Author Topic: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy  (Read 8863 times)


Jamesqf

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 02:22:46 PM »
Interesting, except for the unwarranted slur on Bilbo Baggins' character.  Bilbo, as we all should know, achieved vast wealth and gave most of it away in order to create peace between Elves, Dwarves, and Men.  His lifetime pension was a small reward for that.

James

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2013, 02:36:00 PM »
Interesting, except for the unwarranted slur on Bilbo Baggins' character.  Bilbo, as we all should know, achieved vast wealth and gave most of it away in order to create peace between Elves, Dwarves, and Men.  His lifetime pension was a small reward for that.

Bilbo was wealthy before his travels (family money), immortality was the biggest thing he gave up to protect Elves, Dwarves, and Men...

I agree entirely that Elrond’s largesse was richly deserved.

I feel like such a nerd now, and I'm sure I got something wrong myself...  :)

Loved the article, well written.

melidesau

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2013, 05:19:28 PM »
Quote
A More Nuanced Version of being wealthy doesn’t involve saying “F--- You” to work

It seems to me that the author is misconstruing what Fuck You Money is all about. The way I understand it, the purpose of Fuck You Money is "having the option to choose work that you would do regardless of the level of compensation," as he says, and not simply about walking away from work regardless of what that work is. If work gives you meaning in life, that's great - but if it doesn't, whether on an ongoing basis or suddenly and without notice, it's nice to have the option to walk away and find something else. So, kind of a strange interpretation of that one point.

On the whole though, nice article - thanks for sharing.

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2013, 10:22:28 PM »
It seems to me that the author is misconstruing what Fuck You Money is all about.

It's called "fuck you money", not, "let me carefully consider my options money". The name itself comes from being able to give your boss the finger.

arebelspy

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2013, 10:27:57 PM »
Spot on article, and quite amusing. Thanks for sharing.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
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melidesau

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2013, 10:42:04 PM »
... being able to give your boss the finger.

Um, exactly?

I, a well fed First Worlder, possess a Snickers bar. I'm not exactly wanting for calories, but I might just et it anyway because Snickers is tasty. I don't like beans, though, so I'll gladly say no to those cause I know I won't starve to death.

Here, the candy bar represents a job I like, and the padding around my waist represents the power to say no, AKA Fuck You Money.

sol

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2013, 10:50:42 PM »
Spot on article, and quite amusing. Thanks for sharing.

I liked the idea of measuring wealth as having income in excess of your needs.

I didn't like the idea of valuing a person by how much passive income they collect.  It seemed contradictory to me to assert that a "wealthier" member of the idle landed gentry is a better person, and then immediately try to backpedal by saying that work has inherent value and adds meaning to life.  If work adds meaning, shouldn't we value people by how much they work, rather than how much passive income they collect from the work of others?

I have this thought often at my own workplace, where I see people who make half what I do working their asses off, sweating all day in the hot sun, and people who make twice what I do sitting in fancy corner offices doing fuck all for six hours a day and then leaving early.  Is the person in the corner office really worth four of the person with the sore back?   Who really adds more value to our operation?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 11:05:59 PM by sol »

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2013, 11:03:51 PM »
I thought that FU money meant that you could leave that particular job anytime you wanted.  That you had enough money to live off of for however long it would take to get another job lined up.  Unfortunately, it seems that many people think they have FU money even when they are nowhere close.

I find this amusing:  "Some people can be wealthy on an accumulated $3 million net worth".  It's said like "well, it's theoretically possible to be wealthy with ONLY $3 million...wait wait, hear me out, it's TRUE!"  If I had $500k in the bank, making 4% (plus additional to make up for inflation), that's enough for us to live comfortably for the rest of our lives.  Heck, that's with two kids...so if/when they move out, we're really rollin' in the dough.  Ooh, and when social security kicks in (no, I don't believe it's going to fail completely, though I only count on 50-75% of benefits being available when we retire), that's just gravy!  $3 million...that's $120k/yr in interest...I'd re-reach financial independence every five years!

Overall, I agree with the article.  I do think there are some grey areas...i.e. if you're working in a job you love, but do in fact depend on some of the income...that's not much worse off than not needing the income at all.  Especially if you have enough money to just up and quit one job so you can move to another (so the interoffice politics and what-not wouldn't be as stressful...you know you can just up and leave any time you want).

happy

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 01:58:36 AM »
Interesting article , I enjoyed it. For me it raises, but doesn't really answer a couple of philosophical questions about work:

1. What is "work"?:  e.g. reading novels and writing your memoirs...is this "work"? What is "work" and what is"hobby " or "fun" even, if you don't get paid for it, you enjoy it, and it may or may not  result in a product or service that may or may not be saleable.

2. Is work intrinsically of value, such that humans should work, as in the dignity of work? Or is work only of value to keep us from being "idle" (heavens forbid).  Must we do something? ( Sydney atretiredsyd.typepad.com/ grapples a bit with this) Or is being sufficient?

Not sure I have the answers but it got me thinking.

Jamesqf

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2013, 11:17:39 AM »
I have this thought often at my own workplace, where I see people who make half what I do working their asses off, sweating all day in the hot sun, and people who make twice what I do sitting in fancy corner offices doing fuck all for six hours a day and then leaving early.

Yet the irony here is that some of us who (metaphorically, in my case) sit in the fancy corner offices making fairly large bucks will go out and spend days sweating in the hot sun (or right now, in the cold and snow) for the enjoyment of it.

2. Is work intrinsically of value, such that humans should work, as in the dignity of work? Or is work only of value to keep us from being "idle" (heavens forbid).  Must we do something?

"Doing something" seems a common condition of life.  Why do my dogs spend time madly chasing each other around the yard, when they could as easily spend all their time sleeping on the couch?  Why does my horse every once in a while go cantering around the field?

Nords

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2013, 11:37:52 AM »
Interesting article , I enjoyed it. For me it raises, but doesn't really answer a couple of philosophical questions about work:

1. What is "work"?:  e.g. reading novels and writing your memoirs...is this "work"? What is "work" and what is"hobby " or "fun" even, if you don't get paid for it, you enjoy it, and it may or may not  result in a product or service that may or may not be saleable.

2. Is work intrinsically of value, such that humans should work, as in the dignity of work? Or is work only of value to keep us from being "idle" (heavens forbid).  Must we do something? ( Sydney atretiredsyd.typepad.com/ grapples a bit with this) Or is being sufficient?

Not sure I have the answers but it got me thinking.
I think the only way to pursue those answers would be to quit working.  You can always ponder these philosophical questions (and many more besides) while you're sitting in the lineup waiting to catch the next wave.

Some of my old supervisors would claim that I'm "working" harder today (a decade after my last paycheck) than when I was "working" for them...

Jamesqf

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2013, 01:23:25 PM »
I think the only way to pursue those answers would be to quit working.  You can always ponder these philosophical questions (and many more besides) while you're sitting in the lineup waiting to catch the next wave.

Doesn't that get boring, though?  I mean, I like to ski, but every damned day?  No, a couple hours 3-4 times a week, plus maybe one longer trip per week is enough.  Then I want variety, including something that exercises my brain.  And since I can get paid for that, why not?

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2013, 03:50:35 PM »
I'm a stay at home dad, and by some very loose (and wrong) definitions, I'm already semi-retired.

I find that I need a project to work on.  Something to keep my mind active.  Planning a big trip, building a Dalek, backing up my computer and trying linux again, etc.  If I have nothing to do (besides the normal, get kids ready for school, pour some cheerios, make sandwiches, wash dishes, wash laundry, pretend to clean the house), then I'll go crazy.  Sometimes I'll start up a new website, get it all setup, then just leave it.  I just have to have SOMETHING to do.

Nords

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2013, 10:20:16 PM »
I think the only way to pursue those answers would be to quit working.  You can always ponder these philosophical questions (and many more besides) while you're sitting in the lineup waiting to catch the next wave.
Doesn't that get boring, though?  I mean, I like to ski, but every damned day?  No, a couple hours 3-4 times a week, plus maybe one longer trip per week is enough.  Then I want variety, including something that exercises my brain.  And since I can get paid for that, why not?
If I was within walking distance of the beach then I'd paddle out every day (and I surf with several guys my age who do exactly that).  As a 30-minute drive each way, 3x/week is plenty for keeping up with other interests & chores.  Unfortunately physical recovery is also starting to creep into my life-- 5x/week is painful, especially on North Shore winter waves.  I am not handling that well.

But seriously, in a decade of pondering I've never found a good answer to the "work" and "boring" questions.  Malcolm Gladwell says that work has to involve autonomy, complexity, and fulfillment.  By those criteria I didn't start working until after I retired from the military.  All of those criteria were present when I was in uniform, too, but never enough and not at the same time.

My "problem" at explaining the concept is that I haven't been bored in retirement.  Ever.  Even today, as empty nesters, there's always some project going on in this house.  When my eyes get tired from a few hours of staring at the computer monitor then I go read a book.  After I read a non-fiction book (perhaps for a blog review) then I'll read a trashy novel.  If I'm not surfing then I'll work out or we'll do yardwork.  And then there's always errands or chores or other interests.  Then we have to decide on vacations (even in retirement) or pick what Mainland blogger conferences we want to attend or plan the family logistics around our daughter's college graduation.  I'm supposed to be responsible for managing my own time and yet I'll still line up too many activities at once and have them all decide to schedule something for the same day. 

Ironically, publishing a book and starting a blog have been the most enjoyable revenue I've ever earned.  I say "ironically" because I no longer need the revenue.  Perhaps the reason it's so enjoyable is that I don't have to factor revenue into my decisions or my time management.  Even then there are blogging chores that I don't care for, or deadline projects, or other distractions.  I guess the good news is that there's no rush-hour commuting or workplace uniforms or department meetings or mandatory training presentations.

I enjoy the writing part.  I enjoyed the publishing part even more.  But this also involves a responsibility which I find difficult to handle.  I think if I went to a real no-foolin' job then I'd be chasing certs or preparing for the next level of responsibility or trying to optimize some project.  Then I'd take on a commitment that I couldn't leave without finishing it-- or at least finding a relief to turn it over to.  And if I had to go to that job on a work schedule on a day that the south shore surf is 6-10 feet... I guess I'd never be able to handle a job that required me to show up until after I'd finished my lunch and my nap.

I guess surfing can look pretty boring from a perspective of "If you've caught one wave then you've caught 'em all."   But to me every wave is slightly different, and frankly if I was good enough for it to be boring then I'd be catching about 10x as many waves.  Even then there's always the challenge of taking that bottom turn just a little further up the lip, and then cutting back sharply enough to ride the elevator down for the next bottom turn... and the next... and then hanging a cheater five without falling on your butt or pearling.  As far as brain exercise, one of my biggest challenges (after I've caught the wave) is firing enough cerebral neurons to figure out what I'm going to do with all that water before it's too late.

Jamesqf

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2013, 11:19:44 PM »
Ironically, publishing a book and starting a blog have been the most enjoyable revenue I've ever earned.

Err...  And that's not work?  Could you explain why not?  Or how you writing book & blog is all that different from me writing 3D seismic tomography code that runs on GPUs?  (Which is one of the main things I've been doing the last few months.)  I set my own hours, and take off to hike, bike, ski, or ride whenever I feel the urge (and the weather cooperates).

James

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2013, 10:28:05 AM »
Work is a very vague word.  It can refer to a job where money is being made (working at my place of employment), or exerting energy (working out), hobbies (working on my photography), volunteering (working at Habitat for Humanities), and other things in life (working at maintaining a house).  The hardest physical work I've done is climbing and biking on mountains, which is also the most enjoyment I've had.  Even just playing with my kids can be hard work at times...


Fuck You Money is about employment, not work.  And is about options, not answers.

Nords

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2013, 07:11:20 PM »
Ironically, publishing a book and starting a blog have been the most enjoyable revenue I've ever earned.

Err...  And that's not work?  Could you explain why not?  Or how you writing book & blog is all that different from me writing 3D seismic tomography code that runs on GPUs?  (Which is one of the main things I've been doing the last few months.)  I set my own hours, and take off to hike, bike, ski, or ride whenever I feel the urge (and the weather cooperates).
I'm just expressing my opinions on work.  You get to make up your own work/retirement rules too. 

happy

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2013, 12:26:02 AM »
Work is a very vague word.  It can refer to a job where money is being made (working at my place of employment), or exerting energy (working out), hobbies (working on my photography), volunteering (working at Habitat for Humanities), and other things in life (working at maintaining a house).  The hardest physical work I've done is climbing and biking on mountains, which is also the most enjoyment I've had.  Even just playing with my kids can be hard work at times...


Fuck You Money is about employment, not work.  And is about options, not answers.

+1....and work is definitely not just remunerated work eg house-work. I often talk about paid and unpaid work, when people say to me "not working today?" (meaning my paid job.)

catmustache

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2013, 04:43:22 AM »
Fuck You Money is about employment, not work.  And is about options, not answers.
+1 to this as well. Also, thanks for sharing. Interesting article.

Jamesqf

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2013, 11:28:09 AM »
Yes, I know about the vagaries of the English language, in which "work" can be anything from a precisely-defined quantity in physics to enjoyable exercise to someone getting paid for not doing anything.  But I think we all know pretty much what we mean by "work" in this context: activities undertaken with the intent of producing income.  Which could be anything from a 9-5 do-nothing job to spending time managing your $100 million investment portfolio.

As I've often said, despite all the talk about early retirement, many of us - from MMM on down - have not given up working.  We've just found ways to remove a lot of the 9-5 regimentation & other unpleasantnesses from the process.

WageSlave

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2013, 10:05:07 AM »
As I've often said, despite all the talk about early retirement, many of us - from MMM on down - have not given up working.  We've just found ways to remove a lot of the 9-5 regimentation & other unpleasantnesses from the process.

I mentioned this in another thread, but it seems to me there is a continuum that looks kind of like this:

Code: [Select]
<- Pure Hobby ---- + ---- Full-time work for The Man ->
And furthermore, that one's pay is generally proportional to where you fall on that continuum.

If you have a big paper money stache (investment portfolio), big enough that you consider yourself FI, you can pick any spot on that continuum where you are most happy.  The real "power" is being able to find something that feels like a hobby but also brings in some income.  If your expenses are low enough, it may be pretty easy to cover them with a "hobby job", and leave your investments untouched (and presumably growing).

Err...  And that's not work?  Could you explain why not?  Or how you writing book & blog is all that different from me writing 3D seismic tomography code that runs on GPUs?  (Which is one of the main things I've been doing the last few months.)  I set my own hours, and take off to hike, bike, ski, or ride whenever I feel the urge (and the weather cooperates).

Side question: is "writing 3D seismic tomography code that runs on GPUs" something that one can get into with general programming experience, but without specific experience in that particular domain?

I think it's just a matter of how a job feels to the individual, as to whether or not it's a "job" in the traditional sense, as in "9 to 5 until 65"; or whether it's a "hobby job", where you do something for the fun of it, and earning income is a nice perk, rather than a requirement.

I find that there are things I enjoy doing intrinsically (i.e. hobbies), but in at least one case have tried to do it extrinsically (i.e. for pay) and found the luster is quickly lost.  I.e., for me, some things are only fun as a hobby, and more or less suck as a job.  And I think that's the caveat that a lot of "follow your passions" advice overlooks. 



Jamesqf

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2013, 11:07:35 AM »
Side question: is "writing 3D seismic tomography code that runs on GPUs" something that one can get into with general programming experience, but without specific experience in that particular domain?

Yes and no.  I don't (or didn't when I started) know much about the seismology end of things.  But I do know a lot about high performance & parallel programming.  I have a kind of odd niche, where I work with scientists & engineers (who know their field, but maybe not that much about programming) to get their programs to run faster, using everything from figuring out better agorithms to parallelizing them to run on clusters and now GPUs.  So over the years I've done projects in everything from atmospheric modelling to neurobiology to electric power systems.

unitsinc

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2013, 01:59:51 PM »

I think it's just a matter of how a job feels to the individual, as to whether or not it's a "job" in the traditional sense, as in "9 to 5 until 65"; or whether it's a "hobby job", where you do something for the fun of it, and earning income is a nice perk, rather than a requirement.

I find that there are things I enjoy doing intrinsically (i.e. hobbies), but in at least one case have tried to do it extrinsically (i.e. for pay) and found the luster is quickly lost.  I.e., for me, some things are only fun as a hobby, and more or less suck as a job.  And I think that's the caveat that a lot of "follow your passions" advice overlooks.

This. I don't like my job that much, but many of my colleagues love it. They work more hours than they have to jsut because they find the field so interesting. We do the same "work" but to them their work feels better.

Nords

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2013, 10:41:46 PM »
But I think we all know pretty much what we mean by "work" in this context: activities undertaken with the intent of producing income.  Which could be anything from a 9-5 do-nothing job to spending time managing your $100 million investment portfolio.
As I've often said, despite all the talk about early retirement, many of us - from MMM on down - have not given up working.  We've just found ways to remove a lot of the 9-5 regimentation & other unpleasantnesses from the process.
I guess another aspect of the question would be whether you'd still do it if all of your income was going to charity.

momo

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Re: Interesting Summary - What it really means to be Wealthy
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2013, 01:27:28 PM »
Good article. Thanks for sharing.

Definitely agree with James
Fuck You Money is about employment, not work.  And is about options, not answers.
I feel many of us want more options to simply spend our time on more meaningful endeavors.