Author Topic: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads  (Read 15041 times)

JR

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Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« on: February 11, 2015, 05:07:52 PM »
Someone bumped an old thread about MMM on Bogleheads recently (which then spawned a poll about whether MMM is a "force for good") and I was amazed how many internet retirement police posted on the thread. One poster even argues that MMM should provide a full financial audit to prove that he only spends $25k per year.

Bumped thread: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=136322&start=250
Poll thread: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=158004&newpost=2371156
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 05:13:27 PM by JR »

CopperTex

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 06:11:41 PM »
I personally love these forum rants about MMM. I like different perspectives on his lifestyle. Sometimes on this forum there is a bit of a cult like following and SOME (not all) follow MMM's advice as if it was a religion. There are a few gaps in MMM's philosophy that should be examined and not just flat out accepted without questioning. I like the MMM message as a whole and don't need to nitpick but I do find the "internet retirement police" pretty entertaining.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 06:46:49 PM »
One poster even argues that MMM should provide a full financial audit to prove that he only spends $25k per year.

Yeah, no.  MMM has been retired for 10 years now and that should be proof enough.  Besides which, everyone who actually lives by a mustachian lifestyle already knows its entirely true and possible, so none of us even need to see proof.  Would it change anything for all the rest of us if MMM came out next week and admitted he went bankrupt?  No, not really.  All the teachings are good even if the teacher has stumbled.  Actually, so many things in life follow this rule: a solid teaching is a solid teaching, regardless of what faults and folley the teacher may have experienced.  We sometimes let our biases and desire to see people as 100% perfect get in the way of determining if something is right and true.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 08:36:12 PM by Sid Hoffman »

Eric

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 06:55:23 PM »
I have no idea why it would be in MMM's interest to lie.  But!  Even if we suppose that MMM is a big fat liar and spends way more than he says, his philosophy still works.  You know how I know?  My wife and I also spend $25k/yr in non-housing expenses and we live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle that includes amazing food, very generous adult beverages, vacations, and the like.  So it's relatively easy for me to see how he can do it, because I do it.

Call me a kool aid drinker if you like, but it makes absolutely no difference to me whatsoever how much MMM spends, how much his blog makes, or anything else.  I only care about the results, and by following his philosophy, I've achieved some amazing results.

Edit -- Or what Sid said.  Looks like we were thinking the same thing.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 08:37:52 PM »
Edit -- Or what Sid said.  Looks like we were thinking the same thing.


johnny847

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 09:37:15 PM »
*sigh*
What's funny to me is that I discovered Bogleheads before I discovered MMM. When I found Bogleheads, I was like man this is a community of people who have their head on straight.
Then I found MMM and I saw the light.

Travis

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 11:54:19 PM »
I just finished reading that entire thread (a couple hours before this one started).  Most of the opinions of MMM were positive in nature (though this forum was significantly less so).  Many of those speaking out against MMM had only a cursory knowledge of what he and us are about.  Those who criticized MMM from a more knowledgeable perspective were concerned about his bartering and non-reported spending or quibbling over the definition of "retired."  A few of the participants even learned something from the debate.  Aside from the few ignorant whiners, the biggest part of the debate I scratched my head over were the people who couldn't understand that MMM's entire position revolves around his spending - not where his income came from.


Quote
MMM has been retired for 10 years now

That statement right there would have been a declaration of war with some of the commenters. 

Left

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2015, 12:21:16 AM »
i dont see how they believe in bogle who cut costs for investment funds but not mmm who cut costs of living. both having the goal of getting to fi, mmm wants to er but bh people want to keep working.

oriolesmagic

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2015, 07:02:44 AM »
Quote from: JR
One poster even argues that MMM should provide a full financial audit to prove that he only spends $25k per year.
To be fair, he was alone in his thinking. The rest of the posters thought he was silly for wanting an audit (IIRC).

The sentiment that bothered me the most was the guy posting about Mustachians having lower economic output and thus being a drag on society. If you follow that line of reasoning, isn't saving for retirement at all (even a late retirement) placing an unjust burden on society?

Tabaxus

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 07:17:52 AM »
I have no idea why it would be in MMM's interest to lie.  But!  Even if we suppose that MMM is a big fat liar and spends way more than he says, his philosophy still works.  You know how I know?  My wife and I also spend $25k/yr in non-housing expenses and we live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle that includes amazing food, very generous adult beverages, vacations, and the like.  So it's relatively easy for me to see how he can do it, because I do it.

Call me a kool aid drinker if you like, but it makes absolutely no difference to me whatsoever how much MMM spends, how much his blog makes, or anything else.  I only care about the results, and by following his philosophy, I've achieved some amazing results.

Edit -- Or what Sid said.  Looks like we were thinking the same thing.

To be fair, his blog makes him a ton of money, and it probably wouldn't be as profitable as it is if it sold a different story.  I don't begrudge MMM for that at all--heck, I respect him for it--but it is what it is.  The frugality advice is just as compelling even if MMM came out tomorrow and admitted that he is a 25 year old who has never held a job in his life and just made this blog when we was 15.

Eric

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2015, 08:38:10 AM »
I have no idea why it would be in MMM's interest to lie.  But!  Even if we suppose that MMM is a big fat liar and spends way more than he says, his philosophy still works.  You know how I know?  My wife and I also spend $25k/yr in non-housing expenses and we live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle that includes amazing food, very generous adult beverages, vacations, and the like.  So it's relatively easy for me to see how he can do it, because I do it.

Call me a kool aid drinker if you like, but it makes absolutely no difference to me whatsoever how much MMM spends, how much his blog makes, or anything else.  I only care about the results, and by following his philosophy, I've achieved some amazing results.

Edit -- Or what Sid said.  Looks like we were thinking the same thing.

To be fair, his blog makes him a ton of money, and it probably wouldn't be as profitable as it is if it sold a different story.  I don't begrudge MMM for that at all--heck, I respect him for it--but it is what it is.  The frugality advice is just as compelling even if MMM came out tomorrow and admitted that he is a 25 year old who has never held a job in his life and just made this blog when we was 15.

His blog makes a ton of money now, but he's been reporting these kinds of numbers for years.  It certainly wasn't making much money the first couple of years.  Nor did he have product placements or advertisements or anything else that would lead me to believe that he was writing for even the miniscule amount of money he would've derived from it at the time.  So the only way that's true is if you* think that he foresaw the massive income potential and crafted the lies before he even started writing the blog with the idea that there was a tiny chance it could go big. (tiny chance because the blog failure rate is astronomical)  Reading some of the early posts, I'd have a hard time coming to that conclusion, but I'm not a mind reader so I couldn't say for sure.  It just seems implausible to me.  Maybe I'm too naive.  But again, since we're focused on the message, it doesn't matter.

*I realize we probably agree, so this isn't necessarily directed at you specifically.

Reading that bogleheads thread makes me wonder which one of them is "clearview"?  :)
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/continue-the-blog-conversation/should-some-of-mmms-business-expenses-be-counted-in-his-yearly-spending-report/

Further consider that in some blog post I don't remember and also in this thread /\, MMM & Mrs MMM have discussed donating all blog proceeds to charity.  This also makes me doubt that they would even care to lie for extra profit, as they're not keeping any of the money.

- as far as charity and donations go, most of our charitable donations are personal. MMM has goals for setting up some kind of charity through the blog. As some of you know, the profits made from the blog will all be eventually donated. It's important to keep those separate. In addition, I donate 20% of all my real estate commissions to charity. This is directly related to my real estate business. It makes sense to include it as a business expense. When we donate to the school or sponsor friends or make donations in our regular lives, these are included in our regular expenses. There are big goals for charitable work through the blog, but we want to do it right and are still trying to figure stuff out.

We are very careful with all this stuff and are being as up front and honest about what our real spending is, while also trying to help others and making it easy for them to compare their spending to ours.

(I'm the one that puts the table together, so feel free to ask me any other questions).

« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 08:42:46 AM by Eric »

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2015, 10:02:45 AM »
It's the "lives on" police as much as the internet retirement police. Articles and even MMM himself say he lives on 25k a year. A lot of the bh people object to this because, for example, he bartered for a vacation in Hawaii. I sort of take their point. Most people can save money by mowing their own lawn or growing vegetables but most people can't do contracting work well enough to barter it for tropical room and board or to install their own floor heating system.  And you have to read his blog posts in the context of his articles on insourcing. One bh person says he'd never want to spend 200 hours installing his own floor heating system when he could make enough money to pay someone else with about 20 hours of coding, which he would enjoy much more. Aside from the arguments about diversifying your experiences and having more time in ER so you're not so concerned about saving it, it's kind of a slippery slope to argue that living on x amount means you pay for absolutely everything you get with x dollars. Do you have to calculate what it would cost to send your laundry out even though you do it at home? Do you have to calculate what it would cost to have a home health aid bring lightly buttered kippers to you bedside and drop small pieces into your mouth when you're breathing in the right direction or you can you leave that out since you manage to get out of bed and feed yourself every morning? Should there be a large disclaimer at the top of your budget warning people it's only possible to live on what you do since you've insourced wiping your own ass?

I get the issue that the megaphoned headline, "He lives on 25k a year!" doesn't mean exactly what everyone might assume it does, but I think it means what everyone who's reading it in context thinks it means.  In the post about the Hawaii vacation he's quite clear about how he afforded it.  And obviously everyone is going to build their own ER based on their own assets and strengths.  His point with the budget posts is that his basic, middle class needs are adequately met for much less than people expect.

brandino29

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 11:05:05 AM »
I get the issue that the megaphoned headline, "He lives on 25k a year!" doesn't mean exactly what everyone might assume it does, but I think it means what everyone who's reading it in context thinks it means.  In the post about the Hawaii vacation he's quite clear about how he afforded it.  And obviously everyone is going to build their own ER based on their own assets and strengths.  His point with the budget posts is that his basic, middle class needs are adequately met for much less than people expect.

A couple years ago, my job sent me to LA for four days, I took one vacation day and left on a Friday instead of Monday, bought a plane ticket for my wife and we had an 8 day vacation in LA for little more than the cost of my wife's ticket and spending a few hours for a few days "working" while we stayed in a nice hotel in Beverly Hills (and with friends the nights I didn't have a work paid hotel).  Never would I consider any of those costs part of our annual spending.

Everyone has ways that they can "play to their strengths" and take advantage of things that would otherwise cost them more or be impossible for them to do.  It doesn't mean you are cheating when you tally your total annual spending, it means you are cleverly finding ways to improve your quality of life for less money. 

johnny847

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2015, 11:09:37 AM »
I get the issue that the megaphoned headline, "He lives on 25k a year!" doesn't mean exactly what everyone might assume it does, but I think it means what everyone who's reading it in context thinks it means.  In the post about the Hawaii vacation he's quite clear about how he afforded it.  And obviously everyone is going to build their own ER based on their own assets and strengths.  His point with the budget posts is that his basic, middle class needs are adequately met for much less than people expect.

A couple years ago, my job sent me to LA for four days, I took one vacation day and left on a Friday instead of Monday, bought a plane ticket for my wife and we had an 8 day vacation in LA for little more than the cost of my wife's ticket and spending a few hours for a few days "working" while we stayed in a nice hotel in Beverly Hills (and with friends the nights I didn't have a work paid hotel).  Never would I consider any of those costs part of our annual spending.

Everyone has ways that they can "play to their strengths" and take advantage of things that would otherwise cost them more or be impossible for them to do.  It doesn't mean you are cheating when you tally your total annual spending, it means you are cleverly finding ways to improve your quality of life for less money.
Also, keep in mind that the $25k of spending in 2014 includes $1155 in donations to charity. So he's actually living on $24k. Not that it's that big a difference, but it's still worth noting.

No Name Guy

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2015, 11:11:58 AM »
The sentiment that bothered me the most was the guy posting about Mustachians having lower economic output and thus being a drag on society.

The fallacy of this type of thinking (lower output = drag) is that it ignores the other side of the equation - consumption.

So long as I'm consuming less than I produce, I'm a net positive, period. 

That's what the mainstream seems to be unable to grasp - the control, the ability to have solid personal finances, is largely controlled by the expense side of the ledger.

Tallgirl1204

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2015, 11:18:37 AM »
I got enmeshed in the Boglehead discussion, and even posted a thing or two over there.  I think that the Bogleheads, like the MMM forums, have a few contrarians who will parse every phrase and pick apart every word as if we were all writing sworn affadavits on which hung the fate of the Constitution. 

The fact is that these are both interesting boards that provide slices of people's virtual lives (whatever it is they care to share, and however truthful they choose to be, and however limited -- or not-- their ability to express themselves well). 

I try to stand back and look at the big picture and big chunks of advice.  For me it's:

Bogleheads:  live within your means, save a lot and don't pay financial advisors ridiculous amounts of money for finances;  substitute instead low-cost index funds and stay the course.

MMM:  live within your means and make your needs few so that your means can be low, save every scrap and don't pay anyone money for anything that you don't need;  invest in low-cost index funds and stay the course. 

They're not really all that different. 

And one more commonality:  Bogleheads and MMM-staches seem to have plenty of time for lively debate! 

sheepstache

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2015, 11:41:09 AM »
I get the issue that the megaphoned headline, "He lives on 25k a year!" doesn't mean exactly what everyone might assume it does, but I think it means what everyone who's reading it in context thinks it means.  In the post about the Hawaii vacation he's quite clear about how he afforded it.  And obviously everyone is going to build their own ER based on their own assets and strengths.  His point with the budget posts is that his basic, middle class needs are adequately met for much less than people expect.

A couple years ago, my job sent me to LA for four days, I took one vacation day and left on a Friday instead of Monday, bought a plane ticket for my wife and we had an 8 day vacation in LA for little more than the cost of my wife's ticket and spending a few hours for a few days "working" while we stayed in a nice hotel in Beverly Hills (and with friends the nights I didn't have a work paid hotel).  Never would I consider any of those costs part of our annual spending.

Everyone has ways that they can "play to their strengths" and take advantage of things that would otherwise cost them more or be impossible for them to do.  It doesn't mean you are cheating when you tally your total annual spending, it means you are cleverly finding ways to improve your quality of life for less money.

Exactly. Now, if you were quite attached to those types of business trips and wanted to continue taking them in ER, obviously you'd have to account for the higher cost. Or you could figure out some consulting job that would offer the same thing. Or plan to slow travel if driving cost less than flying. Etc., etc.

Now if someone bought a farm and they had to work 20 hours a week to make it generate $20,000 profit a year that they absolutely needed to live on, I would have a hard time accepting their statement that they had "retired" just because they didn't have an employer cutting them a paycheck.  Likewise a homesteader who was self-sufficient and therefore didn't need income. Even with modern technology, that's a shit ton of work.  But I don't a) see MMM hiding how much work he does, or b) requiring it to live. 

In terms of playing to one's strengths, I certainly discount the part of MMM's budget that's covered by bartering because I'm ornery and shy and don't want to deal with forced social interaction for economic reasons. He  doesn't have to put up a big disclaimer in red font saying, "You might not be able to replicate my results if you don't want to barter!" He just has to explain he got some things by bartering, which he does.

I suppose the bh folks might be thinking long-term, like, retirement has to mean a standard of living you can maintain into your 80's. At which point you maybe can't bike everywhere.

I got enmeshed in the Boglehead discussion, and even posted a thing or two over there.  I think that the Bogleheads, like the MMM forums, have a few contrarians who will parse every phrase and pick apart every word as if we were all writing sworn affadavits on which hung the fate of the Constitution. 

And one more commonality:  Bogleheads and MMM-staches seem to have plenty of time for lively debate! 

Ha ha! I know, rather than turning me against bh, these threads tempt me into reading it on a regular basis.

neil

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2015, 12:06:59 PM »
There is nothing wrong with preferring the method of reporting to an employer, getting paid, and subsequently paying someone else for work.  But I feel the larger point about MMM's DIY posts are that things don't have to cost that most people think or assume, and can be done much cheaper with a little research and if the work suits you.  (I don't even see how this mentality is related to retirement.)

MMM notes a total savings of $8000, though I wasn't entirely sure of the source of the savings (bills over time vs initial cost).  The quote he got for this solution was $35K (vs $10K traditional) and I certainly don't make either number in 20 hours and this is totally out of bounds to the average American salary.  Maybe you could shop it around but no one is going to do the work for cost.  I feel like the point of these posts is to try to illustrate true cost of outsourcing your needs.

(Edit: I meant to also add the further point of using earned money from a good salary to pay for it adds another 20-40% depending on your state and tax rate.  So you have to work that much harder to compensate for the fact that you didn't want to do it yourself.)

Having said that, I would certainly not do it unless I had help.  But it is a very cool (or should I say hot) project and it falls right into the point that you should not simply hire an expert and assume what they suggest is the best option for you.  But if it wasn't for people like MMM we would probably not know about these kinds of options.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 12:28:16 PM by neil »

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2015, 02:09:30 PM »
Even if we suppose that MMM is a big fat liar and spends way more than he says, his philosophy still works.  You know how I know?  My wife and I also spend $25k/yr in non-housing expenses and we live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle that includes amazing food, very generous adult beverages, vacations, and the like. 

THIS!  My wife and I do it too!  As do tons of other people on the forums.

Some yahoo over there was calling for MMM to be audited by a third party, and someone else pointed out that his living expenses (25k not counting imputed rent) were perfectly reasonable and lots of people do it, and the guy calling for the audit said sure, what MMM said was completely possible, but he wanted to know if MMM was doing it.

Who the fuck cares?  If MMM's message works (and it does), I don't get a flip if he spends 1MM/year.  Because I'm not shaping how I spend on his personal spending - I'm shaping it on his ideas.

And it sure works.  And I couldn't be happier about it.  :)

At least only 8% of the poll (as of this post) said he was not a force for good.  10% haters isn't unexpected.
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vivophoenix

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2015, 02:19:43 PM »
Even if we suppose that MMM is a big fat liar and spends way more than he says, his philosophy still works.  You know how I know?  My wife and I also spend $25k/yr in non-housing expenses and we live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle that includes amazing food, very generous adult beverages, vacations, and the like. 

THIS!  My wife and I do it too!  As do tons of other people on the forums.

Some yahoo over there was calling for MMM to be audited by a third party, and someone else pointed out that his living expenses (25k not counting imputed rent) were perfectly reasonable and lots of people do it, and the guy calling for the audit said sure, what MMM said was completely possible, but he wanted to know if MMM was doing it.

Who the fuck cares?  If MMM's message works (and it does), I don't get a flip if he spends 1MM/year.  Because I'm not shaping how I spend on his personal spending - I'm shaping it on his ideas.

And it sure works.  And I couldn't be happier about it.  :)

At least only 8% of the poll (as of this post) said he was not a force for good.  10% haters isn't unexpected.

oh is that in line with the national hater index?

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2015, 02:27:54 PM »
The complaint about MMM's Hawaii trip provides a great example of people who don't know anything about him.  "He's lying about spending because he still traded his time for the trip."  If the deal hadn't been offered MMM might not have made the trip.  It's not like a month in Hawaii is a mandatory line item in everyone's budget.  If he still wanted to go he would have paid for it and listed it with everything else.  The fact that he found a way to enjoy a nice vacation without spending a large amount of money is one of the key points of MMM's entire program! 

A couple of the commenters stated they were not mechanical DIYers like MMM and would not trade the required amount of labor to get something done that they could otherwise pay for.  I'm pretty sure MMM says a cost/benefit analysis is appropriate and not every single task has to be a DIY job. 

brandino29

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2015, 06:36:36 PM »
There is nothing wrong with preferring the method of reporting to an employer, getting paid, and subsequently paying someone else for work.  But I feel the larger point about MMM's DIY posts are that things don't have to cost that most people think or assume, and can be done much cheaper with a little research and if the work suits you.  (I don't even see how this mentality is related to retirement.)

The radiant heat project sounded like an absolute bitch that I personally would never be interested in doing myself (then again, if I were retired, maybe I would think it a reasonable challenge to undertake).  But there are certainly instances that I've found that doing it yourself isn't all that bad and saves a shitton of money.  A while back, I replaced the spark plugs in my Ford Ranger for 2 hours, $50 bucks in parts and $8 on a six pack of beer for a buddy who knew what he was doing.  The quote I'd gotten from the shop was $350.

I've also saved a lot of money over the years on bike repair by spending an evening wrenching on my bike with a $5 Little Caesar's pizza and a 6 pack of beer and an evening hanging out with one of my bike mechanic buddies.

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2015, 12:37:43 AM »

Some yahoo over there was calling for MMM to be audited by a third party, and someone else pointed out that his living expenses (25k not counting imputed rent) were perfectly reasonable and lots of people do it, and the guy calling for the audit said sure, what MMM said was completely possible, but he wanted to know if MMM was doing it.

Who the fuck cares?  If MMM's message works (and it does), I don't get a flip if he spends 1MM/year.  Because I'm not shaping how I spend on his personal spending - I'm shaping it on his ideas.

I had some niggling doubt's about MMM spending... Thinking that quite a few unreported business expenses were also used for personal gain, like fetching groceries on your way back from the client site....or that it is easy to not spend on personal shopping when building a house because ALL of your time is spent buying things for the construction that you are tired of buying anything...

Or I thought that things would change next year, as their income is way up, and an 8-9 yo has more activities (costs) and driving involved...all those birthday parties, sports teams, chess club or whatever...

You know, like the little voice in my head that tells me that maybe a lot of the bible stories are metaphors, not literal...

But what literally drove it home for me was his two tanks of gas last year.  Homeschooled son without spendy pants hobbies ( other than cycling, I guess).  There is no way you hide personal spending behind business spending and still end up with two tanks of gas!

That speaks to a whole different mindset than my personal experience and gives me pause to ask myself about other ways to live....
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 08:04:47 AM by goldielocks »

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2015, 05:50:19 AM »



Everyone has ways that they can "play to their strengths" and take advantage of things that would otherwise cost them more or be impossible for them to do.  It doesn't mean you are cheating when you tally your total annual spending, it means you are cleverly finding ways to improve your quality of life for less money.
[/quote]

+1

The knitter

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2015, 06:05:35 AM »
Should there be a large disclaimer at the top of your budget warning people it's only possible to live on what you do since you've insourced wiping your own ass?


I don't normally LOL, but this had me cracking up.

17oclockshadow

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2015, 07:10:10 AM »
Someone bumped an old thread about MMM on Bogleheads recently (which then spawned a poll about whether MMM is a "force for good") and I was amazed how many internet retirement police posted on the thread. One poster even argues that MMM should provide a full financial audit to prove that he only spends $25k per year.

Bumped thread: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=136322&start=250
Poll thread: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=158004&newpost=2371156

MMM groupies alive and well on MMM forum!

Hopper

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2015, 07:41:52 AM »
My husband, a boglehead, calls MMM "financial porn" and points to all of those threads about his finagling the blog and doing hard manual labor to earn a Hawaii vacation as NOT real high living on 25k.   My DH rightly points out that we do not have the interest or skill in construction or blogging as a business.  Fair enough?  And yet we still want to go to Hawaii.  So its all about realizing what you want to do and saving enough to do THAT.  If that's building houses in your free time, great.  I guess I don't see MMM hiding what he does and how he does it.  So why criticize?  Isn't figuring it out and making the numbers work to support it what we are supposed to be doing? 

Personally, I have determined that I need to figure out a way to make MMM level spending cuts feel not like complete deprivation and worth the extra hassle and time to an already too hectic life to demonstrate to my DH that the MMM "porn" can be real and not just somebody's fantasy.  But I own that is my problem, not on MMM or anybody else that can reduce spending and still budget for the things that make them happy. 

Not to poo poo the bogleheads too much, but I have been to one of their conferences (did the vanguard tour with them too, which was fun enough, heard Jack Bogle talk) but they were a little boring to me.  I prefer MMM discussions.  So maybe I have a porn addiction?  :) 


Debtless in Texas

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2015, 08:01:18 AM »
It might be one of those self-hating things...they are so much alike that they cant stand to be around each other. With similar goals and methods, I think MMM has a bit more personality. Bogleheads reminds me of Ben Stein and I don't know why....

Nubs

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2015, 02:32:18 PM »
I have no idea why it would be in MMM's interest to lie.  But!  Even if we suppose that MMM is a big fat liar and spends way more than he says, his philosophy still works.  You know how I know?  My wife and I also spend $25k/yr in non-housing expenses and we live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle that includes amazing food, very generous adult beverages, vacations, and the like.  So it's relatively easy for me to see how he can do it, because I do it.

Call me a kool aid drinker if you like, but it makes absolutely no difference to me whatsoever how much MMM spends, how much his blog makes, or anything else.  I only care about the results, and by following his philosophy, I've achieved some amazing results.

Edit -- Or what Sid said.  Looks like we were thinking the same thing.

+1, same here.  Can't argue with results!   

DoubleDown

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2015, 02:59:39 PM »
This would be a good time for someone to respond to the audit-requester on Bogleheads with the quote that hath emanated from MMM himself in His Sacred Texts -- Principles Of Mustachianism -- Book of Virtues Chapter II (PoM -- BV, 2:3-4), that goes something like, "The first rule of baddassity is if you see someone doing something valuable and unusual, you don't question them, you question yourself."

Beric01

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2015, 03:07:09 PM »
MMM's method of tracking expenses actually does irritate me a bit - he excludes some items such as home improvement and "blog expenses". But regardless, I agree with the posters above. MMM is about his ideas. What MMM the man actually does is less relevant. I got a lot of inspiration from MMM, and now I'm more frugal than he is.

DoubleDown

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2015, 03:23:38 PM »
MMM's method of tracking expenses actually does irritate me a bit - he excludes some items such as home improvement and "blog expenses". But regardless, I agree with the posters above. MMM is about his ideas. What MMM the man actually does is less relevant. I got a lot of inspiration from MMM, and now I'm more frugal than he is.

I see what you're saying, but I'd offer it makes perfect sense. Keeping business expenses with the business is logical (not to mention essentially required from a legal/taxation standpoint), and the same goes for the house. For example, I'm going to be selling a rental house soon, and I'll be sinking some money into repairs and improvements before selling. I don't count those repairs and expenses as personal expenses, because they aren't. The money I spend on those things will be recovered in the sale of the home (or, more technically speaking, they're a cost of doing business/selling). But they aren't, like, toothpaste and groceries and eating out -- they are costs directly associated with maximizing the value of the asset. In MMM's case, he took proceeds from the sale of his other house to pay for improvements on the new house.

It's like if you transferred your mutual fund account from Edward Jones to Vanguard to save $10,000 in the long run, but the transfer cost you $100. I would not call that a personal expense -- it's a one-time transaction cost for improving your future, and it's a cost you could completely avoid if you wanted to maintain the less-optimal status quo.

Indexer

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2015, 05:19:51 PM »
It might be one of those self-hating things...they are so much alike that they cant stand to be around each other. With similar goals and methods, I think MMM has a bit more personality. Bogleheads reminds me of Ben Stein and I don't know why....

I use to spend a lot of time on the BH website.  I stopped going.   I like the MMM forums better.  :)

hoppy08520

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2015, 08:02:15 AM »
The supposed Bogleheads vs MMM feud is a strange one.

First, there's less of a feud than the agitators on both sites purport to be.

Did anyone notice the Boglehead poll Is MMM a force for good? There were 7 yes votes for every no vote. It just seems that there a few vocal Bogleheads who seem to get really worked up over MMM for some strange reason, but they are outnumbered by more than 7 to 1.

I for one love both sites. I found out about MMM from BH 2.5 years ago, in fact.


arebelspy

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2015, 11:02:42 AM »
The supposed Bogleheads vs MMM feud is a strange one.

First, there's less of a feud than the agitators on both sites purport to be.

Yeah.  I consider myself to be both a Boglehead and a Mustachian.  Supposed is a good word to use for it.


Did anyone notice the Boglehead poll Is MMM a force for good? There were 7 yes votes for every no vote. It just seems that there a few vocal Bogleheads who seem to get really worked up over MMM for some strange reason, but they are outnumbered by more than 7 to 1.

Good point.

And there are even people here who get worked up over how MMM reports his spending.

/shrug
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skyrefuge

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #35 on: February 17, 2015, 11:15:34 AM »
When MMM posted his 2014 expenses, he mentioned some stuff about homeschooling. That lead me to Google search for his previous references to homeschooling, which unexpectedly led me to Mrs. MM's unpublicized blog, filled with detailed, personal thoughts on the same topic (as well as other topics). I mentioned her blog in the homeschooling thread on this forum, and soon after, Mrs. MM posted in that thread. And of course the real-world shift to homeschooling is part of why in the virtual-world, MMM's posting frequency has decreased.

Even though I have never had one tiny bit of doubt that the MMs are a real family, and that their stories are honest views of their lives, something about that chain of interaction made that fact glaringly obvious, and it just made me laugh at all the MMM-truthers from that old bogleheads thread and elsewhere. I guess if you only see a Washington Post article or something, some doubt is reasonable, but it doesn't take much digging for it to become glaringly obvious that MMM is real.

The call for a journalistic inquest is funny too. Thanks to the Internet, a random guy reading a forum can be just as good of a sleuth as your average "journalist". If your doubts are really burning you up, just do the sleuthing on your own. Public records about the MM family's houses and businesses are out there, though I'd say don't waste your time searching for them, because they all exactly match with everything that's been reported on the blog.

And man, the way some of those 7000-post bogleheads cling to the one thing they read 3 years ago! The Hawaii barter-for-lodging thing was more than 2 years ago, and as far as I recall, he hasn't done anything similar since. The "construction business" was even older; I don't recall any serious construction (besides on his own house) since the 3-year-old foreclosure project. But these guys bring this stuff up like it's an ongoing thing he wouldn't be able to do without.

I loved how a few of them kept repeating the idea "what about when he needs a new roof?! huh? HUH? He's not accounting for that!!", and then someone finally dropped in a link to MMM's "I'll never need a new roof because I'm installing a steel roof by myself" post. Bam. Once again, he's already a step or two ahead of you worked-too-long complainypantses!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 11:17:31 AM by skyrefuge »

Tyler

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2015, 11:32:00 AM »
IMHO, Bogleheads is a good resource for investing but I wouldn't go there for early retirement talk. MMM is a good resource for frugal living and early retirement, but isnt my primary resource for investment advice. I think a lot of angst could be saved simply by appreciating resources for their strengths and carefully forming your own worldview rather than expecting a simple one-stop-shop.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #37 on: February 17, 2015, 11:33:24 AM »



I see what you're saying, but I'd offer it makes perfect sense. Keeping business expenses with the business is logical

I totally agree with you. I just wonder how someone can say they are retired when you have a business.

In my view, MMM is a successful entrepreneur who has created a great way to work for himself.  But as long as he has income from a non-passive source (blog, rentals if he manages them himself vs having a company do it all so that he is totally hands off- I don't know what he does) he isn't retired. He's still working. He just isn't working for someone else.  It's semantics though really, I don't care if he wants to call himself retired.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 12:46:29 PM by iowajes »

jackiechiles2

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #38 on: February 17, 2015, 12:26:35 PM »
I got enmeshed in the Boglehead discussion, and even posted a thing or two over there.  I think that the Bogleheads, like the MMM forums, have a few contrarians who will parse every phrase and pick apart every word as if we were all writing sworn affadavits on which hung the fate of the Constitution. 

The fact is that these are both interesting boards that provide slices of people's virtual lives (whatever it is they care to share, and however truthful they choose to be, and however limited -- or not-- their ability to express themselves well). 

I try to stand back and look at the big picture and big chunks of advice.  For me it's:

Bogleheads:  live within your means, save a lot and don't pay financial advisors ridiculous amounts of money for finances;  substitute instead low-cost index funds and stay the course.

MMM:  live within your means and make your needs few so that your means can be low, save every scrap and don't pay anyone money for anything that you don't need;  invest in low-cost index funds and stay the course. 

They're not really all that different. 

And one more commonality:  Bogleheads and MMM-staches seem to have plenty of time for lively debate!

Kind of like different Christian denominations isn't it?

Cpa Cat

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2015, 12:36:16 PM »
If I find out that MMM spends a hair over $25k, then I'm smashing my Ting phone and picking up the latest iPhone with the most expensive and wasteful data plan that I can find! I am also running right out to purchase a vacation home and a time share and a diamond necklace!

That is the price he shall pay for LYING!

arebelspy

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2015, 12:41:38 PM »
If I find out that MMM spends a hair over $25k, then I'm smashing my Ting phone and picking up the latest iPhone with the most expensive and wasteful data plan that I can find! I am also running right out to purchase a vacation home and a time share and a diamond necklace!

That is the price he shall pay for LYING!

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.
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EarlyStart

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2015, 06:15:44 PM »
If I find out that MMM spends a hair over $25k, then I'm smashing my Ting phone and picking up the latest iPhone with the most expensive and wasteful data plan that I can find! I am also running right out to purchase a vacation home and a time share and a diamond necklace!

That is the price he shall pay for LYING!

Hahaha... this.

I'm not really concerned with what MMM and his family are doing with themselves. Financial freedom through badassity, not benchmarking one guru or another.

MLKnits

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2015, 04:49:20 PM »
One poster even argues that MMM should provide a full financial audit to prove that he only spends $25k per year.

I find the skepticism fascinating (online and in person). I've been a pretty ridiculous spender, but it's easy to actually sit down and write up a reasonable budget that comes out to $25,000 or much less, with paid-off cars, low American car insurance, and even more than a thousand in rent or mortgage interest each month.

In other words, I understand the "I could never live like that!!!" defensive instinct, but I truly don't get the "no one can live like that!!!" version.

arebelspy

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2015, 05:04:20 PM »
One poster even argues that MMM should provide a full financial audit to prove that he only spends $25k per year.

I find the skepticism fascinating (online and in person). I've been a pretty ridiculous spender, but it's easy to actually sit down and write up a reasonable budget that comes out to $25,000 or much less, with paid-off cars, low American car insurance, and even more than a thousand in rent or mortgage interest each month.

In other words, I understand the "I could never live like that!!!" defensive instinct, but I truly don't get the "no one can live like that!!!" version.

If you read the thread though, other people pointed out that they're living like that, and the guy calling for the audit admitted that one could.  He just wasn't sure MMM was.

At that point, it's like.. who cares?  If you know the concept is viable, what's the point of questioning the one person.
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.

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2015, 09:37:21 AM »
If I find out that MMM spends a hair over $25k, then I'm smashing my Ting phone and picking up the latest iPhone with the most expensive and wasteful data plan that I can find! I am also running right out to purchase a vacation home and a time share and a diamond necklace!

That is the price he shall pay for LYING!
What the fuck? You completely forgot about financing a 7-seat SUV to commute 50 miles each way from the suburbs. Do you hate freedom or are you just a socialist?

Hopper

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #45 on: February 24, 2015, 09:48:49 AM »
If I find out that MMM spends a hair over $25k, then I'm smashing my Ting phone and picking up the latest iPhone with the most expensive and wasteful data plan that I can find! I am also running right out to purchase a vacation home and a time share and a diamond necklace!

That is the price he shall pay for LYING!
What the fuck? You completely forgot about financing a 7-seat SUV to commute 50 miles each way from the suburbs. Do you hate freedom or are you just a socialist?

+1
Thanks, Obama!

dividendman

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Re: Internet retirement police alive and well at Bogleheads
« Reply #46 on: February 26, 2015, 12:04:04 AM »
Did the guy on boggleheads ask for a short-form audit? Because that's not going to fly for me. I'm going to need the long-form audit to be convinced. Then someone better audit the auditor so we know they didn't make up the long-form audit. You never can be too sure, you know?

Should there be a large disclaimer at the top of your budget warning people it's only possible to live on what you do since you've insourced wiping your own ass?


I don't normally LOL, but this had me cracking up.

Fuck you sheepstache! I almost shat my pants laughing at this... which would have been ironic due to my in-sourced wiping.