Author Topic: What gives on this forum?  (Read 60177 times)

Mesmoiselle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
  • Location: Kentucky
What gives on this forum?
« on: November 26, 2014, 02:45:35 PM »
From Nannies vs Daycare, to third cars, to boats, to a high entertainment budget...

All of them get a pass so long as their savings rate is high and/or they already have hefty 40-whatsis, Roths, etc. High and hefty are ambiguous, yes.  But am I the only one that notices this?

"I'm not going to give myself a face punch for the $1000/month waste because my savings rate is 72%."

"I just wasted my money on [this]. Do I deserve a face punch for wasting that money? - "Well, it depends on your savings rate."

No! Unless I missed it, I don't think MMM has ever said it depended on your savings rate.  MMM implies that he lived on 10-15k plus his mortgage payments (at least this is what I've understood from his yearly expenses graphs). He didn't save #% , call it good, and then give himself a free pass to frivolity. Everything was a waste until his goal was met. He learned not to want those things until they were hardly or not at all on his radar and even now being a millionaire, he still doesn't have a high cell phone plan or a $1000/month entertainment budget.

And these comments are not applied to those who can't meet that magic number. In fact, the opposite comments are applied. If you don't have a high enough income, while maintaining a high savings rate, to support your bad habits, you're a wasteful, lazy, "complaineypants." I feel like the philosophy of MMM is that all bad habits are "wasteful" spending until you actually reach your FI goal. People who spend $200 on restaurants with a 20% savings rate are failures, but spending $1000+ on restaurants with a 60% savings rate is A-ok when both should probably receive an equal face punch.

So who is actually doing this the MMM way?

Because you are who I want to learn from.

I and my husband make 70k gross, and the top of our earning careers 6+ years from now will finally get us into 150k+. But it's hard to learn from folks who don't actually try to live "like they're poor" while still saving 70%+ of their income.

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2417
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 02:56:16 PM »
People who spend $200 on restaurants with a 20% savings rate are failures, but spending $1000+ on restaurants with a 60% savings rate is A-ok when both should probably receive an equal face punch.

I agree with your interpretation of MMM and have often been surprised at many people on the forum who approve an expenditure "if you can afford it and still ER."

On the other hand,
Quote
But it's hard to learn from folks who don't actually try to live "like they're poor" while still saving 70%+ of their income.
I feel like I live like I'm rich because my needs are completely satisfied.

seattlecyclone

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7319
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Seattle, WA
    • My blog
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 02:58:33 PM »
I think much of the answer may lie in the Shockingly Simple Math. For someone who is already saving 75% of their income, cutting an additional 5% shaves about 18 months off of their working career. Someone who is only saving 10% can retire eight years earlier if they bring that savings rate up to 15%.

So while saving money is helpful for everyone, someone who is already saving a lot will see comparatively less benefit from further spending reductions. And as we heard from MMM this week, it's not really about the money anyway. It's about getting your life to a place where you can maximize your happiness. So if you're considering cutting spending on an activity that does legitimately make you happier in the here and now, it's worth considering what you're getting in return. If you can accelerate your FI date by eight years, many of us may find that a worthwhile trade. For 18 months? Maybe not. It's important to enjoy the journey even as you're traveling toward your destination.

bacchi

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7258
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 03:09:27 PM »
MMM implies that he lived on 10-15k plus his mortgage payments (at least this is what I've understood from his yearly expenses graphs).

He actually spent $25k in 2013, without a mortgage. Some $2k of that was for travel and $630 was for Crossfit.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/01/12/exposed-the-mmm-familys-2013-spending/

MMM is about making conscious choices about expenses. Your "bad habits" are someone else's decisions made with the full knowledge of the work-FI trade-off.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 03:12:15 PM »
I wish I could remember the threads, so hopefully others will chime in, but there's been discussion of this exact issue before.

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2417
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2014, 03:17:24 PM »
I think much of the answer may lie in the Shockingly Simple Math. For someone who is already saving 75% of their income, cutting an additional 5% shaves about 18 months off of their working career. Someone who is only saving 10% can retire eight years earlier if they bring that savings rate up to 15%.

So while saving money is helpful for everyone, someone who is already saving a lot will see comparatively less benefit from further spending reductions. And as we heard from MMM this week, it's not really about the money anyway.

I put a lot of stock in his post about muscle over motor. It's not all about money, true, but also about self-sufficiency and living a life that's engaging rather than passive. There's value in not simply buying your way out of problems. Mowing your own lawn, fixing your own sink, these types of things are good, regardless of higher or lower opportunity cost (I say types, because of course individual tastes and abilities vary). That's where I have a problem with the "you can afford it" mentality. 

I agree that if it's about something that "legitimately makes you happier" then that becomes a factor, though efficient use of resources is also a factor still. Can you get it more cheaply used? Or through bartering? You shouldn't be happier with getting less value for your dollar just because you have more of them.

Mesmoiselle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2014, 03:19:25 PM »
MMM implies that he lived on 10-15k plus his mortgage payments (at least this is what I've understood from his yearly expenses graphs).

He actually spent $25k in 2013, without a mortgage. Some $2k of that was for travel and $630 was for Crossfit.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/01/12/exposed-the-mmm-familys-2013-spending/

MMM is about making conscious choices about expenses. Your "bad habits" are someone else's decisions made with the full knowledge of the work-FI trade-off.

but once he minuses all the "waste" that number is 19k and 15k in 2012. Implying that this is the sort of numbers he was spending + mortgage BEFORE he was FI.

Beric01

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1156
  • Age: 34
  • Location: SF Bay Area
  • Law-abiding cyclist
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2014, 03:19:42 PM »
I 100% agree with the OP. Frivolous and wasteful spending is exactly that, whether your income is $10K or $1,000K. If the MMM family can live in $35K/year (when including housing), you can too. I live off $20K/year in San Jose (single), and am working on getting that down to $15K.

Mustachianism is very simple: beyond your basic needs, spending more just doesn't increase your happiness level. The best entertainment is extremely low-cost or free! Telling someone they can "afford" to spend more just because of their income is most definitely not Mustachian.

Beric01

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1156
  • Age: 34
  • Location: SF Bay Area
  • Law-abiding cyclist
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2014, 03:30:11 PM »
OP - I have to admit that I am often shocked by the high incomes and high discretionary spending of some people here. But I just figure that people who want to use their high income in that way aren't as interested in FIRE as MMM or some others are and their expenditures are worth it for them to put that off. As long as they don't complain about being unable to save enough for FI or RE (or whatever they want to achieve financially) then I'm OK with it and won't throw any face punches. If they come on here and bitch and moan while earning a high income, and nothing that prevents them from saving it, then I'll be the first one swinging. Otherwise I figure what they use their money for is their business. Lots of lower income FIRE'd people on this site to learn from if that's your interest.

Very well said - I agree.

One of the things I think is that most people with very high incomes aren't giving up their relationships with their similar-income friends. As such, they feel the pressure to spend more, and can thus only go Mustachian to a certain degree without being deemed "cheap". It's as Jacob at ERE said brilliantly:

Quote
Consider people living at different budgets, e.g. $100k, $80k, $60k, $50k, $40k, $30k $20k, $15k, $10k, $7.5k, $5k, $2.5, $1k, and $0k. Now, what Wheaton observes is that people who spend one or two levels below you are inspiring to you in terms of budget reductions. People who spend three levels below you are slightly nutty and people who spend four or more levels below your level are crazy or downright extreme. This holds no matter where you are. If you spend 60k, then 50k and 40k is inspiring, 30k is nutty and 20k is crazy. If you spend 30k, then 20k and 15k is inspiring, 10k is nutty, and 7.5k is crazy. Conversely, people who spend a couple of levels above you are considered prodigal and wasteful.

I find this is very true for me as well. Of course you can extrapolate the scale into the hundreds of thousands of income.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4057
  • Location: On my bike
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2014, 04:41:13 PM »
Hi Mesmoiselle,
You're welcome to throw some face punches out for any or all of the situations described.  A lot of us do as well and we'd be happy to back you up.  However, there comes a point where it's just not conducive to furthering the conversation and/or learning.  If Mr & Mrs Big Income want to spend $1000/mo eating out, you can call them out all you'd like, but unless they're willing to change, it won't do any good.  No matter how many face punches you throw, it'll be hard to convince someone to change their ways if they're happy with the speed at which they're headed towards FI.

I've found it's usually best to save the face punches for those situations where they'll do some good, to actually wake someone up and bring them out of their comfort zone.  While continually throwing face punches sounds like something that should be done, usually all you'll end up with is sore knuckles.

surfhb

  • Guest
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2014, 04:56:21 PM »
" all bad habits are "wasteful" spending until you actually reach your FI goal"

No way!  I drive 100 miles a day for work.   Why?   Because I like to surf before I spend my day.   

If something brings joy to your life while it puts off FIRE for several years, than I dont call that Un-Muchastian a bit
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 04:58:59 PM by surfhb »

Gin1984

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4945
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2014, 04:59:46 PM »
I'm confused on the nanny vs daycare, what is the problem there?  If both parents want to work, and daycare costs less than working, why is that a bad thing?

Fatmouse

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 74
  • Location: District of Columbia
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2014, 05:00:00 PM »
I like and appreciate this thread.  I am sometimes guilty of this sort of thing,, and I cannot even decide whether to face punch myself!

On one hand, my husband and I still have "hair on fire" high interest student loan debt.  On the other, our savings rate/ debt reduction rate is good by this forum's standards (not yet great.). We have lots of luxuries that we haven't given up yet, and some I know we will never give up.

How are we doing?  No clue.

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1229
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2014, 05:46:11 PM »

Huh....thought it was okay to say things that line up with my opinion (I just gave someone a pass on a semi-spendy phone plan dependent on what their savings rate looked like), not just parrot what MMM says or believes.  Oh wait...is it really a cult? 'Cause I thought "join the cult" was meant to be humorous! LOL. 

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2877
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2014, 05:58:05 PM »
But it's hard to learn from folks who don't actually try to live "like they're poor" while still saving 70%+ of their income.

I don't think Musachianism is about living like you are poor. For me it means:

 - Being able to look objectively at a situation and deciding when something (relationship, thing, whatever) is offering a diminishing or negative return and having the courage to let it go - despite you mental associations and attachments.


 - Maximizing happiness and personal fulfillment  - Being able to identify what is important to us and maximizing the people/experiences and things in our life that feed us, while minimizing or removing the people/things that don't.

 - Constantly improving your skills and resiliency and and surrounding yourself with the people/experiences/community/things that serve your highest self.

 - Freedom to live a great life - While yes, most of the focus is on achieving FI  sometimes we forget the reason BEHIND doing what we do and it essentially comes down to freedom. To have the flexibility, financial cushion and insight available to make the most out of life - to seize opportunities as they come - to embrace an alternative to operating and living from a place of scarcity and fear.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 22756
  • Age: 66
  • Location: NorCal
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2014, 06:02:29 PM »
From Nannies vs Daycare, to third cars, to boats, to a high entertainment budget...
Whew! This post is a breath of fresh air. I dared suggest another option on that thread and got my head handed to me. What the whaa? Isn't that like choosing between a Bentley and a Maserati?

Back on topic: I lived very frugally when I was amassing my stash. Now that I'm FIRE, I'm finding it difficult to let it out a little without feeling guilty. I think what others have said is true. If you're FIRE or still working but saving a shitload of money, you do get more privileges than those still clawing their way out of consumer and student debt.

So this will make me a target, no doubt, but here goes: We own three cars, an RV and two jet skis. Our clown house is paid for. We have well over seven figures in investments, plus rental property. Wait for it - I have cleaners come in twice a month and I get a pedicure once a month! I buy whatever I want for groceries. Aren't I ridiculous? Nah. MIL has Alzheimer's and lives with us. She won't let me clean her room, but she'll let the cleaners do it. (The dogs sleep with her, it gets stinky in there.) She isn't capable of taking care of her feet and won't let me do it, so we get a pedicure together once a month. DH walks to a job he loves. I fix three meals a day for our family of four adults. I shop at 99 Only, Grocery Outlet and Costco, so I'm sure that's better than eating out.

All cars were purchased new or used. They are 7-10 years old, paid for, look good, run well and are maintained by DH. He bought the RV and jet skis used and fixed them up. Got rid of his boat, but likes to fish, so he uses the jet skis for fishing now. All are worth at least what he paid for them.

My point is that if you drive past our house, you'd think we were as extravagant as hell. You simply can't tell what a Mustachian person looks like if they're doing it right. And you can't judge their balance sheet from the outside either.

So yeah, sometimes things get weird on the forum, but the bottom line is that your choices are yours to make. You get to do what works for you. But don't come complaining around here if you don't have an army of green soldiers to back you up.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 09:59:55 PM by Diane C »

lakemom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2014, 06:05:07 PM »
Have we all read the most recent MMM blog post?  It seems to me that he addresses just this issue in his amusing but get to the point style.  Try giving it a read....MMM lifestyle is NOT about spending the least amount of money possible regardless of your income, its about being mindful and deliberate on those things you spend money on so that you get maximum benefit/enjoyment out of that money.

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 657
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2014, 07:08:11 PM »
Great example, Diane!

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8019
  • Location: Australia
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2014, 07:28:53 PM »
But it's hard to learn from folks who don't actually try to live "like they're poor" while still saving 70%+ of their income.

I don't think Musachianism is about living like you are poor. For me it means:

 - Being able to look objectively at a situation and deciding when something (relationship, thing, whatever) is offering a diminishing or negative return and having the courage to let it go - despite you mental associations and attachments.


 - Maximizing happiness and personal fulfillment  - Being able to identify what is important to us and maximizing the people/experiences and things in our life that feed us, while minimizing or removing the people/things that don't.

 - Constantly improving your skills and resiliency and and surrounding yourself with the people/experiences/community/things that serve your highest self.

 - Freedom to live a great life - While yes, most of the focus is on achieving FI  sometimes we forget the reason BEHIND doing what we do and it essentially comes down to freedom. To have the flexibility, financial cushion and insight available to make the most out of life - to seize opportunities as they come - to embrace an alternative to operating and living from a place of scarcity and fear.

Giant +1 to all of this.

Heck, even MMM spends "wastefully" in some ways according to the blog posts. I think that if he cut out all unneccessary spending, his annual spending would be even lower than it currently is.

I'm not suggesting we all give up on frugality and go buy mcmansions and drive our kids to fancy pre-schools in our SUVs - just that there's enough room on the forum for those of us who still go out to dinner once a month, as well as those who spend $6k a year (Herbert Derp!).

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Undecided

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1237
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2014, 07:32:37 PM »
Hi Mesmoiselle,
You're welcome to throw some face punches out for any or all of the situations described.  A lot of us do as well and we'd be happy to back you up.  However, there comes a point where it's just not conducive to furthering the conversation and/or learning.  If Mr & Mrs Big Income want to spend $1000/mo eating out, you can call them out all you'd like, but unless they're willing to change, it won't do any good.  No matter how many face punches you throw, it'll be hard to convince someone to change their ways if they're happy with the speed at which they're headed towards FI.

Wait, you mean someone who's happy with his or her own life won't change it just to better match the priorities of a random person on the internet?

MoneyCat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1752
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2014, 07:51:33 PM »
There's an awful lot of "complain-bragging" on this forum from people with $200k+ incomes.  I hope we will hear more from people with more average incomes who are using the Mustachian way of life to live like someone with a much higher income.  That impresses me a lot more than someone who saves 70% of their income and can still easily afford a live-in nanny.

James

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1678
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Rice Lake, WI
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2014, 07:54:09 PM »
Huh....thought it was okay to say things that line up with my opinion (I just gave someone a pass on a semi-spendy phone plan dependent on what their savings rate looked like), not just parrot what MMM says or believes.  Oh wait...is it really a cult? 'Cause I thought "join the cult" was meant to be humorous! LOL.


I think this brings up an important point. There is two sorts of answers on the forum here. One is our representation, to the person asking the question, of the "mustachian" answer. That should be an answer we believe is consistent with how MMM would answer the question. The second sort is the sort you are talking about, simply our opinion. Hopefully guided by MMM, since that is why were are all on the forum, but maybe not fully consistent with or identical to the answer MMM would give.


I don't have a major point to make, other than simply suggest we recognize and keep it in mind. I do think it would be good when our advice strays from what we think MMM would say, that we point that out. For example, "MMM wouldn't give you a pass on that phone plan, but I would." I think it is important, being MMM forum, that any answer does have a response that indicates what MMM would say, not just our personal viewpoint. But it doesn't mean we all have to agree with MMM in our response.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2014, 07:58:48 PM »
Anyone ever find it odd that MMM doesn't post on these forums? I've often wondered if he comes on here with alternate identities to give us virtual facepunches when he sees his readers start getting flabby.

Well played MMM, well played. ;-)

Facepunch accepted...

MsGrimalkin

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2014, 08:36:42 PM »
I feel like the philosophy of MMM is that all bad habits are "wasteful" spending until you actually reach your FI goal.

I sincerely don't understand this part of your statement and I may have misunderstood your post.  I have a large "education" budget.  I take everything from cooking classes, to writing classes, to art classes, to programming classes, to proper lifting techniques, to outdoor survival, etc...Is it a bad habit?  These classes aren't cheap and in the case of the arts/crafts, the materials can be expensive.  I am OK with working a bit longer to pay for these classes and I intend to take even more classes when I retire.  I don't travel and I don't have a lot of "things".  On the other hand, if I just stuck to the public library (I love to read) and didn't do any classes I would save a ton of money.  The classes I take don't add to landfills (my art is beautiful and should be in gallery's LOL) and I employ a "teacher" plus I get to meet interesting people.  All of the classes, even the cooking class, could be categorized under wasteful spending.  But I like it and I'm ok with the work/FIRE exchange.

Not pertaining to your post but relating to what I have seen in life and in this forum there are "stuff" people (3 boats, 2nd home) and there are "experiences" people (travel, classes) and some people are bot.  I'm not motivated by "stuff" but it doesn't impact me what other people decide to do with their money so if they want to buy a boat or go to a restaurant that's their deal.

As far as "facepunches" are concerned, they are most useful for people who really need to understand "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".  If you want drastic changes in your life, you need to take drastic action and for most people that is a combo of increasing income + decreasing expenses.  After finding this forum, I sold my wonderful SUV and downgraded to a used sedan.  It's definitely not as fun as my previous car but I'm saving a fortune on gas and maintenance.  Plus I can always rent an SUV when I want to go camping and off-roading (which I did 3 times in the 8 years I had my AWD SUV, not a good ROI).  I would not have thought of that without coming here and reading articles and posts.  I also bought YNAB last black Friday thanks to this forum.  Thank you Forum!  So I wouldn't say that people aren't modifying their behaviors and in my opinion there is nothing wrong with healthy debate.

Some days I wish I were a stuff person.  At least you can sell stuff!  But a class on foraging...and tracking...so much fun and good prep for the inevitable zombie apocalypse!

+1 to Diane C's post

StartingEarly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 493
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Arizona but travelling
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2014, 09:28:43 PM »
"Low wages" are all relative.  Taken against cost of living they might not seem as low as you think.  I make 60k a year, I could buy a modest home needing no work with one year's pay.  How many people living in San Fransisco can do that even on a 150k a year paycheck?

NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2014, 09:52:14 PM »
One person's waste is another's wise spending. Didn't you spend 10K on medical care for dogs, yet decide not to get health insurance for yourself? One was a necessity to you, the other was not. Not everyone would make the same decisions. Who decides what's wasteful?

Personally, I don't want to be in a contest to see who can live on less. I'll lose, and that's fine.

BPA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2014, 09:54:05 PM »
I have stopped commenting on most Case Studies because when people can't seem to find a place to save or make excuses for what I consider to be ridiculous spending, I can get bitchy.

On a couple of occasions I've typed out, "Have you even read the blog?" 

I do recognize that people are free to live their own lives and I am free to roll my eyes and move on. 


backyardfeast

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 867
  • Location: Vancouver Island, BC
    • My journal
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2014, 10:14:13 PM »
I think all of us wrestle with this balance to some degree.  MMM shows us that FI is possible if we're willing to be ruthless with our expenses.  In this way, he's in line with ERE.  And that's the math--if I can live on $10K/year, I can retire REALLY early.

MMM tells us that we don't have to be quite THAT extreme, as he exemplifies a life in a house, with travel, cars, a child, etc.  But I'm not so sure that this then equates to "figure out what makes you happy and then aim for that, be it $30K or $80K".  I mean, yes, he does talk a lot about happiness and figuring out what makes a meaningful life for you--conscious spending instead of unconscious clown-following.

But I can't help but notice that MMM has also been clear that he's doing this with a not-so-secret environmental agenda.  His goal isn't really to convince us that it's ok to be happy on $80K/year.  IMO, it's to convince us to get down to a very non-materialistic $30K family TO DISCOVER THAT ITS POSSIBLE TO BE HAPPY LIVING THAT LIFE.  In other words, I think he's trying to convince us that a small life is a good life, AND that its the life more of us need to live if we're going to live sustainably on this planet.

Now, I believe that message.  I really do.  And to some degree, DH and I live that life.  We live a simple, homestead-y, close to home life, and it makes us very happy.  However, to support our simple life, we work jobs with clown commutes and own a totally non-mustachian sailboat (well, it would be mustachian if we were already FI, cause it's old and small and cheap).  Our savings rate is like 30%, and we're not young.  Sigh.

I know what MMM (and this forum! :) ) wouild tell us to do: move into our closest town where we could buy a small house for $250K (that's dirt cheap around these parts) (or rent!), find new jobs in the same town, even if they pay a little less, walk to work and sell the boat.  And it's true, if we did all of that, we could be FI faster.  And that would be awesome.  But once we were FI, we would want our boat back, and our lovely house and garden back, etc...I don't know.  It just seems circular to us.  But I'm probabaly wrong.  And rambling! Hah. 

So this is all to say, I think it's easy to see the mathmatical clarity when we look at case studies and just the facts.  I think it's a journey to figure out who we are and what we want out of life and what kind of priority ER is and what kind of life we want as we work to get there...at least that's been the case for me.

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2014, 10:29:17 PM »

...So this is all to say, I think it's easy to see the mathmatical clarity when we look at case studies and just the facts.  I think it's a journey to figure out who we are and what we want out of life and what kind of priority ER is and what kind of life we want as we work to get there...at least that's been the case for me.

Ditto.

I look at everything in life as a page on a Chinese menu: I'll have something from column A, maybe an appetizer, you and I can split something from column B...

Life is short and while everyone and their dog has an idea of EXACTLY what I'm supposed to be doing, and how, and with how much money...there are times that my mileage varies.

And I'm ok with it.  ;-D

Ricky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 842
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2014, 10:58:14 PM »

I know what MMM (and this forum! :) ) wouild tell us to do: move into our closest town where we could buy a small house for $250K (that's dirt cheap around these parts) (or rent!), find new jobs in the same town, even if they pay a little less, walk to work and sell the boat.  And it's true, if we did all of that, we could be FI faster.  And that would be awesome.  But once we were FI, we would want our boat back, and our lovely house and garden back, etc...I don't know.  It just seems circular to us.  But I'm probabaly wrong.  And rambling! Hah. 

So this is all to say, I think it's easy to see the mathmatical clarity when we look at case studies and just the facts.  I think it's a journey to figure out who we are and what we want out of life and what kind of priority ER is and what kind of life we want as we work to get there...at least that's been the case for me.

I think you're missing the point that living your lifestyle now versus later is an opportunity cost. You're giving up the snowball effect of all of that freed up money going towards investments earning increasingly more interest over time.

It's all about the power of compounding interest. It would ultimately pay for your lifestyle while providing FI faster than for you to live your current lifestyle and become FI.

Quote from: Cathy
Slightly off topic, but one of the things that throws me off on this forum is how many people are diligently toiling away with really low incomes (like say, anything less than $100k). Sure, you can reach financial independence no matter what your pay is, but it's a lot easier and faster if you are being paid more -- so why settle for such low wages?

Sure, any decently smart person can pretty much learn to get paid whatever they want, but it's more complicated than that. There are zip code, racial, and gender differences. There'a also laziness and not being motivated. There are plenty of reasons why people "settle", or otherwise don't find the courage to move and take chances.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 11:02:00 PM by Ricky »

fa

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 233
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2014, 11:05:46 PM »
I don't understand why we would need to figure out what is true Mustachian, as if it is some sort of religion with an associated dogma.  MMM shows how you can lead an on the surface fairly typical middle class lifestyle on a limited budget.  If you are looking for a more extreme example, you can go and check out Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme.  He lives on $7,000/year vs $24,000 for MMM's family of 3.  If you divide MMM's budget by 3, he is only spending $1,000 per year and per person more than Jacob.  So maybe Jacob is not that much more extreme than MMM.

MMM shows the concept of early retirement, with all the components involved in that.  You should figure out what fits for you and your family, without worrying how Mustachian your lifestyle really is.  It is a way that can be modified according to your individual situation.  Just take what feels right to you.  MMM gives you the math tools to see if the financial part of your lifestyle works for you.  The  blog demonstrates that you can achieve ERE at just about any income level.  Income matters very little.  Many higher income people seem to have a harder time achieving ERE, partially due to student loans and lifestyle inflation.

A high income family obviously can achieve ERE easier mathematically since they could save an extremely high percentage of their income.  Higher income people are often more specialised, so they tend to call for professional help when something needs to be repaired or built.  A renaissance man is able to save lots of money by fixing things.  Your absolute spending level simply makes you more robust.  So you have the tools to figure it out and you have some examples to show you what is possible, not what is required.  That is what I appreciate from this site.  The rest is simply an informed free choice.


RoostKing

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2014, 02:45:34 AM »
Obviously, like anything, you can go to extremes on either end of the spectrum. Living like you are dirt poor is ok if thats what you get enjoyment out of. Living like you are dirt poor because you are saving for FIRE that might be 10 or 15 years down the road, that is just as unhealthy as throwing money away and never being able to retire. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and like the one guy said, if something gives me enjoyment, provides a hobby for me to spend my time while I work towards my goal and it puts FIRE off by year or two, its worth it to me. On the other hand, you have to be realistic about it and realize your spendy hobby is going to put off FIRE for a bit.

2Birds1Stone

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8101
  • Location: Earth
  • K Thnx Bye
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2014, 06:52:21 AM »
I think you should read MMM's latest entry.

Its not just about living like your poor. Spending should be aligned with your values. I think its more about understanding the math behind how much you save vs how much longer you have to slave away at a job you are dissatisfied. If you love your job, have a large nest egg, and enjoy spending money on certain things.....why the hell not. It is your life to live.

I have been busting my ass at a job that I liked less and less every day over the past few years. I am in the process of switching careers and the new employer seems to treat people extremely well. If I enjoy what I do, accrue good vacation/personal time off. I don't think I will live like I'm below the poverty line to exit the proverbial rat race. 

Mesmoiselle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2014, 06:56:43 AM »
OP - I have to admit that I am often shocked by the high incomes and high discretionary spending of some people here. But I just figure that people who want to use their high income in that way aren't as interested in FIRE as MMM or some others are and their expenditures are worth it for them to put that off to a later time. They are willing to make the trade offs to have some things they must feel are important to their overall well being. I personally don't think money can buy happiness and wouldn't ever put off FIRE for something l can do without, but to each his own. As long as they don't complain about being unable to save enough for FI or RE (or whatever they want to achieve financially) then I'm OK with it and won't throw any face punches. If they come on here and bitch and moan while earning a high income, and have nothing that prevents them from saving it aside from their own spending habits, then I'll be the first one swinging. Otherwise I figure what they use their money for is their business. Lots of lower income FIRE'd people on this site to learn from if that's your interest.

I'm pretty shocked sometimes as well. And I agree, as long as they are not complaining about how "tough" things are and understand the trade off regarding ER/FI, then yeah, not much to say about what they are doing. They don't always start off their threads stating that, however, so I do end up wondering if they are understanding that trade off or completely unaware of it.

As to the various replies about parroting the religious/cult message of MMM as one of two (or more) methods of responding to those that post here, I'm mildly disappointed but don't expect that you should at the same time. MMM stopped responding to direct messaging for the most part a while back. We can't get advice from MMM (outside of his blog) and he redirected us here to this forum he created. I am also on YNAB and the message there is hyper conscious awareness while making constant tradeoffs.Make enough of them, and the big picture gets lost, but I think for most of them the goal is simply "not to struggle paycheck to paycheck". I came here for something more hard core. If I want the soft message of "do your best" then I'll talk about my wussyness there and everyone will give me a pat on the back as they console me about how "life comes up." I came here for face punches, tips with face punches, or just tips sans pats on the back.

Instead, (random percentage not backed by anything) 75% of first couple of pages of "Ask a Mustachian" are semi FI high income earners patting other less semi FI high income earners on the back.

I feel like the philosophy of MMM is that all bad habits are "wasteful" spending until you actually reach your FI goal.

I sincerely don't understand this part of your statement and I may have misunderstood your post.

At least from my reading of his blog, classes teaching useful life skills aren't bad habits. Would imply you and others to consider ROI but sometimes that can only be measured in happiness about self sufficiency rather than actual dollars.

Bad habits are relying entirely on expensive things to entertain you or using money so you can avoid independence (such as house keepers, chefs and to a lesser extent, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians.) So the "can't seem to get it down, but my groceries are $1200 a month and we spent $800 on restaurants and then there is our personal spending/entertainment budget of $1000. And don't forget our live in nanny/housekeeper whom I just adore receives $2600/month" crowd need and deserve a face punch.


I disagree with the premise of the question. Mustachianism is not about facepunching people and badgering them into spending less or becoming financially independent. It's about empowering people to realize that there is a different way than what is considered "normal" by society.
.....
Mustachianism gives you the tools, ideas and philosophy to take control of your finances and your life. It doesn't tell you whether or not you should bike to work, eat at restaurants or own a sailboat. It does give you the ability to figure out the costs/benefits of each option, how they may affect your financial future and how you can design a different lifestyle if you are not satisfied with your current trajectory.

I find this interesting. Like his post about optimization; perhaps you will come to the same conclusion, but at at least you question your choice on a regular basis.

I think all of us wrestle with this balance to some degree.  MMM shows us that FI is possible if we're willing to be ruthless with our expenses.  In this way, he's in line with ERE.  And that's the math--if I can live on $10K/year, I can retire REALLY early.

.... he does talk a lot about happiness and figuring out what makes a meaningful life for you--conscious spending instead of unconscious clown-following.
.... I think he's trying to convince us that a small life is a good life, AND that its the life more of us need to live if we're going to live sustainably on this planet.

I know what MMM (and this forum! :) ) wouild tell us to do: move into our closest town where we could buy a small house for $250K (that's dirt cheap around these parts) (or rent!), find new jobs in the same town, even if they pay a little less, walk to work and sell the boat.  And it's true, if we did all of that, we could be FI faster.  And that would be awesome.  But once we were FI, we would want our boat back, and our lovely house and garden back, etc...I don't know.  It just seems circular to us.  But I'm probabaly wrong.  And rambling! Hah. 

So this is all to say, I think it's easy to see the mathmatical clarity when we look at case studies and just the facts.  I think it's a journey to figure out who we are and what we want out of life and what kind of priority ER is and what kind of life we want as we work to get there...at least that's been the case for me.

That would be pretty circular! I agree, with your values about boat/garden/house, I would do the same (although MMM would argue you get to do considerably less of the things you like due to loss of income and commute time spent bored in a car. ;) )

Mesmoiselle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2014, 07:11:01 AM »
Quote
seattlecyclone said I think much of the answer may lie in the Shockingly Simple Math. For someone who is already saving 75% of their income, cutting an additional 5% shaves about 18 months off of their working career. Someone who is only saving 10% can retire eight years earlier if they bring that savings rate up to 15%.

So while saving money is helpful for everyone, someone who is already saving a lot will see comparatively less benefit from further spending reductions. And as we heard from MMM this week, it's not really about the money anyway. It's about getting your life to a place where you can maximize your happiness. So if you're considering cutting spending on an activity that does legitimately make you happier in the here and now, it's worth considering what you're getting in return. If you can accelerate your FI date by eight years, many of us may find that a worthwhile trade. For 18 months? Maybe not. It's important to enjoy the journey even as you're traveling toward your destination.

I really abhor a current coworker and experienced euphoria at the prospect of only working with her another 18 months vs the 4 years I initially thoughy. Some people love their work environment way more than I do to be making that trade off. And even when I do go work somewhere and like my coworkers/environment, I keep recalling a comment someone made on an MMM blog post. The environment changes as other people enter it. Your beloved job of 10 years can become miserable in a short time span when the "most annoying judge mental stupid person" starts working with you. And your past self made the decision to be leisurely about FI and you can't get that time back. Other things out of your control; illness of yourself, a spouse, or close family member. A surprise pregnancy (BC isn't perfect). Time is finite even if your income isn't.

I think you should read MMM's latest entry.

Its not just about living like your poor. Spending should be aligned with your values. I think its more about understanding the math behind how much you save vs how much longer you have to slave away at a job you are dissatisfied. If you love your job, have a large nest egg, and enjoy spending money on certain things.....why the hell not. It is your life to live.

I have been busting my ass at a job that I liked less and less every day over the past few years. I am in the process of switching careers and the new employer seems to treat people extremely well. If I enjoy what I do, accrue good vacation/personal time off. I don't think I will live like I'm below the poverty line to exit the proverbial rat race.

There is a reason I put that wording in quotations; I am not the most eloquent at representing my thoughts so I sometimes accept poorer word choices with the sarcasm implication. If person A spends 3 steps under Person B, Person B thinks A is crazy and living poor. The reality is they are very comfortable and don't feel poor at all.

is the MMM forum not to try to apply most or all of the tenets of the man himself to your life with the supportive advice of others? So it confuses me to see that the supportive advice is not even remotely like something MMM would say.

Mesmoiselle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2014, 07:24:38 AM »
Slightly off topic, but one of the things that throws me off on this forum is how many people are diligently toiling away with really low incomes (like say, anything less than $100k). Sure, you can reach financial independence no matter what your pay is, but it's a lot easier and faster if you are being paid more -- so why settle for such low wages?

Sure, any decently smart person can pretty much learn to get paid whatever they want, but it's more complicated than that. There are zip code, racial, and gender differences. There'a also laziness and not being motivated. There are plenty of reasons why people "settle", or otherwise don't find the courage to move and take chances.
And some times it take courage, determination, motivation and dedication to stay at a lower earning job because you are doing something that you feel makes a difference in the world (or at least to someone besides yourself) rather than just padding your bank account. It's not all about the money for many people.

In my case, the acceptance of a part time 48k/year job was because I am making more money than everyone in my entire family. I think my mother works for 35k or less, my sister works for 20k or less, and my younger brother/sisters are students earning 10k or less. I also got to this income with relatively little effort, as a 2 year trade school and on the job training gave me all this. With the addition of my husbands income, 20k until recently and 40k-80k in the near future, my vantage point is that we're earning the sort of money that all of my family would consider "easy street" as compared to their constant struggling; and I agree! I'm really mad I was wasting all the surplus of a 70k gross income until 6 months ago.  Additionally, I really like my job even if I dislike my coworkers. And until I started getting RSI in my entire right shoulder, I was satisfied with my situation.

I actually find it very odd that MMM suggests everyone should either be making 100k each or accepting that they are working for pleasure/greater good and not to become FI. At the time time, he then posted 50 jobs at 50k so he obviously doesn't look down his nose too much at the middle-of-the-road-but-not-bad earner.

BPA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1128
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2014, 07:28:30 AM »
MMM has had so much mainstream coverage over the last couple of years, that the current community is different than the original one.  That's neither good nor bad, but I do find the change frustrating at times.

ERE is definitely more extreme and frugal than MMM, but you'll probably find the posters there uber rational and more in tune with the frugality aspect than some forum members here.  You may want to check out that community too.

Here is an interesting blog entry that makes reference to the Wheaton scale:  http://earlyretirementextreme.com/how-i-live-on-7000-per-year.html





sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2417
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2014, 07:56:57 AM »
I would reference, yet again, muscle over motor. MMM finds a snowblower, for the needs of his area, facepunch-worthy regardless of how much money the buyer has.

Quote
Itís more than just an article. Itís a Founding Principle of Mustachianism, because when you embrace it, it adds great fun to your life even while it simultaneously strips away the fat from your physique and your budget.

Leafblowers vs. rakes, motorcycles vs. bikes, manual lawnmowers vs. the other kind, motorboats vs. kayaks. There are obviously times when the more technologically-assisted choice is the right one and some of that can have to do with individual choices, but he espouses the more challenging, less wasteful life, including tying it in with insourcing, without a lot of emphasis on money.

But also, the biggest refutation of "well, I can enjoy it and I can afford it" philosophy is, Is it convenient? Would I enjoy it? Wrong question

Quote
Letís suppose you want the latest iPad. You want it because it is convenient to be able to look at pictures and websites and books and play music around the house. Sure, you already have other computers that do those things, but the iPad is special because it lets you do them while holding it in one hand, sitting on the couch.

Wow, that couch is pretty convenient too, isnít it? It is comfortable, enjoyable, convenient, and joyful to sit and lie on your couch. In fact, wouldnít it be best to just lie on that couch all day? Forever? Yeah! Maybe you could even hook it up with a catheter and a bedpan, and a friend or robot could bring you all your food on the couch too. With each release, the latest iPad could be delivered to you, and youíd have the most convenient and comfortable and effort-free life ever.

Maybe you were with me for the first bit of that paragraph, but it probably lost its appeal by the time we reached the end, right? And indeed, with proper understanding, almost any consumer purchase (and almost any bad habit) these days, beyond the necessities, should start to sound like a catheter and a bedpan to you.

So, yes, you can absolutely address a purchase as being wasteful regardless of affordability.

People can say, well, it's worth it to me. But you are allowed to facepunch if you think their thinking is misguided. That may not get you very far on a case study thread because we can't really get inside another person's head. But I get tired of hearing the excuse that mustachianism is first and foremost about mindful spending or whatever or that you get carte blanche to do whatever if you're FI or your savings rate is over 50%. These are sound ideas that I agree with, I just think they contradict the text. And yes, I've read the latest blog post.

" all bad habits are "wasteful" spending until you actually reach your FI goal"

No way!  I drive 100 miles a day for work.   Why?   Because I like to surf before I spend my day.   

If something brings joy to your life while it puts off FIRE for several years, than I dont call that Un-Muchastian a bit

But this is interesting because I definitely see people on the forum who deeply believe mustachianism has to do with limiting our damage to the environment, so they would find this facepunch-worthy. Personally, I get where they see environmentalism in MMM's posts, but it's not something I've incorporated into my understanding of the philosophy. So you definitely can have multiple people who are "mustachian" but with different beliefs. Like any good religion :)

NinetyFour

  • CMTO 2023 Attendees
  • Walrus Stache
  • *
  • Posts: 6828
  • Age: 63
  • Location: Southwestern US
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2014, 08:11:45 AM »
I disagree with the premise of the question. Mustachianism is not about facepunching people and badgering them into spending less or becoming financially independent. It's about empowering people to realize that there is a different way than what is considered "normal" by society.

You don't HAVE to buy a brand new car every 3 years to prove that you're successful.

You don't HAVE to buy a McMansion in the suburbs to prove that you're a grown up.

You don't HAVE to go on an expensive vacation paid for by credit cards to prove that you're enjoying life.

In general, you don't HAVE to spend proportional to your income and embrace every consumer convenience thrown at you.

For most Americans this is already a revolutionary message.

Mustachianism is not prescriptive or doctrinaire, it's a "choose your own adventure" philosophy, where you

(1) Decide what you really want in life, whether it's to be able to stay home with your kids or to travel the world without working or to simply retire in 10 years.

(2) Figure out what percentage of your current income you have to save.

(3) Figure out what changes to your spending, earning, lifestyle you need to do in order to achieve your goals.

Some people require drastic changes, particularly if they are drowning in debt and are saving virtually nothing. THIS is where "facepunching" comes in handy.

But other people can accomplish their goals even with relatively large spending because their income is high enough to allow them some "wasteful" spending even while they save 70%-80%.

Mustachianism gives you the tools, ideas and philosophy to take control of your finances and your life. It doesn't tell you whether or not you should bike to work, eat at restaurants or own a sailboat. It does give you the ability to figure out the costs/benefits of each option, how they may affect your financial future and how you can design a different lifestyle if you are not satisfied with your current trajectory.

I think you summed it up really well here.

rtrnow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 323
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2014, 08:40:01 AM »
I have felt the same way as the OP. I by no means live the MMM lifestyle. We spend more for a family of 2 than he does for four, and yes we have a payed for house too. I think the point like others have said is conscious spending. The posts that annoy me are the ones asking "is this ok" as it relates to fairly obvious extravagances.  To me, this is not the blog to come to for justification of extravagant purchases. I don't necessarily care how people spend their money, but this does not seem the place to try and rationalize.

For me, trying to completely live the MMM lifestyle was/is a great exercise. I dove in head first, biking everywhere, downsized car, etc. etc. This allowed me to reach my FI number in my mid 30's and leave my FT job. Having only been out a month, I'm interviewing for a PT teaching position and my hobbies are already producing income. I say that bc I plan to buy a newer, somewhat frivolous car. Cars bring me a lot of happiness and entertainment and I can afford it. Should I get a face punch if I ask on the MMM forum if it's ok, YES.

CarFIRE

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2014, 09:02:54 AM »
" all bad habits are "wasteful" spending until you actually reach your FI goal"

No way!  I drive 100 miles a day for work.   Why?   Because I like to surf before I spend my day.   

If something brings joy to your life while it puts off FIRE for several years, than I dont call that Un-Muchastian a bit

Well stated!  I think this thread and the undertone border on "judgey"  The MMM lifestyle is good for MMM and others.  However, what you find joy in is not to be judged.  Some people love to travel, so be it.  I love everything about cars.  Some people love golf.  You don't have to agree with someone else's choice, you just have to respect their right to pursue their happiness.  The key is that you are frugal and smart with money, not wasting it on meaningless stuff that burns resources quickly and gives no lasting return TO YOU(for me that would be $20 "craft cocktails" or other such nonsense.  If you choose XXXX saving rate that gets you to your chosen exit on the time frame you are happy with, then you win the game!  If you can get there faster by BIKING and you want to Bike, great!  If you don't want to, no one should be looking down their nose at your choices.  This should be an inclusive community. 

I try to choose used cars that are at the slowest rate of depreciation and/or could appreciate, but not all are.  I bought one car 2 years old at a very good price, kept it for 2 years and sold it for $2400 less.  So for $100/month I had a toy/mode of transport that made me happy.  Better than $100 cable bill, to me anyway.

Lastly and a bit off-topic is income.  If you are in acquisition and growth of wealth mode, as equally important as saving is growing your income.  If you can change jobs, push for a promotion, and earn more, you push further along also.  A penny made, is penny saved, is a penny earned. 


mak1277

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 792
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #41 on: November 27, 2014, 09:34:41 AM »
is the MMM forum not to try to apply most or all of the tenets of the man himself to your life with the supportive advice of others? So it confuses me to see that the supportive advice is not even remotely like something MMM would say.

This is really the key question and divide as I see it. Personally, I have gotten a great deal of value from the blog and forum, but I have no desire to live exactly like MMM.  I'd say I'm probably 25% mustachian and quite happy at that level because I will still be able to retire very early thanks to a high salary. I'm not interested at all in voluntary discomfort but that doesn't mean I can't contribute and learn from the blog and forum. Not everyone is going  to buy into the message to the same extent, but if you wanted a forum filled with only true believers it wouldn't be a very lively or interesting place for very long.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 09:37:09 AM by mak1277 »

rtrnow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 323
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #42 on: November 27, 2014, 09:41:49 AM »
Not everyone is going  to buy into the message to the same extent, but if you wanted a forum filled with only true believers it wouldn't be a very lively or interesting place for very long.

Not exactly sure about that. These forums have changed a lot as MMM has gotten more popular. I personally come here much less often because it doesn't seem to have the same vibe it once did. Part of that is I get the math and concerning the basics there's not a lot more to learn. However, the bigger thing for me is that these forums seem to have gotten soft, but all good things change. I just accept that and move on to other communities.

Ricky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 842
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #43 on: November 27, 2014, 09:48:38 AM »
Not everyone is going  to buy into the message to the same extent, but if you wanted a forum filled with only true believers it wouldn't be a very lively or interesting place for very long.

Not exactly sure about that. These forums have changed a lot as MMM has gotten more popular. I personally come here much less often because it doesn't seem to have the same vibe it once did. Part of that is I get the math and concerning the basics there's not a lot more to learn. However, the bigger thing for me is that these forums seem to have gotten soft, but all good things change. I just accept that and move on to other communities.

I agree. There are some ridiculous questions going on nowadays - as if they haven't even read the blog. I also feel that the site is slowly declining as there isn't much more he can really write about. The site has dropped in Alexa rankings because there isn't as much new content as before.

All of his ideas and lifestyle choices are based on one thing: efficiency. It's engrained in his mind. I think much of it comes from an engineering background and the general personality type that goes along with it. We live around people that spend excessive amount of money so that we can easily take advantage of all of the inefficiencies by being extremely efficient ourselves. The extent to which we are or are not efficient will define the length of our working years. Or rather, the length of our dependence for money. It's about recognizing that we live in an extremely rich country and we buy and do things that are extremely wasteful. It's about catching the "waste" and using it rather than paying an extreme amount up front.

Quote from: Mesmoiselle
I feel like the philosophy of MMM is that all bad habits are "wasteful" spending until you actually reach your FI goal.

Your entire post was spot on except for this. This implies deprivation. You're not saving for FI just so you can resume all of your excessive spending habits. The point is to keep the efficiencies up which leads to just as much happiness as splurging all the time. There will always be inefficiencies and splurges, but at least you won't be dependent on splurging.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 10:01:36 AM by Ricky »

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1024
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #44 on: November 27, 2014, 09:49:48 AM »
I'm confused on the nanny vs daycare, what is the problem there?  If both parents want to work, and daycare costs less than working, why is that a bad thing?

Exactly.  I read that thread and it was a good one.  The costs were not too far apart and it was a productive discussion about the trade-offs associated with either choice.

Childcare is not a frivolous expense.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3505
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2014, 12:56:03 PM »
No! Unless I missed it, I don't think MMM has ever said it depended on your savings rate.  MMM implies that he lived on 10-15k plus his mortgage payments (at least this is what I've understood from his yearly expenses graphs). He didn't save #% , call it good, and then give himself a free pass to frivolity. Everything was a waste until his goal was met. He learned not to want those things until they were hardly or not at all on his radar and even now being a millionaire, he still doesn't have a high cell phone plan or a $1000/month entertainment budget.
Two thoughts:

- You find your comfort level, you make your plan, and I'll do the same.  If yours doesn't match mine, that doesn't mean one of us is making a mistake. 

- Something I don't quite grasp is seeing MMM almost as if he's Jesus.  He has good ideas.  Some of them will work for me, while others won't.  I can pick and choose what works for my life; I don't have to adopt all his philosophies. 

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2014, 01:31:54 PM »
I don't think Musachianism is about living like you are poor. For me it means:

 - Being able to look objectively at a situation and deciding when something (relationship, thing, whatever) is offering a diminishing or negative return and having the courage to let it go - despite you mental associations and attachments.

 - Maximizing happiness and personal fulfillment  - Being able to identify what is important to us and maximizing the people/experiences and things in our life that feed us, while minimizing or removing the people/things that don't.

 - Constantly improving your skills and resiliency and and surrounding yourself with the people/experiences/community/things that serve your highest self.

 - Freedom to live a great life - While yes, most of the focus is on achieving FI  sometimes we forget the reason BEHIND doing what we do and it essentially comes down to freedom. To have the flexibility, financial cushion and insight available to make the most out of life - to seize opportunities as they come - to embrace an alternative to operating and living from a place of scarcity and fear.

+1.

And +1 to the posts suggesting that it's not a cult, that we're not required to model our lives after MMM himself. We found each other through his lovely blog and forum, but that doesn't mean we all have to have the precise same ends and means to those ends. Freedom means different things to different people. It's subjective.

And, MMM is not about frugality at all costs. This is one method for potentially achieving our version of freedom (other options include working two jobs, or devoting 6 years to working in a high-pay field we dislike before opting out entirely, etc).

Also, I think some people are genuinely confusing MMMness ("facepunches", etc) with being rude. Share a third option, sure, but why not do so with openness, politeness, and respect? Some responses are so snarky, judgey, finger-wagging, etc. If we feel the strong need to use Mr MM as some sort of uber-example, I see him using silly and fun terms but not being rude and aggressive. There's a difference. I see a lot of people very open to hearing a "third option" or a differing perspective, but balking at outright rudeness and aggression. And I hate when we lose awesome forum members to the latter.

I'm additionally concerned when I hear people imposing their own beliefs and values on other members, as though they know what's "right" (and as though there is only one of those for all people). Makes me squirm. Happily, I don't see loads of that -most members and posts seem to remember, honour, and respect diversity.

So, why I don't throw punches, call people on specific spending, etc? Because I trust that most if not all members are smart, thoughtful, conscientious, aware people, and that we all grow best through respectful, open-minded dialogue. From that place, I happily post a third option where I believe it might not have been considered...but once I've gotten acquainted with a certain member, and know his or her general conscientiousness, etc, I'm confident in their path and choices and don't feel the need to yell at them, redirect them, ask them to take on my specific beliefs or path, etc. And if I don't know them enough to have seen those qualities yet, I spend more time listening before I get around to speaking up.

Lots of us are guiding each other over time, we just don't think our posts need to be written as though there's an actual life and death emergency, that the person will collapse if we don't internet-yell at them.

Kaspian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1533
  • Location: Canada
    • My Necronomicon of Badassity
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2014, 01:46:52 PM »
I agree 100%  Errr..  Sort of.  I do spend ridiculous money on travel while trying to keep costs down, but when somebody here starts going on about justifying a maid, gardener, or a giant Hummer for transportation, I definitely think, "Wow, what the fuck?"

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2417
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2014, 02:04:56 PM »
is the MMM forum not to try to apply most or all of the tenets of the man himself to your life with the supportive advice of others? So it confuses me to see that the supportive advice is not even remotely like something MMM would say.

This is really the key question and divide as I see it. Personally, I have gotten a great deal of value from the blog and forum, but I have no desire to live exactly like MMM.  I'd say I'm probably 25% mustachian and quite happy at that level because I will still be able to retire very early thanks to a high salary. I'm not interested at all in voluntary discomfort but that doesn't mean I can't contribute and learn from the blog and forum. Not everyone is going  to buy into the message to the same extent, but if you wanted a forum filled with only true believers it wouldn't be a very lively or interesting place for very long.
No! Unless I missed it, I don't think MMM has ever said it depended on your savings rate.  MMM implies that he lived on 10-15k plus his mortgage payments (at least this is what I've understood from his yearly expenses graphs). He didn't save #% , call it good, and then give himself a free pass to frivolity. Everything was a waste until his goal was met. He learned not to want those things until they were hardly or not at all on his radar and even now being a millionaire, he still doesn't have a high cell phone plan or a $1000/month entertainment budget.
Two thoughts:

- You find your comfort level, you make your plan, and I'll do the same.  If yours doesn't match mine, that doesn't mean one of us is making a mistake. 

- Something I don't quite grasp is seeing MMM almost as if he's Jesus.  He has good ideas.  Some of them will work for me, while others won't.  I can pick and choose what works for my life; I don't have to adopt all his philosophies. 

Maybe this is a distinction that should have been made in the OP and was something James was referring to. To me, the issue is that people refer to things as being mustachian when there's no justification for it in anything MMM has written. That doesn't mean that the idea is bad or that they don't have a right to share it on the forum.

Indeed, if something is a good idea, it shouldn't need an attribution to MMM to prop up its value. The 'trade-offs are an individual choice / it all depends on savings rate, etc' trope is so closely related to mustachianism, is such a sound financial principle, and is so widespread on the forum that people rarely make the distinction that it's not from the blog and in fact often mis-attribute it, so I can see why that's frustrating, particularly to a new reader.

Kaspian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1533
  • Location: Canada
    • My Necronomicon of Badassity
Re: What gives on this forum?
« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2014, 02:07:33 PM »
Slightly off topic, but one of the things that throws me off on this forum is how many people are diligently toiling away with really low incomes (like say, anything less than $100k).

Ai Carumba!  And here's me making $86K thinking I was doing fairly well.  Damn, I'm "really low"?  That means the average American is in the poorhouse.