Author Topic: How to kill the dragon  (Read 10832 times)

Doc Holiday

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How to kill the dragon
« on: August 17, 2017, 10:47:23 PM »
I'm a 52 yo physician, FI, RE in 2-3 years.

Confessions:
In the past I did the modest and typical delayed gratification thing physicians often do after years of training, namely bigger purchases when, for the first time your means are greater than your needs. That was 5-10 years ago.

I have a couple of choice items that are clearly luxury goods, but I am completely and still in love with them because of their industrial design and perfect function.  A killer espresso maker and a Porsche. Everything else in my life is fairly straightforward. Not exactly minimal, not exactly frugal. But closer than most. My DW is both frugal and minimalist. My kids are mostly not entitled.

In the last 5 years, I've realized the errors in some of my financial ways as well as the philosophical nausea and ennui that goes with consumerism and materialism. I mostly spend money on travel and healthy food now. I am going to start a new group called AA. Amazon Anonymous. (I'm down to about two purchases per month). I will drive my 8 year old 911 until the wheels fall off because I love that car. My espresso maker will last forever. (I roast my own beans, btw).

Enter the dragon:

After getting some strong sense of what I really enjoy (hiking, climbing) and having a newfound sense of life with a (mostly) mustachian approach, I spoke with another doctor yesterday who somehow skillfully changed the topic to,"I got a new car".

Ooooh. New car. My id popped out of my lizard brain. I love cool cars. Sweet Mercedes 550 SL.
I congratulated her on the nice ride.

But here's the kicker. She must have said multiple times how it made people jealous around her. It "caused" a cardiologist to go out and buy a fancy car. She also felt that her new car was better than my car. Being a "car guy" I'm way more happy for people with cool cars than I am competitive.

It didn't feel right at all. I asked if she WANTED to make people jealous. And ultimately she said yes, and she likes having/wearing pretty things that get her compliments. It makes her feel good. At least she was honest.

All of a sudden, I felt my old dragon awake. The one from years ago, born of competition and comparison. The one that I thought was dead, now that new-me was practicing and preaching simplicity. Or at least I thought he slept like Smaug in Erebor.

I became in one instant competitive, possessive, and irritated. I wanted to rush out and get a new model something to one-up this non-car person who thought that price was everything. This person who wanted people to feel jealous.

Wow. I thought I was better than that. The inanity of the situation quickly was visible and I was able to take a step back from the breath of fire and smell of sulfur. My desire to make ordinary people jealous is zero. Perhaps, if I'm honest, @ssholes 5%. Jealousy does not make anyone like you.

But more concerning to me was the worry that my Smaug, my Mr. Hyde might surface sometime after I've FIREd and wreak havoc with what has become, over the last 5 years, an extremely comfortable and happy time in my life, with attention paid to being present, health, appreciation, and peace.

I admire true mustachians who manage to live lives of simplicity and yet don't fall prey to snide comments or imperious glances.

I'm fairly good at recognizing my own short-comings and try to apologize and then correct them in the future. But damn, it's hard, as there are some ingrained biases and perceptions of self and culture, happiness and meaning, that are totally wrong. I guess I'm happy I see them and work on them. But they are still there.

The only thing that has worked for me thus far has been to surround myself with friends and colleagues who feel similarly, (my DW is my number 1 club member). But is that just avoidance or running away? We don't live in a bubble and we can't pick and choose every element of our interactions (people, media, ads).

So I'm looking to kill the beast. I would be most grateful to hear from you your methods of dealing with prior anti-mustachian tendencies when they arise as well as dealing with others that firmly believe in competitive materialism.

With respect,
Doc Holiday
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

2Cent

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2017, 04:22:02 AM »
I turn it around and try to pride myself in having cheaper items. I think of myself as someone who got the same product for less. And especially for going without things that others depend on.

Gunny

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2017, 04:31:55 AM »
Doc, my Achilles heal are boats and motorcycles.  At one time I owned three boats, plus a canoe AND a kayak.  I also owned two Harley's at the same time.  I was making a good 6 fig salary and saved an acceptable percentage of that by traditional standards, not MMM standards, and never used credit to buy toys.  I thought I was doing well and being smart.  Every time I got a bonus, I bought an over priced toy.  It made me feel successful.  Once I found MMM and learned that my life could be so much "richer" if I broke the consumerism/materialism chain, I retrained myself to be satisfied and even happy with less.  We downsized everything.  We live in a smaller house, in a lower COL area.  We drive used vehicles and I have but one boat and one Harley.  Not full on mustachian, but a far cry from where I was.  We live more frugal and less wasteful lives which gives us peace on several levels.  Our simpler life is easier to live and I bask in the felling that I no longer measure happiness in the amount of goods stored in the garage.  This forum was very helpful, so was making new and more frugal friends.  Birds of a feather Peas in a pod.  Misery loves company. 

deborah

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2017, 04:36:03 AM »
I am retired. We don't have a television. We rarely go shopping. We both really do think that the lack of stuff around us has stopped our inspiration to purchase - including the workmates who go out and get "the latest cool thing". So I agree with you that having people around you buying cool stuff actually makes saving more difficult. However, I have found the converse is true after retirement. There is almost nobody I associate with who buys cool things. After all, if you retire as a mustashian, you probably end up with more wealth than the other retirees around you - and they are having to learn to avoid cool stuff, because their retirement income is much less than they are used to spending.

Who will you associate with after retirement? Are these the sort of people who will feed the dragon?

infromsea

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 04:41:48 AM »
Quote:
"The only thing that has worked for me thus far has been to surround myself with friends and colleagues who feel similarly, (my DW is my number 1 club member). But is that just avoidance or running away? We don't live in a bubble and we can't pick and choose every element of our interactions (people, media, ads)."

First off, great post, thanks for sharing!

In my experience, living frugal and driving an old POS car (since you mentioned vehicles specifically) gets easier the longer you do it. Over time, you identify with that older/cheaper/no payment/ vehicle and living a frugal lifestyle is what identifies you, not the fancy/flashy/trying to make others jealous lifestyle.

We don't/won't associate/hang out with those who are materialistic (or negative/energy sucking etc) so I don't think it's avoidance to keep those elements out of our lives, it's smart living.

You are right that we can't pick EVERY element of our lives, but we can pick most of them. I've found that turning off the TV news, not reading much of anything "news related" and watching almost no TV in general REALLY helps to keep desires for material possessions at a minimum. We stopped keeping our credit card stored in Amazon and I have to manually log in each time I buy something, little things like that add up.

Mr. Green

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2017, 05:55:09 AM »
I think the biggest thing we learn with frugality and personal financial responsibility is that we gain enough education that we're able to intelligently assess the opportunity cost when a situation like this arises. After our lizard brain says, "I want it!", our logical brain says, "Fuck! One more year of work just to pay for that car? Not doing that!" Whereas before we might have done it because we weren't really thinking about the opportunity cost. Some times I'll think about all the things I could buy instead of that material thing and it totally kills the urge. "Well I could take a $10,000 vacation every month, or I could buy that car." Or whatever else might tickle my fancy that helps me realize that if I had that much money in cash laying in front of my and I had to spend it, I would spend it on something else more important to me anyway.

Oh, and I'd take a Porsche over a Mercedes any day. Nothing to be jealous about there! ;)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 06:00:05 AM by Mr. Green »
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markbike528CBX

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2017, 06:10:46 AM »
I don't think you can kill the dragon of materialism completely.   

You can send it into semi-permanent hibernation, but you should (as OP seems to be) aware of it awakening when poked with the sharp stick of consumerist examples.

Disclaimer: 2000 Porsche boxster owner.  15k buy in 2011. 2nd car ever, may be the last one.

steveo

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2017, 06:13:22 AM »
I think that there is some amount of natural frugality. My FIL and wife and one of her sisters are just frugal and yet FIL has a lot of money. My dad was a specialist doctor and is naturally frugal. Mum isn't.

I don't think I'm naturally frugal but I also don't get into debt or overspend plus I save for RE. What has worked for me is just thinking about happiness. So I know that more stuff doesn't make me happier. I buy everything I want but I typically take my time if I get an urge to buy something and I try and make sure that I really want it.

aperture

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2017, 06:21:13 AM »
I turn it around and try to pride myself in having cheaper items. I think of myself as someone who got the same product for less. And especially for going without things that others depend on.

+1 to this.  The pleasure I experience in owning and using a well made tool (I too retain some high end shit from yesteryear), is pretty close to the pleasure I have driving my 2002 Honda Civic into a parking lot full of the collateral on other people's debt.  My little Honda is an elegant solution, a hack that accomplishes my purpose while minimizing resources.

All that said - if you are going to be unhappy without an occasional high end replacement to your old high end racer, perhaps you should just budget for that.  My guess is you could work an extra year or two after you have your FI number and you would have plenty to make infrequent automotive purchases.  Best wishes doc, aperture.
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2Cent

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2017, 06:34:19 AM »
All that said - if you are going to be unhappy without an occasional high end replacement to your old high end racer, perhaps you should just budget for that.  My guess is you could work an extra year or two after you have your FI number and you would have plenty to make infrequent automotive purchases.  Best wishes doc, aperture.
In fact, in retirement you would have the time to fix up an old luxury car instead of buying a new one. Some of those old cars are much more fancy than the new aerodynamic designs. I know people who even make a handsome profit on this hobby.

DrSweden

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2017, 06:57:08 AM »
I am a 32 YO psychiatrist. Doctors are famous for their spending habits. They increase spending going from student, to intern, to resident and so on. I had two older friends who both were well paid doctors when I was a student. Seeing them spend all their money was part of me becoming so frugal.

What field are you in?

Freedom17

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2017, 07:42:19 AM »
I once had a friend complement me on not buying into the competitive and conformity thing. I thought about it briefly and told him it's not because I'm a better person, it's because I get more pleasure in the smug feeling of outsmarting people than in conformity or winning by the rules of other people's games.

Simple examples would be the huge thrill I get doing a reverse commute at full speed and seeing the traffic at a standstill in the reverse direction. Sometimes I'm tempted to give all those poor suckers the finger as a fly by. On the race track there's nothing more satisfying than riding the ass of someone in their brand spanking new corvette while I'm driving my econobox.

So perhaps instead of trying to be a mustachian saint you could instead take some smug satisfaction in being smarter than the masses.


« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 07:44:10 AM by Freedom17 »



Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2017, 08:15:56 AM »
I can't recall ever have a materialism bug.  It's just how I'm wired.  But I totally get the competitiveness thing.  I always wanted the highest grade in the class, to smash someone at chess, etc.  It is a huge part of how I got to FIRE status.  I channel it into getting jazzed on 'beating the system'.  I think of myself as "winning at life".  Beat that bitch by being happier and more fulfilled rather than buying the most expensive car.
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bacchi

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2017, 08:25:04 AM »
I once had a friend complement me on not buying into the competitive and conformity thing. I thought about it briefly and told him it's not because I'm a better person, it's because I get more pleasure in the smug feeling of outsmarting people than in conformity or winning by the rules of other people's games.

"You're making more money and have a larger house but, while you're at work, I'll be kayaking the river, napping, and reading."

Yeah, I've been there.

RWD

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2017, 08:35:45 AM »
Oh, and I'd take a Porsche over a Mercedes any day. Nothing to be jealous about there! ;)

Same here. A Porsche 911 is way more interesting than a Mercedes SL. In a few years the Mercedes will have depreciated like a rock and will need to be replaced with a new one to restore the desired level of jealousy while the Porsche will still be considered a classic forever.

Paul der Krake

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2017, 08:52:42 AM »
Some jealousy is normal. Recognize it for what it is, which you have done, and forget about it.

Sun Hat

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2017, 10:03:47 AM »
I recently left a job that paid low six figures to a pleasant but modest retirement. My dragon surfaces at times when I see pictures on FB of the sprawling homes, fancy cars, cottages and vacations of my former colleagues. These were the materialistic trappings that I always thought were in my future as well - before an earlier than expected retirement due to illness.

Recently I had coffee with one of my old colleagues as she passed through town, and it put all of her spending into perspective.  She has a spendypants stay at home DH who likes the most expensive things in life, kids that she likes to spoil to make up for not having time to spend with them, and despite a great salary, has accrued a pile of debt financing her family's lifestyle. She works like a slave to earn the next promotion, is stressed to the max, and "doesn't know how much longer (she) can handle it". Now when I see pics of their most recent cruise or the ever-bigger house, I feel kind of sad for her, since I know that she's trying to buy happiness.

When you RE, you'll be buying your freedom, which is happiness in my books!

stoaX

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2017, 10:40:18 AM »
Some jealousy is normal. Recognize it for what it is, which you have done, and forget about it.

well said.

Somedays my mustachianism is more aspirational than real.

acroy

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2017, 11:06:02 AM »
All of a sudden, I felt my old dragon awake. The one from years ago, born of competition and comparison.

doc,
You're a smart competitive driven person and you know it.
Point those talents & personality in the right direction and use them.
I don't know what direction exactly - something useful to yourself and your fellow man - but by all means, harness it!
SWAMI (Satisfied Working Advanced Mustachian Individual) 1 stash, 1 DW, 7 Mini MM's...
God, Family, Country. Everything else is details.

Slee_stack

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2017, 11:08:18 AM »
I've not felt car jealous in quite a long time.

I feel almost the opposite...genuine pity for people with expensive cars they (probably) cannot easily afford. 

Just the depreciation alone can turn my stomach.  Is that $500, $1000, more??, a month of pissed away money really bringing them that much enjoyment?  Is there nothing else that could bring them more happiness for the buckets of cash?  Chances are, they aren't thinking about that at all, and that further saddens me.

The (very) few I know that truly can afford fancy vehicles, I am actually pretty psyched for.  I'm happy THEY are paying for it while I can appreciate it as a curiosity.

« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 11:11:46 AM by Slee_stack »

Freedom17

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2017, 11:19:03 AM »
On the topic of 911s my boss lent me his once. He bought it with some windfalls from getting into bitcoin early on. It was 425 HP and almost new. One of the newer ones with electric steering. You want to know the weird thing? I didn't really enjoy it that much. It was more like a luxury car that was sporty rather than a sports car, at least to my judgement. The suspension was soft, the glass kept out all of the road noise, all the smart wizardry let me put all that power down effortlessly. Heck 2nd gear went up to 70 mph before it redlined.

Afterwards I got back into my little Miata with stiff suspension, a depowered steering rack, an aftermarket ECU and a real stiff chassis and I enjoyed it so much more. It is noisy and you feel everything from the road. Just steering it is a workout. But you feel so connected. I'm sure that a huge part of that connected feeling comes from the countless hours I spent modifying and tweaking the car myself. So my $7000 Miata gave me a far superior experience to my bosses $100k Porsche because the effort I put into making it unique gave it soul.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 11:21:23 AM by Freedom17 »



RWD

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2017, 11:26:35 AM »
Just the depreciation alone can turn my stomach.  Is that $500, $1000, more??, a month of pissed away money really bringing them that much enjoyment?

2014 Mercedes SL 550 was $107k new plus taxes, options, fees. Average price used on Autotrader now is $67k. So at least $40k depreciation in three years. Yes, more than $1,000 per month.

BNgarden

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2017, 11:41:41 AM »
...After our lizard brain says, "I want it!", our logical brain says, "Fuck! One more year of work just to pay for that car? Not doing that!"

+1 to awareness (OP's) and this self-check.

I'm older and newly retired and many choices about [new or improved] things have come down to, how much more do I want to work, and the answer is not at all.

GenXbiker

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2017, 12:05:02 PM »
Some jealousy is normal. Recognize it for what it is, which you have done, and forget about it.

That's what I thought.   The OP even said, "The inanity of the situation quickly was visible," so it sounds like he recognized it very quickly.

bwall

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2017, 12:11:08 PM »
Mercedes SL 550? What a piece of junk. I wouldn't be caught dead in such an ugly slug. The colleague clearly has no taste in cars--it depreciates immediately upon taking delivery, so the market agrees with me.

McLaren P1--that's a nice car! It hasn't depreciated since delivery, so the market agrees with my analysis.
Same thing with Ferrari Enzo, LaFerrari and F50--those are cars to desire. Not a SL550.

Fire2025

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2017, 12:15:59 PM »
Doc Holiday,
What a great post.  You really nailed the feeling of "spending lust" that can awaken in all of us from time to time. 

I'm glad your inner Mustachian won the day. 

And thank you for sharing this.

bwall

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2017, 12:16:41 PM »
Knowing that there is always someone out there with more X really helped me kill the inner dragon, as you say. Since I'm in the car business, learning how to look down on any car (see previous comment) really helped me get through the day-to-day of seeing Ferraris, Porsches, BMW Land Rover and Mercedes come and go. 

deborah

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #27 on: August 18, 2017, 03:30:58 PM »
Several have commented on being satisfied with what you have. I am not as mustashian as I could be with cars, as I always buy new - but I keep them for about 12 years. When the car is quite old, I still think of it as "my new car" - I was absolutely amazed one day when the petrol station guy referred to my car as "the OLD mazda" (and then I realised it was 12 years old, so I suppose it WAS old), because in my eyes it was still "my new car".

Whether satisfaction comes from looking around the car park and estimating how much people owe, or buying a new car and having it forever and still thinking of it as your new car, or some other method of being completely satisfied with the frugality you have chosen, they all have the effect of "killing the dragon" - you just need to find your own!

Doc Holiday

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2017, 03:43:06 PM »
Holy Macaroni!
I post a confessional at night and I check the next day and it's like Xmas morning! Thanks all so much for the awesome perspectives, support (acroy, velociraptor,bacchi), and suggestions. This is an amazing thing (MMM).

First off, I'm surprised by the car knowledge in the group! I thought that everyone was intentionally in a Japanese Econo shit-box (see John Goodman's speech from The Gambler on f-u money) that will get you where you are going, nothing more. (Freedom 17: I love Miatas too. The new 911s have luxed out some. You just have to push the right buttons (tiny!) to tighten up the suspension. Mine has plenty of road noise!). Our other car is an Outback which we use to getting to trailheads.

More importantly, I wanted to address the idea of feeling better than those who are chasing the brass ring. Although feeling good about what we have accomplished as mustachians is important, my ultimate goal is to rise above the tit for tat. If I was to pick an extreme example/role model, Gandhi likely never said, "hey enjoy your Mercedes, do you realize how much money I've saved on food by fasting?" My sense (maybe wrong) is that he would not be bothered by someone else's materialism, nor would he feel smug in his own satisfaction that he knew the right path. Although being on the right path is where to be, what we are thinking as we are walking is important to our inner happiness as well.

So although I can always fall back on the knowledge that I am where I want to be financially (and with whom), I want to ultimately get to a place where I don't have to pull out any psychological weapons. May not be possible in this lifetime! Some avoidance is necessary (I rarely go to my previous hometown of SF because of the layers upon layers of wealth that make me feel ill). The occasional retaliatory snub of FIRE may be warranted if you poke this bear. But having the strength to not retaliate is a goal of mine. Very similar to parenting a teenager.

Work in progress!
Doc Holiday
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

happy

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2017, 02:48:38 AM »
Semi-retired physician here, a few years older than you. I do have a dragon too: once a splendid beast.  I'm pleased to say she's pretty much mellowed out these days. Poked really hard with a pointy stick, she can puff out a few sparks and a bit of smoke, but she soon ambles back to her lair.

I don't think she'll ever go away entirely but the longer I practice the tamer she gets.

One mind-hack that helped me came from Paula Pant of the blog  "Afford Anything.  She famously says "You can afford anything you want but not everything". Docs are lucky, we can afford quite a few things we want, we just have to curate carefully to make sure we are not making mindless choices. And I'm not just talking about stuff, also lifestyle. I decided to work part-time over 22 years ago and don't regret it one second.
Journalling at Happy Aussie Downshifter

Rubic

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2017, 05:51:33 AM »


Relevant article:

Mental Model: Bias from Envy and Jealousy

https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/08/mental-model-bias-envy-jealousy/

Holyoak

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2017, 07:00:38 AM »

But here's the kicker. She must have said multiple times how it made people jealous around her.

It didn't feel right at all. I asked if she WANTED to make people jealous. And ultimately she said yes, and she likes having/wearing pretty things that get her compliments.

I feel pity and loathing for such troubled people, so lacking in humility...  A life of petty one-upmanship, dopamine hits fueled by others envy, and shallow feelings of superiority by virtue of purchase display.  Shame her ego-stroking high could not be fulfilled by situations, actions, other than spending $$$.

Doc Holiday

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2017, 04:04:07 PM »
Holyoak,
Well said! Reminds me of something Matt Damon would have said in Good Will Hunting. Badass and true.

BTW, if your avatar picture is you, you look like a happy healthy version of the famous Dorothea Lange picture from the Dust Bowl. If she won the lottery!
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

Doc Holiday

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2017, 04:11:47 PM »
Happy,
Great ideas and rules to live by. I agree that the tamer we can make it, the better we control it. I think I'm satisfied in FI that I can get whatever I want, but am really enjoying living simpler because it is so much more peaceful within my skull. Damn monkey brain shuts up as well.
Being the child of parents who divorced for money reasons, I have another monkey that makes me want to be overprepared for any financial challenge. Thus the three more years until RE. Then I will give the monkey one giant banana he can eat for the rest of his life, way over in a corner.
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

Doc Holiday

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2017, 04:25:37 PM »
Rubic,
That article is spot-on. Took the words that I wish I had in my mouth right out. I'm envious of the author (jk).

I liked the part of repetitive denial for envy.
Mine I think is to understand that we don't live or play on the same playing field. Life is not unidimensional with say money or longevity or health or appearance being the sole measure. I think recognizing that I don't value some of these metrics makes it much easier (most of the time) not to care.

Thanks for the link...
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

ender

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2017, 04:35:20 PM »
Keep in mind you are buying something that is more expensive than any car - freedom.

I've thought about this before when peers buy fancy toys I initially have a kneejerk reaction to. Ultimately? I'm buying something just the same. But instead of it depreciating like a rock or burning up, I'm buying freedom.

one piece at a time

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2017, 04:53:57 PM »


Relevant article:

Mental Model: Bias from Envy and Jealousy

https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/08/mental-model-bias-envy-jealousy/

I understand the point, but I'm a little wary of the bloke who is claiming that murder is fun....backs away nodding

Capt j-rod

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2017, 05:19:16 PM »
The dragon lives deep inside all of us. Financial freedom is what keeps him buried. We all have had to write the check of shame at some point in our life when we bought more shit than we should and the charge card bill comes. I think a lot of outsiders think that mustacianism is a vow of poverty. I have many very nice things including my home. I either build it myself or find some other consumer sukka that can't afford to breathe air this month. I also flip items constantly. I buy fixable things, clean repair and sell. Mowers, outboard motors, boat trailers, snow blowers, generators, power washers, chainsaws.... Then I tear them apart, clean and restore, then sell them or trade to other stuff. I set some money aside years ago to get started and it has gone crazy. It's like my own "one red paperclip" story. It pays for all my fun stuff on the side and doesn't affect the big financial machine that is running in the house. It allows me the freedom to "play for free". MMM has a beautiful kitchen/home a badass outdoor gym and still pulls off the lifestyle. I just did a roof on my neighbors barn and payed my insurance premiums for my house and car for three days work. Does the dragon show up? Every time I see new toys. Then I laugh at it and watch the rest of the world buy a big new dumb item. While you're working to pay for your new $2500 kayak, I'm out paddling my old trusty paid for canoe. While your friend is covering extra shifts to pay for her latte and Mercedes you can be out tearing up the backroads on your day off.

Holyoak

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2017, 05:36:19 PM »
Holyoak,
Well said! Reminds me of something Matt Damon would have said in Good Will Hunting. Badass and true.

BTW, if your avatar picture is you, you look like a happy healthy version of the famous Dorothea Lange picture from the Dust Bowl. If she won the lottery!

Thank you, I'm glad we are in agreement.  You are are absolutely correct; It is her, with a little digital magic done by another.


pbkmaine

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2017, 06:07:54 PM »
I have found that smugness is excellent armor against the possessions of others. We have lots of friends with fancy cars, but I have a fancy portfolio. An acquaintance of mine wants window treatments that cost $1,000 per window. I made very nice ones for my windows that cost, with discontinued fabric, $1-2 each. I have designer golf clothes I bought at Goodwill, which makes me far happier than paying full price. Once I changed my focus from having status items to owning good quality for a low price, I became much happier.

Doc Holiday

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #40 on: August 20, 2017, 06:22:52 PM »
PBKMaine, meet CaptJRod!
Similar sentiments that I love. There is true joy in having good quality things that are solid, well-designed and functional. And not paying full price, or maintaining them well makes them worth even more emotionally.

Prior to car lust, I had guitar lust. I remember thinking I wanted a Martin, and I heard a guy playing a beat up garage guitar and it made my jaw drop. So much more is in the doing than in the having.
I also get beat regularly in tennis by a guy with a racket that is about 5 product cycles out of date!

Thanks for your words of wisdom! I will adopt them posthaste!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 06:28:46 PM by Doc Holiday »
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

koshtra

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2017, 06:27:34 PM »
Well, this is fun!

Yes, I think I navigate this like a lot of you. Sometimes I can't really rise above it, so I just replace one status system (say cool cars) with another one ("my leisure is bigger than yours, nyah nyah nyah!").

I guess the ultimate goal is to walk away from caring about status altogether... but we are social mammals, after all. I'm not sure that caring about my rank is something I'll ever be able to put aside completely, even on my good days. But at least I can jury-rig it to take a less destructive form.

Doc Holiday

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #42 on: August 20, 2017, 06:50:30 PM »
Touché koshtra. Agreed on the status switch as well as the ultimate goal. I feel like MLK some days in his I've been to the mountain speech, editing mine.

And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen MMM! I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as fellow mustachians, will get to the Promised Land!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 06:53:38 PM by Doc Holiday »
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”   -Voltaire

Capt j-rod

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2017, 06:39:54 PM »
I can honestly say that early retirement is in the cards, but financial independence is really what I am after. My wife is in medicine as well and is in very high demand. Sadly employers can't quench their thirst for the revenue she generates. This endless battle quickly interferes with our quality of life.  The less I owe the less I need. If the work conditions are tolerable, we save heavily and invest wisely. If the conditions deteriorate, we have the flexibility to pursue other options. It is truly amazing that the hospitals just can't grasp the concept that they need her more than she needs them. She still loves all (most) of her patients, but the work/life balance quickly gets out of whack. We often laugh at the debt and material goods that the other providers at her workplace are buying. They make fun of her for camping, biking, canoeing, and the rest of our simple hobbies. I guess by the time they figure out what the true cost of that cruise and Caribbean resort was it will be too late.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 06:59:47 PM by Capt j-rod »

MoMan

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2017, 06:55:38 PM »
I had the car bug back in school: my poster of the black Lamborghini Countach was adjacent to my Farrah Fawcett-beckoning-nipples poster.

Wouldn’t I be so fucking cool if I were driving around in a Lamborghini?

Instead, I diligently followed the advice of the old timers: Invest. Index funds. Never sell. Reinvest dividends. Etc. As a liberal arts major, the path was painfully slow.

Eventually, even before MMM, my mustache started to take shape and grow. It occurred to me that, if I REALLY wanted one, I could go out and buy a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. I would have to cash out my retirement account, but if that’s what I wanted, I could do it.

That realization of potential, for me, made a world of difference. If I wanted that crap, I could easily afford it.
"He is richest who is contented, for content is the wealth of nature."

FIREby35

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #45 on: August 23, 2017, 11:35:27 AM »
Hey Doc, I hope you won't mind I used your post as an opportunity to practice my writing skills. Forgive me the length of my response :)
------

Smaug the dragon, what a great metaphor. I feel like I know him, he’s inside of me too!
 
My dragon is different than yours although, interestingly, he responds to cars. In fact, I would say cars are the most outwardly visible manifestation of my lack of inner peace. But, again, in the totally opposite direction. For whatever reason, I instinctively shun fancy cars. I think, “What an idiot” so quickly that I have never been personally tempted to purchase a fancy car.

That was the problem.
 
Until recently, I was driving a 2004 Toyota Prius with a Salvage title, body damage, stained cloth interior and other signals that it wasn’t a “nice” car. I ultimately sold it for $2,400 on Craigslist, to give you an idea of its value. The problem was that I’m a lawyer who owns his own business and practice and people have certain expectations. The signal I was sending was that I was struggling to survive. In fact, I’m just a mustachian stacking chips under the radar. But it was causing some issues with referral sources.

So, I buckled and bought a car that I thought would satisfy the other people but I refused to spend a lot of money. I spent $7,000 on a 1991 Mercedes Benz SL300 Convertible – that a previous owner put SL500 AMG stuff on. It is slick.

I started driving around having car heads talk to me about how cool my car is. Client’s looking at me and giving compliments. My 75 year old grandfather with Alzheimer’s saying, a little too loud, “He must have a bunch of money with a car like that!”

Each “complement” was like a knife to the heart because I felt so uncomfortable in the vehicle. Smaug the dragon was just burning up my inner peace with thoughts about this car. “You look flashy,” “You look like the idiots you derided,” “Now they think you are going to rip them off,” “You look like an ass-hole attorney who thinks he is important.” I hated the car because it occupied so much mental space. I just wanted the peace of not caring about my car one way or another.

So, I decided to sell the car and I’d buy a “new” cheap car. My wife hated this plan, by the way. I put it on Craigslist. I just wanted the same $7,000 I spent on it.

Months passed: Not.A.Single.Call.

It was then I realized, no one wants this car for even $7,000. It is objectively not an expensive car. The guys buying new Mercedes won’t buy a 26 year old Benz! Why am I beating myself up? It is just a car.

So, I let it go. I’m not attached to having a fancy car, like you or your doctor friend (who is a whole other level of delusion). But, I needed to lose my aversion to a fancy car. It’s the same thing, just the other side of the coin. The key is avoid attachment and aversions and just be in the moment, calm and peaceful.

Because, here is the thing, if the person driving the car really is at total peace with the vehicle, meaning they can afford it, they are not trying to make other people jealous, they can drive the fancy car as easily as a junker then they should drive it. Not that they can, but they should. Following that peace it all we need to do in this life. We should follow it.

As an aside, I have been driving the car and, not coincidentally to my mind, I was hired by a doctor who is a fanatic for Mercedes. He hired me to represent him on a clear multi-million dollar law case. The biggest of my career and I’ve won some big cases. I would not have received that opportunity if I had persisted in my aversion to fancy cars – which is just as bad as an attachment to fancy cars.

Going back to the beginning, you can tame smaug the dragon and attain inner peace. I know it for a fact. If you keep working on it, as you clearly described, he will not wreak havoc on your retirement. In fact, once he knows the inner peace so thoroughly and completely that he wants the peace as well, he will begin to protect it with same power and force formerly used to destroy it.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 06:20:08 PM by FIREby35 »

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #46 on: August 23, 2017, 11:46:05 AM »
There are at least three finance bloggers who trend frugal that have in recent years bought classic Acura NSX for around 40,000.  Original list price was over 100k and the depreciation has stopped on the early 90s models.  Assuming they own the car for 7-10 years and are able to sell for 25k (it might actually appreciate due to 'classic' status!), their all in total cost of ownership is going to be similar than a brand new Chevy Spark.  There are ways to be a car guy and still be frugal.  I wouldn't mind a classic Lotus Elise that is done depreciating.  Hell if I know how to find one though.
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RWD

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #47 on: August 23, 2017, 12:21:52 PM »
Each “complement” [...]

Since you mentioned practicing your writing skills I thought I'd point out you probably meant "compliment." Complement is completing something else, often used in computing and mathematics. Compliment is to give praise.


There are at least three finance bloggers who trend frugal that have in recent years bought classic Acura NSX for around 40,000.  Original list price was over 100k and the depreciation has stopped on the early 90s models.  Assuming they own the car for 7-10 years and are able to sell for 25k (it might actually appreciate due to 'classic' status!), their all in total cost of ownership is going to be similar than a brand new Chevy Spark.  There are ways to be a car guy and still be frugal.  I wouldn't mind a classic Lotus Elise that is done depreciating.  Hell if I know how to find one though.

NSXs values are only going up from here. You won't see any more $25k NSXs except for in very bad condition. The S2 Lotus Elise has long since stopped depreciating as well (The S1 Elise is not street legal in the United States, unfortunately). They probably won't ever hold the same collector's value of the NSX, but they shouldn't really drop. Average price on Autotrader for a 2005-2007 Elise is $36.6k (was $43k when new). There's a supercharged model in Austin for $39.5k.

SunshineAZ

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #48 on: August 23, 2017, 12:28:45 PM »
On the topic of 911s my boss lent me his once. He bought it with some windfalls from getting into bitcoin early on. It was 425 HP and almost new. One of the newer ones with electric steering. You want to know the weird thing? I didn't really enjoy it that much. It was more like a luxury car that was sporty rather than a sports car, at least to my judgement. The suspension was soft, the glass kept out all of the road noise, all the smart wizardry let me put all that power down effortlessly. Heck 2nd gear went up to 70 mph before it redlined.

Afterwards I got back into my little Miata with stiff suspension, a depowered steering rack, an aftermarket ECU and a real stiff chassis and I enjoyed it so much more. It is noisy and you feel everything from the road. Just steering it is a workout. But you feel so connected. I'm sure that a huge part of that connected feeling comes from the countless hours I spent modifying and tweaking the car myself. So my $7000 Miata gave me a far superior experience to my bosses $100k Porsche because the effort I put into making it unique gave it soul.

Just want to say I MISS MY MIATA!  I had a 1990, a 1997 and a 2002 (all manual transmissions) and I never got tired of driving it.  Unfortunately we moved out to the boonies with very poorly maintained dirt roads, and most of the time it is either too hot or too cold to drive it, so it got relegated to the garage and I got a Jeep.  I eventually sold it because I felt guilty that nobody was getting the fun of driving it.  (Obviously this was pre-mustachian.)  But I told my DH, the minute we move to someplace with good paved roads and decent weather, I am getting another one.  :)

bwall

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Re: How to kill the dragon
« Reply #49 on: August 23, 2017, 12:33:53 PM »
Fireby35: Great post!

For 1.5 years I made my living by arbitraging old classic cars between the USA and Europe. I made the same realization that you did and MMM even had a couple of posts on it: it is possible to buy fully depreciated low mile 'luxury' cars for pennies on the dollar. Your inner Mustache can be happy while thrilling those who are easily impressed by brands.

For example, in 2011 I bought a 1992 Mercedes Benz SEL 600 with 9,200(!) miles on it. Brand new it retailed for $160k, incl. taxes. I paid $15k for it. The owner (deceased) loved the car sooo much he never drove it and parked it next to two other SEL 600's that he didn't love quite as much because he drove them more often. I could see the pain (?) in his son's eyes as he told me the story of his dad and ownership and finished by saying 'Why did he do it? Since you're the one buying, he did it for you.' I'm sure the son would've preferred an extra $140k in the bank. Depreciation; $15/mile.

The car drove like new, even though it was 20 years old. A 12 cylinder beast, smooth and comfortable. What a ride! But, I was lucky to sell it a few months later at $500 profit to a retiring engineer at Boeing. As you said, no one wants a 20 year old Mercedes!