Author Topic: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?  (Read 40848 times)

ol1970

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #200 on: July 01, 2020, 10:41:37 AM »
1) Preaching that keeping a minimalist lifestyle is the best way to happiness and mocking those who have a different take on life.
2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.
3) Pets...enough said
4) Boats, he is correct they are money pits, but there has been no better utilization of my dollars earned.  (other than the money courting my wife)  It's not for everybody, but there is no greater sense of accomplishment than sailing into the distance to a place you cannot see and you've never been to before.  I'm sorry, I've ridden my bike to some cool spots around town...but it is no comparison.

That being said I've got a ton of respect for his work and some of his articles are genius level stuff.  I just wish he would have evolved and grown over time.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #201 on: July 01, 2020, 10:50:15 AM »
1) Preaching that keeping a minimalist lifestyle is the best way to happiness and mocking those who have a different take on life.
2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.
3) Pets...enough said
4) Boats, he is correct they are money pits, but there has been no better utilization of my dollars earned.  (other than the money courting my wife)  It's not for everybody, but there is no greater sense of accomplishment than sailing into the distance to a place you cannot see and you've never been to before.  I'm sorry, I've ridden my bike to some cool spots around town...but it is no comparison.

That being said I've got a ton of respect for his work and some of his articles are genius level stuff.  I just wish he would have evolved and grown over time.

Great post.  Sometimes, now that I've hit FI, I waste money on dumb things like a swimming pool and African safari for the family, and I have no regrets at all whatsoever.

spartana

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #202 on: July 01, 2020, 10:54:08 AM »
1) Preaching that keeping a minimalist lifestyle is the best way to happiness and mocking those who have a different take on life.
2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.
3) Pets...enough said
4) Boats, he is correct they are money pits, but there has been no better utilization of my dollars earned.  (other than the money courting my wife)  It's not for everybody, but there is no greater sense of accomplishment than sailing into the distance to a place you cannot see and you've never been to before.  I'm sorry, I've ridden my bike to some cool spots around town...but it is no comparison.

That being said I've got a ton of respect for his work and some of his articles are genius level stuff.  I just wish he would have evolved and grown over time.
Many people here don't have the kind of wealth you do (in the millions) and need to make the trade offs that requires in order to not have to work decades longer. Can't spend time seeing monkeys in the wild with your kid if you are stuck behind a desk 40 hours a week until you are 70. Can't spend much time with your kid or loved ones at all if you're stuck behind a desk 40 hours per week or more until you are 70. There are lots of interesting and unique experiences in life that don't cost much. Some are as simple as having free time to ride your bike with your family whenever you want.

MMM and many others here don't necessarily value those kinds of experiences, or prefer to do them in a less expensive/luxurious way. Often because we found it more interesting and enjoyable to live and adventure on a shoe string.  I did many of those kinds of things when I quit my job at 36 at a tiny tiny fraction of the cost you have. It was a better use of my time then staying at work longer. MMM probably felt the same as a "kid" when he quit work at 30 on his smaller stash. Obviously those are the values and priorities many of us aspire to even if we don't live lavishly.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 12:14:40 PM by spartana »

Spud

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #203 on: July 01, 2020, 11:31:24 AM »
Still I would love to see some tips and advice for people who are going through challenges, like chronic health conditions. Because those challenges are so big, many people in the personal finance world are shying away from this topic.

I don't understand how the advice for these people would be any different from the standard advice of spend less than you earn and invest the difference, accelarate the process by either earning more, spending less or a combination of both.

That's literally all there is to FIRE.

For people with chronic conditions they may have to take out more comprehensive, thus expensive health insurance or take into account the need for more money in their FIRE calculations when thinking about the impact of their conditions on their proposed retirement, but otherwise, it's all the same, surely.

I apologise if I'm being slow, but it's like having a FIRE blog exclusively for people who are left handed.

slappy

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #204 on: July 01, 2020, 11:45:57 AM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #205 on: July 01, 2020, 11:52:16 AM »
what is the "PF" world?

sherr

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #206 on: July 01, 2020, 11:56:52 AM »
what is the "PF" world?

Personal Finance. Dave Ramsey / Suze Orman / whoever.

slappy

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #207 on: July 01, 2020, 12:00:49 PM »
what is the "PF" world?

Personal finance

DadJokes

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #208 on: July 01, 2020, 12:03:44 PM »
what is the "PF" world?

It's similar to Planet Hollywood or Planet Fitness, but a lot nerdier.

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #209 on: July 01, 2020, 12:05:20 PM »
Thanks.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #210 on: July 01, 2020, 09:42:13 PM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

I think the point is that different people have different concepts of frugality. For some it's an absolute concept, e.g. "I would never spend $X on a luxury villa because it's just hedonistic and it won't improve my happiness." For others it's a relative concept, e.g. "I just got paid a bonus of $50k this year/I make $200/hour and therefore spending an extra $X for luxury/convenience/aesthetic pleasure is worth it in this circumstance, when I can generalise it out to my usual spending habits." Not everyone takes the same approach to personal finance and MMM's attitude to luxuries I find can often be unnecessarily patronising and polarising for people for whom asceticism is not inherently virtuous.

I am frugal 90% of the time but 10% of the time I like to splurge on luxuries. It works for me. I wouldn't judge others for changing that balance (as long as they were objective about it and it aligned with their financial goals) and I don't like that MMM evidently encourages a judgmental approach.

HBFIRE

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #211 on: July 01, 2020, 10:18:39 PM »
Pete's a really cool dude, met him at a camp about 4 years ago.  I like how down to earth he is and how he's really an introvert like myself.  Super cool guy to have a beer with.

That said, here is where I'd disagree with him:

1) For those who are passionate in their field of work and it's what they want to do long term, they don't need to save some insane amount of their income to get to FI asap.  Perhaps a more moderate work/life balance would make sense so that they could better enjoy their life.  I'm not fortunate enough to fall into his category, but if my passion were to be say, a professor, I would probably just enjoy my intellectual pursuits while saving say 20% and not stress so much about saving every single dollar possible.

2) Sometimes focusing too much on savings can hold you back.  I've found my highest earning years were when I focused more on just that -- earning.  The vast majority of my net worth came when I made some drastic changes to driving my income up, not driving my spending down -- I did all this in a matter of about 3 years.  And for those who think you can do both simultaneously, I disagree.  Driving income up big really takes a lot of focus and almost all of your attention.  I'd go so far to say I attained FI by focusing on income, not spending.   It turns out you in most cases can really move the needle by increasing income more than you can by reducing spending.  Focusing on penny pinching can sometimes work against this aka scarcity mentality.  Penny wise Pound foolish is what happens in these cases.  If you can work on driving up our income and basically just keep your spending reasonable, you can do incredibly well.

3) Give yourself some cushion for your later years.  Health care costs may go up astronomically, it is difficult to foresee.  Your living costs might go up as you begin to want more comforts in your later years.  4% WDR is a bit too optimistic imo.  Yes, one needs to weigh the risks vs spending your life working away, but I think this really needs to be considered.

4) Investments.  I don't recall what his latest recommendations are for stock allocation, but I believe it is quite high if not 100%.  This imo should only apply when you are building up your nest egg.  Once you've won the game and surpass the 4% WD rate, it makes sense to start playing some defense with more bonds.

P.S.  I'm not really a "mustachian" by most definitions.  I just take what's useful for myself from here - maybe 70% or so.





« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 10:31:13 PM by HBFIRE »

vand

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #212 on: July 02, 2020, 03:40:56 AM »
My view is that that the core principles of the MMM approach (frugality, self-reliance, low cost indexing, 4% rule) can be thought of as FI 1.0.  Just like most motorists have no interest in opening up the bonnet of their car and fine tuning the performance, most people just don't obssess over personal finance in that way that us junkies do.

I personally detested The Simple Path To Wealth but it's perfectly understandable why when you consider that JL Collins himself said that it was written for people like his daughter who understood the important of all this stuff but didn't care to obssess over the details... which is heresy to people like me, but hey people are different.

For those of us who are greatly interested in the numbers behind the numbers, we inevitably stray from the the basic MMM core principles.

I don't usually have much time for ChooseFI, but they did a very interesting interview with Todd Tressider a successful investor/business guy few years ago where he addressed many of these same limitations, briefly referencing Pete himself and saying that while he fully supports what Pete espoused.. there is more to it, which he likened to FI 2.0 - 2nd level thinking and understanding. It's well worth a listen imo:
https://www.choosefi.com/052-todd-tresidder-risk-management/
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:45:35 AM by vand »

ericrugiero

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #213 on: July 02, 2020, 06:35:11 AM »
2) Sometimes focusing too much on savings can hold you back.  I've found my highest earning years were when I focused more on just that -- earning.  The vast majority of my net worth came when I made some drastic changes to driving my income up, not driving my spending down -- I did all this in a matter of about 3 years.  And for those who think you can do both simultaneously, I disagree.  Driving income up big really takes a lot of focus and almost all of your attention.  I'd go so far to say I attained FI by focusing on income, not spending.   It turns out you in most cases can really move the needle by increasing income more than you can by reducing spending.  Focusing on penny pinching can sometimes work against this aka scarcity mentality.  Penny wise Pound foolish is what happens in these cases.  If you can work on driving up our income and basically just keep your spending reasonable, you can do incredibly well.

For some situations you can work harder and really drive up the income temporarily which can make a big difference.  I don't disagree there.  But, your expenses have a bigger impact on when you can retire than your income.  If you can optimize your life so your expenses drop permanently, that's a long term change rather than a temporary income boost.  It also has benefits in lower tax rates while you are working AND while retired.  Now, if you really don't want to cut expenses, you can focus more on the income side.  There isn't really a wrong answer.  It depends on the individuals preferences and what options they have in their job. 

ol1970

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #214 on: July 02, 2020, 06:47:23 AM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

You are missing the point, MMM is now a multi-multi millionaire with all the income in the world and then some to do this stuff.  And it wouldnít even be considered extravagant.  It might push his budget up into the 1% withdrawal rate...but heís not even withdrawing because he has income! 

What you are doing is rationalizing to say an experience you have never done is not a useful endeavor because itís more efficient financially to play in the sandbox in your backyard you built for $17.  He has the means, you only get one life, I just think itís sad that he convinces the sheep to believe there isnít anything worthwhile outside of your backyard to go experience. 

Yes if you are in the wealth accumulation phase donít go on a $20k safari, but if you are worth millions with bank rolling in, but never do anything thatís just sad.  Especially when you convince yourself those things arenít worth doing, but then watch movies and YouTube videos about people out actually living life.

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #215 on: July 02, 2020, 07:04:54 AM »

What you are doing is rationalizing to say an experience you have never done is not a useful endeavor because itís more efficient financially to play in the sandbox in your backyard you built for $17.  He has the means, you only get one life, I just think itís sad that he convinces the sheep to believe there isnít anything worthwhile outside of your backyard to go experience. 


I think you've completely misconstrued both MMM's personal approach to 'life enriching experiences' and the advice he's given to this forum at large.  He's traveled extensively and written pages and pages on how to take trips which are better on both your wallet and the environment.  Before this forum got too big and he 'detached' from it somewhat he did a bunch of carpentry-tourism with various members, trading a place to stay for some free home improvement labor.  He's talked about his numerous camping car-trips with his son and has done an annual trip to central America (for which he gets a lot of flack for listing it as a "business expense").

I don't recall him *ever* telling a person that traveling is not an enriching experience.  He has (IMO correctly) told people they shouldn't be taking airplane vacations when they've got 'hair-on-fire' debt emergencies and little savings. And he's talked about how there's a ton of rewarding stuff to do within a few hours drive of almost anywhere in the US/Canada, and one does not need to fly to Fiji and sequester one's self in a resort just to call it a vacation.  Clearly, as a person who's hit his FI number several times over he doesn't have any qualms about traveling or writing about what he's encountered, as there are lots of blog posts detailing his trips all around North America.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #216 on: July 02, 2020, 07:16:58 AM »
I think the point is that there are genuinely life-enriching experiences that do cost a fair bit of money.

No one's saying that you need, or need to want, to have those experiences. But MMM's philosophy seems to veer towards the side of frugality for its own sake and criticism of lavish spending for its own sake. For people who think frugality is a virtue of itself and that high spending is worthy of criticism by itself, then that's a perfectly concordant philosophy. For those of us who have no particular attachment to frugality*, then we disagree.

*I think that frugality is more often a good thing than lavishness, since a lot of "non-frugal" things are expensive simply due to the Veblen effect, or some other artefact, that has nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the good. And I generally live a frugal life. However, I can think of a lot of things I've done which were not frugal but which I enjoyed thoroughly, and which are hard to replicate on a frugal budget, e.g., sky-diving, track days, and so on. I would class a good safari in the same category. Some day I'd like to do a commercial flight in space too because I think that would be out of this world. And I think that would probably not be frugal either.

kite

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #217 on: July 02, 2020, 07:18:33 AM »
Still I would love to see some tips and advice for people who are going through challenges, like chronic health conditions. Because those challenges are so big, many people in the personal finance world are shying away from this topic.

I don't understand how the advice for these people would be any different from the standard advice of spend less than you earn and invest the difference, accelarate the process by either earning more, spending less or a combination of both.

That's literally all there is to FIRE.

For people with chronic conditions they may have to take out more comprehensive, thus expensive health insurance or take into account the need for more money in their FIRE calculations when thinking about the impact of their conditions on their proposed retirement, but otherwise, it's all the same, surely.

I apologise if I'm being slow, but it's like having a FIRE blog exclusively for people who are left handed.

On the one hand, you are absolutely right. The advice to live below your means is the same regardless of your personal circumstances or characteristics.  But if thatís all there is, an endless exhortation to live below your means, there is no blog.  There is no forum. There is no need to say or share anything besides news of our victory laps...ĒLook at how great I am, earning a big salary that far exceeds my living expenses.  Woo Hoo!!Ē   But thatís not [only] what we do here.  Lots of what we do is share ideas for things we can do & build. And weíre able to do them without spending excess money because we are physically capable. We are able to create wealth because we have all the right physical ability. 
That blows to shit in a disaster. Whether these are accidents, natural disasters, chronic health issues, addiction or simply aging.  There is a point at which riding your bike to Costco is not viable because age related decline makes it unsafe. Itís not just personal finance that is shying away from addressing concerns of the sick & frail. Thatís a universal phenomenon.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Some estimates are that 60% of us will endure an extended period of disability within our lifetimes.  It doesnít just happen when you are old and already drawing a pension that covers all your living expenses.  Sometimes it happens at 40.  Or sometimes it happens to your child or partner.  The longer you live, the more you will see this.  And you will also realize how oblivious you might have been up until the point that your sibling dives into the shallow end of a pool, or your in-law develops MS, oryour nephew gets Covid and after 60 days in the hospital, much of that time on a ventilator, he is left at age 30, with what looks to be permanent limitations. All these things happened to my loved ones.
The spirit of the MMM community is that individuals have agency and can do things.  That we shouldnít just leave ourselves at the mercy of what others (employers, government & charity) decide to hand to us, but that we approach our circumstances with an entrepreneurial spirit.  Doing what we can, sharing what we know and learned to make our lives better.  We genuinely help others to help themselves around here. 
So, no.  Itís not all the same as a niche for left handed people. 
I have a deck off the back of my house that is a few feet off the ground.  On one end there are four steps.  On another side, we had beautiful stone steps that we covered with a wooden ramp, made of the same material as the deck.  This was a convenience for getting a baby stroller in and out without having to lug it up and down the steps.  We built it with free, pressure treated lumber left over from someone elseís project.  It has served nicely when relatives who use walkers or wheelchairs have come to visit.  My neighbor is using a walker and now needs to get a ramp installed to get in and out of his home.  There are massive steel contraptions that get added onto houses and cost lots of money.  My neighbor came to see our ramp and how it fits into the design.  To build the same in their yard would cost a fraction of the price of the metal ramp.  It would likely be safer too, as it wouldnít develop a slippery surface when icy or wet. This ramp is a simple thing that is going to permit aging in place.  Aging in place is increasingly important, both as the boomer population gets older and as the unique risks and injustices in care homes come to light in the wake of Covid19.  We should talk about that more.  We should talk about how it relates to personal finance.  And we should be sharing what we know about what we can do. 

DadJokes

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #218 on: July 02, 2020, 07:23:24 AM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

You are missing the point, MMM is now a multi-multi millionaire with all the income in the world and then some to do this stuff.  And it wouldnít even be considered extravagant.  It might push his budget up into the 1% withdrawal rate...but heís not even withdrawing because he has income! 

What you are doing is rationalizing to say an experience you have never done is not a useful endeavor because itís more efficient financially to play in the sandbox in your backyard you built for $17.  He has the means, you only get one life, I just think itís sad that he convinces the sheep to believe there isnít anything worthwhile outside of your backyard to go experience. 

Yes if you are in the wealth accumulation phase donít go on a $20k safari, but if you are worth millions with bank rolling in, but never do anything thatís just sad.  Especially when you convince yourself those things arenít worth doing, but then watch movies and YouTube videos about people out actually living life.

Pete has said that he cares a lot more about the environment than personal finance.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #219 on: July 02, 2020, 07:30:05 AM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

You are missing the point, MMM is now a multi-multi millionaire with all the income in the world and then some to do this stuff.  And it wouldnít even be considered extravagant.  It might push his budget up into the 1% withdrawal rate...but heís not even withdrawing because he has income! 

What you are doing is rationalizing to say an experience you have never done is not a useful endeavor because itís more efficient financially to play in the sandbox in your backyard you built for $17.  He has the means, you only get one life, I just think itís sad that he convinces the sheep to believe there isnít anything worthwhile outside of your backyard to go experience. 

Yes if you are in the wealth accumulation phase donít go on a $20k safari, but if you are worth millions with bank rolling in, but never do anything thatís just sad.  Especially when you convince yourself those things arenít worth doing, but then watch movies and YouTube videos about people out actually living life.

Pete has said that he cares a lot more about the environment than personal finance.

Indeed.  It's his "not so secret" reason for starting the blog.
I'm shocked at the number of forum members that apparently don't realize this.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #220 on: July 02, 2020, 07:32:30 AM »
@kite Thank you for that post.  You completely nailed why these topics should be discussed.  I'm sorry about your nephew as it sounds like he has a tough road ahead. 

@Spud As someone who is both left-handed and disabled at age 49 (unexpectedly), I can assure you that the two are not the same when it comes to FI and consequences on savings rate, etc. 

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #221 on: July 02, 2020, 07:36:16 AM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

You are missing the point, MMM is now a multi-multi millionaire with all the income in the world and then some to do this stuff.  And it wouldnít even be considered extravagant.  It might push his budget up into the 1% withdrawal rate...but heís not even withdrawing because he has income! 

What you are doing is rationalizing to say an experience you have never done is not a useful endeavor because itís more efficient financially to play in the sandbox in your backyard you built for $17.  He has the means, you only get one life, I just think itís sad that he convinces the sheep to believe there isnít anything worthwhile outside of your backyard to go experience. 

Yes if you are in the wealth accumulation phase donít go on a $20k safari, but if you are worth millions with bank rolling in, but never do anything thatís just sad.  Especially when you convince yourself those things arenít worth doing, but then watch movies and YouTube videos about people out actually living life.

Pete has said that he cares a lot more about the environment than personal finance.

Indeed.  It's his "not so secret" reason for starting the blog.
I'm shocked at the number of forum members that apparently don't realize this.

It's not a matter of realising or not realising it. This is a thread about aspects in which you disagree with MMM's ethos.

To me frugality is a relative term - relative to your desires and your income. To others frugality has an absolute component - in relation to either spending or environmental impact or whatever. I'm not here to argue which is right and wrong. However, I am here to state that my preference differs from MMM's, and I find some of the ways in which he expresses his preferences to be rather judgmental.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #222 on: July 02, 2020, 07:40:01 AM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

You are missing the point, MMM is now a multi-multi millionaire with all the income in the world and then some to do this stuff.  And it wouldnít even be considered extravagant.  It might push his budget up into the 1% withdrawal rate...but heís not even withdrawing because he has income! 

What you are doing is rationalizing to say an experience you have never done is not a useful endeavor because itís more efficient financially to play in the sandbox in your backyard you built for $17.  He has the means, you only get one life, I just think itís sad that he convinces the sheep to believe there isnít anything worthwhile outside of your backyard to go experience. 

Yes if you are in the wealth accumulation phase donít go on a $20k safari, but if you are worth millions with bank rolling in, but never do anything thatís just sad.  Especially when you convince yourself those things arenít worth doing, but then watch movies and YouTube videos about people out actually living life.

I definitely see your point, but I don't think it is quite the same as my point. Although I will say, you are spot on with the cost of the sandbox. ;)

I think you are definitely right on everything you are saying, and it's actually something I think about quite a bit when it comes to the kids. We want to raise them to appreciate the small things, value hard work and to not expect things like a safari. For example, my SIL takes her kids to Disney every year or two. And they always "surprise" the kids with the news. So sometimes I think, are the kids going to start thinking that every surprise has to be Disney caliber? I have no idea, and I wouldn't go to Disney even if I was a gazillionaire. I would definitely go on a safari though, and I've actually been thinking of that as a long term goal. (My kids are young and crazy, I would not want to travel with them right now. I barely want to take them in public at all!)




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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #223 on: July 02, 2020, 07:49:13 AM »


It's not a matter of realising or not realising it. This is a thread about aspects in which you disagree with MMM's ethos.

I understand that.  I'm just making an observation that many people don't realize that's one of MMM's core ethos.
In fact, reading over this thread I'm struck by how many members have posted something they 'disagreed' with MMM about, when it's not something that MMM has ever actually endorsed or stood for.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #224 on: July 02, 2020, 08:49:06 AM »
That said, here is where I'd disagree with him:

1) For those who are passionate in their field of work and it's what they want to do long term, they don't need to save some insane amount of their income to get to FI asap.  Perhaps a more moderate work/life balance would make sense so that they could better enjoy their life.  I'm not fortunate enough to fall into his category, but if my passion were to be say, a professor, I would probably just enjoy my intellectual pursuits while saving say 20% and not stress so much about saving every single dollar possible.
Not sure why you think MMM is against this. He coined the term "Satisfied Working Advanced Mustachian Individual" (Swami):
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/30/weekend-edition-retire-in-your-mind-even-if-you-love-your-job/

See also: "I find that when people earn their freedom from money constraints, they usually donít stop working. Instead they start doing their best work."
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/04/15/great-news-early-retirement-doesnt-mean-youll-stop-working/

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #225 on: July 02, 2020, 09:19:34 AM »
1) For those who are passionate in their field of work and it's what they want to do long term, they don't need to save some insane amount of their income to get to FI asap.  Perhaps a more moderate work/life balance would make sense so that they could better enjoy their life.  I'm not fortunate enough to fall into his category, but if my passion were to be say, a professor, I would probably just enjoy my intellectual pursuits while saving say 20% and not stress so much about saving every single dollar possible.

2) Sometimes focusing too much on savings can hold you back.  I've found my highest earning years were when I focused more on just that -- earning.  The vast majority of my net worth came when I made some drastic changes to driving my income up, not driving my spending down -- I did all this in a matter of about 3 years.  And for those who think you can do both simultaneously, I disagree.  Driving income up big really takes a lot of focus and almost all of your attention.  I'd go so far to say I attained FI by focusing on income, not spending.   It turns out you in most cases can really move the needle by increasing income more than you can by reducing spending.  Focusing on penny pinching can sometimes work against this aka scarcity mentality.  Penny wise Pound foolish is what happens in these cases.  If you can work on driving up our income and basically just keep your spending reasonable, you can do incredibly well.

I feel obligated to point out that these two are actually the opposite of how you're supposed to do this - you shouldn't have any stress/anxiety about savings, and you shouldn't need to actually focus on it at all beyond briefly at the beginning, because you're supposed to automate it. When it runs in the background it takes up zero mental space, so you can focus on whatever brings you joy in life (whether that's career or something else). One day you wake up rich enough to never work again.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #226 on: July 02, 2020, 10:12:59 AM »
1) For those who are passionate in their field of work and it's what they want to do long term, they don't need to save some insane amount of their income to get to FI asap.  Perhaps a more moderate work/life balance would make sense so that they could better enjoy their life.  I'm not fortunate enough to fall into his category, but if my passion were to be say, a professor, I would probably just enjoy my intellectual pursuits while saving say 20% and not stress so much about saving every single dollar possible.

2) Sometimes focusing too much on savings can hold you back.  I've found my highest earning years were when I focused more on just that -- earning.  The vast majority of my net worth came when I made some drastic changes to driving my income up, not driving my spending down -- I did all this in a matter of about 3 years.  And for those who think you can do both simultaneously, I disagree.  Driving income up big really takes a lot of focus and almost all of your attention.  I'd go so far to say I attained FI by focusing on income, not spending.   It turns out you in most cases can really move the needle by increasing income more than you can by reducing spending.  Focusing on penny pinching can sometimes work against this aka scarcity mentality.  Penny wise Pound foolish is what happens in these cases.  If you can work on driving up our income and basically just keep your spending reasonable, you can do incredibly well.

I feel obligated to point out that these two are actually the opposite of how you're supposed to do this - you shouldn't have any stress/anxiety about savings, and you shouldn't need to actually focus on it at all beyond briefly at the beginning, because you're supposed to automate it. When it runs in the background it takes up zero mental space, so you can focus on whatever brings you joy in life (whether that's career or something else). One day you wake up rich enough to never work again.

I don't think Pete says that though - he actually urges that you practice constant optimization in all areas of your life.  This is the opposite of "set it and forget it" and I think it daunting for a lot of people.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/05/15/the-principle-of-constant-optimization/

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #227 on: July 02, 2020, 10:20:24 AM »
2) Sometimes focusing too much on savings can hold you back.  I've found my highest earning years were when I focused more on just that -- earning.  The vast majority of my net worth came when I made some drastic changes to driving my income up, not driving my spending down -- I did all this in a matter of about 3 years.  And for those who think you can do both simultaneously, I disagree.  Driving income up big really takes a lot of focus and almost all of your attention.  I'd go so far to say I attained FI by focusing on income, not spending.   It turns out you in most cases can really move the needle by increasing income more than you can by reducing spending.  Focusing on penny pinching can sometimes work against this aka scarcity mentality.  Penny wise Pound foolish is what happens in these cases.  If you can work on driving up our income and basically just keep your spending reasonable, you can do incredibly well.

For some situations you can work harder and really drive up the income temporarily which can make a big difference.  I don't disagree there.  But, your expenses have a bigger impact on when you can retire than your income.  If you can optimize your life so your expenses drop permanently, that's a long term change rather than a temporary income boost.  It also has benefits in lower tax rates while you are working AND while retired.  Now, if you really don't want to cut expenses, you can focus more on the income side.  There isn't really a wrong answer.  It depends on the individuals preferences and what options they have in their job.
I kind of make an analogy to weight loss.

When I lost weight (when I was fat and after each baby), I had to put a ton of focus on it.  It was hard.  It took a lot of mental and physical work.  I could NOT do that AND keep my grocery budget where it was.  There was just too much involved to do both.  But AFTER I lost the weight, I could maintain my new weight on my old grocery budget.  I could focus on ONE thing.

I am assuming in the case above, that the focus on increasing income wasn't just a temporary income increase.  It's not necessarily "work overtime for 3 years and ignore expenses".  If you are in a career, and you focus on gaining new skills, taking new jobs, and increasing your base pay - well that can very well be permanent.  Once you've settled into your new salary and roles, you can go back to watching your expenses.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #228 on: July 02, 2020, 10:23:01 AM »
The blog changed my life! I will be FI by the end of 2021. In the years since finding it (about 6), I have disagreed with some:

1. Index funds being the only worthwhile securities to own.
2. Recent health insurance post that has been well discussed already.
3. Imbalance between car costs vs HCOL real estate. I can purchase a lifetime of cars just from the difference of not living in a similarly priced area as him. I get the environmental reasons, but many of the arguments are presented solely by cost.
4. Also widely discussed: his actual spending.

In general, I don't disagree with much. Very thankful he started the blog.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #229 on: July 02, 2020, 11:23:35 AM »
1) For those who are passionate in their field of work and it's what they want to do long term, they don't need to save some insane amount of their income to get to FI asap.  Perhaps a more moderate work/life balance would make sense so that they could better enjoy their life.  I'm not fortunate enough to fall into his category, but if my passion were to be say, a professor, I would probably just enjoy my intellectual pursuits while saving say 20% and not stress so much about saving every single dollar possible.

2) Sometimes focusing too much on savings can hold you back.  I've found my highest earning years were when I focused more on just that -- earning.  The vast majority of my net worth came when I made some drastic changes to driving my income up, not driving my spending down -- I did all this in a matter of about 3 years.  And for those who think you can do both simultaneously, I disagree.  Driving income up big really takes a lot of focus and almost all of your attention.  I'd go so far to say I attained FI by focusing on income, not spending.   It turns out you in most cases can really move the needle by increasing income more than you can by reducing spending.  Focusing on penny pinching can sometimes work against this aka scarcity mentality.  Penny wise Pound foolish is what happens in these cases.  If you can work on driving up our income and basically just keep your spending reasonable, you can do incredibly well.

I feel obligated to point out that these two are actually the opposite of how you're supposed to do this - you shouldn't have any stress/anxiety about savings, and you shouldn't need to actually focus on it at all beyond briefly at the beginning, because you're supposed to automate it. When it runs in the background it takes up zero mental space, so you can focus on whatever brings you joy in life (whether that's career or something else). One day you wake up rich enough to never work again.

I don't think Pete says that though - he actually urges that you practice constant optimization in all areas of your life.  This is the opposite of "set it and forget it" and I think it daunting for a lot of people.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/05/15/the-principle-of-constant-optimization/

Right, but it's not supposed to be some arduous process:

Constant optimization may sound tiring when you list two decades of steps out like I did above, but in reality it is incredibly simple and easy. You just have to keep your mind open, asking yourself occasionally, ďIs there anything I could change for the better?Ē. Often, the answer is no, and you can go on in the old pattern. But sometimes your open mind will find things to improve, and you will be far richer for it.

And also, most of the things he talks about are totally things you just need to optimize at the start and be done with it, like housing, transportation, a general food system, and recurring bills. That's the kind of stuff you really only need to look at, like, once a year at most.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #230 on: July 02, 2020, 11:24:50 AM »
1) Preaching that keeping a minimalist lifestyle is the best way to happiness and mocking those who have a different take on life.
2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.
3) Pets...enough said
4) Boats, he is correct they are money pits, but there has been no better utilization of my dollars earned.  (other than the money courting my wife)  It's not for everybody, but there is no greater sense of accomplishment than sailing into the distance to a place you cannot see and you've never been to before.  I'm sorry, I've ridden my bike to some cool spots around town...but it is no comparison.

That being said I've got a ton of respect for his work and some of his articles are genius level stuff.  I just wish he would have evolved and grown over time.
Many people here don't have the kind of wealth you do (in the millions) and need to make the trade offs that requires in order to not have to work decades longer. Can't spend time seeing monkeys in the wild with your kid if you are stuck behind a desk 40 hours a week until you are 70. Can't spend much time with your kid or loved ones at all if you're stuck behind a desk 40 hours per week or more until you are 70. There are lots of interesting and unique experiences in life that don't cost much. Some are as simple as having free time to ride your bike with your family whenever you want.

MMM and many others here don't necessarily value those kinds of experiences, or prefer to do them in a less expensive/luxurious way. Often because we found it more interesting and enjoyable to live and adventure on a shoe string.  I did many of those kinds of things when I quit my job at 36 at a tiny tiny fraction of the cost you have. It was a better use of my time then staying at work longer. MMM probably felt the same as a "kid" when he quit work at 30 on his smaller stash. Obviously those are the values and priorities many of us aspire to even if we don't live lavishly.
Agree with Spartana. The idea of separating the cost from the experience, and choose the experiences that truly give you value, is what I really like about the MMM movement. My kids have seen and experienced a lot of things, and we have rarely seen added value by expensive luxury. The local swimming pools in Iceland which cost us $.2 were much more enjoyable than the one time we "splurged" on a fancy outdoor spa targeted at tourists. So when we went to the UK, and the kids wanted to sleep in a castle, we found the Best Western version for £150/night. The kids got to sleep in the tower in a canopy bed, and were super happy. They didn't care that the floor was uneven and the bathroom a bit tired. And I was much more relaxed than I would have been in a super fancy resort, since there wasn't much stuff they could break.

Still I would love to see some tips and advice for people who are going through challenges, like chronic health conditions. Because those challenges are so big, many people in the personal finance world are shying away from this topic.

I don't understand how the advice for these people would be any different from the standard advice of spend less than you earn and invest the difference, accelerate the process by either earning more, spending less or a combination of both.

That's literally all there is to FIRE.

For people with chronic conditions they may have to take out more comprehensive, thus expensive health insurance or take into account the need for more money in their FIRE calculations when thinking about the impact of their conditions on their proposed retirement, but otherwise, it's all the same, surely.

I apologise if I'm being slow, but it's like having a FIRE blog exclusively for people who are left handed.

Life with chronic illnesses is more fundamentally different than most "normal" people understand. I think it could be good to have a place to discuss adaptations, or at least have a thread/blog post with some ideas. A lot of illnesses worsen with stress or as people get older, some get better with age, and others vary with the weather. Because of this, finding good side gigs that can be adapted to the periods you are feeling ok is important. Another aspect is that people with chronic illnesses try to not complain, especially around the healthy, since the healthy often get annoyed or annoyingly helpful. It would be nice having a place to talk to your own, where you can mention that you are feeling a bit tired since you were up all night shitting blood, and it not being a big deal. Sure, there are facebook groups for people with different conditions, but those are often full of expensive diets and cures, and messages about "you need to treat yourself to x or y".

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #231 on: July 02, 2020, 01:06:22 PM »
@kite Thank you for that post.  You completely nailed why these topics should be discussed.  I'm sorry about your nephew as it sounds like he has a tough road ahead. 

@Spud As someone who is both left-handed and disabled at age 49 (unexpectedly), I can assure you that the two are not the same when it comes to FI and consequences on savings rate, etc.

Yes, I agree (lifelong lefty, disabled since the age of 16). @kite thanks for your great response. I had tried to type a reply earlier but English is not my native language and I struggled to put into words what I tried to say.

@gaja that's a place I would join. I avoid talking about my illness around both healthy and sick people because I don't want to hear 'awww poor you', 'suck it up' or 'you should see doctor X with his magic cure'. I would love practical advice on how to remain independent (not just financially) when your health declines, how to remain in charge of your life and your career. There are very few people that know the true extent of my illness. I've tried to tell my mother but she just starts crying whenever I tell her something that's an unimportant detail to me (like that I inject myself weekly - it's as much a routine as tying shoelaces is ).

Honestly the 'maybe take out more insurance' thing is a great example. Because it's extremely difficult or impossible to get stuff like life insurance once you've got a disability. So that's something you either need to take out while you're healthy (and make sure to take out enough coverage because being sick is expensive) or you have to work around things.

I'm currently looking for a new job and my current employer offers dirt cheap life insurance for next to nothing to all employees, the premium is based on age and they don't ask medical questions. Not everyone even knows that some companies offer these kind of benefits and that would be a super useful thing to know for someone struggling with a health condition. For me that's the most important part of my benefits - more important than a pension because I'm not exactly sure I'll ever reach that age.

nereo

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #232 on: July 02, 2020, 01:11:53 PM »
@kite Thank you for that post.  You completely nailed why these topics should be discussed.  I'm sorry about your nephew as it sounds like he has a tough road ahead. 

@Spud As someone who is both left-handed and disabled at age 49 (unexpectedly), I can assure you that the two are not the same when it comes to FI and consequences on savings rate, etc.

Yes, I agree (lifelong lefty, disabled since the age of 16). @kite thanks for your great response. I had tried to type a reply earlier but English is not my native language and I struggled to put into words what I tried to say.

@gaja that's a place I would join. I avoid talking about my illness around both healthy and sick people because I don't want to hear 'awww poor you', 'suck it up' or 'you should see doctor X with his magic cure'. I would love practical advice on how to remain independent (not just financially) when your health declines, how to remain in charge of your life and your career. There are very few people that know the true extent of my illness. I've tried to tell my mother but she just starts crying whenever I tell her something that's an unimportant detail to me (like that I inject myself weekly - it's as much a routine as tying shoelaces is ).

Honestly the 'maybe take out more insurance' thing is a great example. Because it's extremely difficult or impossible to get stuff like life insurance once you've got a disability. So that's something you either need to take out while you're healthy (and make sure to take out enough coverage because being sick is expensive) or you have to work around things.

I'm currently looking for a new job and my current employer offers dirt cheap life insurance for next to nothing to all employees, the premium is based on age and they don't ask medical questions. Not everyone even knows that some companies offer these kind of benefits and that would be a super useful thing to know for someone struggling with a health condition. For me that's the most important part of my benefits - more important than a pension because I'm not exactly sure I'll ever reach that age.

Tying medical insurance to one's employment is one of the stupider things we've done as a country.

Cassie

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #233 on: July 02, 2020, 03:55:50 PM »
I think a big difference between my childhood in the 50ís and my kids in 70-80ís was no one had a CC in the 50ís and in 70ís no one charged stuff like vacations. So most were living within their means.  No one had expectations as a kid of taking a expensive trip. Thatís something adults did when they retired. MM can afford nice trips and if it brings him enjoyment thereís no reason he shouldnít do it.  Things seemed to become skewed when everyone wanted things when young that their parents worked a lifetime to obtain. So many people just donít understand that you cannot have everything you want.

mm1970

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #234 on: July 02, 2020, 04:10:33 PM »
I think a big difference between my childhood in the 50ís and my kids in 70-80ís was no one had a CC in the 50ís and in 70ís no one charged stuff like vacations. So most were living within their means.  No one had expectations as a kid of taking a expensive trip. Thatís something adults did when they retired. MM can afford nice trips and if it brings him enjoyment thereís no reason he shouldnít do it.  Things seemed to become skewed when everyone wanted things when young that their parents worked a lifetime to obtain. So many people just donít understand that you cannot have everything you want.
Yup, though my experience was a tad different. I don't know how old my parents were when they got a credit card.  But over the last few years (both my parents long gone, and they divorced when I was a teen), I learned a few things.

We didn't vacation.  We didn't have money to vacation.  We would, maybe once every few summers (probably did this 3 times total), drive to Erie, PA to "camp" in the parking lot across the street from the beach.  It was sort of a campground?  We borrowed an aunt's tent, the kids slept in the tent on the ground, parents slept in the car, ate PB&J, stayed 1 night.

When I was 7, we took an actual vacation.  Drove from PA to NC to stay with an uncle.  One hotel night on the way down, one on the way back.

So...here we are, long time from then.  On FB, my niece and SIL were sharing pictures from her Junior Historians trip to Washington DC.  Nice.  You know?  Things are different now.  But then, my older sisters - 2 or 3 of them, talked about how awesome those trips were.  So many good memories.  What the WHAT??

You see, these sisters are 19, 18, and 15 years older than I am.  When they were in JH, I was either not born or a baby.  There was money for that?  Because I tell you, when I was invited to join (it was half popularity, and half grades, guess where I fell?) I turned it down.  Because I knew there was no way we could afford that (by then my dad was making $12k a year.  You know, 1984-85 I think).  Why join if you can't afford a trip?

But now man, you are right.  Gotta go, even if you can't afford it.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #235 on: July 02, 2020, 05:07:01 PM »
I think a big difference between my childhood in the 50ís and my kids in 70-80ís was no one had a CC in the 50ís and in 70ís no one charged stuff like vacations. So most were living within their means.  No one had expectations as a kid of taking a expensive trip. Thatís something adults did when they retired. MM can afford nice trips and if it brings him enjoyment thereís no reason he shouldnít do it.  Things seemed to become skewed when everyone wanted things when young that their parents worked a lifetime to obtain. So many people just donít understand that you cannot have everything you want.

This can be seen in the gradual erosion of the personal savings rate. 
Prior to the 1980s the median savings rate stayed north of 10%.  Since then it's frequently below 7%


At the same time total revolving credit has gone up considerably.
Note:  Below graph not adjusted for changes in population.  Real adjusted 2012($)


Zikoris

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #236 on: July 02, 2020, 05:10:21 PM »
I think a big difference between my childhood in the 50ís and my kids in 70-80ís was no one had a CC in the 50ís and in 70ís no one charged stuff like vacations. So most were living within their means.  No one had expectations as a kid of taking a expensive trip. Thatís something adults did when they retired. MM can afford nice trips and if it brings him enjoyment thereís no reason he shouldnít do it.  Things seemed to become skewed when everyone wanted things when young that their parents worked a lifetime to obtain. So many people just donít understand that you cannot have everything you want.

Yeah, it is super weird to see people these days acting like it's some horrible thing if an 8 year old doesn't get to travel overseas. When I was in elementary school in the 90s big trips were so unusual that I can remember basically the few times anyone went anywhere - one year some kid's family made a trip to England, and another year one kid went to some sort of hockey thing in Czechoslovakia back when that still existed. A couple of kids had been to Disneyland at some point. And that's it. Camping, road trips, and visiting relatives were all very common. It's insane to me that some people actually see that as a deprived childhood. And I say this as someone who loves travel and has travelled extensively, as an adult once I could afford it.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #237 on: July 02, 2020, 05:38:13 PM »
I think a big difference between my childhood in the 50ís and my kids in 70-80ís was no one had a CC in the 50ís and in 70ís no one charged stuff like vacations. So most were living within their means.  No one had expectations as a kid of taking a expensive trip. Thatís something adults did when they retired. MM can afford nice trips and if it brings him enjoyment thereís no reason he shouldnít do it.  Things seemed to become skewed when everyone wanted things when young that their parents worked a lifetime to obtain. So many people just donít understand that you cannot have everything you want.

Yeah, it is super weird to see people these days acting like it's some horrible thing if an 8 year old doesn't get to travel overseas. When I was in elementary school in the 90s big trips were so unusual that I can remember basically the few times anyone went anywhere - one year some kid's family made a trip to England, and another year one kid went to some sort of hockey thing in Czechoslovakia back when that still existed. A couple of kids had been to Disneyland at some point. And that's it. Camping, road trips, and visiting relatives were all very common. It's insane to me that some people actually see that as a deprived childhood. And I say this as someone who loves travel and has travelled extensively, as an adult once I could afford it.

Agreed. I was a kid in the 1980s, and most of our vacations involved visiting my grandparents at their lakefront cabin in northern Michigan. Every few years, my parents would take me to Toronto or Chicago by train for a long weekend, and we would see a musical and visit museums. Iíve never been to Disneyworld/Disneyland, and I didnít get on a plane until I was in my 20s. I donít feel like I had a deprived childhood at all. My parents paid for all of my undergrad education that scholarships didnít cover. I feel a bit spoiled, actually.

spartana

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #238 on: July 03, 2020, 09:13:16 AM »

2) Sticking to a budget of $27,000 a year that you came up with when you were a kid at 25 years old, even though it means depriving your kid/wife/family of some freaking awesome life experiences.  Reality is he probably is more in the camp of do as I say not as I do.  Does a 10 year old really need to go to Costa Rica and see monkeys/parrots/sloths in the wild?  Does it bring incredible memories standing (at a safe distance) and seeing an active volcano spew molten lava into the ocean?  Is it frugal to sail through the Bahamas and anchor at your own beach and have sting rays come up to your kid to say hi...nope.  So this guy now makes hundreds of thousands a year but live like a miserly tight wade.  It is admirable that he gives so much to charity, but giving his family some life experiences is not something I'll ever regret and I honestly feel sorry for him that he's painted himself into a corner from a spending standpoint.  My irresponsible guess is his ex-wife would agree with me on this one.


What? The only experiences that are worth anything are expensive/extravagant trips? This is one of my pet peeves in the PF world. My kids seem to have quite a happy childhood playing in their own backyard and spending time with each other and with us. I'm not sure how much more value I could add by taking them on a couple of extravagant trips, although I'm sure it would be fun. It reminds me of the quote "luxury, once experienced, becomes necessity". I don't think it counts as "living like a tightwad" just because we (or MMM) don't do experiences such as the ones you described.

You are missing the point, MMM is now a multi-multi millionaire with all the income in the world and then some to do this stuff.  And it wouldn’t even be considered extravagant.  It might push his budget up into the 1% withdrawal rate...but he’s not even withdrawing because he has income! 

What you are doing is rationalizing to say an experience you have never done is not a useful endeavor because it’s more efficient financially to play in the sandbox in your backyard you built for $17.  He has the means, you only get one life, I just think it’s sad that he convinces the sheep to believe there isn’t anything worthwhile outside of your backyard to go experience. 

Yes if you are in the wealth accumulation phase don’t go on a $20k safari, but if you are worth millions with bank rolling in, but never do anything that’s just sad.  Especially when you convince yourself those things aren’t worth doing, but then watch movies and YouTube videos about people out actually living life.
But you are missing the point. It isn't about how much money you have, or how many expensive experiences and things you can buy, its about living your values. MMM obviously doesn't value the things you do.

He retired, and remained retired, long before he earned his big blog income. Because he didn't really change his life in any big way just because he can now afford it, proves to me that he has held firm to his values about things and stuff and consumerism and environmentalism and DIY and stoicism and hedonistic adaptation etc...  This to me goes a long way to support his theory about increased spending not necessarily increasing happiness.

So you are basicly in the Dave Ramsey camp of "buy big expensive stuff and spend lavishly if you can". Where as MMM is in the camp of "spending more, just because I can, isn't going to improve my life at all. As a matter of fact it may reduce my happiness quite a bit". A lot of us share that same life philosophy. You could drop a cool billion $$s on my lap right now and I wouldn't change anything in my life at all. No giant 10,000 sf mcmanson ala Dave Ramsy and a fleet of luxury cars and tony spa vacations or my own private island would appeal to me. I think MMM is the same.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 09:20:22 AM by spartana »

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #239 on: July 03, 2020, 07:16:43 PM »
The point is MMM's blog posts at times smell derisory of those who like spending on luxuries, whereas those of us who like luxuries don't make negative judgments about MMM's ethos.

I'm calling for less judgment and more understanding all-round.

If your neighbour bought a new Jeep that he can't pay for, that's a problem that he has to deal with, and he will need financial advice from someone (either MMM or whoever else he reaches out to). On the other hand, if he's a billionaire and just bought a new Ferrari and he genuinely likes it, that's a great thing for him and I'm happy for him. I'm not going to sit here and judge others, even though I would never buy a Ferrari even if you gave me the money.

Fru-Gal

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #240 on: July 03, 2020, 07:51:38 PM »
Where do you think he got the wealth to do the things you criticize, such as self-insure or buy a coworking space?

For every thread like this, know there are plenty of lurkers who agree with MMM's most controversial positions -- or at least accept them as novel ways of thinking -- and have learned not to express that support among the throngs of woke consumers.

Beyond that, I believe MMM's true goal is to improve not just your wallet but the planet.

Dicey

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #241 on: July 04, 2020, 07:09:02 AM »
@kite Thank you for that post.  You completely nailed why these topics should be discussed.  I'm sorry about your nephew as it sounds like he has a tough road ahead. 

@Spud As someone who is both left-handed and disabled at age 49 (unexpectedly), I can assure you that the two are not the same when it comes to FI and consequences on savings rate, etc.

Yes, I agree (lifelong lefty, disabled since the age of 16). @kite thanks for your great response. I had tried to type a reply earlier but English is not my native language and I struggled to put into words what I tried to say.

@gaja that's a place I would join. I avoid talking about my illness around both healthy and sick people because I don't want to hear 'awww poor you', 'suck it up' or 'you should see doctor X with his magic cure'. I would love practical advice on how to remain independent (not just financially) when your health declines, how to remain in charge of your life and your career. There are very few people that know the true extent of my illness. I've tried to tell my mother but she just starts crying whenever I tell her something that's an unimportant detail to me (like that I inject myself weekly - it's as much a routine as tying shoelaces is ).

Honestly the 'maybe take out more insurance' thing is a great example. Because it's extremely difficult or impossible to get stuff like life insurance once you've got a disability. So that's something you either need to take out while you're healthy (and make sure to take out enough coverage because being sick is expensive) or you have to work around things.

I'm currently looking for a new job and my current employer offers dirt cheap life insurance for next to nothing to all employees, the premium is based on age and they don't ask medical questions. Not everyone even knows that some companies offer these kind of benefits and that would be a super useful thing to know for someone struggling with a health condition. For me that's the most important part of my benefits - more important than a pension because I'm not exactly sure I'll ever reach that age.

Tying medical insurance to one's employment is one of the stupider things we've done as a country.
True. Fortunately, Imma is not US based.

spartana

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #242 on: July 04, 2020, 09:00:57 AM »
The point is MMM's blog posts at times smell derisory of those who like spending on luxuries, whereas those of us who like luxuries don't make negative judgments about MMM's ethos.

I'm calling for less judgment and more understanding all-round.

If your neighbour bought a new Jeep that he can't pay for, that's a problem that he has to deal with, and he will need financial advice from someone (either MMM or whoever else he reaches out to). On the other hand, if he's a billionaire and just bought a new Ferrari and he genuinely likes it, that's a great thing for him and I'm happy for him. I'm not going to sit here and judge others, even though I would never buy a Ferrari even if you gave me the money.
But isn't that the whole point of the MMM blog? To get consumers to get off the hedonistic threadmill and find a better way to live? One that discounts most luxury items we want as something much less valuable then the freedom FI can bring and escaping years (decades?) working longer just so we can have those luxuries? That those luxuries can lead us down the path of never-ending hedonistic adaption and greater loss of economic freedom? And that, yes, buying into those luxuries face-punch worthy.

I could go on but you get the point. To me it is kind of funny when people read his blog, hear the message, yet come here and get butt-hurt when they get called out for complaining that they don't like the message. Its like someone who likes to drink and wants to continue drinking going to an AA meeting full of people who want to learn how to stop drinking and are trying to make the changes to their life. People who joined that type of meeting because it espoused stopping drinking and making those changes. Then telling them how they don't want to or plan to stop drinking and thing the whole thing is just stupid. Most people would probably just choose not to attend that kind of meeting of it wasn't something they were interest in.

ETA I doubt if any billionaire or "normal" (i.e. spendy) millionaire would find any value in the MMM message and would look more at an investment blog where spending on luxury item is not only encouraged because YOLO, but also the goal. 
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 09:25:36 AM by spartana »

Bloop Bloop

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #243 on: July 04, 2020, 09:04:53 AM »
Yeah, I agree most luxury items are spurred on by "bad" things like the hedonic treadmill or status anxiety. But I think it is worthwhile acknowledging that not all expensive purchases are necessarily in that camp. And that it's important not to try to oversimplify all purchases in that manner. Like, whenever I see someone posting "Jeez when I see a clown car all I see is debt" then I think that is unnecessary judgment cause it conflates several things at once. There are people driving clown cars who have more financial/lifestyle freedom than people living frugally.


spartana

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #244 on: July 04, 2020, 10:28:16 AM »
Yeah, I agree most luxury items are spurred on by "bad" things like the hedonic treadmill or status anxiety. But I think it is worthwhile acknowledging that not all expensive purchases are necessarily in that camp. And that it's important not to try to oversimplify all purchases in that manner. Like, whenever I see someone posting "Jeez when I see a clown car all I see is debt" then I think that is unnecessary judgment cause it conflates several things at once. There are people driving clown cars who have more financial/lifestyle freedom than people living frugally.
Sure not all luxury is debt driven or bad. I have my own luxury purchases ;-). But I think the ethos of the MMM blog is to assume most people are "consumer sukkas" deep in debt who are trying to keep up with a lifestyle they really can't afford and will never free themselves from if they keep on that path. So his whole website is geared toward that and needs be to understood in that vain.

When I see expensive cars I have no idea if it is owned by Scrooge McDuck who bought it with cash from their spare change or someone with maxed out CCs who is $1 in their bank account. However the people I do know are in the "spend it all and then some" camp so I do make some assumptions. But I assume most people here aren't buying Ferraris from spare change and most are here because they want to become FI and also not fall prey to over-the-top consumerism regardless of their own preferred luxuries.

Unlike most other FIRE blogs,  MMM is all about calling out and judging various behaviors more harshly as a way to get people to recognise how their choices are only harming their FI and RE plans. More the drill sargent approach then the coddle-them-with-kindness-non-judgement approach. Both are effective but each depend on the who the audience is.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 10:31:59 AM by spartana »

deborah

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #245 on: July 04, 2020, 10:55:50 AM »
@spartana , I agree entirely. While I donít think MMM himself has ever commented on some of my joys of life - the luxury of going to bed in fresh sheets, the way the world looks from my window early in the morning when the sun is kissing the mountains and every leaf of every tree is wreathed in sunlight, the peace of being with a good companion... all these things are free, and are part of the celebration of frugality and what matters most in life that is an integral part of the MMM message.

Pete and his blog are trying to get across to us that the things we value most are generally the more inexpensive things in our life, and that clutter (including clown cars and houses) often deny us the experiences we value most. There are always some things that each of us can buy that will give us continued joy - for me, a sewing machine, for Pete it may be a woodworking tool or a bike - but these are highly individual and limited.

I wonít get joy from having more than a few sewing machines. Theyíd clutter up my life, gathering dust, and stopping me from experiencing the other joys of life if I spent too much time with them. The same goes for travel - there are amazing places out there, but there are also amazing places close to home. Having an appreciation of the joys of your own environment can also lead you to less traveled places that might be uniquely suited to your individuality. In my experience, these have brought me more joy than the places where everyone else goes.

Being part of your own community and the simple joys that brings arenít celebrated in the MMM blog, nor here in the forum, yet if you look at it, these are some of the most important and lasting things that frugality, practising simplicity, and retiring early can give you.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 11:02:43 AM by deborah »

Cassie

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #246 on: July 04, 2020, 12:43:18 PM »
When we were young we had neighbors that always lived on the edge financially and were always stressed out. Their kids always had the latest stuff. They and my husband worked in the auto industry which was feast or famine. They had 2 good incomes and we had one. We saved for when layoffs occurred we were fine. We also paid cash for 3 college degrees for me.  They came close to losing their home and cars.  This was a good lesson for our kids.

LWYRUP

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #247 on: July 04, 2020, 05:02:25 PM »
@deborah, that was all very well put, especially the part about travel.

I think some people (my friends, not a forum comment) that unless you are flying off to Fiji you can't have fun.  I love seeing all sorts of local places, camping at the local state park, getting ice cream a a country store, going to a museum (after pandemic), going fishing. 

These things are free or close to it and lots of fun.  I travel too, I just balance the big trips (every few years) and the low key ones.

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #248 on: July 04, 2020, 10:57:05 PM »
@kite Thank you for that post.  You completely nailed why these topics should be discussed.  I'm sorry about your nephew as it sounds like he has a tough road ahead. 

@Spud As someone who is both left-handed and disabled at age 49 (unexpectedly), I can assure you that the two are not the same when it comes to FI and consequences on savings rate, etc.

Tell me, since you became disabled unexpectedly at age 49, have you been struggling because of the lack of posts that MMM has written specifically for people who became disabled unexpectedly at age 49? My bet is that you don't need specific advice on finances just because you're disabled now. You're sharp enough to continue applying what you learned during the time before you became disabled and adapt it as and when you need it.

That's all I was trying to say with my left handed comment.

Imma's comment in her post just made me wonder why people facing challenges such as chronic conditions need specific advice from MMM. Why would someone with chronic conditions expect that kind of content from MMM when he probably has no experience in that area of life?

It just struck me as odd.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 11:02:02 PM by Spud »

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: In what ways do you disagree with MMM's approach?
« Reply #249 on: July 05, 2020, 01:01:29 AM »
I'm so confused by all of this.  Seriously, if I showed up at an EscapeVelocity Meetup that was inspired by my philosophy and writings and someone told me I had inspired them and wanted a picture, I would not think it was unusual.  I would have thought about it all beforehand or probably had it happen to me many times, and I'd have a stock answer or work-around - like the group photo. 

I can see this side of it too. If you make a lot of money being a public personality, and then go voluntarily engage in being a public personality, you shouldn't be surprised if people expect you to act like a public personality.

I guess what I'm saying is that if someone doesn't want to take a picture, that's 100% cool and you should respect that decision. But you're not wrong to silently judge that person :)

I agree @mathlete

Many people dislike having photos taken and that doesn't necessarily go away just because a blog takes off. Being slightly internet-famous just amplifies this as you have a lot more requests and you need to draw the line somewhere. If you take photos at an event do you then get people barging in and asking for a photo while you are at the supermarket or when feeling unwell at the pharmacy or in the waiting room at the STI clinic... It's easier to say no to everyone than get into debate as to why this photo but not this one.

There is also a not-insignificant danger that a photo can be used maliciously, or be taken innocently but then used out of context. A friendly-looking photo with MMM could end up on any website with the suggestion or caption "me and my good friend Pete who agrees with my views on: 4x4s, kicking puppies and using cyclists for target practice".