Author Topic: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"  (Read 2668 times)

FireLane

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FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« on: April 02, 2024, 06:55:01 PM »
I saw this idiotic article on Reddit, and I just had to make fun of it:

https://wggtb.substack.com/p/the-fire-movement

The author, Jared Dillian, hates the whole idea of FIRE. Apparently, he's extremely offended by the idea of people living their lives according to a plan he doesn't agree with. Let's look at his reasoning:

Quote
Retirement is hard. If you don’t have a plan, you will descend into loneliness and despair, with Fox News as background noise. If you retire in your thirties, you will spend a lot of time playing the ding-a-ling banjo. After a few years of such self-abuse, you will write a book that nobody reads, play songs that nobody hears, or start a blog that nobody clicks on. You will accomplish nothing. You will live a life without accomplishment or purpose.

I'd agree that if you retire without any idea of what you want to do next, you'll be bored and unhappy. But that's not an argument against FIRE, because it's equally true of people who retire at any age.

If anything, people who retire young are more likely to have the passions and the energy to pursue their own goals in life, whereas many people who've spent their whole life in a corporate career have had that enthusiasm burned out of them. (Also, what's with the extreme snobbery of assuming a creative project is only valuable if enough people see it?)

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The one thing that all the FIRE people have in common is that they hate work. Like, they really, really hate their jobs. I have a theory on this. Happy people like their jobs, unhappy people don’t. It doesn’t matter what job they have; unhappy people will be unhappy no matter what they are doing. They talk about the “soul-destroying” 40-hour work week. I don’t know about you, but I like the 80-hour work week even better.

I'm a data point against this hypothesis, because I didn't hate my job. It paid me well, and I had a good manager and coworkers I got along with. It was as good as a corporate job could be. But I like not working a whole lot better!

And holy crap, 80-hour workweeks? This guy is setting himself up for a stress-induced heart attack at a young age and boasting about it.

Dillian seems to think that FIRE people are betting on the stock market returning 12% a year forever. I've never heard anyone make this claim. He seems completely ignorant of the Trinity Study and the 4% rule (which is, if anything, a conservative return expectation) - and many of us are planning on withdrawal rates even lower than that!

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It’s a belief that these 12% returns are an immutable law of nature, like gravity. Really, it’s an article of faith. You’re betting your life and your life savings on the idea that U.S. stocks will be the most attractive destination for capital over the next 100 years. I am not so sure, certainly not sure enough to bet my life on it.

I'm amused by the idea that FIRE people are "betting our lives" on the continued existence of the global stock market... but ordinary workers somehow aren't betting their lives on the continued existence of their jobs. If he's imagining a scenario where the stock market craters and all investments flatline for decades, yet somehow his specific job will employ him and pay him a salary the whole time, he's more ignorant of economics than I thought.

No early retiree who follows the FIRE plan is going to wake up one day and discover they're broke. The vast majority of us have a stash big enough to see a failure coming years in advance. And if that happens... well, we'll just have to go back to work. Big deal! As I heard it put once, our worst-case scenario is most people's everyday scenario.

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This is a fact: material things bring us happiness. It is good and right and a joyful thing to see a fancy new jacket in a store, try it on, look in the mirror, whip out your credit card, wear it out of the store, and show it off to all your friends. To deny yourself a lifetime of material possessions is insanity.

The life he's describing sounds sad and empty. It's not even a little controversial that material things don't bring lasting happiness, only a temporary bump of pleasure that soon fades and leaves you wanting the next thing. It's similar to any other addiction. But hey, if he'd rather have fancy jackets than the freedom of waking up each day and knowing he's free to do whatever he finds most meaningful - be my guest.

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Investing only works if other people are working. So really, the FIRE people are the ultimate free-riders, piggybacking off the efforts of others, while contributing nothing but blog posts and Instagram reels about Van Life.

...The FIRE people also have a poor understanding of how capitalism works—the stock market is a function of corporate profits which is a function of output, which requires everyone to chip in.

This is the most hilarious part of this essay: his argument that we all have a duty to keep working for the good of the stock market. Won't someone please think of the P/E ratios?!

If you think that living off investment returns is "free-riding" and shouldn't be allowed, then I've got news for you: you're not against FIRE, you're against capitalism. If we're going down that route, there are lots of billionaires and hedge-fund managers who are leeching off society and ought to go get a real job at their local McDonald's.

(As it happens, I'm skeptical of capitalism myself. At the very least, I think markets need to be overhauled to be more humane. No one should be denied food, housing or medical care because they're poor, and no one should be forced by financial desperation to accept abusive treatment or hazardous work. But somehow I doubt that's what he was driving at.)

All in all, this article was shoddy, poorly researched, and driven by personal animosity rather than facts. If there's a valid critique of the FIRE movement, I'd welcome the opportunity to hear it. If I need to make a course correction, I'd want to do that sooner rather than later. But there's nothing to be found on Dillian's blog except aggressive ignorance and low-quality flamebait.

Metalcat

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2024, 07:21:16 PM »
I personally did not need any kind of plan when I retired, in fact, I had a plan when I retired and that prevented me from decompressing properly.

I actually had to learn to give in, do nothing, and watch as much trash TV as my little brain could tolerate before I could actually figure out how to enjoy being retired.

Sure, some people can't manage to actually get their shit together and enjoy their lives in retirement without a plan, some people are truly not safe left to their own devices, but a hell of a lot of us here don't have that risk.

I'm so sick of retirement being painted as this sad, limited thing.

FFS, I'm disabled and I lost my ability to walk and I was still doing cool as fuck shit in retirement specifically because I had no plan and anything was possible.

Being FI and having all the time in the world means you can do just about anything. I impulse bought a house on a remote island 31 hours away, that I had never even been to, then moved there for half a year, renovated it, made new friends, and saw a bunch of icebergs, all because I had literally nothing else to do that sounded like a better idea at the time.

If you're retirement is boring, get some serious therapy because the only thing holding you back is you.

I have absolutely no patience for this bullshit narrative.

Villanelle

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2024, 07:39:42 PM »
He says "life without accomplishment" as though that's a bad thing (or as though volunteering, supporting the members of your social web, growing perfect tomatoes (and sharing them with neighbors or putting some in the free little pantry, or just hiking a beautiful valley and soaking it in are not accomplishments).  I'd submit that the point of life isn't "accomplishment" in the traditional sense.  Yes, since leaving my job, I've never improved the TPS report on-time submission record by 2% YoY, made a better-smelling shampoo that increases quarterly sales, or made a website load faster.  But those things have nothing to do with what I think is really important about life.  How sad to think that not only are they what life is about, but to think they are what life is *only* about. 

Materials things and employment-based accomplishments and 80-hour weeks bring him joy?  Great.  But the fact that he can't leave mental space to accept that those things are not what brings everyone job makes him kind of a small-minded idiot. 

TreeLeaf

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2024, 07:41:23 PM »
Interesting.

Honestly I have heard so many rebuttals to FIRE every time I mention it to anyone IRL I eventually just stopped mentioning the idea.

A lot of people are incredibly addicted and emotionally attached to material possessions, status, and money. They are so attached they will do anything to defend their desires and beliefs associating material success with social status.

It isn't enough for them to blindly follow their beliefs without question - they also have to dismiss anyone who has consciously looked at their life for a long time and chosen to abandon the temporary pleasure of things and replace it with the long term joy of freedom.

It's kind of sad, but a lot of things in life are like this. People get emotionally attached to certain beliefs, get some temporary pleasure from following them, and never stop to question if they should let go of those beliefs in exchange for their long term happiness and peace.

They simply continue on being ran by their own programming which they could change at any time if they simply stopped and consciously examined things. It's like a lot of humans are powerful mages who turned themselves into cats temporarily, then eventually forgot they were powerful mages.

Gone Fishing

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2024, 08:00:38 PM »
“low-quality flamebait”

Got you to repost…


Tass

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2024, 09:12:33 PM »
Learning to play the banjo sounds like a great retirement project to me.

I also love my job--like really, really, really love it. I just don't want to live on faith that I'll love it forever. To everything there is a season.

SweetTPi

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2024, 06:33:32 AM »
Quote from: FireLane link=topic=134031.msg3249046#msg3249046 date=1712105701
[quote
This is a fact: material things bring us happiness. It is good and right and a joyful thing to see a fancy new jacket in a store, try it on, look in the mirror, whip out your credit card, wear it out of the store, and show it off to all your friends. To deny yourself a lifetime of material possessions is insanity.
[/quote]

I find it really telling that the author uses religious language to describe buying a jacket.  I hear the bolded phase nearly weekly during the Holy Eucharist (Order II of the Episcopal church, aka 'modern' language)*.  Seems that the author has his god and his god is consumerism, money, and stuff.  Worshiping at the alter of consumerism brings him joy, or so he thinks.  No wonder he dislikes FIRE, which casts a critical eye on the the things he worships and basically states that it's not the highest spiritual pursuit.  FIRE is an attack on his god.

*In the Episcopal faith, the wording is is slightly different "right, good, and joyful thing" but my point is the same.  I would have to check to be sure, but I recall the phrase is also used in the more traditional wording of the Lutheran church.  Given the origins of both, I'd guess it's a commonality with the Roman Catholic church, but I've never been.

Metalcat

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2024, 06:45:30 AM »
Quote from: FireLane link=topic=134031.msg3249046#msg3249046 date=1712105701
[quote
This is a fact: material things bring us happiness. It is good and right and a joyful thing to see a fancy new jacket in a store, try it on, look in the mirror, whip out your credit card, wear it out of the store, and show it off to all your friends. To deny yourself a lifetime of material possessions is insanity.

I find it really telling that the author uses religious language to describe buying a jacket.  I hear the bolded phase nearly weekly during the Holy Eucharist (Order II of the Episcopal church, aka 'modern' language)*.  Seems that the author has his god and his god is consumerism, money, and stuff.  Worshiping at the alter of consumerism brings him joy, or so he thinks.  No wonder he dislikes FIRE, which casts a critical eye on the the things he worships and basically states that it's not the highest spiritual pursuit.  FIRE is an attack on his god.

*In the Episcopal faith, the wording is is slightly different "right, good, and joyful thing" but my point is the same.  I would have to check to be sure, but I recall the phrase is also used in the more traditional wording of the Lutheran church.  Given the origins of both, I'd guess it's a commonality with the Roman Catholic church, but I've never been.
[/quote]

It's also nutty to think that FIRE folks somehow don't own material possessions...

We do, our principles are that we just don't blow money on material shit that doesn't meaningfully improve our lives. We will often choose buying more freedom over buying a jacket.

It's not self-denial, it's having preferences about our luxuries.

Retiring early is a VERY high end luxury purchase. We're not cheap, we're snobs, and we know what we like.

Gone Fishing

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2024, 06:51:33 AM »
“Retiring early is a VERY high end luxury purchase. We're not cheap, we're snobs, and we know what we like.”

Really like how you put that!

By the River

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2024, 06:55:22 AM »
Quote from: FireLane link=topic=134031.msg3249046#msg3249046 date=1712105701
[quote
This is a fact: material things bring us happiness. It is good and right and a joyful thing to see a fancy new jacket in a store, try it on, look in the mirror, whip out your credit card, wear it out of the store, and show it off to all your friends. To deny yourself a lifetime of material possessions is insanity.

I find it really telling that the author uses religious language to describe buying a jacket.  I hear the bolded phase nearly weekly during the Holy Eucharist (Order II of the Episcopal church, aka 'modern' language)*.  Seems that the author has his god and his god is consumerism, money, and stuff.  Worshiping at the alter of consumerism brings him joy, or so he thinks.  No wonder he dislikes FIRE, which casts a critical eye on the the things he worships and basically states that it's not the highest spiritual pursuit.  FIRE is an attack on his god.

*In the Episcopal faith, the wording is is slightly different "right, good, and joyful thing" but my point is the same.  I would have to check to be sure, but I recall the phrase is also used in the more traditional wording of the Lutheran church.  Given the origins of both, I'd guess it's a commonality with the Roman Catholic church, but I've never been.

In the Catholic Eucharist, everyone says "It is right and just."  and the priest says "It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation..."   I believe that the author thinks that buying that jacket is both his duty and his salvation.

Dogastrophe

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2024, 07:10:44 AM »

Quote
.... you will write a book that nobody reads, play songs that nobody hears, or start a blog that nobody clicks on. You will accomplish nothing.

He's right, you will accomplish nothing, except you would have written a book, and a song, and started a blog, and probably enjoyed the time spent to 'accomplish nothing'.

Metalcat

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2024, 07:15:02 AM »
“Retiring early is a VERY high end luxury purchase. We're not cheap, we're snobs, and we know what we like.”

Really like how you put that!

I just really hate how FIRE is framed as sacrifice. It isn't.

It's framed as these poor, tragic losers who just don't understand how to live their lives well, all for some self-flaggelation fetish of self-denial for the sake of quitting and doing nothing until they die.

I mean...okay...

To be fair, I'm about as "retired" as Pete, I am actively working, just not in the very demanding profession that I left in my late 30s.

But back when I was a high earning professional, very little consumerist sending appealed to me more than "buying" financial security.

But if a material good will substantially improve my quality of life compared to more savings, then yeah, of course I'll buy it. That's just common fucking sense.

But if I make 200K/yr working 40hrs/week, assuming 6 weeks vacation, then where I live that's a whooping $70 after tax per hour.

So if I walk into a store and see a $200 jacket that is worth nearly a half day of my labour, then sure, that sounds like a great deal. But how many jackets are worth an entire half day of my labour?? Especially when I can probably find an almost as good jacket used for a half hour of my labour...

For example, I wanted a new wardrobe. I'm on meds that make me retain a ton of water, nothing I owned fit in a flattering way anymore. Like the writer, I care deeply about feeling good in my clothes.

I spent about $750 on new clothes, but because I'm frugal and shopped used and in buy nothing groups, that got me, like, 30 luxury cashmere and merino wool tops, 5 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of leather boots, 3 pairs of leather shoes, a trench coat, and a heavy wool winter coat. I now wear a long Armani cashmere top as pyjamas because it has a tiny hole by the collar, and I have so much cashmere now that it's more valuable to me as pyjamas than to bother repairing it.

Had I gone to a nice store and plopped my credit card down on new versions of these items, I would have 3 items, max. And by that I just mean the simple tops, since the handmade wool fisherman's sweater alone would cost $400 new, and the heavy full-length wool coat with the beaver-fur trim would probably retail for around $1000.

So...uh...by being frugal, I get to have WAY MORE cool, luxury shit.

Tell me again how deprived I am by losing out on buying a jacket??

Metalcat

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2024, 07:20:16 AM »

Quote
.... you will write a book that nobody reads, play songs that nobody hears, or start a blog that nobody clicks on. You will accomplish nothing.

He's right, you will accomplish nothing, except you would have written a book, and a song, and started a blog, and probably enjoyed the time spent to 'accomplish nothing'.

Because being happy and healthy and living your best life is "accomplishing nothing."

Frankly the folks who invest time here on these forums educating random strangers about money and happiness probably have more lasting, profound, positive impact than most employed people.

FireLane

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2024, 08:34:09 AM »
He says "life without accomplishment" as though that's a bad thing (or as though volunteering, supporting the members of your social web, growing perfect tomatoes (and sharing them with neighbors or putting some in the free little pantry, or just hiking a beautiful valley and soaking it in are not accomplishments).  I'd submit that the point of life isn't "accomplishment" in the traditional sense.  Yes, since leaving my job, I've never improved the TPS report on-time submission record by 2% YoY, made a better-smelling shampoo that increases quarterly sales, or made a website load faster.  But those things have nothing to do with what I think is really important about life.  How sad to think that not only are they what life is about, but to think they are what life is *only* about. 

What? You've never improved TPS report submission records? You've wasted your life. :)

For all the good it's done, the incentives of capitalism are terrible. I think about how many brilliant people spend their careers convincing poor people to take out predatory mortgages, or manufacturing unrecyclable junk that trashes the planet, or finding new ways to get us to watch commercials. They could have used their talents for something so much more meaningful, but instead they're stuck doing what makes money, whether out of financial necessity or just because they've never wondered whether there's an alternative.

The best part of FIRE, for me, is that it encourages us to question what makes life truly worthwhile and gives us the freedom to act on whatever we decide. But for some people, that's a deeply threatening idea, because it implies that their current life path isn't the best one and they don't want to hear that. Better just to heap insults on us and talk about how nice it feels to buy things.

“low-quality flamebait”

Got you to repost…

Haha, you got me there. But this article was so aggressively stupid, I couldn't let it just sit in my head. I had to share it.

It's reassuring, in a weird way. If FIRE-haters had well-reasoned arguments about why it wouldn't work or why it wouldn't make us happy, I'd be concerned. FIRE is an unconventional life choice, after all. I've definitely had moments where I worried that I was making a terrible mistake. Maybe there are good reasons why more people don't do it, even rich people who could afford to do it.

But if this slurry of insults and uninformed criticisms is the best that the critics have to offer, I feel better about myself!

A lot of people are incredibly addicted and emotionally attached to material possessions, status, and money. They are so attached they will do anything to defend their desires and beliefs associating material success with social status.

It isn't enough for them to blindly follow their beliefs without question - they also have to dismiss anyone who has consciously looked at their life for a long time and chosen to abandon the temporary pleasure of things and replace it with the long term joy of freedom.

It's kind of sad, but a lot of things in life are like this. People get emotionally attached to certain beliefs, get some temporary pleasure from following them, and never stop to question if they should let go of those beliefs in exchange for their long term happiness and peace.

Well said!

On the topic of the bizarrely religious language that Dillian used about consumption, his response to FIRE is like the way an authoritarian religion reacts to heretics. It's not enough to be confident in your own beliefs; you have to force everyone else to affirm them too.

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2024, 09:40:02 AM »
On the topic of "if everyone FIRE'd, the stock market wouldn't work" - this isn't actually quite as insane a statement as it sounds like it could be. Pete talked about it way back when: https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/09/what-if-everyone-became-frugal/ . I think that his answer is actually pretty good - if everyone wanted to FIRE/be frugal, then work incentives would be sharply contrasted by other incentives (say, the desire to go climbing for a quarter of the year, etc.).

It's a valid criticism that if FIRE is only about using the stock market to generate gains which mean we don't need to work while we live in otherwise socially 'normal' ways, that not everyone can do that. On the other hand, if we use FIRE to allow us to change the way we live in the world; to deprioritize consumption as the main way that society solves problems, and prioritize non-economic but high value activities (whether that's being more present parenting, making art, volunteering or being better neighbours) then maybe life could be a shitload better for lots of people?

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2024, 07:14:00 AM »
Having a read through some of his other posts, he's actually an advocate of some similar things that the FIRE movement does in terms of financial responsibility, except with a different end goal. Hey, you do you man. If you want to exchange your work for things that make you happy, that's awesome. I'd like to exchange my work for a period of time to do some things I want to do that I can't currently do because of the work. If that makes me happy, that's also awesome.
There's a few posts about his literary and DJing career, which together with the conspicuous consumption (this isn't negative if it fulfilling to you) and identity derived from work, seem to indicate his happiness comes from being heard and seen and valued.
If he has discovered what really gives his life value then I am happy for the guy. I'd simply say that I'm searching for what gives me life value. I actually enjoy my job, but there are some things I want to do with my life while I am healthy and young that don't align with work. Or you know what? Maybe I will find the work that gives me that feeling - but I would like to be financially independent before I search that out.

AO1FireTo

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2024, 08:13:21 AM »
to me the FI part of FIRE is the most important thing, once I reached that goal, the stress really melted away.  It's the FI that gives you the  option to do anything you choose to do.  The RE part is always the part that is misunderstood.  Anyone that disciplined enough to achieve FI early, isn't likely going to waste their life away when they no longer are "employed".

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2024, 04:03:21 PM »
I’m reluctant to give this guy the clicks but I noticed the religious language & religious conflict framing in the excerpts: “a good and right and a joyful thing,” “an article of faith.” I’m unconvinced that anyone feels secure in their beliefs who belongs to the mainstream belief system, & yet feels compelled to proactively, aggressively deny that any heretical alternatives could have merit. It smacks of a desperate plea for approval from adherents to that value system.

IF this piece is sincere & well-represented by the excerpts here, then he seems a very sad, insecure sort of person. In that case I don’t think he’s found what makes him happy & fulfilled, I think he’s professing what he WISHES did. But I don’t think that’s the actual case.

More likely than sincerity, he’s capitalizing on popular bandwagon discourse - which is why he makes a half-baked anticapitalist argument from a pro-capitalist neoliberal position about the good of the market. A lot of the distaste for FIREees is coming from big names & brands in finance (who benefit from endless consumerism treadmills, because their advice remains relevant only so long as their audiences are in financial turmoil) but then laundered as pull-quotes through clickbait journalism marketed to the least financially-literate, with a predictable two part narrative - “look at these spoiled, rich-wannabe assholes trying to get ahead of you” to drum up resentment, followed by the gratifying claim “...who are actually secret failures.” No need to reconsider your life or values, anybody: everyone who leaves the consumerist herd dies alone, in a ditch, clutching their bag of pilfered fast food ketchup packets & stolen public potty toilet paper, so normal downtrodden hustlers doing their best, such as the reader, will have the last laugh.

...
Dillian seems to think that FIRE people are betting on the stock market returning 12% a year forever. I've never heard anyone make this claim. He seems completely ignorant of the Trinity Study and the 4% rule (which is, if anything, a conservative return expectation) - and many of us are planning on withdrawal rates even lower than that!

Quote
It’s a belief that these 12% returns are an immutable law of nature, like gravity. Really, it’s an article of faith. You’re betting your life and your life savings on the idea that U.S. stocks will be the most attractive destination for capital over the next 100 years. I am not so sure, certainly not sure enough to bet my life on it.

I'm amused by the idea that FIRE people are "betting our lives" on the continued existence of the global stock market... but ordinary workers somehow aren't betting their lives on the continued existence of their jobs. If he's imagining a scenario where the stock market craters and all investments flatline for decades, yet somehow his specific job will employ him and pay him a salary the whole time, he's more ignorant of economics than I thought.

No early retiree who follows the FIRE plan is going to wake up one day and discover they're broke. The vast majority of us have a stash big enough to see a failure coming years in advance. And if that happens... well, we'll just have to go back to work. Big deal! As I heard it put once, our worst-case scenario is most people's everyday scenario.
...

Regarding the two lines I bolded above - firstly, unfortunately, I have news for you about Dave Ramsey....

I probably need to tattoo that second line inside my own eyelids.

As for the supposed evils of early retirement & foregoing “accomplishment,” does anyone ever get a sense that a lot of these achievement absolutists are also likely raging ageists who would say, with or without malice, similar very demeaning things about older retirees’ ongoing lives as lesser, even wasted (& perhaps also variously about disabled people, children, women who don’t work outside the home, people who are less than highly compensated...) if it were socially acceptable?

FireLane

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2024, 08:31:15 PM »
Regarding the two lines I bolded above - firstly, unfortunately, I have news for you about Dave Ramsey....

Well, I don't pay attention to Dave Ramsey, so that would certainly explain that. :)

Anyway, he's not really a FIRE person, is he? From what I've heard of him, he's the Money 101 guy - possibly useful for people who need to learn beginner budgeting, but not much good for anything more complicated than that.

If he's telling people to bank on 12% stock returns, that would back up that impression I have of him.

Quote
As for the supposed evils of early retirement & foregoing “accomplishment,” does anyone ever get a sense that a lot of these achievement absolutists are also likely raging ageists who would say, with or without malice, similar very demeaning things about older retirees’ ongoing lives as lesser, even wasted (& perhaps also variously about disabled people, children, women who don’t work outside the home, people who are less than highly compensated...) if it were socially acceptable?

Heck, you can find examples of that attitude now, and you don't even have to look very hard.

Take the all-too-common belief that only work done outside the home, for pay, is "real work", and tasks performed by stay-at-home parents, like cleaning, shopping, cooking and child care, are "women's work" and don't count for anything (regardless of how necessary they might be for supporting the earning partner and allowing them to work that prestigious job...)

You can see people expressing that sexist attitude all over the internet. It's closely related to the viewpoint Dillian argues for, that no human activity has meaning unless you can put a dollar sign on it.

Chris Pascale

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2024, 09:34:41 PM »
With all the ding a ling banjo going on, I guess he envisions no potential partners would like a successful person who doesn't live by others' rules. Or, I guess, he's saying, 'if my GF worked while I could be home all day, I'd just whack it.......and finally write that novel I've always wanted to.......and learn guitar!'

He's describing a very creative person without marketing skills, and I would like to congratulate him for writing what he knows.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2024, 09:37:19 PM by Chris Pascale »

Metalcat

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2024, 05:58:19 AM »
With all the ding a ling banjo going on, I guess he envisions no potential partners would like a successful person who doesn't live by others' rules. Or, I guess, he's saying, 'if my GF worked while I could be home all day, I'd just whack it.......and finally write that novel I've always wanted to.......and learn guitar!'

He's describing a very creative person without marketing skills, and I would like to congratulate him for writing what he knows.

What's hilarious is that my spouse and I both very openly talk about how I became such a better partner when I gave up my elite career where I made twice as much money as they did, lol.

*I* struggled quite a bit with perceiving my own value without a job, and it was my spouse who eventually dragged me out of that nonsense thinking by making it ABUNDANTLY clear to me that while they were very supportive of my career success and absolutely willing to accept the trade offs it required, that their own experience of our marriage was dramatically improved by so much of my focus NOT being eaten up by my work.

It turns out have a really happy, healthy, present, emotionally generous, attentive partner is actually a lot nicer than spending on consumerist shit.

Just Joe

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2024, 10:06:27 AM »
Let's see - 80 hr weeks and occasional time off so we can be better consumerists vs our weekend "routine" all the time (slow starts, hot coffee, taking the dog for a walk, hobbies, adventures).

I'll take the second choice please. 

Shuchong

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2024, 10:53:10 AM »
Quote from: FireLane link=topic=134031.msg3249046#msg3249046 date=1712105701
[quote
This is a fact: material things bring us happiness. It is good and right and a joyful thing to see a fancy new jacket in a store, try it on, look in the mirror, whip out your credit card, wear it out of the store, and show it off to all your friends. To deny yourself a lifetime of material possessions is insanity.

I find it really telling that the author uses religious language to describe buying a jacket.  I hear the bolded phase nearly weekly during the Holy Eucharist (Order II of the Episcopal church, aka 'modern' language)*.  Seems that the author has his god and his god is consumerism, money, and stuff.  Worshiping at the alter of consumerism brings him joy, or so he thinks.  No wonder he dislikes FIRE, which casts a critical eye on the the things he worships and basically states that it's not the highest spiritual pursuit.  FIRE is an attack on his god.

*In the Episcopal faith, the wording is is slightly different "right, good, and joyful thing" but my point is the same.  I would have to check to be sure, but I recall the phrase is also used in the more traditional wording of the Lutheran church.  Given the origins of both, I'd guess it's a commonality with the Roman Catholic church, but I've never been.

In the Catholic Eucharist, everyone says "It is right and just."  and the priest says "It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation..."   I believe that the author thinks that buying that jacket is both his duty and his salvation.

Lutheran chiming in.  We use "good, right, and salutary." 

Also, this cracks me up because I did get a "new" jacket recently -- from a thrift store, for $11.  I think it made me feel better than a completely new jacket would have, because it was good value (Eddie Bauer, from 2018, but in great condition), and it was being reused, and the proceeds go to support a local nonprofit.  I have worn it around town multiple times now, so perhaps that counts as showing it off to my friends?  My point is, I am not feeling at all deprived by my lesser shopping experience. 

Kris

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2024, 12:06:32 PM »
Quote from: FireLane link=topic=134031.msg3249046#msg3249046 date=1712105701
[quote
This is a fact: material things bring us happiness. It is good and right and a joyful thing to see a fancy new jacket in a store, try it on, look in the mirror, whip out your credit card, wear it out of the store, and show it off to all your friends. To deny yourself a lifetime of material possessions is insanity.

I find it really telling that the author uses religious language to describe buying a jacket.  I hear the bolded phase nearly weekly during the Holy Eucharist (Order II of the Episcopal church, aka 'modern' language)*.  Seems that the author has his god and his god is consumerism, money, and stuff.  Worshiping at the alter of consumerism brings him joy, or so he thinks.  No wonder he dislikes FIRE, which casts a critical eye on the the things he worships and basically states that it's not the highest spiritual pursuit.  FIRE is an attack on his god.

*In the Episcopal faith, the wording is is slightly different "right, good, and joyful thing" but my point is the same.  I would have to check to be sure, but I recall the phrase is also used in the more traditional wording of the Lutheran church.  Given the origins of both, I'd guess it's a commonality with the Roman Catholic church, but I've never been.

In the Catholic Eucharist, everyone says "It is right and just."  and the priest says "It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation..."   I believe that the author thinks that buying that jacket is both his duty and his salvation.

Lutheran chiming in.  We use "good, right, and salutary." 

Also, this cracks me up because I did get a "new" jacket recently -- from a thrift store, for $11.  I think it made me feel better than a completely new jacket would have, because it was good value (Eddie Bauer, from 2018, but in great condition), and it was being reused, and the proceeds go to support a local nonprofit.  I have worn it around town multiple times now, so perhaps that counts as showing it off to my friends?  My point is, I am not feeling at all deprived by my lesser shopping experience.

Agreed. I just had a pair of boots split in a way that could not be repaired. I was dismayed because they're an integral part of my wardrobe. But yay, I was able to find a similar pair by the same brand on Poshmark for pretty damn cheap, and since it was a brand I knew, I felt comfortable that the size was correct. Just got them today, and now I have the satisfaction of like-new boots for easily a third of the price I would have had to pay for new. That is not a lesser shopping experience at all, to me. 

Metalcat

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2024, 12:26:11 PM »
Quote from: FireLane link=topic=134031.msg3249046#msg3249046 date=1712105701
[quote
This is a fact: material things bring us happiness. It is good and right and a joyful thing to see a fancy new jacket in a store, try it on, look in the mirror, whip out your credit card, wear it out of the store, and show it off to all your friends. To deny yourself a lifetime of material possessions is insanity.

I find it really telling that the author uses religious language to describe buying a jacket.  I hear the bolded phase nearly weekly during the Holy Eucharist (Order II of the Episcopal church, aka 'modern' language)*.  Seems that the author has his god and his god is consumerism, money, and stuff.  Worshiping at the alter of consumerism brings him joy, or so he thinks.  No wonder he dislikes FIRE, which casts a critical eye on the the things he worships and basically states that it's not the highest spiritual pursuit.  FIRE is an attack on his god.

*In the Episcopal faith, the wording is is slightly different "right, good, and joyful thing" but my point is the same.  I would have to check to be sure, but I recall the phrase is also used in the more traditional wording of the Lutheran church.  Given the origins of both, I'd guess it's a commonality with the Roman Catholic church, but I've never been.

In the Catholic Eucharist, everyone says "It is right and just."  and the priest says "It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation..."   I believe that the author thinks that buying that jacket is both his duty and his salvation.

Lutheran chiming in.  We use "good, right, and salutary." 

Also, this cracks me up because I did get a "new" jacket recently -- from a thrift store, for $11.  I think it made me feel better than a completely new jacket would have, because it was good value (Eddie Bauer, from 2018, but in great condition), and it was being reused, and the proceeds go to support a local nonprofit.  I have worn it around town multiple times now, so perhaps that counts as showing it off to my friends?  My point is, I am not feeling at all deprived by my lesser shopping experience.

It's funny, DH sent me on a mission to find myself a new piece of jewelry for my upcoming graduation, I have some pretty spiffy pieces from my last 2 degrees.

Anyhoo, my taste in jewelry is unfortunately extremely expensive, but it was very interesting to go shopping and looking at all of these really lovely pieces. It wasn't that I couldn't afford them, if I really wanted them, I could buy any given one of them, it was just that none of them, no matter how nice, were worth the price.

It wasn't about whether I could afford pretty jewelry, it was that in a world of infinite things to spend on, these pretty baubles would just never stack up compared to other things of the same cost. I have a massive list of non-profits I would rather donate 15K to than spend that on a bracelet, there's just no universe where a bracelet will bring me 15K worth of joy.

Being able to afford to buy something is NOT the same as that item being worth spending on.

I find there's this strange anti-frugality bias that only accounts for the nice feeling of being *able* to buy expensive things and an almost total disregard for whether those things are worth their cost.

Is it nice to have a fancy, well-tailored jacket? Sure, of course, I have several. But is a $3200 Burberry trench coat really that much better than the $30, well-tailored trench coat I just bought second hand?? Would it really enhance my quality of life over a hundred times more??

Being able to spend on expensive things doesn't make spending on them beneficial by default.

bacchi

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2024, 11:00:48 AM »
More likely than sincerity, he’s capitalizing on popular bandwagon discourse - which is why he makes a half-baked anticapitalist argument from a pro-capitalist neoliberal position about the good of the market. A lot of the distaste for FIREees is coming from big names & brands in finance (who benefit from endless consumerism treadmills, because their advice remains relevant only so long as their audiences are in financial turmoil) but then laundered as pull-quotes through clickbait journalism marketed to the least financially-literate, with a predictable two part narrative - “look at these spoiled, rich-wannabe assholes trying to get ahead of you” to drum up resentment, followed by the gratifying claim “...who are actually secret failures.” No need to reconsider your life or values, anybody: everyone who leaves the consumerist herd dies alone, in a ditch, clutching their bag of pilfered fast food ketchup packets & stolen public potty toilet paper, so normal downtrodden hustlers doing their best, such as the reader, will have the last laugh.

Agreed. The screed approaches Poe's Law (or a corollary of it) but doesn't quite meet it. It's a hit piece designed to catch eyeballs from the pro-WLB backlash.

Quote from: dillian
But go out and buy a new Rolex and tell me that stuff doesn’t make you happy. The Rolex doesn’t make you happy—it was the virtues it took to make the money that you bought it with, which is something the FIRE people will never understand.
(bolded)

Well, that's the truth. A Rolex?!? Who am I impressing, some 80 year old man? Some bro who wears suede Italian loafers? Ffs, that's embarrassing.

AMandM

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2024, 01:05:34 PM »
Quote from: dillian
But go out and buy a new Rolex and tell me that stuff doesn’t make you happy. The Rolex doesn’t make you happy—it was the virtues it took to make the money that you bought it with, which is something the FIRE people will never understand.
(bolded)

Well, that's the truth. A Rolex?!? Who am I impressing, some 80 year old man? Some bro who wears suede Italian loafers? Ffs, that's embarrassing.

The author obviously can't imagine that someone with the virtues necessary to earn a Rolex worth of disposable cash might think (know) that there are better things to do with that cash.

Laura33

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2024, 02:33:31 PM »
So, basically, another "wait, there are people out there who are not exactly like me?  They must be either misguided or stupid" article.  Although to give credit where it's due, this one had a bit more holier-than-thou than most.

I do particularly like the "FIRE people don't understand capitalism" part.  Dude.  You know that "capitalist" comes from "capital," right?  And that it got its name because it prioritizes the value of free capital to drive the economy?  As compared to other economic theories that prioritize, say, the value of labor?  Sitting back and letting your little dollars do all the work for you is capitalism.

My "I do not think that word means what you think it means" moment for the day. 

Telecaster

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2024, 02:40:45 PM »

Quote from: dillian
But go out and buy a new Rolex and tell me that stuff doesn’t make you happy. The Rolex doesn’t make you happy—it was the virtues it took to make the money that you bought it with, which is something the FIRE people will never understand.
(bolded)

Well, that's the truth. A Rolex?!? Who am I impressing, some 80 year old man? Some bro who wears suede Italian loafers? Ffs, that's embarrassing.

The other part of this is that you still have the virtues, regardless if you bought the Rolex or not.   


eyesonthehorizon

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2024, 10:36:57 PM »

Quote from: dillian
But go out and buy a new Rolex and tell me that stuff doesn’t make you happy. The Rolex doesn’t make you happy—it was the virtues it took to make the money that you bought it with, which is something the FIRE people will never understand.
(bolded)

Well, that's the truth. A Rolex?!? Who am I impressing, some 80 year old man? Some bro who wears suede Italian loafers? Ffs, that's embarrassing.

The other part of this is that you still have the virtues, regardless if you bought the Rolex or not.

Were I to guess (I didn’t click through, so based on the excerpted) the author neither can afford a Rolex nor is confident enough in his virtues that he doesn’t need to prove them to himself & others with a luxury good. If he can’t show it off, it might as well not exist.

I bought myself a nice (slightly over $100 & new*) luxury item sometime after reaching FI - it was replacing an old defunct version of the same thing, but there’s no reason really why I should have spent so much. For one thing, it’s unlike me. It’s not something that needed to be expensive, & usually to me that’s a call to go cheap. It’s not the sort of thing you show off really, so the pleasure of owning it is personal/ mostly private.

I just saw it years before & it caught my memory; it was very well-made & will be still useful to someone even after my lifespan. So I decided money wasn’t a limiting factor there - no more expensive version could have appealed more, but I also hadn’t seen something I liked better at any price, or any value relative to price, in the years since I first saw it. It’s what I decided I wanted, so why compromise? Metalcat was getting at discriminating tastes with “we’re not cheap, we’re snobs, & we know what we like.” Being picky is why I hadn’t replaced the old ragged version a half-dozen times already; I trust I’ll remain so picky that I’m at no risk of unsustainable shopping.

*I had kept watch for a used one, but they don’t seem to come up used often, which seems to be a good sign for longevity.

NoVa

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2024, 08:46:40 AM »

Quote from: dillian
But go out and buy a new Rolex and tell me that stuff doesn’t make you happy. The Rolex doesn’t make you happy—it was the virtues it took to make the money that you bought it with, which is something the FIRE people will never understand.
(bolded)

Well, that's the truth. A Rolex?!? Who am I impressing, some 80 year old man? Some bro who wears suede Italian loafers? Ffs, that's embarrassing.

The other part of this is that you still have the virtues, regardless if you bought the Rolex or not.


Yeah, why would you want some third rate Rolex when you could have bought a Patek Philippe?
« Last Edit: April 10, 2024, 09:34:50 AM by NoVa »

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2024, 04:16:39 AM »

Quote from: dillian
But go out and buy a new Rolex and tell me that stuff doesn’t make you happy. The Rolex doesn’t make you happy—it was the virtues it took to make the money that you bought it with, which is something the FIRE people will never understand.
(bolded)

Well, that's the truth. A Rolex?!? Who am I impressing, some 80 year old man? Some bro who wears suede Italian loafers? Ffs, that's embarrassing.

I'd rather have the virtues, AND the cash, than a bit of random bling that will stop running in a week or two because I fry batteries.
The other part of this is that you still have the virtues, regardless if you bought the Rolex or not.

Zikoris

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2024, 11:18:53 AM »
I think a lot of these articles just boil down to the fact that real Type-A go-getter personality types often just cannot fathom that a lot of people absolutely do not give a shit about accomplishing things, climbing the corporate ladder, or being seen in a particular light (successful, high-status, etc) by society at large. I do not get fulfillment from any job, because I'm not wired that way - I get it from reading, travelling, independent learning, cool experiences, and spending time with family and friends. I do not give one shit about any corporation, any accolade a corporation could bestow on me, or any consumer thing I could purchase.

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2024, 12:30:58 PM »
I'm very type-A go-getter, but it still makes no sense to me to predicate your own sense of accomplishment on what society finds worth accomplishing, they're typically miserable.

Absent generational wealth, FI requires personal & circumstantial capacity to achieve as well as commitment to achieve (by some metric.) In countries with a substantial disparity between normal incomes (& expected consumption) vs. baseline COL, FI can be achieved by type A, type B, or other.

Seeking RE requires at least a willingness to question what society says is worth achieving. You can land on the decision to keep the job as many SWAMIs do, but the mustachian definition of 'retirement' is no longer living & working for the dollar, instead substituting your own values as what determine your days.

It's the last bit these guys, even including a lot of retirees, just cannot comprehend - they tend to believe there's one right set of values everyone should have, more often than not the social consensus values. That's also why they often attribute desire to RE to a deficit of the first or second factors, despite FI as evidence to the contrary.

lifeisshort123

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Re: FIRE: "the stupidest thing I have ever heard of"
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2024, 06:28:57 PM »
A few things:
- We cannot consume our way to happiness.  It is simply not possible.
- Doing work that I love I find incredibly fulfilling.  The idea of just stopping and doing nothing would be a challenge for me.
- There are many degrees of FIRE, and I would argue many of the "FIRE personalities" are in fact not FIREd at all - they run a blog, they manage websites, businesses, etc. but they are doing something they enjoy doing and it provides for them.
- Most of the FIRE people I know are not the millennial who retires at 30 years old, they tend to be people who worked frugally, still found ways to enjoy living now, and retired say 10-20 years early.
- I want to prioritize saving for the future/financial independence, etc.  There is something so amazing about not being responsible to anyone else besides yourself.  On the other hand, I want to enjoy some things in life today, because who knows what tomorrow has in store.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!