Author Topic: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed  (Read 23244 times)

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #100 on: February 01, 2017, 10:19:59 AM »

You seem to realize the (mental) solution, so at that point, why feel bad anymore?

:)

I realize this is said in jest, but I do ask myself that a lot. I guess part of being human is not having complete control over feelings at all times.

Not joking, it's something to work on.  Letting go of things once you realize they're unhelpful is a really useful skill to have, happiness-wise.  :)

Sometimes two seemingly contradictory statements can both be correct. I think the root of the issue is we cannot really control our thoughts and emotions, only accept them. ARS is absolutely correct that recognition of negative influences in our life is the key, but it does not follow that we can just "let them go" with ease. This takes practice and discipline.

I believe a very simple technique to deal with bloggers and forum posters that annoy you is to assume they are trying to be helpful. Often we have strong beliefs and have a need to share them. We know what worked for us, and we want other people to experience the same success and joy. It's hard to be mad at someone who you truly believe is trying to help you.

It that doesn't work then its best to not consume whatever information is causing you distress, unless the benefit outweighs the cost. The low information diet applies not only to news, but to blogs and forums. We are an echo chamber here, as is every other forum on the internet. We are most definitely not a good cross sectional representation of the population as a whole.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #101 on: February 01, 2017, 11:06:38 AM »
I agree with the sentiment that emotional self-control is desirable, but hard to maintain. Few are zen masters who can consciously decide to feel emotion - the rest of us are somewhere between toddler and where we'd like to be. Media consumption should always be objective-driven. You read/watch because you want to learn something, want to laugh, need inspiration, whatever. Consumption of anything when there is not a need to consume it is wasteful, irritating, and frustrating. Find the ideas you need right now and consume only them. Otherwise we're the equivalent of channel surfing couch potatoes, just seeking something easy to do.

If I had made different life choices - let go of the consumerist values I was raised with and accepted more investment risk - I could have retired in my 30s. Instead, it might be close to 50. I could mourn those "lost" years*, or I could look forward to inevitably becoming a millionaire.

The glass is always both half full and half empty, but the only relevant thing about a glass is that it contains some water to drink!

*This is dark sarcasm. I spent those years indulging in luxury. We all did. Compared to most people in the world, we live like kings. I remind myself of my good fortune, mock my whininess, and slap myself back into mission mode when I go the pout route.

Dicey

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #102 on: February 01, 2017, 11:47:24 AM »
I agree with the sentiment that emotional self-control is desirable, but hard to maintain. Few are zen masters who can consciously decide to feel emotion - the rest of us are somewhere between toddler and where we'd like to be. Media consumption should always be objective-driven. You read/watch because you want to learn something, want to laugh, need inspiration, whatever. Consumption of anything when there is not a need to consume it is wasteful, irritating, and frustrating. Find the ideas you need right now and consume only them. Otherwise we're the equivalent of channel surfing couch potatoes, just seeking something easy to do.

If I had made different life choices - let go of the consumerist values I was raised with and accepted more investment risk - I could have retired in my 30s. Instead, it might be close to 50. I could mourn those "lost" years*, or I could look forward to inevitably becoming a millionaire.

The glass is always both half full and half empty, but the only relevant thing about a glass is that it contains some water to drink!

*This is dark sarcasm. I spent those years indulging in luxury. We all did. Compared to most people in the world, we live like kings. I remind myself of my good fortune, mock my whininess, and slap myself back into mission mode when I go the pout route.
The bolded part has my vote for quote of the day.

Fire2025

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #103 on: February 01, 2017, 02:14:02 PM »
I'm really loving this thread.  Thank you all for sharing your ideas and emotions. 

That's one thing I really love about the MMM forum.  MMM has created a kind of Happy Weirdo "perfect" Citizen for the forum, but then the "community" is a constantly shifting and fluid world of advice and perspectives. 

This is what makes it impossible for me to feel bad about myself.  I have never opened a thread where there were not 6 conflicting ideas in the first 10 posts.  Which one am I supposed to feel bad about?  It makes me feel like, my path is my own, and the fact that I tailor make it for me, is what makes it "right".

Not a writer, so I hope that makes sense. 

Kaspian

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #104 on: February 01, 2017, 02:56:32 PM »

You seem to realize the (mental) solution, so at that point, why feel bad anymore?

:)

I realize this is said in jest, but I do ask myself that a lot. I guess part of being human is not having complete control over feelings at all times.

Not joking, it's something to work on.  Letting go of things once you realize they're unhelpful is a really useful skill to have, happiness-wise.  :)

Exactly this!  Because what is the alternative?

There's no reason to get upset that someone else has attained through their own disciple or hard work what you'd like for yourself.  It's like playing guitar--I've seen people get discouraged after a week and they don't seem to reconcile that most of their heroes took decades.  It took me three years of practice to just get decent enough to be in a sloppy band.  The worst part about it was/is my favourite guitarist, Steve Jones, was better after only 6 months than I still am 30 years later.  :/

I'd recommend reading "The Tao of Pooh".  This will do absolutely nothing but teach you how to be happy no matter where you are in life.  ...Which also took years of practice for me.  Yes--the good news is you can reverse-brainwash yourself.  Very sincere good luck!

arebelspy

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #105 on: February 01, 2017, 03:01:10 PM »

You seem to realize the (mental) solution, so at that point, why feel bad anymore?

:)

I realize this is said in jest, but I do ask myself that a lot. I guess part of being human is not having complete control over feelings at all times.

Not joking, it's something to work on.  Letting go of things once you realize they're unhelpful is a really useful skill to have, happiness-wise.  :)

Exactly this!  Because what is the alternative?

Being unhappy. And, sadly, some people choose this.

But most people just react, by default, whatever they feel they're "supposed" to react. Luckily it doesn't have to be that way, as you say. :)
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.
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We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Cassie

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #106 on: February 01, 2017, 03:07:09 PM »
I find that life ebbs and flows with good days and bad. It happens like that whether you are working or not. Granted if you are not working there are less things to get upset about.  I get on Facebook much less then I used to because I got sick of people taking pics of their meals, vacations,  cars,etc.  It did not make me jealous but was boring. Now it's all the politics.  So take a break from the things that bother you. I really enjoy reading about people traveling even if they are doing it in ways I don't want to.  I would find it hell to spend a year traveling in our RV but love reading about people that do.  Read what you enjoy and skip the rest.

farmecologist

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #107 on: February 01, 2017, 03:56:03 PM »
I find that life ebbs and flows with good days and bad. It happens like that whether you are working or not. Granted if you are not working there are less things to get upset about.  I get on Facebook much less then I used to because I got sick of people taking pics of their meals, vacations,  cars,etc.  It did not make me jealous but was boring. Now it's all the politics.  So take a break from the things that bother you. I really enjoy reading about people traveling even if they are doing it in ways I don't want to.  I would find it hell to spend a year traveling in our RV but love reading about people that do.  Read what you enjoy and skip the rest.

Facebook...don't get me started.  I've shunned it for about a year now...and I'm proud of it!  I find myself getting pissed off much less often now.  :-)

Cassie

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #108 on: February 01, 2017, 03:59:54 PM »
The only thing I enjoy is the animal and kid pics:))

Goldielocks

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #109 on: February 01, 2017, 04:20:22 PM »
I felt that way shortly after discovering MMM, mostly because of the inordinate percentage of high-income people present here. 

Yep!  I felt very dissatisfied when I started to read about the high incomes here, and I had always thought that I had a high income, as I was paid better than 99% of the people in my very large engineering company.


Somehow I made it through -- partly the focus on FIRE opportunities and the ability to bring my FIRE date very close made everything else fade into the background.

prognastat

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #110 on: February 01, 2017, 04:33:16 PM »
I felt that way shortly after discovering MMM, mostly because of the inordinate percentage of high-income people present here. 

Yep!  I felt very dissatisfied when I started to read about the high incomes here, and I had always thought that I had a high income, as I was paid better than 99% of the people in my very large engineering company.


Somehow I made it through -- partly the focus on FIRE opportunities and the ability to bring my FIRE date very close made everything else fade into the background.

I'd say though there are also lower earning individuals and couples here, generally financial blogs are going to attract on average a higher income individual. On top of that I'd say MMM attracts even higher income individuals than many other financial blogs due to his own background, writing and interests. There are other ER/FIRE bloggers that are more geared towards lower income people finding more drastic ways to cut costs, but MM is definitely geared at mid to high income people and how they can find a path to FIRE.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #111 on: February 01, 2017, 07:01:41 PM »
So take a break from the things that bother you. I really enjoy reading about people traveling even if they are doing it in ways I don't want to.  I would find it hell to spend a year traveling in our RV but love reading about people that do.  Read what you enjoy and skip the rest.
I enjoy reading these things too. Always up for expanding my horizons. Don't think I'd enjoy living out of an RV at this point in my life either; perhaps some day in the future? Always nice to read other people's adventures that I would have no desire to do myself.

gerardc

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #112 on: February 01, 2017, 09:19:54 PM »
I'm a little late to this thread, but I'd like to say that I can sympathize with the OP. I'd also add that it's not only blogs that can occasionally make me feel bad, but also these very forums. Don't get me wrong, there is a LOT of good content and the forums are mostly beneficial. I mean, I wouldn't be here posting otherwise. That being said, it sure feels sometimes like there is an established "culture," which sometimes borders on circlejerk territory. There was a thread about recent money mistakes and someone replied with a story about spending $8 on breakfast. REALLY?!? I know that's a petty thing to point out and eyeroll at, but it's just the first example that came to my mind. People who might have a slightly differing opinion/experience/habit/whatever tend to be more hesitant to share. So the profile of the typical poster is that of the high-earning, frugal-living, rental property-owning, side hustle having, bike-commuting, socially conscious person who seemingly makes nothing but sound financial decisions. Yes, I realize that's the entire purpose of the MMM site and this forum, but I'd be willing to bet there is an audience here that is far more diverse than the caricature I just described.

As for me - I make a decent but not great income (but no side hustles) and I'm moderately frugal with an ok savings rate in the 25-30% range, but I do have a nice TV, I play Xbox, I occasionally go out to eat, I spoil my kids at christmas and birthdays, I struggle with getting full spousal buy-in on FIRE, and I definitely could make do with less house than I own (in a suburb 19 miles from work). So to be fair - people like me are also part of the problem - we kinda slink in the corner and hide during certain discussions and let the hardcore MMMers jump in and shine. So I guess the point to all my rambling is to tell other people who may be reading that for every "I'm 26, making $350k with a $1500 monthly budget - how am I doing?" guy, there are many "I'm doing alright but certainly could do better" people. We aren't all software developers with no kids eating rice/beans and preparing for FIRE at 30-something. Don't feel like a failure if you aren't just like MMM and all the other financial badasses here. Just try to pick things that you relate to or techniques that you can steal and try your best to live your life in a way that aligns with your values and goals. And for the love of zeus, we (yes I'm definitely including myself here, still a struggle for me) must learn to quit comparing ourselves to the highlight reels we see on the internet. Either that or just sell your car, buy a bike, move to a studio apt close to work, rent out a closet, triple your income, become a landlord, and vanguardly vanguard the shit out of your vanguards...then head to the internet and share your badassitude ;)

Interesting post. I'm pretty much the embodiment of your caricature (33, $300k, software engineer, bike, rent studio close to work, single, rice & beans). The thing is, those people are not necessarily happy or enviable. What sacrifices are they making? what's their social/love life like? does their job keep them in a perpetual state of anxiety and depression? Maybe they can only bear that job for so long, at which point they'll quit with only $700-800k invested and keep living the dreaded "college student" lifestyle, no wife, no kids...

I never really tried to be like that. I was always relatively frugal and goal focused. This is partly by choice and partly due to my personality. I just stumbled on MMM and thought, this is what I think. But, the part of my personality that makes me that way has "side effects" that you wouldn't necessarily want, or could get even if you wanted to. This true for many aspects of life. We all sink into some kind of "local minimum" with pros and cons and good luck getting out of it.

Lews Therin

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #113 on: February 01, 2017, 10:08:08 PM »
There is also nothing special about someone making 60k and slowly stashing until he can retire in 10 years. (On the forum, in real life that is still amazing in comparison to everyone else) The higher-income members are more vocal because they have huge gains and are proud of them. If you don't get 20k-40k bonuses, you won't start a topic on that subject.

As in most things, people are less inclined to admit their weaknesses, but are always happy to show the gains, which is why the majority of posts are good news and increases in NW/income/etc, because why would someone say that they've spent the year slowly advancing, at 1k, 1.5k per month?

That would be a boring 10 years of topics :D

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Re: Reading Early Retirement Blogs Make Me Depressed
« Reply #114 on: February 11, 2017, 01:58:41 PM »
[..]because why would someone say that they've spent the year slowly advancing, at 1k, 1.5k per month?[..]

I'd read about their minuscule milestones, if they were presented in an appealing fashion.

I managed a fifty percent savings of last month's income, and put aside a whole $600. Some of us just have lousy jobs. It's all well and good to say 'get a better job, find a new income stream' - but many of us actually like our jobs, regardless of their pay. Getting a job just because it pays well would certainly accelerate my FIRE, but I'm more interested in improving my overall quality of life. I think the important bits of all the blogs, regardless of their tone, aim to share in the knowledge we accumulate - how to save, how to spend, how to live - on less, with more, as more. Some of the blogs do it well, and some of them are just humble-brag rags.

I'm not, and may never be, a 'high income' individual, but I find value in many of the posts/topics on this forum and on blogs like MMM, because I'm trying to live/lead a better life - regardless of my income/expense, rather than because of it. Having someone whinetalk about how difficult their 'spendy' years were when they were still banking more in those 'month/years of excess' than I've ever made makes it sort of hard to connect.

Regards,