Author Topic: Happy Math  (Read 4163 times)

WildJager

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Happy Math
« on: January 07, 2015, 05:53:20 PM »
This is the worst kind of satire.  Written in a self defeatist manner by a man who has given up on retirement.  Sad really.

http://m.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/287857491.html

The Guru

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 08:39:38 PM »
The writer tipped his hand by admitting that he and his wife pissed away their fictitious "savings" on unnecessary bullshit, and revealed the real reason for his inability to save for retirement in the process.

deborah

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 08:50:15 PM »
They should have stopped at the coat.

gecko10x

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2015, 09:07:41 PM »
I found that both hilarious and sad.

inSecurity

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 10:22:45 PM »
I just hope that articles like this are just clickbait.  If not then it really bothers me that someone can be that hopeless, that lost, and still not examine their preconceptions.

slugline

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 10:56:04 PM »
Am I the only one who sees this as dry humor? The author is actually poking fun at people that think they're "saving" when they buy stuff.

GrayGhost

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 11:59:29 PM »
Let's be honest, foregoing one $5 latte is not going to enable you to retire. Foregoing a $5 latte every day, and eating out less overall, and maybe driving less... well, now we're talking about serious money. That's what retirement is about--focusing on the big picture, and taking the little steps (or as MMM says, building a house out of $10 bricks) one at a time.
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WildJager

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2015, 06:07:14 PM »
Am I the only one who sees this as dry humor? The author is actually poking fun at people that think they're "saving" when they buy stuff.

I thought there might be a layer of subtly that I missed initially, so I reread a bit closer to see what the author was really getting at.  I concluded that he was trying to be satirical towards financial advice, not towards wasted opportunity and frivolous spending.  He did mix in silly expenses such as high credit card debt and beer with basic necessities like medical emergencies in one of the early paragraphs.  With that, I had the same impression as you.  "Dry humor."

But then he goes on to say this:

Quote
Indeed, for those of us who already drink green tea in the morning, work at home, eat leftovers for lunch, shop at Aldi and wear the same socks three days in a row, there doesnít seem to be much hope. For us, the prospect of living to 90 or 100 is terrifying, because it would take at least 340 years at our current earning level to undo the financial devastation incurred during the first 25 to 30 years of our working lives.

With that I started to get uneasy, that maybe this wasn't dry humor but instead just cynical satire.  He starts to go into happy math, and then takes a random jab as the government as his inspiration of this "happy math."  While I don't disagree that government budgeting is absurd (I work in the government... it really is just like this), I just viewed that as a double whammy of "the man is out to get me!" syndrome.

If this article was truly dry humor satire (or just a poorly structured political rant against the government) I don't think he would have ended with this gem:

Quote
I want to share the miracle of happy math with everyone because I am concerned about the future. For our generation, itís the only way the numbers work.

MrsPete

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2015, 07:41:44 PM »
Am I the only one who sees this as dry humor? The author is actually poking fun at people that think they're "saving" when they buy stuff.
I call this spaving.  Spending to save.

Apples

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2015, 08:28:24 AM »
I think it's dry humor.  But my grandfather did tell me a story about a friend he used to have who was in the military.  This friend was stationed in Germany (I assume in the 50s/60s, though  I don't actually know when).  At the time there were many very good, sturdy, and fancy German-branded items that were very expensive to buy here in the States, but were pretty cheap in Germany in comparison.  So while he was there, his wife asked him to buy this, and that, and the other thing, all because they were such good deals!  They were "saving" so much money and would have such a nice house!  When he got back, he remarked to my grandfather that he was going to go broke from saving money.

That lesson has stayed with me.  My MIL is known to buy things because they're "deals" and it took the better part of a year for my husband to start evaluating purchases based on overall choice of buying that item, not whether it's marked down or not.  As I see friends set up apartments and houses, I think there's a lot of spaving going on.

arebelspy

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2015, 10:18:52 AM »
That was dynamite satire.  Well done by the author pointing out how when you spend on something that's discounted, you aren't "saving" money.  Thanks for sharing!
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dandarc

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Re: Happy Math
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2015, 11:30:43 AM »
This is awesome. 

I particularly liked the happy math = gov't math bit.  So true - propose a budget that is 10 million higher than last year, get approved for a budget that is only 8 million more than spent last year, and someone is taking credit for 2 million in budget cuts!