Author Topic: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?  (Read 40765 times)

deborah

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #100 on: June 26, 2020, 12:20:48 AM »
Pete writes to challenge us. Sometimes things he says are a bit confronting, but as others have said, that's what most of us are here for. FIRE is a confronting concept. We are not a cheer squad, or a group who should be blindly following the leader.

Trudie

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #101 on: June 26, 2020, 09:15:39 PM »
I know that this is not the subject of his blog but he never touches upon the race, class and gender aspects of money.  Although he says that his approach also works for low incomes it would be much harder for, for example, a single parent with multiple children and a low income to execute FIRE than a privileged person like MMM himself. 

I also find his dismissive attitude to illness and disability rather insulting.  You can do everything 'right' and still get sick.  I was probably equally oblivious until I actually got sick in my 30s.  Luckily, I live in Italy but if I still lived in the US healthcare would be a big and permanent expense for me.  And of course anyone could end up with health issues no matter how much bike riding and salads they indulge in.

This resonates with me, especially right now.  So much of the current fallout from the George Floyd murder, BLM protests, and highlights of the racial wealth gap in our country are putting me (as a white, FIREd person) in a very introspective frame of mind.  I find myself thinking about the systemic things that assisted me in getting here, and there are many.  And these same advantages continue to accrue with more wealth.

We spend a lot of time touting our “great decisions” all over these forums, without acknowledging that many of us had a head start in the foot race.   To be sure, many of us made “smart” decisions.  But along the way maybe many of us had bad shit happen, but we got second or third or fourth chance, or better health care, or better schools — because we were white.  I can now look at my own life and see this more clearly.

So, I guess where I see myself departing from MMM right now is that I feel like I’m at a crossroads of sorts where — for lack of a better description— I’m starting to think more about what I want to do with my wealth rather than “optimizing” and all the stuff that mostly only privileged people have the bandwidth to do.  I think he can sound rather cavalier, as if it all comes down personal choices.

I was personally conflicted when the economy started to tank, racial unrest was brewing, people were dying of Covid in the thousands, and yet the stock market was going up.  And yes, we have a lot of clams in that basket, and so I did experience some calm from that.  Again, I’m not demonizing others here, just humbly pointing out contradictions in my own psyche and thinking maybe others can relate.

To reiterate, this is not a wholesale dismissal of MMM or meant as an indictment of anyone specific on these forums, just an explanation of why the tone of MMM is out of sync with where I and perhaps others are at mentally during this time of national crisis.  Clearly, he has a certain audience and he writes for that audience.


FLAFI

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #102 on: June 27, 2020, 07:13:23 AM »
I've discovered in the pandemic that I'd do not like DIY haircuts. MMM cuts his own hair.

Life in Balance

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #103 on: June 27, 2020, 08:25:50 AM »
I know that this is not the subject of his blog but he never touches upon the race, class and gender aspects of money.  Although he says that his approach also works for low incomes it would be much harder for, for example, a single parent with multiple children and a low income to execute FIRE than a privileged person like MMM himself. 

I also find his dismissive attitude to illness and disability rather insulting.  You can do everything 'right' and still get sick.  I was probably equally oblivious until I actually got sick in my 30s.  Luckily, I live in Italy but if I still lived in the US healthcare would be a big and permanent expense for me.  And of course anyone could end up with health issues no matter how much bike riding and salads they indulge in.

This resonates with me, especially right now.  So much of the current fallout from the George Floyd murder, BLM protests, and highlights of the racial wealth gap in our country are putting me (as a white, FIREd person) in a very introspective frame of mind.  I find myself thinking about the systemic things that assisted me in getting here, and there are many.  And these same advantages continue to accrue with more wealth.

We spend a lot of time touting our “great decisions” all over these forums, without acknowledging that many of us had a head start in the foot race.   To be sure, many of us made “smart” decisions.  But along the way maybe many of us had bad shit happen, but we got second or third or fourth chance, or better health care, or better schools — because we were white.  I can now look at my own life and see this more clearly.

So, I guess where I see myself departing from MMM right now is that I feel like I’m at a crossroads of sorts where — for lack of a better description— I’m starting to think more about what I want to do with my wealth rather than “optimizing” and all the stuff that mostly only privileged people have the bandwidth to do.  I think he can sound rather cavalier, as if it all comes down personal choices.

I was personally conflicted when the economy started to tank, racial unrest was brewing, people were dying of Covid in the thousands, and yet the stock market was going up.  And yes, we have a lot of clams in that basket, and so I did experience some calm from that.  Again, I’m not demonizing others here, just humbly pointing out contradictions in my own psyche and thinking maybe others can relate.

To reiterate, this is not a wholesale dismissal of MMM or meant as an indictment of anyone specific on these forums, just an explanation of why the tone of MMM is out of sync with where I and perhaps others are at mentally during this time of national crisis.  Clearly, he has a certain audience and he writes for that audience.

Both of these posts express better than I could have my own views/differences with MMM.  So thank you to both of you for posting.  It's difficult for me in the current US context (and the larger global one) to consider my own comfortable position in contrast to the many who are struggling.  I've increased my charitable and activism donations, but it still seems like a drop in the bucket.  Our Next Life talks about these types of issues on her blog extensively if you're interested:  https://ournextlife.com/

MrTurtle

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #104 on: June 27, 2020, 08:45:15 AM »
The list of things I think MMM is wrong about is very short, and most of them are related to Elon Musk.  There's one big thing that I might get stoned to death for.  It's the 4% rule. 

MMM (like the other thousand or so FIRE bloggers) frequently cites that if your yearly spending is 4% of your net worth or less, you have enough that your money will last forever.  Except the guy who originally made the 4% rule never said that.  He said it means your money will most likely last 30 years.  He was studying conventional retirement, during a time when living past age 90 was almost unheard of so he decided that the 4% rule means it's safe to retire at 60.  The shockingly simple math behind early conventional retirement.

I understand that most early retirees find themselves doing part-time work, or finding some unconventional way to make money to fill the gap.  I also understand that an actual safe withdrawal rate is only like half a percentage point lower.  I still think it is irresponsible to tell people they can apply the 4% rule to something it was never meant for in the first place, and to make it a centerpiece of the blog.

RWD

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #105 on: June 27, 2020, 09:06:47 AM »
The list of things I think MMM is wrong about is very short, and most of them are related to Elon Musk.  There's one big thing that I might get stoned to death for.  It's the 4% rule. 

MMM (like the other thousand or so FIRE bloggers) frequently cites that if your yearly spending is 4% of your net worth or less, you have enough that your money will last forever.  Except the guy who originally made the 4% rule never said that.  He said it means your money will most likely last 30 years.  He was studying conventional retirement, during a time when living past age 90 was almost unheard of so he decided that the 4% rule means it's safe to retire at 60.  The shockingly simple math behind early conventional retirement.

I understand that most early retirees find themselves doing part-time work, or finding some unconventional way to make money to fill the gap.  I also understand that an actual safe withdrawal rate is only like half a percentage point lower.  I still think it is irresponsible to tell people they can apply the 4% rule to something it was never meant for in the first place, and to make it a centerpiece of the blog.

There's no one guy that came up with the 4% rule. It's from the Trinity study and was a group of people. It assumes no social security income so it tends to be very safe. But you are right that it doesn't recommend using it as essentially a perpetual withdrawal rate. It doesn't even have the conclusion that 4% is the gold standard either: "withdrawal rates of 3% to 4% continue to produce high portfolio success rates for stock-dominated portfolios."

That said, I also don't think MMM is suggesting to just follow 4% blindly. He accompanies it with information about where it comes from and the number of possible safety net assumptions (social security, inheritance, future income, etc). I don't blame him for pushing it because in generally people tend to be too cautious and work decade(s) longer than necessary and his blog is about retiring early after all. If he can convince some people to at least go from a 2% WR to 3% WR that would be so many unnecessary working years saved.

Buffaloski Boris

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #106 on: June 27, 2020, 09:21:05 AM »
I usually agree with MMM. Like a surprisingly large part of the time.  I believe that the amazingly simple math is probably outdated at this point: I don't think a 4% WR works.  Not Pete's fault; when he wrote that it was reasonable to expect that returns would continue at roughly 7%.  4-5% is probably more realistic heading forward.  That wasn't the article that attracted me anyway; it wasn't all that unique of a perspective in truth.  It was the optimism gun that attracted me. 

Where I usually get into the disagreements on the forums are with the JL Collins fans.  I actually agree with JL on most of the important stuff like time in the market, and staying the course. I also think he's very entertaining.  I just believe that he's dead wrong on "VTSAX and forget it."  There are other ways to skin the cat, and diversification in my view is a big, BIG issue.  An all US weight capped index just doesn't cut it. 

There is also a left of center political vibe to MMM that I shy away from. I don't particularly care about the "left" part, I don't like partisan politics and view it as greatly counterproductive. The politically obsessed view it differently and that makes for some interesting clashes.  That is when I can get motivated enough to care.       

Psychstache

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #107 on: June 27, 2020, 11:37:45 AM »
Beer tastes like crap and is a waste of money and calories.

Buffaloski Boris

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #108 on: June 27, 2020, 12:18:40 PM »
Beer tastes like crap and is a waste of money and calories.

Them’s fightin’ words. :-p

RetiredAt63

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #109 on: June 27, 2020, 12:26:59 PM »
Beer tastes like crap and is a waste of money and calories.

Them’s fightin’ words. :-p

I'm with Psychstache. Give me a nice cider or wine instead.

Effervescent

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #110 on: June 27, 2020, 01:47:17 PM »
I disagree with MMM's approach as I disagree with the general FIRE approach generally - I'm not a fan of throwing money into the general stock market without examining what you're funding. Some companies I dislike, such as Amazon, and I don't want my money supporting them. But the general FIRE approach is to throw everything into VTSAX. Because VTSAX includes many companies who I believe do more harm than good, I don't support funding VTSAX as a means to achieving financial independence. There's a reason that the world is so messed up, and hypercapitalist greed is part of that.

What's a good alternative? I don't have a perfect answer. But I suspect that it involves investing in ethical companies that make real things and contribute to a prosperous, democratic world. Maybe VEIGX/VESGX would be good funds to finance. Or REITs. 

Good books to read on this are Bull**** Jobs, and The Soul of Money.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 03:26:46 PM by Effervescent »

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #111 on: June 27, 2020, 03:33:15 PM »
The list of things I think MMM is wrong about is very short, and most of them are related to Elon Musk.  There's one big thing that I might get stoned to death for.  It's the 4% rule. 

MMM (like the other thousand or so FIRE bloggers) frequently cites that if your yearly spending is 4% of your net worth or less, you have enough that your money will last forever.  Except the guy who originally made the 4% rule never said that.  He said it means your money will most likely last 30 years.  He was studying conventional retirement, during a time when living past age 90 was almost unheard of so he decided that the 4% rule means it's safe to retire at 60.  The shockingly simple math behind early conventional retirement.

I understand that most early retirees find themselves doing part-time work, or finding some unconventional way to make money to fill the gap.  I also understand that an actual safe withdrawal rate is only like half a percentage point lower.  I still think it is irresponsible to tell people they can apply the 4% rule to something it was never meant for in the first place, and to make it a centerpiece of the blog.

Point 1: you have mischaracterized the 4% WR and it’s creation
Point 2: you have mischaracterized what Pete has said about relying on a 4% WR.

What an “actual safe withdrawal rate” is cannot be universal across all people.

We literally have hundreds of pages discussing these topics.

Buffaloski Boris

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #112 on: June 27, 2020, 04:14:41 PM »
I disagree with MMM's approach as I disagree with the general FIRE approach generally - I'm not a fan of throwing money into the general stock market without examining what you're funding. Some companies I dislike, such as Amazon, and I don't want my money supporting them. But the general FIRE approach is to throw everything into VTSAX. Because VTSAX includes many companies who I believe do more harm than good, I don't support funding VTSAX as a means to achieving financial independence. There's a reason that the world is so messed up, and hypercapitalist greed is part of that.

What's a good alternative? I don't have a perfect answer. But I suspect that it involves investing in ethical companies that make real things and contribute to a prosperous, democratic world. Maybe VEIGX/VESGX would be good funds to finance. Or REITs. 

Good books to read on this are Bull**** Jobs, and The Soul of Money.

That’s an interesting perspective and I like it. Here’s a suggestion: build your own index. Most of the big brokerages don’t charge for trades anyway. Pick companies that you like, pick a lot of them to maximize diversification and minimize single company risk, and be sure not to ignore international. You can buy a surprising number of international companies on the NYSE or through ADRs. ESG is something of concern to you, so why not pull a list of ESG companies, pick the ones that meet YOUR criteria, and call it a day?   

I’m not a fan of VTSAX but for different reasons: I think it’s far too heavily weighted to a few very large companies. Take a look at the VTSAX holdings by percentage. Why not just buy the 50 biggest stocks in the SP 500? That’s what you’re buying anyway. When you build your own index, you can pick what you want and exclude what you want. And the management fees for the Effervescent index?  Zero. 0.000% 

« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 04:49:54 PM by Buffaloski Boris »

mathlete

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #113 on: June 27, 2020, 04:52:17 PM »
I agree with MMM’s approach to life probably 98%. The “focus on happiness itself” stuff really rings true.

I don’t like his “low information diet” stuff though. I get the point, that you can drive yourself crazy worrying about the news. I don’t advise that anyone does that. But if you’re privileged enough to pursue FIRE you probably owe it to your fellow man to be aware of events going on that may not effect you personally.

marty998

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #114 on: June 27, 2020, 05:03:58 PM »
Beer tastes like crap and is a waste of money and calories.

Them’s fightin’ words. :-p

I'm with Psychstache. Give me a nice cider or wine instead.

+1. Love a good cider.

DadJokes

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #115 on: June 27, 2020, 05:13:07 PM »
Sure, we can complain about Pete's "facepunch" style, but it works. There's a reason that he's the biggest name in the FIRE-sphere, and it's the same reason Dave Ramsey is the biggest name in all of personal finance. It gets people's attention.

As a result, it brings more people in. That's not a bad thing.

RWD

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #116 on: June 27, 2020, 05:39:38 PM »
I disagree with MMM's approach as I disagree with the general FIRE approach generally - I'm not a fan of throwing money into the general stock market without examining what you're funding. Some companies I dislike, such as Amazon, and I don't want my money supporting them. But the general FIRE approach is to throw everything into VTSAX. Because VTSAX includes many companies who I believe do more harm than good, I don't support funding VTSAX as a means to achieving financial independence. There's a reason that the world is so messed up, and hypercapitalist greed is part of that.

What's a good alternative? I don't have a perfect answer. But I suspect that it involves investing in ethical companies that make real things and contribute to a prosperous, democratic world. Maybe VEIGX/VESGX would be good funds to finance. Or REITs. 

Good books to read on this are Bull**** Jobs, and The Soul of Money.

That’s an interesting perspective and I like it. Here’s a suggestion: build your own index. Most of the big brokerages don’t charge for trades anyway. Pick companies that you like, pick a lot of them to maximize diversification and minimize single company risk, and be sure not to ignore international. You can buy a surprising number of international companies on the NYSE or through ADRs. ESG is something of concern to you, so why not pull a list of ESG companies, pick the ones that meet YOUR criteria, and call it a day?   

I’m not a fan of VTSAX but for different reasons: I think it’s far too heavily weighted to a few very large companies. Take a look at the VTSAX holdings by percentage. Why not just buy the 50 biggest stocks in the SP 500? That’s what you’re buying anyway. When you build your own index, you can pick what you want and exclude what you want. And the management fees for the Effervescent index?  Zero. 0.000%

Avoiding investing in unethical companies is impractical (if you dig deep enough you can probably find a reason to exclude any company) and doesn't change anything. Unless you're buying at IPO you aren't putting more money in the pockets of the company by buying their stock. Some previous discussions:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/ethical-implications-of-index-fund-investing/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/new-vanguard-ethical-investment-funds/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/are-index-funds-unethical/

Effervescent

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #117 on: June 27, 2020, 08:19:24 PM »
I disagree with MMM's approach as I disagree with the general FIRE approach generally - I'm not a fan of throwing money into the general stock market without examining what you're funding. Some companies I dislike, such as Amazon, and I don't want my money supporting them. But the general FIRE approach is to throw everything into VTSAX. Because VTSAX includes many companies who I believe do more harm than good, I don't support funding VTSAX as a means to achieving financial independence. There's a reason that the world is so messed up, and hypercapitalist greed is part of that.

What's a good alternative? I don't have a perfect answer. But I suspect that it involves investing in ethical companies that make real things and contribute to a prosperous, democratic world. Maybe VEIGX/VESGX would be good funds to finance. Or REITs. 

Good books to read on this are Bull**** Jobs, and The Soul of Money.

That’s an interesting perspective and I like it. Here’s a suggestion: build your own index. Most of the big brokerages don’t charge for trades anyway. Pick companies that you like, pick a lot of them to maximize diversification and minimize single company risk, and be sure not to ignore international. You can buy a surprising number of international companies on the NYSE or through ADRs. ESG is something of concern to you, so why not pull a list of ESG companies, pick the ones that meet YOUR criteria, and call it a day?   

I’m not a fan of VTSAX but for different reasons: I think it’s far too heavily weighted to a few very large companies. Take a look at the VTSAX holdings by percentage. Why not just buy the 50 biggest stocks in the SP 500? That’s what you’re buying anyway. When you build your own index, you can pick what you want and exclude what you want. And the management fees for the Effervescent index?  Zero. 0.000%

Avoiding investing in unethical companies is impractical (if you dig deep enough you can probably find a reason to exclude any company) and doesn't change anything. Unless you're buying at IPO you aren't putting more money in the pockets of the company by buying their stock. Some previous discussions:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/ethical-implications-of-index-fund-investing/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/new-vanguard-ethical-investment-funds/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/are-index-funds-unethical/

I've read all of those threads. I disagree that avoiding investing in unethical stocks "doesn't change anything". If nothing else, I feel better about my place in the world knowing that I am not financing these companies, which improves my own life.

Like Boris mentioned above, index funds are also top-heavy, meaning Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. are heavily weighted. I'd rather that my money go elsewhere.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 08:23:53 PM by Effervescent »

marty998

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #118 on: June 27, 2020, 09:15:28 PM »
I disagree with MMM's approach as I disagree with the general FIRE approach generally - I'm not a fan of throwing money into the general stock market without examining what you're funding. Some companies I dislike, such as Amazon, and I don't want my money supporting them. But the general FIRE approach is to throw everything into VTSAX. Because VTSAX includes many companies who I believe do more harm than good, I don't support funding VTSAX as a means to achieving financial independence. There's a reason that the world is so messed up, and hypercapitalist greed is part of that.

What's a good alternative? I don't have a perfect answer. But I suspect that it involves investing in ethical companies that make real things and contribute to a prosperous, democratic world. Maybe VEIGX/VESGX would be good funds to finance. Or REITs. 

Good books to read on this are Bull**** Jobs, and The Soul of Money.

That’s an interesting perspective and I like it. Here’s a suggestion: build your own index. Most of the big brokerages don’t charge for trades anyway. Pick companies that you like, pick a lot of them to maximize diversification and minimize single company risk, and be sure not to ignore international. You can buy a surprising number of international companies on the NYSE or through ADRs. ESG is something of concern to you, so why not pull a list of ESG companies, pick the ones that meet YOUR criteria, and call it a day?   

I’m not a fan of VTSAX but for different reasons: I think it’s far too heavily weighted to a few very large companies. Take a look at the VTSAX holdings by percentage. Why not just buy the 50 biggest stocks in the SP 500? That’s what you’re buying anyway. When you build your own index, you can pick what you want and exclude what you want. And the management fees for the Effervescent index?  Zero. 0.000%

Avoiding investing in unethical companies is impractical (if you dig deep enough you can probably find a reason to exclude any company) and doesn't change anything. Unless you're buying at IPO you aren't putting more money in the pockets of the company by buying their stock. Some previous discussions:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/ethical-implications-of-index-fund-investing/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/new-vanguard-ethical-investment-funds/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/are-index-funds-unethical/

I've read all of those threads. I disagree that avoiding investing in unethical stocks "doesn't change anything". If nothing else, I feel better about my place in the world knowing that I am not financing these companies, which improves my own life.

Like Boris mentioned above, index funds are also top-heavy, meaning Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. are heavily weighted. I'd rather that my money go elsewhere.

I can see the merit in owning a company that you might find distasteful. If you don't own it somebody else will (by definition, all shares are owned by someone). At least if you own the shares you can vote at the company meetings. You can also take your dividend cheques and reinvest it elsewhere (thus actually reallocating capital to your favoured part of the economy). Selling shares doesn't do this.

If you don't own a piece of the company you can't really agitate for any change internally within the company. You are limited to applying pressure externally, such as what Unilever is doing with its advertising spend and pulling it from Facebook and Twitter.

FIPurpose

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #119 on: June 27, 2020, 09:19:56 PM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."

mathlete

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #120 on: June 27, 2020, 09:27:04 PM »
Having met a whole lot of people who were "from the Internet" IRL, I can tell you that it's not uncommon for someone to be boisterous online, but shy or awkward in person. Wouldn't hold it against him too much.

RWD

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #121 on: June 27, 2020, 09:30:38 PM »
Avoiding investing in unethical companies is impractical (if you dig deep enough you can probably find a reason to exclude any company) and doesn't change anything. Unless you're buying at IPO you aren't putting more money in the pockets of the company by buying their stock. Some previous discussions:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/ethical-implications-of-index-fund-investing/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/new-vanguard-ethical-investment-funds/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/are-index-funds-unethical/

I've read all of those threads. I disagree that avoiding investing in unethical stocks "doesn't change anything". If nothing else, I feel better about my place in the world knowing that I am not financing these companies, which improves my own life.

Like Boris mentioned above, index funds are also top-heavy, meaning Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. are heavily weighted. I'd rather that my money go elsewhere.

Buying stock doesn't finance a company. You buy it from other investors. The company has to pay you to own their stock (dividends). Did you really read those threads?

And it really doesn't change a thing. Let's say <Bad Co> has a share price of $100 and annual earnings of $10/share (and for argument's sake let's say that's about average for the index). That means you have an ROI of 10%. Now let's say a large group of ethical investors sell the stock reducing the price to $95/share. The earnings are still the same so now the ROI is 10.5%. Other investors see the opportunity and buy the stock because it's a better deal than average and pushes the share price right back up to $100. This is of course simplified but that's the theory at least.

spartana

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #122 on: June 27, 2020, 10:06:54 PM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."
Is that weird though? A lot of people don't like their pictures taken by and with people, especially random strangers, for a variety of personal reasons.  While MMM is a crafted persona, Pete is a "real boy" and may not be comfortable with the lack of control he has over photos people take with him. I'm a weirdo too. But then I'm not a famous internet blogger. Or am I ;)? No I'm not but am very private especially around Mustashians I've met who post here.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 10:10:12 PM by spartana »

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #123 on: June 27, 2020, 10:17:11 PM »
Sure, we can complain about Pete's "facepunch" style, but it works. There's a reason that he's the biggest name in the FIRE-sphere, and it's the same reason Dave Ramsey is the biggest name in all of personal finance. It gets people's attention.

As a result, it brings more people in. That's not a bad thing.

It's only "not a bad thing" if you're aiming for clicks rather than a real understanding of what happiness is about. Happiness requires you to be not too judgmental of others. It requires happy relationships - not just with people whose views or practices you agree with. Happiness requires you to embrace diversity of views. I can't see how any outward face punching or clown car-labelling (even if done semi-tongue in cheek) is going to help that.

Of course, MMM might say that he is preaching environmentalism (doubt it with his Tesla though) or stoicism (again, doubt it, note his lavish spending in some areas of life) or asceticism...but none of those appeals to me. I'm here to try to discuss how to improve personal finances and how to be happy. And I think both of those things require mostly a non-judgmental approach where you do not cut down others for their choices unless strictly framed in a dollars-and-cents analysis (which requires you to know a fair bit of info about the other person).

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #124 on: June 27, 2020, 10:28:10 PM »
Sure, we can complain about Pete's "facepunch" style, but it works. There's a reason that he's the biggest name in the FIRE-sphere, and it's the same reason Dave Ramsey is the biggest name in all of personal finance. It gets people's attention.

As a result, it brings more people in. That's not a bad thing.

It's only "not a bad thing" if you're aiming for clicks rather than a real understanding of what happiness is about. Happiness requires you to be not too judgmental of others. It requires happy relationships - not just with people whose views or practices you agree with. Happiness requires you to embrace diversity of views. I can't see how any outward face punching or clown car-labelling (even if done semi-tongue in cheek) is going to help that.

Of course, MMM might say that he is preaching environmentalism (doubt it with his Tesla though) or stoicism (again, doubt it, note his lavish spending in some areas of life) or asceticism...but none of those appeals to me. I'm here to try to discuss how to improve personal finances and how to be happy. And I think both of those things require mostly a non-judgmental approach where you do not cut down others for their choices unless strictly framed in a dollars-and-cents analysis (which requires you to know a fair bit of info about the other person).
You need boggleheads rather than MMM

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #125 on: June 27, 2020, 10:28:52 PM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."
Is that weird though? A lot of people don't like their pictures taken by and with people, especially random strangers, for a variety of personal reasons.  While MMM is a crafted persona, Pete is a "real boy" and may not be comfortable with the lack of control he has over photos people take with him. I'm a weirdo too. But then I'm not a famous internet blogger. Or am I ;)? No I'm not but am very private especially around Mustashians I've met who post here.

While I agree that famous people don't like to get their pictures taken with random strangers, it kinda comes with the territory.  When Pete goes to a MMM-inspired meet-up, the least he can do is smile for a camera (in a public space) and then try to have deeper connections with the people outside the photo.  Saying that it is fake indicates that he is self-centered, because it's not fake for the people that want the memory captured.  Sure, it's not the greatest part of being a celebrity I would imagine, maybe it's not a 2-way street that means a lot to Pete, but putting up that wall to your fans and expressing it explicitly is unnecessary.  But hey, I don't have these problems, so I'll readily admit that it's easy for me to pass judgement.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #126 on: June 27, 2020, 10:40:50 PM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."
Is that weird though? A lot of people don't like their pictures taken by and with people, especially random strangers, for a variety of personal reasons.  While MMM is a crafted persona, Pete is a "real boy" and may not be comfortable with the lack of control he has over photos people take with him. I'm a weirdo too. But then I'm not a famous internet blogger. Or am I ;)? No I'm not but am very private especially around Mustashians I've met who post here.

While I agree that famous people don't like to get their pictures taken with random strangers, it kinda comes with the territory.  When Pete goes to a MMM-inspired meet-up, the least he can do is smile for a camera (in a public space) and then try to have deeper connections with the people outside the photo.  Saying that it is fake indicates that he is self-centered, because it's not fake for the people that want the memory captured.  Sure, it's not the greatest part of being a celebrity I would imagine, maybe it's not a 2-way street that means a lot to Pete, but putting up that wall to your fans and expressing it explicitly is unnecessary.  But hey, I don't have these problems, so I'll readily admit that it's easy for me to pass judgement.

Right. If I was just meeting Pete by happenstance in a bar or something and he didn't want to be bothered, that would be understandable. But the whole thing was advertised as a "Hey, I'm going to be at these events at these cities on these dates to meet all you guys!" And it's not as if there's a ton a people. It was like 50 at most? Dude has a bunch of fans that made millions of dollars for Pete and he can't be bothered to take a posed picture with like 30 people? It seemed a bit disrespectful or at the very least aloof.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #127 on: June 27, 2020, 11:09:35 PM »
Sure, we can complain about Pete's "facepunch" style, but it works. There's a reason that he's the biggest name in the FIRE-sphere, and it's the same reason Dave Ramsey is the biggest name in all of personal finance. It gets people's attention.

As a result, it brings more people in. That's not a bad thing.

It's only "not a bad thing" if you're aiming for clicks rather than a real understanding of what happiness is about. Happiness requires you to be not too judgmental of others. It requires happy relationships - not just with people whose views or practices you agree with. Happiness requires you to embrace diversity of views. I can't see how any outward face punching or clown car-labelling (even if done semi-tongue in cheek) is going to help that.

Of course, MMM might say that he is preaching environmentalism (doubt it with his Tesla though) or stoicism (again, doubt it, note his lavish spending in some areas of life) or asceticism...but none of those appeals to me. I'm here to try to discuss how to improve personal finances and how to be happy. And I think both of those things require mostly a non-judgmental approach where you do not cut down others for their choices unless strictly framed in a dollars-and-cents analysis (which requires you to know a fair bit of info about the other person).
You need boggleheads rather than MMM

Bogleheads seems to be very focussed on nuts and bolts of investing and not so much on lifestyle stuff, or the lifestyle stuff is too focussed around professional stuff. At least that was my glimpse of it.

spartana

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #128 on: June 27, 2020, 11:36:59 PM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."
Is that weird though? A lot of people don't like their pictures taken by and with people, especially random strangers, for a variety of personal reasons.  While MMM is a crafted persona, Pete is a "real boy" and may not be comfortable with the lack of control he has over photos people take with him. I'm a weirdo too. But then I'm not a famous internet blogger. Or am I ;)? No I'm not but am very private especially around Mustashians I've met who post here.

While I agree that famous people don't like to get their pictures taken with random strangers, it kinda comes with the territory.  When Pete goes to a MMM-inspired meet-up, the least he can do is smile for a camera (in a public space) and then try to have deeper connections with the people outside the photo.  Saying that it is fake indicates that he is self-centered, because it's not fake for the people that want the memory captured.  Sure, it's not the greatest part of being a celebrity I would imagine, maybe it's not a 2-way street that means a lot to Pete, but putting up that wall to your fans and expressing it explicitly is unnecessary.  But hey, I don't have these problems, so I'll readily admit that it's easy for me to pass judgement.

Right. If I was just meeting Pete by happenstance in a bar or something and he didn't want to be bothered, that would be understandable. But the whole thing was advertised as a "Hey, I'm going to be at these events at these cities on these dates to meet all you guys!" And it's not as if there's a ton a people. It was like 50 at most? Dude has a bunch of fans that made millions of dollars for Pete and he can't be bothered to take a posed picture with like 30 people? It seemed a bit disrespectful or at the very least aloof.
I guess that I don't see MMM as a "celebrity" or myself as a "fan". I like his blog, his writing style, what he says, and the forum. To me he is just a regular dude who will host a meet up. Like any other blog writer. So from my perspective it would seem kind of weird (and slightly invasive) to ask for a one-on-one photo with him. I wouldn't do that to anyone else who hosted a meet up that focused on the ideas they discussed in their blog. MMM isn't the star of the meet up - his ideas and blog are. But I do understand that he has reached celebrity status to many and having a photo taken with him personally to mark the occasion would be a cool thing.  But I don't think it is weird of him to chose to have a group photo to include everyone there at the meet up. To me that seems very normal.

never give up

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #129 on: June 28, 2020, 01:38:59 AM »
I guess this depends on what your definition of "approach" is. For me the MMM approach is about being mindful of the environment, being mindful of consumerism, and making changes to the typical wasteful relationship people have with money in order to save a much larger percentage of our income. This solves the two big problems of time and money that allows us to concentrate on happiness and things that we value.

It's a bit difficult to argue with that approach. People may not wish to follow it, or live life in that way, but the fact we are all on this forum means we are thinking about this stuff and are actively working to make our lives the best that they can be and to spend more of our time away from the rat race. So we are largely bought into this, employing our own version of it, and of course may have been doing this long before MMM was around.

This doesn't mean we have to agree with every single detail or every post on how we go about this. How many people in real life, friends, family etc do we have where we agree with absolutely everything they say? Probably none. I do find the posts about salad and exercise preventing all illness and disability as way off the mark, but it is aligned with the overall chirpy, positive and optimistic outlook that the MMM character provides. Control the 'controllables' is essentially the message there but of course, there is a lot in life that is out of our control.

The 'face punching' phrase I've always interpreted as cartoon style face punching. When someone gets hit five times in a row in a cartoon, there is no pain, no damage inflicted, but it has snapped them out of whatever they were doing beforehand I.e. it's harmless, and a way of providing impact to the writing style. It grabs attention and pulls people in. So I was never really offended at this.

I found this site because I was looking at buying a new car. I was recently mortgage free and had always been scared of investing. I had been to a couple of showrooms and rolled my eyes at some of the sales techniques. Being mortgage free had significantly increased my cashflow but despite this freedom my general frugal mindset prevented me from buying and I thought I would research how to buy a second hand car. (I had only bought one car before and this was brand new). I stumbled across one of MMM's car articles, found the post interesting and then found the page with all the posts from the beginning of time. I quickly realised this was not a site offering advice on how to buy a car but something much broader. One of the first articles I read was the 'Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement". I appreciate there are other articles containing this subject matter, and that the information was available elsewhere but seeing the table of working years until retirement changed my life. It literally changed my life. Like boom! This information can not be unseen. Whether I like it or not my life is now headed on a different course than it would have been if the table had not been seen.

I continued reading more posts on the site. Although it only felt like a few minutes when I next looked at the clock it was 4am. I had 90 minutes before I had to go to work. I must have been reading the site for in the region of 8 hours straight. I don't think there are very many writers that would make me do that. I've never read a single source like that before with no appreciation of time. There was no rationing out of the articles over the course of a few days or weeks. I just had to keep reading there and then. I appreciate there was a lot of self interest there. I was hooked because of what this approach to life could do for me. I suddenly realised there was a way out of work having been conditioned to accept that we worked until 65. I instantly made a load of changes (I'm single so only me to buy in) and overnight established an 80% savings rate that I have maintained ever since (I found the site in September 2017). The first decision was to cut my mileage and keep my existing car until it was at least 20 years old. So I am still yet to buy a second hand car :-)

Of course that table that got me hooked is based on the 4% rule. As it takes considerable time to reach FIRE I have kept reading and learning. I now see how brilliant that post is at pulling someone in and just making them aware that there actually is a FIRE number. From further research the 4% rule is not something I will be following. I don't disagree with anyone that does want to follow it. Some can be using 4% but have the ability to cut their expenses by 50% while others may only be able to cut by 5% and these are two completely different situations. So what actually does 4% mean? However I don't now disagree with the MMM approach just because I'm going to tailor a withdrawal rate to my own views on asset allocation and my own personal situation here in the UK. I'll do my own research and make decisions accordingly.

I was relatively frugal before my FIRE epiphany but this site has given me the confidence to invest. As a result I will have the opportunity to escape a full time stressful job 20 years early. I am very grateful to this MMM character. I don't see MMM or Pete as a celebrity. I'm not a 'fan' and in all likelihood we will never meet. I may not agree with everything on the main site but this random internet stranger that doesn't even know I exist has significantly impacted my life in a positive way, and not many can achieve something like that. Of course there are some wonderful people on the forums that I have actually got to know and interact directly with. The knowledge I have gained from them now far exceeds what I originally learned from MMM, but nevertheless indirectly introducing me to these people is another reason I have to be grateful to MMM.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #130 on: June 28, 2020, 06:32:17 AM »
I find this "site", and especially the forum very helpful.

I am not really a mustachian cult member in the sense that I have not gobbled up all MMM articles and I don't swear by them. I have always tried to be frugal (and generally always failed, by MMM standards). I was vaguely aware of MMM and his philosophy back in 2012/2013, but not the forum. Back then, I was working almost all of my waking hours to pause and think about an alternative approach to life like MMM.

Since then, I have taken a desk job. Life has slowed down a little bit. DW has settled into her job. We are out of the periodic 6-monthly crisis situation of "ok. who will watch the infants/toddlers next semester when you are in college, or work." since the kids are a tiny bit older now and both go to school.

And, I have started reading first, posting after that in the forums.

The very first thing that hit me as a freight train is the sub-200 grocery thread (thanks Apowers). The fact that was even humanly possible was an eye-opener. We still don't spend so little on groceries and don't expect to ever get to the $200 figure Apowers is capable of - but we have reduced a lot of wastage since I first read that.

Next was all manners of other waste in our lifestyle. I am about to try building a deck gate myself. The fact that I will even try to DIY is thanks to this site. Hopefully, in the next year or two, I'd have optimized all our unnecessary waste, and would have a much more uncluttered house and life to boot.

So, in general, the advice of the mustachian community has helped me a lot. I may disagree with bits and pieces here and there (e.g. I don't plan to do the RE part of FIRE, or that I don't subscribe to the validity of 4% SWR when it was only tested/designed for 30 years etc. etc.). But then, isn't that expected?

 

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #131 on: June 28, 2020, 06:48:28 AM »
I disagree with MMM's approach as I disagree with the general FIRE approach generally - I'm not a fan of throwing money into the general stock market without examining what you're funding. Some companies I dislike, such as Amazon, and I don't want my money supporting them. But the general FIRE approach is to throw everything into VTSAX. Because VTSAX includes many companies who I believe do more harm than good, I don't support funding VTSAX as a means to achieving financial independence. There's a reason that the world is so messed up, and hypercapitalist greed is part of that.

What's a good alternative? I don't have a perfect answer. But I suspect that it involves investing in ethical companies that make real things and contribute to a prosperous, democratic world. Maybe VEIGX/VESGX would be good funds to finance. Or REITs. 

Good books to read on this are Bull**** Jobs, and The Soul of Money.

That’s an interesting perspective and I like it. Here’s a suggestion: build your own index. Most of the big brokerages don’t charge for trades anyway. Pick companies that you like, pick a lot of them to maximize diversification and minimize single company risk, and be sure not to ignore international. You can buy a surprising number of international companies on the NYSE or through ADRs. ESG is something of concern to you, so why not pull a list of ESG companies, pick the ones that meet YOUR criteria, and call it a day?   

I’m not a fan of VTSAX but for different reasons: I think it’s far too heavily weighted to a few very large companies. Take a look at the VTSAX holdings by percentage. Why not just buy the 50 biggest stocks in the SP 500? That’s what you’re buying anyway. When you build your own index, you can pick what you want and exclude what you want. And the management fees for the Effervescent index?  Zero. 0.000%

Avoiding investing in unethical companies is impractical (if you dig deep enough you can probably find a reason to exclude any company) and doesn't change anything. Unless you're buying at IPO you aren't putting more money in the pockets of the company by buying their stock. Some previous discussions:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/ethical-implications-of-index-fund-investing/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/new-vanguard-ethical-investment-funds/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/are-index-funds-unethical/

I've read all of those threads. I disagree that avoiding investing in unethical stocks "doesn't change anything". If nothing else, I feel better about my place in the world knowing that I am not financing these companies, which improves my own life.

Like Boris mentioned above, index funds are also top-heavy, meaning Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. are heavily weighted. I'd rather that my money go elsewhere.

I can see the merit in owning a company that you might find distasteful. If you don't own it somebody else will (by definition, all shares are owned by someone). At least if you own the shares you can vote at the company meetings. You can also take your dividend cheques and reinvest it elsewhere (thus actually reallocating capital to your favoured part of the economy). Selling shares doesn't do this.

If you don't own a piece of the company you can't really agitate for any change internally within the company. You are limited to applying pressure externally, such as what Unilever is doing with its advertising spend and pulling it from Facebook and Twitter.

Seems to me that we're allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.  Companies are keenly aware and interested in the price of their stock.  And most C-suite executive see a good chunk of their compensation tied to the stock price, directly or indirectly.  Investment and divestment does matter and does drive behavior.  We haven't seen it so much in the US, but ESG is a big deal overseas.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 06:52:17 AM by Buffaloski Boris »

DadJokes

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #132 on: June 28, 2020, 07:46:03 AM »
Sure, we can complain about Pete's "facepunch" style, but it works. There's a reason that he's the biggest name in the FIRE-sphere, and it's the same reason Dave Ramsey is the biggest name in all of personal finance. It gets people's attention.

As a result, it brings more people in. That's not a bad thing.

It's only "not a bad thing" if you're aiming for clicks rather than a real understanding of what happiness is about. Happiness requires you to be not too judgmental of others. It requires happy relationships - not just with people whose views or practices you agree with. Happiness requires you to embrace diversity of views. I can't see how any outward face punching or clown car-labelling (even if done semi-tongue in cheek) is going to help that.

Of course, MMM might say that he is preaching environmentalism (doubt it with his Tesla though) or stoicism (again, doubt it, note his lavish spending in some areas of life) or asceticism...but none of those appeals to me. I'm here to try to discuss how to improve personal finances and how to be happy. And I think both of those things require mostly a non-judgmental approach where you do not cut down others for their choices unless strictly framed in a dollars-and-cents analysis (which requires you to know a fair bit of info about the other person).

Do you think the world is better or worse as a result of MMM's blog?

If not for MMM, I probably wouldn't know about FIRE, so he has had a very positive influence on my life. I enjoy his "facepunch" style. Since the savings rate is normally abominably low, some people need a facepunch.

Buffaloski Boris

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #133 on: June 28, 2020, 08:22:38 AM »

Do you think the world is better or worse as a result of MMM's blog?

If not for MMM, I probably wouldn't know about FIRE, so he has had a very positive influence on my life. I enjoy his "facepunch" style. Since the savings rate is normally abominably low, some people need a facepunch.

Better.  Very much so.  We have hundreds of thousands of people working towards FI and living more intentional lives that weren't in the past.  And that's thanks to MMM's views or influence. Plus we have the forums, and they haven't even given me the boot yet!  How cool is that?  :-p

I don't have to agree with someone 100% of the time to be able to say: you done good.   Pete's done a whole lot of good.   

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #134 on: June 28, 2020, 08:46:03 AM »
Continuing on the topic of insurance and health care, where I disagree with MMM's approach is that he has never used his massive platform to reveal to Americans the power of universal medicare to facilitate FI for the citizens in the countries that have it.
The for-profit health system is massively profitable to large corps, which is why they and their political handmaidens are so busy flat lying to Americans about how our Canadian system works and what it actually costs.

THIS. I can't believe MMM posts on how to "save on your cellphone bill" over "how to acheive FIRE with a chronic lifelong health condition(s)". Sure, eat healthy and exercise and all that, but multiple sclerosis doesn't exactly stop requiring medication if you eat well and lift weights. Thankfully this forum and others exist to help the FIRE-curious learn about what it takes. But dang Pete- you could be inspiring us to have a better system in place for all.

It's arguably the biggest barrier to FI for those of us who don't know how to pay for insurance premiums + deductibles + OOP limits on the open market after leaving a job even with a $1.5-2M stash at say, 40yo (not my situation but a reasonable example that could I could be in).

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #135 on: June 28, 2020, 08:58:07 AM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."
Is that weird though? A lot of people don't like their pictures taken by and with people, especially random strangers, for a variety of personal reasons.  While MMM is a crafted persona, Pete is a "real boy" and may not be comfortable with the lack of control he has over photos people take with him. I'm a weirdo too. But then I'm not a famous internet blogger. Or am I ;)? No I'm not but am very private especially around Mustashians I've met who post here.

Count me among the people who HATE candid photos, particularly with people you barely know or are celebs or politicians or influencers. I do a fair bit with state and local government and it always makes me cringe a bit when someone says “hey, let’s get a photo of the group with the mayor”. Obviously other people desire such keepsakes, but I only want them if it’s a relative or close friend

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #136 on: June 28, 2020, 09:18:37 AM »
I always assumed I was reading the blog of a somewhat dorky engineer from small town Colorado and not a polished celebrity.  That's a feature to me, not a bug.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #137 on: June 28, 2020, 10:33:41 AM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."
Is that weird though? A lot of people don't like their pictures taken by and with people, especially random strangers, for a variety of personal reasons.  While MMM is a crafted persona, Pete is a "real boy" and may not be comfortable with the lack of control he has over photos people take with him. I'm a weirdo too. But then I'm not a famous internet blogger. Or am I ;)? No I'm not but am very private especially around Mustashians I've met who post here.

Count me among the people who HATE candid photos, particularly with people you barely know or are celebs or politicians or influencers. I do a fair bit with state and local government and it always makes me cringe a bit when someone says “hey, let’s get a photo of the group with the mayor”. Obviously other people desire such keepsakes, but I only want them if it’s a relative or close friend

And me.  I go hide in the back of the group.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #138 on: June 28, 2020, 10:52:03 AM »
Hey I made it through 3 pages without seeing anyone mention my complaint.

I joined the forum circa 2012 or so when I was bored out of my mind at my internship just before graduating college. I was reading about how to retire early and voila, I ran into an article about MMM. I was instantly hooked. Not because of his silly writing style but because of the back of the napkin math. I also really enjoyed his posts on upgrading his house with better insulation, hot water pipes underneath the kitchen floor, etc. It was the perfect blend of a early retirement, home DIY, and personality.

I knew the blog was him putting on a bit of character, but I followed the blog for a long time. Probably for about 3-4 years. The last 4 years have really only been me using the forum. BUT! Spring 2017, MMM was making the rounds to different cities. So I was thinking "Of course I have to go out and meet this dude. He totally flipped my life upside down and gave me a goal and a path out of cubicle land". So I go to the MMM meetup in downtown Portland that was being held at the LearningTree HQ. I get there and meet a bunch of awesome people. I'm also waiting my turn to go up and maybe chat with Pete for like 5 minutes tell him that his ideas and blog basically allowed me and my SO to quit our jobs and take a sabbatical for a year to go overseas.

He seems like a pretty cool, chill dude. My SO really wants to take a picture with him. So before we say goodbye and a final thanks, SO asks for a picture. And he says "Yeah I don't really like taking pictures, it just feels fake to me." Then he kind of motions that we should instead take a candid picture with just him in the background somewhere. Honestly, for a dude that puts on such a ridiculous persona for a blog, suddenly in person didn't want to "feel fake".

It rubbed us the wrong way. We just came away from that interaction thinking "wow, MMM is a lot weirder than I imagined he would be". I still appreciate the forum and some of the old blog posts, but the thing I liked least about MMM was his poor fan interaction. I can't help but think of that moment whenever I'm reading his blog now: "I'm just reading the blog of some weird dude in Colorado."
Is that weird though? A lot of people don't like their pictures taken by and with people, especially random strangers, for a variety of personal reasons.  While MMM is a crafted persona, Pete is a "real boy" and may not be comfortable with the lack of control he has over photos people take with him. I'm a weirdo too. But then I'm not a famous internet blogger. Or am I ;)? No I'm not but am very private especially around Mustashians I've met who post here.

Count me among the people who HATE candid photos, particularly with people you barely know or are celebs or politicians or influencers. I do a fair bit with state and local government and it always makes me cringe a bit when someone says “hey, let’s get a photo of the group with the mayor”. Obviously other people desire such keepsakes, but I only want them if it’s a relative or close friend

1. There was no group photo

2. We were kind of taken aback by MMM's refusal for a photo, in fact, he stood there longer explaining why he doesn't do photos than just taking a photo would have been. And then went on to highly suggest just getting a photo like 5 feet away where he's kind of in the background. So a candid, not candid photo of him in it, just so that he gets to keep pretending that he "doesn't do photos" I guess.

It'd be like going to see an author who then refuses to sign your copy of the book because "they don't sign books", but they'll sign a sheet of paper that you can then append to your book. It's just a bit strange overall.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #139 on: June 28, 2020, 11:13:03 AM »
Group photo, individual photo, I’m just not a fan. I don’t like our cultural expectation that strangers can ask anyone with any amount of fame and ask/expect a photo or signature. The counter-argument (expresses above) is that it “comes with being famous”. I reject that idea. People ought to have the right to say “no” - famous or not.

Personally I don’t want my image being posted on social media with someone I meet for five minutes and who’s name I can’t remember

FIPurpose

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #140 on: June 28, 2020, 11:42:22 AM »
Group photo, individual photo, I’m just not a fan. I don’t like our cultural expectation that strangers can ask anyone with any amount of fame and ask/expect a photo or signature. The counter-argument (expresses above) is that it “comes with being famous”. I reject that idea. People ought to have the right to say “no” - famous or not.

Personally I don’t want my image being posted on social media with someone I meet for five minutes and who’s name I can’t remember

I feel like I must not be explaining the strangeness of this correctly. If Pete had just said, "yeah, please don't take a picture of me. I don't like having my picture on social media everywhere without my consent." I would have thought "yeah, that's cool man. I can dig that." and I wouldn't have thought twice about respecting that.

Instead he had this whole workaround in his head on how he won't do a photo, but you can get a photo with him in the background. And he was very willing to explain how this workaround works. All to what purpose? Not that he just doesn't want to be in a photo, but to maintain his own ego's expectation of "I don't do photos" because he's "real".

I get it. He's a D/E list celebrity and should have a reasonable expectation to anonymity. But "not wanting a photo" would be the normal reaction. The "mental workaround" is what I'm stating was the weird part.

spartana

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #141 on: June 28, 2020, 12:49:20 PM »
^Maybe it is as simple as he doesn't want to imply a "personal friend" relationship with any individual person he doesn't know and therefore a group photo is OK but a personal one isn't.  I've seen as forum member use a ppersonal photo of himself and MMM as his avatar on these forums and I thought it was inappropriate unless MMM gives consent. Even then it is easier to just to just nip it in the bud right away and avoid having to deal with the potential aftermath of "fans" coming out of the woodwork and posting photos of themselves with MMM as their BFF (or perhaps rich baby-daddy) on social media.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 12:51:14 PM by spartana »

lutorm

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #142 on: June 28, 2020, 01:07:10 PM »
Most things have been said already, but my thoughts:
  • I agree with him on the basic insurance idea which is "don't buy insurance for things you can afford to lose, because on average it's a losing game". If you're sufficiently FI, a house might be in that range, but in the U.S. health and general liability can always bankrupt you if you're unlucky. I'd absolutely never go without insurance for that (which is why you should be much more concerned about the liability limits on your car insurance than the comprehensive/collision.)
  • I don't have an issue with the "shockingly simple math" 4% rule presentation. It's like the tl;dr summary that gets the point across. The real eye-opener for me was the idea that your spending shouldn't depend on your income, it should depend on your needs. It seems absurd to think someone would read that article and decide to go retire early with 4% WR without looking into the details.
  • On the point about owning index funds and thus supporting companies with which I disagree (for me, mostly the fossil fuel industry), I used to also think I shouldn't "support them". But owning a company pays me money, not them. If I owned individual stocks, the situation is a bit different because then I would have the direct conflict between "man I really want to stop coal extraction but then my Peabody stocks will tank". When you own an index fund, the companies that fail will just drop out of the index. So yes, there's a tiny drag on my portfolio but it doesn't impact my behavior. In the meantime, while I work to make them fail by buying as little gas as possible, I don't see why their profits should go to anyone else.
  • On towing, one thing other that's different between Europe and America is that manual transmissions are much more common in Europe. Since they are more efficient than automatics, they don't overheat from towing. I grew up in Sweden where literally everyone pulls a trailer behind their Volvo and the idea of a "transmission cooler" for towing didn't exist. And as far as "why tow with a small car because you negate all the efficiency advantages of a small car", that's exactly backwards. By towing with a small car, you get those advantages at all times except when towing. If you get a giant SUV because you sometimes need to tow something, you pay for that inefficiency all the time.
  • And I agree with what others have said that we should recognize that we are in an extremely privileged position in the world to even be able to think about FIRE. But part of what I like the most about MMM are the lines of Stoicism, about realizing that while material wealth is nice, real happiness comes from within and is attainable by everyone. I think turning me onto the path of Stoicism is the largest impact MMM has had on my life.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #143 on: June 28, 2020, 02:51:23 PM »
I guess this depends on what your definition of "approach" is. For me the MMM approach is about being mindful of the environment, being mindful of consumerism, and making changes to the typical wasteful relationship people have with money in order to save a much larger percentage of our income. This solves the two big problems of time and money that allows us to concentrate on happiness and things that we value.

It's a bit difficult to argue with that approach. People may not wish to follow it, or live life in that way, but the fact we are all on this forum means we are thinking about this stuff and are actively working to make our lives the best that they can be and to spend more of our time away from the rat race. So we are largely bought into this, employing our own version of it, and of course may have been doing this long before MMM was around.

This doesn't mean we have to agree with every single detail or every post on how we go about this. How many people in real life, friends, family etc do we have where we agree with absolutely everything they say? Probably none. I do find the posts about salad and exercise preventing all illness and disability as way off the mark, but it is aligned with the overall chirpy, positive and optimistic outlook that the MMM character provides. Control the 'controllables' is essentially the message there but of course, there is a lot in life that is out of our control.

The 'face punching' phrase I've always interpreted as cartoon style face punching. When someone gets hit five times in a row in a cartoon, there is no pain, no damage inflicted, but it has snapped them out of whatever they were doing beforehand I.e. it's harmless, and a way of providing impact to the writing style. It grabs attention and pulls people in. So I was never really offended at this.

I found this site because I was looking at buying a new car. I was recently mortgage free and had always been scared of investing. I had been to a couple of showrooms and rolled my eyes at some of the sales techniques. Being mortgage free had significantly increased my cashflow but despite this freedom my general frugal mindset prevented me from buying and I thought I would research how to buy a second hand car. (I had only bought one car before and this was brand new). I stumbled across one of MMM's car articles, found the post interesting and then found the page with all the posts from the beginning of time. I quickly realised this was not a site offering advice on how to buy a car but something much broader. One of the first articles I read was the 'Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement". I appreciate there are other articles containing this subject matter, and that the information was available elsewhere but seeing the table of working years until retirement changed my life. It literally changed my life. Like boom! This information can not be unseen. Whether I like it or not my life is now headed on a different course than it would have been if the table had not been seen.

I continued reading more posts on the site. Although it only felt like a few minutes when I next looked at the clock it was 4am. I had 90 minutes before I had to go to work. I must have been reading the site for in the region of 8 hours straight. I don't think there are very many writers that would make me do that. I've never read a single source like that before with no appreciation of time. There was no rationing out of the articles over the course of a few days or weeks. I just had to keep reading there and then. I appreciate there was a lot of self interest there. I was hooked because of what this approach to life could do for me. I suddenly realised there was a way out of work having been conditioned to accept that we worked until 65. I instantly made a load of changes (I'm single so only me to buy in) and overnight established an 80% savings rate that I have maintained ever since (I found the site in September 2017). The first decision was to cut my mileage and keep my existing car until it was at least 20 years old. So I am still yet to buy a second hand car :-)

Of course that table that got me hooked is based on the 4% rule. As it takes considerable time to reach FIRE I have kept reading and learning. I now see how brilliant that post is at pulling someone in and just making them aware that there actually is a FIRE number. From further research the 4% rule is not something I will be following. I don't disagree with anyone that does want to follow it. Some can be using 4% but have the ability to cut their expenses by 50% while others may only be able to cut by 5% and these are two completely different situations. So what actually does 4% mean? However I don't now disagree with the MMM approach just because I'm going to tailor a withdrawal rate to my own views on asset allocation and my own personal situation here in the UK. I'll do my own research and make decisions accordingly.

I was relatively frugal before my FIRE epiphany but this site has given me the confidence to invest. As a result I will have the opportunity to escape a full time stressful job 20 years early. I am very grateful to this MMM character. I don't see MMM or Pete as a celebrity. I'm not a 'fan' and in all likelihood we will never meet. I may not agree with everything on the main site but this random internet stranger that doesn't even know I exist has significantly impacted my life in a positive way, and not many can achieve something like that. Of course there are some wonderful people on the forums that I have actually got to know and interact directly with. The knowledge I have gained from them now far exceeds what I originally learned from MMM, but nevertheless indirectly introducing me to these people is another reason I have to be grateful to MMM.

Great post, @never give up! Ran across it on the "the best post I saw in the Mr. money mustache forums today was" thread, dropped in to thank you in the post's native thread.

Which I hadn't seen before...very illuminating discussion. Glad we have so many approaches to this approach.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 02:54:05 PM by BicycleB »

never give up

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #144 on: June 28, 2020, 03:42:39 PM »
Thanks @BicycleB. If there was a "daftest post I saw on the forums today" thread I may have got a few more mentions but I never thought I'd make the "best post" thread. How funny. Perhaps ironically I should now retire from posting here and go out on a high :-)

You're right it's an interesting thread this one. I never grow bored of hearing how people tailor the core approach to their own situation, prioritise their spending based on their values and employ an investing strategy that they feel comfortable with.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #145 on: June 28, 2020, 07:40:39 PM »
  • On towing, one thing other that's different between Europe and America is that manual transmissions are much more common in Europe. Since they are more efficient than automatics, they don't overheat from towing. I grew up in Sweden where literally everyone pulls a trailer behind their Volvo and the idea of a "transmission cooler" for towing didn't exist. And as far as "why tow with a small car because you negate all the efficiency advantages of a small car", that's exactly backwards. By towing with a small car, you get those advantages at all times except when towing. If you get a giant SUV because you sometimes need to tow something, you pay for that inefficiency all the time.
The main difference between Europe and America towing with small vehicles is the center of balance. In Europe the balance allows you to tow more but in exchange you must drive slower for the load to stay stable. In America you can tow at a faster speed (good for interstates) but as a trade-off the weight limit is lower. Detailed info:
https://oppositelock.kinja.com/tow-me-down-1609112611

ender

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #146 on: June 28, 2020, 08:36:01 PM »
When talking about finances with folks, I almost always link to the "Shockingly Simple Math" article. I also tell people I don't really read most of his stuff newer than that or even think it's very useful (just somewhat entertaining). Probably because as an engineer, the numbers tell the story far more than the hyperbole or pretentious attitude he adopts. And most of the content in the last... 6-7 years really is fluff around some really key basic concepts.

Similar to how I often refer people to Dave Ramsey who are "ready" for him, I use MMM as a "intro to FIRE." But it's only the emotional hook that is important - if you want the mechanics or the details, I don't think either of those are best in their genre. But only once you've started drinking the cool-aid.

I also disagree pretty strongly with him lumping "business expenses" into a separate budget item and then claiming a personal budget yearly spend. It feels pretty dishonest to me to do so and honestly it's completely orthogonal to the entire points he tries to make. It's not needed at all and just makes him seem like a fraud to me because it's such a misleading way to report.

And last just relates to a lack of empathy on his part about people's motivations and circumstances. I don't know if this is a reflection of privilege on his part or  the intentional brand but a lot of his posts seem to assume that you both have no constraints on your life/choices and want/value (or should) the same thing as him. And if you don't, you're an idiot.

On the forums, it feels like we've all collectively reacted to this by making MMM "philosophy" (if such a thing exists) be much more about mindful, intentional spending rather than the things MMM himself expresses. Which sort of indicates I am not alone in feeling this.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #147 on: June 29, 2020, 05:04:43 AM »
Hmm, I'm not a huge fan on topics such as this.  I feel that knit-picking the negatives in an overtly positive blog is counter-productive.  Whether you like his hyperbolic writing style or not, it's clearly the most read and most successful blog in the personal finance sphere.

- In Britain we have the National Health Service, we have to insure our homes to get a mortgage and our cars must be insured to be road legal.  So insurance is a non-issue here.  I think in America I'd personally add insurance into my FIRE number.

- As someone who isn't frugal by this forum's standards, I'm not offended by the idea of 'Face Punches'.  It's a comical and entertaining way of bringing the reader to a realisation of their finances.  I don't think he ever really implies that we should point out our acquaintances' spending errors, but some people do.  It's similar to family members giving unwanted parental advice, unwanted fashion advice from friends etc.  People sticking their oar in is a part of life and when you frequent a forum such as this, it's unavoidable as it's the main topic of discussion.

- I don't think he should post more about race-related or political subjects.  Everyone's views are different and as his political views are not the subject of his blog, then why risk alienating readers with something unrelated.

- He's produced a ton of free content that helps educate people.  He doesn't owe his readers anything (pictures).  He's gained his money because he gave us something.  That's not to say he couldn't have given a selfie, it does seem unnecessarily awkward and peculiar in the example mentioned above.  I met Noel Gallagher at a football match once.  I asked for a picture and he turned to me and told me to F off.  Never meet your heroes and all that.  :P

I don't know if Pete even reads or posts on the blog.  I know the OP hasn't meant to offend anyone, but it seems a bit unfair to create a thread where people voice criticisms about him as a person.  Whether you like him or not, he isn't advising anyone to do anything he hasn't done himself. 

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #148 on: June 29, 2020, 05:20:34 AM »
Group photo, individual photo, I’m just not a fan. I don’t like our cultural expectation that strangers can ask anyone with any amount of fame and ask/expect a photo or signature. The counter-argument (expresses above) is that it “comes with being famous”. I reject that idea. People ought to have the right to say “no” - famous or not.

Personally I don’t want my image being posted on social media with someone I meet for five minutes and who’s name I can’t remember

I feel like I must not be explaining the strangeness of this correctly. If Pete had just said, "yeah, please don't take a picture of me. I don't like having my picture on social media everywhere without my consent." I would have thought "yeah, that's cool man. I can dig that." and I wouldn't have thought twice about respecting that.

Instead he had this whole workaround in his head on how he won't do a photo, but you can get a photo with him in the background. And he was very willing to explain how this workaround works. All to what purpose? Not that he just doesn't want to be in a photo, but to maintain his own ego's expectation of "I don't do photos" because he's "real".

I get it. He's a D/E list celebrity and should have a reasonable expectation to anonymity. But "not wanting a photo" would be the normal reaction. The "mental workaround" is what I'm stating was the weird part.

Fair enough.  Obviously you were there and I wasn’t, and I can’t say much about how awkward or strange the whole work around was. I can understand how it was off putting for you when he could have just said “I’d prefer not to have my photo taken”.

In the same vein, maybe it was just an awkward moment for Pete.  Instead of a canned “no photos” response maybe he was going for a joke Or something more philosophical that bombed or it just sounded better in his head.  Who knows.  I’m sorry it was an odd moment for you... it does suck when you finally meet someone you respect and it doesnt’ go well.

marty998

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #149 on: June 29, 2020, 06:12:01 AM »

  • On the point about owning index funds and thus supporting companies with which I disagree (for me, mostly the fossil fuel industry), I used to also think I shouldn't "support them". But owning a company pays me money, not them. If I owned individual stocks, the situation is a bit different because then I would have the direct conflict between "man I really want to stop coal extraction but then my Peabody stocks will tank". When you own an index fund, the companies that fail will just drop out of the index. So yes, there's a tiny drag on my portfolio but it doesn't impact my behavior. In the meantime, while I work to make them fail by buying as little gas as possible, I don't see why their profits should go to anyone else.


Peabody bought our state government and stacked the environmental approval panel with its own paid lackeys to have a longwall coal mine approved UNDERNEATH THE DAM that supplies my drinking water.

Fuck that company and everything associated with it. There is a special place in hell for them. May they rot.