Author Topic: Are you treating people differently?  (Read 8962 times)

cwide

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Are you treating people differently?
« on: August 08, 2014, 08:57:18 PM »
As you can see by my small post count I am a newbie.  I recently stumbled across this website and all of this is new to me in some ways.  I can live on very little, but I used to buy a lot of random gadgets thinking it would make me happy.  Anyway, I am currently saving money and working on paying off student loans as fast as possible.  Luckily I am still young and have some time to reverse my past financial mistakes.

That's enough about me. I recently explained this idea to my girlfriend (who is also quite frugal). She is very skeptical of the idea... probably just because it is out of the societal norm and she hasn't had time to do some basic guesses with the math yet.  She told me that she talked her friend about the idea, who in turn told her this story:

Her friend's Grandpa, on a low salary with 3 kids and a wife, lived in a way that allowed him to retire around 50. The goal of early retirement turned him into a very stingy man who didn't change even after he had reached his goal. This apparently ruined his marriage and family. 

Now, this seems quite contradictory to most things that I read on here. MMM seems to have a good relationship with his family and they seem to be having quite a bit of fun. I'm sure her friend's Grandpa was also not very mustachian.  However, I think stories like this are making my girlfriend (who will be my wife someday) weary of the whole thing. Her main concern is that we would worry too much about saving every penny and stop being generous. The question is....

Have you guys noticed a change in your personal relationships since you started going down the FIRE road?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 09:09:45 PM by cwide »

lifejoy

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2014, 09:03:18 PM »
For me, I am mustachian, but never limit my generosity towards others. I tend to give experiences and food, more than stuff, since finding MMM.

Emilyngh

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2014, 09:08:08 PM »


Have you guys noticed a change in your personal relationships since you started going down the FIRE road?

No.   TBF, I was frugal before, I just have a grand life purpose for my frugalness and feel inspired thinking about it.   If anything it has made me less cheap by focusing on aligning spending with my values vs. just spending as little as possible (which is more like how I thought before).

The only negative consequence that I've noticed is that I have found myself sometimes so immersed in it that I lose touch with the reality of how most people really live.   This can make me sometimes perhaps say more insensitive things to friends and/or come off as uppity (eg, I forget that my peers do not have a positive net worth, invest 25%+ per month, "have to" have 2 incomes, etc and sometimes I think it shows that I'm a little shocked when reminded).    I don't think it's a big problem, but something I try to watch out for.

briandougherty

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2014, 09:13:41 PM »
Nope.  But I never was good at giving gifts and never really liked getting them.  I think people are generally better at figuring out what they want on their own.  I also am not sure what stingy with your family would mean.  For your spouse... well, you should be making decisions together so if "stingy" means you are controlling money decisions and blocking them out then that's a greater problem.  For (grown) kids... well, why do you need to be anything but stingy?  They can make money and buy things they value.

On the other hand, I feel more inclined to be helpful in doing things.  I'm happy to learn a skill and help a friend or just kick in and do menial labor.

I also didn't really become mustachian at any point.  I've always saved a lot, I just started investing more after finding MMM.

sandandsun

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2014, 09:28:04 PM »


Her friend's Grandpa, on a low salary with 3 kids and a wife, lived in a way that allowed him to retire around 50. The goal of early retirement turned him into a very stingy man who didn't change even after he had reached his goal. This apparently ruined his marriage and family. 



Really, that's more of a commentary on that particular person than the goal of ER... Sounds like he was just a cheap bastard who happened to be able to retire early : )
I've never been big into giving gifts for the usual reasons/holidays, so I'm probably not the best person to ask, but I will say that as I got closer to FI, I became more aware of my ability to really help in financial terms when needed.  I've never been asked for money by friends or family, but I've been able to be generous on a few occasions when it was very needed and appreciated... That is totally something that my modest lifestyle and saving habits have allowed me to do... So in my case at least, I would say having that sense of control financially has allowed me to be more generous than I could have been otherwise (i.e. If I was buying useless gifts for every occasion when it was not truly needed or appreciated)...

firelight

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2014, 09:51:08 PM »
We are on our way to ER but give around 10% of our income every year because its important to us. I think mmm is more about spending on what is important to you and cutting out the rest... If being generous with your time, money and knowledge is important to you, being frugal in other areas can increase your generosity where it matters.

Zikoris

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2014, 12:02:32 AM »
I drifted away from some spendy friends after becoming frugal, but I was already starting to drift away from that group due to other differences at that point. We're starting to meet more like-minded people these days.

I think Mustachianism has improved my relationship with my boyfriend - we have tons of fun finding free activities, tracking our spending and income, and writing a frugal living blog together.

I definitely silently judge a lot of people's money choices, but I try not to treat them differently. Sometimes I choke when someone tells me how much they spend on something, but that's not voluntary on my part.

Doomspark

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2014, 05:09:34 AM »
Since I started getting a handle on my finances a couple months ago, I've noticed that I'm biting my tongue more when coworkers talk about their new car, or new TV, or whatever. and then complain about always being broke in the next breath.

wtjbatman

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2014, 05:28:28 AM »
Oh, when I retire 15-20 years earlier than my peers I intend to be smug as shit about it. At least for a little while. Then I'll be too busy enjoying life to sweat the small stuff.

justchristine

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2014, 05:52:25 AM »
 My guess is that anyone who is worried about becoming stingy and selfish is probably the type of person who would be loving and generous no matter their circumstance.  Although that doesn't mean you should dismiss her fear.  As with any fear in life, once you've identified it you can develop a strategy to overcome it. ER and the journey to get there is really anything you choose to make it.

You can build in charitable contributions and gifts for family/friends into your budget.  Volunteering doesn't cost anything but your time and spirit which you'll have even more of when you are FIREd.

Personally I manage to give a lot of money to charity and buy my loved ones gifts for holidays/special occasions all while saving about 60% of my income.  I just cut my budget from other categories.  One of my goals when I'm free of a fulltime job is to do some of the volunteer work that I'm interested in but don't have the energy for at the present.  The journey to FIRE isn't all about money unless you make it that way.

lcg377

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2014, 11:08:13 AM »
In one of Carl Sagan's books, he opened it with a quote like, 'when you're in love, you want to shout it to the world.' Since I've found this site, I've been trying to reign it in so my friends don't think I'm a crazy religious convert! But really . . . I want to grab them and bookmark MMM on all their iphones and tablets!

Also, I've noticed I feel really worried for older people that are working low-wage jobs.  At my side gig, there are a couple women in their 60's that are making less than $10/hr and are clearly living on the edge financially, and don't have other resources. They are a "good" cautionary tale. :(

iris lily

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2014, 11:19:36 AM »
At FIRE we will DO more for the community and will write smaller checks. Both kinds of resources are needed, people who can carry out work, and people who can fund that work.

I imagine that I will worry more about money and will "talk poor" about it because that's how I was from age 25 to age 45 - 50. Then I had some years where I got out of that mindset (once the stache was big enough to generate stache at a nice pace.) This is something to be mindful of since I don't want to be in the "poor me" mindset, yet I know I will have to be more careful with money upon retirement, always keeping in the back of my mind that the stock market will go down considerably (it will) and I might have to draw from our stache (that's ok, we can do it!)

Yet, I abhor acts of throwing money around unnecessarily even in tiny amounts. So for those who think that the old man was stingy, perhaps he 1) hated to see waste  2) didn't give out money to projects or people he thought were wasting it  3) was just grumpy about everything, and money was part of that.

It's a balancing act, keeping money and yet spending it appropriately.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 11:24:58 AM by iris lily »

horsepoor

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2014, 11:42:16 AM »
I actually feel like I can be more generous because I'm in control of my finances vs. just worrying about them, and have more flexibility in my budget.  With that said, I'm not in the really early ER group - just aiming to have the ability to retire in 13-14 years if I feel like it (around age 50).

Also with the people who find themselves being a bit judgy about spending.  Then I remember that I spend hundreds per month on my two oversized equine pets, so I keep my mouth shut.

Dicey

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2014, 03:23:08 PM »
Ah, gift giving. I come from a big family and I have always enjoyed the gift selection process. What I do that's mustachian is the way I acquire the gifts. I'm on the lookout all year. I volunteer at the library book sales and often see brand-new looking titles that I know someone will enjoy. I grab them for the princely sum of $1 or less. I often make large quantities of a single item that I can give to a lot of people. I made holiday mix tapes from albums one year. I did a second one when I got a cd player. Now, everybody and their cat have holiday albums, but it wasn't so then. People still tell me they play them every year. Another time, I was working for an office products company. I had tons of samples and rounded out the selection with items from the dollar store. I wrapped them in cool wire baskets, also from the dollar store. I still see those baskets and mechanical pencils at friend's houses all these years later.

Okay, here's the point: Mustachianism does not require one to be a scrooge or a miser. It helps you reach your financial goals in style, without depriving you, your family or your community of the things that you determine are important.

Over time, I notice I have fewer and fewer spendy friends. For those that are in my circle for other reasons (say a board or community activity) I simply avoid the topic. In fact, now that I am FIRE, it's sometimes quite amusing to listen to them, but I never, ever preach about mustachianism. By being careful about who and how I share it, I have had mostly positive responses.

Nords

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2014, 09:46:31 PM »
However, I think stories like this are making my girlfriend (who will be my wife someday) weary of the whole thing. Her main concern is that we would worry too much about saving every penny and stop being generous. The question is....
Have you guys noticed a change in your personal relationships since you started going down the FIRE road?
I married my spouse because she was going down the FIRE road, and I had to scramble to catch up with her.

For the first couple of years of ER I was pretty tight-fisted with the money, just out of the concern that I might have missed something.  That's no longer an issue, although I could have loosened my grip a year or two sooner.  We're at a point now where we're beginning to think that we might not be able to spend it fast enough, but we haven't found a worthy philanthropy yet.  We've done our research and we know what's out there, but we just haven't found what we're seeking.  We'll find it eventually, and in the meantime we'll just keep piling it higher.

Perhaps it's better to reassure your girlfriend that you two will keep spending on the things that are important to you, and just focus on eliminating the waste.  The way to tell the difference is that you're willing to work the extra months & years for the money to afford the things that seem important to you.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 09:48:58 PM by Nords »

lifejoy

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2014, 10:07:13 PM »

However, I think stories like this are making my girlfriend (who will be my wife someday) weary of the whole thing. Her main concern is that we would worry too much about saving every penny and stop being generous. The question is....
Have you guys noticed a change in your personal relationships since you started going down the FIRE road?
I married my spouse because she was going down the FIRE road, and I had to scramble to catch up with her.

For the first couple of years of ER I was pretty tight-fisted with the money, just out of the concern that I might have missed something.  That's no longer an issue, although I could have loosened my grip a year or two sooner.  We're at a point now where we're beginning to think that we might not be able to spend it fast enough, but we haven't found a worthy philanthropy yet.  We've done our research and we know what's out there, but we just haven't found what we're seeking.  We'll find it eventually, and in the meantime we'll just keep piling it higher.

Perhaps it's better to reassure your girlfriend that you two will keep spending on the things that are important to you, and just focus on eliminating the waste.  The way to tell the difference is that you're willing to work the extra months & years for the money to afford the things that seem important to you.

Philanthropy idea: scholarship for a mustachian with a worthy cause? No idea how that would roll out...

MBot

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2014, 10:58:26 PM »
If I get wealth and end up stingy, I've failed.

2 ways I build generosity into my life:

- I want to have a characteristic of generosity. That takes repeated and regular intentional action. I give regularly and proportionately. That includes (for my beliefs) a tithe and regular international and local relief/development giving. (Kiva, World Vision, the A21 Campaign, local pregnancy centre and resources for women in the sex industry, a local medical centre).

- this year I decided not to buy physical things with my "discretionary spending" of $40 a month and to use that money for "experiences" instead, especially relationship-building ones. , and to only buy necessary household stuff.  (Which I already thrift/save on) So I can buy an extension cord or weed whacker, but not a lamp or pillow or extra clothes.

My goal with that isn't to "save" that $40 but instead use it for interpersonal experiences. So I'll buy a coffee, make a drive to see someone, take someone out for lunch. It's been a good experience. The "gray area" I've encountered is supporting local businesses through purchasing items there, which I will do more of next year. 

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southernhippie

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2014, 05:37:42 AM »
I was raised in a cheap household and married a frugal wife.  I was already slowly being converted to the mustache ways before I came to this blog. But now I see how I used to handle finances was such a waste and I could had been further head in my goal of FI if I only had found this blog sooner.

I seem to more often than no look at people in aw when they talk about their spending habits.  Like the other day my neighbor bought a grill for $1000.  He was bragging about how awesome it was and what it could do.  I just coulnt get past the part where it cost $1000 and he thought that was worth it.  And he already had a grill.  So an extra 1000 could had gone to savings or extra to his mortgage.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I sometimes look at people in the light of "what the fuck are you doing?".
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 05:40:45 AM by southernhippie »

ender

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2014, 06:32:30 AM »
For me, pursuing an early retirement lifestyle is precisely so I can focus on the things which matter.

And a suggestion - if you are feeling "stingy" - have a budget with categories for stuff like "eating out" or whatever else you are worried about being stingy on. I was worried about this myself but have found having a budget with expenses "pre spent" lets me much, much, much more easily spend money on them. So "pre spend" the things you want to but will have trouble in the moment spending.


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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2014, 10:37:28 PM »
It's interesting, actually.  In the last few years, since Mustachianism has faded into the background and I no longer care about finances, I've found that I've tried to improve myself more as a person, and find that I'm actually much more generous since I don't have to care about money and working on just being a much better person in general, since I have the luxury of time.

YMMV.  :)
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Beric01

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2014, 11:05:22 PM »
I actually am starting to volunteer, in part thanks to MMM. I do view the world differently, but I'd say that it's a good change. I can understand how people get trapped in consumerism, and try to help them.

Overall I definitely think and act differently towards people since MMM, and I would hope it's for the better.

Gerard

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2014, 07:45:51 AM »
I think I've always been pretty generous with my time and my patience/forgiveness, and that may be getting better as I worry less about money and about my ability to deal with problems (i.e., I can fix things that break).

wrt how people see me, it helps that I work at a university, where there's a fairly high tolerance for individual quirkiness and living below your means.

LadyStache

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2014, 08:08:53 AM »
I recently explained this idea to my girlfriend (who is also quite frugal). She is very skeptical of the idea... probably just because it is out of the societal norm and she hasn't had time to do some basic guesses with the math yet.  She told me that she talked her friend about the idea, who in turn told her this story:

Her friend's Grandpa, on a low salary with 3 kids and a wife, lived in a way that allowed him to retire around 50. The goal of early retirement turned him into a very stingy man who didn't change even after he had reached his goal. This apparently ruined his marriage and family. 



I think you and your girlfriend need to read this article. It sounds like you both are frugal, whereas the friend's grandpa was cheap. I think cheapness would do a lot more harm to relationships than frugality would.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/24/frugal-vs-cheap/

Goldielocks

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2014, 09:23:01 AM »
Yes.  The changes include..

1 Talking to my spouse a lot more about goals.  You can't do MMM or early retirement well without your spouse on board.

2 When I buy something, I am much more aware that nearly everything is a want, not a need.  So I am more generous now.  I think " if I can afford to spend $100 on new xx , then I can certainly afford another $50 to help someone else out," and the weekly donation increases..  This also makes purchases more expensive, so I buy less too. Win win win.

BlueHouse

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2014, 09:28:48 AM »
Of course!  The only thing worse than a recovering spendypants is a former-smoker!  One look around these forums and it's mostly judgmental assumptions about how other people spend their time and money.  That's why I like it.

Squirrel away

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Re: Are you treating people differently?
« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2014, 03:57:11 AM »
I do find myself judging people for their choices, especially women I know who are aged late fifties/sixty who don't have any savings or retirement plans. I have no idea what they are thinking!