Author Topic: Looking for a better way.  (Read 2180 times)

Village Farang

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Thailand
Looking for a better way.
« on: April 29, 2018, 03:59:50 AM »
You know how youíre reading about something and it leads you somewhere unexpected?  That is how I found this notion of FIRE and this site.  I stopped working at 40 so thought I might find some likeminded individuals here and thought I might venture into a world removed from where I presently live.  Then again, this started for me 24 years ago before there was an acronym or before it was a thing.

My mantra was not financial independence but freedom, and anything which limited my freedom, be it possessions, responsibilities, even burdensome relationships didnít last long.  Saving came easy to me as my parents started me young.  Apparently at four months of age a savings account was opened in my name with a fifteen dollar contribution from my motherís bridge club.

I am not sure when I crossed it but at some point there was a threshold where having money in the bank was more rewarding than spending it, even when I was very young.  The things I liked doing in life were not expensive so my savings grew and I learned slowly about investing.  I suppose it helps that my parents were once referred to as conspicuous under consumers and very conservative financially.

Soon after graduating from university I moved halfway around the world to a place where everything was different from what I had known before.  It forced me to be self-reliant and reevaluate everything I had believed up to that point.  I basically reprogrammed myself and learned how to experience and feel my way through life instead of competing, measuring and quantifying everything.

My twenties and thirties were amazing but I never made much money working, except for a brief stint in the middle east.  As long as I didnít need to touch my savings I was happy.  I never really had a career to retire from so I just stopped saying yes when people offered me things.  That was when I was forty.  At forty-three I started down a new path when I met my wife to be and gave up my bachelor ways.  Over the last twenty-one years I have learned to spend more freely on travel, comfort and convenience.  I have also learned to love, trust and be more vulnerable than I was as a bachelor.  So strangely I have ended up with more in my old age than I had when I was younger.

I see in these pages such driven desperation to escape from driven and desperate lives and I wonder how one can find peace through crunching number, flowcharts, goal orientation and a sense of sacrifice.  Maybe I havenít read broadly enough but I am not seeing much joy, contentment or peace in these pages.  There seems to be such conformity in the nonconformity preached here.

Perhaps someone can convince me I am mistaken in my perceptions.

life_travel

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 150
  • Location: Australia
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2018, 04:14:39 AM »
You definitely didn't read enough posts :)
However my counter argument is this , like you I moved countries, travelled and married a foreigner .Not saying to boast but in context .. kinda non convention life, right ?
I also happen to LOVE spreadsheets , budgets , numbers ... man I love numbers !!
So what's wrong with that ? We're all different . Some people are artistic , some love math. Some want to have lots of kids , some stay childless.
I come here because I finally found my "virtual " tribe of people that like what I like .
I guess it's like minimalism , having minimal items in the house is some people's idea of deprivation .. for me it's liberating and I sincerely enjoy it .

Village Farang

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Thailand
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 07:19:22 AM »
Thanks for the honest reply.  I will continue to read more posts.

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1237
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 09:43:12 AM »
I hatched my EVIL PLAN to retire early in undergrad (1998).  Like you, I had no community of like minded people.  The idea was still considered absurd.

I was always frugal and savings minded.  I think I was five when I learned about compound interest and asked for a passbook savings account for my birthday.  I got a late start to college and actually left work to do my studies.  I discovered quickly that it was possible to have more happiness with less money.  There were profound implications for that.

After undergrad, I took a job I hated working with people I hated more.  I traded money for freedom and went back to grad school for a year.  I then took a sabbatical to care for my terminally ill mother.  Wouldn't have traded that for money either. 

Post grad school, I found pleasing work.  I ended up questioning my early retirement plan as my happiness was growing in tandem with my salary.  That ceased to be true around 50k/yr.  I rededicated myself exploring my core values and building a life around that.  I pulled the plug from my corporate career on 5OCT2012 at the age of 40.

So, I consider one example of someone who was not trying to escape from abject misery.  I just knew I could be happier and truer to myself.  Hope you find what you are looking for here.

Moustachienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 256
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 10:19:47 AM »
I think people here aren't driven and desperate because they want to FIRE but rather want to FIRE because they're driven and desperate.  Actually, I'd say motivated rather than driven/desperate for the majority here.  Many enjoy their current stage of life but look forward to the FI chapter.

The truly d/d posters seem to be those who post tough situations but resist all suggestions for improvement. A few also seem to need to be talked out of extreme frugality or compulsive spreadsheeting that isn't giving them pleasure but again the forum commenters are really good at giving good ideas and a larger perspective.

MMM approach requires that we live an examined life.  This is hard but surprisingly fun!

maizeman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2531
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 10:38:26 AM »
I agree with Moustachienne that the folks who are driven and desperate are here because that is one of the several common causes that motivates people to pursue FIRE, rather than an effect of seeking to be FIRE.

I wonder how one can find peace through crunching number, flowcharts, goal orientation and a sense of sacrifice.  .... Perhaps someone can convince me I am mistaken in my perceptions.

Now I'm not like you in that I don't get any sort of visceral pleasure or satisfaction from money sitting in a bank account. I don't seem to particularly get it from spending money either. But what that means is that I find I do need to track things, because my mind isn't wired to just find increasing numbers in a bank account its own reward, I have to remind myself that each increase of those numbers is a step towards more freedom, and less worry.

*shrug* What of it? You came here, discovered there were some people in the world who didn't approach life the same way you did, and then ask those same people to try to prove to you that they are leading life in a way you find worthy?


Also I've see lots of spreadsheets, but who is posting flow charts in the forum? I'd be interested in reading those threads.

LAGuy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 299
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2018, 11:03:00 AM »
I see in these pages such driven desperation to escape from driven and desperate lives and I wonder how one can find peace through crunching number, flowcharts, goal orientation and a sense of sacrifice.  Maybe I havenít read broadly enough but I am not seeing much joy, contentment or peace in these pages.  There seems to be such conformity in the nonconformity preached here.

A lot of the people here are engineer and science types. That's just how we approach most problems. The way you did things would seem precarious to many here. That said, I know everyone here is very opened minded about other ways of doing things. I'm sure everyone would love to hear more about how you did it and your own take on how to achieve FIRE!

Village Farang

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Thailand
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2018, 08:52:38 PM »
Thank you for the responses so far.  I have stayed in the post-FIRE section because I am not interested in mentoring or telling others how to live.  I am a firm believer in the right of every person to screw up their lives anyway they want.  I donít have an authoritarian bone in my body.  I am just exploring in hopes of finding ideas, discussions and conversations I find interesting.  I am looking to see if something already exists and I am not trying to change anything or anyone.  To that end I am reading posts and following links to see where they lead.

dude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2099
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2018, 08:08:26 AM »
Thank you for the responses so far.  I have stayed in the post-FIRE section because I am not interested in mentoring or telling others how to live.  I am a firm believer in the right of every person to screw up their lives anyway they want.  I donít have an authoritarian bone in my body.  I am just exploring in hopes of finding ideas, discussions and conversations I find interesting.  I am looking to see if something already exists and I am not trying to change anything or anyone.  To that end I am reading posts and following links to see where they lead.

You don't have to "tell others how to live." Rather, you can offer up your experience/journey to the happy life of financial freedom you live as an inspiration/model for others who have failed thus far in life to see and take advantage of the opportunities you did. There are many paths to getting to "FIRE," and yours might resonate with somebody out there looking for your example. Of course, you aren't obligated to do this, but it's just a nice thing to do.

But I do agree with some things you said in the OP, particularly about the "conformity in the nonconformity preached here." It exists to a large degree, but there are many in the forums who can't be shoe-horned in that box, and I enjoy reading their insights.

PacificEve

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2018, 12:14:50 PM »
I see where you're coming from.  I find that it's human nature to want to grab onto something as a way have an anchor in the storm.  The stormier you are inside, the more intense you are about the anchor.  It might be religion, money, fitness (Crossfit anyone?), food -- people latch on to a way to feel worthy and do so by trying to perfectly execute a lifestyle and often become obsessive and evangelical.  So I would guess you're feeling put off by that energy -- and I am too!  I feel the same way about Dave Ramsey, except with him I am even less impressed because he piles so much shame onto debt.

That being said, I think Mr. Money Mustache himself finds a way to be joyful and not take his way too seriously.  He acknowledges he is frugal sometimes to a fault.  I think it's wise to take the "debt emergency" with a grain of salt -- many experts in the field of money rehabilitation see anxiety over debt as counterproductive.

As for me, I was raised in an incredibly controlling household where money was used as a manipulation and control device.  I am from a legacy where women are groomed to be dependent and dysfunctional with money.  Pile on some abuse trauma and I was ripe for a shopping addiction.  I never had an issue with money until I hit my late 20's and started processing trauma differently.  I have read quite a few blogs on the topic and I'm certainly not the first person to process childhood abuse with financial chaos.

So here I am just trying to get inspired and change the way my wheels turn.  But assuming this is the BEST, RIGHT way, that if you work your whole life you've somehow failed, that if you aren't a master saver you are somehow deficient, is not only wrong but it's violent towards people who may be addictive debtors or are otherwise maladaptive in how they handle money.  Or, frankly, missing something -- we don't know how abundance and money works in every way.  Look at Migos.  They have 18 ropes of diamonds around their necks.  Are they crazy and wasteful?  That's a simplistic argument.  Whatever they are doing is working.  It's not for some frugal beagle to say whether that is a successful approach or not.

I would especially encourage men to think twice about their judgments about others with money and spending, particularly women.  Our culture has given you a very different headspace about your finances than women.  Also look into the Purple Purse Project if you want to help heal the legacy of financial abuse.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 12:18:10 PM by PacificEve »

Village Farang

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Thailand
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 12:03:54 AM »
I am not sure my life would be a good template for anyone else.  The formative part was primarily pre-internet and in a world which no longer exists.  Frankly my life has been so bizarre and unconventional I doubt anyone here could relate.  Besides I am more interested in hearing from those who are ten or twenty years down the road, have tried everything, and are trying to keep the spark alive.  Assuming those kinds of people exist.

Thank you for the responses so far.  I have stayed in the post-FIRE section because I am not interested in mentoring or telling others how to live.  I am a firm believer in the right of every person to screw up their lives anyway they want.  I donít have an authoritarian bone in my body.  I am just exploring in hopes of finding ideas, discussions and conversations I find interesting.  I am looking to see if something already exists and I am not trying to change anything or anyone.  To that end I am reading posts and following links to see where they lead.

You don't have to "tell others how to live." Rather, you can offer up your experience/journey to the happy life of financial freedom you live as an inspiration/model for others who have failed thus far in life to see and take advantage of the opportunities you did. There are many paths to getting to "FIRE," and yours might resonate with somebody out there looking for your example. Of course, you aren't obligated to do this, but it's just a nice thing to do.

But I do agree with some things you said in the OP, particularly about the "conformity in the nonconformity preached here." It exists to a large degree, but there are many in the forums who can't be shoe-horned in that box, and I enjoy reading their insights.

Village Farang

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: Thailand
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2018, 12:11:53 AM »
PacificEve, thank you for your insights.  I have always enjoyed the company of thoughtful, intelligent women and often find their insights more nuanced, penetrating and relevant to the life experience.

Liberty Stache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 755
  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Re: Looking for a better way.
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2018, 08:32:37 AM »
I see in these pages such driven desperation to escape from driven and desperate lives and I wonder how one can find peace through crunching number, flowcharts, goal orientation and a sense of sacrifice.  Maybe I havenít read broadly enough but I am not seeing much joy, contentment or peace in these pages.  There seems to be such conformity in the nonconformity preached here.

Perhaps someone can convince me I am mistaken in my perceptions.

Keep reading. Most people here aren't desperate. Most humans have multiple dimensions, priorities, characteristics, constraints, etc. but won't show all sides of themselves in every situation. Given the focus of this blog/forum, the logical, personal finance obsessed people are going to typically going to focus on only writing about related topics. I'm not coming here to discuss improving my health (diet, fitness), mental well-being (meditation), or mindfulness (happiness journal, being in the moment). I'm coming here to discuss how to improve my financial situation and to be influenced to be more Stoic and environmentally conscious (which is really what the blog's intent is if you peel back the layers).

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/11/23/not-extreme-frugality/
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/03/15/mother-earth/