Author Topic: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?  (Read 39812 times)

FIPurpose

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #400 on: July 17, 2020, 02:50:10 PM »
I'm always surprised at how high local taxes are in the US and that they only seem to be paid by homeowners as far as I can see and not by renters. To me that sounds quite odd.

I'm a homeowner, our property is maybe worth €200k and we pay like €750-1000/year for all local taxes combined. Some taxes are hidden, for example in the water bill, so this is an estimate.

The landlords aren't eating the taxes. They pass that expense on to renters in the form of higher rent.

Landlords can only raise rent in line with market prices. Property taxes are raised 1200 per year, but you can only rent the property for an additional $50 per month, then yes the landlord would have to eat it. There would be a correlation between property taxes and rental prices, but no, there is no economic law that says that all property tax increases can be passed on to the end consumer.

In that situation, wouldn't we eventually end up with a shortage of rentals as landlords find that rental properties are not worth it financially?

Could be, then housing prices would drop to the point that more people would buy rather than rent.

At least in the area of the country I'm in, housing prices already make being a landlord a poor investment. Yes, if property taxes go up, and rent stays the same or goes down, then that likely means that home prices are depreciating. (Which would be another way that landlords can "eat it") Usually when property taxes go up, there is some combination of both rent increases and home value depreciation.

Here's at least one paper that did a small analysis on property tax rates vs home appreciation:

https://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/182935.pdf
Quote
The initial review of the relationship between property taxes and home price appreciations suggested that states with low property taxes tend to have higher appreciations. Therefore, the researchers tested a secondary question: Do high property tax per capita states have lower home appreciation growth rates, and vice versa? Though one cannot conclude with statistical certainty that this relationship exists, summary statistics support this notion. For example, nine states that had the highest growth rates of property appreciations had low growth rates of property taxes, only three states having the highest growth rates of appreciation also had the highest property taxes.

Adam Zapple

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #401 on: July 17, 2020, 03:02:02 PM »
I didn't read all of the replies [...]
Obviously. This topic was beaten to death back on page 3. Short answer is that your logic that you purchasing shares somehow benefits a company is flawed. Even if a very large group of people boycott a stock all it takes is a few wealthy investors without your anti-consumerist concerns to see the potential earnings and bring it back into line with it's actual value based on the performance of the company. Boycott the products, not the stock.

Then I won't beat it anymore other than to say I disagree.

swashbucklinstache

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #402 on: July 17, 2020, 04:41:01 PM »
I agree with an above poster about an increase in capital gains taxes hitting MMM types, perhaps up to 10 million or so in worth, the most. A commonly used approach among say the 15+ crowd is to not ever actually sell the stock anyway. If I have 25 million dollars in stock it's not difficult to, say, get a 2 million dollar loan secured by your portfolio at quite low rates and use that money to both service the loan and pay your living expenses until you die. A process you could repeat if you wanted to spend more money.

I imagine the 100+ crowd & business owners would dodge in even more effective ways.

I suppose there's probably data about who pays CG taxes we could look at, or ask economists to look at.

Here's a place to start if one were so inclined, at least for the < 10 crowd.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/tags/series?t=capital%3Bgains%2Flosses

https://www.data.gov/

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #403 on: July 17, 2020, 09:10:32 PM »
I dislike the idea of a wealth tax because it's double-taxation (it's already been taxed on the way in as income) but I'm all for a punitive estate tax.

My view is that you shouldn't be able to pass more than a modest amount (like say, $1m?) to your heirs, and anything over that can be taxed at 90% for all I care.

The kids didn't earn shit, so why give them the world? It's not good for anyone involved.

FIPurpose

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #404 on: July 17, 2020, 10:09:33 PM »
I dislike the idea of a wealth tax because it's double-taxation (it's already been taxed on the way in as income) but I'm all for a punitive estate tax.

My view is that you shouldn't be able to pass more than a modest amount (like say, $1m?) to your heirs, and anything over that can be taxed at 90% for all I care.

The kids didn't earn shit, so why give them the world? It's not good for anyone involved.

By that logic sales tax and property tax are double taxation.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #405 on: July 17, 2020, 10:12:10 PM »
I dislike the idea of a wealth tax because it's double-taxation (it's already been taxed on the way in as income) but I'm all for a punitive estate tax.

My view is that you shouldn't be able to pass more than a modest amount (like say, $1m?) to your heirs, and anything over that can be taxed at 90% for all I care.

The kids didn't earn shit, so why give them the world? It's not good for anyone involved.

By that logic sales tax and property tax are double taxation.

Recurring property tax is, yes. I'm not a fan of it.

Stamp duty and sales tax I'm fine with as long as it's in line with the cost of the good.

Technically stamp duty and sales tax are double taxation and property tax is triple.

mspym

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #406 on: July 17, 2020, 11:39:53 PM »
I am a fan of a solid estate tax because it prevents the accumulation of society - distorting wealth*

*mostly, caveat for tech billionaires etc

Kyle Schuant

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #407 on: July 18, 2020, 02:07:31 AM »
I am a fan of a solid estate tax because it prevents the accumulation of society - distorting wealth*
We could simply treat all income as... income. If you get $100,000, whether it be from a salary, from share dividends, from selling a piece of land, or from a $100,000 stamp collection from your uncle Benny's estate, you get taxed on $100,000.

Imma

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #408 on: July 18, 2020, 02:16:59 AM »
I'm always surprised at how high local taxes are in the US and that they only seem to be paid by homeowners as far as I can see and not by renters. To me that sounds quite odd.
Why would renters pay property tax? They don't own the property. Though through their rent they are indirectly helping pay the landlord's property tax.

They don't own the property, but they live there. So they are the users of the services that the local authorities are providing. It wouldn't be fair if all the local services were paid for by the half of the people who own their homes and the renters wouldn't have to pay for thrash pick-up, sewage, dump, water etc.

In my country users and owners are taxed seperately, so if you are living in a property you also own, you have to pay two tax bills: user taxes and owner taxes.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #409 on: July 18, 2020, 05:13:35 AM »
I am a fan of a solid estate tax because it prevents the accumulation of society - distorting wealth*
We could simply treat all income as... income. If you get $100,000, whether it be from a salary, from share dividends, from selling a piece of land, or from a $100,000 stamp collection from your uncle Benny's estate, you get taxed on $100,000.

Yes.

In a perfect world, there would only be one kind of tax.  Either a tax on ALL forms of income, as you state.  All money coming in from whatever source gets taxed as ordinary income.  Tax brackets would be progressive, as they are now, though rates obviously would have to be much higher to make up for the loss of revenue from all the other taxes that would be eliminated.

Alternatively, we could tax ALL forms of consumption (with no other kinds of taxes).  Basically a great big sales tax.  Everyone pays the same rate on everything they buy.  This would be more regressive than a progressive income tax, but would still be progressive to an extent, because wealthier people generally spend more than poor people.  Another positive feature is that the tax burden falls heaviest on those who consume the most, which loosely correlates to those who are putting the most burden on society.

RWD

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #410 on: July 18, 2020, 07:30:37 AM »
I'm always surprised at how high local taxes are in the US and that they only seem to be paid by homeowners as far as I can see and not by renters. To me that sounds quite odd.
Why would renters pay property tax? They don't own the property. Though through their rent they are indirectly helping pay the landlord's property tax.

They don't own the property, but they live there. So they are the users of the services that the local authorities are providing. It wouldn't be fair if all the local services were paid for by the half of the people who own their homes and the renters wouldn't have to pay for thrash pick-up, sewage, dump, water etc.

In my country users and owners are taxed seperately, so if you are living in a property you also own, you have to pay two tax bills: user taxes and owner taxes.

Over here [in the US] property taxes don't typically cover trash pick-up, water/sewer, etc. Those are covered by the renter as utilities. Sometimes they are included as part of the cost of rent but that is up to the landlord. For services not paid as utilities, again, they are indirectly covered through rent. Money is fungible, after all.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #411 on: July 18, 2020, 09:17:00 AM »
In a perfect world, there would only be one kind of tax.  Either a tax on ALL forms of income, as you state.  All money coming in from whatever source gets taxed as ordinary income.  Tax brackets would be progressive, as they are now, though rates obviously would have to be much higher to make up for the loss of revenue from all the other taxes that would be eliminated.
Or just eliminate all deductions, and you wouldn't have to change tax brackets at all - this would deal with the millionaires who pay no tax, and would grab a fair chunk of cash from the rest of us.

If you think the spending will benefit you, then you spend it. But you don't get to charge it to the public purse, even partially.


Of course, this will never happen. The reason Australia (for example) has 6,000 pages of income tax legislation is that at some point someone had their hand out, and someone else thought maybe if they filled that hand with cash, that person would vote for them; repeat this process a lot of times and it's trivial to get to thousands of pages. Ten or twenty years on both the voter and the MP have forgotten all about the exchange, but the budgetary hole remains there below the waterline, letting water into the ship of state. With enough holes you look around to find you're always in deficit and the ship is sinking.


The system is supposed to be complex and allow rorts. If it wasn't then this sort of thing couldn't happen.


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-bankruptcy-bonuses/on-eve-of-bankruptcy-u-s-firms-shower-execs-with-bonuses-idUSKCN24I1EE

FIPurpose

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #412 on: July 18, 2020, 09:21:59 AM »
In a perfect world, there would only be one kind of tax.  Either a tax on ALL forms of income, as you state.  All money coming in from whatever source gets taxed as ordinary income.  Tax brackets would be progressive, as they are now, though rates obviously would have to be much higher to make up for the loss of revenue from all the other taxes that would be eliminated.
Or just eliminate all deductions, and you wouldn't have to change tax brackets at all - this would deal with the millionaires who pay no tax, and would grab a fair chunk of cash from the rest of us.

If you think the spending will benefit you, then you spend it. But you don't get to charge it to the public purse, even partially.


Of course, this will never happen. The reason Australia (for example) has 6,000 pages of income tax legislation is that at some point someone had their hand out, and someone else thought maybe if they filled that hand with cash, that person would vote for them; repeat this process a lot of times and it's trivial to get to thousands of pages. Ten or twenty years on both the voter and the MP have forgotten all about the exchange, but the budgetary hole remains there below the waterline, letting water into the ship of state. With enough holes you look around to find you're always in deficit and the ship is sinking.


The system is supposed to be complex and allow rorts. If it wasn't then this sort of thing couldn't happen.


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-bankruptcy-bonuses/on-eve-of-bankruptcy-u-s-firms-shower-execs-with-bonuses-idUSKCN24I1EE

'rort': huh, that's a new word to me :p

Cranky

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #413 on: July 18, 2020, 04:08:26 PM »
I'm always surprised at how high local taxes are in the US and that they only seem to be paid by homeowners as far as I can see and not by renters. To me that sounds quite odd.
Why would renters pay property tax? They don't own the property. Though through their rent they are indirectly helping pay the landlord's property tax.

It depends on where you are. In some states landlords are required to pay the water bill, and trash pickup is a city service, not something you pay separately.

When we lived in Michigan, in what was surely the world’s worst apartment, we got a state tax rebate every year on the amount of property tax we “paid” in our rent because we were low income.

They don't own the property, but they live there. So they are the users of the services that the local authorities are providing. It wouldn't be fair if all the local services were paid for by the half of the people who own their homes and the renters wouldn't have to pay for thrash pick-up, sewage, dump, water etc.

In my country users and owners are taxed seperately, so if you are living in a property you also own, you have to pay two tax bills: user taxes and owner taxes.

Over here [in the US] property taxes don't typically cover trash pick-up, water/sewer, etc. Those are covered by the renter as utilities. Sometimes they are included as part of the cost of rent but that is up to the landlord. For services not paid as utilities, again, they are indirectly covered through rent. Money is fungible, after all.

RWD

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #414 on: July 18, 2020, 06:17:19 PM »
I'm always surprised at how high local taxes are in the US and that they only seem to be paid by homeowners as far as I can see and not by renters. To me that sounds quite odd.
Why would renters pay property tax? They don't own the property. Though through their rent they are indirectly helping pay the landlord's property tax.

They don't own the property, but they live there. So they are the users of the services that the local authorities are providing. It wouldn't be fair if all the local services were paid for by the half of the people who own their homes and the renters wouldn't have to pay for thrash pick-up, sewage, dump, water etc.

In my country users and owners are taxed seperately, so if you are living in a property you also own, you have to pay two tax bills: user taxes and owner taxes.

Over here [in the US] property taxes don't typically cover trash pick-up, water/sewer, etc. Those are covered by the renter as utilities. Sometimes they are included as part of the cost of rent but that is up to the landlord. For services not paid as utilities, again, they are indirectly covered through rent. Money is fungible, after all.

It depends on where you are. In some states landlords are required to pay the water bill, and trash pickup is a city service, not something you pay separately.

When we lived in Michigan, in what was surely the world’s worst apartment, we got a state tax rebate every year on the amount of property tax we “paid” in our rent because we were low income.

*quote fixed*

Interesting, I was not aware of that (and I've rented in three different states).

sherr

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #415 on: July 19, 2020, 07:38:09 PM »
Alternatively, we could tax ALL forms of consumption (with no other kinds of taxes).  Basically a great big sales tax.  Everyone pays the same rate on everything they buy.  This would be more regressive than a progressive income tax, but would still be progressive to an extent, because wealthier people generally spend more than poor people.  Another positive feature is that the tax burden falls heaviest on those who consume the most, which loosely correlates to those who are putting the most burden on society.

It doesn't have to be regressive. You can for example tax yachts at 1000% and bread at 0%. And we do that already to some extent in the US, but yes it's not as easy as just declaring brackets for income tax and calling it a day.

DadJokes

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #416 on: July 20, 2020, 06:11:08 AM »
Alternatively, we could tax ALL forms of consumption (with no other kinds of taxes).  Basically a great big sales tax.  Everyone pays the same rate on everything they buy.  This would be more regressive than a progressive income tax, but would still be progressive to an extent, because wealthier people generally spend more than poor people.  Another positive feature is that the tax burden falls heaviest on those who consume the most, which loosely correlates to those who are putting the most burden on society.

It doesn't have to be regressive. You can for example tax yachts at 1000% and bread at 0%. And we do that already to some extent in the US, but yes it's not as easy as just declaring brackets for income tax and calling it a day.

We're way off topic, but I like this discussion a lot more.

To make the tax less regressive, there are two options that I can think of:

1) Tax some items at different rates, as you suggested. I know Texas does this. Items deemed "essential" are not taxed. But you could also go in the other direction, as you suggested, and also have an increased rate on higher end luxuries. The downside to this is that taxing items at different rates leaves open room for lobbying to get preferential rates for various things.

2) There was a proposal a decade or so ago called the FairTax. Its solution to the regressive nature of a sales tax was a "prebate." Every adult would get a set credit every year, designed to offset the cost of necessities. The prebate would be fixed to some index (probably related to the poverty level). I'm guessing that would benefit people in LCOL a lot more than HCOL.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #417 on: July 20, 2020, 07:22:56 PM »
The idea starts off simple, then people say, "yeah but what about... and it's not fair that..." and the list of exceptions grows, and then there are exceptions to the exceptions and special rules for this and that, then the government changes and another bunch of people appear with their hands out, and... :)

And now you see why Australia's income tax legislation is 6,000 pages.

Reynold

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #418 on: September 22, 2020, 12:39:39 PM »
Firstly, I agree that skipping health insurance in the U.S. is dangerous.  Like others who have posted here, I have had personal and relatives/friends experience with unexpected large medical expenses in otherwise healthy people.  An additional factor which folks outside the U.S. are probably not aware of is that insurance companies here have negotiated rates for medical expenses that you don't get as a private individual.  Thus, for say a dislocated kneecap, for imaging, doctors visits, physical therapy, etc. the medical system may bill $20,000, but if all the work is "in network" the insurance company may only have to pay $5000.  If you don't have insurance, the medical system will want the full $20k.  Sometimes they will negotiate lower rates with you on a case-by-case basis, but you can't count on it, and it will take a lot of time and arguing.  To be fair to him, I don't think he said everyone should do that, it is just a risk he is willing to take. 

The other thing he recommends that I'm wary of is some of the more difficult/dangerous contracting work he does on his own home.  While I wouldn't mind knowing how to replace my own roof in a theoretical sense, I would rather not do it.  I have one friend who died falling off a roof doing his own work, and another (a contractor) who broke an arm doing a roof replacement.  I would rather pay someone to replace the roof, and instead learn to do my own taxes, which will pay "dividends" every year for my entire life, won't get me injured, and which he outsources. 

Part of how I approach the "do it yourself" versus "outsource" is how many times I will need to do it.  I've had pros do my taxes a few times when it was more complex, and I was dealing with things I wouldn't need to do often, and I studied their results to make sure I wasn't missing anything when doing it myself.  I may need a new roof twice in my life, I'll pay someone for it, and I expect a warrantee with the work.  I'll need to replace a lot of outlets and light fixtures in places I live, and in my previous work I worked with up to 440V/30A circuits, so I'm comfortable doing that myself.  For some small jobs, its actually more of a pain to find someone to do it than do it yourself. 

LWYRUP

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #419 on: September 22, 2020, 01:16:59 PM »
The main thing I dislike about MMM is the lack of offense; everything seems to be about playing defense.

Learning how to live within one's means, in my opinion, is level 1 of wealth knowledge. Yes, being frugal is good. Yes, investing is good. But what about income growth?

Some people want to do more and get more out of life. You can apply MMM principles to a $1 million income and end up in a whole different world. Or you could sell a business or other assets then use that money to fund your investments, skipping ahead or living frugally but at a much more comfortable level - it's possible.

In fact, MMM is doing this. He is not just a worker who is frugal - he's an entrepreneur. Look at this very website!

Anyway, I think that's a huge disparity between practicing/preaching.

I have always felt wealth building is a combination of three things:

1.  Offense (income)
2.  Defense (expenses)
3.  Special Teams (investment returns)

The more each of these elements work together, the easier the path to FIRE will be. 

I think the focus on defense is useful because there are no end of people who will stress the importance of #1 but who then spend up to their income.  And if you can't save, then #3 is moot. 

But the point is taken that for many a boost in income could be quite useful. 

Zikoris

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #420 on: September 22, 2020, 02:23:32 PM »
The main thing I dislike about MMM is the lack of offense; everything seems to be about playing defense.

Learning how to live within one's means, in my opinion, is level 1 of wealth knowledge. Yes, being frugal is good. Yes, investing is good. But what about income growth?

Some people want to do more and get more out of life. You can apply MMM principles to a $1 million income and end up in a whole different world. Or you could sell a business or other assets then use that money to fund your investments, skipping ahead or living frugally but at a much more comfortable level - it's possible.

In fact, MMM is doing this. He is not just a worker who is frugal - he's an entrepreneur. Look at this very website!

Anyway, I think that's a huge disparity between practicing/preaching.

Keep in mind that his goal is so get people to reduce their consumption for environmental reasons. Keeping consumption/spending the same while building wealth in other ways would be totally against his beliefs. Anything other than telling people to spend less would dilute the environmental message, which would be directly counterproductive to his goals.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #421 on: September 22, 2020, 02:58:19 PM »
The main thing I dislike about MMM is the lack of offense; everything seems to be about playing defense.

Learning how to live within one's means, in my opinion, is level 1 of wealth knowledge. Yes, being frugal is good. Yes, investing is good. But what about income growth?

Some people want to do more and get more out of life. You can apply MMM principles to a $1 million income and end up in a whole different world. Or you could sell a business or other assets then use that money to fund your investments, skipping ahead or living frugally but at a much more comfortable level - it's possible.

In fact, MMM is doing this. He is not just a worker who is frugal - he's an entrepreneur. Look at this very website!

Anyway, I think that's a huge disparity between practicing/preaching.

I have always felt wealth building is a combination of three things:

1.  Offense (income)
2.  Defense (expenses)
3.  Special Teams (investment returns)

The more each of these elements work together, the easier the path to FIRE will be. 

I think the focus on defense is useful because there are no end of people who will stress the importance of #1 but who then spend up to their income.  And if you can't save, then #3 is moot. 

But the point is taken that for many a boost in income could be quite useful.

I agree the lack of focus on offence is rather troubling. I think this is because there is some sort of assumption that increasing income must lead to an increase in spending. The two are, of course, independent. And even if say a 100% increase in income led to a 20% increase in spending, you'd still FIRE much earlier in the long run.

Overall I'd say MMM doesn't really go into detail about 'offence'. I guess it's because each niche has its own special rules. As a white collar professional I've found the best way to enhance offence is to get good at what I do, and then use that extra bargaining power to increase my fees and turn down jobs I don't like on a fairly capricious basis. This means I can work fewer/equal hours for more pay, compared to someone else with a bit less skill in the industry. I think this course is available to everyone who works in a money-driven industry. For example if you're a doctor you can do the same, if you work in private (or even if you work in public you can try to get better on-call shifts or rosters etc)

I feel like the lack of discussion of offensive optimising comes from some sort of belief that it always has to entail more time at work (it doesn't) or that it always entails some increase in spending (it doesn't; contrary to popular belief, earning a higher hourly rate doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a fancy suit).

marty998

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #422 on: September 22, 2020, 03:11:44 PM »
The main thing I dislike about MMM is the lack of offense; everything seems to be about playing defense.

Learning how to live within one's means, in my opinion, is level 1 of wealth knowledge. Yes, being frugal is good. Yes, investing is good. But what about income growth?

Some people want to do more and get more out of life. You can apply MMM principles to a $1 million income and end up in a whole different world. Or you could sell a business or other assets then use that money to fund your investments, skipping ahead or living frugally but at a much more comfortable level - it's possible.

In fact, MMM is doing this. He is not just a worker who is frugal - he's an entrepreneur. Look at this very website!

Anyway, I think that's a huge disparity between practicing/preaching.

I have always felt wealth building is a combination of three things:

1.  Offense (income)
2.  Defense (expenses)
3.  Special Teams (investment returns)

The more each of these elements work together, the easier the path to FIRE will be. 

I think the focus on defense is useful because there are no end of people who will stress the importance of #1 but who then spend up to their income.  And if you can't save, then #3 is moot. 

But the point is taken that for many a boost in income could be quite useful.

I agree the lack of focus on offence is rather troubling. I think this is because there is some sort of assumption that increasing income must lead to an increase in spending. The two are, of course, independent. And even if say a 100% increase in income led to a 20% increase in spending, you'd still FIRE much earlier in the long run.

Overall I'd say MMM doesn't really go into detail about 'offence'. I guess it's because each niche has its own special rules. As a white collar professional I've found the best way to enhance offence is to get good at what I do, and then use that extra bargaining power to increase my fees and turn down jobs I don't like on a fairly capricious basis. This means I can work fewer/equal hours for more pay, compared to someone else with a bit less skill in the industry. I think this course is available to everyone who works in a money-driven industry. For example if you're a doctor you can do the same, if you work in private (or even if you work in public you can try to get better on-call shifts or rosters etc)

I feel like the lack of discussion of offensive optimising comes from some sort of belief that it always has to entail more time at work (it doesn't) or that it always entails some increase in spending (it doesn't; contrary to popular belief, earning a higher hourly rate doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a fancy suit).

You can’t expect the blog to be all things to all people.

MMM for better or worse points out savings rate is what matters. How you choose to get to the savings rate you need is up to you (numerator or denominator).

Increasing income is (mostly) something that has to be done over time... months even years.

Cutting spending and wasteful consumption can be immediate, and immediately pays dividends to both your finances, the environment, and even your health.

So I can see why there is a focus on one and not the other.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #423 on: September 22, 2020, 04:07:18 PM »
Quote
earn as much as you can, but never sacrifice your soul to do it.

I find the allusion to 'sacrificing your soul' a moralistic one, and one that again implies that high earning is something to be tolerated at best instead of lauded and worked on assiduously over time. I might have agreed with the overall gist of the quote if MMM didn't complement it with his stated cap of around $100,000 per person per year which only works in the context that he put it ("the time to financial independence becomes so short...") if you are going to rely on consistently high returns, or if you can tolerate a 4% SWR. For example, I use a 2.5% SWR not a 4% SWR because I am conservative by nature, and so for me an income cap of $100k per year (which would be $80k a year after taxes) would get me nowhere near my goal.

MMM also seems to have a much higher ceiling in terms of advocating for various modes of frugality than he does for increasing income. That is to say, he advocates we do everything we can (subject to cost/benefit analysis) to cut down spending, but is more lukewarm about doing everything we can (subject to cost/benefit analysis) to increase earnings. I think this is because MMM has an anti-consumerist bent. That's fine for him to have, but it's one point on which I don't agree with his approach. I am neither pro- nor anti-consumption.

Finally, while it's true that reducing spending has a doubly positive effect (it increases savings rate and decreases total amount needed to FIRE), it also requires double effort - you have to keep with the reduced spending both now and in retirement. Some forms of reduced spending, like cutting your energy bill by turning off unused appliances or improving your mortgage rate, require no effort at all. But other forms, like biking to work instead of driving or doing DIY jobs instead of hiring others, require some physical effort; and your willingness or ability to do that depends on the integrity of your body as well as your reservoir of willpower.

marty998

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #424 on: September 22, 2020, 04:33:17 PM »
Some forms of reduced spending, like cutting your energy bill by turning off unused appliances or improving your mortgage rate, require no effort at all. But other forms, like biking to work instead of driving or doing DIY jobs instead of hiring others, require some physical effort; and your willingness or ability to do that depends on the integrity of your body as well as your reservoir of willpower.

This is kinda the point of MMM. Make yourself more badass, improve your physical health by exerting physical effort, engage in DIY projects to improve your personal skills and abilities, and improve your willpower so you can engage in more of this.

MMM is not about the quickest way to FIRE.

FIRE is half the story, and possibly the less important half.

Raenia

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #425 on: September 23, 2020, 06:46:45 AM »
Lol I am such a noob to this forum, I wish I knew how to reply to individual posts. Would be good if we could "like" posts too.

In the upper right-hand corner of the post you wish to reply to, there is a button for "Quote."  Click that.  If you wish to reply to multiple people in the same post, "Quote" the first one, then in your reply you can scroll down, find the next post you wish to reply to, and click "Insert Quote" at the upper right of that post.

Enjoy :)

ETA: I see you found it!

DadJokes

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #426 on: September 23, 2020, 10:30:18 AM »
Quote
earn as much as you can, but never sacrifice your soul to do it.

I find the allusion to 'sacrificing your soul' a moralistic one, and one that again implies that high earning is something to be tolerated at best instead of lauded and worked on assiduously over time.

I don't think he's saying that earning more money is evil. I think he's saying that working in a job you hate just to earn more will drain your soul.

If someone made $200k per year doing work that makes them happy, he would probably encourage it.

talltexan

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #427 on: September 23, 2020, 01:27:47 PM »
Quote
earn as much as you can, but never sacrifice your soul to do it.

MMM also seems to have a much higher ceiling in terms of advocating for various modes of frugality than he does for increasing income. That is to say, he advocates we do everything we can (subject to cost/benefit analysis) to cut down spending, but is more lukewarm about doing everything we can (subject to cost/benefit analysis) to increase earnings. I think this is because MMM has an anti-consumerist bent. That's fine for him to have, but it's one point on which I don't agree with his approach. I am neither pro- nor anti-consumption.


What would you say are the two extreme ends of the scale, then? I see total self-sufficiency as one end (in which case MMMs move to abandon health insurance and become "self-insured" carries a moral value, and I see total outsourcing at the other end.

slappy

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #428 on: September 23, 2020, 02:28:02 PM »
In terms of earning more, I think it makes sense to remember that many people out there claim that FIRE is a rich person's game. By focusing on frugality, you can set the tone that it's achievable for just about anyone, subject to how low they can get their expenses. 

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #429 on: September 23, 2020, 03:31:28 PM »
Some forms of reduced spending, like cutting your energy bill by turning off unused appliances or improving your mortgage rate, require no effort at all. But other forms, like biking to work instead of driving or doing DIY jobs instead of hiring others, require some physical effort; and your willingness or ability to do that depends on the integrity of your body as well as your reservoir of willpower.

This is kinda the point of MMM. Make yourself more badass, improve your physical health by exerting physical effort, engage in DIY projects to improve your personal skills and abilities, and improve your willpower so you can engage in more of this.

MMM is not about the quickest way to FIRE.

FIRE is half the story, and possibly the less important half.

I guess I'm the polar opposite to MMM then. I have no interest in being badass at all. I care about physical health but I'm happier exercising at the gym or by doing jogs (I feel both forms of exercise are more efficient for muscle/cardio) than incorporating a lot of physical tasks into daily life. Each to his own, I guess.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #430 on: September 23, 2020, 03:35:54 PM »
Quote
earn as much as you can, but never sacrifice your soul to do it.

I find the allusion to 'sacrificing your soul' a moralistic one, and one that again implies that high earning is something to be tolerated at best instead of lauded and worked on assiduously over time.

I don't think he's saying that earning more money is evil. I think he's saying that working in a job you hate just to earn more will drain your soul.

If someone made $200k per year doing work that makes them happy, he would probably encourage it.

Yeah, but the 'sacrificing your soul' line carries a connotation that a higher earning job might all things being equal be less satisfying or less productive of happiness than a lower earning job, and I'm not sure there's any such correlation.

Quote
earn as much as you can, but never sacrifice your soul to do it.

MMM also seems to have a much higher ceiling in terms of advocating for various modes of frugality than he does for increasing income. That is to say, he advocates we do everything we can (subject to cost/benefit analysis) to cut down spending, but is more lukewarm about doing everything we can (subject to cost/benefit analysis) to increase earnings. I think this is because MMM has an anti-consumerist bent. That's fine for him to have, but it's one point on which I don't agree with his approach. I am neither pro- nor anti-consumption.


What would you say are the two extreme ends of the scale, then? I see total self-sufficiency as one end (in which case MMMs move to abandon health insurance and become "self-insured" carries a moral value, and I see total outsourcing at the other end.

The extreme end of the "increase earnings" scale would be to focus heavily on education or entrepreneurism, change jobs quite a lot to get promotions, outsource most menial tasks and other unpleasant tasks that are significantly below your hourly rate, etc

Zikoris

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #431 on: September 23, 2020, 03:49:20 PM »
I guess I'm the polar opposite to MMM then. I have no interest in being badass at all. I care about physical health but I'm happier exercising at the gym or by doing jogs (I feel both forms of exercise are more efficient for muscle/cardio) than incorporating a lot of physical tasks into daily life. Each to his own, I guess.

Yes, that's definitely the opposite. "Financial freedom through badassity" is literally the motto and right on the heading. The concept of MMM is basically that the typical western lifestyle is an exploding volcano of wastefulness that's killing us all through overconsumption, and also making us weak and flabby due to lack of activity in day to day life (driving, etc). He's been pretty open about the fact that the financial benefits - namely FIRE - are a natural side effect of living the type of lifestyle that's healthy, self-sufficient-leaning, low consumption, and large-scale sustainable.

The key difference between MMM and other philosophies in the FIRE sphere is that his has basically nothing to do with money and everything to do with lifestyle, health, happiness, and environmentalism.

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #432 on: September 24, 2020, 11:46:04 AM »
Necropost - but in this case reviewing the old and new responses has provided some insight ...

For many, their core criticism of MMM’s approach is that he emphasizes what they find less important or more difficult too much and doesn’t emphasize aspect(s) that the poster finds more important (and not coincidentally easier for that poster)

Take the discussion about increasing salary vs decreasing expenses as one example. Clearly he has done both in a variety of posts, as others have pointed out. But one’s perception of whether he is leaning too heavily in one particular direction is a sort of confirmation bias. If you think increasing your income is easier and ultimately a more productive use of your time than trimming expenses, you view MMM as too focused on the fat-trimming. Others have come to the opposite conclusion, complaining that he spends too much digital ink on high-income case studies and is too frivolous with his spending.

Pete - another Rorschach test 

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #433 on: September 24, 2020, 02:30:23 PM »




You've got it backwards. Maybe others see differently than I, but I would like to read how to do things that I find difficult... Not read things that I find easy.

Being frugal is easy...it's simple...anyone can do it... Maybe that's why this blog is so popular.

Increasing income (like really increasing it, not just getting a $1/hour raise) is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. Hiring people is hard. MMM does these things.

So, I guess my standing is that... There's more to learn after you've been beat over the head with frugality and index funds. Yes...those things are very simple.

At first I read this blog to see "how do I get a fat 'stache?" Now that that's squared away...how do I make it faster? But that is forbidden knowledge! Or it's "bad." Why? Lol


One's best approach to Mu$tachiani$m  is choosing the mix of exertion and frugality that maximizes their satisfaction, a mix that will vary to great degree among Mu$tachian$.

Sandi_k

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #434 on: September 24, 2020, 07:31:22 PM »
I disagree on a couple of things:

- I will have a commute. Living in a VHCOL area, I *increased* my commute to be happier with where I lived. Pre-Covid, I was commuting ~ 100 miles RT each day. But I only do it 4x per week, and I live in a beautiful home in a lovely area that is more rural, has farm stands, and has access to water for our boating hobbies.

- I prefer to freeze our expenses while increasing our income. I've increased my income by nearly 75% since 2011. It means that we'll have a FATFire lifestyle, when I retire in 2025.

- I prefer to work a little longer, rather than RE too early. I'll be 60. But the pension multiplier REALLY hits its max at age 60, which will garner an additional $12k per year for every year between now and 2025. So staying 5 years gets me an extra $60k per year in my pension. Could I retire now? Maybe. But RE isn't as important as a solid pension with a COLA in retirement, with 100% survivor benefits for DH.

I still find his Stoicism to be inspirational, and I like the community he has fostered here. So while I am not the most Mustachian of Mustachians, I'm glad to be here and learn.

talltexan

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #435 on: September 25, 2020, 10:55:04 AM »
I'll acknowledge myself to be "half-ass" more than I am "bad ass".

My savings rate has gone way up during the last six months, but I'm becoming well aware of the emotional costs of having my MiL substitute for paid childcare. I don't think anyone wants the next six months to continue the way the last six did.

ender

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #436 on: September 27, 2020, 07:49:31 AM »
You've got it backwards. Maybe others see differently than I, but I would like to read how to do things that I find difficult... Not read things that I find easy.

Being frugal is easy...it's simple...anyone can do it... Maybe that's why this blog is so popular.

Increasing income (like really increasing it, not just getting a $1/hour raise) is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. Hiring people is hard. MMM does these things.

So, I guess my standing is that... There's more to learn after you've been beat over the head with frugality and index funds. Yes...those things are very simple.

At first I read this blog to see "how do I get a fat 'stache?" Now that that's squared away...how do I make it faster? But that is forbidden knowledge! Or it's "bad." Why? Lol

I'm not really sure the general state of the American consumeristic culture would agree that being frugal is easy.

Consider how much money gets spent encouraging us to buy new things vs how much gets spent encouraging us to be content, spend less, etc.

Personally, I think you really ought to do both. Increasing your income while decreasing spending. Each side of that will come easier for folks depending on their personality and general spending. If you spend $80k a year it's a lot easier to decrease spending than if you spend $20k/year.

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #437 on: September 27, 2020, 09:22:05 AM »
You've got it backwards. Maybe others see differently than I, but I would like to read how to do things that I find difficult... Not read things that I find easy.

Being frugal is easy...it's simple...anyone can do it... Maybe that's why this blog is so popular.

Increasing income (like really increasing it, not just getting a $1/hour raise) is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. Hiring people is hard. MMM does these things.

So, I guess my standing is that... There's more to learn after you've been beat over the head with frugality and index funds. Yes...those things are very simple.

At first I read this blog to see "how do I get a fat 'stache?" Now that that's squared away...how do I make it faster? But that is forbidden knowledge! Or it's "bad." Why? Lol

I'm not really sure the general state of the American consumeristic culture would agree that being frugal is easy.

Consider how much money gets spent encouraging us to buy new things vs how much gets spent encouraging us to be content, spend less, etc.

Personally, I think you really ought to do both. Increasing your income while decreasing spending. Each side of that will come easier for folks depending on their personality and general spending. If you spend $80k a year it's a lot easier to decrease spending than if you spend $20k/year.

In a way this illustrated my point.
Some on this very forum have argued that increasing income should be the primary strategy, and for them adding another $10-50k per year isn’t a challenge. MMM himself has highlighted how to earn over $100k in a number of posts. For others being frugal is the easy part, increasing income substantially is hard. Neither is wrong - but it colors our world view, including which aspects of achieving FIRE is emphasized “too much”

Another topic of intense disagreement is with the focus on environmental sustainability. Some are genuinely surprised to learn there is even a core focus on being “green” or find his approach to be extreme, while others find Pete to be hypocritical in this area. Where you fall seems to depends a great deal on your own life and experiences.

TomTX

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #438 on: September 27, 2020, 10:19:41 AM »
If you switch from index funds to active investments, I imagine there's a whole menu of environmentally responsible investment options.

Or just switch to the Vanguard ESG funds/ETFs. I'm in ESGV and VSGX.

The mutual fund has a longer history than the ETF, if you run the comparison of the ESG fund against the base index, the ESG mutual fund beats it at 1, 3, 5 and 10 years. Just like it did last September when I ran the numbers.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/are-index-funds-unethical/msg2464669/#msg2464669

Both more responsible investing and a (likely) higher return.

TomTX

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #439 on: September 27, 2020, 11:06:35 AM »
One thing I was thinking about today is that I think MMM actually under-emphasises the importance of choosing your partner and friends carefully. You can't choose family, but you can choose partner and friends, and doing your best to surround yourself with people with positive traits (intelligent, thoughtful, prudent, self-directed) will lead to passive gains as much as any material investment will.

You can't choose family, but you can choose how much interaction you have with them and to some extent the parameters of those interactions.

ender

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #440 on: September 27, 2020, 09:21:42 PM »
One thing I was thinking about today is that I think MMM actually under-emphasises the importance of choosing your partner and friends carefully. You can't choose family, but you can choose partner and friends, and doing your best to surround yourself with people with positive traits (intelligent, thoughtful, prudent, self-directed) will lead to passive gains as much as any material investment will.

You can't choose family, but you can choose how much interaction you have with them and to some extent the parameters of those interactions.

Well, you can't choose your family.

You absolutely choose the family of those you are around, including your partner.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #441 on: September 27, 2020, 09:42:59 PM »
I'm surprised MMM doesn't go into greater emphasis on choosing your partner, encouraging healthy lifestyles for yourself and your partner, considerations around antenatal planning and screening, etc etc

For all the effort we each put into investment, saving, frugality, ... your partner will have exactly the same influence as you do. You're a team. It makes sense to work on the teamwork aspect.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #442 on: September 27, 2020, 10:02:23 PM »
I'm surprised MMM doesn't go into greater emphasis on choosing your partner, encouraging healthy lifestyles for yourself and your partner, considerations around antenatal planning and screening, etc etc

For all the effort we each put into investment, saving, frugality, ... your partner will have exactly the same influence as you do. You're a team. It makes sense to work on the teamwork aspect.

I'm sure, if anyone were to do a financial forensic analysis on MMM, they would see that his divorce cost him significantly more than all the careful savings he made when he spends $25 - 40k/yr.  Not sure what his net worth was after FI and several years owning a financial blog making $400k/yr, but half of that was at least $2.5million ((1M NW + (400kx10))/2)... quite possibly a lot more...  at his claimed $25k/yr spend, $2.5M in index funds would throw off $75k/yr extra indefinitely... 

TL;DR - Divorces are crazy expensive, and surely the most expensive thing MMM actively did.  Quitting one's job is just foregoing future income, but divorce costs real money.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #443 on: September 28, 2020, 12:31:56 AM »
And of course not all divorces or separations can be avoided or forestalled, but couples' counselling, courses on non-violent communication, courses on empathy, careful consideration of who you shack up with (and have kids with), antenatal planning - all this stuff is pretty important and not particularly expensive. I think this sort of lifestyle/communication legwork does not get enough emphasis in the FIRE community. It's important that your partner is compatible with your financial goals but it's way more important that your partner is someone who is compatible with your life goals, your communication style and also your standards (whatever those might be) for intelligence, prudence, kindness, etc.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #444 on: September 28, 2020, 12:32:50 AM »
For all the effort we each put into investment, saving, frugality, ... your partner will have exactly the same influence as you do. You're a team. It makes sense to work on the teamwork aspect.
This is one thing I like about Scott Pape's approach, with the monthly "financial date night." You sit down and discuss your finances and what you'd like to achieve. This of course is going to lead to some useful conversations about goals and values and lifestyles and all that.

I'd had a friend who had marriage troubles. They belatedly did a questionnaire which apparently is common in their church, going through with questions like "whose jobs is it to do the dishes? the husband, the wife, or both?" and so on through all the everyday tasks of a household. The point was not that the man or woman should do each thing, but that they should agree on it, more or less - if each thinks it's the other's job, there's trouble, if each thinks it's their own job, that could be trouble, too. The counsellor said that their responses were the lowest compatibility of anyone they'd ever seen who actually ended up getting married.

Such a series of questions could be a good start to a relationship, even if a bit depressingly mundane. The couple's divorced now - they left it too late to have those conversations. One child.


Often when a person pushes hard in one area of their life they sacrifice another. It's a pity.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 12:39:21 AM by Kyle Schuant »

Imma

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #445 on: September 28, 2020, 01:54:14 AM »
I'm surprised MMM doesn't go into greater emphasis on choosing your partner, encouraging healthy lifestyles for yourself and your partner, considerations around antenatal planning and screening, etc etc

For all the effort we each put into investment, saving, frugality, ... your partner will have exactly the same influence as you do. You're a team. It makes sense to work on the teamwork aspect.

Actually he discusses this topic quite a lot, including as far as I remember several articles about why he and Mrs MMM decided to only have one child.

I also really dislike the language of "he" lost some money in the divorce. Him and Mrs MMM both worked hard, invested money, FIRE'd together. Eventually they divorced. They both "lost" money if you want to frame it like that, but actually they each just walked away with their fair share of the proceeds of their marriage. And I think they are both still FIRE'd and have side hustles.

As a woman, every time a guy complains to me he lost money in the divorce I think in the back of my head "she's right to divorce you if you really thought all the money belonged to you, the Head of the Household." The 1950s are over people.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #446 on: September 28, 2020, 03:09:18 AM »
I'm surprised MMM doesn't go into greater emphasis on choosing your partner, encouraging healthy lifestyles for yourself and your partner, considerations around antenatal planning and screening, etc etc

For all the effort we each put into investment, saving, frugality, ... your partner will have exactly the same influence as you do. You're a team. It makes sense to work on the teamwork aspect.

Actually he discusses this topic quite a lot, including as far as I remember several articles about why he and Mrs MMM decided to only have one child.

I also really dislike the language of "he" lost some money in the divorce. Him and Mrs MMM both worked hard, invested money, FIRE'd together. Eventually they divorced. They both "lost" money if you want to frame it like that, but actually they each just walked away with their fair share of the proceeds of their marriage. And I think they are both still FIRE'd and have side hustles.

As a woman, every time a guy complains to me he lost money in the divorce I think in the back of my head "she's right to divorce you if you really thought all the money belonged to you, the Head of the Household." The 1950s are over people.

I haven't read all the MMM articles, but the impression I get is quite different. For example, this blog post is entitled Selling the Dream: How to Make Your Spouse Love Frugality.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/22/selling-the-dream-how-to-make-your-spouse-love-frugality/

I can allow for a bit of poetic/advertorial licence, but really, you shouldn't be "making" your spouse like, let alone love, anything. A good partnership is between two equals. In an ideal relationship your spouse should naturally gravitate towards a similar mindset towards spending/saving as yourself. To illustrate how strained MMM's notion is, imagine if the headline read, "How to Make Your Spouse Love Earning More in His/Her Job." It can be done, but it's not really something you "make", more so something that relates to a set of qualities (intelligence, prudence, whatever) that you seek in a likeminded person.

As for the divorce thing, yeah, I agree that theoretically a divorce settlement should be fair; both parties should have felt they were equally contributing to any relationship. But then in reality, it's on each of us to make sure that we invest appropriately into the relationship in terms of communication, nurturance, love, and indeed initial screening. If we don't do that, then the divorce is going to hurt badly. Even a fair divorce has a lot of costs and externalities. It's worthwhile sometimes remembering that happiness and harmony have nothing to do with frugality (though they are compatible with it).



talltexan

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #447 on: September 28, 2020, 07:29:11 AM »
Indeed a divorce destroys value. It is not to be entered into lightly.

But we have to grant space to the human being--Pete--to be someone different than the Mr. Money Mustache character. Pete created the character to build this movement. There are plenty of indications that Mrs. Money Mustache helped in creating that character and in articulating the values underneath that movement. The human being has a right to live, and a right to change his life. We are not always able to choose when things like a divorce happen.

I think the purpose of this thread is to critique the movement. There are plenty of reasons to respect the privacy of Pete the person while trying to refine our arguments about what the movement should be (and shouldn't be).

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #448 on: September 28, 2020, 08:55:57 AM »
Indeed a divorce destroys value. It is not to be entered into lightly.

But we have to grant space to the human being--Pete--to be someone different than the Mr. Money Mustache character. Pete created the character to build this movement. There are plenty of indications that Mrs. Money Mustache helped in creating that character and in articulating the values underneath that movement. The human being has a right to live, and a right to change his life. We are not always able to choose when things like a divorce happen.

I think the purpose of this thread is to critique the movement. There are plenty of reasons to respect the privacy of Pete the person while trying to refine our arguments about what the movement should be (and shouldn't be).

You articulated my thoughts better than I could.
FWIW I thought MMM’s (the persona) handling of Pete’s (the human) divorce was done fairly well.  There was the public acknowledgement of their split without the airing of dirty laundry that so often goes with it.  They remain invested in being parents and have stayed geographically close even though each has the financial means to live almost anywhere they want.

Many also falsely assume that Pete’s early salary and his blog income allowed them to FIRE - by his own accounts his wife was the higher earner for much of their accumulation phase, and She has had two lucrative occupations ‘post-FIRE.’ The blog income didn’t come until several years after they had both quit their original occupations (not to mention a great deal of the blog income has been gifted to charitable causes), and she continued to earn a sizable income. This doesn’t support the notion that she will take half of ‘his’ money. 

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #449 on: September 28, 2020, 09:40:47 AM »
Indeed a divorce destroys value. It is not to be entered into lightly.

But we have to grant space to the human being--Pete--to be someone different than the Mr. Money Mustache character. Pete created the character to build this movement. There are plenty of indications that Mrs. Money Mustache helped in creating that character and in articulating the values underneath that movement. The human being has a right to live, and a right to change his life. We are not always able to choose when things like a divorce happen.

I think the purpose of this thread is to critique the movement. There are plenty of reasons to respect the privacy of Pete the person while trying to refine our arguments about what the movement should be (and shouldn't be).

You articulated my thoughts better than I could.
FWIW I thought MMM’s (the persona) handling of Pete’s (the human) divorce was done fairly well.  There was the public acknowledgement of their split without the airing of dirty laundry that so often goes with it.  They remain invested in being parents and have stayed geographically close even though each has the financial means to live almost anywhere they want.

Many also falsely assume that Pete’s early salary and his blog income allowed them to FIRE - by his own accounts his wife was the higher earner for much of their accumulation phase, and She has had two lucrative occupations ‘post-FIRE.’ The blog income didn’t come until several years after they had both quit their original occupations (not to mention a great deal of the blog income has been gifted to charitable causes), and she continued to earn a sizable income. This doesn’t support the notion that she will take half of ‘his’ money.

Yeah, it's rather sexist to assume that he was the financial powerhouse and she took "his" money.