Author Topic: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?  (Read 18115 times)

goodlife

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #50 on: May 22, 2015, 12:58:01 AM »
I also sometimes wonder where the line lies in terms of being frugal and enjoying. Especially if you already have a cushion built up. I will hit FI by the end of 2017. That's 2.5 years to go. By then I will be 33 years old. I often stop myself from buying something or having certain experiences becaues I want to save the money. But then I think to myself....ok...if I spend 10k this year on the holidays that I want to take...then I have to work roughly 6 more weeks to reach my FI date. And that is holding all else equal...I might get raises by then that would by far make up for it...or market returns might be better than expected...etc. And even if not...working another 6 weeks at the age of 33 is hardly such a terrible thing. So then I think I should just go ahead and book some plane tickets and enjoy life rather than socking it all away to hit my FI date on time....and if the past is any indication of the future...then by the time I hit FI I might change my mind and not want to FIRE anymore or do something totally different or who knows. And even after I FIRE, I will probably still do something income producing, I can't really see myself just gardening or whatever.

But of course I did not hold this view when I just graduated 6 years ago and my networth was zero. At that point I saved every penny I could. And I guess that is why I am 3 years from FI now. But I do sometimes think that if you already have a large money cushion, then it might be ok to "let loose" a bit and do some things I enjoy even if it will set back my FI date by a few weeks or months.

markbrynn

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #51 on: May 22, 2015, 09:12:05 AM »
Quote
But I do sometimes think that if you already have a large money cushion, then it might be ok to "let loose" a bit and do some things I enjoy even if it will set back my FI date by a few weeks or months.

This is my understanding of the MMM message:
1. Learn to enjoy life with less stuff and less spending.
2. Save money to reach FU money, then FI, then RE (if you want it).
3. Side note: MMM claims to also care about protecting the environment and therefore some of his decisions are based on that.

I think that where the majority of these discussions "go wrong" is when people think of the philosophy as "scrimp and save now, retire early and get to (finally) have fun."

Life is supposed to be fun now and later. It's just what defines fun. MMM's biggest contribution is probably the simple math and telling people that it is actually possible to retire early (I'm pretty good at math and I never had considered it). After that, I think his strongest point is living with less. The idea is that simplicity is relaxing, fun, enjoyable. However, it is a VERY touchy subject, because we start talking about whether people really know what they want and what makes them happy. "I'm happy driving this car. No, you're not. Yes, I am, trust me."

My conclusion is that simplicity (and buying less stuff) is a good idea and increased happiness by increased spending is largely an illusion. However, exactly where the line is between too little (depriving yourself of aids to increased happiness) and too much (justifying higher spending) is murky at best.

Pooperman

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #52 on: May 22, 2015, 09:45:26 AM »
We are in the 200k plus club and while we aren't mustachian by many peoples levels we are pretty mustachian for our income level at a 55k a year spend level (33k of that is our 15 year mortgage, taxes and insurance in a HCOL area).  We don't scrimp on everything, we have newer cars (paid for in cash and we both have a commute that requires them, we bought the house then my company decided to move it's HQ 45 minutes away with little notice, we could have lived closer to hubz job, but the housing cost would be double or more, he only has a 15-20 minute drive), we enjoy going out and having a good time, and we really enjoy our vacations (which is a decent chunk of the remaining 22k a year).

We've found that the things that make us happy are vastly different from our friends though.  They enjoy going out to fancy dinners in DC, dropping 50-100 bucks a pop per night (and we have a couple friends that CANNOT afford to do this, but still do).  It about damn near kills the hubs and I when we even go out to eat because we both know I can make the exact food for 5-10% of that, and have leftovers.  We also REALLY don't like crowds, so the things we tend to do are free, hiking, walking, gardening etc.

We live in a townhouse so "Stuff" doesn't bring us happiness, it only brings us clutter.  This is a new feeling for the hubz, he grew up in a family that tried to buy time together and happiness with things, in a recent conversation (argument) he said I never let him buy things he wants.  I asked him what it is he wanted that I have said no to in the last 2 years.  After actually thinking about it and laughing he said "Nothing, because there really isn't anything that I've wanted that was worth what they were charging for it, that was an argument that I used to use with my dad, now it just sounds ridiculous"

Over the years our mentality simply changed, we don't do everything in our power to reduce expenses, like reuse ziploc bags or bike 20 miles to work etc but we actually get a lot of enjoyment out of getting the best deals on things we will use, like buying a 3 month supply of said ziploc bags for 50c a box instead of 3 bucks.  Overall, we don't sweat the small stuff, we get a lot of joy watching the other 75ish percent of our money make us money and just plug along until we hit the magic retirement number in a few years.  It's a to each his own type of thing for us.

Can you post a rough budget for the 22k, I must be doing something seriously wrong as i cant get close to this?

Here's mine - feel safe posting as it has been declared a no facepunch thread

Monthly
Car Payment 563 0
Gas   200 100
Home Phone 15 0
Cell Phones (4)   100 (2) 60
Netflix/Spotify etc   20 8
Electric   200 40
Internet   39 60
Water    60 0
Life Insurance   52 0
Wine    175 0
Food    700 275
Restaurant 200 75
Doctor   50 50
Gym    70 0
Mortgage   1940 (rent) 960
Misc   350 250
Clothes   200 10
Entertainment 200
Public Transportation 400


Total Ongoing monthly    4934 ~2600

Adhoc over the year

Car Insurance 2800   900
Umbrella   1022   0   
Propane   750 (natural gas)400
Car Maintenance 1250 1250
House Maintenance   5400 - moves up and down - sometimes I think this should be considered an addition to home value and maybe an asset if it improves sale price? 0
Vacation   15000 2000
Gifts    2400 800


Total for Year       87830 about 36000

I'll post mine because I decidedly make less than you spend in a year ;). We're not as frugal as MMM is. We do some stuff, and we can do other stuff better, but we try to enjoy life as well. Do stuff that interests us. Spend money on what we think is worth spending money on. That sort of thing. Mustachianism is all about putting your money where you enjoy it most and cutting out the crap. If 80k spending is what makes you the happiest, then 80k is what you should spend. The difference between your spending and mine comes down to essentially two things. First is that we rent where you have a mortgage. Second is that you spend more on vacations than we do. You also have kids where we don't, though that has a minor effect compared to the other two.

Cromacster

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #53 on: May 22, 2015, 09:48:35 AM »
I do notice a tendency to have environmentalism hiding under the veil of becoming rich. I am against this because it can have some misleading reasoning behind a decision.

For instance, MMM wouldn't recommend whole foods, or organic food for people in a hair on fire situation. However, an environmentalist would.


I may want a V8 sports car, (for happiness) but an environmentalist would take that away from me, even if it were free(it isn't).

MMM has actually said his blog is actually an environmentalism blog disguised as a personal finance blog.  I'll see if I can dig up the quote.

Chris22

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #54 on: May 22, 2015, 10:08:19 AM »
Quote
But I do sometimes think that if you already have a large money cushion, then it might be ok to "let loose" a bit and do some things I enjoy even if it will set back my FI date by a few weeks or months.

This is my understanding of the MMM message:
1. Learn to enjoy life with less stuff and less spending.
2. Save money to reach FU money, then FI, then RE (if you want it).
3. Side note: MMM claims to also care about protecting the environment and therefore some of his decisions are based on that.

The key part is "enjoy life with less stuff and less spending".  Everyone has to decide what that means to them.  For MMM, that's biking and hiking.  He's fortunate that the things he likes to do are cheap/free.  The heart wants what hte heart wants, if I were to retire on Monday with plans to bike and hike for the rest of my days I'd be bored out of my skull by Wednesday.  I simply don't LIKE biking and hiking that much.  He does.  Cool for him. 

Things I like are more expensive, but not necessarily expensive.  I like driving and working on my sports car.  That's not THAT expensive, but it's more expensive than biking and hiking.  Ditto playing golf.  I also like BBQ and home repair, that's not very expensive.  Someone else may like racing yachts and showing horses, those are very expensive holidays, and if that's your passion and what you want to do, you need to plan that in to your spending. 

And that's where MMM falls apart a little bit, anything that isn't devoted to retiring early to bike and hike deserves a "face punch" and is "wasteful and idiotic."  I gotta tell you, after an hour or two, I'd rather be at work than riding a bike or hiking.  It's just not that great for me.  So I need to plan my spending and life to support the hobbies I DO like, and being told those hobbies are wasteful and stupid and I should just hike and bike is not productive and off-putting.

What IS valuable in his message is to identify what DOES make you happy and approach your spending with an eye towards does that make you happy.  If I want to play golf and drive my sports car, does buying a new $300 cell phone every 6 months help me towards my goal?  No.  Does buying a new golf driver or set of tires for the car?  Possibly. 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 10:10:13 AM by Chris22 »

TheAnonOne

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #55 on: May 22, 2015, 10:11:09 AM »
I do notice a tendency to have environmentalism hiding under the veil of becoming rich. I am against this because it can have some misleading reasoning behind a decision.

For instance, MMM wouldn't recommend whole foods, or organic food for people in a hair on fire situation. However, an environmentalist would.


I may want a V8 sports car, (for happiness) but an environmentalist would take that away from me, even if it were free(it isn't).

MMM has actually said his blog is actually an environmentalism blog disguised as a personal finance blog.  I'll see if I can dig up the quote.

Pretty sure that quote is simply that his frugality has that as a side effect. Generally, the less money you transfer, the less product would move and the less damage you do to the world.

However, I don't think he sat down and said "Let's make an environmental blog and find a way to get people to join in, people like money, lets see if I can get them to bla bla bla ect ect"

kib

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #56 on: May 22, 2015, 10:11:25 AM »
I've been doing some soul searching about My Purpose lately.  Egads.  When I created an admittedly vague mission statement, it looked something like, "My vision is that my choices reflect my highest self."  That, mostly, is what brings me happiness; looking at a life that's been intentionally chosen, and then enjoying the choices I made.  Of course I make compromises to that, while a life of broccoli and bean sprouts is probably "my highest self" ... I really like cheese.  Within liking cheese, I try to make the best choice I can, but it is still, I admit, about my preference, not evolved existence.

Although getting to FI and remaining FI are very important to me, I try to take a bigger picture view when making purchases, especially big purchases.  Would the choice to buy a Corvette represent the best person I believe I'm capable of being?

For me the answer is no.  While that's convenient in terms of how my FI status is impacted, it's really a choice that transcends my financial goals, it's about other values I hold, and the belief that the happiness brought to me by a Corvette would not be offset by what I'd lose in terms of being comfortable with myself. A little cheese I can handle.  YMMV!!!  I am not advocating buying a Corvette or not buying one, regardless of your income level, I'm just advocating looking at your own values beyond money before making the decision.   
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 10:32:02 AM by frufrau »

TheAnonOne

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #57 on: May 22, 2015, 10:26:43 AM »
No, 1000.

Fancy food has always been on my mind...

As my income continued to stay above the 200k mark and my stash increasing approaching technical FI number, I am now more willing to consider the possibility of dropping 10 big ones for a family dinner at a 3 star restaurant - still just considering... one day I tell you...one day

$10 to feed the whole family? What?

The *s he is referring to are Michelin stars. For those who missed it...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Michelin_starred_restaurants

Cromacster

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #58 on: May 22, 2015, 10:29:26 AM »
I do notice a tendency to have environmentalism hiding under the veil of becoming rich. I am against this because it can have some misleading reasoning behind a decision.

For instance, MMM wouldn't recommend whole foods, or organic food for people in a hair on fire situation. However, an environmentalist would.


I may want a V8 sports car, (for happiness) but an environmentalist would take that away from me, even if it were free(it isn't).

MMM has actually said his blog is actually an environmentalism blog disguised as a personal finance blog.  I'll see if I can dig up the quote.

Pretty sure that quote is simply that his frugality has that as a side effect. Generally, the less money you transfer, the less product would move and the less damage you do to the world.

However, I don't think he sat down and said "Let's make an environmental blog and find a way to get people to join in, people like money, lets see if I can get them to bla bla bla ect ect"

I agree that I don't think he ever set out to disguise an environmental blog as a PF blog, but from his standpoint, that's what his blog is.


From the comments of Why should I be Frugal, When....

Quote from: MMM
You probably already know that environmentalism is really the main point of this blog. Sure itís about living the best life possible and having loads of money, but neither of those things is possible without an understanding of the planet that MADE you.

He has stated this elsewhere as well, this is first reference I could find.

4alpacas

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #59 on: May 22, 2015, 10:30:55 AM »
Don't ever forget the grandkids therum.    Each dollar invested today should yield $1,000 in 60 years.    Are you buying 50k sports cars and robbing your grandkids of 50,000,000?  (Perhaps 8 million inflation adjusted).   What about MMM did he rob his grandkids of 50,000,000 (adjusted) by spending 400k on a house instead of 100k?     Would his grandkids not enjoy that $2,000,000 a year income?
Now I'm grouchy about the bagel sandwich again!  :)

If your spending aligns with your values, then I think you'll be happy.

Chris22

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #60 on: May 22, 2015, 10:34:31 AM »
Don't ever forget the grandkids therum.    Each dollar invested today should yield $1,000 in 60 years.    Are you buying 50k sports cars and robbing your grandkids of 50,000,000?  (Perhaps 8 million inflation adjusted).   What about MMM did he rob his grandkids of 50,000,000 (adjusted) by spending 400k on a house instead of 100k?     Would his grandkids not enjoy that $2,000,000 a year income?

I'm not here to make my grandkids' lives better, to a point.  As I see it, my responsibility is to give their parents (my kids) a good education and guidance that allows them to build a good life for their kids.  Yes, there might be some money left over when I go to the great cocktail party in the sky, but my purpose here is not to save as much money as possible so my kid's kid can do lines of blow of a stripper's ass instead of going to college 'cuz gramps set me up for life.  I will delay my own gratification to fund my kids' college educations.  I will not delay my own gratification to hoard cash for my theoretical future descendants.

brooklynguy

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #61 on: May 22, 2015, 10:47:45 AM »
Pretty sure that quote is simply that his frugality has that as a side effect. Generally, the less money you transfer, the less product would move and the less damage you do to the world.

However, I don't think he sat down and said "Let's make an environmental blog and find a way to get people to join in, people like money, lets see if I can get them to bla bla bla ect ect"

MMM has explicity stated that it's the other way around:  the blog's purpose is environmental, and frugality is a means to that end (with lots of other beneficial side effects, like enabling us to achieve financial independence and retire early!).

The most salient quote, I think, is this one:

"The real reason this blog exists, is simply to save the entire human race from destroying itself through overconsumption."

- from "Weekend edition:  Why are you Writing this Blog, Anyway?"

brooklynguy

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #62 on: May 22, 2015, 10:54:40 AM »
Sure, my $200k+ household can plan to buy a new BMW every six years forever without delaying my retirement by that much, but the point is that possessing a perpetually-new BMW won't improve my family's happiness (and, in fact, would probably detract from it).

I want to use your post as an example, even though I don't doubt that you know what would and would not affect your happiness.

It's just my own read of forum posts, but I feel there is an implicit assumption that often underlies advice and comments--i.e., that spending more will makes an individual less happy. But the hedonic adjustment argument states that people are generally no less happy spending less. So spending more shouldn't detract from happiness at all, as long as it's not significantly affecting other areas of life. Saving, say, 65-70% of a $200k or $300k income sounds great to me. As the OP says, why bother sacrificing luxuries if you aren't going to improve your happiness or significantly change your FI date?

My specific reasoning for thinking that buying a new BMW every six years would make me less happy (rather than simply neutral) is that the minor benefits like pampering my tushy with a cushy leather seat, etc. (to which I would quickly hedonically adapt anyway) would be outweighed by the psychological costs of constantly worrying about having it parked on the public streets, etc., becoming a bigger magnet for speeding tickets, etc.  So, even totally removing financial considerations, I think me and my family would be happier with our old hatchback and fleet of bicycles than with a perpetually-new BMW.

TheAnonOne

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #63 on: May 22, 2015, 11:27:23 AM »


My specific reasoning for thinking that buying a new BMW every six years would make me less happy (rather than simply neutral) is that the minor benefits like pampering my tushy with a cushy leather seat, etc. (to which I would quickly hedonically adapt anyway) would be outweighed by the psychological costs of constantly worrying about having it parked on the public streets, etc., becoming a bigger magnet for speeding tickets, etc.  So, even totally removing financial considerations, I think me and my family would be happier with our old hatchback and fleet of bicycles than with a perpetually-new BMW.

Depends, generally I think luxury items are indeed what you explained. However, for those who value the fun and thrill of say, a 2 seater sports car or motorcycle. Things like that can give genuinely good experiences.

brooklynguy

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #64 on: May 22, 2015, 11:38:12 AM »
Depends, generally I think luxury items are indeed what you explained. However, for those who value the fun and thrill of say, a 2 seater sports car or motorcycle. Things like that can give genuinely good experiences.

Yep, and that's why, like I said in my first response in this thread, you should evaluate the purchase from the perspective of whether it makes sense in light of the happiness you will derive from it, etc., and not solely from the perspective of how much time it will add to attainment of FIRE.  If it is the case for a particular individual that a new BMW is not going to add value to their life, then it's a stupid purchase whether it delays their FIRE by five years or by two weeks.

TRBeck

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #65 on: May 22, 2015, 11:57:25 AM »
Depends, generally I think luxury items are indeed what you explained. However, for those who value the fun and thrill of say, a 2 seater sports car or motorcycle. Things like that can give genuinely good experiences.

Yep, and that's why, like I said in my first response in this thread, you should evaluate the purchase from the perspective of whether it makes sense in light of the happiness you will derive from it, etc.,

This sentiment has been expressed a few times in this thread, and I'm a bit confused by that fact. Perhaps it's time to revisit this post.

A salient excerpt from the post (which is in my list of top 5 all-time MMM articles):

 But the bottom line is, virtually everything we buy is actually a form of false happiness, a slippery slope that ends at the catheter and the bedpan, and the earlier on the slope that you catch yourself, the richer and happier you will be.

Mental Exercise: The next time you really want to buy some sort of treat for yourself, whether itís a latte or a Mercedes, try the trick of not buying it instead. Mockingly offer yourself a catheter and a bedpan as a substitute.
Then over the coming months, make a note of your feelings of desire for that item you skipped. How do you feel about not owning it? Are you happy? What are you doing with the time and money that would have been spent in acquiring that item? How do you feel about the accomplishment of voluntarily controlling your urge to buy something? Do you feel more in control of your life in general? Repeat the experiment with more items over time, and note the change in your feelings


Once you master this basic mental framework, you are truly ready to breeze through the tactical aspect of getting rich. Now that you know that virtually no purchases, regardless of their convenience or enjoyability, will actually make you happier, you can instead make the decision based on whether or not you can afford it.

Jessa

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #66 on: May 22, 2015, 12:13:33 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope


Because that is one of the posts that I most disagreed with. Maybe virtually everything that most people buy would not result in happiness for MMM. Certainly as a culture, Americans buy WAAAAAAY more crap than they need and could use some re-aligning of their values with their spending. But some stuff does make me happy. And some of that stuff does cost money. I am much more careful now about weighing the money spending vs the happiness gained, and whether there are cheaper or free options that will make me as happy, but there are times when spending money makes me happy. I go out to lunch with a girlfriend and spend money on that even though I am capable of cooking at home. That doesn't mean I'm suddenly going to degenerate into a person who buys BMW's and requires updated iPhones whenever they are released and needs a catheter and a bedpan. It doesn't even mean I'm going to stop cooking and start getting takeout or going out to eat every night. It just means that sometimes, I like to pay someone else to make a meal and feed me yummy food while I catch up with a friend. And I am fine with that. And I think it's fine that MMM doesn't like to eat out, but I get a little annoyed that he or anyone thinks they can judge me because I find happiness in something they don't.

BBub

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #67 on: May 22, 2015, 12:24:19 PM »
MMM does eat out, and I don't think you'd find anyone who would facepunch you for having lunch with your friend.  He writes about meeting friends at fancy restaurants, enjoying the indian restaurant, etc.  The MMM message would be to have a complete and full appreciation of how awesome your life is because you can occasionally hire a team of dozens of people to prepare your lunch, wipe the table, refill your glass, etc. 

GuitarStv

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #68 on: May 22, 2015, 12:43:24 PM »
Can you post a rough budget for the 22k, I must be doing something seriously wrong as i cant get close to this?

Here's mine - feel safe posting as it has been declared a no facepunch thread

Monthly
Car Payment 563 - don't buy a car you can't afford.  Making payments on a car is a sign you can't afford it.
Gas   200
Home Phone 15
Cell Phones (4)   100 - unnecessary, you have a home phone
Netflix/Spotify etc   20
Electric   200
Internet   39
Water    60
Life Insurance   52
Wine    175 - ridiculously high, sober up
Food    700
Restaurant 200 - total waste
Doctor   50
Gym    70 - either one time cost of a couple hundred dollars to buy some barbells and weight used, or jog/bike for free outside.
Mortgage   1940
Misc   350
Clothes   200 - Even 50$ a month on clothing is pretty extravagant, but 200?


Total Ongoing monthly    4934

Adhoc over the year

Car Insurance 2800   
Umbrella   1022      
Propane   750
Car Maintenance 1250
House Maintenance   5400 - moves up and down - sometimes I think this should be considered an addition to home value and maybe an asset if it improves sale price?
Vacation   15000
Gifts    2400


Total for Year       87830

Just skimming over your numbers casually it is very easy to drop the monthly expense down to 3676 without any real hardship or impact in quality of life.

The yearly vacation cost is out of control.  Do you need to stay in palaces and mansions out of the country while slaves wait on you?  You are also spending a crazy amount on gifts.

You could knock 30 grand off your yearly expenses without even being frugal.

Jessa

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #69 on: May 22, 2015, 12:52:57 PM »
MMM does eat out, and I don't think you'd find anyone who would facepunch you for having lunch with your friend.  He writes about meeting friends at fancy restaurants, enjoying the indian restaurant, etc.  The MMM message would be to have a complete and full appreciation of how awesome your life is because you can occasionally hire a team of dozens of people to prepare your lunch, wipe the table, refill your glass, etc.

Which is pretty much the message that I take from most of his stuff, too. I was just responding to the previous poster, who quoted one of MMM's posts that I personally find to be rather condescending and off-putting.

Depends, generally I think luxury items are indeed what you explained. However, for those who value the fun and thrill of say, a 2 seater sports car or motorcycle. Things like that can give genuinely good experiences.

Yep, and that's why, like I said in my first response in this thread, you should evaluate the purchase from the perspective of whether it makes sense in light of the happiness you will derive from it, etc.,

This sentiment has been expressed a few times in this thread, and I'm a bit confused by that fact. Perhaps it's time to revisit this post.

A salient excerpt from the post (which is in my list of top 5 all-time MMM articles):

 But the bottom line is, virtually everything we buy is actually a form of false happiness, a slippery slope that ends at the catheter and the bedpan, and the earlier on the slope that you catch yourself, the richer and happier you will be.

Mental Exercise: The next time you really want to buy some sort of treat for yourself, whether it’s a latte or a Mercedes, try the trick of not buying it instead. Mockingly offer yourself a catheter and a bedpan as a substitute.
Then over the coming months, make a note of your feelings of desire for that item you skipped. How do you feel about not owning it? Are you happy? What are you doing with the time and money that would have been spent in acquiring that item? How do you feel about the accomplishment of voluntarily controlling your urge to buy something? Do you feel more in control of your life in general? Repeat the experiment with more items over time, and note the change in your feelings


Once you master this basic mental framework, you are truly ready to breeze through the tactical aspect of getting rich. Now that you know that virtually no purchases, regardless of their convenience or enjoyability, will actually make you happier, you can instead make the decision based on whether or not you can afford it.

TRBeck

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #70 on: May 22, 2015, 01:01:15 PM »
I get a little annoyed that he or anyone thinks they can judge me because I find happiness in something they don't.
Not to use another slippery slope argument, but um...there are lots of things people find happiness in that are generally considered unethical, immoral, and in many cases illegal.

In the case of dining out, though, I think it's safe to say few would actually claim that it makes you a bad person or that it is the first step on the road to a catheter. BBub hit the nail on the head regarding a MMM response to dining out.

More broadly speaking, I get it. Buying stuff, eating at restaurants, etc: sometimes it makes me happy. Briefly. And usually in inverse proportion to the amount of money I spend, because every dollar spent now takes me farther away from the goal of spending unlimited time with whomever I want doing whatever catches our fancy. And anyway, it's usually not the stuff that makes me happy. It's the time or mental energy or emotional investment expended on or with those things - like conversation with my kids where I don't have to think about food prep (restaurant dining) or problem-solving to improve the quality of my homebrewed ales or using the new fancy stick blender I just bought to make a batch of soap that will help my daughter's eczema.

In the end, I'm not judging you for going out to a restaurant with a friend. I am judging the asshole driving solo in a Suburban to get to work a whopping six miles from his house. And I could give a damn how much happiness he finds in it.

kib

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #71 on: May 22, 2015, 02:50:02 PM »
I'll be honest about this. With regard to the Holier Than Thou channel:

It's personal.  If someone does something that, from my research, damages MY earthship (which is of course everyone else's earthship as well), I'm going to be judgmental about it.  I might even - gasp - be verbally judgmental about it to their face.  That's totally self centered, but it's an attitude that happens to serve every living thing on the planet - you included - as well as serving me.

Of course there are exceptions and everyone needs a little slack here and there, but when people stick their heads in the sand and trash the planet while make a religion out of exceptions and slack in the name of personal freedom to do anything they want, that's crap.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled destruction.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 02:53:09 PM by frufrau »

Krnten

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #72 on: May 22, 2015, 02:53:10 PM »
Late to this thread!  Being high income didn't destroy our frugality.  It might have increased it since it was so much fun to save and build wealth.   What did was reaching FI suddenly because of vested stock options.  Once we got that money invested the daily swings in net worth are more than we spend in a month, more than I'd get as a raise in a year.  When I saw that it weakened my frugality muscle a lot.

I don't feel like being so careful anymore but we'll go back to it soon I hope.

starguru

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #73 on: May 23, 2015, 09:19:04 AM »
It depends on the word "need" in the original question.  If by "need" the question considers the purely financial aspect, then absolutely, high income means lowering spending becomes less of a priority, as, for example, not cutting the cable bill is not going to put a high earner in a financially compromised position, whereas spending 2k a year on cable when earning 30k is a major drag on FI. 

If by "need" the question considers a high earners impact on the environment, then while lowering spending might not be a priority, but lowering consumption should still be a priority.  Even if the cost of, say for example, heating a home at less than 70deg and air conditioning at higher than 72deg (or whatever your ideal temperature limits are), is not going to break the bank, it certainly is wasteful from a greenhouse gas point of view.

SailAway

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #74 on: May 23, 2015, 11:56:42 AM »
MMM has explicity stated that it's the other way around:  the blog's purpose is environmental, and frugality is a means to that end (with lots of other beneficial side effects, like enabling us to achieve financial independence and retire early!).

The most salient quote, I think, is this one:

"The real reason this blog exists, is simply to save the entire human race from destroying itself through overconsumption."

- from "Weekend edition:  Why are you Writing this Blog, Anyway?"
Personally, this is why his blog resonates so strongly with me: It's the combination of environmentalism, minimalism, frugality and FIRE. There are tons of blogs, forums, etc out there that cover one but he obviously feels strongly that they go together. Sometimes I feel like some of us are reading different blogs. :-/

EarlyRetirement.org (which I found right before MMM) has many participants that are high income/high spenders. Some have post-retirement budgets that I can't even fathom.

biggrey

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #75 on: May 25, 2015, 12:23:20 PM »
Well, I've been reading the board for a long time but this is my first actual post.  This thread is fascinating and I think highlights very clearly why the MMM message and the forum, at times, is very compelling.

I'm likely in the extreme camp of MMM readers, as follows.  Very significant income - scaling up for 20 years to a 7 figure level, with assets created from savings from that income and subsequent investments.  So, I just wanted to contribute briefly with a perspective from this vantage point, which is limited by definition but may be instructive to someone reading this thread.

I suppose in colloquial terms, my main suggestion to you would be: "rich people" admire and learn from MMM too, and apply the lessons their own way.  High income doesn't weaken the power of the message or make it less relevant.  Take it from me.

I have learned a tremendous amount from reading MMM philosophy over the last couple of years and also, frequently, from the forum.  He is an exceptionally clear-thinking and logical person.  You do not need to agree with everything at all to still derive a lot of benefit from the messages and recommendations.  I do consider him a "philosopher" of sorts, with a very coherent set of messages and world view.  It is impressive, not to mention enjoyable, and you take from it what works and is valuable to you. 

In my case, I already knew well before finding this community and the specific MMM ideas, that money did not equal happiness.  Money was a means to an end - freedom.  But what is "freedom" and how do you best articulate it? 

Some of the arguments on this blog help crystallize the logic behind freedom very clearly and uniquely.  For example, frugality for it's own sake ("it's the right thing to do") and the sake of the planet can be part of that. 

I find myself adding the MMM perspective to many of the things I do and think about doing, and when I provide counsel to others.  I did it somewhat instinctively before, but now I do it consciously and more constructively, and that is a good thing. 

Tenlha

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #76 on: May 25, 2015, 02:30:25 PM »
Quote
Wine    175 - ridiculously high, sober up

No need to be that drastic, but bear in mind that "expensive wine is for suckers":  http://www.vox.com/2015/5/20/8625785/expensive-wine-taste-cheap

Chris22

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #77 on: May 26, 2015, 07:20:53 AM »
Depends, generally I think luxury items are indeed what you explained. However, for those who value the fun and thrill of say, a 2 seater sports car or motorcycle. Things like that can give genuinely good experiences.

Yep, and that's why, like I said in my first response in this thread, you should evaluate the purchase from the perspective of whether it makes sense in light of the happiness you will derive from it, etc.,

This sentiment has been expressed a few times in this thread, and I'm a bit confused by that fact. Perhaps it's time to revisit this post.

A salient excerpt from the post (which is in my list of top 5 all-time MMM articles):

 But the bottom line is, virtually everything we buy is actually a form of false happiness, a slippery slope that ends at the catheter and the bedpan, and the earlier on the slope that you catch yourself, the richer and happier you will be.

Mental Exercise: The next time you really want to buy some sort of treat for yourself, whether itís a latte or a Mercedes, try the trick of not buying it instead. Mockingly offer yourself a catheter and a bedpan as a substitute.
Then over the coming months, make a note of your feelings of desire for that item you skipped. How do you feel about not owning it? Are you happy? What are you doing with the time and money that would have been spent in acquiring that item? How do you feel about the accomplishment of voluntarily controlling your urge to buy something? Do you feel more in control of your life in general? Repeat the experiment with more items over time, and note the change in your feelings


Once you master this basic mental framework, you are truly ready to breeze through the tactical aspect of getting rich. Now that you know that virtually no purchases, regardless of their convenience or enjoyability, will actually make you happier, you can instead make the decision based on whether or not you can afford it.

Yeah, that's a giant load of bullshit.  Even MMM has his bike and his silly inflatable kayak that he likes.  Those were both purchases and they both presumably made him happy. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #78 on: May 26, 2015, 07:34:52 AM »
And he uses them, which is what brings the happiness.  If they sat in his garage, would they bring happiness?  No.  They would be a burden, not a source of joy.

The trick is always to separate out our true wants from the wants that society is trying to talk us into.  Then we need to prioritize the things we truly value, since some will be more valuable than others (value =/= money cost here).  And that is where our money goes.

More general example - cars - some people on the forums are true car people, they love cars, they love the fiddling with them, they love driving them.  So some of their money will go to cars.  What I need in a car is totally different, so I will decide how much to spend on a car based on my needs (my walk score = 0) and wants, not theirs. Some people will decide that they don't need a car at all, or want one, and that determines where their money goes (in this case, not to cars).

TL:DR - MMM is about spending our money to reflect our true values, needs and wants.  This means we have to figure those out first.  It is not about slavishly following someone else's spending patterns.

Yeah, that's a giant load of bullshit.  Even MMM has his bike and his silly inflatable kayak that he likes.  Those were both purchases and they both presumably made him happy.

I'm a red panda

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #79 on: May 26, 2015, 07:50:54 AM »
Don't ever forget the grandkids therum.    Each dollar invested today should yield $1,000 in 60 years.    Are you buying 50k sports cars and robbing your grandkids of 50,000,000?  (Perhaps 8 million inflation adjusted).   What about MMM did he rob his grandkids of 50,000,000 (adjusted) by spending 400k on a house instead of 100k?     Would his grandkids not enjoy that $2,000,000 a year income?

Not everyone believes in inheritance. 

Now, you might be robbing a charity of your choice of that money. But perhaps the grandkids should make their own.

blackswan

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Re: High income destroys the need for (some/most) frugality?
« Reply #80 on: May 26, 2015, 11:29:58 AM »
I think the key ethos of mustacianism is that money and things are not ends in and of themselves.

That fact should spur one to carefully consider what core values/principles they ascribe to and how to best leverage the means they have available to achieve specific goals set out in line with the core values. The specific values, goals, income levels, savings rates, etc are all subjective to each individual but mustacianism, to me, clearly demands that we each make these choices explicit and deliberate- unlike the VAST majority of our consumerist society.

Personally, we could be much more frugal and FIRE sooner,but we splurge on many entertainment/travel/adventure/hobby opportunities that we are blessed to be able to afford while still operating within a very aggressive savings program that will provide total FI in a few years. In other words, I believe that frugality is merely a means to and end, but if frugality IS a core value to which one ascribes I can see where some of my behaviors would be, in another's world view, quite non-Mustachian!