Author Topic: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran  (Read 9464 times)

Faraday

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I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« on: August 27, 2015, 08:35:23 AM »
I've just decided I don't like this guy:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2-biggest-money-mistakes-130025424.html

Why? Here's a clip from his article that appeared today on Yahoo News. I got pretty incensed with his insinuating choice of words, dancing around what he claims is wisdom about being too "protective" about your money.

WTF? He reduces what we do to a feeling, or worse yet, a kind of emotional disorder, without ever even conceiving of the mechanics of what we do? This has to be the most insidious way yet that I've ever seen anyone advocate for being a wage slave: "too protective of your money"?!?!?!? 

His "warning signs" look to me like the behavior of someone too 'effing wimpy to commit to the frugal/stoic/MMM lifestyle. "Feeling guilty" is a crock of shit. Simply don't buy the stuff if you don't need it to live.

2. Spending money too carefully: The protector

This might seem like a very strange bad habit. But despite what you might pick up from the media, a large portion of society uses money for security and doesnít enjoy success enough. These protectors feel so good seeing their net worth increase that they would rather defer any spending for as long as possible. This might maximize their net worth but lead to an under-optimized life. The following are early warning signs: updating and reviewing your net worth summary all the time, feeling guilty after shopping, and seldom feeling like you can spoil yourself . While we all need money to keep us safe from bad outcomes, some folks let their protector take too dominant a role.

As in all things, balance is the key to a stable and healthy relationship with money. That often comes with time and experience, but first you need to be aware that the choices you make are harming you. Hereís a three-step plan to taking control of your bad money habits, whichever camp you fall into

Jakejake

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2015, 08:43:37 AM »
I think he's just targeting his message to his audience - which apparently is composed equally of people who are struggling to save for retirement, and those who are in their early 30s and have a net worth of 100 million dollars.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2015, 09:03:30 AM »
I'm always amazed by what passes for financial advice these days....

TheAnonOne

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2015, 09:06:49 AM »
I'm always amazed by what passes for financial advice these days....


On a purely technical note: anyone with any advice (good or bad) about finances is a "Financial Adviser"

phantom

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2015, 02:26:33 PM »
Maybe the guy doesn't express himself well, but I think there's a good point in what he's saying.  Clinging to money that one really truly doesn't need is unhealthy.  It doesn't have the same potential for harm that spending too freely has, but it's not a good thing.  There's a difference between being free from the desire to spend and having a mental block against spending.  There's a difference between saving for a goal and stashing money away for the sake of stashing money away.  I don't think he's criticizing the act of saving so much certain motivations for not spending.  I don't think anyone would confuse working all one's life, at a job one hates, while never spending a dime on a thing one loves, with mustachianism.

Personally, I have a bit of a mental block against spending.  It often serves me well, saving me from impulse purchases.  But, there are times when it needlessly slows me down and causes undue stress and worry.  Luckily, it's something I'm aware and have been working to fix.  The article suggests making a guilt free spending budget, which is something I've actually done and which has made purchase decisions a lot easier on me.

If you've found perfect balance and can instantly tell when spending money is worthwhile in your life, that's awesome.  If you're not perfect, but contentedly close enough, that's awesome too.  In either case, I don't think the article is criticizing you.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 12:00:03 PM »
Maybe the guy doesn't express himself well, but I think there's a good point in what he's saying.  Clinging to money that one really truly doesn't need is unhealthy.  It doesn't have the same potential for harm that spending too freely has, but it's not a good thing.  There's a difference between being free from the desire to spend and having a mental block against spending.  There's a difference between saving for a goal and stashing money away for the sake of stashing money away.  I don't think he's criticizing the act of saving so much certain motivations for not spending.  I don't think anyone would confuse working all one's life, at a job one hates, while never spending a dime on a thing one loves, with mustachianism.

Personally, I have a bit of a mental block against spending.  It often serves me well, saving me from impulse purchases.  But, there are times when it needlessly slows me down and causes undue stress and worry.  Luckily, it's something I'm aware and have been working to fix.  The article suggests making a guilt free spending budget, which is something I've actually done and which has made purchase decisions a lot easier on me.

If you've found perfect balance and can instantly tell when spending money is worthwhile in your life, that's awesome.  If you're not perfect, but contentedly close enough, that's awesome too.  In either case, I don't think the article is criticizing you.

I'm not butt-hurt over what this guy said. I'm angry because I think he's full of bullshit...and that bullshit got PUBLISHED...(and he may even have gotten a paycheck for this crap).  I actually feel sorry for the poor losers who believe this pablum. And I'll be seriously pissed off if my wife reads that shit on Yahoo and buys it.

The problem here is that he's acting like there's a kind of yin/yang or "balance and moderation" between spending and saving. WIth money, that kind of view is seriously mistaken. Every dollar you ever get represents a unit of time of your life spent earning it. Those of us who are trying to break out of being a wage slave find that kind of talk offensive.

Only question I'll put to you is - how much of the forums have you actually read? This idea of a justified "spoiling of oneself" doesn't really fly 'round these here parts!

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 12:05:27 PM »
...
If you've found perfect balance and can instantly tell when spending money is worthwhile in your life, that's awesome.  If you're not perfect, but contentedly close enough, that's awesome too.  In either case, I don't think the article is criticizing you.

What is this "perfect balance" you seem to admire, and why do you think it's important? Can you give any examples of what you believe this means?

OMG, am I spending ENOUGH? How do I get back in BALANCE?!?

Travis

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2015, 12:21:33 PM »
...
If you've found perfect balance and can instantly tell when spending money is worthwhile in your life, that's awesome.  If you're not perfect, but contentedly close enough, that's awesome too.  In either case, I don't think the article is criticizing you.

What is this "perfect balance" you seem to admire, and why do you think it's important? Can you give any examples of what you believe this means?

OMG, am I spending ENOUGH? How do I get back in BALANCE?!?

In general I think he's on the right track with making plans and having goals, but he went off the rails pretty early treating saving like it's fucking alcoholism.

Lizzy B.

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2015, 12:57:02 PM »
While I agree the article is poorly written and could definitely raise some hackles around here, I have to agree with phantom and think there are some merits to what the guy is saying.  (And itís Friday afternoon, so I feel like playing devilís advocate. :-)  )

Weíre mostly here on the MMM forums because we find the culture at large to be too free with spending their money.  Most consumer suckas donít realize that instead of spending on insert-your-favorite-luxury-here, they could be saving for freedom instead.  The rest of society is perhaps too focused on the stuff you can buy rather than the money they buy it with.

Itís entirely possible to be too fixated on money, though too.  The overall goal isnít to have the biggest net worth, itís to enjoy life and feel like youíre living it to the fullest, right?  Most of us here on MMM think that the best path for that is FIRE, so having a bigger bank account to fund your RE or FI is helpful, but the money itself isnít the END GOAL.

That said, I can see why his talk about ďspoiling yourselfĒ could annoy an MMM reader, and the second half of the article where he talks about steps to take to ďrecoverĒ from your protector instinct were a tad silly, but I think thereís a danger in fixating too much on the money itself rather than thinking of money as a tool (to be mostly conserved, sure, but also to be used when appropriate) that helps us achieve the life of freedom we want.

phantom

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2015, 09:59:23 PM »
how much of the forums have you actually read? This idea of a justified "spoiling of oneself" doesn't really fly 'round these here parts!
Iím not going to claim to be a model mustachian or a prodigious reader of these forums.  But, Iíve been reading the blog long enough and lurking in the forums long enough to have a good idea of what MMM teaches and a pretty good feel for what most people here believe.  I agree that thereís never a time when one should spoil oneself (or anyone else for that matter).  The last I checked, all of the dictionary definitions of spoil are negative.  But, I am inclined to dismiss that as poor word choice.  If the author had said that some people should treat themselves a little more often, I wouldn't disagree with him.

The problem here is that he's acting like there's a kind of yin/yang or "balance and moderation" between spending and saving. WIth money, that kind of view is seriously mistaken. Every dollar you ever get represents a unit of time of your life spent earning it. Those of us who are trying to break out of being a wage slave find that kind of talk offensive.
What is this "perfect balance" you seem to admire, and why do you think it's important? Can you give any examples of what you believe this means?
I see money a lot like you do.  I wouldn't necessarily say one needs balance between spending saving, but I do think that spending and saving are part of a larger equation to be balanced.

This thinking might be more Your Money Or Your Life than MMM, but I see my money as being something Iíve collected (and can continue to collect) by trading my time, energy, and possessions.  I also see it as something I can trade to meet my needs and to attempt to improve my life.  That means that via money, I trade time, energy, and possessions to meet my needs and improve my life.  When I talk about achieving balance, Iím talking about being consistently satisfied that the trade is worthwhile.

I'm thinking of a balance where on one side you have the effort that you expend accumulating money, and on the other you have the benefits you get out of spending money.  (Note that I am talking about lifetime accumulation and spending, not praising living paycheck to paycheck.)  Spending too much/earning too little upsets the balance in a dangerous way, and earning too much/spending too little upsets the balance in a wasteful way.

Let's start with the working too little/spending too much imbalance.  Mustachianism tends to push spending less over working more since a lot of people really could get by with significantly less than they do.  But, there are some cases where earning more is the easier solution and some cases where a combination of earning more and spending less makes sense.  My point is that there are two ways to adjust the scale to achieve balance.

The same goes for when your earning far exceeds your spending.  Technically, if you earn a lot more than you will ever spend, there are still two ways to adjust that balance: earning less and spending more.  I'll agree with you that planning to work less is a great option.  I think there comes a point where earning more money isn't worth the extra things it can buy.  But, I also think there comes a point where avoiding a purchase isn't worth the time it frees up.  I'm having a hard time coming up with a concrete example because it's the sort of thing that's going to be different for everyone.

I'll concede that earning more than one spends is not wasteful if one neither desires to work less or spend more, and you might say the ultimate goal of mustichianism is to hit that point.  That's certainly where MMM himself seems to be.  But, I think there are plenty of steps along the way where people have to choose between working more than they like and spending less than they like.  Anyone who both wishes to be spending more and working less, and who is accumulating far more money than needed, would probably do well to either work less or spend more.

Logic_Lady

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2015, 11:33:57 PM »
I think he has a point, though it's badly expressed. The key is that the "protector" mindset is based on fear, not rationality or planning. Perhaps a better term would be money hoarder or miser.  Take the example of someone who saves a large percentage of their income but keeps working long past the time they are FI because they're afraid to deplete their savings. Or someone who keeps all their money in a savings account because they're afraid of the risk of investment. Or someone who is "penny wise, pound foolish" and saves money on small things in a way that costs them more later (like not changing the oil in a car). None of these are mustachian. MUstachianism isn't about spoiling yourself, but I don't think it's about fear or sacrificing things that are truly important to you either. A money hoarder wants money to keep it; a mustachian wants money to buy freedom.

Drew664

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2015, 07:45:25 AM »
The article seems just fine to me.

I fully agree how others are dissecting the spirit of the article,  it may not come off as friendly to those that save to a blind degree,  but balance is important,  and thats what I get out of it.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2015, 06:49:50 PM »
Why do I do this? My own thread is nauseating me.

When I go back to the beginning to clip some of his words and attack, point by point, his words seem so bizarre and preposterous that I can't even bring myself to repeat what he's said in the thread.

This language of obligation he uses, whereby he defines a malady that doesn't exist - using direct, personalized, convicting language, then defines "how to fix it", is maddeningly stupid.  I'd attack, but I think I'm going to vomit on my keyboard if I do....


sheepstache

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2015, 07:19:55 PM »
Why do I do this? My own thread is nauseating me.

When I go back to the beginning to clip some of his words and attack, point by point, his words seem so bizarre and preposterous that I can't even bring myself to repeat what he's said in the thread.

This language of obligation he uses, whereby he defines a malady that doesn't exist - using direct, personalized, convicting language, then defines "how to fix it", is maddeningly stupid.  I'd attack, but I think I'm going to vomit on my keyboard if I do....

I had to read it a couple times to get what it reminded me of. Astrology. It reminds me of one of those astrology readings or personality tests that are so vague that people can just read whatever they want to into it. That's why it sounds bizarre and preposterous is because it doesn't actually say anything and isn't founded on anything.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2015, 07:24:01 PM »
Why do I do this? My own thread is nauseating me.

When I go back to the beginning to clip some of his words and attack, point by point, his words seem so bizarre and preposterous that I can't even bring myself to repeat what he's said in the thread.

This language of obligation he uses, whereby he defines a malady that doesn't exist - using direct, personalized, convicting language, then defines "how to fix it", is maddeningly stupid.  I'd attack, but I think I'm going to vomit on my keyboard if I do....

I had to read it a couple times to get what it reminded me of. Astrology. It reminds me of one of those astrology readings or personality tests that are so vague that people can just read whatever they want to into it. That's why it sounds bizarre and preposterous is because it doesn't actually say anything and isn't founded on anything.

OMG thanks Sheepy for putting it that way. The totality of the fabrication is beyond my own imagination. How the hell did he even conceive of this idea? What personal vendetta is he airing here, trying to attack someone he knows publicly without naming them, but defining their behavior as some kind of sickness?

Honestly, comparing what he wrote to Astrology is completely insulting to Astrology. At least Astrology has a kind of consistency of definition about it - if you can accept it's primal basis, then you can get from a "Point A" to a "Point B" with it. (mind you, I'm no fan of Astrology, I'm just trying to be fair to it)

I can't make any sense whatsoever of anything this guy has invented.  The only thing that's making me able to stand this thread at all is to invent new ways to say "this guy makes me want to vomit".

I wonder if the guy had a mustachian ex? Better yet, maybe he was kicked to the curb before things got serious because he decided to "spoil himself" and bought a $100k boat or something.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 07:29:04 PM by mefla »

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2015, 07:35:00 PM »
This might maximize their net worth but lead to an under-optimized life. The following are early warning signs: updating and reviewing your net worth summary all the time, feeling guilty after shopping, and seldom feeling like you can spoil yourself .

This is the part that has me most incensed. Biggest problems I see with it is:

"Under-optimized" means nothing. Truly nothing.
"early warning signs" - he's defined it as "seriously bad" without explaining WHY WHY WHY
"reviewing your net worth summary all the time" - WTF? Is he taking aim at anyone who's saving for FIRE? I couldn't care less how often anyone checks their own net worth...and in fact, checking mine tells me when to hit the accelerator and save a little more, so I can buy more leverage when the stock market is down. I guess if he saw me do that, his head would explode? Am I "under-optimized"?
"feeling guilty after shopping" - WTF: is he going to deny us our only safety mechanism to know when we've been conned into thinking we "need" something that we don't?
"seldom feeling like you can spoil yourself" - "Spoiling oneself" has NO LIMIT in society today. Adaptive Hedonism means it can get worse and worse and worse.

This guy is essentially ADVISING us to practice Adaptive Hedonism. Where's my vomit bag....?

Any of you goobers think there's some kind of "balance" between being wise and being foolish with your money, here's your homework assignments:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/22/what-is-hedonic-adaptation-and-how-can-it-turn-you-into-a-sukka/

Better yet, read the entire series, then read it again:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/category/mmm-classics/

Don't 'effing post in this thread until you've read these articles and have a better handle on the words "Stoicism", or "Badassity".
I'm gonna go ride my bike now, so I don't vomit again.

« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 07:42:09 PM by mefla »

Logic_Lady

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2015, 10:28:44 PM »
This might maximize their net worth but lead to an under-optimized life. The following are early warning signs: updating and reviewing your net worth summary all the time, feeling guilty after shopping, and seldom feeling like you can spoil yourself .

This is the part that has me most incensed. Biggest problems I see with it is:

"Under-optimized" means nothing. Truly nothing.
"early warning signs" - he's defined it as "seriously bad" without explaining WHY WHY WHY
"reviewing your net worth summary all the time" - WTF? Is he taking aim at anyone who's saving for FIRE? I couldn't care less how often anyone checks their own net worth...and in fact, checking mine tells me when to hit the accelerator and save a little more, so I can buy more leverage when the stock market is down. I guess if he saw me do that, his head would explode? Am I "under-optimized"?
"feeling guilty after shopping" - WTF: is he going to deny us our only safety mechanism to know when we've been conned into thinking we "need" something that we don't?
"seldom feeling like you can spoil yourself" - "Spoiling oneself" has NO LIMIT in society today. Adaptive Hedonism means it can get worse and worse and worse.

This guy is essentially ADVISING us to practice Adaptive Hedonism. Where's my vomit bag....?

Any of you goobers think there's some kind of "balance" between being wise and being foolish with your money, here's your homework assignments:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/22/what-is-hedonic-adaptation-and-how-can-it-turn-you-into-a-sukka/

Better yet, read the entire series, then read it again:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/category/mmm-classics/

Don't 'effing post in this thread until you've read these articles and have a better handle on the words "Stoicism", or "Badassity".
I'm gonna go ride my bike now, so I don't vomit again.

I have read all of those articles. Several times. Nowhere does MMM talk about accumulating money for its own sake, rather than accumulating money for the goal of freedom. As for optimizing one's life, that is imprecise language. The author of this article is prone to overgeneralization and speaking in absolutes. I disagree with with much of what he says. But I do think it is better to optimize your life than your bank account. How many of us could accumulate ten or twenty million, or more, if we kept working until we died? Is that the best way to optimize one's life? I think optimization is something people must define for themselves. Determining goals (freedom, children, food and shelter, etc) and finding the best way to achieve them.

We all spend some money. Whether it is food, rent/mortgage, starting a business, tools, children, a pet, etc. I don't think it's healthy to view all spending as bad, it's better to decrease spending without sacrificing our quality of life (eg - make food at home, don't stop eating altogether). Since there is so much excess in modern life this is not hard to accomplish.

I recommend that you review these articles:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/11/23/not-extreme-frugality/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/29/give-yourself-the-gift-of-not-worrying-about-money/

The balance I am talking about is not between being "wise and foolish" with money, it is between being careless and letting fear rule you.  I don't think there are two different types of people who are defined by these tendencies. The author is totally off base here (typical for this sort of sloppily written article). These are tendencies that almost everyone has to a greater or lesser extent. But I think both are harmful. We already all know why being careless with money is bad. But letting fear rule you is also harmful, both to your money and your life.

If your goal is to achieve freedom, working all your life in a tiny miserable cubicle, accumulating tens of millions, so you are FI many times over, and never retiring because you're afraid to see your balance decrease does not sound very badass to me. It sounds sad.

Is money a tool you use to buy freedom? Or is it a security blanket that's never big enough?

As for the so-called symptoms of the "protector," they are highly dependent on context.
You should not feel guilty after shopping if you are buying something that fits within your budget or whatever factors you use to determine what is necessary to buy. For example, you should not feel guilty after purchasing non-expensive groceries or a good reasonably priced bicycle (if you didn't have a perfectly good one already). If you feel guilty after purchasing something that falls into your budget and is necessary, there may be a problem. On the other hand if you purchase something unnecessary, guilt is a good reminder to return it and be more prudent in the future.

Checking your net worth every day: are you checking it because you want to keep up with your progress or monitor your investments? Not really a problem. Are you checking because you are overwhelmed with anxiety and panic every time it goes down? Could be a problem, both for your mental health and your financial health if you let fear push you into selling when the market is down.

Finally, I hate the term "spoiling yourself." But taking time to do something nice for yourself, like going for a bike ride or having a nice dinner (my favorite is walking with my dog to the dog park) is good! If you feel like you can't do anything for yourself, that's a problem. But doing something nice for yourself doesn't need to cost anything.

In conclusion: I think the ideal balance is to be aware of your finances and act according to your plans, but not so much that you are consumed with fear about money.

EngineerMum

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2015, 10:45:32 PM »
...
If you've found perfect balance and can instantly tell when spending money is worthwhile in your life, that's awesome.  If you're not perfect, but contentedly close enough, that's awesome too.  In either case, I don't think the article is criticizing you.

What is this "perfect balance" you seem to admire, and why do you think it's important? Can you give any examples of what you believe this means?

OMG, am I spending ENOUGH? How do I get back in BALANCE?!?

I agree the article is rubbish, but I do think there is such a thing as balance in mustachianism. There is a line between consumer sucker and miser that we all have a slightly different definition of. Would you take a holiday to Disneyland when you have hair on fire debt? If yes, obviously that's a consumer sucker choice. But not all trips are equal. Would you fly home to see your loved parent when they are given a few days to live when you are FI? Most people would say that's within the MMM philosophy. What about if you aren't totally FI but have no debt and FU money? What about if you haven't quite paid off the house but have a decent stash? What if it's only a chance that Mum and Dad isn't going to make it, would you take the trip then? We all draw our line at the point where we maximize our own expected happiness, and that isn't always as far along the frugal spectrum as some people are implying it should be. If your weekly coffee out with your mate is what is keeping you out of the therapist's office, that's probably money well spent rather than "spoiling yourself". If you need your Starbucks twice a day to feel like you aren't "living like a poor person" then perhaps that stoicism article is required.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2015, 08:39:55 AM »
...
We all spend some money. Whether it is food, rent/mortgage, starting a business, tools, children, a pet, etc. I don't think it's healthy to view all spending as bad, it's better to decrease spending without sacrificing our quality of life (eg - make food at home, don't stop eating altogether). Since there is so much excess in modern life this is not hard to accomplish.

I recommend that you review these articles:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/11/23/not-extreme-frugality/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/29/give-yourself-the-gift-of-not-worrying-about-money/

The balance I am talking about is not between being "wise and foolish" with money, it is between being careless and letting fear rule you.  I don't think there are two different types of people who are defined by these tendencies. The author is totally off base here (typical for this sort of sloppily written article). These are tendencies that almost everyone has to a greater or lesser extent. But I think both are harmful. We already all know why being careless with money is bad. But letting fear rule you is also harmful, both to your money and your life.
...

I'm gratified that you are backpedaling a bit. Keep it going with those bicycle-like movements, I'm liking where you are going. The links you site are part of the Canon and likewise put the lie to Mr. Duran.

You don't need to vomit to hate on him, but I find it helps me forget the pain of having ever read his article.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 08:42:39 AM by mefla »

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2015, 08:41:29 AM »
...
If you've found perfect balance and can instantly tell when spending money is worthwhile in your life, that's awesome.  If you're not perfect, but contentedly close enough, that's awesome too.  In either case, I don't think the article is criticizing you.

What is this "perfect balance" you seem to admire, and why do you think it's important? Can you give any examples of what you believe this means?

OMG, am I spending ENOUGH? How do I get back in BALANCE?!?

I agree the article is rubbish, but I do think there is such a thing as balance in mustachianism. There is a line between consumer sucker and miser that we all have a slightly different definition of. Would you take a holiday to Disneyland when you have hair on fire debt? If yes, obviously that's a consumer sucker choice. But not all trips are equal. Would you fly home to see your loved parent when they are given a few days to live when you are FI? Most people would say that's within the MMM philosophy. What about if you aren't totally FI but have no debt and FU money? What about if you haven't quite paid off the house but have a decent stash? What if it's only a chance that Mum and Dad isn't going to make it, would you take the trip then? We all draw our line at the point where we maximize our own expected happiness, and that isn't always as far along the frugal spectrum as some people are implying it should be. If your weekly coffee out with your mate is what is keeping you out of the therapist's office, that's probably money well spent rather than "spoiling yourself". If you need your Starbucks twice a day to feel like you aren't "living like a poor person" then perhaps that stoicism article is required.

Good, good. Calling it "balance" is a little bizarre. I have no interest in trying to give his "spoiling yourself" term any meaning whatsoever. In fact, the concept is what makes me hate him the most. The notion of some kind of entitlement gets people in trouble every day. There's no "Ministry of Entitlement" making sure everyone gets their "fair share".

I wouldn't ascribe anything but Enlightened Frugalism to MMM but I like where you are going and woudl say you're "on the money".  :-)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 08:44:58 AM by mefla »

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2015, 10:48:56 AM »
Here's a posting in another thread where a new user has asked for help in extracting themselves from their spendy ways. This is a fine representation of what we're all doing here: to replace spendy ways with frugal ways. That goes squarely against Mr. Duran's advice to "spoil yourself".

I've seen these words, in several variations, at least two dozen times on the forums and on the website. I couldn't have written it better myself:

The most important thing is to think of the satisfaction you now get from spending money, and to get that satisfaction from saving. It might not happen overnight, but take the spendy feelings you and spouse have (from being stressed at work, from impressing friends, from feeling the need for fancy dinners out) and therefore splurging on something useless, and get that satisfaction from looking at your bank account: first seeing your emergency fund grow, then your debt agressively paid down, and then your nest egg grow. To look at your student loan balance as $0 will be one of the best days of your life. Think about that future moment in the 20 minutes it takes you to make just as good of a meal as the local restaurant.

You will look back and think of all the small sacrifices you made that turned out to not be sacrifices at all because of the happiness you derived from each purchase avoided. That is the key. Everything with budgets and retirement savings and how much to spend on this or that category takes care of itself.

Duran talks about these things as if he has some supernatural right to define frugalism/stoicism as a "defect needing remediation". His arrogance and naivete' are shocking and upsetting. He clearly decided thrift = personality defect and I can't fathom where he got that idea.

(To see the original thread, click on the text just above the text box and it will show you the context of these well-written comments by Leanthree....)

There is no question of "balance" to be asked and answered here. If you owe money on a student loan and you replace a perfectly good used vehicle with a new car "just to spoil yourself in the name of balance", then you are not just missing the point, you are being foolish. You are flipping the bird to the future you.

This is not just my opinion. It's the reason we are here, the reason the MMM website exists, the reason the forums exist. NOT to find some mystical "balance", but to get rid of debts, achieve FIRE and graduate from becoming a wage slave. There's no "Balance Theory" saying you need to extend being a wage slave by a few years so you can "spoil yourself".

This section of the forums IS called "Antimustachian Wall of shame and comedy". Ridiculing of foolishness is practically a prerequisite for threads in this section. So don't think you need to come on this thread and explain "balance" to me - everyone will know you for the cottonhead(TM) you really are if you think that's what you need to do.

Everyone from MMM to Dave Ramsey to credit counseling services will all say the same thing. That's the part of the Joe Duran article that enrages me: there's a vast, valid body of knowledge on this subject, and Mr. Duran decides none of that's important - people need "balance" so they don't "harm themselves".

And now, the wave of vomitous nausea is welling up so I must stop now....
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 01:03:47 PM by mefla »

Logic_Lady

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2015, 11:39:02 AM »
You seem determined to misinterpret everything this person says in the most negative possible way. At no point does Duran define frugality as a problem. The "protector" tendency he describes is spending money *too* carefully, not spending money carefully in general. This is not aimed at those of us who are frugal because it makes for a better life. This is aimed at people who are so afraid of spending money that it makes their life *worse*. For example, I love to travel. In order to defray the costs of travel, I use credit card rewards, stay in hostels or other cheap accommodations, cook my own food or buy inexpensive food instead of eating in fancy restaurants while traveling, etc. I actually prefer to travel this way--it's more fun and it saves money. Contrast that with someone who loves to travel, but never travels because they are not willing to spend any money on travel. Someone who has not taken a vacation in a decade because they would feel guilty about spending even a small amount of money on themselves. Contrast someone who buys a kayak (instead of a motorboat) with someone who would feel guilty buying a kayak or taking time off work to go kayaking.

Second, it seems odd that you are bringing up someone spending money on a new car when they owe money as if Duran advised that--the article specifically says "establish a reasonable budget for guilt-free spending that doesn't compromise your longer-term goals." Obviously delaying paying off student loans or pushing back your FIRE date does compromise your longer-term goals. Also, Duran didn't advise buying a new car at all--he said a "nice car," which could be a well-maintained used car. There are plenty of people on this forum who have nice cars and enjoy driving and maintaining them.

Third, you are interpreting "early warning signs" of the "protector" tendency to mean "things that are always bad and guarantee you are unhealthy." But the article says nothing like this. If something is a warning sign, it means just that--it warns you there may be a problem. So if these warning signs apply to you, that's a signal to take a closer look and ask yourself if there is--or isn't--a problem--not a signal that there definitely is a problem. Let's look at the warning signs one by one:
 
1) Updating and reviewing your net worth summary all the time. Let's say you check Mint or Personal Capital on your phone every hour or so. Are you doing this to have more information to invest better? Or is it a nervous habit? If you determine that it isn't a problem for you, then more power to you. But just because a certain behavior doesn't indicate that you personally have a problem, doesn't mean that other people might do the same behavior for a different reason, and some of those other people might in fact have a problem.

2) Feeling guilty after shopping. Why are you feeling guilty? Is it because you spent too much? Or is it because you feel guilty about spending anything on yourself, even if it is necessary and/or worth it? If you feel guilty about spending any money, ever, then you lose a valuable tool. You can't use guilt to determine if you have overspent if you feel guilty about reasonable spending too.

3) Seldom feeling like you can spoil do something nice for yourself. Reworded like this it makes a lot more sense. If you feel like you can't take time for yourself, do stuff you enjoy, etc, that's definitely a problem. I hate the idea that you have to spend lots of money to do something nice for yourself! Frugality doesn't mean draining your life of happiness. You can absolutely take care of yourself, do nice things for yourself, etc, without wasting money. But if you avoid spending even the tiniest amount of money (or time, since time is money) on yourself, ever, that doesn't make for a very happy life.

Lastly, the advice Duran gives for taking action is not aimed at everyone. It is aimed at people who actually have a problem with being too protective toward money. The post you quoted is aimed at someone who already spends too much money. Clearly this are completely different scenarios. For example, if someone has a problem with alcoholism they would be advised not to drink. That doesn't mean that someone who doesn't have that problem should never drink. Similarly, if you don't have a problem with checking your net worth out of anxiety, there's no reason to limit how often you check it. If you already feel happy with your life, there's no need to establish an additional budget to spend on yourself. But if you deprive yourself of things that bring you lasting joy, that is in fact a problem you should address. Maybe the way you address it is by deciding that retirement will bring you happiness, and aiming for FIRE instead of just continuing to work and watch your net worth grow for the rest of your life, until you finally keel over in your cubicle at age 75 with twenty million dollars in the bank.

Have you considered seeing a doctor? I am concerned you may have food poisoning or a stomach bug if you are vomiting so much.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2015, 12:04:48 PM »
You seem determined to misinterpret everything this person says in the most negative possible way.

I am, yes. It's because you have to interpret what he says. He's so imprecise that he babbles. I'd rather have a sweet little baby drooling down the back of my shoulder than read what this oaf has written.

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Have you considered seeing a doctor? I am concerned you may have food poisoning or a stomach bug if you are vomiting so much.

Oh, I'm used to it now and consider it a sign that I'm still healthy.

Now look: I'm perfectly happy defending my point, arguing my point, hating on poor Joe. Because I'm convinced he is not just wrong, but he's targeted the stoic lifestyle in general and MMM in particular. I believe Mr. Duran has identified himself as someone we must act to counteract.

In other words, my problem with him is his invented, personal message. And my reasoning is that, it's hard enough for people to understand MMM/Frugalism/Stoicism/FIRE without Mr. Duran trying to muddy the waters by inventing terms like "balance" or fabricate neurotic personalities for us to compare ourselves to.

We are subversives seeking strength, independence and freedom He is establishment and he's selling self-defeating fatalistic pablum.

My question to you is: Why defend him? What's the important, essential and good theme he's trying to communicate? And why is it a bad idea for me to call him a fool?

If you're mad at me, if you feel I'm condescending, then call me an asshat and let's be done with it. I'm a big boy, I can handle it. Vent on me, get some satisfaction, and let's keep on gittin it.

But you aren't making any better-sounding arguments now than you did in the beginning. You are not just failing to convince me, you keep making my arguments for me by trying to ascribe meaning to what he says, and failing.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 12:06:23 PM by mefla »

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2015, 12:26:47 PM »
You seem determined to misinterpret everything this person says in the most negative possible way.

I am, yes. It's because you have to interpret what he says. He's so imprecise that he babbles. I'd rather have a sweet little baby drooling down the back of my shoulder than read what this oaf has written.

Quote
Have you considered seeing a doctor? I am concerned you may have food poisoning or a stomach bug if you are vomiting so much.

Oh, I'm used to it now and consider it a sign that I'm still healthy.

Now look: I'm perfectly happy defending my point, arguing my point, hating on poor Joe. Because I'm convinced he is not just wrong, but he's targeted the stoic lifestyle in general and MMM in particular. I believe Mr. Duran has identified himself as someone we must act to counteract.

In other words, my problem with him is his invented, personal message. And my reasoning is that, it's hard enough for people to understand MMM/Frugalism/Stoicism/FIRE without Mr. Duran trying to muddy the waters by inventing terms like "balance" or fabricate neurotic personalities for us to compare ourselves to.

We are subversives seeking strength, independence and freedom He is establishment and he's selling self-defeating fatalistic pablum.

My question to you is: Why defend him? What's the important, essential and good theme he's trying to communicate? And why is it a bad idea for me to call him a fool?

If you're mad at me, if you feel I'm condescending, then call me an asshat and let's be done with it. I'm a big boy, I can handle it. Vent on me, get some satisfaction, and let's keep on gittin it.

But you aren't making any better-sounding arguments now than you did in the beginning. You are not just failing to convince me, you keep making my arguments for me by trying to ascribe meaning to what he says, and failing.

I'm not trying to defend Duran personally. I'm trying to defend some of the concepts that I interpret as underlying his article. I believe I have articulated those several times in my previous posts, so I won't go over them again. Obviously you and I interpret the article differently.

I guess the reason I feel invested in this is that I don't think he's invented this "neurotic personality," because I have struggled with these issues myself. I have to force myself to take vacations or to even take breaks. It is difficult to seek "strength, independence and freedom" when you are paralyzed by lack of confidence and fear of spending any money.

Let me ask you this, do you ever spend money on things that are not absolutely necessary to survive? Like vacations, beer, cars, tools, a bike, whatever? Do you think it would be healthy if you stopped all of this "unnecessary" spending, would that make your life better in any way?

Having a budget for that kind of spending is helpful for me for two reasons: it ensures that I actually spend a small amount of money on things I enjoy, which makes my life happier (my overall spending is still about $20k/year, including rent), and it prevents me from feeling depressed and/or deprived and having that push me too far in the opposite direction (like, I haven't spent any money on myself all year so I'm going to blow it on some stupid shit).

I do have to force myself to do things like you out with friends, go on vacation, go for a run, etc. Staying at home all day every day might save some money in the short term, but it certainly wouldn't improve my life.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2015, 01:27:35 AM »

Obviously you and I interpret the article differently.

Yes ma'am, we do. I love hating Joe Duran. I find it hard to believe he speaks for you in any way. I mean...you are here, so doesn't that mean you are one of the MMM faithful?

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I guess the reason I feel invested in this is that I don't think he's invented this "neurotic personality," because I have struggled with these issues myself. I have to force myself to take vacations or to even take breaks. It is difficult to seek "strength, independence and freedom" when you are paralyzed by lack of confidence and fear of spending any money.

This...is not...the problem people come to these forums to solve. The objective of all here is to find their own purposeful life within a 4% SWR. To be able to spend, frugally, but freely, within a spend rate their stash can support.

If you can live a satisfying life within your SWR, then guilt is irrelevant.

There is no question of guilt for me. I strive to master efficiency. I love efficiency. If I fail, I still succeed so far beyond anyone around me that guilt is a silly thing to feel. My objective is to reach a satisfying life within the 4% SWR that my stash supports.

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Let me ask you this, do you ever spend money on things that are not absolutely necessary to survive? Like vacations, beer, cars, tools, a bike, whatever? Do you think it would be healthy if you stopped all of this "unnecessary" spending, would that make your life better in any way?

Logic_Lady, I would live under a bridge and dumpster dive for food if it were possible. I have a 25 year old running joke with my wife that I want to "Live in a yard barn".

While I wish I could live in a tiny house, it's not consistent with the ultimate goals of me and my spouse. While I admire the extreme efficiency of a tiny home, my DW and I purposefully prefer to pay off our modest 2300 square foot brick home on 1 acre.

A 2300 square foot modest brick home is not at all "essential for survival", but it is the home we have chosen and the home we shall achieve payoff for. We leverage every feature of the home to protect ourselves, to live a more pleasant, secure life at the most efficient, lowest cost possible.

I have no guilt for my car, my bike, my tools. They are all "leveraging resources" that I use every day to save money and improve efficiency. My car gets 65mpg. My bike gets me fuel-free transport and improved health. My tools enable me to fix things myself rather than pay someone else to fix things.

Over two weekends, I replaced my hybrid car's battery and both catalytic converters myself, achieving thousands of dollars in savings over paying someone else to do the work instead. And the quality of the work I did was to my own standards.

I own three bicycles, and all of them have a purpose: the ebike gets me to work for about a dime each way, 64 miles total. The road bike gives me exercise and rapid, zero-cost transport. The touring bike lets me haul stuff locally, make trips to the grocery store. Soon, I'll have a bicycle trailer I can use to make even more trips with the bike and haul materials that I now require a car for.

Last month, for "No Buy July", I accepted the challenge put forward by forummm. I did not totally succeed - I had some restaurant spending. I have a DW who is not mustachian and I strive to NOT control her spending.

But that doesn't translate to guilt. The restaurant spending is very small compared to other things I can do. If I spend $250 on restaurants but put $6500 toward my mortgage principal and $3000 toward pre-tax 401k, why should I feel guilty about the restaurant spending?

I always look for ways to optimize. Relentlessly, mercilessly, endlessly by studying patterns and taking advantage of them.

Example: In January, interest rates are typically, historically, very low. So I am preparing to refinance my home once more, with the objective of reaching 2.5% interest rate on a 10 year note and still improving my cash flow situation so I can save more. I expect to succeed at this goal.

While the rest of the nation engages in Judeo-Christian pseudo-capitalism, I'll be pushing more and more money toward mortgage and investments. They will enter January with new balances of unsecured debt.

I will enter January achieving a $700/month cash flow improvement, shortening the term of the loan and saving over $3000 in interest over the remaining life of the loan. And my loan company will PAY ME to refinance.

I'll take my first vacation of the year next week, using the Labor Day holiday to get a full week of vacation at the cost of four vacation days. My plans are to stay home and:

- install a ductless heat pump in the garage
- work on my ebike so it'll go faster and further
- work on my 2000 Honda Insight and service the throttle body
- finish several other projects
- homebrew some oatmeal porter or a double chocolate stout
- plan and start the installation of a solar hot water heating panel
- maybe meet up with some other MMM'ers

It's my DESIRE to do these things. I've spent the last calendar year waiting for the time so I can do these things. Not to buy plane tickets, fly somewhere and lay on the beach reading a kindle. I'll do that when I'm FIRE. For now, I want to make things and create more and more leverage.

Everything I do creates more leverage. Like "buying low and selling high", insourcing work creates opportunities for future income generation and cost avoidance that I find more satisfying than the question of spending can possibly be. I am busy sending cash and better living to my future self.

Quote
Having a budget for that kind of spending is helpful for me for two reasons: it ensures that I actually spend a small amount of money on things I enjoy, which makes my life happier (my overall spending is still about $20k/year, including rent), and it prevents me from feeling depressed and/or deprived and having that push me too far in the opposite direction (like, I haven't spent any money on myself all year so I'm going to blow it on some stupid shit).

I do have to force myself to do things like you out with friends, go on vacation, go for a run, etc. Staying at home all day every day might save some money in the short term, but it certainly wouldn't improve my life.

Are you already FIRE? I expect the challenges and difficulties of FIRE to be different than now. When I reach FIRE, my efficiency will have achieved it's ultimate purpose. I might stay home, I might go somewhere, I might make other things and strive for other goals. There will certainly be travel, but what form that takes, the how and the when, I don't know right now. For now, I lust for efficiency and nothing else matters.

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2015, 06:02:42 AM »
I've been reading and re-reading this thread and I'm unhappy with my answer. Too damn much navel-gazing. "Look at me how stoic I am!".

Damn, I suck. I think I can do better.

First: kick Joe Duran to the curb. He had a deadline to meet and pablum to write or he wasn't going to get paid. Whateva.

Second, I'll change the subject more to Logic_Lady's point: Don't I feel guilt at "frivolous and wasted spending"?!?!

No no no, a thousand times no.
Guilt and shame are our enemies.
We are subversives. We are on a mission.
Guilt has no place in this. No meaning, no good use or function.


Not every dollar you earn turns into a little green employee. You're gonna waste some. No one is truly 100% efficient.  But that does not invalidate our mission: To create wealth by capitalizing our income stream.

"WTF! I thought you said you were a Stoic, mefla. Where's the frugalism dude?!?!?"

That "wasted money" was budgeted. I have a budget and I adhere to it. I simply spent from one of the (rather small) buckets.  The budget eliminates guilt if you create a realistic one and live in it. The important thing is, that waste went from being 100% (8 years ago) down to 0.5-1% or less of take-home pay (today).

Do we live as insanely hedonistic lifestyles as we did before? Oh hell no. And we don't have the weight problem we used to have, and the doctor bills we used to have, and the lack of sleep and worry are gone, too.

There's no guilt when you live within the budget. It's just the personal decision about where to route money.

But backing me up, I have 85% of my take-home pay toiling away, earning money. I still need a dollar to live, but I don't personally have to go out and earn that dollar. Prior savings are earning that dollar for me.

So, Logic_Lady: I must ask you:

How can you feel guilty about spending if you have a budget, are living wisely and creating a stash? How does guilt even enter into this when it's merely the work of investing so we can capitalize our income stream and escape wage slavery?

I think what I'm telling you is, there can be no guilt when the responsibility is only yours. YOU have  your answer. YOU decide what "wastage overhead" you can live with, and go with that. If you decide and it sucks, then you adjust it.

Leave guilt to those who spend their paychecks to zero.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 07:23:29 AM by mefla »

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2015, 09:04:14 AM »
I think he's just targeting his message to his audience - which apparently is composed equally of people who are struggling to save for retirement, and those who are in their early 30s and have a net worth of 100 million dollars.

I am still laughing about this one. Excellent.

OMG, have I spoiled myself enough today?

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2015, 01:44:03 PM »
I've been reading and re-reading this thread and I'm unhappy with my answer. Too damn much navel-gazing. "Look at me how stoic I am!".

Damn, I suck. I think I can do better.

First: kick Joe Duran to the curb. He had a deadline to meet and pablum to write or he wasn't going to get paid. Whateva.

Second, I'll change the subject more to Logic_Lady's point: Don't I feel guilt at "frivolous and wasted spending"?!?!

No no no, a thousand times no.
Guilt and shame are our enemies.
We are subversives. We are on a mission.
Guilt has no place in this. No meaning, no good use or function.


Not every dollar you earn turns into a little green employee. You're gonna waste some. No one is truly 100% efficient.  But that does not invalidate our mission: To create wealth by capitalizing our income stream.

"WTF! I thought you said you were a Stoic, mefla. Where's the frugalism dude?!?!?"

That "wasted money" was budgeted. I have a budget and I adhere to it. I simply spent from one of the (rather small) buckets.  The budget eliminates guilt if you create a realistic one and live in it. The important thing is, that waste went from being 100% (8 years ago) down to 0.5-1% or less of take-home pay (today).

Do we live as insanely hedonistic lifestyles as we did before? Oh hell no. And we don't have the weight problem we used to have, and the doctor bills we used to have, and the lack of sleep and worry are gone, too.

There's no guilt when you live within the budget. It's just the personal decision about where to route money.

But backing me up, I have 85% of my take-home pay toiling away, earning money. I still need a dollar to live, but I don't personally have to go out and earn that dollar. Prior savings are earning that dollar for me.

So, Logic_Lady: I must ask you:

How can you feel guilty about spending if you have a budget, are living wisely and creating a stash? How does guilt even enter into this when it's merely the work of investing so we can capitalize our income stream and escape wage slavery?

I think what I'm telling you is, there can be no guilt when the responsibility is only yours. YOU have  your answer. YOU decide what "wastage overhead" you can live with, and go with that. If you decide and it sucks, then you adjust it.

Leave guilt to those who spend their paychecks to zero.

It seems like we agree completely then. This seems like the opposite of what you were saying before (in fact, I didn't see your name on this post at first, and I assumed it was someone else). We both agree that feeling guilt or shame over spending is not a healthy basis for financial planning. I have no idea why you are categorizing spending that's part of your budget as "wasteful and frivolous," as spending that is in accordance with your budget and goals seems quite reasonable to me, but I completely agree that you shouldn't feel guilty for it. In fact, that's my entire point!!

My point is certainly not that anyone should feel guilty. I only made the exception for wasteful and frivolous spending because you specifically said you found guilt to be a useful safety measure for recognizing when you are spending too much. But saying that someone can use that tool if they choose is not the same as saying that everyone should!

What I have been trying to say is, saying that someone shouldn't feel guilt or shame is not the same as saying they don't feel guilt or shame. We are not all robots that only feel emotions that are rational. Feeling guilt and shame around spending and finances is an unhealthy thing. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Guilt is not rational. How can I feel guilty? How about depression? Anxiety? Recognizing that I shouldn't feel guilty (I have been saying from the beginning that this guilt is not good) does not magically make guilt go away.

That guilt can hold people back. You listed in an earlier post all the "unnecessary" things you spend money on that make your life better and help you become richer. You should not feel guilty for that spending! My whole point is that this sort of spending is a good thing. It's great that you don't feel guilty for it. But please recognize that some people do feel irrational guilt for that kind of spending, and that can hold them back from living the best possible life. So (as I have been saying) people who have this problem should recognize it and address it, whether that's through self-help, therapy, medication, whatever works for them.

I also have a really hard time reconciling your statement that you budget some money to "waste" with everything you have been saying so far. I personally think that having a small line item in your budget for random stuff is good, so I totally agree with what you said about this in your latest post. It lets you spend a small amount on impulse buys without guilt, which can prevent you from going too far in the other direction and making a huge impulse buy. But I thought your whole point earlier in the thread was that designating any money for "fun" spending was bad and unmustachian.

If I articulated this badly before, I'm sorry about that. I think I was focusing too much on the article (which is not well written or clear) and I should have just articulated my own thoughts without referencing the article.

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2015, 06:59:51 PM »
I think I've figured out one of our communication gaps:

It seems like we agree completely then. This seems like the opposite of what you were saying before (in fact, I didn't see your name on this post at first, and I assumed it was someone else). We both agree that feeling guilt or shame over spending is not a healthy basis for financial planning.

I have no idea why you are categorizing spending that's part of your budget as "wasteful and frivolous," as spending that is in accordance with your budget and goals seems quite reasonable to me, but I completely agree that you shouldn't feel guilty for it. In fact, that's my entire point!!

When I use double-quotes around the phrase "wasteful and frivolous", what I mean is that I spend money on something that APPEARS "wasteful and frivolous", but actually has an important, leveraging, efficiency-causing purpose.

In the case of my craft ale purchase and meetup with my friends, I should have been clearer: both of these people are co-workers who I very often learn important information that can make me money, simplify my life or give me advantages I don't now have. At one of these craft ale meet-ups, one of these two buddies showed me the Personal Capital software for the first time. PC has since become my go-to for figuring out how I'm doing financially. 

Here's the blog posting in which MMM (his name is Pete but I'll refer to him as MMM for clarity) describes the effect of socializing with others local to you:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/08/19/urban-tribe/

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I also have a really hard time reconciling your statement that you budget some money to "waste" with everything you have been saying so far.


I was being figurative with the doublequotes, not literal. I see no benefit to truly, actually, wasting money.

But:the concept of actually NOT wasting money is like chess: simple in execution but complicated in strategy.  It's something we are all here to learn about and apply to our own personal lives. I talk in strong absolutes and I feel I am accomplished at being efficient, but I still have so, so much to learn and so, so much further to go.

I feel that Joe Duran puts a roadblock in the way of the path to FIRE by mixing in problems that are irrelevant. We have enough trouble being subversive and swimming upstream against overwhelming opposition in public opinion, without Joe Duran trying to define us as "unhealthy" for doing things like checking our net worth.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 07:42:03 PM by mefla »

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2015, 07:07:24 PM »
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My point is certainly not that anyone should feel guilty. I only made the exception for wasteful and frivolous spending because you specifically said you found guilt to be a useful safety measure for recognizing when you are spending too much. But saying that someone can use that tool if they choose is not the same as saying that everyone should!

I would feel guilty for a unbudgeted, inefficient, meaningless, wasteful purchases that could not be leveraged for increased efficiency or would put me further way from FIRE.   I want a LEAF electric car. It is efficient and effective. But the range is so limited that it could only be used for the things that I now use an ebike for. That would be a waste of money and inefficient financially.

A tire changing machine is a tool I could use that I could leverage, but I need it so rarely that I would be foolish to buy one, and I don't intend to go into business changing tires. So I would feel guilt at that purchase.

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What I have been trying to say is, saying that someone shouldn't feel guilt or shame is not the same as saying they don't feel guilt or shame. We are not all robots that only feel emotions that are rational. Feeling guilt and shame around spending and finances is an unhealthy thing. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Guilt is not rational. How can I feel guilty? How about depression? Anxiety? Recognizing that I shouldn't feel guilty (I have been saying from the beginning that this guilt is not good) does not magically make guilt go away.

I see your point. I have extensive experience with this but we're way off the thread topic.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 07:43:59 PM by mefla »

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2015, 07:08:59 PM »
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If I articulated this badly before, I'm sorry about that. I think I was focusing too much on the article (which is not well written or clear) and I should have just articulated my own thoughts without referencing the article.

You did not articulate badly, we were miscommunicating and I am happy that you stuck through this to keep talking. I was not making it easy. I apologize if any offense - I would edit the thread but I think that would be dishonest.

One other thing: if you are dancing around this topic of guilt and shame and the root cause you are dealing with is something like alcoholism or addiction, then we are way off subject of this thread. You can start your own thread about that, but the MMM crowd but they can be a tough house to play when human personality topics get discussed and it's not really their area of expertise.

BTW, CONGRATULATIONS on NOT buying the 07 Jetta or the Acura and buying the Toyota Matrix. You dodged a bullet nicely with that one.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 01:10:04 PM by mefla »

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2015, 12:57:44 PM »
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I plan to FIRE in 5-10 years (I know this is not very precise--it depends a lot on whether my income stays the same or increases, and how the market does). At that point I would sell my highest-cost holdings first and make sure I'm in a tax bracket where I don't have to pay capital gains.

Here is a summary of my current investments (both in Schwab):

Taxable Account: $150,000

$60,000: various individual stocks, all large well-known companies
$10,000: Short term US treasury ETF (0.08% expense ratio)
$10,000: US TIPS ETF (0.07% expense ratio)
$6,000: Short-term bond fund (0.1% expense ratio)
$25,000: American Fund New Prospects (0.76% expense ratio, but cost basis is only $8,000, so it's mostly cap gains)
$10,000: "fixed income," I don't know what this means
$29,000: Cash (mostly recently deposited, to be invested over time for dollar-cost averaging)

Roth IRA: $35,000

$1,000: American Fund Europacific (0.87%)
$1,500: American Fund New World (1.02%)
$1,500: Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund (1.32%)
$2,000: International Index Fund (0.19%)
$14,000: S&P 500 Index Fund (0.09%)
$3,000: Small Cap Index Fund (0.17%)
$500: Bond Fund (0.55%)
$11,500: Cash

I also have about $40,000 invested with a family member in bonds (no fee); he's very good at bond trading so I think it makes sense to keep most/all of the money I have in bonds with him, and have my other accounts be mostly or all stock.

Logic_Lady, you have one hell of a nice stash for a 24 year old. I wish I'd had that kind of stash when I was your age. You've built that much stash in...like, 2 or 3 years since you finished college?  That's quite an accomplishment for someone so riddled with guilt.

I'll bet you 100 bucks Joe Duran doesn't have a stash that big. You could walk up to him and slap him in the face with that kind of stash....just smack him across the cheek with a stack of $100's while he whimpers like a baby.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 01:12:46 PM by mefla »

Alabaster

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2015, 03:12:36 PM »
I think he's just targeting his message to his audience - which apparently is composed equally of people who are struggling to save for retirement, and those who are in their early 30s and have a net worth of 100 million dollars.

Small audience then :v

Faraday

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Re: I Offically "Hate On" Joe Duran
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2015, 05:50:59 PM »
I think he's just targeting his message to his audience - which apparently is composed equally of people who are struggling to save for retirement, and those who are in their early 30s and have a net worth of 100 million dollars.

Small audience then :v

+1 Werd.

It can get worse. WHo's the chick that advises "not saving"? I can't remember her name...