Author Topic: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...  (Read 4028 times)

enb123

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A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« on: June 10, 2015, 03:55:59 AM »
Not according to this guy - instead, it starts with rejecting that one step, calling it bad advice, and whining endlessly about how hard it is to stop burning cash:

http://lifehacker.com/spend-less-than-you-earn-is-useless-unhelpful-financ-1710042416

It's a funny article because he's trying to say how overly simplistic advice isn't helpful, then offers overly-simplistic advice of his own - get a higher paying job! - and ultimately bombs it whining about how traffic ticket costs and "your gear" (http://lifehacker.com/tag/stuff-we-like) can just decimate your budget.  Who knew? :)
 
Not surprisingly, the post above this one on the main page is screaming about today's "best deals" on gadgets - HA! 

 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 04:05:46 AM by enb123 »

Posthumane

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 11:49:16 AM »
While the tone of the article was a bit whiny, I don't think the overall message is too far off the mark. While it's true that spending less than you make is the key to financial success in the same way that eating less than you burn is the key to weight loss, teaching people the strategies to actually implement that is a lot harder than simply throwing out a one-liner.

I agree with you that complaining about traffic tickets is dumb, but some of the advice isn't too bad - if you are making minimum wage then in addition to (not instead of) cutting expenses you should also focus on improving yourself by learning additional skills and trying to boost income, either through a better job or some side hussles. This is very similar to the advice that MMM presented in some earlier blog posts.

Obviously the section about spending less not being helpful if you're already broke is BS since there are ways to mitigate all of the things he mentions (speeding tickets are not a mandatory expense, living with a room-mate is something that you may have to put up with if you're making minimum wage, etc).

enb123

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 12:48:08 PM »
Yeah - I just found the click-bait headline and (I think) defeatist tone sort of off-putting.  I mean, "spend less than you earn" definitely isn't comprehensive advice, but most articles telling you to do that would hopefully put it in some context, offer tips, etc.  And while there are definitely good articles about boosting your income (like the MMM ones), this Lifehacker article really isn't one of them - which is ironic given that he's complaining about slogans not being advice.  It just struck me that someone reading this is more likely to conclude "See - it's hopeless!" rather than "I should probably learn more about this," which is kind of a shame. 

Or I was just over-caffeinated when I read it - it's hard to know!

MgoSam

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 01:08:29 PM »
I hate defeatist attitudes. A few friends that have heard that I want to retire in 10 years have gotten really dramatic about it and loudly proclaim that they can't due to __, ___, and ___ reasons. The sad part is that they bring it up to me on their own, and I just shrug. Their finances are precisely that, theirs. If they want to talk I'll be happy to tell that they can do whatever they want, I'm happy the way I am.

enb123

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 06:14:19 PM »
I hate defeatist attitudes. A few friends that have heard that I want to retire in 10 years have gotten really dramatic about it and loudly proclaim that they can't due to __, ___, and ___ reasons. The sad part is that they bring it up to me on their own, and I just shrug. Their finances are precisely that, theirs. If they want to talk I'll be happy to tell that they can do whatever they want, I'm happy the way I am.
It is very common, huh? The people I work with seem to either intend to work until they're 100 or haven't really thought retirement through at all, which I guess is the same thing. I'm just going to keep spending less than I earn!  

sleepyguy

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 09:38:54 AM »
The article isn't terrible, but he assumes the general population is THAT SMART... well think again... they aren't.  Also the title sucks bigtime.

arebelspy

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2015, 02:51:59 PM »
He has it backwards.

Spend less than you earn is the only good advice.

The rest is just footnotes.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

taekvideo

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2015, 10:58:21 PM »
He does make some valid points... medical expenses, student loans, etc can really hurt some people. And if you're only earning minimum wage, then getting a better job is likely to be a more effective way to start saving significantly for retirement.

But he's wrong about the figures he quotes. The 30% of income for 1 bedroom apartments is bogus. You can do better than that in a suburb... probably anywhere in the Midwest. I've lived in both cedar falls and marion IA recently and both had apartments as low as $200-250/month, and not in high crime neighborhoods either.
Living in a low COL area like this makes ER reasonable even on minimum wage, and even easier at the $20k/year he quotes.

YoungInvestor

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Re: A journey of a million miles starts with one step...
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2015, 12:56:13 PM »
I read this topic before the article, so I guess I had skewed expectations, but I find that he's right on most counts.

This "spend less than what you earn" advice is obvious for most people. Everyone gets that. hey just poorly implement it.

It is true that sometimes, peer/societal pressure will make you make choices that are not perfect, financially. That's alright. Once in a while, taking a pretty woman to a restaurant or on a weekend trip is really nice. I do it even though it means I'll have to work X more days. I'm fine with that, really.

Some of this stuff ("your gear") is really frivolous, but overall, I kind of agree with the general message, which I took to be that while we all know that we should spend less than what we earn, life sometimes makes that harder than it sounds to people (and I include myself there) who are a bit more affluent.