Author Topic: Does early retirement contradict badassity?  (Read 38779 times)

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #50 on: October 31, 2014, 01:57:29 PM »
Hehehe ...fetching the popcorn...its gonna get real ugly up in here :)

You're gonna be disappointed! ;)

Iron Mike Sharpe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #51 on: October 31, 2014, 02:06:24 PM »
Whew! Thank you for the many and entertaining responses!

I'm going to attempt to summarize what I read so far and throw in a few more own thoughts and follow-up questions. Don't hesitate to correct me if I got some of your ideas wrong. The main points in this thread so far seem to be (paraphrased in quotes, with my comments below):

1. "I suffer from lack of freedom in a dead-end boring job, so I want FIRE." This doesn't sound logical to me. Why wait until (early) retirement? Why not simply take on another, better, more interesting job? Wouldn't that be more badass than accumulating your stash while feeling like a victim?




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siAbiwPyccg


There aren't jobs out there that are interesting, fun and pay well.  So, I will stay at a job that kind of sucks but pays well until I can RE.

Jon_Snow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • Location: An Island in the Salish Sea (or Baja)
  • I am no manís chair.
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #52 on: October 31, 2014, 02:08:35 PM »
How many people do you know who retired in their 30s or 40s?

*raises hand*

And your damn right it's badass. For me. For others I've run across in this forum, best stay put in the cubicle.


NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1255
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #53 on: October 31, 2014, 02:13:09 PM »

Well, I expected defensiveness (even being called the Internet Retirement Police - I find it quite amusing how ideologies/religions tend to invent apriori defenses against criticism by pulling off the good old ingroup/outgroup trick). I also anticipated not being taken seriously by true believers (very early in first post), but I still don't think that my thinking out loud is more arrogant than your (not so much) "veiled" attempt to suppress it (but I'll leave it at that!)

Well, come on. You asked a question that included a "veiled" value judgment, that retiring early is selfish and wasteful. You intended to provoke, and people responded as they do to being poked.

You also got a lot of serious, thoughtful responses.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6955
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #54 on: October 31, 2014, 02:52:28 PM »
Also, I could argue that for every person who REs, that opens up a spot in the job market which would trickle down to someone that is unemployed or newly entering the workforce.  Retiring voluntarily gives someone else a chance.

I disagree. There's a true economic cost to replacing experienced staff with fresh hires, if only because of the lost organizational knowledge. That's why high-ranking people are paid so well and fresh hires aren't. Sure you can replace everyone (except some geniuses) with investment and time, but it has a very real cost. Unless you are in an extremely competitive field, you aren't doing others a favor by retiring from what you're good at. You're maybe doing a favor yourself by freeing up your time. Or maybe you're making yourself a disfavor by regretting it later. This it the point of my asking.
I'm going to have to disagree a bit here also.

The fact of the matter is - in a lot of industries - experience isn't really valued all that much.

In a particular company, how many experts do you need?  I started in a semiconductor company when there were 20 people (I was #21).  Then, and for years, I was the single person with more process experience in our industry.  Still am the  most experienced.

But it's 6 years later.  In the last 6 years, I've trained about 8 people.  And 5 of them have 5 years of experience.

It's almost like a pyramid (like the military!)  As you go higher on the pyramid, you need fewer people.  So you have experience people who  move into management - managing people. You have experienced people who manage projects.  You have experienced people who are individual contributors on difficult and new things (I've done all 3).

But if you've got 30 people and the company only need 10, what of the other 20?

I guess one problem may occur when the "best" people opt to retire, leaving the second best in the work force.

With cost cutting going on, many companies AREN'T willing to pay for experience.  It's why I've encountered a lot of unemployed or underemployed process engineers in their 50's and 60's.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #55 on: October 31, 2014, 02:56:07 PM »
Well, come on. You asked a question that included a "veiled" value judgment, that retiring early is selfish and wasteful.

Not quite. The "controversial" opinion was that it is not badass, i.e. that it is easy and lacking true ambition. It was not really concealed much - smart people will recognize it as a rhetoric device, I even included a disclaimer. I find it easier to communicate an idea by exaggerating it a bit, it also helps detect the holes in reasoning around the presented idea.

Quote
You intended to provoke, and people responded as they do to being poked.

I intended to provoke thinking, quite so.

Quote
You also got a lot of serious, thoughtful responses.

Indeed - and I'm grateful for them. Plenty of input to evaluate and consider.

I realize that when differing opinions are confronted, usually the parties only get reinforced in their own stances (polarization of views). Even so, the discussion is valuable because it helps "debug" and refine one's own position. It is also helpful to non-involved observers, who can draw their own silent conclusions from a public debate without even taking sides. This in turn is how we get closer to truth and consent.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2014, 03:18:59 PM »
I'm going to have to disagree a bit here also.

The fact of the matter is - in a lot of industries - experience isn't really valued all that much.

You're talking about surplus. If you have a true surplus, which is by definition something you cannot use, getting less of the surplus isn't going to affect you directly, that is, until you have run out of surplus.

To spin your idea a bit further, you could also argue that the "old guard" would do the world a better service to retire because they are no longer as innovative, motivated or productive as "fresh blood" would be. However, this rings less true for the idea of early retirement, where we aren't likely talking about demotivated old people, but rather about "rising stars" type of employees.

Quote
But if you've got 30 people and the company only need 10, what of the other 20?

I think from the "global welfare" economic standpoint, the other 20 should seek alternative jobs for which there is demand rather than hope for "mercy" of early retirees making room for them. Or let them go to a competitor and work for less, making the products and services more affordable for others. The alternative of "encouraging" job rotation from qualified toward less qualified sounds disconcertingly like a planned (inefficient) economy. "Let some people dig holes (retire) and others cover them up (relearn what retirees took with them) to increase employment" sort of thing. It doesn't make much sense even if it's a common occurrence ("let some people produce guns and others produce bigger guns to defend themselves" comes to mind).

Unless, of course, the whole economy is so saturated with labor that it's more cost-effective to just remove it from the market than to retrain it. This may well become the case at some point with the cumulative effects of rising population and widespread adoption of mustachianism (which would reduce overall demand for many goods and services, let's not kid ourselves). The optimistic scenario is a happy sustainable minimalist utopia. Pessimistic scenarios are state-controlled mass mediocrity, civil unrest and war.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2014, 03:30:47 PM »
The OP makes many assumptions about ERees that are flat out wrong. That they no longer produce, that they only consume, etc...

Or maybe it's you making assumptions about my making assumptions? Always a risky bet to push in that direction, if you ask me.

My claim is that ERs produce less than they would have, had they not retired early. I know I certainly would produce less, and I come to this conclusion after reading the "what would you do after FIRE thread" - as I explained in the first post. Do you find that statement false? If so, maybe you just mean something else by "retirement". If by retirement you mean "the time when someone starts working and producing more than they did at their former job/self-employment", then I think we don't necessarily disagree. But such a definition sounds far-fetched.

Wolf_Stache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 921
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Portland
    • Flower's Fang
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #58 on: October 31, 2014, 05:15:34 PM »
No. It just means you get to do what YOU want to do. For example, I'm currently an accountant. i don't like being an accountant, but it makes me a lot of money. But will I stop working when I retire? NO! What I really want to do is write novels - but I don't make enough from my novel writing to support me. So in my retirement I will still be working at a job that I love, but that didn't pay me enough for me to do from the start.

I think what it really does is give you the freedom to work on what you want when you want.

firedup

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #59 on: October 31, 2014, 05:52:29 PM »
Being controlled by a boss is soul destroying and thanks to stress could wind up killing me.

Turning my thermostat down a few degrees or biking 40 km won't kill me.

+1 million

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #60 on: October 31, 2014, 06:11:35 PM »
How many people do you know who retired in their 30s or 40s?

*raises hand*

And your damn right it's badass. For me. For others I've run across in this forum, best stay put in the cubicle.
Me too! Me too!! The badass Wonder Twins of ER :-)!

The OP makes many assumptions about ERees that are flat out wrong. That they no longer produce, that they only consume, that it is easy, lack ambition, etc... While he may, as he stated, have no compelling interests outside of work (and I find this beyond tragic) he can't assume that is the case for everyone else. Even in the most beloved and rewarding job (one that may even be seen as important to some people) there are time constraints that do not allow you the free time to do the many other things you may want to do in your life. ER isn't about spending your day rocking on the front porch waiting for the Metamucil to kick in, it's about being very engaged, active and involved in your life outside of work in a way you can't be while working.

Wow...two of my favorite posters are getting along...life is sweet.

BTW, I too had a sabbatical of sorts when I was 42. That's the age I got laid off and took 5 months off before my old company lured me in with an offer I couldn't refuse. I had just started reading up on FI stuff and thought I could RE, but thank goodness I got that job because realistically my expenses were too high and RE would have been a disaster. But I did enjoy my 42nd year. Can I join the 42 Club?

Back to the topic at hand, sometimes I think people that start these kinds of threads are new to the corporate world or something. They have all of the energy and optimism to put in those long hours and want to move up the ladder, so to speak. After 20 years or so, you may start to find that your interests have varied and that you just savor your free time more.

And I also think being "productive" is totally subjective. Who's to say whether crunching some software (for a society helping product) is any more productive than ER'ing to take care of ailing parents. Taking care of sick elderly parents may not sound as productive, but may or may not be more beneficial to society. Of course, we all seem to think being paid for something makes it magically productive, whereas volunteering or doing it out of your own kindness (while being supported by your ER funds) doesn't sound as productive. So the lady hired to take care of the elderly has a "productive" job, but a 40 year old ER'ing and taking care of parents is kind of looked at as weird in our society.

And I'm all about having "unproductive" time to have time to clear the mind, be creative, get fit, help those in need.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 06:13:59 PM by Daisy »

Malaysia41

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3314
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Verona, Italy
    • My mmm journal
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #61 on: October 31, 2014, 07:16:43 PM »
How many people do you know who retired in their 30s or 40s?

*raises hand*

And your damn right it's badass. For me. For others I've run across in this forum, best stay put in the cubicle.
Me too! Me too!! The badass Wonder Twins of ER :-)!

The OP makes many assumptions about ERees that are flat out wrong. That they no longer produce, that they only consume, that it is easy, lack ambition, etc... While he may, as he stated, have no compelling interests outside of work (and I find this beyond tragic) he can't assume that is the case for everyone else. Even in the most beloved and rewarding job (one that may even be seen as important to some people) there are time constraints that do not allow you the free time to do the many other things you may want to do in your life. ER isn't about spending your day rocking on the front porch waiting for the Metamucil to kick in, it's about being very engaged, active and involved in your life outside of work in a way you can't be while working.

Wow...two of my favorite posters are getting along...life is sweet.

BTW, I too had a sabbatical of sorts when I was 42. That's the age I got laid off and took 5 months off before my old company lured me in with an offer I couldn't refuse. I had just started reading up on FI stuff and thought I could RE, but thank goodness I got that job because realistically my expenses were too high and RE would have been a disaster. But I did enjoy my 42nd year. Can I join the 42 Club?

 
whoo hoo - The badass Wonder Triplets of ER! I curtsy to you and do a spinning pirouette before landing on my head, or my ass, or both. Working on getting the "both" part right. And they say we don't do anything meaningful in ER.

I'll be 42 in a month, may I join your ER badassity club too?

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #62 on: October 31, 2014, 07:20:21 PM »
How many people do you know who retired in their 30s or 40s?

*raises hand*

And your damn right it's badass. For me. For others I've run across in this forum, best stay put in the cubicle.
Me too! Me too!! The badass Wonder Twins of ER :-)!

The OP makes many assumptions about ERees that are flat out wrong. That they no longer produce, that they only consume, that it is easy, lack ambition, etc... While he may, as he stated, have no compelling interests outside of work (and I find this beyond tragic) he can't assume that is the case for everyone else. Even in the most beloved and rewarding job (one that may even be seen as important to some people) there are time constraints that do not allow you the free time to do the many other things you may want to do in your life. ER isn't about spending your day rocking on the front porch waiting for the Metamucil to kick in, it's about being very engaged, active and involved in your life outside of work in a way you can't be while working.

Wow...two of my favorite posters are getting along...life is sweet.

BTW, I too had a sabbatical of sorts when I was 42. That's the age I got laid off and took 5 months off before my old company lured me in with an offer I couldn't refuse. I had just started reading up on FI stuff and thought I could RE, but thank goodness I got that job because realistically my expenses were too high and RE would have been a disaster. But I did enjoy my 42nd year. Can I join the 42 Club?

 
whoo hoo - The badass Wonder Triplets of ER! I curtsy to you and do a spinning pirouette before landing on my head, or my ass, or both. Working on getting the "both" part right. And they say we don't do anything meaningful in ER.

I'll be 42 in a month, may I join your ER badassity club too?

Sure! You put the "4" in 42. ;-)

GardenFun

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Packers Hell - they're everywhere!
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #63 on: October 31, 2014, 07:41:31 PM »
And I also think being "productive" is totally subjective. Who's to say whether crunching some software (for a society helping product) is any more productive than ER'ing to take care of ailing parents. Taking care of sick elderly parents may not sound as productive, but may or may not be more beneficial to society. Of course, we all seem to think being paid for something makes it magically productive, whereas volunteering or doing it out of your own kindness (while being supported by your ER funds) doesn't sound as productive. So the lady hired to take care of the elderly has a "productive" job, but a 40 year old ER'ing and taking care of parents is kind of looked at as weird in our society.

And I'm all about having "unproductive" time to have time to clear the mind, be creative, get fit, help those in need.

+1.  This whole thread reminds me of an ethics class from college.  There were three main types of business ethics and depending on your viewpoint, you typically fell into one of the specific categories.  All three of them could be easily argued, but they contrasted in certain areas (helping self vs. society, benefitting now vs. future).  This discussion follows the same path - not everyone will agree on the reasons for FIRE, the benefits or consequences to society.  Some will do it for personal happiness, some will do it for helping the greater good.  If the reason makes YOU happy, that's all YOU can control. 

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4009
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #64 on: October 31, 2014, 08:19:14 PM »
I guess my own doubts boil down to the point: does retirement (early or not) really bring satisfaction to the retiree? And if it does, isn't this a sign that the retiree has screwed up before retirement and then "managed to get away"? Certainly, managing an (early) escape is better than not, but should this even be our goal? Isn't it just plain lazy and self-degrading, given how easy it is for saving-savvy high-earners in developed countries?

It's a sure bet that those who think that early-retirees "screwed up" are in no position to early retire.

dividendman

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
  • Age: 37
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #65 on: October 31, 2014, 08:22:57 PM »
Raay, let me try to address the lack of "badassity" you suspect of early retirees in our capitalistic environment compared to people who work (for others) to unlock their full potential.

Working hard, as you put, as a manager who manages 25 people/engineers that produce amazing products that get used throughout the word is definitely badass -(mostly because that's what I do :P) BUT, logically you are being used by a bigger badass (your company) more for their benefit than yours. The company isn't paying out out of the goodness of its heart - it's doing so because it is getting more value from you than what you are getting from it, this is how it acquires profits off of your work.

So, given that, isn't it MORE badass to truly realize your potential (and get the rewards) by giving yourself the maximum % amount of your efforts?

  • If so, then the arguments ends and it is more badass to unlock your potential for yourself by way of FIRE
  • If not the problem arises that even if you're now working/doing stuff 100% for yourself the absolute amount may be far inferior and the argument would be: "but wait, I can't produce this type of income/benefit/joy/blah by myself, I need this larger structure that I don't control to do it for me". So, then, you are less badass than the FIRE folks.

QED : Badassity of FIRE folks > Badassity of doing awesome work for the man

P.S. The astute reader will realize I don't address the case of who is more badass: an Entrepenuer who is not FIRE or someone who works for someone who has gained FIRE.... that's a good question, you should figure that out Raay :)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 08:24:34 PM by dividendman »

VirginiaBob

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 429
    • LRJ Discounters
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #66 on: October 31, 2014, 08:38:29 PM »
I think that some people choose a college major based on how lucrative the career options in that field are, not because it is their life's calling.  Then after plugging in 10-15 years of work somewhere with long hours and no real appreciation, they get burnt out.  That is where the FIRE option comes into play, and they realize that they don't have to plug in another 20-30 years. 

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #67 on: November 01, 2014, 06:45:06 AM »
Raay, let me try to address the lack of "badassity" you suspect of early retirees in our capitalistic environment compared to people who work (for others) to unlock their full potential.

Nah, this "working for others" and especially "working for the BIG BAD MAN" is a recurring theme in this thread which I don't quite understand. Some people in here create a false dichotomy between "slaving away at a 9-5 job" and "retiring early". Well, as it happens I am already self-employed and I do count some of the big corporations among my clients. I work on my own terms, I don't feel exploited in any way by them, and I don't have the impression the people who I work with are advocates of rampant evil consumerism (maybe it's more of an American thing? or a cornerstone of MMM's rationalization of his own decision?). However, being self-employed and financially independent, I am not retired! Why do so many of you equate these two? Is it because you believe that starting your own business requires lots of startup capital? (It doesn't.)

Perhaps what you really mean is "work out of necessity" (which often happens to be as an unimportant underling in some bland corporate environment) and "self-directed work for a greater purpose" (created by yourself), as in extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

But as you mentioned, some types of work simply can't be performed by individual effort, in fact most of "great achievements" of civilization have been a matter of well-coordinated group efforts. So again, who's more badass: someone who cops out to do their own little thing, or someone who takes on the challenge of "thinking big" and uses the tools that they need to fulfill their vision, perhaps even by coordinating the reluctant wage slaves while they dream about retiring early? Or to spin it in a more positive way, who is more badass - someone who escapes the "big bad corporation" to live on their own terms, or someone who manages to understand and reform it from the inside? My feeling is that, whatever your intentions, you cannot fix the world by running away from it.

However, you are of course free (and lucky) to decide that you don't care about "the world" all that much, i.e. assume the less badass, more laid-back and narrower focused attitude (e.g. caring about your personal interests, immediate community, family, parents, volunteering) - which is indeed what "retirement" would mean to me.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #68 on: November 01, 2014, 06:46:49 AM »
And I also think being "productive" is totally subjective. Who's to say whether crunching some software (for a society helping product) is any more productive than ER'ing to take care of ailing parents.

No, it's by far not "totally subjective". To catch my drift, you should be comparing "take care of ailing parents" with "manage a big hospital which allows hundreds of people to take care of ailing parents". Which is more badass?

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28056
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #69 on: November 01, 2014, 07:30:45 AM »

And I also think being "productive" is totally subjective. Who's to say whether crunching some software (for a society helping product) is any more productive than ER'ing to take care of ailing parents.

No, it's by far not "totally subjective". To catch my drift, you should be comparing "take care of ailing parents" with "manage a big hospital which allows hundreds of people to take care of ailing parents". Which is more badass?

I'm not convinced either one, in the vacuum presented, is more badass than the other.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, 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.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6955
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #70 on: November 01, 2014, 08:57:54 AM »
Firstly, not every early retiree is a rising star.

Secondly, not every "redundant" engineer (or whatever) in their 40's and 50's can, or will want to, retrain.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #71 on: November 01, 2014, 11:13:11 AM »
And I also think being "productive" is totally subjective. Who's to say whether crunching some software (for a society helping product) is any more productive than ER'ing to take care of ailing parents.

No, it's by far not "totally subjective". To catch my drift, you should be comparing "take care of ailing parents" with "manage a big hospital which allows hundreds of people to take care of ailing parents". Which is more badass?
To me Daisy example is more badass. It's requires a personal sacrifice to set aside the things you may want to do in ER, and perhaps give up your current and future earning potential if still employed but wanting to ER someday, to physically be the person to care for others yourself 24/7, then to push around a bunch of papers and make managerial decisions for a six-figure income and then go home at night after the work day is done. It's way more badass!.

We'll have to agree to disagree then, as you clearly do not take into account the sheer badassity of "getting there" of a prominent position versus a self-sacrificing everyman.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #72 on: November 01, 2014, 11:16:03 AM »
Raay, let me try to address the lack of "badassity" you suspect of early retirees in our capitalistic environment compared to people who work (for others) to unlock their full potential.

 Or to spin it in a more positive way, who is more badass - someone who escapes the "big bad corporation" to live on their own terms, or someone who manages to understand and reform it from the inside? My feeling is that, whatever your intentions, you cannot fix the world by running away from it.

 
Again you are assuming that people who quit their job to ER are running away from something rather than running too something. You seem to be unable to grasp that freeing up your time from a job means that you can spend more time making changes in the world for the better. Why is that so difficult for you to "get". True not every person who has leaft paid employment is out being Mother Theresa or forming grass roots political groups or becoming an advocate for something profound, but many are and leaving a 40-plus hour/week job (even a job you love) behind to do that is pretty damn badass IMHO. Just wish you could unlock your limited view of the world and see that yourself.

No, I'm just saying that you may be making world better by not retiring rather than retiring. However, I'm quite sure that you're making yourself feel better (at least for a while) by retiring. Somehow you seem to be mixing up these. Wishful thinking?

Left

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1159
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #73 on: November 01, 2014, 11:22:18 AM »
How are you "checking" out by retiring? Early retirement lets you focus on what you want to. Say a doctor likes being a doctor, s/he ERs and then go on to practice in rural/poor areas without having to worry about his own income and can use the profits on his practice to give back to the community.

Or if someone that isn't a doctor/have a job that doesn't provides social goodness (urg porn star?) ERs, afterwards, they can volunteer still and help others since they don't need to worry about money.

What's more badass? Working at what you want to do and being happy about it, or doing a job just because you need food on the table?

Retiring is only "checking" out of getting a salary from someone else, not "checking" out of life in general. That happens when someone dies.

DecD

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 298
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #74 on: November 01, 2014, 12:08:24 PM »
This is just one of those devil's advocate stances for the sake of it, isn't it?  To try and stir the pot attempt some sort of muckraking?  MMM used to sit around programming in a cube all day.  Probably making himself blind staring at a monitor in an office with no windows that open and poor lighting/ventilation.  Look at him now--walking around with hammers and nailguns all day.

Yes, and I don't criticize MMM specifically for slacking off. Maybe his true vocation was to become a carpenter/handyman/prophet and he chose the wrong career in the first place?

Quote
Don't you think your (verbose) attempts to psychoanalyze everyone's "veiled" reasons for wanting early retirement is arrogant as hell?

Well, I expected defensiveness (even being called the Internet Retirement Police - I find it quite amusing how ideologies/religions tend to invent apriori defenses against criticism by pulling off the good old ingroup/outgroup trick). I also anticipated not being taken seriously by true believers (very early in first post), but I still don't think that my thinking out loud is more arrogant than your (not so much) "veiled" attempt to suppress it (but I'll leave it at that!)

The bolded implies that a person can only have one vocation in life.  That he can only contribute in one field.  That he really only has one serious interest that can lead to a successful, meaningful, valuable career path.

Why should MMM have a single "true" vocation?  So he loves computer engineering and carpentry.  He did one for awhile, made significant contributions, learned as much as he was passionate about learning, and then turned to a second interest.  Is clearly contributing there as well.  I spy a third and fourth set of passions- finance and writing, and he's wildly successful at these two.  Does it mean that only ONE of these can be his true passion?  That doing any of the other three was simply a misguided mistake? 

There are lots of things I'm interested in...and I'm convinced there are many fields I could make a significant contribution in.  I picked one- my field of engineering (space industry).  I made what I consider significant contributions to my first company and then left to pursue a PhD.  Was that a mistake? Made contributions to my fields and then graduated.  To continue to follow my line of study, I'd have needed to pursue a position in academia, but that would not have meshed with my husband's career aspirations.  I got a great job in the same field but doing something completely different.  Was that a mistake?  A sacrifice?  I don't think so.  I've been with a great company for three years and again, I feel I'm doing an excellent job and making real contributions to spaceflight.  But I'm starting to realize that I don't want to stay in my current position forever- I like to keep learning, and I've nearly exhausted the learning opportunities that I really care about with this position.  So did I make a mistake by taking it?  Am I obligated to stick with it even if I'm no longer passionate about it so that my company doesn't have to train my successor?

What if I decide to cut back in order to take better care of my children?  Is that a valid path, or would it mean wasting my education?  Or was my education and job experience a mistake full stop given that I was planning to have kids someday?  Am I just selfish to be pursuing a meaningful career instead of staying home a being a great mother?

No.  All of these questions I answer with a resounding NO.

There is not a single RIGHT path.  There are just choices.  I can think of 10 things I could do with my life right now that would keep me passionate, inspire others, and contribute to life.  All of them are valid, regardless of my previous choices.  And if I'm FI, I can pick which of these to pursue without considering how much it pays.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #75 on: November 01, 2014, 01:42:40 PM »
but there are also people out there who think we need a specialized banana slicer.

That link should have come with a warning to leave my desk at work before reading. I busted out in laughter while sitting in my cubicle while reading the hilarious comments. Really, it's a must-read. I was trying to hold in the laughter, but was going into convulsions a little so I had to step out of my cube and walk around the building. I could have lost my job if I hadn't done that. ;-)

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #76 on: November 01, 2014, 01:55:55 PM »
And I also think being "productive" is totally subjective. Who's to say whether crunching some software (for a society helping product) is any more productive than ER'ing to take care of ailing parents.

No, it's by far not "totally subjective". To catch my drift, you should be comparing "take care of ailing parents" with "manage a big hospital which allows hundreds of people to take care of ailing parents". Which is more badass?

Maybe we have a different understanding of the word subjective, as in it is open to multiple interpretations based on life experiences. In your example above, I don't see badass as the defining factor in either choice, as they can both be quite rewarding and useful in society.

I might be posting on the wrong thread because I don't feel the need to make decisions in my life based on some kind of badass-ity spectrum. I don't equate badass with being productive or useful in society. Being badass means doing something that not anyone can do and not caring what others think. When in doubt, I usually refer to the Urban Dictionary for a precise definition:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=badass

My main goal in life, I've learned after 45 years, is to grow as a person and contribute in a meaningful way in society. I don't want to force my opinion of what meaningful contribution is, as it's an individual journey we all take through life.

We'll have to agree to disagree then, as you clearly do not take into account the sheer badassity of "getting there" of a prominent position versus a self-sacrificing everyman.

Self-sacrificing everyman? Is that condescending? I hope not. Our society needs both the individual contributor as well as people to manage the bureaucracies/corporations. Obviously we need much more individual contributors than managers. Like I said above, one's contribution is not more badass than the other or more or less useful than the other. They are both needed.

Interesting that at my company there is a push to reward and promote individual contributors more now, whereas in the past the promotion path was just on the managerial side. Our managers are making a big deal out of it. It's true, because you need skilled individual contributors to make the products work well. They compared it to Michael Jordan vs. Pat Riley (I think his coach). Are you going to diminish Michael Jordan's efforts as an everyday-man vs. his coach?!?!? Or a more society benefitting example, is Mother Theresa any more badass/productive than the Pope?

Although I must say that I agree with the OP that we all do owe society the use of our skills and need a sense of purpose. This doesn't need to be in  paid work. However, there's nothing that says you can't also spend some downtime and creative unstructured time either.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 01:57:35 PM by Daisy »

Gerard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
  • Location: eastern canada
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #77 on: November 01, 2014, 02:01:47 PM »
4. "I just wanna do X (or don't wanna do Y) - I owe the world nothing!" and "I wanna grow as a human not as some robot worker!" To me this sounds very much like something our spoiled hermit prick would bring up (and I will admit, being a lone wolf myself, it does sound alluring). It also fits the concept of "FU" money, "independence" and "self-sustainability" nicely. Unfortunately, these are rather childish concepts in a highly interconnected modern world.

[/quote]

I don't understand this, Raay. Just because (a percentage of) the modern world is highly interconnected doesn't imply that being less connected is substantially better. Presumably the hermit prick is taking less from the world than other people, even if the other people feel they're better because they're interconnected.

I also think it's hard to credibly maintain that you're surprised by pushback, when your own posts characterize different viewpoints as childish or wish-fulfilling. If you walk like a troll and talk like a troll, the magic blanket of "refining my own ideas" has limited powers. I hope my observation helps you refine your sense of how you project! :-)

Dr. Doom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
  • Age: 42
  • Location: East Coaster
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #78 on: November 01, 2014, 03:04:43 PM »
I don't really understand this thread at all.  How many people do you know who retired in their 30s or 40s?  I can count them all on one hand, even if I make a fist with it.  Retiring in your 30s or 40s is by definition badass.  There's no contradiction.  It's the motherfucking definition!

Yes, exactly.  I've just read the entirety of it and this is my strongest and most instinctual response as well.  It takes incredible foresight, consistency, dedication, and bravery to achieve this goal.  You must trust yourself and be willing to buck social norms, to break tradition.  People change their lives -- some of them quite radically -- in order to obtain freedom and complete autonomy.  It's incredible.

Trying to find meaning in life through formal employment is the norm for people; how is that unique, interesting, or badass in the slightest? 

Look, bottom line, try to identify what it is that makes you happy and gives you meaning and go for it.  If that's working, then keep working.  If it's not, then plan a way to quit in a way that feels responsible to you.  I think focusing too much on being 'badass' takes away from the main goal here, which is to pursue a life that provides personal satisfaction and occasional joy.  That life looks different depending on your makeup.  For you it could be seeking that next promotion or creating some new technology.  For me it could be hanging out in a comic book shop for 20 hours a week, napping, and questioning the logic behind Superman's death.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #79 on: November 01, 2014, 03:29:40 PM »
Trying to find meaning in life through formal employment is the norm for people; how is that unique, interesting, or badass in the slightest?

Virtually all of modern society's best human beings are or were formally employed.  Einstein had a job.  Maurice Hilleman had a job.  John F. Kennedy had a job. Warren Buffet had a job.

I'm just saying that "formal employment" doesn't have to mean you suck at life, which is definitely the tone I've been getting from this thread.  Some jobs represent great opportunities, not slavery.

Dr. Doom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
  • Age: 42
  • Location: East Coaster
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #80 on: November 01, 2014, 05:33:45 PM »
I'm just saying that "formal employment" doesn't have to mean you suck at life, which is definitely the tone I've been getting from this thread.  Some jobs represent great opportunities, not slavery.

Completely agree.  My own employment experience has been just that -- an incredible opportunity, given my own background.  I still don't want to do it any longer, though.

In many of my anti-work posts I say:  if you like working and find meaning in it, keep doing it.  I'm glad you're happily employed.   I'm down on work for me personally.  I'm not down on work for people who genuinely enjoy it.  I don't particularly care how other people live and manage their lives as long as the results of those decisions don't directly affect me.

Re: tone.  Some of tone is what is written, and the other part is what is interpreted.  I interpret people on this thread defending RE as 'badass' and challenging rather than as a series of statements that everyone who is working is a useless schlep FWIW.  Statements along those lines don't automatically suggest that failure to RE is horrible, just as statements like "Warren Buffet had a job" don't mean that all awesome people need to hold jobs, or all jobs are awesome, or all people should want to be like Warren Buffet, or even that everyone should strive to be one of modern society's very best human beings (an absurdly high bar for your average person.)  Anything else I get out of that statement other than the literal "Warren Buffet had a job" is something I'm assuming about your intent, correctly or incorrectly. 

Virtually all of modern society's best human beings are or were formally employed.
I can't unequivocally agree with this statement.  It depends on how you define 'best human beings.'  The best painters, writers, and musicians of the past two centuries did nothing but pursue their art. Do you consider them to be either formally employed, or not part of the club of great people?

Aside:  I'm absolutely grateful that certain people work.  Some jobs are essential for society to function properly.  Doctors and nurses are easy picks for this list.  But what about the guys that maintain my town's sewer system?  Their work is difficult, badass, and valuable.  (Mine isn't.)  I hope they enjoy their jobs, never stumble onto the idea of EEE, and keep on keepin' on.

But I see I'm getting off topic, so I'll stop there.





Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #81 on: November 01, 2014, 05:46:12 PM »
Virtually all of modern society's best human beings are or were formally employed.  Einstein had a job.  Maurice Hilleman had a job.  John F. Kennedy had a job. Warren Buffet had a job.

I don't agree with this. I'm not sure what your definition of "best human beings" are, but I can come up with a few that defined their lives outside of a job structure: Ghandi, Mother Theresa (well technically employed by the Catholic Church), Martin Luther King, Bill Gates (in his philanthrapic role), Ralph Nader (consumer rights...not sure if he actually gets paid for what he does), probably countless artists you have never even heard of because they pursue their art for the love of it and not to be famous or to make money.

I get frustrated when our society devalues work that doesn't get paid for vs. work that gets paid for. For example, my mom was a stay at home mom and she raised four kids. She was frugal, cooked everything from scratch, tought us valuable life skills. Her sisters tell her she was "lucky" and imply she didn't do as much with her life as they did because they had to work outside of the house. They still mention it to her to this day and she is 80 years old. In one case, my grandmother lived with my aunt and raised her kids so she could work outside of the house. Well, now that my mom is older and has a lady come help during the week, my mom's sisters praise all of the amount of work this lady does around the house. It's the same work my mom did when raising us, so why do they treat it differently? My mom always felt that she had to defend herself against her sisters.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28056
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #82 on: November 01, 2014, 06:05:07 PM »

Trying to find meaning in life through formal employment is the norm for people; how is that unique, interesting, or badass in the slightest?

Virtually all of modern society's best human beings are or were formally employed.  Einstein had a job.  Maurice Hilleman had a job.  John F. Kennedy had a job. Warren Buffet had a job.

I'm just saying that "formal employment" doesn't have to mean you suck at life, which is definitely the tone I've been getting from this thread.  Some jobs represent great opportunities, not slavery.

Daisy's questioning of your best humans aside, even these seem like bad examples.

Einstein worked at the patent office, but it was away from work where he did his best work.

JFK was able to be a politician because he was FI (from his dad's mobster days).

It was when Buffet went out on his own that he did really well, not as a wage slave.

Doubtless some people have done great at more formal jobs where they report to others, but using people who did their best work not in a employee role is an odd thing to do, given we're discussing people becoming FI, after which they could go write the next Grand Unifying Theory or become a politician or start their own investment company, or whatever. :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, 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.

Cyrano

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #83 on: November 02, 2014, 08:36:39 AM »
Hi Raay,

In your responses to others, there seem to be a couple of contradictory concepts of "what is badass" mixed about.

1. On the one hand, you seem to propose that while "badass" and "economically productive" aren't exactly the same thing, there's strong enough overlap to say that someone doing well-compensated labor is probably badass.

2. On the other hand, you have little respect for living off investment income. So while wages are badass, the return to capital is not.

3. This would make for a mostly coherent Marxist theory of badassity (labor and only labor is badass), except that in the area of charity, you claim Randean sympathies, which probably puts Marxist underpinnings out of the question.

So maybe it would help if you would clarify: what is your underlying theory of badassity?

Jessa

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6231
  • Age: 39
  • Location: MA, USA
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #84 on: November 02, 2014, 10:11:19 AM »
Is it "cheap" not to do what you would be best qualified to do at your full potential - which doesn't necessarily coincide with what you would "love" to do currently (e.g. watch some TV, play games, or do some organic-community-charity-happy-hippy utopian gardening etc.)?

In summary, is ER a veiled waste of human potential and should we feel ashamed of it in company of hard-working high-achievers?

I guess my question for you would be what am I best qualified to do at my full potential and how do I know what it is? I spent several years as a portrait photographer, mostly doing babies. I was pretty good at it. The best photographer ever? No way. Not even close. But probably better than most. I made very little money, travelled a lot, incurred a lot of job-related non-reimbursed expenses, and worried about money a lot. Now I'm a staff accountant. I'm pretty good at it. The best ever? Not even close. But certainly valuable to my bosses. I make okay money, feel reasonably safe financially, and can contemplate a plan for FIRE. Which one is closer to me achieving my full potential? I am/was good at both, not amazing but certainly well above average. Is my current job more valuable because I am paid more for it? Was my former career more badass because I struggled to do it?
When I left photography, my boss tried to dissuade me, but I'm sure he replaced me. Perhaps some of my regular clients missed me and thought I was better than whoever replaced me...does that mean I wasted my potential? The work I do now is necessary and important in the context of the company I work for, but I don't change the world. I don't change my company, I just ensure it continues to run efficiently. My work is necessary and vital, but in the grand scheme of things, not all that important. While there would certainly be training costs associated with replacing me, it wouldn't significantly hinder the company, and within a few months they'd be just fine with the new person. Does that mean I am wasting my potential?

There are a lot of things that I think I could do pretty well. I don't know for sure there is anything that I could really be elite at. If there is something, I don't know what it is, so does that mean I'm wasting my potential? Should I be trying new things all the time and trying to find the specific thing where I can achieve my greatest potential? How will I know when I've achieved it? Will it be because I make a lot of money? What if I find a job where I am amazing and indispensable, and someone somewhere else offers me more money to leave, is THAT now my new potential? What if I try lots of different jobs and I am never more than above average and useful, and ultimately replaceable, at any of them? Does that mean I've wasted my life?


I have struggled with these questions before, and I am curious if you have a response that would help determine what any given human's potential actually is, how they find it, and how they know when they do. At this point in my life, I don't know the answers, and I've decided that I don't really care. I work hard at my job, I'm saving a lot of money, I will retire as early as I can and focus on happy-hippy gardening/cooking/homemaking. And if that makes me not very badass...oh well.

roadtofreedom

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 44
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #85 on: November 02, 2014, 10:42:39 AM »
Being controlled by a boss is soul destroying and thanks to stress could wind up killing me.

Turning my thermostat down a few degrees or biking 40 km won't kill me.

That's the key point.

Too often, we choose or prioritize work instead of our health and family, and this is a bad choice.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3356
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #86 on: November 02, 2014, 11:30:49 AM »
I can see your point.  If everyone that has true talent for what they are called to do in thier careers retired at age 30-40, the world would miss out on a lot.  For example, what if Einstein, Tesla, Edison, Carnegie, etc. retired early, and just said, "I'm done" and walked out the door before they completed thier life accomplishments which have improved the lives of everyone in the world?

Those guys followed their passion and I'm certain that they didn't find their central research to be soul crushing boredom. That's what FIRE does--opens up your life to allow you to live your passion.

In fact, Einstein worked a soul crushing job in Switzerland in order to fund his passion, his scientific research. Don't you think he would have quite that job if he could?That's why there is nothing wrong with working for The Man into your 60's if that what you love. Go for that!
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 11:39:01 AM by iris lily »

Lyssa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: Germany
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #87 on: November 02, 2014, 12:24:17 PM »
This is one of my biggest fears about ER and I have second hand experience to back it up...

My father "ERed" due to his bad health in his early forties. My mother was a SAHM who also had three old ladies (maternal grandmother and her two childless sisters) to take care of. Due to the comfortable German social system and financial contributions by the three old ladies money was somewhat tight but not a big problem (and we grew up having no difficulty distinguishing wants and needs).

Today I notice one big weakness in my parents: their low resilience in the face of stress and deadlines imposed by external factors.

They have by no means spend the last two decades in front of the TV. They have however become totally used to to get everything done on their terms and speed. And when a situation today demands something different they panic.

I have been thinking how one could train and maintain that particular resilience. But how could self imposed discomfort ever convincingly mimic real external stress factors?

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3356
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #88 on: November 03, 2014, 05:44:43 AM »
This is one of my biggest fears about ER and I have second hand experience to back it up...

My father "ERed" due to his bad health in his early forties. My mother was a SAHM who also had three old ladies (maternal grandmother and her two childless sisters) to take care of. Due to the comfortable German social system and financial contributions by the three old ladies money was somewhat tight but not a big problem (and we grew up having no difficulty distinguishing wants and needs).

Today I notice one big weakness in my parents: their low resilience in the face of stress and deadlines imposed by external factors.

They have by no means spend the last two decades in front of the TV. They have however become totally used to to get everything done on their terms and speed. And when a situation today demands something different they panic.

I have been thinking how one could train and maintain that particular resilience. But how could self imposed discomfort ever convincingly mimic real external stress factors?

I love your posts!

So what you are saying is: how does one in FIRE avoid living in a self-centered bubble?

For one thing, working in organizations (volunteering) keeps one interacting with other people. When you work with others you (the generic you)  are forced to negotiate, compromise, work on someone else's timetable, accept and act on leadership decisions you may not like, etc. These facts of working with other humans are the same, whether in the paid-work world or in the no-pay work world. It keeps us flexible.

I think that yours is a very interesting, and valid, concern.

I work with several organizations in a volunteer capacity where we are all volunteers, and believe me, it's often easier to work in a paid-work situation where chain of command lines are more clear.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #89 on: November 03, 2014, 05:52:52 AM »
Hi Raay,

In your responses to others, there seem to be a couple of contradictory concepts of "what is badass" mixed about.

1. On the one hand, you seem to propose that while "badass" and "economically productive" aren't exactly the same thing, there's strong enough overlap to say that someone doing well-compensated labor is probably badass.

2. On the other hand, you have little respect for living off investment income. So while wages are badass, the return to capital is not.

3. This would make for a mostly coherent Marxist theory of badassity (labor and only labor is badass), except that in the area of charity, you claim Randean sympathies, which probably puts Marxist underpinnings out of the question.

So maybe it would help if you would clarify: what is your underlying theory of badassity?

Cyrano, I'm glad that you asked because it seems to be really the core issue. From my POV, both Marxism and Randian objectivism are a fairy tales, exaggerations, models far from reality. However, as all parables do, they contain nuggets of wisdom concerning human behavior and are worth studying.

For me, a badass is someone with the remarkable ability to:
1. Produce significant (above average) output or solve difficult tasks...
2. ...while utilizing below average resources
3. ...and all the same keeping cool and relaxed despite what would be considered as "adversity" by non-badasses.

Given this definition - all three aspects must be true to qualify as badass - it's easy to create a matrix of cautionary counterexamples:
1. Underachieves + overconsumes + complains = a sad loser in debt
2. Overachieves + overconsumes + complains = a stressed and frustrated capable individual, but victim of the system (MMM's target audience?)
3. Underachieves + underconsumes + complains = a poor person trying to make ends meet
4. Underachieves + underconsumes + doesn't complain = a frugal early retiree?
5. Underachieves + overconsumes + doesn't complain = a scam artist of sorts

Now the followup question would of course be how do we measure consumption, achievement, and toughness. I think everyone agrees that consumption is easy to measure in monetary sense. That's why saving is so central to people here. Achievement is more troublesome: many claim that it is not a matter of economy, while I claim that it is, just like consumption, something you can put a money tag on (in fact, my definition is a bit more nuanced: the big achievement stems from lack of substitution, hence my musings about "difficult to replace" people; but money tends to reflect that aspect). Finally, how do we measure toughness - this should not be so difficult, as we can just analyze the outward communication of the badass candidate.

matchewed

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4335
  • Location: CT
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #90 on: November 03, 2014, 06:53:04 AM »
Hi Raay,

In your responses to others, there seem to be a couple of contradictory concepts of "what is badass" mixed about.

1. On the one hand, you seem to propose that while "badass" and "economically productive" aren't exactly the same thing, there's strong enough overlap to say that someone doing well-compensated labor is probably badass.

2. On the other hand, you have little respect for living off investment income. So while wages are badass, the return to capital is not.

3. This would make for a mostly coherent Marxist theory of badassity (labor and only labor is badass), except that in the area of charity, you claim Randean sympathies, which probably puts Marxist underpinnings out of the question.

So maybe it would help if you would clarify: what is your underlying theory of badassity?

Cyrano, I'm glad that you asked because it seems to be really the core issue. From my POV, both Marxism and Randian objectivism are a fairy tales, exaggerations, models far from reality. However, as all parables do, they contain nuggets of wisdom concerning human behavior and are worth studying.

For me, a badass is someone with the remarkable ability to:
1. Produce significant (above average) output or solve difficult tasks...
2. ...while utilizing below average resources
3. ...and all the same keeping cool and relaxed despite what would be considered as "adversity" by non-badasses.

Given this definition - all three aspects must be true to qualify as badass - it's easy to create a matrix of cautionary counterexamples:
1. Underachieves + overconsumes + complains = a sad loser in debt
2. Overachieves + overconsumes + complains = a stressed and frustrated capable individual, but victim of the system (MMM's target audience?)
3. Underachieves + underconsumes + complains = a poor person trying to make ends meet
4. Underachieves + underconsumes + doesn't complain = a frugal early retiree?
5. Underachieves + overconsumes + doesn't complain = a scam artist of sorts

Now the followup question would of course be how do we measure consumption, achievement, and toughness. I think everyone agrees that consumption is easy to measure in monetary sense. That's why saving is so central to people here. Achievement is more troublesome: many claim that it is not a matter of economy, while I claim that it is, just like consumption, something you can put a money tag on (in fact, my definition is a bit more nuanced: the big achievement stems from lack of substitution, hence my musings about "difficult to replace" people; but money tends to reflect that aspect). Finally, how do we measure toughness - this should not be so difficult, as we can just analyze the outward communication of the badass candidate.

Define achievement in this context. Why is employment achievement and FIRE not achievement? Hasn't the person who has worked their life to be FIRE achieved something?

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3356
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #91 on: November 03, 2014, 07:10:00 AM »

Define achievement in this context. Why is employment achievement and FIRE not achievement? Hasn't the person who has worked their life to be FIRE achieved something?

It appears that OP measures "achievement" by the quantitative $$$ value of the goods and services an individual produces for society.

This isn't wrong or evil, or  but neither it is the only way to measure the worth of our time on this earth. It's just one philosophy. So within this philosophy it's possible that the OPs' argument is sound for MMM philosophy not= to badassity.

I say "possible" because it doesn't much matter to me, I find his premise to be uninteresting, it doesn't resonate with me. I personally think that humans becoming self-actualized is the goal of life, not producing as many units of goods/services as possible. His central argument isn't one I accept and so, don't really care.

OP, I may be misrepresenting your positions here, so sorry in advance if that's true.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 08:10:50 AM by iris lily »

matchewed

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4335
  • Location: CT
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #92 on: November 03, 2014, 07:44:14 AM »
So achievement is only economical. Seems like an awfully narrow definition of achievement designed to justify something... not sure what.

Raay

  • Guest
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #93 on: November 03, 2014, 08:39:48 AM »
So achievement is only economical. Seems like an awfully narrow definition of achievement designed to justify something... not sure what.

I included the attribute "solves very difficult tasks" specifically to address the "only economical viewpoint" objection.

But to be honest, I'm surprised somewhat that it is a point of criticism, especially from people whose goal is to save most money in shortest time. Indeed, I believe that if you cannot put an economical value on something, it is highly suspicious to consider this thing as an achievement. The reason is that, manipulations, corruption scandals and theft notwithstanding, money is the society's mechanism for keeping score. Costly products and services are pricey for two reasons (1) because they are scarce - scarce as in "difficult to achieve" and (2) because they are in demand - as in "many people want them" (as opposed to other things they could have). If you assume that people in general wish to achieve in that sense, it's reasonable to say that high monetary value correlates with high achievement in society - UNLESS the money has been "transferred" to you involuntarily (e.g. you're a criminal) or by accident (e.g. big inheritance).

Of course there are categories of personal achievement which the society doesn't care about (there's no external demand), for example you might set a goal to memorize the highest number of PI's digits. But because such achievements are narrow in scope and hard to compare with others, I do tend to discount them largely.

It's telling that some people here mentioned scientists, but also doctors and those who upkeep infrastructure as achievers. The point of these examples is that those admirable individuals achieve something that is universally demanded (breakthroughs which lead to new technologies; cures and treatments for illnesses by which potentially everyone can be affected; or even working sewers which everyone depends upon to live a comfortable life). If you declare "money is nothing, I want to achieve personal happiness, freedom and fulfillment", then in my eyes you are not just making a personal choice on par with choices made by those other achievers. You are in fact at risk of becoming a voluntary (maybe somewhat ascetic) underachiever - because (lucky for us!) it really does not take a lot to meet one's own needs.

matchewed

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4335
  • Location: CT
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #94 on: November 03, 2014, 09:05:13 AM »
So achievement is only economical. Seems like an awfully narrow definition of achievement designed to justify something... not sure what.

I included the attribute "solves very difficult tasks" specifically to address the "only economical viewpoint" objection.

But to be honest, I'm surprised somewhat that it is a point of criticism, especially from people whose goal is to save most money in shortest time. Indeed, I believe that if you cannot put an economical value on something, it is highly suspicious to consider this thing as an achievement. The reason is that, manipulations, corruption scandals and theft notwithstanding, money is the society's mechanism for keeping score. Costly products and services are pricey for two reasons (1) because they are scarce - scarce as in "difficult to achieve" and (2) because they are in demand - as in "many people want them" (as opposed to other things they could have). If you assume that people in general wish to achieve in that sense, it's reasonable to say that high monetary value correlates with high achievement in society - UNLESS the money has been "transferred" to you involuntarily (e.g. you're a criminal) or by accident (e.g. big inheritance).

Of course there are categories of personal achievement which the society doesn't care about (there's no external demand), for example you might set a goal to memorize the highest number of PI's digits. But because such achievements are narrow in scope and hard to compare with others, I do tend to discount them largely.

It's telling that some people here mentioned scientists, but also doctors and those who upkeep infrastructure as achievers. The point of these examples is that those admirable individuals achieve something that is universally demanded (breakthroughs which lead to new technologies; cures and treatments for illnesses by which potentially everyone can be affected; or even working sewers which everyone depends upon to live a comfortable life). If you declare "money is nothing, I want to achieve personal happiness, freedom and fulfillment", then in my eyes you are not just making a personal choice on par with choices made by those other achievers. You are in fact at risk of becoming a voluntary (maybe somewhat ascetic) underachiever - because (lucky for us!) it really does not take a lot to meet one's own needs.

Bolded for emphasis.

Again something doesn't fit my narrow definition of that something so...

Of course it's a point of criticism, it is actually at the crux of what we're discussing. You're going to walk into the room and declare FIRE is not badass because it is not economical. When in fact it is all about economy it just doesn't fit your tiny narrow version of these things. So the better point would be FIRE is not badass to you because it's not economical or achievement worthy by your narrow definition. Fine. Whatever. I choose to define achievement more broadly, you do not. My worldview incorporates yours (being capable of accepting that someone who achieves financially or economically is a person who has achieved, yours doesn't incorporate mine (not being capable of accepting that someone who doesn't achieve economically can still be someone who has achieved). In a future world where robots and automation has taken over most jobs have fun with staring at the 10% of people who "economically achieve" and calling them the only achievers.

It is not only scientists or doctors. It is artists, stay at home moms, the grandparent showing a kid how to fish...etc. Almost all of human life is an achievement to someone. Rarely does an individual go through it without having an impact on someone. You choose to measure that impact solely by their economic impact. I think you'll be missing out on some cool stuff walking around with that world view. Whatevs. YMMV

Kaspian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1536
  • Location: Canada
    • My Necronomicon of Badassity
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #95 on: November 03, 2014, 10:49:41 AM »
Well, I expected defensiveness (even being called the Internet Retirement Police - I find it quite amusing how ideologies/religions tend to invent apriori defenses against criticism by pulling off the good old ingroup/outgroup trick). I also anticipated not being taken seriously by true believers (very early in first post), but I still don't think that my thinking out loud is more arrogant than your (not so much) "veiled" attempt to suppress it (but I'll leave it at that!)

I wasn't trying to "supress it", I was basically saying:

"Madness is the ability to make fine distinctions on different kinds of nonsense."   - Stanislaw Ulam, Mathematician

Please, carry on with your pointless, contrarian game of navel-gazing and poking bears with sticks. 

Jon_Snow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3187
  • Location: An Island in the Salish Sea (or Baja)
  • I am no manís chair.
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #96 on: November 03, 2014, 11:35:42 AM »
Wow, the OP's inability to wrap his head around some of the most basic priciples that embody "Mustachianism" are something to behold.

mak1277

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 788
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #97 on: November 03, 2014, 12:18:01 PM »
-snip-
 If you declare "money is nothing, I want to achieve personal happiness, freedom and fulfillment", then in my eyes you are not just making a personal choice on par with choices made by those other achievers. You are in fact at risk of becoming a voluntary (maybe somewhat ascetic) underachiever - because (lucky for us!) it really does not take a lot to meet one's own needs.

Ok...I'll play ball.  I'll raise my hand and admit to being a voluntary underachiever.  I know without doubt that I have underachieved my potential in my working career because I am not ambitious.  I also admit that I am really looking forward to ER where I can be even less ambitious and underachieve even more.  I am not saying this ironically or sarcastically...I am being totally honest and I'm PROUD!

Kaspian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1536
  • Location: Canada
    • My Necronomicon of Badassity
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #98 on: November 03, 2014, 12:28:43 PM »
Ok...I'll play ball.  I'll raise my hand and admit to being a voluntary underachiever.  I know without doubt that I have underachieved my potential in my working career because I am not ambitious.  I also admit that I am really looking forward to ER where I can be even less ambitious and underachieve even more.

Nothing wrong with that!  There's been no proof ever that ambition = happiness.  Hell, I'm happiest when I'm somewhere foreign, on sunny outdoor patio, having a beer and a smoke with friends.  ...Or playing music with my old band.  Or going for a swim in the ocean.  Come to think of it, ambition can kiss my ass.  Especially ambitions I should have as defined by someone else.

Gerard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
  • Location: eastern canada
Re: Does early retirement contradict badassity?
« Reply #99 on: November 03, 2014, 12:43:20 PM »
ambition can kiss my ass. 

Is this available on a t-shirt?