Poll

Would you go to prison for five years in exchange for a million dollars?

Yes! Send the guards and the van with the mesh windows right away!
10 (5.7%)
No, thank you. I like money but not enough for that.
165 (94.3%)

Total Members Voted: 175

Voting closed: February 05, 2018, 06:44:20 AM

Author Topic: RESULTS:Would you go to prison for five years in exchange for a million dollars?  (Read 5168 times)

martyconlonontherun

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There might be a way to game 5 years in prison, if you can get yourself into a prison with education provisions.  Think of it as the equivalent of a monk's cell, but instead of praying you have access to distance learning.  You could get a bachelors and a masters in 5 years, room and board paid for.  At the end you would come out with a free education and the $1m would be a cherry on the top: if you went into prison at 18 you could come out at 23 with 2 degrees and $1m in the bank instead of all those student loans.

Me, I'm old and FIREd and know the value of my freedom, thanks.  Plus, gaming out in advance a sentence of 5 years in a prison where you would be safe and able to study sounds risky.

I've always been intrigued by this idea. I do well in solidarity and confined spaces and like the idea of having nothing better to do that read and workout. Basically read a couple books a week and be in great shape.

Granted I have no idea what prison is like and I'm sure I would be a target.

Villanelle

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OMY is "one more year" which is essentially when someone has a hard time actually quitting because they keep thinking "just one more year" will get them just a bit more security.

People already go to prison for 50 years in return for money for retirement. We call that the typical work life.

I think this is a convenient platitude, especially here (MMM) where work is probably considered less of necessary given and more of something to actively work to minimize  But to me, it's ridiculous to compare prison to employment, even in a job one really hates.  I suppose I can concede that perhaps they are on the same spectrum--that of sacrificing time for external requirements, but then so to would be cooking, bathing, time spent paying bills and filing taxes, grocery shopping, and pretty much any other activity that isn't completely for our own pleasure. 

GOFU

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I think I myself might be suffering from omy or even tmy syndrome. Can someone please direct me to a more comprehensive discussion on this?

boarder42

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Stop worrying about the 4% rule is probably the best discussion around omy

sol

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There are a couple of references in the thread to omy theory or omy effect.

I googled this and got nothing that seemed relevant.

Can someone please explain that or provide a link?

As far as I know, the OMY year theory is an idea that was uniquely created by MMM forum posters.  We had lots of discussions about how why so many people here were working "one more year" after hitting their retirement goals.  It became such a common refrain from fearful retirees that it earned its own acronym.

NotJen

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The prison scenario was inspired by a friend/colleague who, in my opinion, doesn’t appreciate how good he has it. He has a cushy job, well paid, lots of perks and flexibility, he’s home for lunch and dinner with his wife and kids every day, and he has such a low cost of living he is able to save about 70% of his earnings.

The rub is that to have all that he must live in a pretty crappy third world place that is uncomfortable and inconvenient. He is late 40s and has saved more than enough for financial independence where he lives now. If he sticks it out for five more years or so, at normal market returns he will accumulate another million or so and be financially free without doubt by any reasonable measure and could go anywhere he wants.

He is talking about pulling out, heading back to the first world, trying to restart his high stress career and suburban lifestyle that will set him back at least another 5 and perhaps 10 years financially. My advice was to stick it out, using the argument that a lot of people would go to prison for 5 years for a million bucks and financial freedom.

I think you're doing your friend/colleague a disservice.

Have you ever worked a job that you actually hated?  It's easy to say stick it out if you haven't.  I worked a job that I hated for a year.  I was depressed and miserable the whole time, and was willing to quit to get out of it.  From the outside (and even from the inside sometimes), it didn't seem like that big of a deal - it was the same general work I had been doing for the previous 10 years, for the same company, just with a different group of people in a different office situation.  My new colleagues liked me, said I was doing a good job, wanted me to succeed, etc.  I genuinely liked my job before the change.  After, I dreaded going to work every morning.  Was distraught having to go back after Christmas after I'd only worked the new job for 2 months.  It was insane how unhappy I was over this dumb job.  I was able to switch back after a year - I don't dread work now, but it still broke me, and I'm planning to quit and leave the industry when the time seems right.

If this person is your friend, I'd let them talk things through with you, but refrain from encouraging them to stay.  You can remind them of the positives of the job, but don't discount how bad the negatives may be to them personally.  Maybe brainstorm lower stress options for when he returns to the first world?

sol

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ps: what is the 4 c's. Sounds like one is children?

defined above:
Quote
Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction, aka "the 4 Cs".

GOFU

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The prison scenario was inspired by a friend/colleague who, in my opinion, doesn’t appreciate how good he has it. He has a cushy job, well paid, lots of perks and flexibility, he’s home for lunch and dinner with his wife and kids every day, and he has such a low cost of living he is able to save about 70% of his earnings.

The rub is that to have all that he must live in a pretty crappy third world place that is uncomfortable and inconvenient. He is late 40s and has saved more than enough for financial independence where he lives now. If he sticks it out for five more years or so, at normal market returns he will accumulate another million or so and be financially free without doubt by any reasonable measure and could go anywhere he wants.

He is talking about pulling out, heading back to the first world, trying to restart his high stress career and suburban lifestyle that will set him back at least another 5 and perhaps 10 years financially. My advice was to stick it out, using the argument that a lot of people would go to prison for 5 years for a million bucks and financial freedom.

I think you're doing your friend/colleague a disservice.

Have you ever worked a job that you actually hated?  It's easy to say stick it out if you haven't.  I worked a job that I hated for a year.  I was depressed and miserable the whole time, and was willing to quit to get out of it.  From the outside (and even from the inside sometimes), it didn't seem like that big of a deal - it was the same general work I had been doing for the previous 10 years, for the same company, just with a different group of people in a different office situation.  My new colleagues liked me, said I was doing a good job, wanted me to succeed, etc.  I genuinely liked my job before the change.  After, I dreaded going to work every morning.  Was distraught having to go back after Christmas after I'd only worked the new job for 2 months.  It was insane how unhappy I was over this dumb job.  I was able to switch back after a year - I don't dread work now, but it still broke me, and I'm planning to quit and leave the industry when the time seems right.

If this person is your friend, I'd let them talk things through with you, but refrain from encouraging them to stay.  You can remind them of the positives of the job, but don't discount how bad the negatives may be to them personally.  Maybe brainstorm lower stress options for when he returns to the first world?

Well, he will do what he wants. I don't have any power over him. When I said my advice was to stick it out that was overstating it. That was my way of trying to get him to see the upside of what he has. I believe he is in a crisis and can only see the negative, and it would sadden me if he made the wrong choice in that state. But, he's a big boy.

Cathy

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There are quite a few jobs where you can save a million dollar in less than five years of work. And, as bad as employment might be, I think most would agree it's better than prison. Instead of accepting the prison proposition, I suggest finding a better line of work.

Forever Wednesday

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This offer does not tempt me. But if my circumstances were different, I might accept it. For example, if I were incapable of entering the work force and needed to support a family (say that I had an extremely sick child).

GuitarStv

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What if it was only the risk of going to prison for five years, but the million dollars was guaranteed?



 . . . and now we see how criminals are created.  :P

boarder42

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What if it was only the risk of going to prison for five years, but the million dollars was guaranteed?



 . . . and now we see how criminals are created.  :P

now its a risk vs reward scenario and what the implied emotional effects would be based on the act needed to be performed.

OurTown

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I know this is intended as just a thought experiment, but I would submit that unless you have experienced it, you really have no idea what it is like to be in custody for any period of time, much less five years.  I would further submit that it is certainly not comparable to being in a job you hate, being posted in a third world country, etc.  I would further submit that for the vast majority of people living an ordinary, law abiding middle class life, including 99.99% of the people on these forums, the reality of being incarcerated for any period of time, even in a county jail, much less a state or federal prison, would be so intolerable that you would gladly exchange almost any amount of money to get out early.  Just my two cents.

dycker1978

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Nope. Im not sure there is any number I'd take in this bargain, but if there is, it definitely isn't $1m.  But really, I'm pretty happy with our finances and the long term picture, so giving up 5 years for even $10m wouldn't be worth it.

I think this is a really interesting idea.  If the required payday in this deal changes with age, why is your time worth more when you are older than when you are young?  What is it about having your own death in sight that raises your price tag?

Is this effect related to the OMY effect?  If you suddenly need more and more money to give up your freedom (here a metaphor for your time spent in early retirement), does the rate of increase in the dollar amount rise faster than does your savings, as you approach the date?  That would explain why so many people pick an arbitrary number like $1million, then get to $975k and can't quiiiiiite pull the trigger and thus decide to work One More Year.

This is actually the approach I was hoping the op was going to go down with this because I think it's a much better thought experiment. I don't personally equate what I do for a living to prison. And I make about 1MM every 5 years. And in 5 years when we plan to FIRE it will likely be closer to 1.5MM for the next 5. I think this question is very equivalent to omy theory.

I need to add to this and to Sol's post above.  1 Million is not enough for me to give up five years of my life, not in prison or even working where I am not home with my family every night.   Further to Sols question, if I were to be given $1mm now, or even $975k I would leave my job,

For some here it seems that hording money becomes a challenge.  Much like the general population seems to horde things.  My goal is not to become so rich I can buy all the stuff, but to live my life in what is luxury to me.  So for someone to offer me $5mm, I would still refuse.  I do not need that much money.  So to some up my ramblings, there is literally no amount of money that I would ever give up 5 years, completely. 


boarder42

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Nope. Im not sure there is any number I'd take in this bargain, but if there is, it definitely isn't $1m.  But really, I'm pretty happy with our finances and the long term picture, so giving up 5 years for even $10m wouldn't be worth it.

I think this is a really interesting idea.  If the required payday in this deal changes with age, why is your time worth more when you are older than when you are young?  What is it about having your own death in sight that raises your price tag?

Is this effect related to the OMY effect?  If you suddenly need more and more money to give up your freedom (here a metaphor for your time spent in early retirement), does the rate of increase in the dollar amount rise faster than does your savings, as you approach the date?  That would explain why so many people pick an arbitrary number like $1million, then get to $975k and can't quiiiiiite pull the trigger and thus decide to work One More Year.

This is actually the approach I was hoping the op was going to go down with this because I think it's a much better thought experiment. I don't personally equate what I do for a living to prison. And I make about 1MM every 5 years. And in 5 years when we plan to FIRE it will likely be closer to 1.5MM for the next 5. I think this question is very equivalent to omy theory.

I need to add to this and to Sol's post above.  1 Million is not enough for me to give up five years of my life, not in prison or even working where I am not home with my family every night.   Further to Sols question, if I were to be given $1mm now, or even $975k I would leave my job,

For some here it seems that hording money becomes a challenge.  Much like the general population seems to horde things.  My goal is not to become so rich I can buy all the stuff, but to live my life in what is luxury to me.  So for someone to offer me $5mm, I would still refuse.  I do not need that much money.  So to some up my ramblings, there is literally no amount of money that I would ever give up 5 years, completely.

So you just equated prison to your job and then said there is no amount of money you'd give up 5 years for. Which begs the question are you planning to fire with less than 5 years worked or did you gain a large sum of money some other way

nereo

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mentioned indirectly by several earlier, but I think it's worth saying outright...
Age matters. While I wouldn't want to go to prison at any age for almost any amount, I find I need greater compensation to do things I really don't want to the older I get.

Makes sense, too... at least for mustachians who's net worth is ever-increasing.  $100k in my late teens would have been a crap-ton of money to me.  As I inch closer to FI and my salary has increased it doesn't seem like that much. From a time-to-retirement perspective, that $100k would have cut a decade off my FI date at age 18 - now it might shave off a year or two.  Once I'm FIRE.... what's another $100k besides an ever increasing margin of safety?

$100k, $1MM, $1,000 - the concept is the same.

GOFU

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Stop worrying about the 4% rule is probably the best discussion around omy
Fascinating. Thanks.