Author Topic: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian  (Read 3878 times)

Sparky

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Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« on: April 26, 2012, 12:55:58 PM »
The Idea:

Been slowly on a quest to live a little simpler lower cost life like my hero MMM and family and I decided to introduce my family to the MMM world. I discover MMM by reading some articles on the cost of ownership of vehicles and I tried to get my mother into reading  it as well. No luck on the first attempt, all I received was a nasty remark about how there lifestyle can't work out like the people at MMM, end of story.

Bait

A few weeks ago, I was plugging some numbers in my head, figuring out how to save a little money per month on car insurance and such, and I thought of a plan to save my parents about some money. I mention to my parents that I've come up a way to 'make them a 1000 bucks' this summer with zero effort. I let this little money making scheme grow in their heads for a few weeks until the other day I told them the actual details of it:

Situation

- They drives subcompact car and 3/4 ton truck
- Parents jobs are about 500 meters apart and they start work about the same time, 7 and 7:30 am.
- Mother finishes at 2 pm, father around 6 pm
- They both drive about 8 km each way to work (32 km driving)
- Father DRIVES HOME for lunch daily at around noon as the "company doesn't a lunch room or a microwave" (16 km)
- Also 2 cellphones, 2 landline phones (phone + fax number), cable TV and internet.

Suggestion

I mentioned to them if they just carpooled to work in the car, father stays at work during lunch and my mother road her bicycle home at the end of the day, their transportation costs would drop like crazy. The bike ride requires going up a big hill (200 meter elevation change) but is on an top notch bike path. The bike ride would only take 10 minutes longer than driving, I did it for 3 years in high school.

Also made mention to cancel there landlines (PURAL!!), reduce their cable TV package to the basics and cancel the internet (they rarely use it due to having an Iphone). Close to $180 in savings a month with no lifestyle changes whatsoever.

Result.

Got told to #$!! off about their personal life and quit inferring with their lives. They are perfectly happy in their lives and don't want to change (all they complain about is having to work/bills are so expensive) And now they are completely pissed off at me now. Called me a hippy on top of that and they are considered that I am becoming stupid and not the son they use to have.

Anyone else have any good stories about trying to help love ones or friends save money? Success or no success??? Tips for increasing success??

arebelspy

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 02:02:54 PM »
Yeah, I have some hardcore consumerists in my family as well.  Very unreceptive to change. 

A friend of ours just started her way on Mustachianism to get out of debt, so I'm excited for her.  The questions she sends us are so cute.  :D
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smedleyb

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 05:04:08 PM »
It's a struggle to be Mustachian myself, let alone convert the wife and indoctrinate the kids!

Getting close family/friends on board is a thought I've entertained on the margins (got a close friend with similar values interested) but everyone else is either too poor or too stubborn to see the light, which is fine because to each his own I say. 

I'd definitely lay off the parents Sparky and live your own life first -- lest they cut you out of the will! lol.



Phundit

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 05:26:59 PM »
I've tried not to push Mustachianism on people too much (well, aside from posting MMM entries to facebook with extreme prejudice). It's a hard transition to make, whether you're on the high end of the consumer stepladder or struggling to make ends meet (while eating out every other night, etc).

However, it's really hard to resist telling everyone about it. It's genuinely exciting, it's hard to watch people sell their own time and energy for useless crap, and--perhaps most of all--having fellow mustachians as allies in meatspace is a huge help. I'm fortunate enough to live with my cousin, who's at least mostly on board, but if more of my closest friends were mustachians, it would clear up a lot of the "We're going downtown to drop $$$ on drinks, but Phundit isn't going" issues that arise..

AJ

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 05:43:54 PM »
Normally, I would say that how others spend their own money is no one else's business, until it starts affecting me personally (e.g. asking me for money, living on my tax money, etc.) But it does drive me crazy when people spend their money unwisely and then proceed to pollute the air with whiny bitching about how they don't have enough money.

However, your approach was probably a bit forceful. You basically told your parents they weren't living right, and that you know better how they should live their lives. Its not too surprising that it didn't go over well. If people think you are attacking them, they will get defensive, even if you are just trying to help, and even if you are the one in the right.

You have to be a bit subversive if you want folks to change and also not to hate you. Start by just being excited about the changes you're making in your own life. Many folks will start to get defensive right there! That would be a clue they are not ready, and further attempts to educate would not be well received. If they express curiosity about your lifestyle changes, its an invitation to discuss in more detail. Refrain from attempting to solve problems that they haven't directly asked you about, even if you think you know better. It will be better if they come up with the idea(s) themselves.

Its not unlike a new religion. If someone tries to push their religion on you, you immediately resist and push back. If that person instead just lives a good life full of integrity, it allows curious people to ask of their own volition and in their own time.

Adventine

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 11:56:46 PM »
Its not unlike a new religion. If someone tries to push their religion on you, you immediately resist and push back. If that person instead just lives a good life full of integrity, it allows curious people to ask of their own volition and in their own time.

I agree 100%. You'll just have to live a Mustachian life by example, especially when it comes to parents, who don't take kindly to their kids telling them what to do.

If you're so inclined and if your parents have an online presence, writing blog posts or Facebook notes about FI and your own successes (without specifically tagging anyone) might also be a good indirect way of opening their eyes to an alternative lifestyle.

fruplicity

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2012, 06:45:36 AM »
One of my closest friends got into a lot of credit card debt after college. We were roommates for three years in the city at the time, and though I didn't talk about my lifestyle choices out loud, she saw them and would comment, always telling me things like "you only live once" and "why not have a little fun" while she went out a lot drinking/eating and dropped coin at IKEA and on bath & body products, etc. We lived apart for a couple of years and when we started hanging out on a regular basis again she casually told me that she was done with that life, was going to start living frugally (coupons, less shopping in general) and had a plan to pay off her credit cards. I never explicitly gave her any "life lessons" and she never explicitly told me I was a big influence, but I like to think that I helped her see a different way of life, at least subconsciously.

So to sump up, I firmly believe in living by example.

Parizade

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 06:31:46 AM »
Normally, I would say that how others spend their own money is no one else's business, until it starts affecting me personally (e.g. asking me for money, living on my tax money, etc.) But it does drive me crazy when people spend their money unwisely and then proceed to pollute the air with whiny bitching about how they don't have enough money.

So true. The people who whine and bitch about not having enough money often use their $$$ smart phone to call and tell you about it. Since they have not attempted to learn self-control, they also have weight problems and are willing to spend $$$ on gym memberships they will never use and diet plans they will cheat on. Over and over again.

Had a neighbor once who had a suicidal meltdown over her debt one night. The next day used a new credit card to buy a home theater system to cheer herself up. Went through this crazy cycle so many times I stopped talking to her. Couldn't take it!

The comparison to religion is good too. A popular Catholic saying that is attributed to St Francis is, "Preach the Gospel at all times -- if necessary, use words." If you want to preach frugality, then apply it to your own life consistently and let others see the fruit. Only use words if they ask you specifically for advice.

Be prepared to accept that people won't heed your advice even if they asked for it. Also be prepared to accept that they won't admit it was your advice or example that helped them if they do change (like fruplicity's roommate).

Sparky

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2012, 07:27:34 PM »
AJ: I know I've been a bit forceful, but there are other reasons behind my motives as well. My parents aren't exactly great with money anymore (they really use to be good with it), and they managed to hid that they were $200k in debt on a line of credit and $40k on credit cards from there old business. They don't think its a big deal, and are happy to spend $10k + a year in interest charges all while not paying down the principle. And now thinking about buying a brand new SUV ($35k +) on credit alone. Not cool at all.

Also ZERO dollars saved for retirement and being self employed most of their lives, not much paid into CPP (Canadian Pension Plan). Living pay check to pay check. No money in bank whatsoever.

 I fear the worst with them living with me or my sister in the later years. I don't want it.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 07:37:20 PM by Sparky »

gooki

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 03:25:08 AM »
That does put some urgency into the situation.

I suspect they've hit the point where their kids have left home, they've worked so hard (and long) during their lives, they only have themselves to look after, so they turn to consumerism to live it up a little.

My advice, make being frugal cool. Do lots of fun free/low cost stuff with them.

If they go out to restaurants a lot, invite them around for a dinner party once every other week, and cook a great low cost meal. Make the most of the fact your not in a restaurant - get a little rowdy.

Invite them to go on a camping holiday with you. Or other similar low cost holiday that'll be a lot of fun.

Go for regular bike rides with them (not commuting), so at least when the thought of biking to work lights up in their brains they're already physically competent.

Basically fill the lives with frugal adventures, plant a lot of seeds, but don't let on you're trying to change their habits.

Yes it's going to take some work, but is that better than the alternative?

And if it never works, don't dread supporting them in their later years. Embrace it.

Just out of interest do they have any grand children?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 03:26:53 AM by gooki »

Parizade

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 06:06:09 AM »
I fear the worst with them living with me or my sister in the later years. I don't want it.

Another excellent reason to live in a tiny house or RV!

Since they have told you "to #$!! off about their personal life and quit inferring with their lives" I think maybe you should take their advice. You might also want to do some research about protecting yourself from their debt so you don't inherit it when they die.

The other option is a full blown intervention. If you and your sister are seriously concerned about your parents' spending sit down with them and spell out your concerns in a straightforward manner. You could encourage them to join Debtor's Anonymous. DA is a 12-step program that has helped many people overcome money illnesses.

http://www.debtorsanonymous.org/

rjack

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 07:00:47 AM »
If you want to preach frugality, then apply it to your own life consistently and let others see the fruit. Only use words if they ask you specifically for advice.

Be prepared to accept that people won't heed your advice even if they asked for it. Also be prepared to accept that they won't admit it was your advice or example that helped them if they do change (like fruplicity's roommate).

I agree. Many people don't want to change because they feel threatened by the change. All you can do is lead by example and look for subtle teaching opportunities.

Lark3

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 08:10:28 AM »
I can't agree more that people don't want to change because they feel threatened. So many people have been living one way for so long that they can't imagine living another way.

I tired to convince my parents and my brother and sister to make changes in their lives so that they also would be able to retire early.

My parents just think I'm crazy and refuse to believe that it can be done.

My brother's reply was, "But you won't be able to drive a nice car."

My sister's reply was, "But you don't even have tv."

I figure if they want to work until they are 65 so they can drive "nice" cars and sit around their house watching cable television then that's their own business. All I can do is lead by example and hope that one day they see the light!

CatM13

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 09:08:19 AM »
Since they have told you "to #$!! off about their personal life and quit inferring with their lives" I think maybe you should take their advice. You might also want to do some research about protecting yourself from their debt so you don't inherit it when they die.

Depending on the state laws you are not necessarily on the hook for your parent's debt when they pass on. I can only tell you about the laws in NC (as that is all I have experience with). When my father died last summer, he left behind a huge credit card debt (it was almost the same amount he made a year) and a 2009 Mustang payment. My mother's name was on neither debt, just my father's. For the car, my mother had to pay off the balance of the loan only if she wanted to keep it (which for some reason she did and had to use insurance money to do so....) and the credit card bill was to come from the estate. Unfortunately, my father's estate had nothing, so the credit card company received nothing (house is in my mother's name and she has owned since her father passed away in the 60's). So, none of us inherited any debt after his passing.

But I'd check the laws in your state.

James

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 10:23:07 AM »
I agree with the rest, preach by example, and don't nag or offer any more suggestions for their lifestyle unless they ask.

At the same time, without offering advice, I would continue to show concern for their situation and for how it will affect you.  It's fair to let them know you are negatively affected by their lack of care for their financial well being.  And if you do talk about money, talk about how much you are enjoying paying down debt (if you have any), or how much more comfortable you are with healthy savings.

It Figures

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Re: Influencing others to become a little Mustachian
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2012, 06:50:35 PM »
My dad passed away unexpectedly young while my brother was still in high school. My dad had worked two jobs his whole life with one being his own small business. My parents were never in debt my entire life.  They owned their home and their cars.  After my dad died, I guess my mom felt so bad for my brother losing a dad that she just kept buying him things and giving him money for anything.  He went away to university and used up all the RESP money they had saved for his education which only ended up being enough to cover tuition And books.  He continued to spend money recklessly because she never told him to stop or that there was a problem.  Without telling me, she took out a line of credit against her house, which I just found out she maxed out at $170000.  I completely freaked out and I have been trying to get them both to stop their insanity but she just won't see that what she is doing is crazy!  I am afraid that he will never learn how to manage his money and she will end up losing her house.  It is so stressful for me to stand by and be powerless to stop what is happening.