Author Topic: What's up with the Frugalwoods?  (Read 140868 times)

I'm a red panda

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #500 on: January 03, 2019, 02:22:19 PM »
In what universe is $250K out of college in the early 1990s not "huge"?
.DC area and New York City that was probably above average for the times, but not massive.  Head up Route 15 in Virginia, leading into Maryland, the pristine landscape has been forever ruined.  McMansions starting at $998k.  To do that, you and your significant other must be GS 15s or SESers.  Not that I want that junk, but just sayin'...

It was a hell of a lot above average. Even NOW the average HOUSEHOLD (not individual) income in DC is $75k and Manhattan is under $70k.  And it's 20 years later.
Even today, a household income of greater than $250k is in the the top 5% of NYC.

You have very unrealistic expectations.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 02:25:12 PM by I'm a red panda »

ysette9

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #501 on: January 03, 2019, 02:27:20 PM »
Congrats. You have won the game, and did it apparently with ingenuity and frugality. You should be proud of what you accomplished.

I’m not really sure where the complaints come from. It makes you sound a little sour grapes-y.

mathlete

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #502 on: January 03, 2019, 02:55:08 PM »
It was a hell of a lot above average. Even NOW the average HOUSEHOLD (not individual) income in DC is $75k and Manhattan is under $70k.  And it's 20 years later.
Even today, a household income of greater than $250k is in the the top 5% of NYC.

You have very unrealistic expectations.

This.

One of the worst personal finance memes is that everyone in New York and San Francisco makes $200K a year and are still barely surviving.

MrBojangles

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #503 on: January 03, 2019, 03:16:13 PM »
BTW, I keep on forgetting to ask:  Any idea as to what Elizabeth Thames earned working for WGBH?  Was it at least more down to earth?

I'm a red panda

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #504 on: January 03, 2019, 03:29:15 PM »
BTW, I keep on forgetting to ask:  Any idea as to what Elizabeth Thames earned working for WGBH?  Was it at least more down to earth?

She's not listed as one of their highly compensated employees. You could look at LinkedIn for her job title, and Glassdoor for salaries of people in similar rolls.
Beyond that- how is it any of your business?
Here's a 2011 article about WGBH salaries. 
https://web.archive.org/web/20110311203114/https://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1322292

What do you deem to be a fair salary for Elizabeth Thames? Do you know anything about the work she did? The money she brought in while fundraising? Her value to the company?
How do you determine what down to Earth is?

We do know she made next to nothing her first years with Americorps.


The Thameses are remarkably transparent in their spending. If you spend less than they do; you can do what they've done.

As you stated, you are already FI, you are not RE. Well guess what- exact same for them- they are FI, they are not RE.
You've both won the game.
But you are remarkably jealous of strangers, and they seem to be getting on pretty well doing what makes them happy.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #505 on: January 03, 2019, 03:35:18 PM »
I am FI.  I don't really want to RE because I can get a pension in less than 10 years.  I only heard about FIRE in the last several months.  I didn't even know that I am FI until after learning about it.  Kind of happened when I landed my first real job in 1995 in the DC area, $30,119, after several years of near minimum wage jobs.  (Hey, Monica Lewinsky earned EXACTLY the same I did, and she lived in the Watergate!)  When I realized how little that was, I started buying stock in many Blue Chip companies and then sending out ridiculous cover letters stating that, as a shareholder, I would work all the harder.  I rented a room as cheaply as possible, drove an old Ford, worked overtime when possible...

So I've done okay, just not how I expected.  The "plan" was to earn so much that I could be fully retired in my mid 20's.  However, I'm convinced had I earned not huge money, but really good money right out of college (say $250k a year in the early '90's, I would have gotten on the consumption bandwagon and saved nothing.

Read The Millionaire Next Door if you get a chance.

Dude, I canít even with you anymore.

Vertical Mode

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #506 on: January 03, 2019, 08:01:08 PM »

The world simply needs a whole lot more jobs like Nate's and a whole lot less like mine.

Does it though?
If there was need for this type of job, they would exist.

But only a few people will ever be needed for this sort of role.

Honestly, Nate is a huge success story in finding this kind of role. He didn't have the Ivy league connections. His parents didn't get him the job. He's a huge success story to end up in this type of position. He must be very good at what he does for a company to value him in this way.

They got lucky in the Cambridge property; but they also seized opportunity when they saw it. Other people weren't able to do that same thing.

Just wanted to emphasize the bolded part, I'm glad you mentioned this. If I recall correctly; they went to over a hundred open houses, knew exactly what they were looking for, and moved quickly to purchase the Cambridge place for the lowest cost/square foot for any sale in Cambridge that year. The impressive bit for me is the "100+ open houses" part - this is a case of preparation meeting opportunity. It is true that they got very lucky riding the rising tide of Cambridge real estate, but lets not discount the fact that uncovering that opportunity to begin with is a direct result of putting in the work. Furthermore, earning the kinds of salaries they did (in the non-profit sector, too!) and using those resources with a purpose to fashion their dream life continues to inspire me to step my game up and get after it.

After reading your post again, I'm starting to think I should have bolded your previous paragraph too, for the same reason.

ysette9

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #507 on: January 03, 2019, 09:45:46 PM »
As they say, luck favors the prepared

MrBojangles

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #508 on: January 04, 2019, 09:51:07 AM »
I had thought about something I wrote the other day where I stated that the world (or at least the U.S.) needs a whole lot more jobs like Nate's and a whole lot less like mine, I was looking at it from a PURELY economic point of view.

Regarding the ability to telecommute, and earn a decent (not even stratospheric) salary is what the U.S. desperately needs.  Not from the employee's lifestyle point of view, but to invigorate small town America.  I thought when the internet came out, most folks could work anywhere and there would be a mass exodus to small town America and less of a population base in the large cities.  If anything, it seems that folks more than ever want to live in major metropolitan areas despite more opportunities than ever to work from home.  Telecommute while living in NYC, I guess!

mm1970

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #509 on: January 04, 2019, 09:56:42 AM »
In what universe is $250K out of college in the early 1990s not "huge"?
.DC area and New York City that was probably above average for the times, but not massive.  Head up Route 15 in Virginia, leading into Maryland, the pristine landscape has been forever ruined.  McMansions starting at $998k.  To do that, you and your significant other must be GS 15s or SESers.  Not that I want that junk, but just sayin'...
Look, I lived in DC in 1992-1997 and $250k was so NOT the norm back then.  I mean really.  Not for anyone right out of college - and honestly none of the experienced people I knew either.

Sure, I was in the Navy making $19,200 (as were my coworkers).  Now, several of them are CURRENTLY GS-15's and SESs making around $150-165k, more for the SES's.  But nobody was making that kind of money back then.  The government workers right out of college were making about $45-50k a year. 

mm1970

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #510 on: January 04, 2019, 09:59:13 AM »
It IS about the Frugalwoods!  In fact, that's how I found this forum on Saturday.  I had been meaning to research this for months when I figured out what Nate earned, wondering if anyone else questioned this and discovered others did long before I did.

Yes, I AM envious!  My goal in college was to earn a massive amount of money and work from home.  I failed on both counts.  Nate did not.  I was under the impression that demand for workers would far outstrip supply, especially with regards to those with a college degree, so if a business even wants to attract employees in this day and age, they will have to accede to their demands--e.g., high income, work from home, etc.  Wrong on that count as well!

The world simply needs a whole lot more jobs like Nate's and a whole lot less like mine.
I think people forget that you need to work your way into these positions.  Even now, when I discuss working from home, part time work, and flexible schedules with my mom-friends - it comes up.  "I want a part time job!" 

Good luck.
Your best bet is to get a regular job.  Excel at it.  Negotiate your way to part time and work from home.  That's what I did, both times when I was part time, and now when I work from home if needed.  Nobody cares if I work from home if I get my work done.  (I'd mostly rather be at the office with the 2 big screens and free coffee).

It doesn't mean that you can't get a work from home job, but the vast majority of folks that I know who have that gig negotiated it after the fact.

mathlete

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #511 on: January 04, 2019, 10:44:09 AM »
I think people forget that you need to work your way into these positions.  Even now, when I discuss working from home, part time work, and flexible schedules with my mom-friends - it comes up.  "I want a part time job!" 

Good luck.
Your best bet is to get a regular job.  Excel at it.  Negotiate your way to part time and work from home.  That's what I did, both times when I was part time, and now when I work from home if needed.  Nobody cares if I work from home if I get my work done.  (I'd mostly rather be at the office with the 2 big screens and free coffee).

It doesn't mean that you can't get a work from home job, but the vast majority of folks that I know who have that gig negotiated it after the fact.

Same story with me. You get flexible working arrangements by having skins on the wall.

Maybe that will change one day. And people will be hired to telecommute straight out of college.

MrBojangles

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #512 on: January 04, 2019, 11:13:16 AM »
In what universe is $250K out of college in the early 1990s not "huge"?
.DC area and New York City that was probably above average for the times, but not massive.  Head up Route 15 in Virginia, leading into Maryland, the pristine landscape has been forever ruined.  McMansions starting at $998k.  To do that, you and your significant other must be GS 15s or SESers.  Not that I want that junk, but just sayin'...
Look, I lived in DC in 1992-1997 and $250k was so NOT the norm back then.  I mean really.  Not for anyone right out of college - and honestly none of the experienced people I knew either.

Sure, I was in the Navy making $19,200 (as were my coworkers).  Now, several of them are CURRENTLY GS-15's and SESs making around $150-165k, more for the SES's.  But nobody was making that kind of money back then.  The government workers right out of college were making about $45-50k a year.

I was three years out of college mid '90's when I was hired by the government at a GS 07 Step 1 for $30,119.  Would have leaped for 45-50k!  Having said that, I ended up in the DC area in Fauquier county a bit distant from where I was employed expecting to find cheaper real estate and it didn't exist.  I came up with $250k a year to start as any decent place with land would require that.  Not that it's realistic.

Given how long I had worked for so little, when informed I was going to be paid over 30k a year, you would think I had won the lottery.  When it came time to figure out where to live, it wasn't all that much.  I ended up renting a room in a house as it was affordable.

I certainly paid my dues!  Not sure WHY it has to be that way though!  My 20's could have been a fabulous time, but it wasn't.  Income was the limiting factor.

I'm a red panda

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #513 on: January 04, 2019, 11:25:50 AM »
In what universe is $250K out of college in the early 1990s not "huge"?
.DC area and New York City that was probably above average for the times, but not massive.  Head up Route 15 in Virginia, leading into Maryland, the pristine landscape has been forever ruined.  McMansions starting at $998k.  To do that, you and your significant other must be GS 15s or SESers.  Not that I want that junk, but just sayin'...
Look, I lived in DC in 1992-1997 and $250k was so NOT the norm back then.  I mean really.  Not for anyone right out of college - and honestly none of the experienced people I knew either.

Sure, I was in the Navy making $19,200 (as were my coworkers).  Now, several of them are CURRENTLY GS-15's and SESs making around $150-165k, more for the SES's.  But nobody was making that kind of money back then.  The government workers right out of college were making about $45-50k a year.

I was three years out of college mid '90's when I was hired by the government at a GS 07 Step 1 for $30,119.  Would have leaped for 45-50k!  Having said that, I ended up in the DC area in Fauquier county a bit distant from where I was employed expecting to find cheaper real estate and it didn't exist.  I came up with $250k a year to start as any decent place with land would require that.  Not that it's realistic.

Given how long I had worked for so little, when informed I was going to be paid over 30k a year, you would think I had won the lottery.  When it came time to figure out where to live, it wasn't all that much.  I ended up renting a room in a house as it was affordable.

I certainly paid my dues!  Not sure WHY it has to be that way though!  My 20's could have been a fabulous time, but it wasn't.  Income was the limiting factor.

Bolded statement is just entirely untrue. It's untrue now and untrue then. There are plenty of home owners in the DC area making FAR less than $250k. $250k is a far upper echelon salary.  It's absurd to think of it as any sort of minimal expectation.

You come off as so entitled.

Laura33

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #514 on: January 04, 2019, 11:54:20 AM »
In what universe is $250K out of college in the early 1990s not "huge"?
.DC area and New York City that was probably above average for the times, but not massive.  Head up Route 15 in Virginia, leading into Maryland, the pristine landscape has been forever ruined.  McMansions starting at $998k.  To do that, you and your significant other must be GS 15s or SESers.  Not that I want that junk, but just sayin'...
Look, I lived in DC in 1992-1997 and $250k was so NOT the norm back then.  I mean really.  Not for anyone right out of college - and honestly none of the experienced people I knew either.

Sure, I was in the Navy making $19,200 (as were my coworkers).  Now, several of them are CURRENTLY GS-15's and SESs making around $150-165k, more for the SES's.  But nobody was making that kind of money back then.  The government workers right out of college were making about $45-50k a year.

I was three years out of college mid '90's when I was hired by the government at a GS 07 Step 1 for $30,119.  Would have leaped for 45-50k!  Having said that, I ended up in the DC area in Fauquier county a bit distant from where I was employed expecting to find cheaper real estate and it didn't exist.  I came up with $250k a year to start as any decent place with land would require that.

I graduated in 1991 -- with a law degree -- and started with a big DC-area firm at $57K; I had an offer in DC proper for I think $64K.  Even NYC firms weren't paying baby lawyers more than maybe $80K back then -- and at the time, NYC BigLaw was about at the tippy-top of the "starting salary" charts.  So $250K starting salary with only a BA?  That's almost an order of magnitude off. 

I was also able to buy a condo in the DC area in 1991 for $115K (though not DC).  5 years later, I was not making anywhere near $250K and yet was more than qualified to buy a VERY fancy townhouse a mile from the Metro for $285K; less-fancy ranch homes nearby were available for maybe 1/2-2/3 that price; even further out past the Metro, homes with land were even cheaper.  IIRC, mortgage companies back then would say you could afford a mortgage that was @2.5-3x salary.  So $250K to afford a home?  That's pretty laughable.

Oh, and when you came to DC with that $30K job?  That same year, my mom made less than that as a tenured full professor at a nearby college.

Tl;dr:  $250K starting salary, either as something anyone "deserved" or as something that was "needed" to buy a house, was clearly both unnecessary and unachievable.  If those are the kinds of expectations you were anchored to, it's no wonder you were dissatisfied with where you ended up, because you wanted something that did not exist.  And if you continue to anchor yourself to those expectations -- to the believe that some people got $250K jobs handed to them in the '90s because they were lucky or had connections or whatever -- you are always going to be disappointed in your life. Because no real life can live up to that.

mathlete

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #515 on: January 04, 2019, 12:22:38 PM »
I think we're getting trolled boys.

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #516 on: January 04, 2019, 12:24:29 PM »
In what universe is $250K out of college in the early 1990s not "huge"?
.DC area and New York City that was probably above average for the times, but not massive.  Head up Route 15 in Virginia, leading into Maryland, the pristine landscape has been forever ruined.  McMansions starting at $998k.  To do that, you and your significant other must be GS 15s or SESers.  Not that I want that junk, but just sayin'...

No, you are wrong.  In the late 90s you could still get a house sub 500k in Mclean.

Kronsey

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #517 on: January 04, 2019, 12:36:27 PM »
I think we're getting trolled boys.

Me too.

Look at his other posts. I almost commented the same thing on one of his other threads about selling a rental property. Then figured it wasn't worth the hassle :)

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #518 on: January 04, 2019, 12:59:11 PM »
I think we're getting trolled boys.

Me too.

Look at his other posts. I almost commented the same thing on one of his other threads about selling a rental property. Then figured it wasn't worth the hassle :)

Iíve been thinking that for a bit, which is why Iím done responding to anything he writes now.

marble_faun

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #519 on: January 04, 2019, 01:11:41 PM »
Earlier I was wondering if Mr. Bojangles was a troll, because arguing with him is like playing wall ball... everything just bounces right off. But we've been getting such a detailed portrait of a person with a truly backwards life-philosophy that to me it seems just too weird to be made up. 

If Mr. Bojangles is a troll, my congratulations to whoever invented the character.  I hope you write a novel starring Mr. Bojangles that makes at least 300-500K. May you sit quietly forever in the McMansion of your dreams.

Kronsey

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #520 on: January 04, 2019, 01:28:17 PM »
Earlier I was wondering if Mr. Bojangles was a troll, because arguing with him is like playing wall ball... everything just bounces right off. But we've been getting such a detailed portrait of a person with a truly backwards life-philosophy that to me it seems just too weird to be made up. 

If Mr. Bojangles is a troll, my congratulations to whoever invented the character.  I hope you write a novel starring Mr. Bojangles that makes at least 300-500K. May you sit quietly forever in the McMansion of your dreams.

Haha! Thanks for the laugh!

I imagine Mr Bojangles to be someone in his exact scenario (so the facts of his life are legit) who absolutely knows he hit the life lottery (easy govt job with great benefits, born in USA during a decent period, and having the right DNA to save/invest) but is putting a spendypants twist on it to get under all the frugal people's skin.

Some people are bored and pretty creative :)

Definitely agree he could be 100% serious though. If so, I pity him.

MrBojangles

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #521 on: January 04, 2019, 01:51:04 PM »
Okay that post came off wrong.  I meant to say I headed west on Route 66 and was quite a ways from work (an hour) with a $30k job and figured I would get some land.  Horse country.  Although I didn't understand what that meant at the time.  I just saw the quaint homes and land.  Okay, maybe not 250k a year needed to purchase, but 30k wasn't enough.  I got the idea since it was that far from work, it had to be cheap.  Not the case.

A 115k townhome was more realistic.

See other thread about real estate.  I bought a home with about half an acre 90 min from the big city.  Some areas will remain depressed.  It's simply too far away from a major city, and it gets tiresome making the drive.  Lived there 4 or 5 years and have rented out since.  It is near a highway though.  Easy access bit far enough away so as to not see or hear it.  Folks in these areas tend to work locally.  Husband and wife working at $12 or $15 an hour combined income can may be afford my house.

I could rent out indefinitely.  I figured the time to sell was when it was a seller's market and new inside.  Tenants are rough on stuff, whether new or old...

Maybe I do have unrealistic expectations.  I spent years in college with the crazy idea I was worth a ton of money.  I can't explain why I did, as there's no reason I should be worth what I thought I was worth.  Other than it seems to me It's a great idea to have lots of wealthy individuals around.  They spend money, create jobs for people, buy luxury goods.  Except I personally don't require anything luxurious and a McMansion would be simply too big.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 01:54:37 PM by MrBojangles »

Basenji

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #522 on: January 04, 2019, 02:29:10 PM »
Maybe I do have unrealistic expectations. I spent years in college with the crazy idea I was worth a ton of money.  I can't explain why I did, as there's no reason I should be worth what I thought I was worth.  Other than it seems to me It's a great idea to have lots of wealthy individuals around.  They spend money, create jobs for people, buy luxury goods.  Except I personally don't require anything luxurious and a McMansion would be simply too big.

No, your expectations were correct and you are in the small percentage of the wealthiest people in the world.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/global-wealth-concentration/

Quote
Today, slightly less than 1% of the worldís adult population occupies the $1M+ wealth range. Despite their small numbers, this elite group collectively controls 46% of the worldís wealth, valued at approximately $129 trillion.

Gasp. [cogitates] I think I'm one of those horrible rich people...

But this is the killer: 7.9% of people are in the $100k to $1 million range. This covers pretty much everyone I know and I imagine many established MMMers. And I'm pretty sure YOU, MrB.

Sorry to pile on MrB, but there are people on this forum who have told stories of overcoming WAY more obstacles than you have described, who have applied spit and baling wire with a healthy dose of humility and humor. You aren't getting enough sympathy because you are actually doing very well, you just don't know it. I send you a big dose of self-care. Best to you.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 02:47:34 PM by Basenji »

ysette9

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What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #523 on: January 04, 2019, 03:03:14 PM »
I don’t think I am convinced that “wealthy people” actually do that much to spread money around. Or maybe we disagree on what it means to be wealthy, or maybe my slice of society is really weird.

I am lucky enough to make a lot of money and work with people who do the same.
Yes, they (we) spend a lot of houses because this is HCOL area, but otherwise it isn’t like we are buying 10x the consumer goods as someone making 1/10 the salary. It just seems that people here are much more likely to be excited about a mega backdoor Roth option in the 401k plan.

For what it is worth: I graduated undergrad and got a good job. I haven’t done the inflation adjustment but perhaps it was on par with what @MrBojangles was making out of college. I had a lot of wants and lifestyle inflation plans and some jealousy of what those around me had. Today i earn something like 5x what I did back then. I live in a smaller house than I did growing up as a kid. We don’t drive new cars. I buy my clothes used. Don’t get me wrong, we live a very luxurious, comfortable life, but without much that looks luxurious from the outside. Mostly I have a very nicely padded set of investment accounts that gives me a great sense of security and satisfaction. We have found that as our ability to buy just about anything goes up, our desire to have those possessions seems to go down. Perhaps just knowing that I could is good enough?

MrBojangles

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #524 on: January 04, 2019, 03:16:01 PM »
I donít think I am convinced that ďwealthy peopleĒ actually do that much to spread money around. Or maybe we disagree on what it means to be wealthy, or maybe my slice of society is really weird.

I am lucky enough to make a lot of money and work with people who do the same.
Yes, they (we) spend a lot of houses because this is HCOL area, but otherwise it isnít like we are buying 10x the consumer goods as someone making 1/10 the salary. It just seems that people here are much more likely to be excited about a mega backdoor Roth option in the 401k plan.

For what it is worth: I graduated undergrad and got a good job. I havenít done the inflation adjustment but perhaps it was on par with what @MrBojangles was making out of college. I had a lot of wants and lifestyle inflation plans and some jealousy of what those around me had. Today i earn something like 5x what I did back then. I live in a smaller house than I did growing up as a kid. We donít drive new cars. I buy my clothes used. Donít get me wrong, we live a very luxurious, comfortable life, but without much that looks luxurious from the outside. Mostly I have a very nicely padded set of investment accounts that gives me a great sense of security and satisfaction. We have found that as our ability to buy just about anything goes up, our desire to have those possessions seems to go down. Perhaps just knowing that I could is good enough?

+1

I'm the same.  Anyone who looks at me would not know I have over a million invested.  I am humble, hang out at and am more comfortable in blue collar environments.

I have done fine for myself.  But, there's a part of me that says, gee, there are 320 million folks in America.  As far as wealth goes, I want to be about 4th.  I know this is irrational.  Sometimes I reason and think I am completely reasonable when I see how many billionaires are out there and I think I am being realistic thinking I ought to have a cool $100 million in the bank as it is a fraction of what folks like Zuckerburg and Buffett have.  Sometimes this sounds completely reasonable to me, as bizarre as it sounds.

I have no idea why I am off the deep end when it comes to money, and I have no idea where it came from.  No one else in my family is, or ever has been, close to being a millionaire.

ysette9

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #525 on: January 04, 2019, 03:55:02 PM »
Well we in America are taught that MORE and BIGGER is always better, so perhaps that is where the mind set is coming from. When I was younger I thought more money was always better, nicer everything, hell, throw in immortality and good looks while you are at it! (Yep, I love reading fiction)

While part of me still wants all of that, as I get older I start to appreciate the downsides. What if I did have $100M or whatever? I can easily see how a lot of my personal relationships would get f-ed up. So many people would just want a piece of my money that it would be hard to know who genuinely cared about me or what I think and who was sucking up. Or who would get jealous or entitled and be unhappy if I was generous and jealous if I wasn’t? Maybe I’d feel guilty for not being more generous and then there is the problem of how to give to charity in a way that aligns with my values and is cost effective.... on and on and on.

I’ve been in big houses and small houses and honestly, I don’t think big houses are all that great. Sure, I’d like a really nice car, but would I love it? Probably not. I can’t bother now to dress myself well even though I can afford it. I would really like to travel a lot and fly business class, as steerage on a plane is my definition of hell on earth. However, there just isn’t a lot that I really really want that having a ton of money would make a material improvement in my life.

Above all I want freedom of my time.
That can be bought for quite a bit less than what it takes to be really rich, and I’m not too far off from that point now.

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #526 on: October 14, 2019, 06:54:34 AM »
I'd like to add to this old thread, if I may :)

From their blog, 28 august 2015 (all bolding and underlining mine):

[begin quote]
8) Hack Your Housing
No post about city living would be complete without a mention of the white whale of urban life: housing. Our greatest hack for housing is pretty simple: donít live directly adjacent to a transit line. We were able to buy a single-family home in Cambridge, but itís about a 20 minute walk to the nearest Red Line stop. We wouldnít have been able to afford a place closer than that. And as a result, we find that we T less and bike or walk moreĖthus saving even more money in the process!

Thereís a huge difference to be had in prices over the course of just a few blocks. For more on how we managed to buy our Cambridge house, check out Why Did We Buy Our House? and Our 12 Tips For Visiting Open Houses: Weíve Been To Over 270.

9) High Paying Jobs/Commensurate Benefits

This is the crux of why we live here in the first place. Although Mr. FW and I certainly donít make investment banker salaries, weíre able to earn more thanks to working in the city. If youíre living in Boston but arenít being aggressive with your career, itís sort of like getting a brain freeze without being able to taste the ice cream.

At the end of the day, the high cost-of-living is worth it if youíre reaping the commensurate benefitsĖsuch as a respectable salary or a world class education (hello Harvard and MIT).  Use the city to its fullest potential and leverage a higher salary or a terrific education or an amazing experience. If youíre not netting a significant benefit from living here, itís not going to be worth it."
[end quote]

They carefully picked where they live, both the city and the house. MFW seems to infer that they would have moved to get better payment elsewhere. They are not silent about making lots of money; they are happy with their choices, optimizing all expenses.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 01:58:12 PM by Siebrie »

Warlord1986

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #527 on: October 14, 2019, 06:23:41 PM »

Although Mr. FW and I certainly donít make investment banker salaries...

....

They are not silent about making lots of money...

They're not silent about making lots of money. They lied.

Dicey

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #528 on: October 15, 2019, 07:23:14 AM »

Although Mr. FW and I certainly donít make investment banker salaries...

....

They are not silent about making lots of money...

They're not silent about making lots of money. They lied.
Did you actually compare their income to that of investment bankers?

Dogastrophe

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #529 on: October 15, 2019, 07:36:54 AM »

Although Mr. FW and I certainly donít make investment banker salaries...

....

They are not silent about making lots of money...

They're not silent about making lots of money. They lied.
Did you actually compare their income to that of investment bankers?

I think they are quoting from FW's blog but having a hard time figuring out what is a blog quote and what is not.

Davnasty

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #530 on: October 15, 2019, 08:42:10 AM »

Although Mr. FW and I certainly donít make investment banker salaries...

....

They are not silent about making lots of money...

They're not silent about making lots of money. They lied.
Did you actually compare their income to that of investment bankers?

I think they are quoting from FW's blog but having a hard time figuring out what is a blog quote and what is not.

And while "investment banker" salary can be hugely variable, I would argue that they do (did?) indeed make that kind of money

https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/careers/compensation/investment-banker-salary/

Warlord1986

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #531 on: October 15, 2019, 04:09:15 PM »
I'm quoting Siebrie's post. She mentions that they said they don't make investment banker salaries (lol), then goes on to say that they weren't quiet about making lots of money.

Those two things do not match up.

Gin1984

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #532 on: October 15, 2019, 05:26:20 PM »

Although Mr. FW and I certainly donít make investment banker salaries...

....

They are not silent about making lots of money...

They're not silent about making lots of money. They lied.
Did you actually compare their income to that of investment bankers?

I think they are quoting from FW's blog but having a hard time figuring out what is a blog quote and what is not.

And while "investment banker" salary can be hugely variable, I would argue that they do (did?) indeed make that kind of money

https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/careers/compensation/investment-banker-salary/
Based on his position, he would be equal to a VP and just manages to hit the low end of that range in a high cost of living area. For her area, they did not make the larger expected salary.

slappy

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #533 on: October 16, 2019, 07:58:56 AM »
Honestly, it doesn't matter if they actually made "investment banker salaries". That statement was designed to have the reader believe that their income was much lower than it actually was. They could have just said "we made good money". Or in Mrs. FG's style "we were incredibly blessed to have the capacity to earn higher than average salaries".

The point in not how much money they did or did not make. I'm certainly not going to say they lied about their salaries, but there seems to be intent to deceive. Then again, you have to take into consideration whatever privacy issues would arise if they had disclosed their salaries.

Overall, it doesn't seem to matter. Plenty of people like them  and they are living the life they want.

Davnasty

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #534 on: October 16, 2019, 08:17:15 AM »
Honestly, it doesn't matter if they actually made "investment banker salaries". That statement was designed to have the reader believe that their income was much lower than it actually was. They could have just said "we made good money". Or in Mrs. FG's style "we were incredibly blessed to have the capacity to earn higher than average salaries".

The point in not how much money they did or did not make. I'm certainly not going to say they lied about their salaries, but there seems to be intent to deceive. Then again, you have to take into consideration whatever privacy issues would arise if they had disclosed their salaries.

Overall, it doesn't seem to matter. Plenty of people like them  and they are living the life they want.

I agree with this, they were in a tricky position. They gave their story as an example of how one can live while minimizing expenses but if they were honest about their income, a lot of potential readers would latch onto that and ignore their story. In reality, their high salaries weren't necessary to achieve what they did, but when someone's looking for excuses to discount your story, high salary is an easy one.

Personally, I would have preferred honesty, but I'm already a believer in their message (I assume, I've only read a little of the blog). I think they had a choice to make and either way they were going to be criticized for it.

ysette9

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #535 on: October 16, 2019, 01:09:49 PM »
In some ways I donít blame them for obscuring their salaries. Look at how much text being written about that when the message of their blog is about frugality, not income. I do get that it is easier to be frugal when you are rich and can do it as a lifestyle choice, but still. I could write a blog about reaching FI early because we have awesome Silicon Valley tech salaries, but that would be alienating to most people. But if I wrote instead about living life while spending less, that would appeal to a wider audience, which is what the frugalwoods are trying to do.

At least that is what my take is. I donít read their blog regularly.

Siebrie

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #536 on: October 16, 2019, 02:06:35 PM »
In response to an earlier remark, I have added [begin quote] and [end qoute] to my post.

To me, it does not really matter how much they make. To me, it is clear that they optimized their income aggressively. I do not know if they actually know how much investment bankers earn, or if it is middle class speak for 'more than you can imagine'.

What I take away from their blog is how much they enjoy life, each other, nature, the occasional weekend away.

chasesfish

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #537 on: October 18, 2019, 11:25:02 AM »
I figure I'll jump back in here and make a few comments:

- I'm a huge fan of Liz, she was a poster here in 2013-2014 when I was really active on the boards.

- I think, likely under the influence of a publisher, they would encouraged to call their income "not for profit salaries".  A statement like that sticks around, even if salaries grow over time.

$270,000 in 2017, the same year they were finishing their book, should not have been represented that way, especially when Mr FW works for an organization that must disclose the salaries of highly compensated employees.  Mid-level investment bankers I worked with earned about that (as did I during my final years).  I would never represent my pay as "not for profit salaries".  Them doing so has distracted from the message, which should really be financial improvement moreso than financial independence.  Her frugal ways can help anyone!

As a side note, there's also the other curiosity as to why his employer can even get away with being a not for profit, but that issue gets really political and not meant for this forum. 

OtherJen

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #538 on: October 18, 2019, 06:13:48 PM »
Honestly, I consider the Frugalwoods in the same vein as Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, and the couple that puts shiplap on everything. Generally entertaining with some good info, but much of it is not applicable to my life. I take what is useful and leave the rest. (And the comparison to Martha and Ina is entirely complimentary. Love those two.)

TomTX

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #539 on: October 19, 2019, 12:54:16 PM »
I'm quoting Siebrie's post. She mentions that they said they don't make investment banker salaries (lol), then goes on to say that they weren't quiet about making lots of money.

Those two things do not match up.

Really? It was literally the headline for Item 9:

"High Paying Jobs/Commensurate Benefits" cited as a reason they live in Boston.

Chris Pascale

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #540 on: October 20, 2019, 12:13:12 AM »
It would have been helpful if they said Start at $50,000 and save everything else. Per their own math, they had an 80% savings rate.

What I liked was some very simple ideas, like sticking to office coffee, eating $0.30 breakfasts of oatmeal, etc.

What I hated when I found out they made so much more than they alluded to was that some of the stuff they did to show how frugal they were, was just gross. Taking out the trash for the yoga studio to avoid paying for classes? The instructor probably felt bad and wanted to spread the joy of yoga. Taking a coat from a bin for the poor? You are not poor. Go to the Goodwill and spend $20. Giving firewood you cut as a wedding gift? Can you seriously not part with money, even to a loved one! I hope you at least had the decency to deliver it for the sake of their own convenience. Otherwise, it's like "hey, love, ready to go to Bermuda?" Nope! Gotta truck this tree corpse home before the venue charges us extra for the beetle infestation.

Not sure if I made that last one up, or they actually did that.

FIPurpose

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #541 on: October 20, 2019, 10:44:28 AM »
Right so does a family that was making north of 250k per year, even if they made their own coffee or ate eggs for breakfast instead would that have even delayed their FIRE date by a month? They're counting pennies while sitting on a mountain of money. I hope they end up eventually funding one of their community's resource centers or investing in some local improvements. Frugality is only a nice trait when you don't have the money.

I make less than half of what they do, planning on being a SWAMI. And even I realize trying to squeeze another $300 out of my annual budget isn't going to move the needle that much. We need more FIRE bloggers talking about how to either give away or invest in local resources, education, etc. Luxuriating in all the free time we bought is great, and being mindful of our spending is also important, but at some point we don't need more money in an index fund.

Instead of building our own wealth at 8% a year, what if we could invest in other people for a return at 2-5x that rate? The Frugalwoods are in a place where they could easily have 20-30MM to manage in their lifetimes. What's important is how you spend it, not how you manage to spend less of it.

OtherJen

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #542 on: October 20, 2019, 03:05:29 PM »
What I hated when I found out they made so much more than they alluded to was that some of the stuff they did to show how frugal they were, was just gross. Taking out the trash for the yoga studio to avoid paying for classes? The instructor probably felt bad and wanted to spread the joy of yoga.

I think I missed that one. There's a difference between frugal and cheap.

I used to attend regular (twice-weekly) classes at an inner city yoga studio near my former workplace. At the time, I was making about a third of Liz's salary and a fifth of Nate's, but still paid my monthly dues ($75, I think) because I valued the classes so much and had the cash to spare. I left the work-study opportunities for the local public university students or lower-income neighborhood residents who would have equally benefitted from yoga but might not have had the cash on hand. Taking those positions would have been legal but would have offended my sense of morality.

Zikoris

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #543 on: October 20, 2019, 04:09:26 PM »
I don't know the specific setup the yoga studio had, but it certainly isn't uncommon for independent fitness places to come to various arrangements like that, and not in a "feeling bad for someone" sort of way at all. A spin studio near me often exchanges free unlimited classes for a couple of hours a week of work signing people in and washing/folding towels, and I've heard of all sorts of other similar things - free ballet classes in exchange for running the website and newsletters, etc. Those sorts of arrangements seem to work really well for small providers that might have trouble hiring, say, a receptionist for a couple hours a week or an IT person to manage that stuff, but they can easily accommodate an extra person in their classes. It works out well for everyone, honestly. I could totally see doing something like that myself.

Warlord1986

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #544 on: October 20, 2019, 06:54:07 PM »
I'm quoting Siebrie's post. She mentions that they said they don't make investment banker salaries (lol), then goes on to say that they weren't quiet about making lots of money.

Those two things do not match up.

Really? It was literally the headline for Item 9:

"High Paying Jobs/Commensurate Benefits" cited as a reason they live in Boston.

Dude, they've been talking about how they made 'non-profit salaries' all over the internet. They used the 'we don't make investment banker salaries' line plenty of times. Now there's this spin about how they were never quiet about making lots of money, and that's baloney.

I'm not knocking their lifestyle. I'm living the frugal life myself. But they totally lied and then capitalized on that lie.

tooqk4u22

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #545 on: October 22, 2019, 12:37:36 PM »
It would have been helpful if they said Start at $50,000 and save everything else. Per their own math, they had an 80% savings rate.

What I liked was some very simple ideas, like sticking to office coffee, eating $0.30 breakfasts of oatmeal, etc.

What I hated when I found out they made so much more than they alluded to was that some of the stuff they did to show how frugal they were, was just gross. Taking out the trash for the yoga studio to avoid paying for classes? The instructor probably felt bad and wanted to spread the joy of yoga. Taking a coat from a bin for the poor? You are not poor. Go to the Goodwill and spend $20. Giving firewood you cut as a wedding gift? Can you seriously not part with money, even to a loved one! I hope you at least had the decency to deliver it for the sake of their own convenience. Otherwise, it's like "hey, love, ready to go to Bermuda?" Nope! Gotta truck this tree corpse home before the venue charges us extra for the beetle infestation.

Not sure if I made that last one up, or they actually did that.

I hated the disingenuousness of it all - yes misleading representations about their high income are probably high on the list like everyone else but I think even more so was the downplaying that he still HAD his extraordinary high income bc he could work remotely while they were selling their live freely lifestyle out in the woods due pursuing financial freedom through frugality.   Such BS. 


As a side note, there's also the other curiosity as to why his employer can even get away with being a not for profit, but that issue gets really political and not meant for this forum. 


100% agree.   


I kinda liked their blog early on but when all this came out it just became another fake persona going for a money grab so I stopped reading.

mathlete

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #546 on: October 22, 2019, 01:19:04 PM »
Happy to see people coming around on this topic. The FWs are exceptional people. But what makes them exceptional is that they made a fuck ton of money at a very early age. Nobody wants to read a blog about that, and that's not an idea that you can sell to people making orders of magnitude less money than you make. Hence the willful deception.

They're not alone. Much of the PF/lifestyle blog space does this. In fact, much of the internet does this. People share the good stuff on Facebook. Fitness models on Instagram get visible abs, and then stockpile photos for a rainy (higher body fat %) day, but hashtag you all the supplements they're ostensibly taking.

I'll also add that I'm very appreciative of the work they've done for the non profit. I use the platform myself and I'm sure that the compensation they receive is more than worth it for the work they did to help build it. ;)

OliveFI

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #547 on: October 23, 2019, 07:25:41 AM »
I hope they end up eventually funding one of their community's resource centers or investing in some local improvements. Frugality is only a nice trait when you don't have the money.


They talk about their Donor Advised Funds all the time and how giving back is incredibly important to them. But I really want to respond to "Frugality is only a nice trait when you don't have money." How do you stomach reading MMM then? He is the epitome of being overly frugal while still having a lot of money. Doesn't compute.

FIREandMONEY

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #548 on: October 23, 2019, 07:28:23 AM »
What I hated when I found out they made so much more than they alluded to was that some of the stuff they did to show how frugal they were, was just gross. Taking out the trash for the yoga studio to avoid paying for classes? The instructor probably felt bad and wanted to spread the joy of yoga.

You deserve a big ole classic MMM FACE PUNCH!

What she did was awesome.  She WORKED at the studio.  Checked in customers at the front desk, cleaned, and yes even took out the trash.  It was clear that the small amount of time she spent helping out was a great ROI versus paying money for the yoga services.

Mrs. Frugalwoods mentioned the added lessons in humility that she purposefully brought on herself while working at the studio.  I guess that sailed clean over your head when talking about how "gross" it is to take out the trash?

Original post here: https://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/07/23/how-does-free-yoga-help-our-financial-goals/
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 07:36:39 AM by FIREandMONEY »

charis

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Re: What's up with the Frugalwoods?
« Reply #549 on: October 23, 2019, 08:03:03 AM »
I hope they end up eventually funding one of their community's resource centers or investing in some local improvements. Frugality is only a nice trait when you don't have the money.

They talk about their Donor Advised Funds all the time and how giving back is incredibly important to them. But I really want to respond to "Frugality is only a nice trait when you don't have money." How do you stomach reading MMM then? He is the epitome of being overly frugal while still having a lot of money. Doesn't compute.

Yeah, that's a joke, right? If you have money to burn, you shouldn't be frugal?  You sound like every other run of the mill spendypants that I've known in real life.  MMM's whole persona is being frugal despite having the money not to be.  That's literally the basis of FIRE, LWBYM, 50%+ SR, etc.

What I hated when I found out they made so much more than they alluded to was that some of the stuff they did to show how frugal they were, was just gross. Taking out the trash for the yoga studio to avoid paying for classes? The instructor probably felt bad and wanted to spread the joy of yoga.

You deserve a big ole classic MMM FACE PUNCH!

What she did was awesome.  She WORKED at the studio.  Checked in customers at the front desk, cleaned, and yes even took out the trash.  It was clear that the small amount of time she spent helping out was a great ROI versus paying money for the yoga services.

Mrs. Frugalwoods mentioned the added lessons in humility that she purposefully brought on herself while working at the studio.  I guess that sailed clean over your head when talking about how "gross" it is to take out the trash?

Original post here: https://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/07/23/how-does-free-yoga-help-our-financial-goals/

 
Agreed.  I don't follow the frugalwoods, so if they were deceptive, that's BS obviously.  But bartering with the yoga studio was likely a great deal for the studio because they didn't have pay someone to do her job and they are running the classes anyway.