Author Topic: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed  (Read 23231 times)

epower

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Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« on: January 23, 2017, 05:41:11 PM »
When I first started out getting a bit more frugal and learning about investments, I really enjoyed the early retirement blogs online such as FrugalWoods, OurNextLife, etc.

However, over time reading these blogs now just makes me depressed. I have many more years to go until I reach FI, don't even know if early retirement is for me but get depressed when I read their posts of them going on yet another ski trip, doing yoga at home at 11am on a Tuesday or just going on about how great life is.

It's the reason I stopped using Facebook and only check it once per week (I keep messenger if people contact me directly however). It seems like these financial blogs are now just morphing into social media, showing off the highlights of their life.

Anyone else feel the same? What are your experiences or tips?

JLee

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2017, 05:51:11 PM »
I felt that way shortly after discovering MMM, mostly because of the inordinate percentage of high-income people present here. 

In short, comparison is the thief of joy.  Look at your own life, and compare to yourself and see how you've improved. Don't compare yourself to others.

Undecided

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2017, 05:53:11 PM »
When I first started out getting a bit more frugal and learning about investments, I really enjoyed the early retirement blogs online such as FrugalWoods, OurNextLife, etc.

However, over time reading these blogs now just makes me depressed. I have many more years to go until I reach FI, don't even know if early retirement is for me but get depressed when I read their posts of them going on yet another ski trip, doing yoga at home at 11am on a Tuesday or just going on about how great life is.

It's the reason I stopped using Facebook and only check it once per week (I keep messenger if people contact me directly however). It seems like these financial blogs are now just morphing into social media, showing off the highlights of their life.

Anyone else feel the same? What are your experiences or tips?

I only read finance forums, blogs, etc., to learn ideas for best achieving my goals. What I want isn't influenced by what I read on those forums, blogs, etc., and what others are doing doesn't affect my efforts to achieve my goals. So knowing that some stranger has achieved his or her own goal doesn't matter to me.

maizeman

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2017, 05:57:14 PM »
I used to spend a lot of time reading the antimustachian wall of shame and comedy subforum specifically to counteract that effect. Let me compare myself to lots of people who are worse off than me instead of only the people all over the forum and other finance blogs who are better off than me.

Unfortunately, activity in that part of the forum has really tailed off.

fa

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2017, 06:02:05 PM »
You know the methods and the tools.  Reading more blogs is not going to add that much, so you can safely skip those.  Apply what you know, keep track of your savings rate and track your progress.  Compare yourself to the average population, i.e. friends, family and neighbors.  You will have plenty of reason to smile.

Baking Powder

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2017, 07:00:36 PM »
I felt that way shortly after discovering MMM, mostly because of the inordinate percentage of high-income people present here. 

In short, comparison is the thief of joy.  Look at your own life, and compare to yourself and see how you've improved. Don't compare yourself to others.

I think what depressed me the most, and that wasn't much, was that the life these FIRE people were living didn't appeal to me at all.

It was Jeremy and Winnie that got me started on this, an article about how they retired young and traveled the world, but the thought of traveling the world doesn't appeal to me in the least. Then I thought, well, crap if I WAS retired now what would I do? It started me thinking.

I saw how MMM lived his life and that didn't do it for me, either. But he and his were having a ball. Then it dawned on me that they were doing what they wanted. Jeremy and Winnie were doing what they wanted. And that was the point I realized that if I was retired, I'd just be doing whatever I wanted.

So far the person who is doing what I'd like to do, more or less, is Diane C. She's got a full life, she's busy doing what she wants, involved in her community, the family and friends thing is going on...that's the kind of life I'd be living if I didn't have to answer the alarm anymore to go where I don't want to go and do what I don't want to do.

I think I'm at the point like you are. At the moment I don't have anything really left to learn about THIS point in my FIRE pursuit. This is the point where time passes. It is taking forever. This is boring enough, but I have to work, too? Egad.

This must be the mile 19 part of the marathoner, when the race is never going to end, you've hit the wall, what the heck are you doing this to yourself for, anyway, and so on. I have some major ups and downs myself, a lot of that is due to the fact that I'm putting in too many hours and I have no human contact whatsoever outside of work.

But when this part is over and I get to do what I want, this part now will seem like a dream I had last night. This is the valley of the shadow of death right here. It'll be over soon enough, and then you can do yoga on Tuesday mornings at 11.

Lindy

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 10:42:22 PM »
Which blog does Diane C. write?

arebelspy

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 03:27:14 AM »
If you aren't getting anything out of them anymore, definitely stop following them!

But whether you follow them or not, stop comparing yourself to them.

You have your own path. Try to do the best you can on it. Their path, their decisions, their ideal lives are all different than yours. That's a beautiful thing, IMO.

Don't stop following them because it makes you depressed. Stop being depressed about their life, and work to make yours as great as possible, and work to be completely happy with your life. And stop following them if you get no benefit out of doing so, aside from moving on from the comparison thing.

Good luck!  :)
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.

b4u2

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2017, 07:07:19 AM »
Yeah I get depressed and even feel lost. I'm almost 39 and still can't get my act together. I read about how people live on almost nothing yet are happy. I'm in too deep and buried to far to make the drastic changes that I've read about. I'd love to but most changes would just bury me in a different way. My camping now has led me to follow a path on what I want to do when I retire. Should I give that up now just so I can maybe do it when I can retire? No. Without some of my failures to this point I'm not sure I'd know what to do when I retire or reach fi. I'm struggling but I know what I want to do if I can ever reach my goal. The really hard part is learning this money stuff late in life and living a certain way already. I'm depressed most days because of my financial situation. I'd love to start over but I can't.


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arebelspy

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2017, 07:36:46 AM »
You need to read "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World" by Harry Browne, b4u2.  Literally a life changer.

One of three books I think everyone should read.

But especially you, given your post and the final sentence.

It will show you that you ARE free to make any of those changes, right now, despite the trap you think you're in.

:)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 07:38:24 AM by arebelspy »
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.

Another Reader

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2017, 08:00:29 AM »
Yeah I get depressed and even feel lost. I'm almost 39 and still can't get my act together. I read about how people live on almost nothing yet are happy. I'm in too deep and buried to far to make the drastic changes that I've read about. I'd love to but most changes would just bury me in a different way. My camping now has led me to follow a path on what I want to do when I retire. Should I give that up now just so I can maybe do it when I can retire? No. Without some of my failures to this point I'm not sure I'd know what to do when I retire or reach fi. I'm struggling but I know what I want to do if I can ever reach my goal. The really hard part is learning this money stuff late in life and living a certain way already. I'm depressed most days because of my financial situation. I'd love to start over but I can't.


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You were really doing well for a long time.  Your wife got a secure job and she has a retirement plan.  You were paying down a lot of debt.

Then you bought the big fifth wheel and the Ford diesel truck.  You undid most of your hard work with that move.  Trouble with the family vehicles just compounded things.

In your shoes, I would sit down with your spouse and have a serious discussion about what makes each of you you happy and what makes each of you unhappy, worried and depressed.  Set some goals that relate to what makes each of you you happy and make a plan to reach those goals.  Then work together to keep each other on track and avoid big, expensive impulse purchases that have long term destructive financial results.  If you need more discipline, try YNAB or even the Dave Ramsey approach.

You can do this.  You just need to find the right motivation and tools to support your motivation.

hunniebun

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2017, 08:11:27 AM »
I can 100% relate, I even made a post looking for blogs or stories where people were already in their magical place, but were in the midst of the struggle...and sadly it didn't turn up much.  I think when you build a lifestyle (SO, home, kids, the trappings) and then discover that there was in fact another way to live and manage your finances, you feel a bit trapped.  The will to make the significant changes required to get there would take too much sacrifice (in my case my marriage, children's experiences/opportunities) and is not something I am willing to do. So I have made the changes I can, but still have 13 years of slogging it out (to get to 53 too!) Somedays that seems do able, and other days I think I won't last the week.  I have no advice or suggestions, just sayin' you are not alone!  Reading about people who have a fully grown stache in the bank and are living the high life is depressing.  It is those exact feelings of envy that make people spend more...keepin' up with the jones and all that jazz.  In both cases money is buying things we want...either freedom to do yoga at 11 am on Tuesday or get that shiny new BMW for the driveway, same poop, different pile!

b4u2

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2017, 08:40:36 AM »
I can 100% relate, I even made a post looking for blogs or stories where people were already in their magical place, but were in the midst of the struggle...and sadly it didn't turn up much.  I think when you build a lifestyle (SO, home, kids, the trappings) and then discover that there was in fact another way to live and manage your finances, you feel a bit trapped.  The will to make the significant changes required to get there would take too much sacrifice (in my case my marriage, children's experiences/opportunities) and is not something I am willing to do. So I have made the changes I can, but still have 13 years of slogging it out (to get to 53 too!) Somedays that seems do able, and other days I think I won't last the week.  I have no advice or suggestions, just sayin' you are not alone!  Reading about people who have a fully grown stache in the bank and are living the high life is depressing.  It is those exact feelings of envy that make people spend more...keepin' up with the jones and all that jazz.  In both cases money is buying things we want...either freedom to do yoga at 11 am on Tuesday or get that shiny new BMW for the driveway, same poop, different pile!
I'm right there with you. I'll look for that book mentioned above.


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Retire-Canada

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2017, 09:07:57 AM »
Anyone else feel the same? What are your experiences or tips?

The stuff most of the MMM-esque bloggers are doing with their free time isn't what I want to do with mine so I don't really feel any need to compare myself to them in any one to one sort of way. I do appreciate their freedom to do stuff while I am at work. That doesn't make me sad it motivates me to keep trucking on my goals. I also applaud them for their hard work and I am happy they are reaping those rewards. At least for the folks I read they didn't get a trust fund handed to them and FIRE didn't just happen.

Although I have reduced my spending/costs considerably and improved the efficiency of my investments [lower fees] I am no where near maxed out on my optimization. When I read about people that are living well on less than I am I don't beat myself up about that, but I do keep reminding myself that I am not done. I also keep reminding myself that it's far easier to cut my spending by 10% than to save and invest the money required to support that extra spending. So if I am ever truly needing/wanting to stop work all I have to do is figure out how to spend enough less that it works with my existing portfolio. Easier said than done of course, but I find feeling like I have choices and the power to solve my problems is a positive thing even if I am not at the finish line yet.

As others have said if a specific type of media is not helping you stop engaging with it. That said I would dig deeper into this and work on the root causes. If you are unhappy now there is no reason to believe you'll suddenly be happy when you FIRE. Having time free to do other stuff than work is great, but it's not a magic bullet or a ticket to nirvana. Although we focus on $$ far too much here don't lose sight of the fact that you also need to work on your physical and mental health diligently. Getting to FIRE with shit loads of money and a broken body and warped spirit is not success.

des999

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2017, 10:26:38 AM »
I can definitely relate.  I still have about 10 years to go before I can be FI, and some days I get real excited about it, and other days I feel like it's so far way I get depressed.  I have cut down on all the blog reading, at this point I think I have learned what I need to know.  That has helped some. 

Heck, I even thought about starting a blog myself talking more about the path to FI, and not about hey I'm already there and this is how I got there.  My focus now is to figure out ways to enjoy the ride, as I know I have some time.  For me, I was able to negotiate a 2 days work from home schedule, which has been great.  I am reading more positive books and trying to always think positive thoughts.  I am also spending more time outside and less inside, which I think has helped.

Any way, just some things I'm doing, but I think cutting back on all the blogs is good first step. 

JAYSLOL

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2017, 11:31:59 AM »
If you are unhappy now there is no reason to believe you'll suddenly be happy when you FIRE. Having time free to do other stuff than work is great, but it's not a magic bullet or a ticket to nirvana. Although we focus on $$ far too much here don't lose sight of the fact that you also need to work on your physical and mental health diligently. Getting to FIRE with shit loads of money and a broken body and warped spirit is not success.

This.  Well said

Case

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2017, 11:41:05 AM »
When I first started out getting a bit more frugal and learning about investments, I really enjoyed the early retirement blogs online such as FrugalWoods, OurNextLife, etc.

However, over time reading these blogs now just makes me depressed. I have many more years to go until I reach FI, don't even know if early retirement is for me but get depressed when I read their posts of them going on yet another ski trip, doing yoga at home at 11am on a Tuesday or just going on about how great life is.

It's the reason I stopped using Facebook and only check it once per week (I keep messenger if people contact me directly however). It seems like these financial blogs are now just morphing into social media, showing off the highlights of their life.

Anyone else feel the same? What are your experiences or tips?

I find many of the blogs ENRAGING.  Why?  I dunno, I just find a lot of their personalities to be irritating, and they are mostly cheap rip offs of MMM's blog.  There are only a short list of blogs that do not annoy the hell out of me.  Can't remember if FrugalWoods bothered me, but the Planting-our-Pennies blog is one that makes me feel absolutely murderous.  But in any case, this is just a quirk of my personality; I don't terrible like the concept of blogs personally, and a lot of the people who have them tend to be very different from me.  Logically, I don't hate these people ('murderous' is an exaggeration).

I never became depressed from reading about other people retiring early when I have a ways to go first... if anything I'd think it would provide more motivation.

Your solution to your problem is simple.  Stop reading your blogs.  After reading and being annoyed by the PoP blog, I never read it again (or very infrequently encountered it).  Bam, problem solved.
You get to control what information stream reaches you.

rpr

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2017, 11:52:58 AM »
You need to read "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World" by Harry Browne, b4u2.  Literally a life changer.

One of three books I think everyone should read.

But especially you, given your post and the final sentence.

It will show you that you ARE free to make any of those changes, right now, despite the trap you think you're in.

:)

arabelspy -- what are the other two?

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2017, 12:12:29 PM »
They have done nothing but motivate me.
I went from "i want to retire 'early' but i have no real plan"
To finding MMM and madfintist, and actually take a bit more action, write down a budget, write down a plan, see how much longer i have at current rate, vs being more frugal, vs spending like a normal person.

I have skimmed over MMM self-motivation posts, like "my life is perfect and so can yours" style posts. Took 3 months of reading here and there. Maybe you are just over consuming...

Eric

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2017, 12:15:55 PM »
If reading about other people doing well depresses you, then by all means stop doing it.  But realize that this is a band-aid fix.  The real issue is that you're comparing your life and choices to others.  And of course everyone has different priorities and experiences.  There is always going to be someone who makes more, saves more, and has more.  If you're always using this as a measuring stick, you'll always feel behind.  I like the saying "the race is long, and in the end, only with yourself". 

MandalayVA

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2017, 12:26:31 PM »
One blog that I came across after I discovered MMM was Nomadly In Love, which used to be called Sprinter Love.  The couple in it aren't retired--he owns some sort of outdoor gear website and she's a freelance writer--but they traveled all over Central and South America in a Sprinter van, even having their daughter in Lima, Peru.  Right now they're living in Spain.  Why I like it is that, unlike the Frugalwoods and Go Curry Cracker, they've had to deal with some serious trauma.  Stevie, the wife, was a hardcore heroin addict in her twenties, and the husband, Tree, was severely injured in a rock climbing accident.  Stevie gets a little woo-woo sometimes, but they prove you can hit the bottom and come back on top.  Instead of wishing after other people's lives, the blogs I've read inspired me to try for my best life.     

AZDude

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2017, 12:34:05 PM »
I find the blogs/journals/interviews of people with lives completely different from me to be fascinating. The early retirement people, the guy who lived in the box truck in the google parking lot, the guy who lived in the storage locker, etc... The stories inspire me to go my own way. I don't want to be them, I want to be one of them with my own story.

Life is a journey, not a competition.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 12:36:09 PM by AZDude »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2017, 12:52:15 PM »
The most popular blogs are by people like MMM who have already achieved FIRE. They tend to write about the philosophy and the post-FIRE life.

You might benefit from reading the blogs of people who are still in the struggle. I.e. people documenting their journeys to FIRE but haven't got there yet.

To locate such blogs, go to rockstarfinance.com and click the net worth of financial bloggers link. Try someone at the bottom of the list, or someone near where you are. Granted, a lot of these posts are dull IMO ("saved $40 using coupons at the grocery store today"), but you might be able to relate to these perspectives a bit more and be less depressed by the horizontal comparisons.

Heck, why not pick a blogger on par with your net worth and get competitive? Say "I'm going to beat this person!" That's how I finish 5k races, but my comparison person is usually a small child or pregnant lady. :)

Why not give up blogs all together? Good question. If you're not learning new things from any media source, walk. I've switched to this forum to help solve specific roadblocks, like spousal relations, motivation, my tendancy to market time and stock pick, etc.

Just Joe

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2017, 01:02:47 PM »
If nothing else these websites put you in touch with people to compare notes with. You find someone who wants to shave $50 a week off of their grocery bill too and you trade ideas. That has been immensely helpful to me although I usually do a lurker's version where I just read the solution and have little to offer but "me too!".

The Comedy section has been so enlightening to me b/c I could see hints that so many people's applecarts were a bit off balance but I had no idea how badly until I read that section. It showed me things not to repeat, it gave me a place to blow off steam and poke some fun, and roll my eyes at people I knew (sometimes) but would never confront about all choices stupid. I come from a family where the topic of incomes is a dark secret where I did not understand much about the topic of money until honestly much later in life than I should have.

Its made me a better person b/c I can now internalize it easier than letting it build up and leaking out in person. ;)

On the topic of retirement - don't get too lost in the early retirement discussions. My DW and I will never retire in our 30s or 40s but we will retire with a solid financial foundation five to six years sooner than our peers - fifteen year earlier than a couple of people we've known.

That's sooner than alot of people we know whom we expect to face some very tight years later in life and we are afraid for them - also afraid they will see our stability as a resource for them to make use of. No we can't afford to fix your car that you did not take care of or send you on a vacation. See the inheritance stories in the comedy section. 

Whether you can accomplish "FIRE" depends on so many variables: where you live, what your spouse's expectations and contributions are, what sort of lifestyle overhead you have, what career and education choices you've made, etc. You might not - like us - retire really early but you'll retire someday having made some really good choices when it mattered and before it was too late aka leaving your career behind with alot of debt still on your balance sheets.   

And there is another question these retirement blogs have helped DW and I answer: what would WE do in retirement? Get wrapped up in daytime TV? Muttering about what they said on FoxNews? Endlessly cleaning house?

Hell no! Plenty of good examples here of what to do in retirement. Also good reason to enjoy yourself along the way so you aren't 69 years old and ready to finally go on vacation. Don't forget the walker and your meds!

thunderball

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2017, 06:17:40 PM »
+1 this topic! 

I admit the blog makes it hard for me to be patient, especially because I've made so many mistakes over the years, keeping up with Joneses and such, and am now pushing 50 yet with a smaller 'stache than I'd like.  But on the bright side, I didn't have a plan until I found MMM and discovered the "shockingly simple math".

Better late than never.  I just need to enjoy the journey for a few more years.  Five, to be exact.  At that point I will reach FI and work won't seem as stressful because I believe with FI comes RE (mentally, at least), making the job that much easier. 

maizeman

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2017, 06:23:34 PM »
If you are unhappy now there is no reason to believe you'll suddenly be happy when you FIRE. Having time free to do other stuff than work is great, but it's not a magic bullet or a ticket to nirvana. Although we focus on $$ far too much here don't lose sight of the fact that you also need to work on your physical and mental health diligently. Getting to FIRE with shit loads of money and a broken body and warped spirit is not success.

This.  Well said

More free time won't magically make you happy. But if you actively don't like your job, the removal of that source of unhappiness is going to increase your overall life satisfaction significantly. Just removing that feeling of dread many folks feel sunday evening would be a significant step forward happiness wise.

But from previous discussions I think you and I just have different experienced about the effect of jobs on happiness. And that's okay.

csprof

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2017, 07:01:37 PM »
When I first started out getting a bit more frugal and learning about investments, I really enjoyed the early retirement blogs online such as FrugalWoods, OurNextLife, etc.

However, over time reading these blogs now just makes me depressed. I have many more years to go until I reach FI, don't even know if early retirement is for me but get depressed when I read their posts of them going on yet another ski trip, doing yoga at home at 11am on a Tuesday or just going on about how great life is.

It's the reason I stopped using Facebook and only check it once per week (I keep messenger if people contact me directly however). It seems like these financial blogs are now just morphing into social media, showing off the highlights of their life.

Anyone else feel the same? What are your experiences or tips?

I don't read a lot of blogs.  I like MMM's, because it has ideas for things I might try on my house some day and his philosophy is fun, but mostly?

I read the "What small things did I do today to save money" thread here.  It's one of the only threads I've pinned and follow regularly:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/what-small-things-did-you-do-today-to-save-money/8300/?topicseen

Why?  Ideas, and a dose of positive reinforcement from others interested in not wasting their money.  That thread isn't for bragging about your trip to Hawaii (using miles from travel hacking, of course, and LOOK AFFILIATE LINK TO A CREDIT CARD).  It's people who packed their lunch, who managed to trade their used thingamajig for some other thingamajig they needed.  It's great.

p.s. - snagged free lunch at a work meeting today, stuffed my packed lunch in the fridge, and I have lunch all ready to go for tomorrow.  :-)

FI for most people is achieved one step at a time, and it takes a lot of steps.  That thread is a nice reminder that each one of those steps is an accomplishment, be it $500 or $0.50.

LalsConstant

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2017, 06:38:02 AM »
I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents here, because, despite myself, I fall into the depressing to read/self pitying trap now and again, but not nearly so often as I used to.

Something I have learned the hard way is that there is no more surefire way to make yourself unduly miserable than to compare yourself to other people.  Now, naturally, you are going to do it anyway, and to be fair it's necessary, but you have to take a couple of cold hard shots of reality first:

1.  You are you, I am Me, etc.  Whatever happens to anyone, good or bad, is a combination of many very complex and intricate factors, some of which correlate very strongly, some of which do not, and some of which cause others, etc.  For all intents and purposes, you lead a singularly unique existence.  That's not to say your existence is fundamentally non-comparable to others (we all have to drink water for example), but rather your comparability to others is bounded.

2. You never, never get the full picture of anyone else's life.  Even people who are freaking married to another person for decades who sleep in the same bed find out things (Good Bad or Innocuous) about their spouses they had no clue about.  I'm sure we don't have the full measure of MMM's existence (and this is not because he is being deceitful, it is because he cannot exhaustively write down absolutely all of his experiences as a human being because no one can, also he writes in character). 

Some years ago, I was very jealous of someone I knew who didn't have to work and just seemed to indulge in my hobbies all day.  Then I found out he was on disability and a structured lawsuit settlement because he had been badly injured through neglect, lived in constant physical pain, and couldn't really leave his house without extensive preparations.  At that point I was no longer jealous at all.  That's an extreme case, but it's a good example of the principle.

The point being, even in more typical cases, we don't get a good picture, a true picture, of what other people's lives are actually like.  I have known people who the popular media portray as miserable who were serenely happy and I have known people who had amazing careers, experiences, etc. but who were some of the most maladjusted, self loathing and depressed individuals I have ever seen.

All that is compounded by our own cognitive biases and predispositions to focus on negative experiences in our own life and the positive accomplishments and happy times of others.  Your own human nature compounds your existing problems, it is the nature of solipsism.

I'm not going to lie, it's a little deflating to realize what I could have accomplished by my age (I'm 35) and realize I kind of threw my life away because I made mistakes, and other people who were smarter than I was are set for life and having an amazing time that I will never have.  It's a little depressing to realize I will never leave the US, I will never own rental properties, I will never be successful in business, etc.  It can get you down.

On the other hand though... so what?  Most people don't accomplish any of those things either, and some of the people I've been the most envious of have done nothing that seems all that grand or prestigious.  And most of those people just stopped giving a flying fuck about meeting metrics that are traditionally used to judge how accomplished somebody is.

Also... who says?  I never thought I'd be where I am today.  Sure it's not where I wanted to be when I was say 15 (I really, really thought my life was going to go much better than it did lol), but it's a damn sight better than where I thought I would be when I was 25 and got my cold shower of how much reality sucks and how the real world doesn't care one bit about me, my wants or dreams, or even if I live or die.

And do you know why it's better?  Because I made it better.  And I keep making it a little better, every day.  Sure it sucks it's not as wonderful as it could possibly be, but why waste time wringing my hands over it?  It's useless and a waste of my time and energy.

You have to learn to feel guilt, and not shame.  The difference is, guilt is "I did a really bad thing" and shame is "I'm a really bad person".

If the latter is true, you probably need some serious help with mental health issues.  That's not meant as a slight to anyone, that's a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.

But for most of us, the truth is, the former is accurate.  We're not any better or worse than more successful people, we just made poor decisions.  That's bittersweet news because it means your past opportunities are all shot and you're never getting them back, but it also means you can, you know, STOP doing that stupid thing that cost you so much and not have to carry that weight around any more. 

You have more power over your life than any other entity; there are some people making a lot of noise and wasting a lot of effort right now you I sorely wish would realize the implications of this.  That's the cold hard truth and I hate to invoke a cliché but the truth shall set you free.  Well, it'll set you freer, bit by bit, as you figure the truth out and how to act on it constructively would be more accurate.

It is what it is, take it one day at a time.  Serenity is key.

I had a discussion once when I was starting to climb out of my financial hole with a coworker.  We made about $1.50 an hour above minimum wage.  At the time, I was saving about 8% of my gross income.  So not very good.  This coworker asked me why I bothered, and pointed out unless you're saving half or more of your income it's not going to change your life very much because it'll be decades before your saving and investing gets you anywhere.

The thing is, he was right.  But that doesn't matter, because even if I couldn't manage (still can't) to save literally half, I will have more options in life at some point in time using the principle to the extent it is possible in my circumstances, and I now save far, far more of my income than I ever thought possible, so who is to say one day I won't get there?

All this to say, when I read something like MMM, I don't try to take it as a literal roadmap.  I'm not that person, I didn't have the same life, etc.  However, are there things, principals and ideas here that do apply to my situation that will make things better?  Of course there are.  The key is figuring out, where am I personally, and how can I get closer to the goal I wish I had.

Very few things in life done by anyone are instant runaway successes and history will vindicate that (the telegraph was nearly abandoned as a useless technology at one point).  Most things and people that succeed do so by iterations over a prolonged period of time.  You have to accept that modest and small improvements which come gradually are probably going to be the best you can do, but at least these things have a tendency to compound and establish inertia.  I have noticed that just as foolish things I used to do seemed to cluster around one another, wise things I started doing seem to cluster as well.

Anyway I went way off base there but all that's to say I try not to read blogs critically and not so literally.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2017, 08:06:00 AM »
I'll take a different spin on this an say that other bloggers don't necessarily depress me, they annoy me.

Bloggers are selling a lifestyle, which is a product. It's all filtered and hardly any of it is real. They are their own editors, much like all of your friends sanitize their lives through Instagram filters and Facebook posts. Everyone's life is just so perfect, isn't it! Not.

Pretty much all of my friends are like this, but the easiest target is my brother and his wife. They post pictures of them out to eat all the time, but they are CRAZY in debt (like owe $8k to the IRS). They post pictures of their dogs, but privately, both of them constantly bitch about how annoying it is to take care of them.  Brother's wife is pregnant, and she posts all these pictures and blah blah, but she has gone over my mom's house regularly sobbing trying to figure out how they are going to afford having a kid. But if you checked their Facebooks and Instagrams, everything is butterflies and rainbows.

It's all bullshit. All of it.

Transfer this to blogs, and I doubt the Frugalwoods characters are skipping and whistling Disney jingles when their baby just shit and vomited all over the floor. I doubt the GoCurryCracker folks will post about how their bank accounts or cell phones went haywire when they were abroad. I doubt MMM posts about cars almost drilling him when he rides his bike.

So, I guess my comment would be to not get too caught up in the images being portrayed. It's all filtered and sanitized bullshit.

Once you have this realization, I think the next logical progression is for you to do whatever the hell you want to do, and not abide by anything these FIRE bloggers do if it doesn't bring you happiness.

MMM says TV is stupid, but I love the Sopranos and The Wire and Madmen and Breaking Bad and House of Cards and all of it. Guess what? I'm going to watch TV when I retire!

MMM says sports are dumb, but I love Ohio State football and college football in general and the Cleveland Indians and Chelsea FC and the Cleveland Browns and all of it. Again, I'm going to watch sports and attend sporting events when I retire!

So again, YOU DO YOU. Do what makes you happy. I know when I retire I am going to be taking walks in the park, taking time to relax and enjoy great TV, having part of my budget cover going to sporting events and concerts, etc.

In other words, BE SELFISH. You don't have to be like these people. Do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want to do it. Period.

That's what this FIRE journey is about.

prognastat

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2017, 08:19:25 AM »
I take what is of use to me and ignore what isn't.

I like the financial advice, self sufficiency and frugal message many of them talk about, however beyond visiting family I have minimal interest in traveling(I have done plenty of it through my youth, have been to 8+ countries throughout my life) which is something many of them rave about, but I ignore it.

As for jealousy, I use it more for inspiration. Kind of a if they can do it I can. I also use that and places like this forum to surround myself with people with a frugal mindset to help me maintain that mindset myself instead of using most go the people I know personally as the "normal" which might convince me spending more and saving less is the right thing to do.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2017, 08:57:48 AM »
I'll take a different spin on this an say that other bloggers don't necessarily depress me, they annoy me.

Agreed that any media content is not 100% accurate and that it can be wildly unrepresentative of what's really going on. I blog and am active in social media. I do exactly what you are talking about. I do it intentionally. I have an agenda. I also never pretend that my blogs or social media accounts are anything other than what they are.

When I read MMM it seems pretty clear he's putting on an act and projecting a caricature of himself to make a point. He says so relatively frequently. So that doesn't bother me. What would annoy me is if he spouts wisdom about being frugal, environmentally conscious, etc and then you find out he's living in a McMansion, owns a wakeboard boat and had a contractor build his "DIY" man cave. Essentially lying or being factually incorrect in a substantive way.

If anyone thinks they actually know MMM because they read his blog they are deluded, but I wouldn't pin the blame for that on him.

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2017, 02:18:52 PM »
I'll take a different spin on this an say that other bloggers don't necessarily depress me, they annoy me.

Bloggers are selling a lifestyle, which is a product. It's all filtered and hardly any of it is real. They are their own editors, much like all of your friends sanitize their lives through Instagram filters and Facebook posts. Everyone's life is just so perfect, isn't it! Not.

Pretty much all of my friends are like this, but the easiest target is my brother and his wife. They post pictures of them out to eat all the time, but they are CRAZY in debt (like owe $8k to the IRS). They post pictures of their dogs, but privately, both of them constantly bitch about how annoying it is to take care of them.  Brother's wife is pregnant, and she posts all these pictures and blah blah, but she has gone over my mom's house regularly sobbing trying to figure out how they are going to afford having a kid. But if you checked their Facebooks and Instagrams, everything is butterflies and rainbows.

It's all bullshit. All of it.

Transfer this to blogs, and I doubt the Frugalwoods characters are skipping and whistling Disney jingles when their baby just shit and vomited all over the floor. I doubt the GoCurryCracker folks will post about how their bank accounts or cell phones went haywire when they were abroad. I doubt MMM posts about cars almost drilling him when he rides his bike.

So, I guess my comment would be to not get too caught up in the images being portrayed. It's all filtered and sanitized bullshit.

I may have agreed with that like 3 years ago.  Now, being FIRE'd, and seeing how amazing it is, I actually think they're pretty damn close to being honest.

I'll choose GCC, since their lifestyle is closest to mine. Sure, Jeremy and Winnie don't post when their baby throws up, if it does (ours is one, and has never thrown up, never even spit up.. but sure, she can poop).  So what?  That doesn't mean everything they do post isn't true.  And that the bad instances are rare, and have nothing to do with their lifestyle. They aren't trying to show every minute detail of life, but just the relevant parts.

Of course sometimes an AirBnB host cancels your reservation (actual example), or you get denied entry for a visa (theoretical example).  If I have had 273 amazing days happen over the last year, a 90 mundane days, and 2 bad days... why the hell would I focus on the two bad days?  That'd be disingenuous.

Like I said, I might have agreed more, but having experienced it, it really is amazing.

And talking to other FIRE folks on the forums, many will confirm: the giddy feeling doesn't go away.  FIRE is pretty damn amazing.  Sharing your adventures in FIRE then really is sharing a life of awesomeness then.

Quote
Once you have this realization, I think the next logical progression is for you to do whatever the hell you want to do, and not abide by anything these FIRE bloggers do if it doesn't bring you happiness.
...
In other words, BE SELFISH. You don't have to be like these people. Do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want to do it. Period.

That's what this FIRE journey is about.

OF COURSE.

All of this I totally agree with.

All of this is true whether or not the bloggers are 100% transparent.  The bloggers could be totally made up, written by a dude in his basement in Hungary, and your statement quoted here is still true.

Don't try to make your life life the one they post about if you don't want it.

If you do, make it like that one being posted about even if it's not true for them; make it true for you.

I actually really like this quote.  I think everyone should abide by it.  But it's not connected to the first part of your rant.
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.

Hvillian

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2017, 02:49:47 PM »
In the meantime, the PDF is right here:

http://metaphysicspirit.com/books/How%20I%20Found%20Freedom%20in%20an%20Unfree%20World.pdf

ARebelSpy rec'd this book to me a couple years back, and now I recommend it to everyone, too.


Doh, I paid Amazon for the kindle copy yesterday.  So far, I am enjoying it.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2017, 02:56:11 PM »
...

I think you appropriately categorized my post as a rant. My post was mostly a commentary about the internet and how it's all filtered and sanitized to make you think everyone else's life is great. Just a couple sentences were dedicated to the FIRE bloggers themselves, and I don't doubt that being FIRE is awesome. I'm just commenting that days aren't perfect and that things still happen in their lives, just like they do in ours.

arebelspy

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2017, 03:16:00 PM »
ARebelSpy rec'd this book to me a couple years back, and now I recommend it to everyone, too.

So far, I am enjoying it.

Awesome, glad to hear it.  :)
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.

CanaDuh

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2017, 08:35:55 PM »
Hello -

I'm not in quite the same boat, but perhaps we're floating on the same lake, so to speak.

I find the bulk of the posts to seem.. 'shilly' if I can coin a word. The posts seem designed often to get me to click an affiliate link or like a certain product or dislike another product. These people may be retired, but not a single one of them is going to turn off that firehose of income, and it can seem disingenuous, even when I know - or, think I know - that they truly do believe in the thing they're trying to sell me - and it is sales. Even if it's not a physical item, they're trying to sell me their viewpoint and convince me to adopt it as my own.

Now, obviously, I'm open to the FIRE viewpoint, given where I'm posting this - but a great many of the blogs don't feel worth the time to read them once they've actually gotten their FIRE goal. It's likely because I'm nowhere near it myself, and I'm still looking for tips/advice/tales from the times that I can relate to - and I can fully empathise with those who find their frowns deepening as the healthy, happy retiree swans over their child's latest achievement that they got to witness through the power of FIRE while I sit here before or after my day job.

Another issue I've come across is that everyone who seems to be aiming at FIRE isn't in even sort of a similar situation to my own - so many of the stories seem to ring like poorly recoloured plagiarisms of more popular tales, even though they're not. I know that 'anyone' can achieve FIRE if they want it, but everyone who wants it seems to be in a well paying job with some form of higher education, or a well paying job that didn't require education when they got it, or some similar thing that I can't really relate to - I'm Canadian, working a minimum wage shift style job with unreliable hours. The 'easy' answer is 'get a better job' - but I'm one of the lucky ones in that my job itself isn't unreliable. The hours are, but in a time when many Canadians (especially under-educated ones like myself) can't even find employment, much less a job that isn't going to be downsized or automated any time soon, I'm glad to know I won't be unemployed in the near future.

Reading blogs about how they've managed to save x dollars doing y when they -started out- making three times what I do doesn't make it easy for me to say 'I can do that too!' - if it wasn't for how likeable and direct MMM is, I'm sure I would have been turned away by the fact that his pre-retirement life is so very unlike my own as to almost be alien. I've said for many, many years that I feel it should be mandatory that anyone who wants to shop works a year in retail in their teens, so that they could properly empathise with the person behind the counter, and I'm often given to wonder if the same wouldn't be helpful for future finance bloggers.

That said, I'm totally down to read any Canadian-based finance blogs, because at least then I won't be constantly given to using a conversion calculator just to feel less gross about my grocery bill. Bonus points if the blogger has a minimum wage job. Does anyone with an interest in personal finance actually work minimum wage? Sometimes I feel like it's just me. I actually like my job, and don't really want to go back to school to pursue a nebulous career for the sake of income.

Regards,

waltworks

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2017, 10:47:26 PM »
You need to read "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World" by Harry Browne, b4u2.  Literally a life changer.

One of three books I think everyone should read.

But especially you, given your post and the final sentence.

It will show you that you ARE free to make any of those changes, right now, despite the trap you think you're in.

:)

arabelspy -- what are the other two?

I nominate the classics Dow 36,000 and Jitterbug Perfume.

-W

gerardc

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2017, 11:15:46 PM »
I think FIRE must be awesome if you're overworked, like truly life changing.

However, if you spend your retirement "blogging", there might be problem. What are their ulterior motives? That's obviously a side project open to the possibility of making money. But that's a pretty unoriginal and boring side project. So I suspect reading blogs might not select for the best and brightest of people. I'd just ignore and do your own thing. There's plenty of info on forums to get you started, the rest is forging your own path.

Lews Therin

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2017, 03:44:25 AM »
If you are completely jumping into this lifestyle / learning by binging every different Blogger that you can find, you'll rapidly realize that a lot of them are talking about the same subjects at the same time. When you arrive at the FIRE mindset, then everything talking towards how to arrive at the mindset or explaining the simpler things are completely useless to you because you have passed that state. However, the bloggers continue to want to attract new users, and so return to the same subjects.

I find it best to remain on the dist lists, because of the rarer useful tips (how to reduce different things, deals that can be used, tricks to lower expenses) and simply skim the lifestyle ones.

Frugalwoods were quite interesting, but after everything is optimized, things become less useful for someone trying to reach FIRE faster.

I recommend looking at alternate bloggers, or simply reducing the time you spend looking at the different blogs (For example I will read the different alternate investments that come up on financial uproar, or the use of leverage with examples from Liquid 35)

prognastat

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2017, 07:52:55 AM »
I think FIRE must be awesome if you're overworked, like truly life changing.

However, if you spend your retirement "blogging", there might be problem. What are their ulterior motives? That's obviously a side project open to the possibility of making money. But that's a pretty unoriginal and boring side project. So I suspect reading blogs might not select for the best and brightest of people. I'd just ignore and do your own thing. There's plenty of info on forums to get you started, the rest is forging your own path.

I think there are a few reasons for bloggers to blog. For many of the ones actually providing good information and not just simply shilling product they likely didn't get in to it for the money. The fact of the matter is when taking in to account hours worked on setting up, maintaining the blog, costs for servers etc and the time to write articles is that most bloggers have trouble even getting to the point where they make minimum wage on the hours worked. For many of them in a financial sense they would effectively be better off flipping burgers at McDonald's. For others it may be a small way to express themselves creatively. Even the successful ones generally take quite some time to take off to a point where it is any kind of reasonable income.

I believe for quite a few it is either keeping themselves accountable on their journey to and after FI, it is a lot harder to get off the bandwagon so to speak if you have projected this image of yourself and you actually have some kind of audience paying attention or they might want other people to follow their path either for their happiness, possibly for environmental reasons(like MMM and ERE) or both.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2017, 10:21:10 AM »
I think there are a few reasons for bloggers to blog.

I have blogged for ~10yrs now. Sometimes running numerous blogs at once and sometimes like now barely keeping one beast fed. My blogs are about my interests not FIRE. I've received some free or cheaper product over the years, but ya if my goal was to make money going to work at McD's in my spare time would have been more effective.

Why do I do it then?

I like to write and take pictures. I like connecting with folks in the niche areas I'm interested in. I'm good at researching my interests and figure I might as well share the information instead of keeping it private. My blogs act as journals keeping track of what I do in each area of interest. I'll sometimes Google for some info and realize I found an old post of my own that has it I have forgotten writing.

Writing a blog is not a novel idea and I'm not a true expert in my field. I have received lots of emails over the years saying thanks for pointing people at some bit of information and/or motivating/inspiring them to try something new/beyond their comfort zone. Those emails alone are well worth the effort I put into my blogs. It's great to know I made a difference in someone's life.

Eric

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2017, 10:47:05 AM »
I think FIRE must be awesome if you're overworked, like truly life changing.

However, if you spend your retirement "blogging", there might be problem. What are their ulterior motives? That's obviously a side project open to the possibility of making money. But that's a pretty unoriginal and boring side project. So I suspect reading blogs might not select for the best and brightest of people.

Writing is a good creative outlet.  It's certainly not "boring" to everyone.

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2017, 11:11:06 AM »
Ha! Diane C reporting in. I was cozy in my warm bed, trying to force myself out for a dental appointment this morning, followed by an afternoon of volunteer stuff. Just one more thread, I bargained with myself. After reading the first post, I had a LOT to say. After reading the comments, I am quite gobsmacked. What a nice surprise!

Since time is (voluntarily) short, I'll make a couple of quick comments so I can find this thread later.
"Diane C" does not have a blog, nor does she have a journal. I have a journal theme and title in mind, but I wanted to wait until the spate of New Year's Resolution 2017 journals tapered off. Also, I will be writing about subjects very close to home and will need to change my handle for privacy purposes. I have a new one in mind, and if you're clever, it won't be hard to figure out its the new me.

Back on topic, with more to come later. "Diane C" started with nothing and got to FIRE and a more amazing life than she ever dared to dream. If she/I can do it, you can too. (Sorry, the third person thing feels weird.) I paid my way through two years of Junior College, got an AA, got a "career" job that paid $13k per year, and then got cancer. I was single until I was 54. If I can do it, it can surely be done by others. It takes determination and patience. I did not get a strong sense of either from the first post.

Gotta go, TTYL!

Eric

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2017, 11:51:30 AM »
I think FIRE must be awesome if you're overworked, like truly life changing.

However, if you spend your retirement "blogging", there might be problem. What are their ulterior motives? That's obviously a side project open to the possibility of making money. But that's a pretty unoriginal and boring side project. So I suspect reading blogs might not select for the best and brightest of people.

Writing is a good creative outlet.  It's certainly not "boring" to everyone.

Eric, writing may be a creative outlet, but is adding gratuitous affiliate links to your site a creative outlet? 

I believe his point was not that writing a blog is inherently wrong, but that it's pretty goofy when a person who is financially independent (who, by definition, no longer needs to make decisions based on money) suddenly starts loading up his blog with affiliate links, negotiating with advertisers, and creating content to make money from the blog.  I mean.... that's hilarious, right?  And the old "I'm just putting these links on here to keep the lights on" rationale is so much BS: The domain is $15.  The hosting is $3/month.  If you're a rich person and you can't absorb those costs, then you're likely not as confident about your financial future as you claim to be on your website.  And if it's not that, if it's simply about wanting more money just because, then you've failed at your mission to separate your decisions and actions from money (You're still worshipping it, ala "My precious...")

I agree that affiliate links posted over and over are pretty annoying, but I have to question your interpretation of the reason.  There's nothing wrong with being paid for your work, even if it's just a hobby and even if you're retired.  If it bothers you, then stop reading that blog.  I know I've stopped reading a few after they've gone off the monetization deep end. 

However, you're basically saying that if you ever make any money ever, through any method, that you didn't have a very good financial plan.  I have to say that's simply ridiculous.  Just because you can provide something of value for free doesn't mean that you're obligated to.  Or phrased another way, why would you pay for something when you could get it for free?

Ann

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2017, 12:44:09 PM »
Retired bloggers don't depress me, but I don't find them as engaging once they have gone through their story.  When I first started reading financial blogs, I quickly found favorites that I devoured.  Most of these I don't read any more.  I don't even read every MMM blog post anymore, even though he only posts once a month.  Early on, some of these bloggers were still on their journey and others (like MMM) were spewing out fresh content detailing their journey and thoughts.   But after several years, the content shifts.  We've heard the story of their journey.  And others have achieved their goals and their daily commentary are more about their retired lives than their struggle-to-FIRE lives.  It seems that across the board they either way scale back on posting frequency or add guest writers and eventually sell their site.

So my recommendation is go back to the beginning and only read the early blogs.  Once the content starts to shift, find a new blog as a source of inspiration. 

And, like some other posters, the post-retirement blogs don't depress me but they can annoy me.  Mostly they bore me.    Not everybody is capable of achieving a high-income  and not everyone can live an a nice, bike-friendly area.  Ouch!!!  The face-punches!! ;-)    And sometimes I have to face-punch myself and say "Okay, I can't do every single thing this blogger suggests, but I can do some of the things.  And maybe I can things they can't.  Like, I don't turn my heat on in winter.  Even Mr Mustache uses heat in winter.  (I live in Houston and use a lot of AC the other times of year though ).  I try to use PF blogs as a source of inspiration, not a check list of Must Do's or Must Haves.  Sometimes it is hard not to compare.   I agree with whomever said The AntiMustachian Wall of Shame is schadenfreudingly enjoyable.

undercover

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2017, 12:44:13 PM »
I saw how MMM lived his life and that didn't do it for me, either. But he and his were having a ball. Then it dawned on me that they were doing what they wanted. Jeremy and Winnie were doing what they wanted. And that was the point I realized that if I was retired, I'd just be doing whatever I wanted.

Yep. I mostly have read MMM because I enjoy his take on things and his writing style. As far as actually learning a shit ton, I definitely don't. I feel like MMM is a place that people with no real direction in life stumble upon because they want to up their personal finance game a little bit and maybe have a bit too much of an "a-ha" moment.

I knew ever since I started working that my goal would be to have enough money to do whatever I wanted. The fastest way is widen the gap between income and expenses as far as possible and make smart investments. Things like biking, not eating out, moving to a better place for more pay, shacking up with others, etc, are just no-brainer things you do when you have your mind set on larger goals than what most wandering people get caught up in (clothes, cars, travel, food).

Living like anyone in any of the blogs I read/have read (I rarely read them anymore) has never been my priority. I just like following the lives of smart people. I have no ambitions to bike to the grocery store with a trailer, my car is way too convenient and actually quite cheap enough to not worry about. I have no ambitions to install my own heating system, build my own studio, line dry my clothes outside, eat as cheap as possible, etc. But, I also have no ambitions to travel extensively or many of the other things that retired people assume they need to do (or want to do, to each their own).

The point is that MMM or any of these other blogs is about taking control of your life and having ambitious goals instead of getting caught up in a life that doesn't bring you any happiness when you really take time for some introspection. So, at the end of the day, it just depends on what you value.

You'll get to your goals faster by being smarter and working harder, there's no way around it. That's all that can be done, so there's no point in worrying about it further if you already feel like you're doing enough. Other than that, it's always good to look at how far you've come and how great you already have it. We all need something to look forward to, no matter where we are in life.

gerardc

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #46 on: January 27, 2017, 08:46:05 PM »
I knew ever since I started working that my goal would be to have enough money to do whatever I wanted.

This. It was always very obvious to me, but in a kind of intuitive, repressed, personal way. Seeing it being discussed openly on MMM and friends was an invitation to binging, because it proved I wasn't crazy (or at least not the only crazy) after all. Like having an underdeveloped math theory in your head for a few years then stumbling upon a book that digs deep into it, explores corrolaries, etc. but that also misses some details.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2017, 01:24:13 AM »
I knew ever since I started working that my goal would be to have enough money to do whatever I wanted.

This. It was always very obvious to me, but in a kind of intuitive, repressed, personal way. Seeing it being discussed openly on MMM and friends was an invitation to binging, because it proved I wasn't crazy (or at least not the only crazy) after all. Like having an underdeveloped math theory in your head for a few years then stumbling upon a book that digs deep into it, explores corrolaries, etc. but that also misses some details.

I think even many people who desire FI and RE could use some perspective on 'enough.' I like the focus on 'having enough' rather than meeting some arbitrary nw goal or some income number. They can be separated, and oftentimes the number of green soldiers needed to supply one's lifestyle of doing whatever they want is generally quite a bit lower than they think.

arebelspy

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2017, 04:16:08 AM »
I think FIRE must be awesome if you're overworked, like truly life changing.

However, if you spend your retirement "blogging", there might be problem. What are their ulterior motives? That's obviously a side project open to the possibility of making money. But that's a pretty unoriginal and boring side project. So I suspect reading blogs might not select for the best and brightest of people.

Writing is a good creative outlet.  It's certainly not "boring" to everyone.

Eric, writing may be a creative outlet, but is adding gratuitous affiliate links to your site a creative outlet? 

I believe his point was not that writing a blog is inherently wrong, but that it's pretty goofy when a person who is financially independent (who, by definition, no longer needs to make decisions based on money) suddenly starts loading up his blog with affiliate links, negotiating with advertisers, and creating content to make money from the blog. I mean.... that's hilarious, right?  And the old "I'm just putting these links on here to keep the lights on" rationale is so much BS: The domain is $15.  The hosting is $3/month.  If you're a rich person and you can't absorb those costs, then you're likely not as confident about your financial future as you claim to be on your website.  And if it's not that, if it's simply about wanting more money just because, then you've failed at your mission to separate your decisions and actions from money (You're still worshipping it, ala "My precious...")

(Emphasis added.)

Here's the rationale I gave for why I charge for coaching on my blog, despite not needing the money:
Quote
  • If you pay, you’re more likely to value it, more likely to take advantage of what I have to offer, and more likely to do the work and homework required.
  • I want to discourage you from hiring me. Go do it yourself, for free.
  • My time is valuable to me. Money is not valuable to me, anymore, after becoming financially independent (other than as a means to help others, see the charity information, below), so it takes a lot to convince me to give up some of my time.
  • You are paying for years of research and reading to have found the best content and the analysis to cull it into just the things you need to reach early retirement.

On top of that, all of the money is donated to charity (both from my coaching, and from the blog itself).

So let's put it this way:
I can have a blog and put no affiliate links, no ads, nothing.  I'd still have the blog.  People will come and visit, and get value (hopefully).
Or I can have a blog, do the same content, write the same stuff, but add the links. People still come visit, still get value. But now there's extra money (at no cost to the users, other than seeing an ad, perhaps, or signing up voluntarily for an affiliate program that they want to) in order to donate to charity.

In that case, why not take the free money?  If people are going to be coming either way, and in many cases benefit from the affiliate links (e.g. they get $20 off their first month of service with Google Fi, or 20% off house sitting, or $20 off Uber, or whatever), what would be the advantage of not monetizing it, other than to prove a point?  Has nothing to do with keeping the "lights on" regarding the blog expenses, but more a matter of why not take the free money?  I don't see any compelling argument that it's wrong for them to do so.

Analogy: If someone is FI and sees a $20 bill on the street, do you laugh at them for picking it up (and donating it to charity) because they don't "need" the money?  Or is it okay to pick up free money, even if you don't need it, from activities you'd be doing anyways?  What if I want to go for a walk, and I know it's down a street that frequently has $20 bills lying around?  Should I now NOT go for the walk I wanted, to prove a point?  Or should I go, but not pick up the 20s, to prove a point?  Or should I go, and pick up the 20s, and donate them?

I choose the latter.

So that's how I view it.  No, I don't care about the money in terms of my own finances.  I have reasons to blog other than money.  But if I can collect free money along the way from very minimal work, and use it to help others, well, cool.  I'll do that.

If that leads a few people to think "oh, he's not really retired" or "oh, he must need the money, his retirement isn't real" or whatever... okay?  Doesn't bother me.  I have no point to prove.

(To be honest, at that point I think it'd almost be immoral NOT to monetize, but perhaps not. Haven't given that aspect a lot of thought, just because I've already decided that's a better way to go, for the above reasons.)

:)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 04:19:05 AM by arebelspy »
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gerardc

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2017, 12:14:12 PM »
Analogy: If someone is FI and sees a $20 bill on the street, do you laugh at them for picking it up (and donating it to charity) because they don't "need" the money?  Or is it okay to pick up free money, even if you don't need it, from activities you'd be doing anyways?  What if I want to go for a walk, and I know it's down a street that frequently has $20 bills lying around?  Should I now NOT go for the walk I wanted, to prove a point?  Or should I go, but not pick up the 20s, to prove a point?  Or should I go, and pick up the 20s, and donate them?

Meh, not convinced. It's not like you can push a button and money comes trickling in from the blog. You have to set things up, write posts that direct to the links, consult, etc. A better analogy would be that you need to go out of your way on an adjacent street where other hustlers are in the hopes of catching a dirty $20 laying there, knowing your odds are better there than on the pretty trail on the side where you'd rather be if money wasn't an incentive. Now, you might claim you like the dirty street and the challenge of getting money, and it's perfectly ok to like some kind of work, but you have not to delude yourself into thinking the money is incidental.