He said 21st century healthcare.  You can still take aspirin and get prescriptions.  Just no fancy surgery. 

4alpacas

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #601 on: October 05, 2017, 01:14:01 PM »
It's like, yeah 50% sounds great, but if you're making a huge salary it's really not that impressive or even frugal. So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas, and basically a bunch of other trappings of wealth. Just because you can technically afford those things and still save money doesn't make them prudent choices, and it doesn't make the saver someone who really buys into (pardon the pun) a lot of what first attracted me to MMM, which is the philosophy.
Thank you, rdaneel0.  Your post is why I visit the MMM forums. 

Gondolin

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #602 on: October 05, 2017, 01:27:26 PM »
Quote
So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas...

Ah, you haven't been paying attention my friend! This isn't a forum about frugality and intentional hardship. It's a forum about "balance" and "spending your values "!




Also, we have always been at war with Eurasia.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #603 on: October 05, 2017, 01:38:41 PM »
Of course I think high earners should be welcome here, but it just feels like there's almost not a place for average or lower earning MMM people. There also seems to be a real lack of perspective regarding wealth and income, which makes a lot of conversations unproductive. I always loved how MMM was about being positive and making yourself better and stronger no matter the circumstances, but some of these posts have people saying things like "we're not even that high earning, we only make about $150k a year combined!" It's like, newsflash: you are in the top 3% of the United States. And no, living in a HCOL area doesn't completely erase that, because low income people also live in HCOL areas.

I think this also skews people's ideas of spending because most people here just use savings percentages in casual conversations. It's like, yeah 50% sounds great, but if you're making a huge salary it's really not that impressive or even frugal. So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas, and basically a bunch of other trappings of wealth. Just because you can technically afford those things and still save money doesn't make them prudent choices, and it doesn't make the saver someone who really buys into (pardon the pun) a lot of what first attracted me to MMM, which is the philosophy.

And, scene.
Yes, yes, 100% yes.  People will claim that ~100k isn't "that much" and it makes me do a double take every time.  GF and I combined make a bit above my area's household median, which is more like $60k, and it still feels to me like we make silly amounts of money.  It's all about perspective.

This forum is not at all a representative sample of the US, less yet the world as a whole.  There are plenty of people in some parts of the world that could take that $100k and live what they would consider a pretty decent lifestyle off the $4k SWA.  Cost of living may be cheaper where they are, but not that much cheaper. 

That being said, I don't know why people in the forums are so stuck on frugality.  All the MMM articles are just about cutting out the truly ridiculous wasteful things that don't actually help your happiness.  I don't think many people here are planning on going without luxuries like hot water, 21st century health care, or a cell phone.  That's true frugality.

How is going without healthcare “true frugality”?

I think my healthcare provider is still stuck in the 1990's.. some regions rurally are stuck in the 1970's...   is that non-21st century "frugality"?   Actually, some of the healthcare that fully qualified and support UN refugees get is better than the healthcare here.   (Thanks Germany and UK for setting that standard...)

GuitarStv

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #604 on: October 05, 2017, 01:50:46 PM »
Quote
So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas...

Ah, you haven't been paying attention my friend! This isn't a forum about frugality and intentional hardship. It's a forum about "balance" and "spending your values "!




Also, we have always been at war with Eurasia 800$ Vitamix blenders.

Fixed that for you.
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shelivesthedream

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #605 on: October 05, 2017, 02:12:47 PM »
The lack of perspective from high earners troubles me deeply sometimes. A $100k household income is huge! Yes, one can achieve it with two adults earning $50k (thinking of MMM's 50 jobs article) but that is still totally out of the picture for huge huge numbers of people in first world countries, America included. "It's not that much..." YES IT IS.

caracarn

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #606 on: October 05, 2017, 02:20:25 PM »
As one of those high earners, I do understand this, both on the forums and in real life conversations.  I believe I am very cognizant of that and try hard to make sure that I do not make statements of "it's not that much" about either income or expenses.  In case studies and such with those high earners (the $800,000 debt one that was popular lately is one) I point out how one should not justify any expense as "but it's only X% of my take home pay" versus do you even need it, but yes there has been a tendency by many to be more lenient on this.  I think that's a big part of what started this thread to begin with.

Travis

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #607 on: October 05, 2017, 02:39:52 PM »
As one of those high earners, I do understand this, both on the forums and in real life conversations.  I believe I am very cognizant of that and try hard to make sure that I do not make statements of "it's not that much" about either income or expenses.  In case studies and such with those high earners (the $800,000 debt one that was popular lately is one) I point out how one should not justify any expense as "but it's only X% of my take home pay" versus do you even need it, but yes there has been a tendency by many to be more lenient on this.  I think that's a big part of what started this thread to begin with.

For this reason it's impossible for me to give much advice at work or with my friends since I'm the second highest earner in my organization and make as much as my three best friends combined.  It's easier if I just don't mention money to anybody around me except with you all.  Even if the advice is logical or sought out by that person, I've found they don't want to hear it from someone who is much more financially secure than they are.
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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #608 on: October 05, 2017, 02:54:17 PM »
As one of those high earners, I do understand this, both on the forums and in real life conversations.  I believe I am very cognizant of that and try hard to make sure that I do not make statements of "it's not that much" about either income or expenses.  In case studies and such with those high earners (the $800,000 debt one that was popular lately is one) I point out how one should not justify any expense as "but it's only X% of my take home pay" versus do you even need it, but yes there has been a tendency by many to be more lenient on this.  I think that's a big part of what started this thread to begin with.

For this reason it's impossible for me to give much advice at work or with my friends since I'm the second highest earner in my organization and make as much as my three best friends combined.  It's easier if I just don't mention money to anybody around me except with you all.  Even if the advice is logical or sought out by that person, I've found they don't want to hear it from someone who is much more financially secure than they are.
I find this sort of thing true even at lower income levels.  My girlfriend and I make about double what her sister and sister's boyfriend make (we make just over median, and they make about half of median), but they scorn any money-saving advice thrown their way.

caracarn

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #609 on: October 05, 2017, 03:02:36 PM »
As one of those high earners, I do understand this, both on the forums and in real life conversations.  I believe I am very cognizant of that and try hard to make sure that I do not make statements of "it's not that much" about either income or expenses.  In case studies and such with those high earners (the $800,000 debt one that was popular lately is one) I point out how one should not justify any expense as "but it's only X% of my take home pay" versus do you even need it, but yes there has been a tendency by many to be more lenient on this.  I think that's a big part of what started this thread to begin with.

For this reason it's impossible for me to give much advice at work or with my friends since I'm the second highest earner in my organization and make as much as my three best friends combined.  It's easier if I just don't mention money to anybody around me except with you all.  Even if the advice is logical or sought out by that person, I've found they don't want to hear it from someone who is much more financially secure than they are.
I find this sort of thing true even at lower income levels.  My girlfriend and I make about double what her sister and sister's boyfriend make (we make just over median, and they make about half of median), but they scorn any money-saving advice thrown their way.
I would agree.  Even earlier in my career, when people asked for advice when you provided anything that contradicted the spend, spend, spend ads on TV, it made no sense to them.  "Why would you want to do that?"  What they usually wanted was how to get the best deal on whatever it was they wanted to get, not to hear how there would be other alternatives that were less expensive or that perhaps they could forgo it entirely and just save so they could do something better later.  Delayed gratification is always the enemy no matter how little money you have.

When I do give advice I usually stay away from income.  Obviously people at work know my position and understand I make a lot, but others are less aware.

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #610 on: October 05, 2017, 03:09:02 PM »
As one of those high earners, I do understand this, both on the forums and in real life conversations.  I believe I am very cognizant of that and try hard to make sure that I do not make statements of "it's not that much" about either income or expenses.  In case studies and such with those high earners (the $800,000 debt one that was popular lately is one) I point out how one should not justify any expense as "but it's only X% of my take home pay" versus do you even need it, but yes there has been a tendency by many to be more lenient on this.  I think that's a big part of what started this thread to begin with.

For this reason it's impossible for me to give much advice at work or with my friends since I'm the second highest earner in my organization and make as much as my three best friends combined.  It's easier if I just don't mention money to anybody around me except with you all.  Even if the advice is logical or sought out by that person, I've found they don't want to hear it from someone who is much more financially secure than they are.
I find this sort of thing true even at lower income levels.  My girlfriend and I make about double what her sister and sister's boyfriend make (we make just over median, and they make about half of median), but they scorn any money-saving advice thrown their way.

Ha, yeah. Reminds me of something my husband said to me once when we were first dating. We were talking about his brother and sister-in-law, who have a big fancy house and lots of expensive stuff in it, and he was telling me his brother was lamenting how long it had been since they've been on vacation (they are self-employed and own their own very successful business). I remarked on how nice their house is and said, "I don't get why they don't just go on vacation if they want to. They clearly have the money." Husband said with a smirk, "No, they had money."

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gerardc

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #611 on: October 05, 2017, 09:57:07 PM »
I point out how one should not justify any expense as "but it's only X% of my take home pay" versus do you even need it, but yes there has been a tendency by many to be more lenient on this.  I think that's a big part of what started this thread to begin with.

Why not? If X% is small enough, it does become negligible. If you spend 18% of your take home pay, and increase it to 22% (yes, these are my actual numbers), why would it matter? You're FIRing in <3 years anyway, so adding 2.5 weeks of work per year isn't much. You need to understand the reality of high-earners. They don't have time to be frugal and waste time savings pennies. They can solve a problem by throwing money at it and FIRing 1 hour later.

Don't get me wrong, I'm able to be VERY frugal if I put my mind to it, but that shit takes time and energy, sometimes. It's fun, and I may do that after FIRE, but for now it makes so much more sense to focus on channelling the gravy train while it's there.

The point of this MMM philosophy is that you're aware of the time you trade for money, aka Your Money or Your Life, i.e. you don't want to spend $5k on a toy if it takes your 6 months of drudgery to save that amount. BUT you do want to spend $5k to eliminate a major 6-month long inconvenience if it takes you 2 weeks to save that. Same philosphy, different application from low earner to high earner.

It may be that a high salary makes you somewhat complacent, I'm not sure... but then again, excess always does.

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #612 on: October 05, 2017, 10:01:44 PM »
I think this also skews people's ideas of spending because most people here just use savings percentages in casual conversations. It's like, yeah 50% sounds great, but if you're making a huge salary it's really not that impressive or even frugal. So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas, and basically a bunch of other trappings of wealth. Just because you can technically afford those things and still save money doesn't make them prudent choices, and it doesn't make the saver someone who really buys into (pardon the pun) a lot of what first attracted me to MMM, which is the philosophy.

Yes yes YES!

Savings percentages perhaps should shift to Enough percentages. "Am I at 100% Enough? What could possibly bring me more Enough?" Alas, that begs the question. Percentages need sound philosophical pilings.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #613 on: October 06, 2017, 12:36:58 AM »
I point out how one should not justify any expense as "but it's only X% of my take home pay" versus do you even need it, but yes there has been a tendency by many to be more lenient on this.  I think that's a big part of what started this thread to begin with.

Why not? If X% is small enough, it does become negligible. If you spend 18% of your take home pay, and increase it to 22% (yes, these are my actual numbers), why would it matter? You're FIRing in <3 years anyway, so adding 2.5 weeks of work per year isn't much. You need to understand the reality of high-earners. They don't have time to be frugal and waste time savings pennies. They can solve a problem by throwing money at it and FIRing 1 hour later.

Don't get me wrong, I'm able to be VERY frugal if I put my mind to it, but that shit takes time and energy, sometimes. It's fun, and I may do that after FIRE, but for now it makes so much more sense to focus on channelling the gravy train while it's there.

The point of this MMM philosophy is that you're aware of the time you trade for money, aka Your Money or Your Life, i.e. you don't want to spend $5k on a toy if it takes your 6 months of drudgery to save that amount. BUT you do want to spend $5k to eliminate a major 6-month long inconvenience if it takes you 2 weeks to save that. Same philosphy, different application from low earner to high earner.

It may be that a high salary makes you somewhat complacent, I'm not sure... but then again, excess always does.

Part of the MMM philosophy is to use your money and time wisely to buy your freedom. The other part is to stop destroying yourself and the planet. The latter part applies no matter how much you earn. See the post about % of Enough - enough is enough. And we all get the same 24 hours in each day. Low earners don't have time to be frugal either but they do it because they have to and because they're badass.

nereo

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #614 on: October 06, 2017, 03:54:34 AM »

Why not? If X% is small enough, it does become negligible. If you spend 18% of your take home pay, and increase it to 22% (yes, these are my actual numbers), why would it matter? You're FIRing in <3 years anyway, so adding 2.5 weeks of work per year isn't much. You need to understand the reality of high-earners. They don't have time to be frugal and waste time savings pennies. They can solve a problem by throwing money at it and FIRing 1 hour later.

Don't get me wrong, I'm able to be VERY frugal if I put my mind to it, but that shit takes time and energy, sometimes. It's fun, and I may do that after FIRE, but for now it makes so much more sense to focus on channelling the gravy train while it's there.

The point of this MMM philosophy is that you're aware of the time you trade for money, aka Your Money or Your Life, i.e. you don't want to spend $5k on a toy if it takes your 6 months of drudgery to save that amount. BUT you do want to spend $5k to eliminate a major 6-month long inconvenience if it takes you 2 weeks to save that. Same philosphy, different application from low earner to high earner.

It may be that a high salary makes you somewhat complacent, I'm not sure... but then again, excess always does.

shelivesthedream made some good points about the philosophy.
I'd add that its your response is merely an excuse wrapped up in flawed logic.  Its purpose is, to be blunt, self-justification, one of the most powerful mental forces we have, and a dangerous one at that.  I sometimes refer to this kind of justification as the "so called 'plight' of the high earner".   There's also a non-trivial amount of financial elitism buried in there, that cost-efficiency is something for 'poor' people but is somehow beneath us wealthy folks. We delude ourselves into thinking a purchase is such a small portion of our income its negligible, or that our time is so valuable we can't be bothered to lose a few hours doing something ourselves vs. contracting it out. The former isn't true because all money has an absolute and cumulative value (see the 'latte effect' or buying lunches effect).  The latter makes assumptions that we are already 100% efficient, that we'd use any time save to work more (kind of against the grain of this forum) and that we gain nothing from undertaking these tasks ourselves.

Finally, I'll just add that if you think this forum is about extreme frugality, you're missing the point and there's a difference between being frugal and cheap.
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caracarn

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #615 on: October 06, 2017, 06:17:59 AM »
So neoreo addressing gerardc's point is very similar to my view.  First, I want to address the fact that gerardc's response seems to come at me from a point of I do not understand how a high earner thinks.  I certainly do, as I said I'm a high earner myself, but then I deviate to neoreo's line in that I do not fall into the excuse that "that shit takes time and energy" as you determine where to avoid paying someone to do something you're totally capable.

The flawed logic is that as a high earner my time is somehow more valuable than someone elses, and it is while I'm at work.  But as we are talking about in another thread about if long hours are needed to be successful, you don't need to be a your job for insance amounts of hours.  In fact I'd argue, because I've done it myself for over two decades, that to be a high earner you do not need to work more than a blue collar 9-5er.  Therefore I have the same amount of non-work time as the low earner who by necessity must be more frugal than I HAVE to be.  So at this point the view that it's not not worth it becomes and excuse to be lazy.  Sure I can pay a landscaping company $20/week to mow my lawn.  After all the $1,000/year that costs is just 0.5% of my annual income so why bother.  neoreo pointed out what I'm getting at here.  You're not going to use that time you free up to work and make more money.  You're making that trade off to sit on your ass and/or do something you find fun.  We all love fun.  Let's have fun, but let's not justify that we can have fun because we're rolling in cash and so we can make that choice and try to align that in anyway with a MMM viewpoint.  You can say increasing your spend by 4% of your take home is negligible but don't try to say that aligns with MMM in any way.  It's spendypants if you do not need that extra expense.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #616 on: October 06, 2017, 07:09:42 AM »
Work hours are going to be dictated by industry and company culture. They aren't the same from industry to industry or firm to firm. I am making more money at my current job working fewer hours. The only way to succeed in Last Job was to plow in 60+ hour weeks...that's despite doing the same function at both firms.

Other anecdotes:
1. A married couple friend have one working in Law, working 50-60 hour weeks, and one working in IT at a health system, working 40 hours a week. The guy makes more.
2. Mother has had the same position at her company for a decade+. Changed 5 or so years ago from a 40 hour per week job to a 60 hour per week job.
3. Friend is a manager at a large marketing firm. She was moved from a functional team to a dysfunctional team (with expectation to fix it) and her hours went from 40 hours a week to 60-70 hours per week.
4. Friend the architect has the same XP: His last job he didn't even have enough to do. At his first job, he regularly was putting in 70-80 hours per week.

All qualify as high-earners now (well I don't), and all have had some sprints with crazy hours. Well, except for the IT guy.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #617 on: October 06, 2017, 07:21:08 AM »
Yes, yes, 100% yes.  People will claim that ~100k isn't "that much" and it makes me do a double take every time.  GF and I combined make a bit above my area's household median, which is more like $60k, and it still feels to me like we make silly amounts of money.  It's all about perspective.

Given MMM's stats about how many software engineers there are in the US and how many of them potentially read his site, unscientific as that article may have been, that's to be expected to a degree. You *can* get paid under $100k as a software engineer, but you almost have to try to. By which I mean, want to work in the video game industry, suck at your job/are only in it "for the money", or are fresh out of school.

Not trying to be a dick about it -- that's just what the math says. When BS in CS when I graduated was earning an *average* of 60k+ straight out of school years ago, hitting 100k is simply a matter of time/being better than average/location.

GuitarStv

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #618 on: October 06, 2017, 07:41:30 AM »
Yes, yes, 100% yes.  People will claim that ~100k isn't "that much" and it makes me do a double take every time.  GF and I combined make a bit above my area's household median, which is more like $60k, and it still feels to me like we make silly amounts of money.  It's all about perspective.

Given MMM's stats about how many software engineers there are in the US and how many of them potentially read his site, unscientific as that article may have been, that's to be expected to a degree. You *can* get paid under $100k as a software engineer, but you almost have to try to. By which I mean, want to work in the video game industry, suck at your job/are only in it "for the money", or are fresh out of school.

Not trying to be a dick about it -- that's just what the math says. When BS in CS when I graduated was earning an *average* of 60k+ straight out of school years ago, hitting 100k is simply a matter of time/being better than average/location.


The median salary for a software engineer in Canada is 70k a year.  If you're making 98k or over you're in the 90th percentile of software engineers.  (https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Software_Engineer/Salary)  It is higher in the US (median salary being 81k), but you're still going to have to be in the 75th percentile to be making over 100 grand a year.  (https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Software_Engineer/Salary)


The vast majority of software engineers must be trying to get paid less?
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ketchup

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #619 on: October 06, 2017, 07:47:51 AM »
Yes, yes, 100% yes.  People will claim that ~100k isn't "that much" and it makes me do a double take every time.  GF and I combined make a bit above my area's household median, which is more like $60k, and it still feels to me like we make silly amounts of money.  It's all about perspective.

Given MMM's stats about how many software engineers there are in the US and how many of them potentially read his site, unscientific as that article may have been, that's to be expected to a degree. You *can* get paid under $100k as a software engineer, but you almost have to try to. By which I mean, want to work in the video game industry, suck at your job/are only in it "for the money", or are fresh out of school.

Not trying to be a dick about it -- that's just what the math says. When BS in CS when I graduated was earning an *average* of 60k+ straight out of school years ago, hitting 100k is simply a matter of time/being better than average/location.


The median salary for a software engineer in Canada is 70k a year.  If you're making 98k or over you're in the 90th percentile of software engineers.  (https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Software_Engineer/Salary)  It is higher in the US (median salary being 81k), but you're still going to have to be in the 75th percentile to be making over 100 grand a year.  (https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Software_Engineer/Salary)


The vast majority of software engineers must be trying to get paid less?
Also, I'm not a software engineer (though not too far off - I work in IT).  I realize they are disproportionally represented among Mustachians but that hardly means a given member should be expected to be a software engineer.

elaine amj

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #620 on: October 06, 2017, 09:12:03 AM »
Interesting turn to the discussion.

I always thought a big part of Mustachianism is realizing what is "enough". And that it really shouldn't have that much to do with income. If $60k/yr is "enough" for me and my family (that's the number we're at now and it's pretty luxurious and definitely makes me feel "soft"!), then that should stay relatively stable and not inflate based on my salary. So if next year, we make $200k, we should still be spending $60/k. I really don't get % of income as a justification for spending more. Why is "enough" not enough?

Then again, I don't claim to have it perfect. Not all that many years ago, I was a SAHM and we lived luxuriously on $40k/yr) so we have definitely succumbed to a bit of lifestyle inflation. To my mind, that is something to battle against - not celebrate.
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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #621 on: October 06, 2017, 09:38:48 AM »
Everyone has a different baseline of enough though, and what seems like hardship to one person might be luxury for another. I live on 20k per year(single) and I have everything I need plus I can travel, and I don't feel like I'm lacking anything important. I could even live on less, but I pretty much spend according to my values and don't think it would increase my happiness if I cut out stuff I enjoy, although I do try to save when it makes sense. Not everyone on the forum could or would live the way I do, but it works for me. I don't even know what I would buy if I was spending 60k a year (although I guess for families it's a little different), so some of the case studies on here seem absolutely ridiculous from my perspective. I want to make more just so I can save more and accelerate FIRE, but I'm also really lucky to have discovered MMM before building a lot of fancy spending into my budget in the first place.
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elaine amj

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #622 on: October 06, 2017, 10:06:52 AM »
Everyone has a different baseline of enough though, and what seems like hardship to one person might be luxury for another.

From a philosophical point of view, I think it's fine for everyone to have a different baseline of "enough". The exact number would depend on your values and circumstances. What I have gained most from MMM and the forum is a different understanding of "enough". I think that is so much more valuable than being able to spend more because you earn more. IMO, your spending should be more divorced from your earning and more in line with your "enough". That said, if your "enough" is higher than your earning, you either need to earn more or figure out a new baseline for "enough"!

The main reason I'm here is to challenge my assumption of "enough" and to get that baseline lower. The general philosophy of consuming less appeals to me. And of course, the side benefits of having more money/requiring less money to live an awesome life is also very appealing.
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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #623 on: October 06, 2017, 10:20:17 AM »
Everyone has a different baseline of enough though, and what seems like hardship to one person might be luxury for another.

From a philosophical point of view, I think it's fine for everyone to have a different baseline of "enough". The exact number would depend on your values and circumstances. What I have gained most from MMM and the forum is a different understanding of "enough". I think that is so much more valuable than being able to spend more because you earn more. IMO, your spending should be more divorced from your earning and more in line with your "enough". That said, if your "enough" is higher than your earning, you either need to earn more or figure out a new baseline for "enough"!

The main reason I'm here is to challenge my assumption of "enough" and to get that baseline lower. The general philosophy of consuming less appeals to me. And of course, the side benefits of having more money/requiring less money to live an awesome life is also very appealing.

It is bad to experience hardship.  The hardship that you experience in many cases is directly linked to how you think about what's happening, not what's happening.  You can't always control your circumstances, but you can control how you think about them.

Conditioning yourself to be satisfied with less should be a goal that everyone pursues, it will only increase your happiness.
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rdaneel0

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #624 on: October 06, 2017, 11:16:45 AM »
Quote
So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas...

Ah, you haven't been paying attention my friend! This isn't a forum about frugality and intentional hardship. It's a forum about "balance" and "spending your values "!




Also, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Nah, I think I've been paying attention :) I think this forum did used to be more about frugality, and I recall quite a few posts about stoicism and intentional discomfort. That said, I don't think frugality and intentional hardship are synonymous. Since when is not going to spas or having a fancy new car a hardship?
I write about my $300 a month food and household budget in a HCOL area. I also post photos of my groceries and meals, and lots of meal plans, plus musings and $ tracking: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/journey-to-the-center-of-the-'stache/

shelivesthedream

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #625 on: October 06, 2017, 11:21:08 AM »
Re: "having" to work long hours as a high earner... Have you not heard of FU money? That is the entire point of it, that you can say no to crazy long hours that the paycheque to paycheque folks have to accept.

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #626 on: October 06, 2017, 11:25:17 AM »
Quote
So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas...

Ah, you haven't been paying attention my friend! This isn't a forum about frugality and intentional hardship. It's a forum about "balance" and "spending your values "!




Also, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Nah, I think I've been paying attention :) I think this forum did used to be more about frugality, and I recall quite a few posts about stoicism and intentional discomfort. That said, I don't think frugality and intentional hardship are synonymous. Since when is not going to spas or having a fancy new car a hardship?

Even stoicism is relative. I can't tell you the number of people who have told us they couldn't live like we do, yet we don't feel like we suffer in any way and are trying to figure out how to cut a few more thousand from our annual spending.

rdaneel0

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #627 on: October 06, 2017, 11:44:23 AM »
Of course I think high earners should be welcome here, but it just feels like there's almost not a place for average or lower earning MMM people. There also seems to be a real lack of perspective regarding wealth and income, which makes a lot of conversations unproductive. I always loved how MMM was about being positive and making yourself better and stronger no matter the circumstances, but some of these posts have people saying things like "we're not even that high earning, we only make about $150k a year combined!" It's like, newsflash: you are in the top 3% of the United States. And no, living in a HCOL area doesn't completely erase that, because low income people also live in HCOL areas.

I think this also skews people's ideas of spending because most people here just use savings percentages in casual conversations. It's like, yeah 50% sounds great, but if you're making a huge salary it's really not that impressive or even frugal. So there's this idea floating around here now that being frugal can totally include new cars, remodeling projects, tons of travel, expensive appliances, fancy gyms, spas, and basically a bunch of other trappings of wealth. Just because you can technically afford those things and still save money doesn't make them prudent choices, and it doesn't make the saver someone who really buys into (pardon the pun) a lot of what first attracted me to MMM, which is the philosophy.

And, scene.
Yes, yes, 100% yes.  People will claim that ~100k isn't "that much" and it makes me do a double take every time.  GF and I combined make a bit above my area's household median, which is more like $60k, and it still feels to me like we make silly amounts of money.  It's all about perspective.

This forum is not at all a representative sample of the US, less yet the world as a whole.  There are plenty of people in some parts of the world that could take that $100k and live what they would consider a pretty decent lifestyle off the $4k SWA.  Cost of living may be cheaper where they are, but not that much cheaper. 

That being said, I don't know why people in the forums are so stuck on frugality.  All the MMM articles are just about cutting out the truly ridiculous wasteful things that don't actually help your happiness.  I don't think many people here are planning on going without luxuries like hot water, 21st century health care, or a cell phone.  That's true frugality.

I disagree with your definition of frugality. I think frugality is about cutting out truly ridiculous wasteful things, but everyone defines wasteful differently. The idea of reaching "enough" is, in my opinion, a key aspect of frugal living and high saving. I also think a key missing component is optimization. I recall past conversations here, even among very high earners, about driving down costs in certain areas, learning to diy, or going without things simply in an effort to optimize and outsource less. . Going without hot water (which is inexpensive to get in the first place) is not optimization, neither is not getting a surgery you really need.

On a separate note, I don't think the MMM forum has ever been representative of most people in the country or the world. Overall, it has always been a high income group, but the ethos was a bit more diy, frugal, optimization-facing and general anti-complainypants than it is now. There seemed to be a little more awareness about how most people live.

I started here as a minimum wager years ago, and I could tell there were loads of high earners, but the advice I got from them and many of the threads were still applicable to my life. I didn't feel like I couldn't even add anything to the conversation or like the threads were just totally unattainable high earner/high consumer slanted. Ironically I make a lot more money now, but feel I fit in here even less than I did before!
I write about my $300 a month food and household budget in a HCOL area. I also post photos of my groceries and meals, and lots of meal plans, plus musings and $ tracking: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/journey-to-the-center-of-the-'stache/

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #628 on: October 06, 2017, 12:03:35 PM »
Re: "having" to work long hours as a high earner... Have you not heard of FU money? That is the entire point of it, that you can say no to crazy long hours that the paycheque to paycheque folks have to accept.

These people should be looking for other jobs, and in most cases have, but it takes a substantial amount of time to find a new job. It took me a good 9 months to make a good transition, and that's with >5% unemployment. One of my friends recently lost his job and spent his entire 3 month PIP time and another 2 months to find a new job that still works him crazy hours...he's already looking for a new job (started a month ago).

I wouldn't advise anyone to quit a job without another job lined up. A 6 month resume gap is something that can count as a black mark against you for decades.  I suppose it's different in different industries, but I wouldn't take the risk.

nereo

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #629 on: October 06, 2017, 04:28:35 PM »

I disagree with your definition of frugality. I think frugality is about cutting out truly ridiculous wasteful things, but everyone defines wasteful differently. The idea of reaching "enough" is, in my opinion, a key aspect of frugal living and high saving. I also think a key missing component is optimization. I recall past conversations here, even among very high earners, about driving down costs in certain areas, learning to diy, or going without things simply in an effort to optimize and outsource less. . Going without hot water (which is inexpensive to get in the first place) is not optimization, neither is not getting a surgery you really need.


just thought I'd throw this out there:
frugal just means displaying some skill and good judgement in the way you spend your money – and thus it is a mark of status far greater than conspicuous consumption - MMM

link here: frugal vs. cheap.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #630 on: October 06, 2017, 05:02:54 PM »
Yes, yes, 100% yes.  People will claim that ~100k isn't "that much" and it makes me do a double take every time.  GF and I combined make a bit above my area's household median, which is more like $60k, and it still feels to me like we make silly amounts of money.  It's all about perspective.

Given MMM's stats about how many software engineers there are in the US and how many of them potentially read his site, unscientific as that article may have been, that's to be expected to a degree. You *can* get paid under $100k as a software engineer, but you almost have to try to. By which I mean, want to work in the video game industry, suck at your job/are only in it "for the money", or are fresh out of school.

Not trying to be a dick about it -- that's just what the math says. When BS in CS when I graduated was earning an *average* of 60k+ straight out of school years ago, hitting 100k is simply a matter of time/being better than average/location.

yeah, erm.   Lots of ego in this note.   DH works programming for a small manufacturer in industrial sensors.  Makes $60k.   Not saying that he couldn't make more (15 years ago, he topped $125k/yr, which would be more today), just that there are reasons beyond the facile list that you put here.  Where you live being one of them.  Having a job for 35 hours a week that you can bike to, that lets you buy and run 3D printers as an experiment in R&D is another.   The primary one really is that his industry is not programming for office software, but industrial manufacturing, at a small business locally.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 05:18:47 PM by Goldielocks »

rdaneel0

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #631 on: October 06, 2017, 06:59:20 PM »

I disagree with your definition of frugality. I think frugality is about cutting out truly ridiculous wasteful things, but everyone defines wasteful differently. The idea of reaching "enough" is, in my opinion, a key aspect of frugal living and high saving. I also think a key missing component is optimization. I recall past conversations here, even among very high earners, about driving down costs in certain areas, learning to diy, or going without things simply in an effort to optimize and outsource less. . Going without hot water (which is inexpensive to get in the first place) is not optimization, neither is not getting a surgery you really need.


just thought I'd throw this out there:
frugal just means displaying some skill and good judgement in the way you spend your money – and thus it is a mark of status far greater than conspicuous consumption - MMM

link here: frugal vs. cheap.

Agreed.
I write about my $300 a month food and household budget in a HCOL area. I also post photos of my groceries and meals, and lots of meal plans, plus musings and $ tracking: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/journey-to-the-center-of-the-'stache/

sol

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #632 on: October 06, 2017, 09:43:58 PM »
I wouldn't advise anyone to quit a job without another job lined up.

Isn't that exactly the point of this forum, though? 

Aren't we all desperately looking forward to the day we quit a job without another one lined up?

shelivesthedream

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #633 on: October 07, 2017, 03:01:43 AM »
I wouldn't advise anyone to quit a job without another job lined up.

Isn't that exactly the point of this forum, though? 

Aren't we all desperately looking forward to the day we quit a job without another one lined up?

And again, the entire point of FU money is that you can do that and be fine. 6 months without a job is only a gap if you tell it like that. "I took six months off to travel/write a novel/work on my house" is purposeful, and with your FU money you won't stink of desperation.

dusty

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #634 on: October 07, 2017, 04:34:23 AM »
Wow, just wow. I love this blog it radicalised my financial life and redefined my social existence. Forum wise I mostly read the journals and selectively read the general topics. I randomly clicked this topic as I feel that Mr Money Mustache has reached the end of his blog topics and its up to people in their communities to take up the baton and create their mini mustache real life communities. To the people talking shit in this thread they should take the time to eat a bag of dicks and consider exactly where their negativity is coming from. Seriously, regardless of where I started from, or my circumstances, Mr Money Mustache has been nothing but a positive financial influence on my life.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #635 on: October 07, 2017, 07:32:02 AM »
I wouldn't advise anyone to quit a job without another job lined up.

Isn't that exactly the point of this forum, though? 

Aren't we all desperately looking forward to the day we quit a job without another one lined up?

Yeah, but if I had FIRE money, I'd quit my job even if it was only 40 hours a week. Hell, I'd quit it if it were 20 hours a week. If I wanted to be there, they wouldn't have to pay me.

shelives,
I don't know how it works in different industries, but in corp accounting/finances, I don't think anyone would take you seriously if you said you took 6 months off for anything other than taking care of family members. Upper management is heavily drawn from people who fell out of the tournament at the Big 4 accounting firms. So the pedigree they are looking for is "I worked 60-70 hours a week for years on end."

This culture filters down to the lower levels and filters to the rest of the organization, to some extent.

If unemployment is low, your chances are still pretty good as long as you are competent. If we are in another recession, or a multi-year jobless recovery, a large number of hiring managers will auto-DQ you JUST for having a resume gap, and then you're taking a crap shoot if the manager likes your excuse for taking a 6 month break. You will also be in competition against many people who do not have those resume gaps. I might be biased, because I graduated in the middle of the Great Recession. All of us started off making $7-8/hour in crappy collections jobs. We didn't have full-time jobs for years. My mindset is entirely about never going through that ever again.

iris lily

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #636 on: October 07, 2017, 07:37:03 AM »
Wow, just wow. I love this blog it radicalised my financial life and redefined my social existence. Forum wise I mostly read the journals and selectively read the general topics. I randomly clicked this topic as I feel that Mr Money Mustache has reached the end of his blog topics and its up to people in their communities to take up the baton and create their mini mustache real life communities. To the people talking shit in this thread they should take the time to eat a bag of dicks and consider exactly where their negativity is coming from. Seriously, regardless of where I started from, or my circumstances, Mr Money Mustache has been nothing but a positive financial influence on my life.
great post, dusty! Thanks.

PizzaSteve

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #637 on: October 07, 2017, 09:12:08 AM »
removed...withdrawing from this thread discussion.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:53:45 AM by PizzaSteve »
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rdaneel0

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #638 on: October 07, 2017, 10:26:21 AM »
Not to apologize for the spendy hugh earners, but i see you are 26 and i think some of this is an age thing.  At 26, it is hard to really contextualize the application of mustacian principles and what you end up with at 50.

Most of these folks have worked hard to grow their stash and often the income is coming from both decades of good career development choices and investing wisely.  Even MMM is in that income range now due to his blog, the markets, etc. 

The challenge is how to live wisely and low impact even when your strategies end up accumulating surplus wealth.  The forum dialog can help, though not every thread will be for everyone.  We can be inclusive and respectful, and avoid annoying phrases, i agree.  But at the same time, we should not demonize people for their success at saving and investing either.  No one should reject a pay raise, for example.  No one should begrudge a mustacian who gained 10% growth of their stash.  If a side hustle is a huge success and they are not needing to spend down their stash at 4%, i am happy for a forum member.

Anyway, it is a tough issue to deal with that perhaps 20 somethings cant resonate with...i get it.  Hang in there.  With good support and effort, i bet you will be able to achieve your dreams too.


I don't think it's just an age thing (I'm early 30s, fyi). There are lots of younger and older super high income people here and in real life. I know lots of couples who hit the $150k and up mark in their 20s.

I know your response wasn't directly to me, but I don't think ketchup or I were demonizing people for their success. I'm always psyched to read about people doing amazing things, and it was largely high earners who helped me when I started here and was asking REALLY basic questions (like, what's an IRA?) I mean, those were some patient people! I love that this community gives me access to people who are farther along and smarter than I am. I don't think the issue is a youthful jealousy thing, like, "there are too many evil high earners here!", it's "there are a lot of totally unaware high earners who don't even realize they're high earners or high spenders, so conversations are getting weird".

I mean, MMM was a high earner, and when I started reading here I was 22 and had about -$2,000 to my name and a minimum wage job, and he was already retired, so I have zero problem taking advice from higher earners who are older and more accomplished. If you make smart decisions you should be better off at 40 than at 20, I think that's part of why we're all here! At the same time, I think it's good to stay grounded in why we have success. It simply isn't possible for all people to amass $500k (or whatever) after just a few years of working, and that's ok. Living an optimized life still works for lower earners, it just isn't quite as fast or dramatic.

I honestly consider myself to be a pretty high earner. I'm now netting $75k (two person family), which feels like a lot to me. I never want to forget about how I made things work on $7.50 an hour or take our income for granted. I want to be grateful and realize that while, yes, DH and I have worked very hard, we've also been extremely fortunate. Especially when so many people in the country and world are struggling, I think it's vital for those of us with resources to realize that we have them not only because we are motivated and hard working, but also because we are fortunate, fortunate to be smart, or able bodied, or white, or living in a certain area of the world, or given education, or with supportive spouses, etc.

Just my two cents, I don't think this particular issue is an inability for young people to contextualize how finances change through different stages of life. I'm a big fan of many of the high earners here, but there has definitely been an influx of a different type of high earner and it has changed the conversations a bit. All in all it's no huge tragedy, I've gotten so much from this community and will always be grateful to the people here. I'll continue to stick around, especially in the journals, I just wonder if the overall attitude shift will scare away and discourage newcomers who are lower earners, which would be a shame. This place saved my financial life.
I write about my $300 a month food and household budget in a HCOL area. I also post photos of my groceries and meals, and lots of meal plans, plus musings and $ tracking: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/journey-to-the-center-of-the-'stache/

gerardc

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #639 on: October 07, 2017, 01:02:37 PM »

Why not? If X% is small enough, it does become negligible. If you spend 18% of your take home pay, and increase it to 22% (yes, these are my actual numbers), why would it matter? You're FIRing in <3 years anyway, so adding 2.5 weeks of work per year isn't much. You need to understand the reality of high-earners. They don't have time to be frugal and waste time savings pennies. They can solve a problem by throwing money at it and FIRing 1 hour later.

Don't get me wrong, I'm able to be VERY frugal if I put my mind to it, but that shit takes time and energy, sometimes. It's fun, and I may do that after FIRE, but for now it makes so much more sense to focus on channelling the gravy train while it's there.

The point of this MMM philosophy is that you're aware of the time you trade for money, aka Your Money or Your Life, i.e. you don't want to spend $5k on a toy if it takes your 6 months of drudgery to save that amount. BUT you do want to spend $5k to eliminate a major 6-month long inconvenience if it takes you 2 weeks to save that. Same philosphy, different application from low earner to high earner.

It may be that a high salary makes you somewhat complacent, I'm not sure... but then again, excess always does.

shelivesthedream made some good points about the philosophy.
I'd add that its your response is merely an excuse wrapped up in flawed logic.  Its purpose is, to be blunt, self-justification, one of the most powerful mental forces we have, and a dangerous one at that.  I sometimes refer to this kind of justification as the "so called 'plight' of the high earner".   There's also a non-trivial amount of financial elitism buried in there, that cost-efficiency is something for 'poor' people but is somehow beneath us wealthy folks. We delude ourselves into thinking a purchase is such a small portion of our income its negligible, or that our time is so valuable we can't be bothered to lose a few hours doing something ourselves vs. contracting it out. The former isn't true because all money has an absolute and cumulative value (see the 'latte effect' or buying lunches effect).  The latter makes assumptions that we are already 100% efficient, that we'd use any time save to work more (kind of against the grain of this forum) and that we gain nothing from undertaking these tasks ourselves.

Finally, I'll just add that if you think this forum is about extreme frugality, you're missing the point and there's a difference between being frugal and cheap.

Look, my credit card expenses (everything but rent) average $600/month in a very HCOL area. I'm talking things like going out and buying a $10 drink once in a while so that you can see your friends without pestering them with "frugal options", or paying $99 to have IKEA deliver your minimalist furniture instead of renting a truck for $50 and wasting half of your day. You need to look at the big picture. Just because some have a tendency to overspend and thus need to remind themselves to spend less every second of their life, doesn't mean that some people like myself can't allow themselves some conveniences so they don't burn themselves out to the ground. See? We need a balance between spending and saving, and more saving isn't always the best option; even MMM is pretty lenient in some areas.

So, like I said, it depends on the value of X. If X is small enough and you earn high enough, I'd say go for it, at least for people like me. If you're a weak non-badass and you need to constantly kick yourself in the butt not to overspend then fine, "restrict yourself", but I'm willing to bet they indulge in the same kind of conveniences I describe, they just don't think twice about it because it's "necessary".

It reminds me of the Weight Watchers community, where everyone is overweight and encourages each other, but they're still pretty much all out of shape. Meanwhile in a Crossfit gym, they work hard, get results and even talk about the dangers of overtraining. Why? because they actually work hard, so it's a real danger, and working less hard sometimes is necessary. But the weight watchers overweight guys don't see that and think "no, you ALWAYS need to do more" which just reflects the limited/flawed view you get when you suck.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 01:05:37 PM by gerardc »

nereo

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #640 on: October 07, 2017, 01:53:23 PM »
shelivesthedream made some good points about the philosophy.
I'd add that its your response is merely an excuse wrapped up in flawed logic.  Its purpose is, to be blunt, self-justification, one of the most powerful mental forces we have, and a dangerous one at that.  I sometimes refer to this kind of justification as the "so called 'plight' of the high earner".   There's also a non-trivial amount of financial elitism buried in there, that cost-efficiency is something for 'poor' people but is somehow beneath us wealthy folks. We delude ourselves into thinking a purchase is such a small portion of our income its negligible, or that our time is so valuable we can't be bothered to lose a few hours doing something ourselves vs. contracting it out. The former isn't true because all money has an absolute and cumulative value (see the 'latte effect' or buying lunches effect).  The latter makes assumptions that we are already 100% efficient, that we'd use any time save to work more (kind of against the grain of this forum) and that we gain nothing from undertaking these tasks ourselves.

Finally, I'll just add that if you think this forum is about extreme frugality, you're missing the point and there's a difference between being frugal and cheap.

Look, my credit card expenses (everything but rent) average $600/month in a very HCOL area. I'm talking things like going out and buying a $10 drink once in a while so that you can see your friends without pestering them with "frugal options", or paying $99 to have IKEA deliver your minimalist furniture instead of renting a truck for $50 and wasting half of your day. You need to look at the big picture. Just because some have a tendency to overspend and thus need to remind themselves to spend less every second of their life, doesn't mean that some people like myself can't allow themselves some conveniences so they don't burn themselves out to the ground. See? We need a balance between spending and saving, and more saving isn't always the best option; even MMM is pretty lenient in some areas.

So, like I said, it depends on the value of X. If X is small enough and you earn high enough, I'd say go for it, at least for people like me. If you're a weak non-badass and you need to constantly kick yourself in the butt not to overspend then fine, "restrict yourself", but I'm willing to bet they indulge in the same kind of conveniences I describe, they just don't think twice about it because it's "necessary".

It reminds me of the Weight Watchers community, where everyone is overweight and encourages each other, but they're still pretty much all out of shape. Meanwhile in a Crossfit gym, they work hard, get results and even talk about the dangers of overtraining. Why? because they actually work hard, so it's a real danger, and working less hard sometimes is necessary. But the weight watchers overweight guys don't see that and think "no, you ALWAYS need to do more" which just reflects the limited/flawed view you get when you suck.

There were a few areas in your response where I was nodding along, until I got to the phrase: If X is small enough and you earn high enough, I'd say go for it, at least for people like me. To me that's exactly the wrong attitude to have towards money. If something is a stupid expense at $20 for your average $40k/year worker, it doesn't suddenly become a 'smart' thing to do just because you are earning $140k. To me that's exactly the messaging that marketing has been trying to convince us of; that an on-going monthly expense is affordable because it's such a small percentage of our take-home pay, or that we shouldn't think twice about $10 'luxuries' because they bring 'daily joy' to our lives.  If the latter is true that's all fine and good, but most of the time there are much better, healthier and cheaper solutions but we've been trained not to look.

I'm not trying to pick on you per se, but rather attack this belief that we should view what is a 'reasonable' expense based on the individual's income.  It's an almost impulsive reflex but I think it is dead wrong. Regarding your comment about 'allowing some conveniences so they don't burn themselves into the ground" - well again we've tied spending to happiness and justified it by thinking its such a small portion of takehome pay. 
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ender

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #641 on: October 07, 2017, 01:58:16 PM »
There's a difference in being frugal because you have to and because you can be.

gerardc

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #642 on: October 07, 2017, 02:14:38 PM »
shelivesthedream made some good points about the philosophy.
I'd add that its your response is merely an excuse wrapped up in flawed logic.  Its purpose is, to be blunt, self-justification, one of the most powerful mental forces we have, and a dangerous one at that.  I sometimes refer to this kind of justification as the "so called 'plight' of the high earner".   There's also a non-trivial amount of financial elitism buried in there, that cost-efficiency is something for 'poor' people but is somehow beneath us wealthy folks. We delude ourselves into thinking a purchase is such a small portion of our income its negligible, or that our time is so valuable we can't be bothered to lose a few hours doing something ourselves vs. contracting it out. The former isn't true because all money has an absolute and cumulative value (see the 'latte effect' or buying lunches effect).  The latter makes assumptions that we are already 100% efficient, that we'd use any time save to work more (kind of against the grain of this forum) and that we gain nothing from undertaking these tasks ourselves.

Finally, I'll just add that if you think this forum is about extreme frugality, you're missing the point and there's a difference between being frugal and cheap.

Look, my credit card expenses (everything but rent) average $600/month in a very HCOL area. I'm talking things like going out and buying a $10 drink once in a while so that you can see your friends without pestering them with "frugal options", or paying $99 to have IKEA deliver your minimalist furniture instead of renting a truck for $50 and wasting half of your day. You need to look at the big picture. Just because some have a tendency to overspend and thus need to remind themselves to spend less every second of their life, doesn't mean that some people like myself can't allow themselves some conveniences so they don't burn themselves out to the ground. See? We need a balance between spending and saving, and more saving isn't always the best option; even MMM is pretty lenient in some areas.

So, like I said, it depends on the value of X. If X is small enough and you earn high enough, I'd say go for it, at least for people like me. If you're a weak non-badass and you need to constantly kick yourself in the butt not to overspend then fine, "restrict yourself", but I'm willing to bet they indulge in the same kind of conveniences I describe, they just don't think twice about it because it's "necessary".

It reminds me of the Weight Watchers community, where everyone is overweight and encourages each other, but they're still pretty much all out of shape. Meanwhile in a Crossfit gym, they work hard, get results and even talk about the dangers of overtraining. Why? because they actually work hard, so it's a real danger, and working less hard sometimes is necessary. But the weight watchers overweight guys don't see that and think "no, you ALWAYS need to do more" which just reflects the limited/flawed view you get when you suck.

There were a few areas in your response where I was nodding along, until I got to the phrase: If X is small enough and you earn high enough, I'd say go for it, at least for people like me. To me that's exactly the wrong attitude to have towards money. If something is a stupid expense at $20 for your average $40k/year worker, it doesn't suddenly become a 'smart' thing to do just because you are earning $140k. To me that's exactly the messaging that marketing has been trying to convince us of; that an on-going monthly expense is affordable because it's such a small percentage of our take-home pay, or that we shouldn't think twice about $10 'luxuries' because they bring 'daily joy' to our lives.  If the latter is true that's all fine and good, but most of the time there are much better, healthier and cheaper solutions but we've been trained not to look.

I'm not trying to pick on you per se, but rather attack this belief that we should view what is a 'reasonable' expense based on the individual's income.  It's an almost impulsive reflex but I think it is dead wrong. Regarding your comment about 'allowing some conveniences so they don't burn themselves into the ground" - well again we've tied spending to happiness and justified it by thinking its such a small portion of takehome pay.

I mostly agree with you, I think we agree with each other on the specific examples, just the wording and principles sound different.

When I say "If X is high enough and you earn high enough, go for it", it's understood that you also need the thing, there are no cheaper options, etc. With a low income you were basically on the fence buying it, you decided not to; with a high income, it may shift the decision barrier a little bit, and you'd end up buying it because, for example, saving $50 would drain you and you'd be tired at work, which would put you at risk, etc. High income doesn't change much drastically, it may increase your expenses by a few percents, but the basic lifestyle is roughly the same. You'll just spend more e.g. on holidays because you don't have many vacation days and you need to make the most of Thanksgiving weekend, which makes the flights more expensive... things like that. It doesn't give you permission to buy lattes to feel better, that's not what I'm talking about at all.

ender

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #643 on: October 07, 2017, 02:16:22 PM »
When I say "If X is high enough and you earn high enough, go for it", it's understood that you also need the thing, there are no cheaper options, etc.

I don't think people ever mean that phrase in the "you need the thing" but more in the "yeah, you want the thing and can afford it" manner on this forum.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #644 on: October 07, 2017, 02:55:32 PM »
The median salary for a software engineer in Canada is 70k a year.  If you're making 98k or over you're in the 90th percentile of software engineers.
...
The vast majority of software engineers must be trying to get paid less?

Different sources find different salary ranges for software engineers, but there is a big discrepancy geographically, especially whether you live in the US or not.
There is a good article, that I can't find now, which uses some consolidated data to show even higher average US software engineer salaries than usually reported. They go on to argue there is an inefficiency in the market due to US immigration issues (which presumably hurts tech companies and the population as a whole, maybe helps some developers): a software engineer in Pittsburgh can always threaten to move to Silicon Valley to get a higher wage, which in turn drives up wages in Pittsburgh (or you can work for Google in Pittsburgh), a developer in London can't make the same threat credibly, which keeps their wages depressed by international (US) standards.

Hired also has a decent salary survey, based on actual job offers: https://hired.com/state-of-salaries-2017



I wouldn't go as far as the original comment, but I will say that it's likely that in many US markets, and industries, it is very possible for most competent developers, who can interview well, and who have the right credentials or experience to make $100k barring circumstances (don't work for non-profits, certain other industries). I wanted to add compotent, but based on my limited experience interviewing, competent assumes a lot.

Don't ask me though, I've been unemployed for a year :)

wenchsenior

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #645 on: October 07, 2017, 05:08:03 PM »
...eat a bag of dicks..

Brilliant idiom :)

Archer call-out, I assume? Man, I love that show.

Laura33

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #646 on: October 08, 2017, 07:47:26 AM »
As one of the higher-earning and spendier members, I would please, please ask the longstanding hard-core members to continue to weigh in and call bullshit when you see it.  I am surrounded by a world that tells me I need to spend more and do less, to seek comfort and laziness and bling and escapist fun above all else.  Including my own family.  This is the only place in my life that reminds me that I don't actually have to do any of that to be happy, and that in fact giving in to the laziness of Papa Johns and my recliner buys short-term happiness but gets in the way of a long-term happy and fulfilled life. 

I am never going to aspire to living MMM's life; that's not me, and it wouldn't make me happy.  But I can absolutely do better optimizing the money that I throw away on meaningless crap.  An echo chamber of "of course you can afford it" isn't helpful, because I am fortunate to be able to afford a shit-ton of useless stuff that I don't need.  I need you guys to keep me honest on that and make me take a hard look at choices I tend to take for granted.

Tl;dr:  My personal thanks to all of the hard-asses here.  Your time and insight is tremendously important -- even when I ultimately choose something different.
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AccidentialMustache

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #647 on: October 08, 2017, 11:52:31 AM »
yeah, erm.   Lots of ego in this note.   DH works programming for a small manufacturer in industrial sensors.  Makes $60k.   Not saying that he couldn't make more (15 years ago, he topped $125k/yr, which would be more today), just that there are reasons beyond the facile list that you put here.  Where you live being one of them.  Having a job for 35 hours a week that you can bike to, that lets you buy and run 3D printers as an experiment in R&D is another.   The primary one really is that his industry is not programming for office software, but industrial manufacturing, at a small business locally.

Yeah that came across a little aggressive. Sorry. I still stand by the basic math and assertion, though. 60k average starting salary was ~15 years ago. So if you'll give me 3% inflation just like for the 4% rule, 60k * 1.03^15 = 93.5k. For a large enough sample, close to 50% of today's graduating class should be making over 100k, if not now, then very very soon (2 years). Looks like that 3% assumption isn't too far off based on current numbers: https://cs.illinois.edu/about-us/statistics

You can say, "oh that's a top school" and sure that's true, but there's a lot of top schools graduating very large CS classes. You're going to have to work to pull that number down.

Gondolin

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #648 on: October 09, 2017, 01:19:18 PM »
Quote
I'm not trying to pick on you per se, but rather attack this belief that we should view what is a 'reasonable' expense based on the individual's income.  It's an almost impulsive reflex but I think it is dead wrong.

Preach.

My current spend is too high. Not because I can't afford it but, because it's still badly inefficient in several categories.

In this forum TODAY sometime defended having a cleaner on the grounds that they "aren't good at it" and then, defended eating out a lot on the grounds that they "are an emotional eater" and thus can only relieve stress by overpaying for takeout.
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elaine amj

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Re: Weird fourm coversations - has the community gone soft?
« Reply #649 on: October 10, 2017, 09:08:44 AM »
As one of the higher-earning and spendier members, I would please, please ask the longstanding hard-core members to continue to weigh in and call bullshit when you see it.  I am surrounded by a world that tells me I need to spend more and do less, to seek comfort and laziness and bling and escapist fun above all else.  Including my own family.  This is the only place in my life that reminds me that I don't actually have to do any of that to be happy, and that in fact giving in to the laziness of Papa Johns and my recliner buys short-term happiness but gets in the way of a long-term happy and fulfilled life. 

I am never going to aspire to living MMM's life; that's not me, and it wouldn't make me happy.  But I can absolutely do better optimizing the money that I throw away on meaningless crap.  An echo chamber of "of course you can afford it" isn't helpful, because I am fortunate to be able to afford a shit-ton of useless stuff that I don't need.  I need you guys to keep me honest on that and make me take a hard look at choices I tend to take for granted.

Tl;dr:  My personal thanks to all of the hard-asses here.  Your time and insight is tremendously important -- even when I ultimately choose something different.

I totally agree. I KNOW I'm not as efficient as I could be and I love getting challenged to be better at it.

And when I make choices and get facepunched for it here - I actually think that is a good thing. It forces me to take a step back, re-evaluate my choice and then purposefully decide whether to proceed or not. And if I willingly choose to do it, I'm then secure enough in my decision not to "feel bad" because someone else doesn't agree with my choices. And if I choose to spend on something frivolously, it's also nice to KNOW that it is frivolous and make a purposeful choice to do it anyway.

I've never been hardcore at this and am unlikely to get to the low spending I see some other members achieve. But it's sad when the more frugal and minimalistic Mustachians on here get told they aren't "enjoying life" because they are too thrifty. I still remember the days when members would challenge each other to get their home energy use as low as possible and celebrated when pennies were saved.

Those were also the days when people wouldn't get away with being a "complainypants" (this was an eyeopening concept to me). There are so many ways in which we make excuses for spending on stuff. It's sooo easy to say "But...XYZ". Just look at all those comments on articles about MMM/other early retirees about how they were "special" and the average Joe can never do what they did. I loved being here where people talked about how they COULD do better and brainstormed innovative solutions or gave each other a kick in the butt to JUST DO IT.

This does not involve shaming other forum members. People should always be free to make their own decisions on spending and saving. Still, as a community, it's not a bad idea to stop and take a look at what we're trying to achieve here together.  But why do we all gather here? MMM promotes his blog as "Financial Freedom Through Badassity". What do we hope to gain together? For me, the point is to be challenged to see the world differently. To see my spending differently.
My journal: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/realigning-spending-to-match-our-future-goals-a-canadian-journey/

Camp Mustache Canada 2017 was everything I dreamed of and more. Super excited that Camp Mustache Canada 2018 is now a thing!