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Old 05-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #61
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PT Barnum, if he were alive today, could have a great early retirement blogging career -

"Men and women accustomed to gratify every whim and caprice, will find it hard, at first, to cut down their various unnecessary expenses, and will feel it a great self-denial to live in a smaller house than they have been accustomed to, with less expensive furniture, less company, less costly clothing, fewer servants, a less number of balls, parties, theater-goings, carriage-ridings, pleasure excursions, cigar-smokings, liquor-drinkings, and other extravagances; but, after all, if they will try the plan of laying by a "nest-egg," or, in other words, a small sum of money, at interest or judiciously invested in land, they will be surprised at the pleasure to be derived from constantly adding to their little "pile," as well as from all the economical habits which are engendered by this course."

From The Art of Money Getting
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:07 PM   #62
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I'm neutral regarding his blog. I've read the blog. It's fine, but the marketing and branding are a little off-putting to me. What do you want for free though, right?

When I was in my 20's (his blog demographic?), I loved Amy Dacyczyn's books and YMOYL. I'm not really seeing a whole lot of new material. I guess it's like that old saying, what is old is new again.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:28 PM   #63
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Well, I do see that he admits that his money on the blog is pretty good...

From his budget blog...

"And this blog took off unexpectedly and started producing cash - ridiculous amounts at times. By my standards, we were living in a bath of Infinite Money."




Now, I see that he started health insurance.... that cost me almost $9K per year.... add in all the copays etc. and deductibles, I am usually in the $12K per year range (I am surprised how much it cost to find out you have a kidney stone)...

My DW spends about twice what he does on food... but she buys almost everything fresh... that costs more...

My taxes are in the neighborhood of $17K... since he is not paying income tax.... a good hunk of savings....

My home insurance is 4 to 5 times more than his... and not a big house either...


I can believe his budget, but probably not want to do it myself....
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #64
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ERE Jacob conquered (solved? I've forgotten the word he used) ERE so he went back to work. Even if you accept that odd explanation, it's still...sad. It's like a mountain climber that only cares about the peak and misses out on the camaraderie and the beauty.

I greatly enjoy MMM's blog. His financials are vague, as some Bogleheads have mentioned, and I suspect he got close to FI rather than actually hit it, but his posts are entertaining and useful. The self-promotion is obvious but doesn't (usually) detract from the message.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:00 PM   #65
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Actually, as discussed in other threads, my planned SWR is about 3.5 to 4% with the use of annuities (deferred and SPIAs only). Four percent SWR is difficult, but not impossible IMO. Of course, some here will disagree as usual :-)
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- His advice about 4% SWR is bad.
.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:00 PM   #66
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Actually, as discussed in other threads, my planned SWR is about 3.5 to 4% with the use of annuities (deferred and SPIAs only). Four percent SWR is difficult, but not impossible IMO. Of course, some here will disagree as usual :-)
I think you have enough margin for error, obgyn65, if I remember right from your other posts. How many multiples of the average 65+ expenditure budget (39k for a household with 1.7 people) is built in to your plan?
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:51 PM   #67
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I find the problem with most ER related forums and blogs is that the discussions are often way too naive or presented at such an abstract level they are useless. One of the reasons I like this forum is that there are knowledgable posters with the experience of full careers in variety of areas that bring perspectives (and not rhetoric) that differ from my own. Bogleheads meets this criteria too but not much else does.

Also the moderation here is about the best I've seen.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:54 PM   #68
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This thread reminds of something P.T. Barnum is supposed to have said. Anyone remember what it was?

Ha
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:13 AM   #69
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I understand that not everyone wants to live their life the way MMM describes. But it does seem ironic that a lot of early retirees on this board seem to have been told that what they did wasn't possible or that they must have won the lottery or gotten lucky.

A poster wrote on bogleheads that MMM family have cars bigger than the average American family, a van and a "?" CR-V. Well that is easy enough to look up on the blog. Multiple times, he describes having a Honda Odyssey and Scion Xa. Maybe he is lying! Let's demand to see his car registrations.

"He's phony." OK, maybe. But when there's a lot of protest with incorrect or no facts, it makes one wonder why.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:25 AM   #70
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Been following this guy for a while. He has some good ideas and some bizarre ideas. Take what works for you and ignore the rest IMHO.

Riding my bike in 20 degree weather is not one of them.

What's he doing tomorrow?....8 inches of snow in his neighborhood!
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:47 AM   #71
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I looked at some of the site. The (unaudited) spending is very close to his claimed $25,000. He does roll his work into spending, as on the Hawaii trip. Much of the things the family does while there are an outcome of his work, not his spending. So ordinary accounting for this would count the income, and the spending. He explains that he loves to work so much that this enhances the vacation. But it is possible that not all of his followers will have his carpentry skills.

I obviously cannot comment on all the expenses, but I think the figure is $3xx for auto insurance, for I guess 2 cars. I haven't been able to insure one car for twice that amount, in a very long time.

Another thing that I was not able to find is accrual for replacement of mechanical things like the cars. And the medical and dental expenses seem to be very low for a family who only recently got a high deductible health insurance policy.

The guy is obviously very smart and very energetic, as is his wife.

I wouldn't want to try to duplicate his experience, but he seems to be making a success of it.

I am very careful with money, I am one person on Medicare, and I own a modest condo outright. Nevertheless, with no car and no travel, my spending last year, not including income taxes, was > $25,000. But also, I am not bartering labor for goods and services.

I know what he lists as his expenses, but this may not equal his income. If the expenses do equal his income, then his income (family of 3) is 128% of the 2013 Federal Poverty Level, as defined by department of health and human services.

What are Poverty Thresholds and Poverty Guidelines? | Institute for Research on Poverty | University of Wisconsin–Madison

So clearly his family is living very, very well compared to a typical 128% of poverty family. And this typical family would be getting quite a bit of public assistance in many areas.

Like I said above, this is a very creative, enterprising family. If/when Obamacare comes along and that should help too.

I guess how a person appraises this depends on how she sees all these elements.

Ha
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:55 AM   #72
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Not sure and I would hesitate to say. I made a mistake by giving absolute numbers in the past, I should have stuck to a relative number format.

IMO, a 4% SWR is still possible combining a conservative portfolio + deferred annuities bought early in life (say in your 30s or 40s) + SPIAs bought later, for example after age 70.

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How many multiples of the average 65+ expenditure budget (39k for a household with 1.7 people)[/URL] is built in to your plan?
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:52 AM   #73
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I understand that not everyone wants to live their life the way MMM describes. But it does seem ironic that a lot of early retirees on this board seem to have been told that what they did wasn't possible or that they must have won the lottery or gotten lucky.
You're conflating two groups. One group is the "It can't be done!" group. The other, far smaller, group is the "Something seems off" group.

Can it be done? Of course.

Could it happen without winning the lottery? Certainly.

Do his numbers seem fishy? Yep.

He writes well, though, and that's why I go back.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:15 AM   #74
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You're conflating two groups. One group is the "It can't be done!" group. The other, far smaller, group is the "Something seems off" group.

Can it be done? Of course.

Could it happen without winning the lottery? Certainly.

Do his numbers seem fishy? Yep.

He writes well, though, and that's why I go back.

Sounds about right. The numbers do not quite add up and I suspect srtongly that the main reason is the intermingling between his entrepreneurial activities and what we might regard as his personal expenses. I see this happen a lot with the self-employed, so it isn't all that shocking.

I keep reading because he is vaguely entertaining (*be quiet, BS meter*) and he provides a fresh and very different perspective than can be found here: younger, more enthusiastic, more optimistic. I tend toward possibly excess conservatism and pessimism, so a dose of optimism and energy can be helpful in shaking me out of my rut sometimes.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:04 PM   #75
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I read him for a couple weeks when he was early in. I quickly found the attitude was tedious, and the comments were too fawning. That and the lifestyle he projected was mostly stuff I wouldn't want to do (and I like biking and free time).
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:24 PM   #76
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I find MMM blog entertaining and so I continue to check in on it every few days. Sometimes I find useful information, much of the time I get a few laughs at his over-the-top persona (which I think is intentional), and every now and then I scratch my head and think "no way." Caveat Emptor is a good frame of mind to keep when reading any blog.

It doesn't offend me that he calls himself retired. I don't care if he works at something he enjoys and considers himself retired. It doesn't threaten my own status of soon to be retired from paid work. How far does one want to argue about the definition of retirement? If you volunteer is it work? If you do what you love and get paid is it work? I plan on restoring a car, I won't get paid (it will cost me to both learn how to do it and pay for necessities) but other people do the same thing and do get paid (mechanic), so does that mean that it's work? The argument over the definition of retirement is as useful as arguing over "how many angels can fit on the head of a pin" - just my opinion, I know. To each their own, and I wish them all happiness and success as they define it for themselves.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:23 PM   #77
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Not sure and I would hesitate to say. I made a mistake by giving absolute numbers in the past, I should have stuck to a relative number format.

IMO, a 4% SWR is still possible combining a conservative portfolio + deferred annuities bought early in life (say in your 30s or 40s) + SPIAs bought later, for example after age 70.
Sorry, I did not mean to be intrusive. I only brought it up because you had freely posted some detailed numbers in previous posts that had quite a large safety margin.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:37 PM   #78
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Sorry, I did not mean to be intrusive. I only brought it up because you had freely posted some detailed numbers in previous posts that had quite a large safety margin.
I don't think there is any need to apologize.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:29 PM   #79
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How far does one want to argue about the definition of retirement? If you volunteer is it work? If you do what you love and get paid is it work? I plan on restoring a car, I won't get paid (it will cost me to both learn how to do it and pay for necessities) but other people do the same thing and do get paid (mechanic), so does that mean that it's work? The argument over the definition of retirement is as useful as arguing over "how many angels can fit on the head of a pin" - just my opinion, I know. To each their own, and I wish them all happiness and success as they define it for themselves.
Yes, I don't get the debating on whether someone is retired. I mean if I stop working as a lawyer and say I'm retired then I'll be retired. If I then start selling stuff for a profit on eBay, I guess I'm still a retired lawyer and I would consider myself still retired but I guess some would say I'm not because I'm making money. (On the other hand if I was selling household goods at a loss, then I guess I'm retired again)....
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:22 PM   #80
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Yes, I don't get the debating on whether someone is retired. I mean if I stop working as a lawyer and say I'm retired then I'll be retired. If I then start selling stuff for a profit on eBay, I guess I'm still a retired lawyer and I would consider myself still retired but I guess some would say I'm not because I'm making money. (On the other hand if I was selling household costs at a loss, then I guess I'm retired again)....

I think that some people are on one side and some on another...

However, if you retire as a lawyer and then start to write books... and then start selling those books... and go to book shows promoting your books.... I would say that all you did was change careers.... your new career might not take as much time as your old one.... and you can do it during your own time....

So maybe semi-retired is better...


Selling junk you have on ebay is not a job... unless you start buying inventory to try and make a profit...


As I have said a few times, I don't know what the guy is doing and why... I have not seen him promoting his site (much).... and he might donate all of his money to charity... but with the info that people have said (admittedly with no true backup), I would sway on the side of working, but not that hard....
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