Author Topic: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI  (Read 12490 times)

No Name Guy

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An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« on: December 06, 2013, 01:44:07 PM »
We're all frugal and financially fit (or getting there).  By definition, that means we're better off that the average (or will be soon), and far better off than the below average.  My challenge is, now that you're "well off" or well on your way to being so is to use some of your new found freedom and / or resources to do some good out there.  Consider this my Noblesse Oblige challenge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noblesse_oblige
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In American English especially, the term is sometimes applied more broadly to suggest a general obligation for the more fortunate to help the less fortunate.
  This is the general sense that I mean it.

Unlike the complainy pants whiners, who bitch and moan about problems, but don't actually grab the bull by the horns and DO anything, I challenge you to take on a problem you see and care about and actually do something to address it.  Not "advocate" for someone else to do the fixing, not "raise awareness", but YOU go and be part of the solution with your own two hands. 

Consider this a locus of control challenge - if hunger is your issue, volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen.  If homelessness is your thing - Habitat for Humanity and local homeless shelters could use you.  Literacy - go and tutor at the school.  Etc.  Something where you are physically taking action to directly address the issue of your choice.  I had such a locus of control moment...there was a situation I was in, I didn't like how things were, so I decided that I would do something myself to make things better.  I searched out a volunteer group that addresses that particular issue and pitched in with them.  That was 2009. 

As 2013 comes to a close, I'm putting in at my employer for the volunteer hours I've done this year.  For every 25 hours volunteer work I do, the charity gets $250 from The Employer.  Therefore, my volunteer time is doing double duty - not only am I out in the field making a difference, but also I'm helping to pay for the charity that is organizing the work.  At one charity, I had 190-ish hours in 2013 (netting them $1750 from my employer).  At another charity that does more or less the same thing (just with a different geographic focus area), I'm currently at 72 hours and will be out with them one more day before the year ends to push that over the 75 hour threshold to net them $750.  Being on a part time schedule (because of my frugal lifestyle) allows me to direct the extra time I have toward these activities.  I anticipate once I'm FI / ER / IW that I'll be able to spend a lot more time volunteering with these, and other, organizations (a win / win since these activities cost me practically nothing, I enjoy them, and I'm helping on a subject that I care about, all at the same time).

I'm hardly badass, that I want to make clear.....yesterday when I was out, I was chatting with another volunteer...he was talking about another volunteer on that day's crew who was out over 100 days this year (800+ hours).  Another fellow that I see out there regularly has spent over 2,000 days volunteering with the organization.  I'm but a pup compared to those folks.

needmyfi

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 03:53:38 PM »
You deserve to be called TheBOMB No Name!  I currently don't volunteer (and feel alittle guilty), but I currently work 30 hours a week and I am 1/2 hour from the nearest city. I have volunteered in the past and fully expect to when I retire.  I DO have volunteers that help me in my job that I supervise two days a week.  They are truly an inspiration to me.  One couple is 80 and 81-both were widowed and got together partly thru volunteering.  These folks aren't stuffing envelopes and answering phones either, they put in 3 to 6 hours a week weeding, potting and planting.

Only  two of my volunteers are still working and both of them work for non profits already, but I am really interested in the company donations for volunteer hours.  What type of industry are you in?  I'm wondering if this could work for us.

My plan for when I am finally FI again is to work the job I have now for free in the summer.  I plan to be a volunteer math tutor in winter.

Sorry to not commit to your challange now but give you props!

arebelspy

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2013, 05:25:06 PM »
Can't believe this hasn't gotten more replies.

I love this challenge and the new term, Noblesse Oblige.

Thanks for posting!
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secondcor521

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2013, 05:50:25 PM »
I do some, but I want to do more.

Next Tuesday I'll donate platelets at the American Red Cross - that will be my 213th donation.

Every Christmas I give a gift certificate to each of my three kids to give money to a charity on their behalf.  Usually it's Heifer.org or World Vision.

I'm on the verge of volunteering to be the parent mentor for a science/engineering competition in my son's school.

I'm thinking about changing jobs within my company to work for the charitable foundation associated with my work.  They do a lot of K-12 education outreach in STEM, which I think might be more motivating than engineering a faster/cheaper/smaller widget.  I know the salaries there are lower, but at that point it would be like volunteering and then just getting a paycheck accidentally.

oldtoyota

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2013, 05:59:37 PM »
I volunteer. I've worked at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, raised money for a domestic violence shelter, and built houses for the poor. I've donated blood.

This fall, I gave money to street people, made cards for service members, and created boxes (full of hats, gloves, scarves, snacks, a toy, and personal items) for a homeless person. I take food to sick friends and their families. I take food to families with newborns.

I also help people find jobs, which is a hobby of sorts.

To me, "volunteering" is life.

I don't really like to talk about it that much, yet I wanted you to know you are not alone since there were so few responses (so far). =-)




CommonCents

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 08:44:18 AM »
I don't see volunteering as a FI thing, but just a way of life.  I think I can add more value to an organization by giving of my professional talents than trying to cut drywall for a home for Habitat for Humanity (although I have done that).  I am in my 4th serving as President of a non-profit in my city (annual budget 1.5 million), and 2 other years on the Board (one as VP). 

I spearheaded development of the organization's first strategic plan, served 2 years on the Compensation Committee, drafted and/or revised innumerable documents for them (policy, agreements, etc), analyzed and shepparded through a major pricing structure change, advised on employment termination, built relationships with community leaders and organizations, and worked to improve our fundraising (this past year I worked incredibly hard on the gala fundraiser).  I also run the board meetings and the annual Corporation meeting.  Sadly, none of my employers have ever matched or donated for my work.  One of my board members does receive a $1000 grant for serving on the board though (Thank you Genzyme).

I also donate blood, helped out a few charity events, volunteered at habitat for humanity, etc.  I donate toiletries and such to women's shelters in addition to my cash donations for various charities.

No Name Guy

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 08:57:05 AM »
I do some, but I want to do more.

Next Tuesday I'll donate platelets at the American Red Cross - that will be my 213th donation.

Every Christmas I give a gift certificate to each of my three kids to give money to a charity on their behalf.  Usually it's Heifer.org or World Vision.

I'm on the verge of volunteering to be the parent mentor for a science/engineering competition in my son's school.

I'm thinking about changing jobs within my company to work for the charitable foundation associated with my work.  They do a lot of K-12 education outreach in STEM, which I think might be more motivating than engineering a faster/cheaper/smaller widget.  I know the salaries there are lower, but at that point it would be like volunteering and then just getting a paycheck accidentally.

Hell YEAH!  213 units?  That's some bad ass donation secondcor521.  With a family member who needed all kinds of transfusions I bow down at your Blood Badassity.

Common - what you are doing is EXACTLY what I meant in the challenge (and hell YEAH at serving at that level - I couldn't do that - I'm a more hands on / in the trenches kind of guy).  You're taking things on yourself, using your talents in the organization to make a difference (and not just wearing a pin or watching something on TV and getting a warm fuzzy from that).  In my case, I have a hard time occasionally when I'm a crew leader - I'd rather be DOING the actual physical activity instead of leading, organizing, directing, coaching and mentoring the newer volunteers.  But, I know that if I lead well, mentor well, inspire, I'm getting 5 or 10 other folks working effectively toward the goal instead of just myself (and I still manage to sneak in a bit of the work anyways) - I figure a 5x or 10x multiplication is worth not being able to actually do the physical work those days I lead a crew. 

I'd add that - where I'm coming from, it's probably a lot more difficult for someone who is struggling to get by on a day to day basis to worry about helping others - that's the ER / FI / IW angle I'm coming from.   For me, the point of being FI is so I can do things OTHER than working for money - spending a lot of that free time working on causes I care about is one of the ways I intend to stay active and engaged.

CommonCents

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2013, 01:24:02 PM »
Common - what you are doing is EXACTLY what I meant in the challenge (and hell YEAH at serving at that level - I couldn't do that - I'm a more hands on / in the trenches kind of guy).  You're taking things on yourself, using your talents in the organization to make a difference (and not just wearing a pin or watching something on TV and getting a warm fuzzy from that).  In my case, I have a hard time occasionally when I'm a crew leader - I'd rather be DOING the actual physical activity instead of leading, organizing, directing, coaching and mentoring the newer volunteers.  But, I know that if I lead well, mentor well, inspire, I'm getting 5 or 10 other folks working effectively toward the goal instead of just myself (and I still manage to sneak in a bit of the work anyways) - I figure a 5x or 10x multiplication is worth not being able to actually do the physical work those days I lead a crew. 

fwiw, I do help out at the work parties too - and we couldn't run our organization (volunteerism is one of the central tenants, it's why the membership prices are so low, plus it creates a community) without those in the trenches getting hands on teaching classes, so I'm very appreciative of those efforts, even though I've only done it a few times.  I'm also not the best sailor so others are better at teaching or giving one-on-one instruction (some find it ironic that the President of the sailing org spends some of the least amount of time sailing, but they are always happy I'm at the desk not them).  At the end of the day, what is critical is that everyone who is willing, has the opportunity to volunteer where they are happy and skillful, whether that is behind the scences admin or front line classes.

It's important to me that we match people up with their interests, or they won't come back again and volunteer a second time.  And people trade off on what they want to do.  A former Board Member of 9 years is now happy getting back to his roots teaching more and heading up a Committee.  I myself plan to leave in 2 years when my next term is up, because I'll be getting burnt out, want to start a family, I think term limits are important (so folks don't get stale), and my husband has asked me to spend less time there.  (Of course, I told him I found two new organizations near the home we're buying next week...)

secondcor521

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2013, 06:17:53 PM »
Hell YEAH!  213 units?  That's some bad ass donation secondcor521.  With a family member who needed all kinds of transfusions I bow down at your Blood Badassity.

Thanks for noticing :-)

Actually it's a few more than that, but some were in a different region of the country so those don't get counted.  So yes, 213 is the official number.

We've got a great group of donors here in Boise.  My goal is to be the active donor with the most lifetime donations.  There are a few people ahead of me, so I'll just give until they quit or move, or I die or become otherwise disqualified.

athomeintheworld

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 09:23:31 AM »
Nice link thanks for sharing

MandyM

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 09:39:02 AM »
I volunteer quite a bit - easily 20+ hours a week. It is my passion and I can't wait until I can quit my "day job" to devote more time.

I hope more people read your post and get inspired to volunteer. Time and skill is often needed just as much as money.

No Name Guy

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 01:00:46 PM »
Quote
Unlike the complainy pants whiners, who bitch and moan about problems, but don't actually grab the bull by the horns and DO anything, I challenge you to take on a problem you see and care about and actually do something to address it.  Not "advocate" for someone else to do the fixing, not "raise awareness", but YOU go and be part of the solution with your own two hands. 

In my gut I suspected this (wearing a pin, liking on FB, etc would diminish actually taking action), hence the above part of the throw down:
http://www.popsci.com/article/science/just-liking-cause-doesnt-help-internet-slacktivism-harms-charities?dom=tw&src=SOC

Quote
The study, online in the Journal of Consumer Research, looked at a total of just over 500 people in five different tests. Both in the lab and on the street, people were asked to engage in some sort of free support for a cause, like joining a Facebook group or wearing a pin. The researchers found that more public displays of endorsement made people less likely to volunteer their time or financial support for a cause later. More private displays of support, like signing a petition, resulted in a greater likelihood of giving later.

Again - the challenge is to go and actually DO something.

Oh - Mandy - 20+ hours a week is totally bad ass. (High five / knuckle bump headed your way).

Debbie M

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 01:11:01 PM »
The problems I think are most important (poverty, pain, abuse, torture, destruction of Mother Earth) are problems I do not want to get involved in--I am no good at it and don't enjoy it.  So I donate money for those instead.  To organizations which actually do something rather than just raise awareness, etc.

The problems I get involved in (blood donation, math tutoring, personal finance education) are things I am good at and enjoy.  (Well, I enjoy post-blood-donation cookies, anyway.)

needmyfi

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 02:57:34 PM »
No name guy-I have been thinking about this since you posted and I have no excuse really, do I! If I have the time to read MMM, then I  have the time to do somthing.  Today I signed up to be  a "Secret Angel" at a nursing home-go after work to select a patient with no family who is in need of a gift.  Small amount of time, small effort I know, but it's a beginning.       You are truly an inspiration.  Thanks for reminding me about the things in life more important than money.

No Name Guy

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2013, 10:07:40 AM »
No name guy-I have been thinking about this since you posted and I have no excuse really, do I! If I have the time to read MMM, then I  have the time to do somthing.  Today I signed up to be  a "Secret Angel" at a nursing home-go after work to select a patient with no family who is in need of a gift.  Small amount of time, small effort I know, but it's a beginning.       You are truly an inspiration.  Thanks for reminding me about the things in life more important than money.

A person has to have the courage and conviction to take the first step of a 1000 mile journey.  You just did and I salute you.

Cassie

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2014, 09:25:20 AM »
Since I semi-retired 2 years ago I have been volunteering at an animal shelter. I also make scarves for the homeless (usually  about 100 per year).  When I worked F.T. I still did the scarves but  was too tired to actually volunteer. I also have some people that I consistently drive to medical appts, take shopping etc due to their health conditions being such that they can't drive or get around well themselves.  It is nice to actually have the time now to help others that truly need this. 

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2014, 09:49:47 AM »
I have fallen off of the volunteering bandwagon.  Sure, I do a day here and there (a day at the kids elementary school, First Lego League, scouts) and will get back to giving blood when my 1 year expat 'quarantine period' expires this summer.  I volunteered a ton in high school (my favorite being environmental causes and candy striping) and even more in college (Alpha Phi Omega), so I do feel as though there is a hole in my life now.  I keep telling myself that I'll be like my Dad, helping Haitian orphans (literally) when I retire, but now that I'm considering early retirement, I need to ease back into this reality.  I think, similar to being around the house more and gradually getting my spouse and children used to having me around (and seeing that as a positive), that exchanging my 'Candy Crush' time for coaching or being a Den Leader would help solidify that FIRE is a positive and necessary step forward in development in my life.  My spouse was very skeptical when I drunkenly proclaimed that we were FI and I would be retiring sooner rather than later, so I'm digging out of a deep hole :)  It's exciting to consider all of the opportunities available for volunteering in Houston and abroad.  Thanks for reminding me to get going!

ace1224

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2014, 09:55:04 AM »
great post.  thanks for the kick in the pants.  i used to do a lot more when i ran a women's group.  we fund raised while we drank wine and managed to sponser a make a wish child.  its been a while since i've done something like that.
i'm going to look around for some stuff to do.  hopefully some stuff i can make my kid do with me.   

the fixer

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2014, 10:41:13 AM »
Somehow I missed this one when it started... my wife and I have done a lot of unconventional volunteering. Maybe something here will inspire someone!

I'm in training this winter for the local search & rescue group. When I lived in the mid-Atlantic I joined a group there for a few months but never did a mission. I decided when I moved to Seattle I would get involved again, this time for real, mainly because having a flexible schedule would allow me to drop everything and respond to a callout.

The trend I've noticed is that groups in the most densely populated counties, like mine, get tons of people because they have large populations to draw from. It's the more rural counties that need the most help. Once I get more experience my plan is to move over to one of those rural counties' groups, and if my wife and I are FIRE we'd also be able to move out there without job/commuting consequences.

My wife has been doing Toastmasters for about a year now, and has just started a leadership position within her chapter. No one else wants to do all the organizing required, so she ended up with the job. She's probably next in line to be the chapter president.

My wife also used to do intake work at the DC Employment Justice Center, a good option if you know Spanish. http://www.dcejc.org/

Some outdoor groups run trail-clearing days where you can show up to help maintain hiking or skiing trails on forest service land. We did this once. Counties also sometimes run similar invasive species removal programs, we did this for a day on Earth Day one year. There are more intensive training programs and regularly scheduled volunteer days, but we haven't done these.

I used to volunteer as a Divemaster to assist with teaching SCUBA classes at a community college. When a dive shop teaches a basic SCUBA class they move all the students through the program extremely fast, churning out bad/unsafe divers. In my experience the courses offered through colleges and universities are of a much higher caliber, but they're always under threat of budget cuts and competition for use of the pool. I started doing this just because it was fun, but after I had been doing it long enough I found that I had become a near-essential staff member. So I continued to go every week because it benefited others rather than just benefiting myself. This is a pattern I've noticed to some extent with all the volunteering we've done: there's a totem pole and with skill/experience you keep getting pushed slowly upward as those above you drop off.

Another good option, which I've been inspired from this thread to look into, is volunteering for a local bike co-op, bike advocacy group, or other bike club.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 12:15:50 PM »
This is a great thread.  I try to donate as much food, clothing and unused goods that I can.  I also donate blood whenever I can.

I do have this dream about starting an organization.  I would like to give seeds and plant starts to young people in our community and teach them about agriculture and growing food.  I am still doing some brainstorming about this idea and I hope to get it going in the next few years.  In particular, I would like to learn more about permaculture and then teach it to others. 

Thank you for the reminder to focus on this again!

Random Hangers

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2014, 11:57:07 AM »
Great challenge. I volunteer at one organization once a month and sporadically at others throughout the year. Last year's total was 79.5 hours. A co-worker/friend of mine commented that she "doesn't know how I do it" but that's just the equivalent of 7 hours a month, practically non-existent when compared to some of you other hardy volunteers.

I actually started doing it a few years ago because I felt bad just sitting on my butt on the weekends: my husband works weekends, we don't have kids, and I typically only hang out with friends on Sundays (helloooo, introvert), so that left Saturdays free. I'd volunteer more, but I picked up a side hustle in the past year writing weekly and I want to make sure I have time to get that done.

I read an article that said if you volunteer 300 hours/year, it's said to lower your blood pressure. I hope to one day get to that. That's actually a big part of what I'd like to do when I retire: go work part- or full-time for a non-profit, paid or not, doing something I enjoy and helping others at the same time. *wistful*

Oh, and volunteering can definitely be a two-way street as far as benefits go: volunteering every year for the Disney marathon inspired me to sign up and run it myself last year. :-)

Hedge_87

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2014, 07:49:17 AM »
Good challenge! I've volunteered in the past but have been sucking since I moved a few years back. I used to do habit for humanity, donate blood, and also big brothers big sisters. Made a lot of great friends along the way too. The only thing I have done lately was lead a financial peace course at church. Say what you will about Dave Ramsey I know it's not a perfect system but for someone who has no clue how to handle money it's a very good start (that's where I started).

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2014, 09:17:46 PM »
I'm probably going to spend most of the week in a severely economically depressed school to volunteer in their engineering week activities (in 2 weeks).  They have a strong focus on STEM, and it's highly rewarding seeing bright young minds engaged in learning and exploring in spite of their humble backgrounds. 

Oh, it's also my kids' school, so that's another good reason for me to get involved.  :) 

So far in my early retirement I haven't done a lot more volunteering than I did while working, but I did do quite a bit of online "promotion" of some great charities that led to some decent contributions from at least 1 donor. 

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2014, 05:10:04 AM »
Nice challenge! I'm volunteering about 3 hours a week. I'm a language budy, it's a program that couples you with an immigrant and I help her to learn the language and with the paperworks involved in becoming a Dutch citizen. I really enjoy it!

No Name Guy

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2014, 12:56:02 PM »
Update:  So far this year, I've done 3 days with one org.  The other one, I've done 7 days.  I'm scheduled for at least 4 days in June (in reality, it'll be more).  Not a lot so far, but what I care about is quite seasonal and the months where I cram in the hours are June to September.

On Org 2, I'm training to train other volunteers to do certified work.  At that point, my time will leverage greatly, as each person I send forth will be a mini-me doing what I care about (and as part of my trainer-in-training status, I'm approved to certify folks, under the supervision of other trainers - I've signed off my first 4 people).

To tie this back to the MMM way of life:  I live frugally and save a lot.  As a result, I need only a small fraction of what I make.  That then allows me to work only part time, and still save 50% plus of my income.  That gives me the time  to volunteer - in the field and as a trainer-in-training (soon to be a full trainer) to other volunteers.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2014, 09:58:45 AM »
I've been volunteering for years - I always saw it as giving back to the community.  I started giving blood at 18, have been involved with all sorts of community activities, including Scouting and Neighbourhood Watch, and with groups related to my work.

Now that I am retired, I am doing more of my old interests (there is finally time for MEEEEE), but am also more involved in local groups.  Job skills can certainly be carried over to volunteer activities, I am back to doing minutes, for my sins.

No Name Guy

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2014, 06:01:54 PM »
Update:  This last weekend I organized a work party for one of the charities I volunteer with.  We had a total of 18 people in the field working for 2 days.  The crew ended up putting in 243 total hours during the field work - about 6 person week's worth of work.

Best part about being nearly ER / FI / IW:  I'm working part time (70%) so have every Friday off plus alternating Thursday's.  Used the Friday to get all the tools and get everything set up for the work party.  I'd also used the Thursday the week before to scout out the project site and make some logistical arrangements.

This coming Saturday, it's another scouting mission to check out an area that is in need of some TLC.  We're getting a work party lined up for a few weekends from now to go take care of it.....already have a bunch of folks lined up for that one as well.

No Name Guy

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2014, 02:06:45 PM »
Love seeing folks posting about their volunteer hours and donation pints.  Way to go everyone!

My Update:

It's been a great summer of volunteering so far - well over 200 hours so far and I'm heading out again this coming weekend for 3 more days worth of field work.  Being frugal and having a 50% percent savings rate allows me to work a part time (70%) schedule which gives me plenty of time to volunteer for a couple of organizations I care about.

Again, I repeat the challenge - get out there and DO something to make a difference for a cause you care about.   Examples - Care about literacy?  Teach someone to read.  Care about hunger?  Volunteer at the food bank.  Donating blood - heck yeah! 

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2014, 09:17:30 PM »
Gotta admit, when I realized how old this thread was, and how little it is updated, and reading up on blogs where people are making 10k/mo stock market gains....  I think this ER idea is very self centered.  You never really hear about what MMM is doing with what has to be a fire-hose of passive income, other than 'travelling for work' - which I do, but I'm not the 'CEO' (thank God), but I do agree that it is enjoyable, all things considered.  Same with many of the linked FI/RE blogs - they retired early and focus only on themselves and their budgets.  How great they are doing by living on less (which our computer / the shared economy (http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2014/09/nathan_blecharc.html)) make easier and easier), while competing with people who are working and can only afford what they make with working.   

I guess my naive high-school self is a little let down with the fact they aren't entrepreneurial, shooting for bigger and better, leveraging in a Y-Combinator way...  or staying cheap and giving away the extra, even if they are only giving away extra time.  This is an awesome time to make the world a better place, but no-one seems to care about that, it is all about getting to FI or RE, and then figuring out how to keep it, it's all about them.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2014, 09:20:44 PM »
I guess my naive high-school self is a little let down with the fact they aren't entrepreneurial, shooting for bigger and better, leveraging in a Y-Combinator way...  or staying cheap and giving away the extra, even if they are only giving away extra time. This is an awesome time to make the world a better place, but no-one seems to care about that, it is all about getting to FI or RE, and then figuring out how to keep it, it's all about them.

Uh, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what MMM is doing.  Still spending the same 25k/yr (excluding housing) and donating all extra monies to charity.

I'm not sure what you're complaining about.
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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2014, 09:40:43 PM »
Thanks for the comment ARS, I'm pretty much addressing the mainstream, non-fanboy criticism of RE.  MMM claims his expenses to be 25k/yr, but any careful reader will notice that he travels an awful lot and does things that don't seem to show up in 25k/yr.  Sadly, he seems to brag about it on his Twitter Feed (squeezing in a roofing repair job, travelling by rail to CA, etc.).  I know he's bad-ass, but I also know he's fudging his numbers (unless he doesn't eat, pay any taxes, pay for his son to do anything (even the internet costs money), etc.  I just wish the blog were a little more 'full disclosure' and not painting a picture like' retire at 30 and don't donate to anything'.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2014, 09:43:46 PM »
I've been sucked in by your complainypants before where we (or you and other posters) go back and forth and get nowhere, so I'm not going to bother to argue with you, other than to say: I think he donates significant sums, and you have no cause to judge.

Take care.
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EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2014, 09:51:49 PM »
Didn't mean to suck you in, and I try to be honest, in this new world of ever-rising stock markets, that I probably have the wrong advice (asset grinder is going on margin to buy REITs).  I am continuing to fall behind because I am sheltering my gains, I have way more than enough, but MMM doesn't seem to have posted on this.  Maybe I will, but what, do I want people throwing rotten internet tomatoes on me?  I have found a great satisfaction in giving back, and being able to give back.  But only because I still have an income, if things go pear-shaped.  I think that people that Retire Early are smart to manage their money.  I just think that's a bug, not a feature.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2014, 07:33:04 AM »
In defense of having piles of money, we never know what we'll need until we're gone.  Take care of yourself before you become a charity case for others. 

In terms of giving back, it's hard to say MMM hasn't given anything back to society at large even if you ignore what he may or may not have donated to charity.  Giving people the motivation to examine how they live their own lives is a net positive for society.  Some folks need to be told it's okay to switch off the ultraconsumerist algorithm implanted in their OS, and instead focus on living intentionally.  Whether it's your blog EV2020, mine, or MMM's, don't you think the messages we are putting out are a net positive?  After all, large social utility gains are really composed of tiny slices of individual utility boosts. 

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2014, 09:53:36 AM »
Always enjoy hearing from you RoG, sorry to be a yin to MMM's hyper-optimistic plowing another 400k into the market yang (ARS points this out frequently, and he's a mod, so I do worry about getting booted, but I also like to express alternative points of view in hopefully a dark corner of the forum, so as not to distract the 'young hopefuls' that are helping each other out). 

I'm just thinking (aloud I guess) that the rush to FI can seem very self centered.  I read lots of PF blogs (I am 1 percent, 1500 days, 2million, retire by 40, retire before Dad, lacking ambition), and they have either gone somewhat dark or are busily posting pat-themselves-on-the-back net worth gain posts and how great it will be when they make it to the next milestone.  "Whew, that first million came quicker than I thought, and now I have even more!".

I used to think like you, that the best investments I could make were in my own family being FI and that money was better in my hands than giving it to charity.  "I'll get around to that later", I told myself for the first 10 or so years, which is fine when you you building up.  But those days eventually come to an end, I'm pretty sure they have for MMM.  Sure, the Market might go to hell in a hand-basket, but I'm way ahead at a young age and most people seem to be lucky to get to retire at all.  I don't want to ride a bike as my main form of transportation, but I have come to the conclusion that the next car I buy will cost less than 1% of my net worth, because I can, and because impressing people doesn't do anything for me.  There is nothing that I want for myself that will make me as happy or make my family more better off in any lasting way, and yet the market keeps giving me more.  So, finally, I find that the real satisfaction in life and FI is giving to others and seeing how much more appreciative they are of my gifts than I could be. 

I disagree (but it's just an opinion) that blogs really fit the bill when it comes to giving the most needy people the steady foundation that they need, or saving the environment in a meaningful way.  Blogs are fun entertainment, and camaraderie, but no substitute for actually handing a plate of hot food to someone that is homeless and looking them in the eye and telling them you are glad they came by, and listening to their story. 

The internet does do one good thing, which is provide a cheap, environmentally friendly way to spend life energy that otherwise might be spend doing something more negative and consumerist, so I'm not anti-blog, and I click on plenty of MMM's pages.  But, I'd really enjoy one of those clicks being MMM doing the ice-bucket challenge or helping out someone other than his Mom and a guy in Hawaii with his carpentourism... 
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 11:50:19 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2014, 10:45:25 AM »
Ignoring the critique on MMM, which I do think are unfounded when the dude lives a pretty full life with a family and gives away a lot of money to charity -- I am personally struggling with how to balance charitable giving with saving for retirement.  Additionally, I wish there were more talk of volunteerism once RE.  To be honest I see that as a necessary ethical component to RE.

I am nowhere near retirement, but have begun the process to volunteer my time with two organizations.  One provides a home and rehabilitation to horses that have been rescued from abusive situations (animals are my thing), and the other trains you to bring your dog around to people at nursing homes/hospitals (this one is dependent upon my dog passing the temperment test which could really go either way). 

I haven't yet decided how much money to give, but I am planning on donating to a local bike advocacy organization or two, and then...some organization helping the poor in my troubled city.  Haven't decided which one yet. 

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2014, 11:46:01 AM »
Ignoring the critique on MMM, which I do think are unfounded when the dude lives a pretty full life with a family and gives away a lot of money to charity --
You're right, now that I've thought about it a little more, I think that his meetups are pretty charitable.  Sorry if that left a bad taste in people's mouths, MMM just got the ball rolling.  I do try to be careful separating my thoughts about the fictional MMM personna from the real Pete, who I have never met and really don't know anything about. 

I'll admit, most of my family's volunteerism and charity comes in the form of time and skills.  I don't find monetary contributions to be nearly as fulfilling, although we do that to, but only because we really feel like we can - if the market loses 50%, I would cut back on this, but cut back on other things also.  In a sense, if you have read YMOYL, donating money is equivalent to donating time ('life energy').
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 11:52:36 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

RootofGood

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2014, 11:52:14 AM »
I disagree (but it's just an opinion) that blogs really fit the bill when it comes to giving the most needy people the steady foundation that they need, or saving the environment in a meaningful way.  Blogs are fun entertainment, and camaraderie, but no substitute for actually handing a plate of hot food to someone that is homeless and looking them in the eye and telling them you are glad they came by, and listening to their story. 

The internet does do one good thing, which is provide a cheap, environmentally friendly way to spend life energy that otherwise might be spend doing something more negative and consumerist, so I'm not anti-blog, and I click on plenty of MMM's pages.  But, I'd really enjoy one of those clicks being MMM doing the ice-bucket challenge or helping out someone other than his Mom and a guy in Hawaii with his carpentourism...

I hear what you're saying.  I get burnt out pretty quickly on volunteerism if it's mostly grunt work (like handing out food to the homeless).  I'd rather help out my family, friends and neighbors (some of whom are borderline homeless but for charity and many of whom are in dire need of a good dose of wisdom).  I'd rather get the firehouse that is our city's tax dollars blasting at the right fires instead of shooting all over the place.  I'd rather reach out to politicians about shitty physical infrastructure at my kid's crumbling school than help photocopy things in the teacher's lounge.  Sometimes it's just sitting down for breakfast at school with the kids and their friends, many of whom are of the lowest classes of society (their friends, not my kids!).  Just to chat. 

Oh, and by the way, I have one of those blog posts coming out tomorrow where I toot my horn on +$33,000 NW during August.  And how close we are to the $1.5 million milestone but that it doesn't really mean anything.  :)

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2014, 11:59:07 AM »
Can't wait to hear you toot your horn!  Awesome August seems to have turned the 'information superhighway' into a whole lot of horn tooters :)

Interesting comment about helping out at school, hits close to home.  My wife kept saying "WTF are all these people volunteering 40 hrs/wk at school for?".  She went and got a job there (definitely underpaid tho, so it's semi-charitable).

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2014, 12:08:30 PM »
Can't wait to hear you toot your horn!  Awesome August seems to have turned the 'information superhighway' into a whole lot of horn tooters :)

Interesting comment about helping out at school, hits close to home.  My wife kept saying "WTF are all these people volunteering 40 hrs/wk at school for?".  She went and got a job there (definitely underpaid tho, so it's semi-charitable).

I'd rather hire people for modest salaries to do the grunt work.  And pay for it through taxes.  Seems efficient to me, and you have more accountability for the work getting done. 

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2014, 03:18:34 PM »
I'd rather hire people for modest salaries to do the grunt work.  And pay for it through taxes.  Seems efficient to me, and you have more accountability for the work getting done.

That's not charity (hiring with tax money).  You're missing the point of the challenge.

I'll add  that Government, by it's very nature, absolves anyone of accountability for getting the work done.  Who's responsible for the fact that Government doesn't do what the charities I work with do (because it's arguably a Govt function)?  Who is responsible that Govt fails to do the full needed work scope, leaving it to charities to do much of the job?

Congress?  The President?  The high administrators in the Executive Branch in DC?  The Regional Administrators?  High Civil Service Staff?  The local administrators?  The grunt Government field staff?  The Governor?  State Legislature?  State high executive administrators?  County?  City?  Etc, etc etc?  Answer - yes, all of them.  And every last one of them points the finger everywhere else as to why things don't get done.  And as a result, none of them are responsible nor accountable - the buck stops nowhere.  But hey Root, I just love your naive belief that Govt is accountable and the work will get done, if only we gave them more tax money and hired more govt workers.  Out here in the real world, it's a different story - if something needs doing, the only way to get it done is to do it yourself.

Shit....enough.  I'm off to do some volunteer work this weekend - it'll be nice, me and one other guy, he's the crew lead, so no paperwork for me, nor having to organize.  I get to just...do...the...work.  I'm not too good there Good to get my hands dirty and take satisfaction looking back at the end of the 3 days and seeing a job well done by my own two hands.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2014, 08:44:32 PM »
I'd rather hire people for modest salaries to do the grunt work.  And pay for it through taxes.  Seems efficient to me, and you have more accountability for the work getting done.
That's not charity (hiring with tax money).  You're missing the point of the challenge.
...snip...
Shit....enough.  I'm off to do some volunteer work this weekend - it'll be nice, me and one other guy, he's the crew lead, so no paperwork for me, nor having to organize.  I get to just...do...the...work.  I'm not too good there Good to get my hands dirty and take satisfaction looking back at the end of the 3 days and seeing a job well done by my own two hands.

You're clearly looking for a pat on the back, so thanks for whatever you're doing! 

Do you really want to eliminate public schools and rely on pure charity to provide educations for our kids?  I'd rather pay for it through taxes and make sure that all kids get a fair chance at getting some kind of education.  Maybe I'm a little jaded right now since my kids' school can't find a teacher (pay is crap, teachers leaving in record numbers) and tomorrow marks the end of the second week of school.  1/18th of the school year has transpired and no teacher yet.  No one has volunteered yet, either.  I'll pay for your plane ticket if you'll come teach that fourth grade class (assuming you have the necessary credentials). 


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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2014, 01:15:47 PM »
Last I checked, in the end, it's a parents responsibility to raise their own kids.  That includes educating them.  Try homeschooling if your local school sucks so bad.  Or quit complaining, and get in there and DO something yourself.

Or, since you're here, you're probably a MMM Man (or Woman) and obviously living well below your means, why don't you pony up the extra $$$ out of pocket that it would take to hire a teacher for your class.  That's the root (pun semi intended) of this challenge - since MMMers live below their means, they have the means to do good.  Offer up a private reward / bounty / bonus to be paid to the teacher (over and above their salary) of your child's class, payable at the end of the school year.

Quote
Wanted, Private Reward Offered For:  Teacher for So and So School District at Joesixpack Elementry School.  Parents will pay a reward of $1,000 (or 5,000 or what ever it takes) over and above your School paid salary for any qualified candidate that is hired for this particular class without a teacher.  Reward payable at the end of the school year.  To be eligible for this reward, you must apply for position within one week, start working within 5 days of the hire date, and work the entire school year.

And no, I'm not looking for a pat on the back.  I do what I do for its own sake and would be happy if no one saw me doing the volunteer work I do (I've asked my name not be mentioned in lists of donors to the causes I'm active in, for example).  I use my volunteer work here merely to show what's possible for a frugal man to do with his time, time he's earned by his frugal ways, instead of working more hours, for more money, to buy yet more useless shit and take yet another overpriced vacation to another stupid tourist trap locale.

I'm simply challenging those of us who are well off to give back to their fellow man out of a sense of true charity - that is, willingly helping out solely because of the good it does for others, and wanting nothing in return. 

Noblesse Oblige, nothing more, nothing less.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #43 on: September 09, 2014, 03:11:40 PM »
I love being an Eagles Club member. Lots of fun doing activities and fundraisers that help local charities, and larger issues like alzhiemers.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2014, 02:34:04 PM »
Last I checked, in the end, it's a parents responsibility to raise their own kids.  That includes educating them.  Try homeschooling if your local school sucks so bad.  Or quit complaining, and get in there and DO something yourself.

Or, since you're here, you're probably a MMM Man (or Woman) and obviously living well below your means, why don't you pony up the extra $$$ out of pocket that it would take to hire a teacher for your class.  That's the root (pun semi intended) of this challenge - since MMMers live below their means, they have the means to do good.  Offer up a private reward / bounty / bonus to be paid to the teacher (over and above their salary) of your child's class, payable at the end of the school year.

Which is why I'd like to have a functional institution of education to teach children at large.  My kids are doing fine (by fine I mean unbelievably well).  It's the other kids I'm worried about. 

My solution is to have a properly funded education system run for the benefit of all.

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #45 on: September 11, 2014, 12:20:10 PM »
Again....get in there and do it yourself Root.  You see a problem.  Get in there and fix it yourself.

If you're so worried about the other kids, take action, today.  You have the power to help at a level that will make a meaningful contribution to those other kids in your child's class.  Instead of swinging for the fences, trying to hit the magical out of the park grand slam, try batting for a single.

And quite frankly, the
Quote
My solution is to have a properly funded education system run for the benefit of all.
is an excuse to not do anything today.  You can start fixing the problem at the personal  level - the classroom that your kids are in (batting for the single), helping out with the other students who need it. 

In my experience, things get done in the trenches there Root, not in the halls of power.  Look at the odds of actually accomplishing something:  One person is unlikely to change policy, your stated goal.  That, IMO, is the "lottery ticket" approach to achieving your goal - high payoff, if you can do it, but the odds of it happening are next to nil.  One person can, with near certainty, make a substantial difference for 10 or 20 students that they tutor, help out with, etc.  That's a guaranteed payoff - not big, at first, but you'll actually make a difference to the individuals you assist.

I choose the latter approach in my volunteer work - I get out there and do it, I don't bother lobbying Congress and the State Legislature for funding.  In the process of getting 'er done, I'm recruiting others to do the volunteer work as well (even some that have been helped by the work I do).  Just like with compound interest, it isn't much....at first.  But with each new recruit, with each person helped, there's someone else out there who's more likely help tomorrow.  And when they're brought into the fold, they'll then recruit...and so on, and so on. 

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Re: An additional dimension of being, or approaching, FI
« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2014, 07:23:37 PM »
I guess I should add that I do help out in the school already.  And work at the policy level, too.