Author Topic: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?  (Read 7042 times)

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #50 on: April 25, 2018, 06:16:45 AM »
I think you're really overestimating how many people are aiming for FI. There are still millions of people that have no interest in investing, saving, or frugality. IF, and this is a big IF, IF there were millions of mustachians, you'd start to see investment returns waver and wages start to increase dramatically. However, for a lot of people, the labor market increasing wages 10-20% will be more than enough to drive many non-working people back into the labor market even many of the people on the forum here. As long as people are working and improving the mega corporations, our investments will gladly hand over the profits.

I think at most there may be a couple hundred thousand people in the States looking to achieve something like FI.
I think you’re wildly underestimating. At least 1% is already financially independent and I’d be shocked if there wasn’t another 2% seeking and likely to achieve it. 3% of the US is 10 million people. “At most...couple hundred thousand” doesn’t pass the sniff test to me.

FIPurpose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 988
  • Location: ME
    • FI With Purpose
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #51 on: April 25, 2018, 07:29:37 AM »
I think you're really overestimating how many people are aiming for FI. There are still millions of people that have no interest in investing, saving, or frugality. IF, and this is a big IF, IF there were millions of mustachians, you'd start to see investment returns waver and wages start to increase dramatically. However, for a lot of people, the labor market increasing wages 10-20% will be more than enough to drive many non-working people back into the labor market even many of the people on the forum here. As long as people are working and improving the mega corporations, our investments will gladly hand over the profits.

I think at most there may be a couple hundred thousand people in the States looking to achieve something like FI.
I think you’re wildly underestimating. At least 1% is already financially independent and I’d be shocked if there wasn’t another 2% seeking and likely to achieve it. 3% of the US is 10 million people. “At most...couple hundred thousand” doesn’t pass the sniff test to me.

I mean it all depends on how you define FI. Since Independence is more of a mind set than it is a reality, it's kind of hard to determine. Technically I am FI. I could move to some other country and live off my current wealth forever. I don't want to do that, so I don't really claim to be FI.

We could arbitrarily pick a number that proves you're FI like 1.5mil. Which puts you at the 95% percentile of US household wealth. So does that mean 5% of the US is FI? I don't know. What percentage of them are living in HCOL areas that have no desire to move away just to be FI.

If you restrict the demographics to early retirees, having 1.5mil net worth between the ages of 25 and 45 puts you at the 98% of US household wealth. So about 2% of Americans have the money to retire early. That still leaves the question though of do they have the mindset of FI? I don't know. That is less quantifiable. I knew several people at my last job that easily have more than 1.5mil that felt like they still had to work full-time jobs and had no possibility of FI. So if on average, lets say 10% of these wealthy people have that mindset, .2% of America is FI or about 650k people.

Maybe you're right. Maybe far more people, especially the rich people know exactly what they have and high control of their spending. Perhaps I'm just a tad more pessimistic.

simonsez

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Age: 33
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2018, 09:25:04 AM »
I mean it all depends on how you define FI. Since Independence is more of a mind set than it is a reality, it's kind of hard to determine. Technically I am FI. I could move to some other country and live off my current wealth forever. I don't want to do that, so I don't really claim to be FI.

We could arbitrarily pick a number that proves you're FI like 1.5mil. Which puts you at the 95% percentile of US household wealth. So does that mean 5% of the US is FI? I don't know. What percentage of them are living in HCOL areas that have no desire to move away just to be FI.

If you restrict the demographics to early retirees, having 1.5mil net worth between the ages of 25 and 45 puts you at the 98% of US household wealth. So about 2% of Americans have the money to retire early. That still leaves the question though of do they have the mindset of FI? I don't know. That is less quantifiable. I knew several people at my last job that easily have more than 1.5mil that felt like they still had to work full-time jobs and had no possibility of FI. So if on average, lets say 10% of these wealthy people have that mindset, .2% of America is FI or about 650k people.

Maybe you're right. Maybe far more people, especially the rich people know exactly what they have and high control of their spending. Perhaps I'm just a tad more pessimistic.
I don't follow the mindset exclusive of reality.  IMO, it seems like if you are not FI yet it's more of a mindset but once you have achieved what you set out to do, it is both your mindset and your reality.  Sure, the lone word 'independence' is a nebulous concept but financial independence seems like a pretty straightforward idea that could be very real.  If you can live off what you currently have for the rest of your life without needing to work more, isn't that all you need to be FI? 

Correct, being FI has nothing to do with another country/locale (unless you do plan on retiring there) nor does it depend on an exact number as this can vary drastically from person to person. 

Aside from children, a good chunk of the ignorant, some of the disabled, and a portion of the disenfranchised, who isn't working toward being FI or already is?  Aren't the vast majority of those that retire at typical ages in their 50s and 60s FI?  Aren't the vast majority of those still working in their 30s, 40s, 50s (regardless of RE intent) shooting to be financially independent at some point?  If they weren't...they wouldn't retire!  I can't really think of any retired family members that wouldn't be considered FI.

If you meant it's about a 1 in 1000 proposition that someone retires in their 20s or 30s or at least has that mindset to be the goal, I'll grant you that but RE can be a LOT different than simply being FI.  YMMV

FIPurpose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 988
  • Location: ME
    • FI With Purpose
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2018, 09:46:04 AM »
I don't follow the mindset exclusive of reality.  IMO, it seems like if you are not FI yet it's more of a mindset but once you have achieved what you set out to do, it is both your mindset and your reality.  Sure, the lone word 'independence' is a nebulous concept but financial independence seems like a pretty straightforward idea that could be very real.  If you can live off what you currently have for the rest of your life without needing to work more, isn't that all you need to be FI? 

Correct, being FI has nothing to do with another country/locale (unless you do plan on retiring there) nor does it depend on an exact number as this can vary drastically from person to person. 

Aside from children, a good chunk of the ignorant, some of the disabled, and a portion of the disenfranchised, who isn't working toward being FI or already is?  Aren't the vast majority of those that retire at typical ages in their 50s and 60s FI?  Aren't the vast majority of those still working in their 30s, 40s, 50s (regardless of RE intent) shooting to be financially independent at some point?  If they weren't...they wouldn't retire!  I can't really think of any retired family members that wouldn't be considered FI.

If you meant it's about a 1 in 1000 proposition that someone retires in their 20s or 30s or at least has that mindset to be the goal, I'll grant you that but RE can be a LOT different than simply being FI.  YMMV

All I meant by reality is that a person can have the money to be FI, but not have the mindset.

I guess you could say that technically, just about everyone in the US hits FI at the age of 65? We all get social security and medicare, so ehh I guess. But expanding who we're talking about from this specific FI community to basically every adult in the US just makes FI kind of a useless term in my mind. Are people in their 30's who are saving 10% of their income when they could easily instead save 30-50% pursuing FI? In my opinion, no. They're pursuing a retirement at the end of their life, not financial independence.

Well there you go. I think we just have a difference of opinion as to how we define our terms.

e34bb098

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2018, 10:22:26 AM »
Since the money cannot be borrowed or printed out of thin air, alternative means of raising the necessary revenue must be used.  Political eyes will cast about looking for all available pots of gold that are not so well defended.  The early retirement pots will not be so easily defended since they are held by a small relatively powerless portion of the population.

Quote
Why would the Powers-That-Be pick on the relatively small group of early retirees instead of going after larger and wealthier targets?

As was just stated, relatively powerless.  The early retirees are a low hanging fruit revenue source.

Quote
Or do "they" also control every single judge in the federal court system, up to and including the Supreme Court?

They don't need them all.  Judges often don't agree today.  Despite the best of intents, the supreme court is influenced by public opinion.  They are human, after all.  Publicity will not be on the side of the FI community and this will be a strong influence for the rendering of the decision(s).

Quote
It's all very far-fetched and requires villains to be both insanely competent

Whether they are heroes or villains sometimes depends upon who writes the history.  You see them as villains because they are taking your money.  Other people may see them differently, because they helped alleviate a major social problem.

You are certainly very good at spinning horrifying just-so stories.

Do you have any evidence that any of this is happening, or going to happen?  Or is it just something keeping you up at night?

If we are going to indulge in evidence-free conspiracy-mongering (which is pretty much the only kind), then I think a much more likely conspiracy is that an industry organization which depends on thoughtless consumption has realized that a FIRE/frugality movement is deadly to its continued profits.  Therefore it has hired shills to go onto FIRE websites and spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about FI, hoping that people abandon their dreams of FIRE and return to a life of consumer suckerism.

So how about it, pecunia?  Are you ready to fess up to being a paid shill?  Or is that one conspiracy theory too far? :)

TVRodriguez

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #55 on: April 25, 2018, 10:41:16 AM »
Applause for all involved here.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this very enjoyable-to-read thread.  Special thanks to pecunia for starting it and for coming back again and again with more.  Great job, everyone.  This was a delectable distraction while I ate my (also delectable and not-conspiracy-laden) lunch.

Slee_stack

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 853
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2018, 11:25:37 AM »
I just found out that Math is a conspiracy too.

Someone mentioned that odd numbers look...a little odd.  May want to keep an eye on them as well.   Shitz gettin reel!



ChpBstrd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1386
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #57 on: April 25, 2018, 12:50:14 PM »
Seems like the difference between conspiracy theory thinking and more mainstream thought patterns is the degree to which an individual relies on narratives to understand the world, as opposed to factors, influences, math, and probabilities.

History is taught in narrative format, and seems obvious due to the hindsight bias. We'd like to use narratives and storytelling to make our plans and predict the future too, because it seems so reliable in hindsight. The poor performances of futurists, stock pickers, and gamblers reveals the problem with this approach. Given the same thousands of inputs, there are thousands of different stories that could emerge. Events of human behavior such as government changes or investment performance are notoriously unpredictable. They are better described by Chaos Theory, not our ability to spin persuasive stories. We cannot yet predict the weather two weeks out, and yet the internet is full of stock-picking blogs and videos spinning even less-likely scenarios where A will cause B which will cause C which will cause D in a simplified universe devoid of any other causes. Even scientific theories are simplified narratives, but at least they are revised or discarded when evidence doesn't fit.

As Daniel Kahnman writes in "Thinking Fast and Slow...", we tend to ignore baseline probabilities in favor of beliefs and behaviors that our biases make us vulnerable to.

Well folks, the baseline results are in. If you consistently save and invest 60-70% of your income, you'll very very likely become FI within a dozen years. We can spin a thousand stories why that won't happen, and sneak in the idea each story has a 1% chance of occurring, but while we're sitting around the campfire telling stories, someone else will be amassing a fortune.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1072
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #58 on: April 25, 2018, 03:21:17 PM »
Quote
So how about it, pecunia?  Are you ready to fess up to being a paid shill?  Or is that one conspiracy theory too far? :)

I haven't seen that word "shill in a while.  I do not work for any industry that would pay me to disrupt the life of the noble people working hard to become financially independent.

In fact I think if you live by the principles which are expounded by many here you will have a better than even chance of achieving financial independence.

OK - CIA man is that good enough?  They should now think the conspiracy is just another fraud.

markbike528CBX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1052
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #59 on: April 25, 2018, 05:03:35 PM »
Even if they storm your house and declare you are guilty of treason and sentenced to die, even in that moment, you can choose to be happy.

....or they're marching us out to a firing squad
we just smile and recall all the good times we had
it's the best 'til tomorrow.....

http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/realmckenzies/bestdayuntiltomorrow.html

aceyou

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1566
  • Age: 36
    • Life is Good - Aceyou's Journal
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #60 on: April 25, 2018, 06:31:32 PM »
Quote
In essence, the concepts of the bible (or any religion) would NOT get rewritten.   

If you destroyed the trinity study and zapped everyone's knowledge of FIRE, eventually the ideas of that study would get rewritten, because the same tests would yield the same observations and conclusions.

Which is the true constant?  You presume that the Bible could be destroyed and would not be reconstituted.  Then you put your "faith" in the 4 percent rule.

The Bible represents a lot of constants that will be reconstituted in a "mysterious way."  These constants are the moral rules a civilization should live by.  The 4 percent rule is NOT a rule of Physics.  It is not a rule handed down by Providence.  The 4 percent rule is a statistical pattern which has a high correlation.  It depends on other people's behavior and the assumption that resources will continue to sustain us.  History shows us a lot of civilizations for which things have changed.  I'd guess those civilizations, Aztec, Mayans, Indus, folks on Easter Island, etc.  had their equivalent to the 4 percent rule too.

The only thing permanent in this world is change.  It's as old as all the rocks.  That part ain't a conspiracy.


But the key is that I DON'T put faith in the 4% rule.  I put my faith in logical reasoning and empirical evidence.  It just so happens that right now the evidence supports the 4% rule.  If in ten or twenty years better evidence suggests otherwise, I'll adjust my strategy, as will most on here.  I'll follow the evidence wherever it leads.


As to the stuff in the bible that would get reconstituted in a "mysterious way", the only stuff that would come back would be the obvious stuff that everyone with common decency knows.

...don't kill people...don't steal...treat people the way they'd want to be treated.

Well no shit.  Every religion pretty much says that, and so do pretty much all atheists. 

The stuff that would not come back is stuff that has no evidence or common sense:
- dude gets swallowed and spit out alive by a whale
- a loving god commits mass genocide and kills every man woman child and animal except for a few on a boat..because..he loves us so much. 
- don't braid your hair or eat shell fish
- gay people burn in hell...actually, unfortunately there's enough bigots in the world that this idea probably would come back.
- ghost knocks a woman up and greats man-god
- there exists a a god in three persons.
stuff like that.  That's the kind of stuff that doesn't come back if all the books and memory of it were destroyed, because there's no logic or evidence behind any of it. 

People just believe it because of that word you used...faith.  You can't compare that kind of faith to faith in things that are supported by evidence, by people who are willing to change their stance when better evidence surfaces. 


Indexer

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1367
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #61 on: April 25, 2018, 08:56:38 PM »
The conspiracy is convincing the bulk of the population that they "need" stuff that they don't.

+1

Thanks for saving me the trouble of trying to same the same thing, likely with way too many words. ;-)

FIPurpose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 988
  • Location: ME
    • FI With Purpose
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #62 on: April 28, 2018, 06:31:24 PM »
I found this article recently and thought of this thread:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/07/retirement/millennial-retirement-savings/index.html?iid=EL

tldr; 66% of people from age 21-32 don't have any retirement savings. I don't think there will be any shortage of American labor for the next few decades to come.

libertarian4321

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1371
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #63 on: April 29, 2018, 03:29:06 AM »
Dude, it's all a conspiracy.  Putin is hiding in your closet.  Trump is under your bed.  Alex Jones is controlling both of them.

You keep believing ridiculous conspiracy theories if you like.

The rest of us have more important things to do, like getting rich and retiring early...

Acastus

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
  • Age: 57
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #64 on: April 30, 2018, 10:36:28 AM »
1. Go to the grocery store or any buyer's club. Purchase heavy duty Reynold's brand aluminum foil. The widest available roll is much easier to use. No other brand will work. Don't use the thin stuff.

2. Watch the Netflix produced version of "The Tick." Not the broadcast TV version, and not the Saturday morning animated version. The character "Tin Foil Kevin" will demonstrate how to build your hat if you pay attention. You will not see all the steps in a single scene. You have to watch all his scenes.

3. Alternately, the Official Magneto Helmet from Marvel is supposed to work. It must be the pre-Disney merchandise. I have not tried this myself, due to the expense.

4. If you can get a pair of those glasses from "They Live," it will make telling the good guys from the bad guys much easier.

markbike528CBX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1052
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #65 on: April 30, 2018, 06:35:43 PM »
1. Go to the grocery store or any buyer's club. Purchase heavy duty Reynold's brand aluminum foil. The widest available roll is much easier to use. No other brand will work. Don't use the thin stuff.

2. Watch the Netflix produced version of "The Tick." Not the broadcast TV version, and not the Saturday morning animated version. The character "Tin Foil Kevin" will demonstrate how to build your hat if you pay attention. You will not see all the steps in a single scene. You have to watch all his scenes.

3. Alternately, the Official Magneto Helmet from Marvel is supposed to work. It must be the pre-Disney merchandise. I have not tried this myself, due to the expense.

4. If you can get a pair of those glasses from "They Live," it will make telling the good guys from the bad guys much easier.

A colleague of mine mine claimed that he had seen at a nuclear power plant  outage in-processing (hundreds of people) one person with hat #1 in place.   either the person  was not allowed in,or it gave the person invisibility powers,because I never saw that person.

pecunia

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1072
Re: Is FI (Financial Independence) a conspiracy?
« Reply #66 on: April 30, 2018, 08:22:24 PM »
Quote
A colleague of mine mine claimed that he had seen at a nuclear power plant  outage in-processing (hundreds of people) one person with hat #1 in place.   either the person  was not allowed in,or it gave the person invisibility powers,because I never saw that person.

Well gents - I have worked at several nuclear energy facilities.  I have seen no cover up at the commercial plants.  The DOE run facilities could be another story as they make bomb material at those places.  I never saw anyone wear anything but standard radiological protective clothing at either one.  The only cover up is that this type of energy could be the solution to global warming and it is being handcuffed from further commercial development.

You may be on the right track with the hat trick though.