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Minimalist. Your thoughts?
Old 12-19-2016, 09:47 AM   #1
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Minimalist. Your thoughts?

Just watch a documentary last night on Netflix's called "The Minimalists". I know it is not a new concept to most people and has been discussed in some threads when people downsize or simplify their lives before/after retirement. I do like the idea of reducing the "stuff" in our lives. However, then got me thinking if everyone adopted this thinking and behavior we would most likely see high unemployment and a big drop in the stock markets because everyone stop buying stuff they really do not need. I know this is probably not going to happen because these people are addicted to spending for temporary gratification and are not going to change. This concept seems to appeal more to the "Millennial" generation so it kind of concerns me that over time it will have a impact to the economy and my portfolio . Then I wonder if the Millennial's are the new "Hippie's" of the 1960's that will eventually become the "yuppie's" of the 1980's-2000's. Personally (age 53) I see ourselves reducing or moving our speeding from "stuff" to experiences (i.e. travel) or to supplement healthcare costs. I'm not trying to make any point here. Just wanted to see if anyone saw the documentary and had any thoughts on this topic.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:10 AM   #2
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Just watch a documentary last night on Netflix's called "The Minimalists". I know it is not a new concept to most people and has been discussed in some threads when people downsize or simplify their lives before/after retirement. I do like the idea of reducing the "stuff" in our lives. However, then got me thinking if everyone adopted this thinking and behavior we would most likely see high unemployment and a big drop in the stock markets because everyone stop buying stuff they really do not need. I know this is probably not going to happen because these people are addicted to spending for temporary gratification and are not going to change. This concept seems to appeal more to the "Millennial" generation so it kind of concerns me that over time it will have a impact to the economy and my portfolio . Then I wonder if the Millennial's are the new "Hippie's" of the 1960's that will eventually become the "yuppie's" of the 1980's-2000's. Personally (age 53) I see ourselves reducing or moving our speeding from "stuff" to experiences (i.e. travel) or to supplement healthcare costs. I'm not trying to make any point here. Just wanted to see if anyone saw the documentary and had any thoughts on this topic.
I didn't see the documentary.

I agree - - it is unlikely that many American minimalists would take it to an extreme and stick with it for a very long time. So, like you, I'm not especially worried about adverse effects on the U.S. economy.

I think that every generation finds they have less money when young, than is available to them as they move into middle age and older. So I do not think it is too remarkable if some millennials are not spending much (yet).

Often shows like this try to whip up "generational wars" for profit, IMO, and in that respect I think they are less than admirable.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:14 AM   #3
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I did not see that documentary. The money has to go somewhere. If people don't spend it on stuff they'll invest it elsewhere, such as equities, driving up P/E.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:15 AM   #4
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I haven't seen it either but since as a society we are all bred to be consumers from the time we exit the womb until the time we are planted in mother earth I don't see things changing with any generation.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:19 AM   #5
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I need simplifying and minimalism in my life to counteract my hoarding instinct. I have an inner dialogue ever time deciding what to keep and what to donate or toss out.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:27 AM   #6
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I haven't seen the video either yet, but have seen a TED talk these 2 guys did. I think there is a group of people out there who follow a similar lifestyle. Then again, there are groups of people who follow alternative lifestyles in one way or another. I don't think it's necessarily a concept that's going to catch on with everyone. Most people seem to still want the instant gratification and want to be able to show everyone how much wealth they have with their big houses, new cars, etc. etc.

Many minimalists are just making a choice to spend their money on their priorities (good food, education, travel, etc.)
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:37 AM   #7
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I could be a minimalist. Get rid of everything and not spend much money. Leave a big stash for nephews and niece to blow. Right.....
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:04 AM   #8
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I did not see the show, but I think you mistake being a minimalist with being cheap... and not spending money.... I think that is a mistake...


They can spend their money on other things.... like vacations, going out to sporting events, renting things....

So, say you like to boat... but just do not want to own one... well, rent one when you want to go.... that is what one of my sisters does... she said it cost less to rent for the few times they want to go out then when they owned one... with ZERO fuss.... go to the dock, pick up the keys... go boating, get back to the dock and give the keys back... done...
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:14 AM   #9
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...This concept seems to appeal more to the "Millennial" generation so it kind of concerns me that over time it will have a impact to the economy and my portfolio ...
I seriously doubt it. The largest segment of credit card "churners" are millennials. When Chase came out with the Sapphire Reserve card ($450 annual fee), the millennials far outpaced any other demographic out there when it came to new accounts and to get the great rewards, they had to spend $4,000 in 90 days and as you know, it's pretty tough to "save money" by spending it!

Anecdotally, I am attending law school (that's a whole 'nother story) and most of the students I attend with are solidly millennials (aged 23-26'ish) and when the student loan living stipends are dispersed, you can see a very large number of them shopping online for all the newest and greatest things out there. I would also say that the ratio of Apple laptops to "other brand" laptops is easily 10:1. So no, I don't think that there is a threat to consumerism due to a VERY SMALL of folks that are calling themselves "minimalist".

I am curious about the documentary though...perhaps I will give that a watch after my afternoon nap.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:14 AM   #10
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I haven't seen it either but since as a society we are all bred to be consumers from the time we exit the womb until the time we are planted in mother earth I don't see things changing with any generation.
Sad but all too true. Doesn't mean that as an individual one can't decide to get off the hedonic treadmill and live a little.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:36 AM   #11
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We're probably not true minimalists, but I have noticed a big difference between the factors advertising implies makes people happy and the factors positive psychology research shows make people happy. I'm trying to do more of the positive psychology ideas and less of the advertising based suggestions in ER. Fortunately, most of the positive psychology factors don't cost a lot and coincide with sustainable living practices.

I have several bags of stuff for Goodwill in our entryway right now ready to donate.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:00 PM   #12
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When I moved last, I went from 1,500+ sq ft to ~700 sq ft and put a bunch of stuff in storage planning to buy another place at least as big as that one. What I found, however, was that I didn't need or want the bigger place, so I stayed where I was instead. I bought my retirement home for my parents to use as their retirement home and then I'll move there when they're gone or need help (current plan). At 2,200 sq ft it's way too big for me, but I'll probably just use one of the other bedrooms as storage so I can take better advantage of sales on stuff that doesn't go bad. So, I'm not a minimalist but I don't have a bunch of "stuff" piling up because I don't tend to buy stuff just because it's on sale etc and some of the other stuff I might be tempted on I just don't need and don't want to find room for it if I buy it.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:18 PM   #13
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There is a big difference between being a minimalist because you want to, and because you have to. I would rather not have to.

Walking to the grocery store is great, but maybe I do not always feel like it.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:23 PM   #14
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I did watch the show and generally agree with the basic premise.
Once your basic needs are met, you will be happier/less stressed if you don’t have to work for more stuff you don’t really need.

I believe the concept hints at a lot of what this blog is all about. Live within your means. Distinguish between needs vs. wants. Buy quality over quantity. There is a dimensioning value of happiness as you buy more stuff. Free time can be more valuable than the stuff you buy from working for more hours for more $.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:44 PM   #15
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Millennials are too ironic to be minimalists.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:49 PM   #16
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Looks like Spicoli was ahead of his time :

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Old 12-19-2016, 12:51 PM   #17
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There is a big difference between being a minimalist because you want to, and because you have to. I would rather not have to.

Walking to the grocery store is great, but maybe I do not always feel like it.
It's all in what people like. After raising two children in an ex-urban setting, with lots of driving, lots of maintenance on yard equipment, lots of DIY because it was difficult or expensive to find workers who were sober and reasonably skilled, I was divorced and headed back to what had been my environment type prior to the child rearing years. I had put high mileage on many successive cars and pickups. Then my car was totaled while living in the city center of a big city (no mega, but big). It's been five years and I have no plans to ever replace it, or to buy or rent a bigger place than my 700 sf flat. Lately I have been averaging 50 miles per week walking, and this may not not work for me, if it were not that pretty much everything attractive or even remotely needed is that close or closer to me. I walk or take buses. Very occasionally I use Uber. Last night I was waiting to cross a street near my place and I saw a Domino's delivery guy. I don't have the faintest notion where he came from. There are many pizza places, but few strip centers of the type where Domino's or Pizza Hut etc might be found. I thought, is this guy lost?

Every time I think I might like a car, I remember passing various mechanical tests, getting various licenses and permissions, finding a place to get routine maintenance. I really want no more part of any of this.

I think minimalism as a group pursuit is likely mostly a pose, like much of what occupies Americans' thought space. Barring recession, it will be replaced with other new and hip ways to be cool while spending money freely.

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Old 12-19-2016, 06:48 PM   #18
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I saw the documentary and really enjoyed it. I have the books they wrote too. I wouldn't call myself a minimalist but use some of the philosophies and simple living ideas in my life and am much happier and more content since doing so.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:55 PM   #19
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I

So, say you like to boat... but just do not want to own one... well, rent one when you want to go.... that is what one of my sisters does... she said it cost less to rent for the few times they want to go out then when they owned one... with ZERO fuss.... go to the dock, pick up the keys... go boating, get back to the dock and give the keys back... done...
I have the same philosophy about airplanes. It is cheaper for me to rent than to own. They park the plane for me, gas,it and wash it. I just hand the keys back
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:58 PM   #20
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I have the same philosophy about airplanes. It is cheaper for me to rent than to own. They park the plane for me, gas,it and wash it. I just hand the keys back
Me too, but even let them chauffeur it.
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