Author Topic: What's up with the Frugalwoods?  (Read 122954 times)

mathlete

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #350 on: March 27, 2018, 11:20:46 AM »
You have zero idea of how much they made in 2014. 

This isn't strictly true since highly compensated employees are listed on the IRS Form 990 filings that tax exempt orgs must complete.

Even without that though, it's a pretty simple exercise to ballpark based on the following inputs:

Age
No inheritance
Claim of financial independence

Early on in the thread, before all the 990 stuff, I ball parked at or above 3x the median household income. I still feel pretty comfortable with that. The numbers just don't make sense otherwise.

tooqk4u22

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #351 on: March 27, 2018, 11:22:18 AM »
Let's put it to a vote - guilty or not Poll 

Guilty or Not of misrepresentation??????

Saving4Fire

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #352 on: March 27, 2018, 11:25:13 AM »
Clarifying my points...

I’m not condemning the Frugalwoods because they earn good money at non-profits (assuming those non-profits pay their non-executives fairly too). I’m simply disappointed that they use misleading language to make their incomes seem lower. They should tell the truth or not discuss their income at all. Just don’t mislead your readers!

If the blog was exactly the same minus those “normal incomes” lines, I would have no problem. If the Frugalwoods are reading this thread, I suggest that they edit or remove those lines. Frugalwoods, I love you guys— just be straight with us!

A note on comparisons... I do like to know how I compare to others seeking FI so that I can assess what goals are reasonable for me to achieve on my income. I also like to follow stories that reflect my experiences and situation, as I’m sure many of us do. I’m not trying to “keep up with the Jones.” I’m trying to goal set and figure out what’s possible.

MMM’s income was/is very relevant to his readers. He was clear and honest about what he earned over the years he was chasing FI. I found this helpful. A person can read MMM and say “OK, I’m earning a similar amount in a similar COL area— I can expect success similar to MMM if I use the strategies.” Or they can say “Well, my income is much lower, so I won’t get the same results, but if I use the strategies I’ll still end up in a better position!”

Of course, the Frugalwoods are not REQUIRED to share their income as long as they are not misleading. It would be helpful, but they are not obligated.

We basically agree.  I don't have a problem with the fact that they make a lot of money or how they choose to spend it.   I don't even think they are horrible people.   I do think they are misleading their community in a way in which just so happens to enrich them.   As evidence in this thread it leads to some of their readers to feel unfairly inadequate.  In short: they are selling a lifestyle primarily based on a misrepresentation. 



You have zero idea of how much they made in 2014.  But hey, don't let a lack of facts get in the way of a good witch hunt!

The source for his income was posted in this thread:


I reserved a copy of the book at the library and started reading through the Amazon reviews. Someone pointed out a link to Actblue's IRS filings and Nate (whose actual first name apparently is James) made $225,000 in 2014, the year that they decided to be more frugal (link from amazon review: https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/455097038 )

edit - it's in the 2014 pdf tax filing.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 11:29:25 AM by PopMegaphone »

nippycrisp

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #353 on: March 27, 2018, 11:31:41 AM »
It's surprising to find so much discourse on such a small topic, but I see how this has morphed into a whole character thing. 

One thing that doesn't get mentioned: every PF blog seems to have a "thing". GoCurryCracker has the perpetual traveler/tax thing. The Wealthy Accountant has a tax/business thing. ERE is/was the crazy frugal guy, JLCollins's hallmark is his excellent writing and stock series and MMM has his own style (and these forums), etc. Frugalwoods is, in my opinion, a second-tier effort because their "thing" (farmstead/country life) is just boring/uninteresting to many (most?) people in the FIRE world and probably not hardcore enough to attract real farmsteaders. To compound this, the writing is bland and lacks any real personality. As mentioned in the thread multiple times, the most endearing thing about their website might be the greyhound in a dress.

Now, there's nothing wrong about producing something with limited appeal, but I think lady Frugalwood wants to move into that top tier quite badly. At least the evidence supports it: She's written the book, pours out blog content (much of which is superfluous, both in post quantity and length) and, as discussed at length here, has provided a debatably ambiguous/deceptive financial picture (done, I suspect, to add wow factor for the book's media push). Not hating - it's her job and she probably doesn't have too many options out in the sticks - but it highlights the unique challenge here: after writing a memoir, what else could they possibly say? I have no idea what they could do to harvest more attention for their blog, but it seems like pushing the financial angle may have run its course. To continue as a FIRE blogger, FW needs to find something unique that's not already discussed ad nauseum in the blogsphere (I wonder: does such a thing even exist?) otherwise it's hard to imagine their site as anything more than a rube-goldberg machine that churns out pleasant, trivial posts on DIY piesafes and apple harvesting.

undercover

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #354 on: March 27, 2018, 11:35:44 AM »
Nothing says "Kardashian Mustachian" like this thread.

tooqk4u22

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #355 on: March 27, 2018, 11:38:15 AM »
It's surprising to find so much discourse on such a small topic, but I see how this has morphed into a whole character thing. 

One thing that doesn't get mentioned: every PF blog seems to have a "thing". GoCurryCracker has the perpetual traveler/tax thing. The Wealthy Accountant has a tax/business thing. ERE is/was the crazy frugal guy, JLCollins's hallmark is his excellent writing and stock series and MMM has his own style (and these forums), etc. Frugalwoods is, in my opinion, a second-tier effort because their "thing" (farmstead/country life) is just boring/uninteresting to many (most?) people in the FIRE world and probably not hardcore enough to attract real farmsteaders. To compound this, the writing is bland and lacks any real personality. As mentioned in the thread multiple times, the most endearing thing about their website might be the greyhound in a dress.

Now, there's nothing wrong about producing something with limited appeal, but I think lady Frugalwood wants to move into that top tier quite badly. At least the evidence supports it: She's written the book, pours out blog content (much of which is superfluous, both in post quantity and length) and, as discussed at length here, has provided a debatably ambiguous/deceptive financial picture (done, I suspect, to add wow factor for the book's media push). Not hating - it's her job and she probably doesn't have too many options out in the sticks - but it highlights the unique challenge here: after writing a memoir, what else could they possibly say? I have no idea what they could do to harvest more attention for their blog, but it seems like pushing the financial angle may have run its course. To continue as a FIRE blogger, FW needs to find something unique that's not already discussed ad nauseum in the blogsphere (I wonder: does such a thing even exist?) otherwise it's hard to imagine their site as anything more than a rube-goldberg machine that churns out pleasant, trivial posts on DIY piesafes and apple harvesting.

While I think FW does have a thing (whether its good or not is up to the reader), I think what is becoming more apparent when compared to the other bloggers you mentioned is that the intent of starting the blog was for monetary purpose and its edited and scripted for that purpose....ok.  The others just put stuff on a page bc they wanted to and then it started making money - in some cases a lot of money.

Nothing says "Kardashian Mustachian" like this thread.

hahahaha

Saving4Fire

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #356 on: March 27, 2018, 11:55:27 AM »
Nothing says "Kardashian Mustachian" like this thread.

This is pretty hilarious. 

FWIW, I think this thread has lead to some interesting discussions regarding the FIRE/PF blog universe.  For example, I think the blogger manifesto on ournextlife is worth reading:  https://ournextlife.com/2018/03/21/fire-blogger-manifesto/


I don't think these bloggers, including MMM, are above reproach.  It's healthy to cast some skepticism and ask tough questions when they're dishing out personal finance advice.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 12:01:54 PM by PopMegaphone »

Cassie

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #357 on: March 27, 2018, 12:08:48 PM »
I think it is perfectly reasonable for her to work at home with a baby or small children.  I had 3 boys and they took a 3 hour nap form 12-3 and went back to bed at 7 until first grade.   It gave me plenty of time to work from home.

tooqk4u22

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #358 on: March 27, 2018, 12:42:02 PM »
Let's put it to a vote - guilty or not Poll 

Guilty or Not of misrepresentation??????
I think the problem with a poll is that while they may have misrepresented the income they earned in the years to get to FI, calling it "average, not special, median" etc.., I don't believe it was an intentional misrepresentation.

I believe they really did (and still do) consider that they were average earners with median incomes back in 2014 when they started to save and weren't anything special financially. And maybe they weren't amongst their peers. So they may believe that their "extreme frugality" was what got them to FI rather than a very high salary.

I see this same mind set here all the time with high earners. So many high earners think they have "average" salaries. There is just such a disconnect between them and the reality of most true average income earners. I read journals and post about how they "struggle" to get to FI and are only spending $120k a year (minus mortgage) and wonder if they could ever attain FIRE or be able to live on $100k a year once RE. I just read the "can you retire on $5 million" thread and someone said well maybe if you live frugally. YIKES.


I agree that there is a relativity to it all.....if ones peer group is all a bunch of high paid doctors/lawyers/investment bankers and you are just a lowly paid non-profit executive then you might not even feel average.  But there still has to be some self awareness that you are still above or well above average in general except within your peer group - so I don't buy that argument.  I suspect the average feeling is more driven by the spending/lifestyle part of it...for high earners with high savings rates the lifestyle one lives is for the most part average or less than average in many cases. 

As for the extreme frugality, as I mentioned in a prior post I think their evolution was frugal by need, LBYM when more money was made, then in the 2014/2015 they went extreme frugal at a time when the income doubled with the goal of coming up with a down payment for the farm and having some extra money.....I really believe that they were/are dependent on his income for the move and lifestyle (now less so with the blog income). 

And to your first comment, after paying more attention to their script and specific wording and some of the other interviews, etc, I think it is all very calculated to engender themselves to a wider audience and drive traffic/revenue - and there is nothing inherently wrong with that in of itself other than the dishonesty.  No crime committed, used car sales people do this all the time - oversell the positives, undersell the negatives. So I do think it is intentional but that doesn't make them bad people, just good business people.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 12:43:36 PM by tooqk4u22 »

Jrr85

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #359 on: March 27, 2018, 12:48:52 PM »
Let's put it to a vote - guilty or not Poll 

Guilty or Not of misrepresentation??????
I think the problem with a poll is that while they may have misrepresented the income they earned in the years to get to FI, calling it "average, not special, median" etc.., I don't believe it was an intentional misrepresentation. I believe they really did (and still do) consider that they were average earners with median incomes back in 2014 when they started to save and weren't anything special financially. And maybe they weren't amongst their peers. So they may believe that their "extreme frugality" was what got them to FI rather than a very high salary.

I see this same mind set here all the time with high earners. So many high earners think they have "average" salaries. There is just such a disconnect between them and the reality of most true average income earners. I read journals and post about how they "struggle" to get to FI and are only spending $120k a year (minus mortgage) and wonder if they could ever attain FIRE or be able to live on $100k a year once RE. I just read the "can you retire on $5 million" thread and someone said well maybe if you live frugally. YIKES.

 Have I accidentally wandered into Bogelheadsville? Maybe its the lower income people like me who are the ones with the disconnect and don't even belong on MMM site. Guess I need to head off to ERE wit da po' folks ;-).

I don't know.  It's hard to live in that much of a bubble.  It pretty much requires a highly paid professional with no management responsibilities.  Did they really earn $300k in the non-profit world and not have any exposure to payroll to realize what other workers actually make?  Or did they work for one of the most ridiculous non-profit ever, where none of its employees made below say two times the median income and also the mission was such that they were never exposed to anybody needy to give them an idea that $300k per year is not "standard"?  I just can't believe people who are so thrifty with their purchaes have never given a single thought to what market labor rates were.  They never purchased a single service where the labor rate worked out to less than $75 per hour and thought, "wow; how are they making the standard $150k per year if they're not even charging enough to get to $150k before paying any expenses or profit to the owner?"

I think the evidence is overwhelming that they intentionally misled.  It could only be overcome by somebody with enough personal history with them to say, "No, believe it or not, they really are this oblivious and have no exposure to paying for any services or employees and have never heard any claim about what the median household income is in the U.S. or north east." 

I'm not sure that's a big deal (if I were a reader maybe I'd feel differently), but I don't think an argument that it was unintentional can really be supported.

tooqk4u22

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #360 on: March 27, 2018, 01:01:58 PM »
Nothing says "Kardashian Mustachian" like this thread.

This is pretty hilarious. 

FWIW, I think this thread has lead to some interesting discussions regarding the FIRE/PF blog universe.  For example, I think the blogger manifesto on ournextlife is worth reading:  https://ournextlife.com/2018/03/21/fire-blogger-manifesto/


I don't think these bloggers, including MMM, are above reproach.  It's healthy to cast some skepticism and ask tough questions when they're dishing out personal finance advice.

I think that blog post has kicked off a number of posts by other bloggers starting to disclose or disclaim their other income or stories.....and I think that was directly the result of the FW story.

Saving4Fire

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #361 on: March 27, 2018, 01:28:54 PM »

I don't know.  It's hard to live in that much of a bubble.  It pretty much requires a highly paid professional with no management responsibilities.  Did they really earn $300k in the non-profit world and not have any exposure to payroll to realize what other workers actually make?  Or did they work for one of the most ridiculous non-profit ever, where none of its employees made below say two times the median income and also the mission was such that they were never exposed to anybody needy to give them an idea that $300k per year is not "standard"?  I just can't believe people who are so thrifty with their purchaes have never given a single thought to what market labor rates were.  They never purchased a single service where the labor rate worked out to less than $75 per hour and thought, "wow; how are they making the standard $150k per year if they're not even charging enough to get to $150k before paying any expenses or profit to the owner?"

I think the evidence is overwhelming that they intentionally misled.  It could only be overcome by somebody with enough personal history with them to say, "No, believe it or not, they really are this oblivious and have no exposure to paying for any services or employees and have never heard any claim about what the median household income is in the U.S. or north east." 

I'm not sure that's a big deal (if I were a reader maybe I'd feel differently), but I don't think an argument that it was unintentional can really be supported.

It gets even tougher to believe when she literally runs a blog and wrote a book that is personal finance focused.  She's been thinking about and discussing this stuff for years.   

skp

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #362 on: March 27, 2018, 01:41:17 PM »
I don't think they are disingenuous with just their income. 
Who writes a monthly expense report then subtracts their mortgage from the bottom line?
Who disregards a big annual expense- like taxes and house insurance- until they are due?   I haven't followed them for long.  So I see they are spending about $2000 a month.  Seems frugal to me.  Then I see they aren't considering their taxes until they are due.  Unless you follow them for a while you get the idea that they are living on $2000 a month.  Then you find out they have a $10,000 months.  I don't budget that way. I pay my taxes bi annually (they don't allow annually or I might do that) but I'm putting aside money monthly to do it.    I direct deposit money into my credit union for big ticket items- car insurance, house insurance,  I consider it part of my budget.
I don't know if it's purposeful deceipt or not.  But subtracting mortgages from the bottom line, not accounting for known big ticket item expenses until the last minute, is not how I operate and seems suspicious to me.

sui generis

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #363 on: March 27, 2018, 01:49:58 PM »
I don't think they are disingenuous with just their income. 
Who writes a monthly expense report then subtracts their mortgage from the bottom line?
Who disregards a big annual expense- like taxes and house insurance- until they are due?   I haven't followed them for long.  So I see they are spending about $2000 a month.  Seems frugal to me.  Then I see they aren't considering their taxes until they are due.  Unless you follow them for a while you get the idea that they are living on $2000 a month.  Then you find out they have a $10,000 months.  I don't budget that way. I pay my taxes bi annually (they don't allow annually or I might do that) but I'm putting aside money monthly to do it.    I direct deposit money into my credit union for big ticket items- car insurance, house insurance,  I consider it part of my budget.
I don't know if it's purposeful deceipt or not.  But subtracting mortgages from the bottom line, not accounting for known big ticket item expenses until the last minute, is not how I operate and seems suspicious to me.
Eh, isn't this an argument basically about cash vs. accrual methods of accounting?  In fact, I thought accrual was the commonly used method.  I can see what you're saying about how it looks weird, but I think it's pretty universally accepted. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #364 on: March 27, 2018, 02:24:44 PM »
I don't think they are disingenuous with just their income. 
Who writes a monthly expense report then subtracts their mortgage from the bottom line?
Who disregards a big annual expense- like taxes and house insurance- until they are due?   I haven't followed them for long.  So I see they are spending about $2000 a month.  Seems frugal to me.  Then I see they aren't considering their taxes until they are due.  Unless you follow them for a while you get the idea that they are living on $2000 a month.  Then you find out they have a $10,000 months.  I don't budget that way. I pay my taxes bi annually (they don't allow annually or I might do that) but I'm putting aside money monthly to do it.    I direct deposit money into my credit union for big ticket items- car insurance, house insurance,  I consider it part of my budget.
I don't know if it's purposeful deceipt or not.  But subtracting mortgages from the bottom line, not accounting for known big ticket item expenses until the last minute, is not how I operate and seems suspicious to me.

We do our accounting that way. We don't have a budget, we have expense reports. So taxes are only an expense when we pay them. I don't account for them when we don't pay them, because we didn't pay them...so they weren't an expense that month.

skp

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #365 on: March 27, 2018, 02:35:22 PM »
I don't think they are disingenuous with just their income. 
Who writes a monthly expense report then subtracts their mortgage from the bottom line?
Who disregards a big annual expense- like taxes and house insurance- until they are due?   I haven't followed them for long.  So I see they are spending about $2000 a month.  Seems frugal to me.  Then I see they aren't considering their taxes until they are due.  Unless you follow them for a while you get the idea that they are living on $2000 a month.  Then you find out they have a $10,000 months.  I don't budget that way. I pay my taxes bi annually (they don't allow annually or I might do that) but I'm putting aside money monthly to do it.    I direct deposit money into my credit union for big ticket items- car insurance, house insurance,  I consider it part of my budget.
I don't know if it's purposeful deceipt or not.  But subtracting mortgages from the bottom line, not accounting for known big ticket item expenses until the last minute, is not how I operate and seems suspicious to me.

We do our accounting that way. We don't have a budget, we have expense reports. So taxes are only an expense when we pay them. I don't account for them when we don't pay them, because we didn't pay them...so they weren't an expense that month.
I get that your mortgage and your taxes are fixed and that you have no control over them (except picking an appropriate place within your budget to live) But I don't get subtracting them from the monthly bottom line or totally ignoring them in your accounting sceam until they are due.  It gives people the idea that you are living on less than you do.   

Vertical Mode

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #366 on: March 27, 2018, 02:45:03 PM »
The folks at “Our Next Life” addressed this topic head-on this morning...without naming names of course!

https://ournextlife.com/2018/03/21/fire-blogger-manifesto/

Catching up on this thread and wanted to give you a +1 for this link. That article is outstanding and there are some good discussions in the comments section, too.

I'm a red panda

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #367 on: March 27, 2018, 03:22:46 PM »
I don't think they are disingenuous with just their income. 
Who writes a monthly expense report then subtracts their mortgage from the bottom line?
Who disregards a big annual expense- like taxes and house insurance- until they are due?   I haven't followed them for long.  So I see they are spending about $2000 a month.  Seems frugal to me.  Then I see they aren't considering their taxes until they are due.  Unless you follow them for a while you get the idea that they are living on $2000 a month.  Then you find out they have a $10,000 months.  I don't budget that way. I pay my taxes bi annually (they don't allow annually or I might do that) but I'm putting aside money monthly to do it.    I direct deposit money into my credit union for big ticket items- car insurance, house insurance,  I consider it part of my budget.
I don't know if it's purposeful deceipt or not.  But subtracting mortgages from the bottom line, not accounting for known big ticket item expenses until the last minute, is not how I operate and seems suspicious to me.

We do our accounting that way. We don't have a budget, we have expense reports. So taxes are only an expense when we pay them. I don't account for them when we don't pay them, because we didn't pay them...so they weren't an expense that month.
I get that your mortgage and your taxes are fixed and that you have no control over them (except picking an appropriate place within your budget to live) But I don't get subtracting them from the monthly bottom line or totally ignoring them in your accounting sceam until they are due.  It gives people the idea that you are living on less than you do.

But they are transparent that they subtract the mortgage, the total is one line above.

And in the giant block of text above the spending report she explains that annual expenses are only in the month paid.

This is not an area where she fails at transparency, IMO.

A lot of people add their mortgage principal to their savings rate. Makes no sense to me, but it works for them.

Prairie Stash

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #368 on: March 27, 2018, 04:26:44 PM »
Yep she has detailed expenses listed. Because I'm stuck at home with a bum knee I added up their expenses for the last 12 months, including mortgage and prop taxes (can't remember if that included income taxes but likely) and it was a tad over $54k/ year ($4500/month). They don't include there rental house expenses since those are all covered by the rent income. So not bad overall. I don't think anyone here has a problem with their current spending though.
depends...did they have $1,350,000 (4% rule) when they first claimed FI? In other words, could their passive income support them if they were to both stop working? To me that's FI, the ability to quit at any time without modifying anything. Thank you for compiling the numbers. 

Either way I'll probably just gloss over their website and only read the interesting articles. I'll enjoy it the same way I enjoy any fiction novel, I have learned many life lessons from the genre. Is "Tom Sawyer" or Old Man and the Sea" any less enjoyable for being fiction?

HBFIRE

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #369 on: March 27, 2018, 04:32:48 PM »
I wasn't really into their blog, but this thread and all the haters makes me really root for them.  I hope they absolutely crush it.

mm1970

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #370 on: March 27, 2018, 05:02:53 PM »
Let's put it to a vote - guilty or not Poll 

Guilty or Not of misrepresentation??????
I think the problem with a poll is that while they may have misrepresented the income they earned in the years to get to FI, calling it "average, not special, median" etc.., I don't believe it was an intentional misrepresentation. I believe they really did (and still do) consider that they were average earners with median incomes back in 2014 when they started to save and weren't anything special financially. And maybe they weren't amongst their peers. So they may believe that their "extreme frugality" was what got them to FI rather than a very high salary.

I see this same mind set here all the time with high earners. So many high earners think they have "average" salaries. There is just such a disconnect between them and the reality of most true average income earners. I read journals and post about how they "struggle" to get to FI and are only spending $120k a year (minus mortgage) and wonder if they could ever attain FIRE or be able to live on $100k a year once RE. I just read the "can you retire on $5 million" thread and someone said well maybe if you live frugally. YIKES.

 Have I accidentally wandered into Bogelheadsville? Maybe its the lower income people like me who are the ones with the disconnect and don't even belong on MMM site. Guess I need to head off to ERE wit da po' folks ;-).

+1

I was going to make this point, but you made it perfectly.  They probably felt average when they started this thing.  And they were.  Among their peers.  If you don't go outside your bubble...well, how do you know differently, unless you make an effort?  I mean, I'd say with their reader case studies, maybe they are making an effort.

We are high earners and I'm surrounded by people who are like us and think they are average.  I purposely surround myself with a variety of people IRL (and well, I'm related to a bunch of po' folk).  I bet they'd score pretty high on the bubble test.  I think it's heavily location dependent, but where they live and being professionals, I can TOTALLY see it.  I'm an engineer, I work with engineers and PhDs - the vast majority of people at my company make >$100k, most are highly compensated employees.  My friends who live in the Bay area are in an even BIGGER bubble.  My friends who live in the DC area and work in Government - also, bubble for many of them.

Someone else mentioned that they thought the blog was uninteresting and second-rate, and well - that's in the eye of the beholder I guess.  I grew up in the country, so I like the country spin.  Even though I don't ever want to go back there, it's a nostalgia thing. It's probably the same reason I like onehundreddollarsamonth, who is more suburban but just now moving to a big place in the northeast.  Her writing style is more accessible but her blog is heavily monetized, and people have also called her out on income/ spending too.

mm1970

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #371 on: March 27, 2018, 05:04:49 PM »
Quote
I don't know.  It's hard to live in that much of a bubble.  It pretty much requires a highly paid professional with no management responsibilities.  Did they really earn $300k in the non-profit world and not have any exposure to payroll to realize what other workers actually make?  Or did they work for one of the most ridiculous non-profit ever, where none of its employees made below say two times the median income and also the mission was such that they were never exposed to anybody needy to give them an idea that $300k per year is not "standard"?  I just can't believe people who are so thrifty with their purchaes have never given a single thought to what market labor rates were.  They never purchased a single service where the labor rate worked out to less than $75 per hour and thought, "wow; how are they making the standard $150k per year if they're not even charging enough to get to $150k before paying any expenses or profit to the owner?"

It's really not that hard to live in that kind of bubble.  People are self-centered.

Eric

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #372 on: March 27, 2018, 05:35:14 PM »
Do a lot of people who live in a bubble write multiple posts about how privileged they are?

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/03/28/deprivation-or-abundance-turns-out-its-your-choice/

https://www.frugalwoods.com/2016/11/14/starting-the-thanksgiving-season-with-gratitude/

There's probably others too.  I remember her adding bits and pieces referencing her privilege to multiple posts.  These are just the full ones that I could find in 2 minutes of searching.

Saving4Fire

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #373 on: March 27, 2018, 06:05:15 PM »
Yep she has detailed expenses listed. Because I'm stuck at home with a bum knee I added up their expenses for the last 12 months, including mortgage and prop taxes (can't remember if that included income taxes but likely) and it was a tad over $54k/ year ($4500/month). They don't include there rental house expenses since those are all covered by the rent income. So not bad overall. I don't think anyone here has a problem with their current spending though.

Given we know how much her husband makes I think it's highly unlikely 54k in expenses includes income taxes.  Therefore 54k in expenses after income taxes means the average American household cannot afford their frugal lifestyle.   When you start to include things like their excellent healthcare the difference becomes even greater.

Look, I don't care how much they spend or make, and I'm sure there's some context an avid reader would like to point out, but on the face of it FW is pretty silly.   It's the kind of thing the show Portlandia used to lampoon.

Carrie

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #374 on: March 27, 2018, 06:40:20 PM »
If we don't count healthcare premiums or taxes, our annual household expenses are $29,000 for a family of 5. Maybe I should  start a blog.

Captain Cactus

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #375 on: March 27, 2018, 06:46:29 PM »
I wonder what Frugal Liz thinks about this thread?  Probably been good for business!

aspiringnomad

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #376 on: March 27, 2018, 06:47:14 PM »
Yep she has detailed expenses listed. Because I'm stuck at home with a bum knee I added up their expenses for the last 12 months, including mortgage and prop taxes (can't remember if that included income taxes but likely) and it was a tad over $54k/ year ($4500/month). They don't include there rental house expenses since those are all covered by the rent income. So not bad overall. I don't think anyone here has a problem with their current spending though.

Given we know how much her husband makes I think it's highly unlikely 54k in expenses includes income taxes.  Therefore 54k in expenses after income taxes means the average American household cannot afford their frugal lifestyle.   When you start to include things like their excellent healthcare the difference becomes even greater.

Look, I don't care how much they spend or make, and I'm sure there's some context an avid reader would like to point out, but on the face of it FW is pretty silly.   It's the kind of thing the show Portlandia used to lampoon.

Portlandia reference is spot on.

Eric

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #377 on: March 27, 2018, 07:16:25 PM »
Do a lot of people who live in a bubble write multiple posts about how privileged they are?

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/03/28/deprivation-or-abundance-turns-out-its-your-choice/

https://www.frugalwoods.com/2016/11/14/starting-the-thanksgiving-season-with-gratitude/

There's probably others too.  I remember her adding bits and pieces referencing her privilege to multiple posts.  These are just the full ones that I could find in 2 minutes of searching.
I've been reading their blog for a long time and Mrs FWs posts here and she always has acknowledged they are privileged. However (at least for a fair number of us here) her lack of disclosure of past income numbers leading to FI leave a big hole in her story. It"s kind of like saying Warren Buffet got to be a billionaire because he drove an old car and ate the $3 breakfast sandwich at MacDonalds everyday.

One reason I like MMM so much as he was very open about the salary and stash size  he had pre-FIRE as well as his spending. It's relatable. Even though we debate what his current spending and RE status is now (he's FIMER - Financially Independent Mustachian Early Retired. You are FI and RE but still do some work ;-)) how he got to FIRE initially is pretty clear.

I don't see any big holes, or any holes at all really.  No one retires in their early 30s on minimum wage or even median household income.  You're obviously going to have a high income.  It's par for the course.  The only thing the income does is speed the process.  Everything else is the same.

McStache

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #378 on: March 27, 2018, 07:33:17 PM »
Just want to point out that according to the publicly available 990's (that I was able to find with cursory googling), 2014 was his highest earning year and included a large bonus.  Probably due to the mid-term elections if I had to guess.

Salary history:
2010 - <$100K (not a highly compensated employee)
2012 - $122K
2013 - $138K
2014 - $201K
2015 - $173K

These are still above average salaries (far above on a national/global scale), but not atypical for a software type in Cambridge.

Edit: Actually looked at the 2014 990, the $225K number includes benefits/retirement, which is pretty sweet, but inconsistent with how I had reported the other numbers (wages only)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 08:58:01 PM by McStache »

Saving4Fire

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #379 on: March 27, 2018, 07:58:04 PM »
Just want to point out that according to the publicly available 990's (that I was able to find with cursory googling), 2014 was his highest earning year and included a large bonus.  Probably due to the mid-term elections if I had to guess.

Salary history:
2010 - <$100K (not a highly compensated employee)
2012 - $122K
2013 - $138K
2014 - $225K
2015 - $173K

These are still above average salaries (far above on a national/global scale), but not atypical for a software type in Cambridge.

Well, 2014 is when they changed their spendy lifestyle so the years before that aren't really germane to their narrative.   Also, looking at the 2015 data here (page 21) I'm seeing compensation of 206,482.

Just a typical non-profit nothing-special compensation like they tell their readers/customers, right?

McStache

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #380 on: March 27, 2018, 08:34:36 PM »
Just want to point out that according to the publicly available 990's (that I was able to find with cursory googling), 2014 was his highest earning year and included a large bonus.  Probably due to the mid-term elections if I had to guess.

Salary history:
2010 - <$100K (not a highly compensated employee)
2012 - $122K
2013 - $138K
2014 - $225K
2015 - $173K

These are still above average salaries (far above on a national/global scale), but not atypical for a software type in Cambridge.

Well, 2014 is when they changed their spendy lifestyle so the years before that aren't really germane to their narrative.   Also, looking at the 2015 data here (page 21) I'm seeing compensation of 206,482.
The $206k number includes employer retirement contributions and benefits (sounds like a sweet benefits package to boot).  Wages were $173K.

Quote
Just a typical non-profit nothing-special compensation like they tell their readers/customers, right?
I'm just here to provide more data, make some popcorn, and watch the thread keep churning.

reader321

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #381 on: March 27, 2018, 08:40:24 PM »
2014: $225k
2015: $226k (20 + 173 + 33)
2016: $271k
2017: $294k? (TBD)

rosarugosa

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #382 on: March 28, 2018, 04:52:09 AM »
Nothing says "Kardashian Mustachian" like this thread.

This is pretty hilarious. 

FWIW, I think this thread has lead to some interesting discussions regarding the FIRE/PF blog universe.  For example, I think the blogger manifesto on ournextlife is worth reading:  https://ournextlife.com/2018/03/21/fire-blogger-manifesto/


I don't think these bloggers, including MMM, are above reproach.  It's healthy to cast some skepticism and ask tough questions when they're dishing out personal finance advice.

Thanks for the link.  Good stuff!

SpreadsheetMan

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #383 on: March 28, 2018, 06:17:42 AM »
Nothing says "Kardashian Mustachian" like this thread.

This is pretty hilarious. 

FWIW, I think this thread has lead to some interesting discussions regarding the FIRE/PF blog universe.  For example, I think the blogger manifesto on ournextlife is worth reading:  https://ournextlife.com/2018/03/21/fire-blogger-manifesto/


I don't think these bloggers, including MMM, are above reproach.  It's healthy to cast some skepticism and ask tough questions when they're dishing out personal finance advice.

That blogger manifesto really hits the nail on the head. The discussion in the comments is very good as well.

Re. The Frugalwoods blog - I was there for the dog :-)


grantmeaname

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #384 on: March 28, 2018, 06:46:35 AM »
RIP :(

Eric

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #385 on: March 28, 2018, 09:36:23 AM »
Do a lot of people who live in a bubble write multiple posts about how privileged they are?

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/03/28/deprivation-or-abundance-turns-out-its-your-choice/

https://www.frugalwoods.com/2016/11/14/starting-the-thanksgiving-season-with-gratitude/

There's probably others too.  I remember her adding bits and pieces referencing her privilege to multiple posts.  These are just the full ones that I could find in 2 minutes of searching.
I've been reading their blog for a long time and Mrs FWs posts here and she always has acknowledged they are privileged. However (at least for a fair number of us here) her lack of disclosure of past income numbers leading to FI leave a big hole in her story. It"s kind of like saying Warren Buffet got to be a billionaire because he drove an old car and ate the $3 breakfast sandwich at MacDonalds everyday.

One reason I like MMM so much as he was very open about the salary and stash size  he had pre-FIRE as well as his spending. It's relatable. Even though we debate what his current spending and RE status is now (he's FIMER - Financially Independent Mustachian Early Retired. You are FI and RE but still do some work ;-)) how he got to FIRE initially is pretty clear.

I don't see any big holes, or any holes at all really.  No one retires in their early 30s on minimum wage or even median household income.  You're obviously going to have a high income.  It's par for the course.  The only thing the income does is speed the process.  Everything else is the same.
True and I agree for the most part. As a lower income earner pre-FIRE there can be a few challenges beyond just time to get to FI. As trying to save 50% of $40k each year for a couple of decades is different from saving 80% of a $300k salary for less than 5 years. But agree that overall it works the same. However their claim of being average median income earners is the issue most have with the blog when its soooo easy to just say they earned a high income but saved a butt load by LBYM.

And yet in that first link I posted here:

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

She states that they have high paying jobs.  So while it's super fun to look at one statement, take it out of context, and blow it all out of proportion by claiming they live in a bubble and have no sense of what's average, it's not really the case at all.  They obviously know they make a lot of money.  It's probably why she writes so much about how privileged they are. 

But of course by this point, the pitchforks are out and all of these anti-MMM attitudes are feeding upon each other, so there's probably not much anyone can do to stem the tide.  I tried though. 

Jrr85

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #386 on: March 28, 2018, 09:41:59 AM »
Quote
I don't know.  It's hard to live in that much of a bubble.  It pretty much requires a highly paid professional with no management responsibilities.  Did they really earn $300k in the non-profit world and not have any exposure to payroll to realize what other workers actually make?  Or did they work for one of the most ridiculous non-profit ever, where none of its employees made below say two times the median income and also the mission was such that they were never exposed to anybody needy to give them an idea that $300k per year is not "standard"?  I just can't believe people who are so thrifty with their purchaes have never given a single thought to what market labor rates were.  They never purchased a single service where the labor rate worked out to less than $75 per hour and thought, "wow; how are they making the standard $150k per year if they're not even charging enough to get to $150k before paying any expenses or profit to the owner?"

It's really not that hard to live in that kind of bubble.  People are self-centered.

Well, living in a bubble is not hard, having zero awareness about the bubble is a different story.  Again, somebody writes about money, spends a lot of time worrying about their spending and saving and early retirement, and has zero clue that they are earning more than three times the median family income for their area?  They're obviously aware that most people are not reaching financial independence at a young age.  There are plenty of self absorbed and not very bright people.  The little I've read of their blog, I just find it hard to believe that they never had any introspection about their income or how it compares to others.  It just seems almost certain that they made a conscious decision to downplay their income, maybe to increase the marketability of their blog, maybe just because it seems in bad taste to be in the non-profit world and advertise that you are making more than three times the median family income.  Again, not sure it's that big of a deal, but you have to be particularly credulous to think there weren't aware that their income wasn't standard.   

mm1970

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #387 on: March 28, 2018, 10:14:24 AM »
Quote
I don't know.  It's hard to live in that much of a bubble.  It pretty much requires a highly paid professional with no management responsibilities.  Did they really earn $300k in the non-profit world and not have any exposure to payroll to realize what other workers actually make?  Or did they work for one of the most ridiculous non-profit ever, where none of its employees made below say two times the median income and also the mission was such that they were never exposed to anybody needy to give them an idea that $300k per year is not "standard"?  I just can't believe people who are so thrifty with their purchaes have never given a single thought to what market labor rates were.  They never purchased a single service where the labor rate worked out to less than $75 per hour and thought, "wow; how are they making the standard $150k per year if they're not even charging enough to get to $150k before paying any expenses or profit to the owner?"

It's really not that hard to live in that kind of bubble.  People are self-centered.

Well, living in a bubble is not hard, having zero awareness about the bubble is a different story.  Again, somebody writes about money, spends a lot of time worrying about their spending and saving and early retirement, and has zero clue that they are earning more than three times the median family income for their area?  They're obviously aware that most people are not reaching financial independence at a young age.  There are plenty of self absorbed and not very bright people.  The little I've read of their blog, I just find it hard to believe that they never had any introspection about their income or how it compares to others.  It just seems almost certain that they made a conscious decision to downplay their income, maybe to increase the marketability of their blog, maybe just because it seems in bad taste to be in the non-profit world and advertise that you are making more than three times the median family income.  Again, not sure it's that big of a deal, but you have to be particularly credulous to think there weren't aware that their income wasn't standard.

Bears repeating from above:
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

MarciaB

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #388 on: March 28, 2018, 12:00:17 PM »
The FWs remind me of my adult kids. And who didn't love the photos of the dog dressed up and such? If they lived next door to me I'd love to have them bring the little ones and drop by for tea and cookies.

Tyson

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #389 on: March 28, 2018, 01:21:41 PM »
Bears repeating from above:
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

Hmm, yes they do seem to get it:

Quote from: FrugalWoods
Achieving early retirement isn’t something everyone can do. I wish I could say that if everyone would just save a little more, and live a bit farther below their means, and avoid buying an SUV, they’d be able to quit their jobs and live the life they crave. But that’s not the reality. There’s structural privilege inherent in our ability to pursue financial independence at a young age.

reader321

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #390 on: March 28, 2018, 01:35:48 PM »
Bears repeating from above:
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

Hmm, yes they do seem to get it:

Quote from: FrugalWoods
Achieving early retirement isn’t something everyone can do. I wish I could say that if everyone would just save a little more, and live a bit farther below their means, and avoid buying an SUV, they’d be able to quit their jobs and live the life they crave. But that’s not the reality. There’s structural privilege inherent in our ability to pursue financial independence at a young age.

Yes, they get it.

The question is why do they use coded language to describe their financial situation? This is especially true of their more recent messaging in the run-up to the publication of their book. For example, a few weeks ago in the Guardian:

Quote
My husband, Nate, and I are not exceptional people. We’re not rich or famous or geniuses or even particularly good-looking (although we have our moments). We’re just some average, middle-class kids from the midwest who decided we wanted something more out of life than what our consumer culture sells us.

Why go to great lengths do depict yourself as "normal", average midwesterners when you make $40k per month? Is it perhaps because the truth undermines the narrative that frugality alone made them financially independent?

MMMarbleheader

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #391 on: March 28, 2018, 02:54:51 PM »
I remember a reference in an interview or blog way back that she said they decided to focus on expenses and not income because they did not want to disclose their salaries to their family as they felt it was uncomfortable.

Also they have always been forthcoming about their savings rate and that they maxed out their 401ks it was pretty easy to back into an income well over $200k based on their spending.

tooqk4u22

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #392 on: March 28, 2018, 03:26:11 PM »
Bears repeating from above:
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

Hmm, yes they do seem to get it:

Quote from: FrugalWoods
Achieving early retirement isn’t something everyone can do. I wish I could say that if everyone would just save a little more, and live a bit farther below their means, and avoid buying an SUV, they’d be able to quit their jobs and live the life they crave. But that’s not the reality. There’s structural privilege inherent in our ability to pursue financial independence at a young age.


Do they...

"We have high-paying jobs. While this alone isn’t a predictor of financial health, or the ability to achieve financial independence at a young age, it sure does help. Yes, we’re extreme frugal weirdos and yes, we save 71% of our incomes every year and yes, minus our mortgage we spent $13,000 in all of 2014. But, we recognize how fortunate we are to be able to do this."

This could be calculated a bunch of ways...
- The first, and laziest, would be oh they spend $13,000 and saved 71%....so they made only $45,000....that's like poverty in Boston. 
- next would be to add back their mortgage (hold on let me track down that number from another post)....found it $23k (including taxes) so that means they make only $124k.....that's not at all that much for two working people in Boston and makes sense given they non-profit workers.
- oh wait, their savings rate is only based on their take home pay (after taxes, benis, and 401k)....what now I am confused, so they make a lot more than that?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 03:27:57 PM by tooqk4u22 »

pbkmaine

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #393 on: March 29, 2018, 08:06:53 AM »
My life isn’t anything like theirs or Pete’s or Amy Dacyczyn’s or Vicki Robin’s but I have gotten inspiration from each one. There’s a core message to be had, if you choose to hear it: figure out what you truly value and live a life consistent with it. All of them believe what Socrates said in Plato’s Apology: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

nick663

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #394 on: March 29, 2018, 03:10:55 PM »
Do a lot of people who live in a bubble write multiple posts about how privileged they are?

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/03/28/deprivation-or-abundance-turns-out-its-your-choice/

https://www.frugalwoods.com/2016/11/14/starting-the-thanksgiving-season-with-gratitude/

There's probably others too.  I remember her adding bits and pieces referencing her privilege to multiple posts.  These are just the full ones that I could find in 2 minutes of searching.
I've been reading their blog for a long time and Mrs FWs posts here and she always has acknowledged they are privileged. However (at least for a fair number of us here) her lack of disclosure of past income numbers leading to FI leave a big hole in her story. It"s kind of like saying Warren Buffet got to be a billionaire because he drove an old car and ate the $3 breakfast sandwich at MacDonalds everyday.

One reason I like MMM so much as he was very open about the salary and stash size  he had pre-FIRE as well as his spending. It's relatable. Even though we debate what his current spending and RE status is now (he's FIMER - Financially Independent Mustachian Early Retired. You are FI and RE but still do some work ;-)) how he got to FIRE initially is pretty clear.

I don't see any big holes, or any holes at all really.  No one retires in their early 30s on minimum wage or even median household income.  You're obviously going to have a high income.  It's par for the course.  The only thing the income does is speed the process.  Everything else is the same.
True and I agree for the most part. As a lower income earner pre-FIRE there can be a few challenges beyond just time to get to FI. As trying to save 50% of $40k each year for a couple of decades is different from saving 80% of a $300k salary for less than 5 years. But agree that overall it works the same. However their claim of being average median income earners is the issue most have with the blog when its soooo easy to just say they earned a high income but saved a butt load by LBYM.

And yet in that first link I posted here:

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

She states that they have high paying jobs.  So while it's super fun to look at one statement, take it out of context, and blow it all out of proportion by claiming they live in a bubble and have no sense of what's average, it's not really the case at all.  They obviously know they make a lot of money.  It's probably why she writes so much about how privileged they are. 

But of course by this point, the pitchforks are out and all of these anti-MMM attitudes are feeding upon each other, so there's probably not much anyone can do to stem the tide.  I tried though.
"High paying" relative to what though?  A couple paragraphs before that she mentions being in a "higher earning category than many other people in the world" ...which is true for pretty much anyone in the United States.  The median household income of earth is less than 10k.

Eric

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #395 on: March 29, 2018, 04:11:34 PM »

And yet in that first link I posted here:

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/02/16/the-privilege-of-pursuing-financial-independence/

She states that they have high paying jobs.  So while it's super fun to look at one statement, take it out of context, and blow it all out of proportion by claiming they live in a bubble and have no sense of what's average, it's not really the case at all.  They obviously know they make a lot of money.  It's probably why she writes so much about how privileged they are. 

But of course by this point, the pitchforks are out and all of these anti-MMM attitudes are feeding upon each other, so there's probably not much anyone can do to stem the tide.  I tried though.
"High paying" relative to what though?  A couple paragraphs before that she mentions being in a "higher earning category than many other people in the world" ...which is true for pretty much anyone in the United States.  The median household income of earth is less than 10k.

Jobs.  Relative to other jobs.  Hence the phrase "high paying jobs".

lhamo

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #396 on: March 29, 2018, 11:44:15 PM »
Wow -- this NYT editorial discussing anxiety around affluence sure is pertinent to this discussion:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/opinion/sunday/what-the-rich-wont-tell-you.html

It is based on the author's research with parents in NYC who had high incomes and/or millions in inherited wealth.

One interesting quote:

"And, as they try to be “normal,” these wealthy and affluent people deflect the stigma of wealth. If they can see themselves as hard workers and reasonable consumers, they can belong symbolically to the broad and legitimate American “middle,” while remaining materially at the top."

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #397 on: March 30, 2018, 12:55:42 AM »
Wow -- this NYT editorial discussing anxiety around affluence sure is pertinent to this discussion:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/opinion/sunday/what-the-rich-wont-tell-you.html

"Scott and his wife had spent $600,000 in the year before our conversation. “We just can’t understand how we spent that much money,” he told me. “That’s kind of a little spousal joke. You know, like: ‘Hey. Do you feel like this is the $600,000 lifestyle? Whooo!’ ” Rather than living the high life that he imagined would carry such a price tag, he described himself as “frenetic,” asserting, “I’m running around, I’m making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Having money does not mean, in his view, that he is not ordinary."

O_O

[this isn't related to your point about anxiety, but it, um, stuck out to me.]

Basenji

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #398 on: March 30, 2018, 07:15:29 AM »
My life isn’t anything like theirs or Pete’s or Amy Dacyczyn’s or Vicki Robin’s but I have gotten inspiration from each one. There’s a core message to be had, if you choose to hear it: figure out what you truly value and live a life consistent with it. All of them believe what Socrates said in Plato’s Apology: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Amen. I don't understand the nitpicking on salaries and such. Take what works for you from them. If I hear a billionaire saves money by doing X, I don't ignore it because s/he's rich. I see whether I can use the tip!

badassprof

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #399 on: March 30, 2018, 08:30:11 AM »
 I think that someone on the previous thread hit the nail on the head:  while we might like to think that FI or RE is available to anyone willing to save and put in the work, the fact is that is much easier--and indeed much more likely--if you have a significant income to save (or money from an inheritance, a house sale, etc). As noted, 54,000 (the FW average spending [and MMM's is around there too, as I recall]) is the average income--before deductions-- of many. The fact that they can save on top of that points to a high wage, whether they reveal that or not.

I've read the FW blog for awhile, and I don't recall them saying, "Hey, anyone can do this, etc."  I suspect the ire in this thread and the other is that the blog exposes--unwittingly or not--the importance of income (not to mention stellar benefits and the ability to work from home and thus live in a less expensive area), and the fundamental inequities in those perks, particularly among millennials.