Author Topic: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?  (Read 7539 times)

Adventine

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How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« on: March 16, 2012, 07:11:09 PM »
For me, it was:

1. Being a poor college student. And I mean, really poor. At my lowest point, I had to choose between buying lunch and buying the required reading materials for class. I couldn't afford to buy both. That was when I decided to stop depending on my parents for dole-outs (a.k.a. an allowance) and get a side job. I realized I had to stop depending on my parents for money, even though they kept assuring me that I didn't have to work, that they would take care of seeing me through college.

2. Seeing my parents struggle for years to pay the bills. I don't remember a time when my parents weren't struggling. I promised myself I'd never end up in their position, which is why ever since I started working 3 years ago, I've been saving 50% of my monthly salary, and have refused to take on any kind of debt. I've never had a credit card and don't plan on applying for one anytime in the near future. I was fortunate enough to not to have to resort to any kind of student loan, so I started my career with a clean slate.

Three years ago, I started out with zero assets to my name, and now I'm proud to say that I'm earning (and saving) more than most other people my age in this country. Still, I'm learning more every day about more intelligent ways to grow my stache, thanks to places like this forum!

So, Mustachians. What were the events/experiences/realizations that served as a kick in the butt and started you on the road to FI/Mustachianism/ERE?

sol

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 07:33:55 PM »
Growing up poor helps, because you learn how to live frugally.

Staying in school until you're 30 helps, because you become accustomed to frugal living.

Watching my income triple upon graduation made saving the surplus easy.

Attending retirement parties for coworkers who have put in 40+ years convinced me that there had to be a better way.

Ben

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2012, 01:41:30 PM »
Working my first well-paying job (an internship) while saving as much as possible for a wedding, honeymoon, and final year of graduate school.

I've always been pretty good about shopping inexpensively and not wasting money, but never thought about finances much until providing for a family (and graduation) was on the near horizon.


kolorado

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2012, 02:21:16 PM »
I'll second growing up poor. I knew we were but I never felt that way. My parents were amazingly creative with whatever came our way. They were sure they/we had a wonderful social circle and a great education. But we didn't have much else. Early on we lived in two trailers that my dad acquired nearly free and single-handedly put side by side. He kept beater cars running with old parts and constant tweaking. He raised pigs and hunted for meat. He fished, crabbed and dug clams too. My mom could make everything taste so good! We kids loved dump day because we'd pile into the back of the pick up and ride to drop off our trash. There was a big section of free salvage and we regularly came home with toys, furniture, building supplies and bike parts. We always seemed to get enough hand-me-downs when we needed them. My mom always figured out fun things to do around the house and taught us to love reading. She encouraged to play outside as much as possible. It may be cliche but our home had love and fun and we weren't really "poor".
Now as fun as my growing up was, I had to watch my dad go to work 50 hours a week, shiftwork, as a machine operator in a glass factory. These are dangerous, hot places, with grueling physical labor involved. It bugged me so much that he wasn't home more. My parents were happy enough with their arrangement of getting by and being generous with church and their friends but it bothered me. I wanted my kids to have more access to their dad then I did. My dad is so smart and gifted as a mechanic that it's such a shame that he had to spend most of his making pickle jars and beer bottles instead of building some of the neat inventions he's worked on over the years.
So most of what I do is practiced behavior over my entire life. I knew early in life that I liked simple living. Luckily that also means getting by comfortably on the cheap so we can save a large amount of our less than median income. My hubby also does factory work but it's very safe. He works days and is predictably around for the kids. We should have enough saved for him to retire at 50, although that's more my goal then his.

James

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2012, 08:23:04 PM »
I went on a trip to Haiti and happened to land one hour prior to their big earthquake a couple years ago.  Shook my wife and I up to our core.  We started looking at life with a new perspective, we couldn't just go back to our life like nothing happened.  Slowly we are developing a new philosophy of live, and the Mustachian lifestyle clicks with me.  We won't ever be Mr and Mrs Mustache, but it's a wonderful guideline to judge so much of what we are accustomed to and pull it toward a better way.

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2012, 12:03:37 PM »
Falling in love with and moving in with a non-mustachian, who I am still in love with and living with today (and who is still a non-mustachian)... :)
It made me realise that I had been brought up mustachian but gradually lost my way due to outside influence. I'm trying very hard to get back on the right path and hopefully my very supportive partner will come on board soon.

VanishingPoint

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2012, 07:26:02 PM »
I was always a good saver and I credit my wife for being an even better one. We have always been high on living a more meaningful life then acquiring more money to have bigger and better things. I grew up with my mother being at home for us kids while my dad worked a good paying office job. We were a typical middle class family fitting in to all the suburban clichés you can conjure up.

I wanted the same lifestyle for my kids. It's what I was familiar with and what I was accustomed to. We made the decision to be a single income family (she does a babysitting side hustle pulling in a respectable 9K a year untaxed) once our first daughter was born. We realized we had to cut some corners and be more frugal with our lifestyle. We embraced this. This really got us going down the path of Mustachianism. 7 years later and we are ready to pack up the suburban life and move to another more meaningful chapter in our continuing story. 25 acres for the kids to run around and a solid financial backbone to support our journey.

ERE, FI, Mustachianism always felt like the right road to wander down. I don't think either of us could have envisioned any other way of living. We are still just dipping our feet in the lake of Mustachianism but so far the water feels great. I am thankful I have a spouse who is aligned with this viewpoint. I believe it has made all the difference.

velocistar237

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2012, 06:06:04 AM »
My dad went through a keep-up-with-the-Joneses phase. Two divorces later, he upped his savings rate to 50% and started buying up rental properties. He is also a workaholic. My mother was poor after their divorce. My wife and I have a lot of school debt. I'm an INTJ and an engineer. Combine those influences, and my affinity for ERE makes sense. MMM holds the ERE torch.

Guitarist

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2012, 02:10:07 PM »
I am also an INTJ, which seems to have a propensity toward ER, and I am also an engineer. Those two factors help make me a logical person. I am not a Vulcan or anything, but put some numbers in front of me and give me some time to do my own research and I can just about substantiate a position based on facts. Obviously this works well with math, with other things, doesn't always work. ;-)
Anywho, I remember seeing those retirement commercials where people had "their number." I thought, how in the world do you figure out a number not knowing how the market will go or how long you will live? I went through high school and college sometimes thinking about it but never figuring it out. Then I found MMM (and ERE) and it was explained in a way that should make sense to anyone with some high school education. Why this isn't blasted through our skulls at the beginning and end of every school year is beyond me. I now have a clear, obtainable, understandable, logical, goal.
Before all that: I come from a rather frugal family anyway. My dad started at the bottom rung of the Army ladder and retired 20 years later (from the Army anyway). He now has a very good job but through it all my parents saved, and they encouraged my sister and me to save. So I saved.
I've had hiccups along the way, but now I am on the path. I have a goal in front of me and I will reach it. And I will have my health and sanity when I reach it.

Gerard

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2012, 02:13:42 PM »
Growing up poor helps, because you learn how to live frugally.

Staying in school until you're 30 helps, because you become accustomed to frugal living.

Watching my income triple upon graduation made saving the surplus easy.

Attending retirement parties for coworkers who have put in 40+ years convinced me that there had to be a better way.

+1 on pretty well all of this.

shedinator

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2012, 02:29:54 PM »
I am also an INTJ, which seems to have a propensity toward ER.

Interesting. Is there much psychological research into this? I'd love to see it. I'm a total I, but the other 3 change from day to day depending how I feel and/or the tasks at hand. Perhaps I should tap into my NTJ abilities :)

Guitarist

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 02:51:06 PM »
I haven't seen anything scientific, just the anecdotes from those who run FI websites and polls on the forums. And to be honest, I guess that isn't too fair because I believe internet forums have a higher INTJ ratio then the real world.
But beyond that, the description of the INTJ jives with what it takes to reach FI.

My SO is an ESFJ... I am not sure if there is any hope for her coming to the conclusion that ER is a very achievable goal.

Sunflower

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 04:03:34 PM »
I believe internet forums have a higher INTJ ratio then the real world.
But beyond that, the description of the INTJ jives with what it takes to reach FI.

Yeah, the first time I saw reference to the large INTJ population on FI forums it definintely clicked. Goals, logic problems, and (usually) number crunching are all things we're naturally wired to enjoy.

I've been 'stashing money since I first knew what money was but until recently I had only ever thought about shorter-term goals like saving for a trip or a car. When someone sent me a link to MMM a couple months ago, it was like a light went off and now I'm hooked!

Guitarist

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2012, 07:36:38 PM »
Well, not only that, but being introverts, we gain energy when we're buy ourselves and spend it when around a lot of other people (to varying degrees). It's also pretty hard to find someone else who sees the world the way we do, I know I can't stand people who rely on emotion for decisions even when facts are smacking them in the face telling them they're wrong. So over the internet, we can find like minded people and be able to have conversations at our own pace. I can leave this webpage at any time and nobody would be offended.

I also like to play devil's advocate from time to time because I enjoy the debate. I think seeing things from other sides, and defending positions I don't necessarily believe in, helps me understand an issue better. Too many people I know think I do it just to be argumentative. If there were good careers in philosophy outside academia, I probably would have gone that route. In fact, I like to think FI will allow me to be able to spend my days discussing life, the universe, and everything whenever I feel like it.

kolorado

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 09:05:51 PM »
That is so funny about the INTJ thing because I'm one also.
I was wondering if this group was populated in higher than normal percentages by "my kind" and almost started a thread to ask the group because we're supposed to be pretty rare(1%) but I see a lot of Mastermind thinking here.
Guitarist, my hubby is an ESFJ as well. How weird is that?

Guitarist

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2012, 10:16:20 AM »
That is pretty strange. I check an INTJ forum from time to time and there are a lot of INTJ's who say to avoid ESFJ's (more INTJ men avoiding ESFJ women, for some reason it's a little different the other way around). But there is also an INTJ man who's been happily married to an ESFJ woman for a number of years. He says it takes work but there is much they gain from each other.
Of course, I am not basing my life around personality types off tests, it's the real world interactions that matter to me. Looking into MBTI again was just a way for me to better understand myself and others.

kolorado

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2012, 11:35:10 AM »
Yeah, I've read about the incompatibility things too but I didn't choose a mate soley on romantic love or how well we got along. I choose someone who shared my core beliefs who wanted his life to go in the same direction I wanted. We do approach life situations in very different ways but I find that interesting. Maybe that's because I find conflict interesting. Apparently he finds me interesting too.
 Because he's a Guardian Provider he doesn't have the same ideas about retirement that I do. Work satisfies his high social and group needs. But I'm planning for ER anyway since he might find a hobby or charitable group that meets his needs instead.
We've been together 15 years, married 11.5. It does get better in the sense that my ESFJ would rather "give in" to my plans than make me unhappy. That's his view of what's happening in every conflict but very rarely true.
What made the biggest difference for him was seeing the actual numbers and results of the plan. The concept didn't appeal to him, the consistent effort over time didn't appeal to him(but like I said, he gave in to make me "happy")but the results thrill him and he likes to see that he's doing a "good job".
And here's a long story to illustrate this if you're bored enough to keep reading. The biggest turning point for this was when when he insisted he needed a new car in 2006. We had $5K saved for a replacement vehicle plus another $5K saved in another account that could be used if necessary but he wanted something brand new and rather impractical and far out of our savings range(father of two young kids crisis?). I reasoned with him for months as I showed him car after car within my price range. I was the one to give in this time since he tends to give in most often to everything else. So it was going to be a new car bit at least it could be something highly rated/good buy so I again did research and he chose a Hyundai Tiberon with the promise that this would be the last new car ever purchased for our household and that he would keep it at least 10 years. This was a $22K car. We had no debt but the mortgage and I wanted to keep it that way but I gave in to his want and got a 5 year loan. What he didn't know was that I was not planning on paying those payments for 5 long years. Every once in a while I'd tell him that I'd sent in extra on the car loan but it didn't interest him too much. We had an income at the time of $35K per year. I paid that loan off in less than 2 years and never touched our second savings account. I actually added to the second savings. When the date came to write the final check, my hubby was flabbergasted. It had never occurred to him that living frugally and with discipline could pay off that fast. And he's been MUCH more supportive and cooperative since.

zinnie

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2012, 05:38:13 PM »
a) The way my parents raised me. There was a brief period around high school where I used to envy others' designer stuff. Besides that, I've always been like this.

b) College helped a lot: I always lived on $13,000 a year and at the time that seemed like plenty, and even though my first job was only double that, I had more than enough. About 10 pay raises later plus a spouse's income and I can't comprehend how we would spend more than we currently do.

c) Seeing others in debt has had a big impact on me. I was in the military community for a while and seeing how a lot of people were living paycheck to paycheck for absolutely no reason was an eye opener. There was a certain type there who would have two brand new cars, buy a new house at every duty station they went to, have all the latest electronics/ giant televisions, and be short every month when it came time to pay the bills and purchase food for the family. (I mention the military aspect of it because health insurance is covered, housing allowance is given separately based on how expensive it is where you live, and a lot of your income is tax-sheltered so by mustachian standards it's a situation where you could save even more of your take home pay than most of us. This made it even more depressing to watch.)

d) And finally--just opening my eyes to what the working world really is. I came out of college all idealistic and ready to change the world and the the actual business world kind of crushed my spirit. I don't want to be here any longer than I have to, so I see this as the best practical option as well.

October

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2012, 08:40:04 AM »
For me, it started in a Target store.  There was a little statue of fat and happy Hotei Buddha that called to me, made me pick him up (he fit in the palm of my hand) and carry him around the store with me.  At that point I had no knowledge of Buddhism, but I couldn't let him go.

I took that Buddha home with me and started researching Buddhism, the different offshoots, and their underlying beliefs and tenets.  Eventually, I found my way to Zen, as it made more sense to me as an atheist, and minimalism, which led me to ERE, which pointed me to MMM.

So, essentially it was the discovery Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment that started me on the road to FI and the Way of the Mustache.

sol

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2012, 09:04:50 AM »
For me, it started in a Target store.  There was a little statue of fat and happy Hotei Buddha that called to me, made me pick him up (he fit in the palm of my hand) and carry him around the store with me. 

Please tell me your little Buddha belly jiggles vigorously when you consider the irony of finding your enlightenment in a Target store.

October

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2012, 10:11:14 AM »
It does, it does!  Very ironic, but true!

skandrae

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2012, 12:30:05 PM »
For me, the first indication that the way I was living wasn't working was having to borrow $1,500 from my father. I had paid for a course I was getting reimbursed for, but the cheque kept getting held up. I wasn't going to have enough money to pay my heating oil bill (this was in February of 2011, and I live in the Yukon), and I looked at the distance to my next paycheque, and I know I wasn't going to make it. Luckily, my dad was able to front me that money.

It wasn't until August that I finally started taking the major steps toward getting my life in order - beginning treatment for depression was actually the catalyst. Once I got out of the fog I'd been in, I started seeing the big picture again, and started making plans. I paid my father back, opened an RSP, and started hammering away at my CC debt and laying the foundations of my budget.

I only discovered MMM this week, but everything I've read here has clicked with me. I can't wait to see what the future will bring ^_^

Dee

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Re: How did you get started on the Way of the Mustache?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2012, 08:49:03 PM »
Good topic. First, I have to wonder if I am really on the way of the Mustache, though I hope I am.

When I was in my mid-20s (I am now in my mid-30s), I saw a book by an early retiree called Stop working-- start living : how I retired at 36-- without winning the lottery by Dianne Nahirny and read most, if not all, of it in the bookstore. And while I was fascinated, I don't think I was convinced that I could do this too. (Or even that I wanted to do anything like it.)

Not too long thereafter, I met the man who I thought would be my partner for life. He turned out to be my partner for the next seven years (and hopefully a close friend for life) and I took a completely different turn, putting aside any idea of early retirement through frugality and saving I might have had ignited by that book. With him, I expected a more traditional path, which didn't work out.

I was re-introduced to the idea on ERE (where I got the link to ERE, I can't remember, but thank goodness I did!), but extremism doesn't resonate with me. I would list "moderation" as an important value to me. So, MMM and his mustachianism does resonate.

As to personality types, whenever I've taken a test, I've clearly and definitely come out an "I" but am right on the border for the other three letters. I think that makes me more complicated to myself because it makes it hard to have overriding values and approaches come out ahead of others; the competitors run a tight race.

I've also been influenced by my mother, who was born the youngest of 8 kids at the end of the depression. Her first memories are of war-time rationing. Being the youngest, she was influenced by older siblings and an older mother of, perhaps, an older generation than the mothers of most of the kids her age. In turn, she had me at an older age, so I seem to be quite a bit off in terms of the number of generations for whom frugality hasn't been the way of life (read: I am the first generation who was raised in a manner where frugality became a choice rather than the given way). She also very much values retirement, having retired from teaching with a full pension at age 55 and, now, over 15 years later still believing it has been the best phase of her life. She is someone who enjoys relaxation and a slower pace of life than typically takes place when one works full-time.

I lived without many extras I would have liked for several years when I was a student. The worst of it was the combination of not having a car nor any laundry facilities in the building where I lived. I also didn't have cable or a dishwasher. These are all things that I now have and that I really enjoy having and don't want to go without. That along with enough living space to not feel claustrophobic. I don't want to go back to that lifestyle willingly, though, admittedly, it might work just fine if I didn't also have to swing it with full-time work or studies; finding time to wash dishes by hand and go to the laundromat might not seem like such a challenge if none of my time was swallowed up with paid employment. 

So, having no immediate plans to drop cable TV, I may or may not be mustachian. But I am excited about putting some little soldiers to work for me and perhaps knocking some years off my retirement date or, at least, having the financial means of retiring sooner than anticipated if I so choose.