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Old 05-02-2013, 11:32 PM   #81
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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.
+ 1

While I have reservations about some of his posts, there is enough interesting/good material to keep me comming back from time to time (especially on slow days in the office).
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:35 PM   #82
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Apparently all he said was there is a customer born every minute. He was a skilled showman, and an optimist.

There's a sucker born every minute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Given that there are about 255 people born every minute, Barnum was something of an optimist about human nature.

How many babies are born every minute in the world
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:59 AM   #83
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I am not overly concerned with the accuracy of MMM's (or any one else's) figures/projections/estimates/claims. I have no desire to emulate his path to success.

I just enjoy most of his columns just because he writes with enthusiasm. It is fun.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:41 AM   #84
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FWIW, I expect my DH's retirement this summer to be more of a sabbatical, wherein he takes some time, a year+ is my guess, and decides what else he'd like to do with his days besides what he's done for 30 years. But at 50, he should probably expect to be doing something interesting, regardless of whether it is for money or not.
This sounds awfully familiar.... One thing I do know with very nearly 100% certainty is there is no way in hell I'm ever doing another full-time corporate grind. I busted my butt for 26 years, saved and invested like crazy, all to get me to a point eventually where I don't have to do that soul-sucking, stress-inducing, health-draining crap ever again. I'd much sooner take a part-time job at $9 per hour, depending on what it was doing and what the w*rk environment was like. And even that's not terribly likely, and I'd only be doing it for "something to do", though I hope to find creative ways to use all my spare time now.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:56 AM   #85
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This thread reminds of something P.T. Barnum is supposed to have said. Anyone remember what it was?

Ha
"This way to the egress."?

MMM strikes me as the sort of energetic DIYer, contractor grade, who can do all kinds of things on his own, thus saving lots of bucks, and not even noticing that some might call it "work". Kind of like the walk from the rail station in "The Quiet Man" - it's a mere stretch of the legs.
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:21 PM   #86
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I personally find all this talk about who is 'retired' and who isn't rather funny. I consider myself semi-retired now as I am only work now to meet the metric I use to consider myself FI--and for the most part I take any project that comes through my door (for the most part--some clients no matter how much money they offer aren't worth the hassle). We are actually FI now but my wife can't retire until Oct 2014 so I still work to boost our portfolio and for her to not feel abandoned! She has to work until then to get her pension so there is no way around that aspect of it...damn it!

However when I officially retire (Oct 2014) I will still continue to work as I enjoy what I do but the big difference is a that point I will have total control over it. I can be selective and do the project if it interests me or not do it. For me 'retired' is a point in time that one considers themselves financially independent. I don't need ANY of the money that I bring in--if I get paid for doing what I enjoy all it does is extend my portfolio money. If nothing comes along that strikes my fancy for a year, that is fine. But if I get the opportunity to design an awesome house or help someone out who wouldn't normally be able to pay for an Architect--even better and still I would consider myself retired. My work at that time is a hobby like painting, if I sold my paintings and made money is that work?

Now maybe it is because I am an Architect and I enjoy the design process. In Oct 2014 it becomes a hobby, a hobby I can make money at but I don't need to do it. I think that is one of the big issues for some folks here as I see people write j*b and w*rk as if they are dirty words! I could certainly understand that if you hate your job or profession. But not everyone out there hates what they do for a living. I enjoy being an Architect, just now want to do it completely on my own terms.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:48 PM   #87
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haha, I get you don't like MMM. Really, I do.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:11 AM   #88
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This sounds awfully familiar.... One thing I do know with very nearly 100% certainty is there is no way in hell I'm ever doing another full-time corporate grind. I busted my butt for 26 years, saved and invested like crazy, all to get me to a point eventually where I don't have to do that soul-sucking, stress-inducing, health-draining crap ever again. I'd much sooner take a part-time job at $9 per hour, depending on what it was doing and what the w*rk environment was like. And even that's not terribly likely, and I'd only be doing it for "something to do", though I hope to find creative ways to use all my spare time now.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:12 PM   #89
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Let me draft a blog post here.

FWIW, I've spent a half-dozen hours with MMM and his family. A couple hours of that time was in Denver at FinCon12 and the rest was at two meetups here on Oahu.

He gave a great talk at FinCon about "Growing a Popular Blog without Promotion: How to Create a Cult of Loyal Readers that Grows All by Itself". His tongue-in-cheek point was that bloggers have to stake out a passionate point of view and write hardcore posts on the topic while also practicing what they preach. Everything we blog about has already been said many times, so visibility depends on saying it in a different way that gives people something to talk about. He pointed out what's worked for him and his blog and what else could be done. Look at the size of the ERE forum and look at how the MMM forum has grown. The cool kids over at MMM see this forum as a "more mature" crowd, while the Bogleheads have a, shall we say, even more mature reputation. MMM's readers have established their own identity and he's nurturing his audience.

Pete gave that talk to a packed room of nearly 400 personal finance bloggers and journalists (like Liz Weston). He took questions, a few of them skeptical. He spent two more days at FinCon talking one-on-one with most of us. I never detected a false note or an equivocation (unlike a notorious Internet troll who was also at the gathering). More importantly, none of the other writers there found anything to take issue with, either. A large minority of those FinCon bloggers are CFPs and CPAs and entrepreneurs who could spot a faker in about 10 minutes. Any blogger would get huge traffic from a post like "Why MMM is a fraud". We've all seen other bloggers who've blazed out of the gate and then stumbled on their inconsistencies, or just ran out of material and wandered off.

Pete was the same guy at our Hawaii meetups who we saw at FinCon12. If he'd had been gaming the crowd (about 25 at the first meetup, a handful at the second) it would've been easy to spot. He was there with friends, sure, but their spouses & friends also came with skepticism as well as curiosity. Instead I had a great time listening to the rest of the people there. Those of you who grump about Millennial entitlement would have no issues with the people I talked to. I wish my daughter had been on the island to soak up the entrepreneurial atmosphere and the financial wisdom. I made a couple good friends there, too.

Pete's just a nice, bright, unassuming, very articulate guy who happens to hold some passionate beliefs. He doesn't bring it up in his daily life any more than the rest of us would leap up on a soapbox about our own beliefs. But on his blog... he's free to unleash his inner Hulk and say what he wants without fear of moderation or "Yeah, buts". His spouse is very nice too, and a helluva sysadmin. Their kid is a typical kid. Pete mentioned that their kid thinks hotels are an incredibly exotic vacation destination because they hardly ever use them. I gather that their kid made Pete spend a lot of time in the elevator with him as he figured out all the things it can do. Must be a future engineer.

Pete's blog has to be pulling in over $1000/month in AdSense income alone (which I'm probably underestimating by a factor of at least two) and his Bluehost affiliate commissions are also generous. At one point the blog traffic was generating over $4K/month in credit card affiliate commissions, although he and one major issuer have parted ways. Even without the credit card commissions I would estimate their total blog income at $40K/year. This was all before the Washington Post article, so I imagine that Bluehost now has a quarter-acre of their server farm dedicated to his traffic. He's not listing every dollar of income or expenses, but he's mentioned that he's using the income for MMM experiments (like Lending Club) and for charity projects.

Heck, I'm jealous that he makes up words and then rules the search rankings for them. Google "badassity" and "complainypants".

BTW, I think all of us bloggers make mistakes. I've had issues with J.D. Roth's disclosures about selling his blog, and with Jacob Lund Fisker on how his taking a job impacts his ERE credibility. I don't have any issues with MMM. There have been a few passing inaccuracies by comments about the 4% SWR. He edits his reader's comments on his blog posts more harshly than some bloggers/moderators. I'm not sure he made such a good choice to frame the FI vs retirement debate in terms of the "Internet Retirement Police", but I sure wish I'd come up with that term for my blog!

I think every blogger has to learn their comfort factor with becoming a public figure and be ready when the spotlight finally ("hopefully"?) strikes. It'll be interesting to see what the next year of relentless public visibility does to Pete and his writing. I hope to spend more time with him at FinCon13 without all the groupies & paparazzi.

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Originally Posted by bo_knows View Post
I wonder of Nords pays on his own dime for the Financial Blog conferences (serious question, I wonder if other bloggers count that as a personal expense or not).
Every penny of revenue that's come to me through the book or the blog has gone to Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House Foundation. I've rounded up to the next dollar, too.

I'm a few hundred bucks in the red on the costs of writing the book: paper, toner cartridges, books on writing, a local writer's conference, postage. I've also bought a few hundred bucks worth of copies of my own book (and pocket guide) to give away, as have several of the posters here. (You know who you are-- thanks again!) I've spent a bit over $350 on the expenses of moving the blog to Bluehost, paying three years of hosting fees in advance, the Genesis framework, and extras like security monitoring & backups.
2012 blog revenue report

I've been to three blogger conferences so far. I paid my own dime (several stacks of them) for FinCon12, and I'm eagerly anticipating doing the same for FinCon13. USAA paid my airfare, hotel, & food for my first USAA blogger conference in 2011, but last year I paid my own airfare/car and let them pay the room & board. There are other blogger conferences but I'm feeling fully loaded with the current playlist.

I've collected plenty of righteous conference swag over the last couple years: free copies of personal-finance books, t-shirts, pens, memo pads, logo M&Ms. I use the t-shirts for yardwork & exercise but my daughter seems to have absconded with the rest of the school supplies swag.

Like any self-employed entrepreneur, most of the glamorous rock-star jet-setting life of a blogger is a deductible expense. Here's one reference:
Blog Conference Expenses Are Tax Deductible. Don’t Forget To Claim Them.
When the dollars roll into my checking account, I donate them to our Fidelity charitable gift fund and then make the grants. On my tax return I declare the income, pay the self-employment tax, deduct the expenses, and deduct the charitable donations. It annoys the crap out of me that so much of my money goes to the IRS while I'm supporting military charities. (First-world problem.) However one of my first decisions about writing the book was that those who shared their stories & advice would get to help choose the charities we support. Taxes are the price I pay to have the flexibility to change the donations to other military charities if the readers are so inclined. As I understand the rules of charitable gift funds, they're not able to directly receive royalties and blog revenue. If ("When"?) the IRS loosens up that rule then I'll send everything straight to the CGF and not have to process any of it through my own tax returns.

I might hit $3000 gross income in 2013, and next year I'm probably going to have to declare a "profit" to satisfy the IRS that this is not "just" a hobby. To my surprise, it appears that 2014 revenue might even exceed expenses just from 2013's momentum.

Back to the thread's subject:
Am I financially independent, even after subsidizing the book & blog & travel? Yes.
Am I retired? Yes, and unlike many retiree wannabes I actually have a U.S. government-sponsored certificate from the Department of Defense to prove it.
Am I still working? Apparently so, but this is more fun than the work I used to do for a paycheck. The deployments are a lot shorter, too.
Could my finances still survive if I didn't have the blog & book income? Um, yeah, and my net worth would be a fraction of a percent higher too...
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #90
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So, anybody who is promoting themselves for whatever reason looks to me like they are trying to make money... which is work... which means you are not retired...

Again, I could be completely wrong... I just do not want to do the research as I am not a fan of his.... I did not like his writing style....


I guess I have to disagree. When you can choose when, if, and how to do any "extra" work/job, you have the freedom of saying you are retired - you do not HAVE to work - to hold employment for whatever reasons (money, benefits, etc.). He's doing this "side" stuff merely for enjoyment - and the fact that he may be making a few bucks off of it - well, shows you have truly capable he is of making a buck while having fun at it! What a life!
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:16 AM   #91
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When you can choose when, if, and how to do any "extra" work/job, you have the freedom of saying you are retired - you do not HAVE to work ...
Using that definition anyone financially independent could claim to be retired. I don't think that will fly...
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:45 AM   #92
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Nords, good post, and thanks for the personal report. I tend to avoid MMM, but it's because his style of writing doesn't appeal to me at all - I just don't care for the bombastic style. I do tend to read/talk with people from the ERE more frequently, and I do think that Jacob is probably an example of what you mentioned - wandering off after having said what they wanted. I also think that the less people use him as a figurehead the happier he is likely to be, so damaging his example because he's getting paid to do something he was curious about may be a bonus. MMM is a lot better suited to the cult of personality that seems to crop up around these sorts of things.

Then again, I'm an engineer, and after retiring early, I'm likely to be "working" off and on because I can convince people to pay me to play on their boats, and I want nothing to do with owning 80'+ wooden boats that I like to sail. I know exactly too well how much work and money they cost, so FI for me is probably not going to look a lot like retirement at 65 for most people.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:07 AM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoozie
When you can choose when, if, and how to do any "extra" work/job, you have the freedom of saying you are retired - you do not HAVE to work ...
Using that definition anyone financially independent could claim to be retired. I don't think that will fly...
I think it is more complex than that. First, I make a distinction between someone who has an actual job and someone who makes money in non-job pursuits. I consider myself semi-retired which best gives the flavor of what I am trying to say. I do work part-time. I am FI and could quit whenever I want to. On the other hand, while I am working I am committed to that work so I am not entirely a free agent. I am accountable to someone else, albeit in a more limited sense than when I worked full-time.

On the other hand, if I was writing a blog and making income from it I would see that more easily as retired since it would be entirely up to me whether I ever wrote another word and I wouldn't feel that I was accountable to anyone and would feel that I was committed to continuing to do it.

I also think that you can be retired from full-time work or retired from a particular career and that that doesn't mean you necessarily have to be retired from everything that makes money.
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:01 PM   #94
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Well, I guess it "flies" for us. We retired 2 years ago at 46 and 56. We said if something came along that interests us, we would consider (consulting project, piece-by-piece type of "work") dabbling - and so far, in 3 years, nothing has. So we consider ourselves retired. Should I (or my husband) take a project for one week/month during the year, I still would consider myself retired as opposed to "semi-retired." When you take on employment that goes on for longer periods to which you are committed for specific days/hours/location, I would say you are not retired. When you can pick and choose when and how much and where you want to work at any given time, I feel I can call myself/ourselves retired. So, yes, it flies for us, and obviously for MMM.

The key for us is that we have so many other interests/hobbies - which is a HUGE issue/problem for many; they can't, for the love of God - figure what in the hell they'd do with themselves/time if they retired so young! So if that's the predicament you are in, I can only say........keep working! We value our "free/retired" time too much to
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:50 PM   #95
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The working retired, like the the rich poor and the pretty ugly, are interesting concepts.
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:59 PM   #96
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The working retired, like the the rich poor and the pretty ugly, are interesting concepts.
On the internet, you can be whatever you want to be and it is fine with me if people want to define their working lifestyle as being retired. That's their prerogative! Go for it. It's your life and for sure, you can describe it as retired if you want to and if it feels like a good description of your lifestyle.

But when someone uses the word "retired" that way, they should realize and accept that many people are going to be rolling their eyes at them, behind their back.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:21 PM   #97
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And I'm totally, 100% OK with the eye rolling behind the back behavior. I guess I'd call it jealousy/envy? And who wouldn't be.................especially those who still HAVE to work?
Stick with MMM and he can probably give you a few tips on getting to the point we are at earlier than you anticipate! Trust me...........when you get to where we are in life, you'll totally "get it" (pick-and-choose, or NOT!) - until then, you can only dream (and work!).
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:23 PM   #98
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But when someone uses the word "retired" that way, they should realize and accept that many people are going to be rolling their eyes at them, behind their back.
I guess this is one of those things where - at least to me - there are a range of things and people draw the line at different places.

There are people who work full-time at a job to pass the time and earn a little money but still feel retired because it isn't their old occupation and they are financially independent and could quit at any minute.

I could see why a lot of people would say that is being FI, not being retired. I might see it as being retired from being a (whatever was the old profession), but not as being fully retired.

I think semi-retirement is a term that covers a lot of the grays areas in the middle. I've spent 3 years working very part-time (1 or 2 days a week) and see semi-retirement as the term that best captures the flavor.

Then you have people who don't have any regular job at all, but occasionally - or rarely - take on a consulting project.

Or, the person who doesn't have a regular job but occasionally creates something and gets paid for it - Makes a quilt and sells it. Is that person retired? Does it matter if the quilt was sold at a profit or not?


Or what about the person who starts a blog with no intention of making any money but then gets the opportunity to put advertising on the site? Does the receipt of any proceed from the advertising make the person no longer retired?


Or what about the person who sells an old phone on eBay? Most people would say that person is still retired. But, what if the person is at a garage sale and sees and undervalued item, buys it and then sells it on eBay. Is that person still retired? Is the person retired if he or she does this once? What if the person does this every week?
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:24 PM   #99
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And I'm totally, 100% OK with the eye rolling behind the back behavior. I guess I'd call it jealousy/envy? And who wouldn't be.................especially those who still HAVE to work?
Stick with MMM and he can probably give you a few tips on getting to the point we are at earlier than you anticipate! Trust me...........when you get to where we are in life, you'll totally "get it" (pick-and-choose, or NOT!) - until then, you can only dream (and work!).

Easy there, Tex. Deep breath. Some of these folks retired long ago. They aren't jealous, I promise.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #100
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And I'm totally, 100% OK with the eye rolling behind the back behavior. I guess I'd call it jealousy/envy? And who wouldn't be.................especially those who still HAVE to work?
REWahoo doesn't still work. Neither do the rest of the eye rollers I am referring to.
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