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Old 03-25-2012, 12:43 PM   #21
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Just downloaded the book. It might be too late for me, but my son is just entering the work force.
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:51 PM   #22
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You raise some good points.

One of the problems with blogging, at least when a certain popularity/wide audience has been reached, is that one must deal with all kinds of different people. It is incredibly hard (I can't do it) to communicate a message using the same words and ensuring that it will be understood by everyone who reads it with the meaning that was intended regardless of how informed or uninformed and regardless of how open minded or closed minded whoever reads it is.

It's much easier to write for a uniform group of people. And that's what I used to do. We can call them my core-readers---those who have been reading along for years and read all of the comments on the blog and followed the ERE forums. This group of people understood [my decision] completely, that is to say, the ratio of congratulatory to you-suck comments on my last post was 75+ to 1. Overall, I got the impression that they understood.

But then there are also the uninformed readers and the closed minded ones... those who will spend 5 minutes researching and then decide to fill in the blanks themselves; the ones that decide that "he lives off his wife's salary,... he's on food stamps... he doesn't have health insurance, because health insurance doesn't exist for less than $200/month... if he's only spending $100/month on food, he's eating junk food"...

Like, I can write a million blogs on how to find cheap health insurance or how, yes, there's expensive and good preprocessed food for $400/month and then there's cheap and junky preprocessed food for $100/month, but there's ALSO food based on produce and staples that is healthy and only costs $100/month ... but the problem with the closed-mind is that this possibility is simply never considered.

It's simply impossible to teach/instruct/show people who's default orientation is not to accept new ideas. (Like could there possibly be more than one way to understand the concept of "retirement"?)

After a while, it's like banging your head against the wall repeatedly.

This is part of the reason I decided not to blog anymore---the other part was unless you like repeating yourself, personal finance is such a small topic that after a while everything that can be said has been said.

Okay, part II ...

The scale-of-understanding is a sliding one. Nobody is completely open-minded, nobody is completely closed-minded, nobody knows everything and nobody knows nothing.

I think one of the aspects where communication begins to break down between ERE and E-R is the notion of sacrifice. ERE never considered not spending money a "sacrifice". It's just a way of life. An athlete does not consider going to the gym a sacrifice in order to be healthy. A normal person might consider exercise a sacrifice in order to look fit; or they might do it because the had the eventual-heart-attack talk with their doctor. But an athlete goes to the gym because they enjoy the exercise and they like the lightness and strength that comes with being fit.

This lack of understanding comes from a consumer orientation. It's similar to not seeing the third option in terms of food, that is, only seeing cheap preprocessed food and expensive preprocessed food and not seeing the possibility of cooking good food for little money yourself.

The ERE equivalent of the athlete is being self-reliant. This is why we do what we do. This is why the ERE concept is also popular in the survival community. Another reason is in being efficient/not wasteful. This is why the permaculture people like ERE.

The primary objective is not to save money using the tool of sacrificing consumerism. The primary objective is to not be dependent on and even reject consumerism by learning to do things on your own. Not spending money follows naturally from that. Having a lot of savings then follows from that. This is not a sacrifice. It's a consequence of being competent. This level of competence is good/useful no matter if you decide to retire/not do fulltime work or not (note by the way that retirement is only discussed in the book over about half a chapter(!)... this leaves 6.5 chapters). When a transformer blew out the other day leaving our block in darkness, our place was about the only one with electric lights on. Why? Because we could make our own solution. Other people were waiting for the utility company to provide for them.

Part III ...

As for my personal situation ...

The problem with reality is that it's not really well-designed for financially independent people. It would be really hard to arrange for a $1 or a $0 salary---as you've seen yourself. Minimum wage laws would be triggered. The benefits package no longer fits. HR would blow a fuse. "Yeah, this crazy guy says he'll work for $1, but I can't figure out how to put him into the file system." It's much easier just to go with the flow and just accept the systems in place: "Fine, I understand your system is compelled to pay me a salary, just as long as you understand that I don't really need to get paid and will make my choices accordingly."

So one thing that people who go ERE have to deal with is trying to fit into a system where practically everybody else NEEDS a paycheck and NEEDS to put up with work. Not needing those things changes one's attitude to the world, but it's not going to change the world itself.

Another point I'd like to make is that it's actually only been 3 months since I accepted this position. I think it's a bit early to conclude anything from that. I do agree that some of the points you raise require discussion. In fact they ARE being discussed on the ERE forum right now. Eventually they may be discussed in a second edition of the book---adding a chapter 8.

However ... three months is not a whole lot to go on. Any conclusions that are derived from this action would be very hasty!!

Of course in this day and age, hasty conclusions are very popular ...

I can't help but wonder how "shocking" my announcement would have been if everything was viewed in retrospect ... e.g. become FI at 30 ... then decided to stick around for another 3 years (shocking?) ... then took 3 years off ... then went back to another kind of work at 36 (the present) ... spent 5 years there ... then decided to .. uh I don't know ... sail around Chesapeake bay ... spent $500k to establish The Foundation To End Premature Conclusions at age 40 ... got tired of this futile effort at age 45 and decided to go live in the desert... at 50 decided to teach sailing classes and accepted money (the horror!) ...

I mean sure... the book certainly would have been more wise/informative if it was built on a lifetime on wisdom. As it is now, I just don't know. Life is a learning process, but seeing as one can not know everything, I think it's foolish to hold off until age 85 to be absolutely sure to cover every possible contingency against objections from people on the internet. As it is, I consider ERE useful enough. It's a bunch of tools, thoughts, and methods. They're true in that success depends more on who's using them than what they are. Like, if you put $1M in the bank, you can safely withdraw $30000/year for a century... this is true regardless of how that $30000 is being spent. If you you got a salary, you can still withdraw the $30000 for a century. The methods are INDEPENDENT of a job.

In particular, we now have some 50 journals on the ERE forums now of people doing this. Not all of them have the same goals. However, the closed-minded attitude would be to say that if one of them publicly stated his goals and then changed them, it would invalidate the entire concept for the other 49. It just boggles my mind how some people can reach such a conclusion but nevertheless that's what I'm seeing (not so much here, but you should check out reddit or yahoo). This is on top of all the emails I've received over the years that go along the lines of "Hey, just found your blog. I'm 55 now and did something similar to what you've done 20 years ago. I've been doing [long list of things] for the past 20 years and I'm still enjoying it. Just thought you'd like to know.". For good statistics it's important to remember that only 1 in a 1000 is a writer---for every writer, there's a thousand people out there doing the same things but not writing about it.
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:23 PM   #23
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Yikes...didn't mean to start a firestorm! FWIW, I have no qualms about Jacob's decision to go back to work because he "chose" to work vs having to go back to work because he needed the $$ to survive. To me, isn't that what ERE is about?

Even after I retire from the military next summer and take a year off, I kinda know in my gut that I'll find some sort of work down the road, but work of my choosing. I would like to open a lunchtime sandwich shop with my wife one day or maybe some part-time consulting work from home, or I look at my military pension as making me FI because it will cover all my daily expenses, incl mortgage. In my eyes, it gives me options to choose vs being stuck in the rat race.

No shortage of points of views, that's for sure. That's why I have found this forum so helpful in educating me to make the right decision for my particular situation, but one size definitely does not fit all.

I am very grateful to everyone posting here...I'm learning something new each day!!
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:32 PM   #24
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Isn't this like asking Proctor and Gamble if Ivory Soap really is "99 44/100 percent pure." What sort of answer might you reasonably expect, other than what you are getting? Sure it's pure, it floats doesn't it?

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Old 04-01-2012, 12:47 AM   #25
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Jacob put up a new blog post yesterday, sort of a four-month update:
» Update 1 – From the Windy City Early Retirement Extreme: — a combination of simple living, anticonsumerism, DIY ethics, self-reliance, and applied capitalism

Quote:
If you read my last post a few months ago, you know that [and why] I decided to put a moratorium on blogging and instead decided to take up an interesting offer to go and do ‘rocket science’ as a quant in Chicago.
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So to be very conservative, my budget has increased by about $100/month standing at about $650-700/month.
He says he's having fun at work, and he covers a lot of other subjects in the post. I think I've hit the high points above, but he makes a lot of points.

As I shape my own long-term* exit strategy from books & blogging, I've decided that I'd prefer to do it more like the Kaderlis or Bob Clyatt than like Jacob. I think that he and a couple other bloggers have learned the hard way over the last few months that it's not such a good idea to suddenly surprise the readers with a press release.

*"Long term" as in "18 months or so"...
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:45 AM   #26
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Living on $650-$700 a month... this must be a typo, correct ?
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Jacob put up a new blog post yesterday, sort of a four-month update:
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:06 AM   #27
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Living on $650-$700 a month... this must be a typo, correct ?
No typo, have you read his book or blog? » How I live on $7,000 per year Early Retirement Extreme: — a combination of simple living, anticonsumerism, DIY ethics, self-reliance, and applied capitalism
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:21 AM   #28
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As I shape my own long-term* exit strategy from books & blogging, I've decided that I'd prefer to do it more like the Kaderlis or Bob Clyatt than like Jacob. I think that he and a couple other bloggers have learned the hard way over the last few months that it's not such a good idea to suddenly surprise the readers with a press release.

*"Long term" as in "18 months or so"...
It's my strong impression that regular readers were fine with it. Some of them even guessed at it coming(*)---I had been [mostly] autopiloting the blog for over a year and apparently it showed that I was getting bored/frustrated with the blogging process. I think anyone on E-R will understand your choices because they know you.

Of course, seeing as I've developed an estimated handful of dectractors over the years, those guys immediately pounced on it. I think it comes down to politics again... if you have anyone who disagrees strongly with you and you say or do something that can be taken out of context and turned around to be used against you [mod edit], it will happen. It simply will happen. The observation that it's done so frequently in politics suggests at 1) It's very effective; and 2) There's practically no defense against it.

So if you know of a couple of blogs or active forum posters elsewhere who have written posts or comments about "How Nords stuff just doesn't make any sense to me", you're in trouble. If they're writing about "How Nords stuff doesn't apply to regular people", you're in bigger trouble because these authors considers themselves champions of a cause against you, for the people.

(*): Of course the way it was done, the surprise, did have something to do with reality-constraints: this was a lucky opportunity that fell into my lap (actually through one of my long-term readers); not a case of me sending out job applications for a sustained period, so the only other option was to either not say anything or wait a few months and serve it gently.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:56 AM   #29
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Jacob, I can see that the ERE blogging well would run dry after a while, but a lot of people end up going back to work after RE'ing (one of our mods did--you can see which one as his signature gives us the info. Hint--he likes a big old motorcycle). I think you're missing a great opportunity to blog about the experience without too much personal detail. Your job is in Chicago, I believe--you've got a new city, commuting to get used to, coworkers, lunch at your desk or whatever, dress, etc. Or the telecommuting process. I'm sure your faithful readers would like to read anything you post. And really your decision to return to the work force doesn't matter to most of us.

Quote:
So if you know of a couple of blogs or active forum posters elsewhere who have written posts or comments about "How Nords stuff just doesn't make any sense to me", you're in trouble. If they're writing about "How Nords stuff doesn't apply to regular people", you're in bigger trouble because these authors considers themselves champions of a cause against you, for the people.
Although I don't really understand this paragraph, no doubt plenty of people think Nords' stuff just doesn't make any sense to them (maybe some of them related to him--just kidding, Nords! ).
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:04 AM   #30
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Jake, you have nothing to apologize for. (You do need an editor, though. Is there something in the water in CA?)
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:49 AM   #31
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I guess someone else picks up the check at after work happy hours?
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:57 AM   #32
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I'm offering this more as a strategic concern/suggestion [for anyone who's public about something that goes against the mainstream culture]. There are some saying that bad PR is better than no PR; that it's better to ignore "smear" than to defend it actively.

Actually, I've found that active defense is better than ignoring it.

To give an example, I used to live in 34' RV and my withdrawal rate was and is under 2.5%. So these are facts. Now someone will write a post on a forum (actually this example is taken from a comment on an amazon book review) about "how he used to live in a car and simply ran out of money". Since practically nobody bothers to check sources or accuracy this can very quickly degenerate and explode into "I bet he's receiving food stamps too." And so on.

However, I've found that fraction of people who will actually lie or make things up in order to argue their point is pretty small---most other people will simply go along with whatever the first comment is saying. Hence, if defensive action is taken early on, that is, I (or someone else) immediately go in and point out that the "car/ran out of money" statement is wrong and instead present the facts, subsequent readers will go along with that instead.

However, active defense (dealing with personal attacks) is mentally draining. I think the best solution is that if you see someone being bullied then step in and defend them. In general, the curious fact is that while humans normally don't like bullies, they'll happily join a mob.

The second best solution is simply to keep financial/retirement/other controversial goals to oneself. I now see why so many people do just that.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:16 PM   #33
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.... snip.....

The second best solution is simply to keep financial/retirement/other controversial goals to oneself. I now see why so many people do just that.
Other than this forum, I'm pretty "mum" about financial/retirement/weight loss/personal expectations/etc. This is the approach I've taken since my mid-20's as my boss took it negatively when I commented freely that my rental income exceeded my salary and that my personal value system had me work OT, not the raises. He was a bit pissed wasn't clear if he took it as bragging or a form of insubordination.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:31 PM   #34
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Jacob, I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading your blog. I think that you have given a lot of people, a different way of looking at living. I am sure that I will go back and reread some of your blogs.

I am glad to hear that you are enjoying your job. I agree that it would be nice to hear from you from time to time. You are an interesting person.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:52 PM   #35
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Other than this forum, I'm pretty "mum" about financial/retirement/weight loss/personal expectations/etc. This is the approach I've taken since my mid-20's as my boss took it negatively when I commented freely that my rental income exceeded my salary and that my personal value system had me work OT, not the raises. He was a bit pissed wasn't clear if he took it as bragging or a form of insubordination.
Agreed. I don't discuss FI/ER with anybody (other than my wife and this forum of course) not even other close family. I've been FI for about 14 years and RE 10 years and that system works just fine for me. It allows for quiet enjoynment of my life. Of course, people get curious once in a while but that line of questioning is usually dropped when I start on my usual defense - how expensive everything is and how difficult it is to make ends meet and how I just had to pay for fixing.... whatever. I think they are more than happy to change the subject so I won't ask them for money
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:12 PM   #36
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Living on $650-$700 a month... this must be a typo, correct ?
You need to go read Jacob's blog. I recommend that you subscribe to it (small daily doses instead of a huge data dump) and consider buying his book. Especially if you're going to follow through on your "Joe Dominguez" plan (Real-Life Retiree Investment Returns) of retiring on an asset allocation of 100% fixed income.

I can see that I'm going to have to write a blog post about "old school frugal"...

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It's my strong impression that regular readers were fine with it. Some of them even guessed at it coming(*)---I had been [mostly] autopiloting the blog for over a year and apparently it showed that I was getting bored/frustrated with the blogging process.
I agree it's easy to tell that your active regular readers are fine with it. It's harder to tell how all your readers feel about it. The vast majority of blog readers never comment.

I only have 18 months into the blog, hence the choice of another 18 months for the exit strategy. But whether it's blogging or books or discussion boards, I cannot imagine a time when I'll stop writing. In fact guest posting (or posting to discussion boards) seems to be the ultimate way to write without the constraints of deadlines or other business choices. This whole process of taking an idea from a discussion to a published book and a blog has been very educational and quite a bit of fun. The next idea will be at least that fun, and I'll already have much of the education.

But before I'd go into autopilot, I'd be blogging about the temptation to go into autopilot. And that would probably lead to a way to avoid going into autopilot/boredom/frustration.

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I think anyone on E-R will understand your choices because they know you.
I think one of the key points I've picked up is to share/discuss the options leading to those choices before the choices are actually made. By the time everyone's been through the discussion, then they think they know you.

However a large part of my curiosity on this subject comes from a lack of understanding, not so much a lack of agreement.

For example, I've had several attractive job offers over the last decade. Each has taken me through the emotional arc that accompanies that sort of offer, followed by realizing that (for various reasons) it's not a good idea. My spouse has been calling me out a valuable sounding board in perceiving the traps behind the bait. By now I've been through the "got a job offer" process enough times that I cannot conceive of an offer that would inspire me to go back to work "for the Man" and "for a salary". Even if I am the Man and I'm keeping all the earnings.

I also can't imagine giving up that degree of control over my life. I joke about the perfect job being one where work is suspended when the surf is up, but the guy running the surf shop (and trying to hire staff) knows it's no joke. You've chosen to take the quant job for its access to tech and techniques... arguably you couldn't reproduce that on your own in a Bay Area RV. But I'm pretty confident that you could have replicated many of the problem's more interesting aspects without having to uproot yourself to take a job with a bunch of other societally-imposed obligations. It's the difference between a more cautious exploration of the water depth & temperature before diving right in.

It can all make perfect sense to you in the context of who you are and what information you've been given. But most people are still unlike you and didn't have the same info. So when you announce that you're leaving behind a dream lifestyle in a dream area of the country for... a job?!? Well, you've given yourself a huge communications challenge. I can understand why people question whether you had ulterior motives.

But, hey, this is my perspective after 10 years. Perhaps you're embarked on a similar voyage of discovery. Maybe you'll do better at it than I did.

I keep telling my daughter that she may find the fabled career that she really loves-- and until that happens, it's better to be financially independent. I suspect she senses my skepticism that such a career really exists, and I fear at times that I've poisoned her youthful optimism with my cold-hearted harping on self reliance.

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Of course, seeing as I've developed an estimated handful of dectractors over the years, those guys immediately pounced on it. I think it comes down to politics again... if you have anyone who disagrees strongly with you and you say or do something that can be taken out of context and turned around to be used against you [mod edit], it will happen. It simply will happen. The observation that it's done so frequently in politics suggests at 1) It's very effective; and 2) There's practically no defense against it.
That's one side of the issue. The other side is that there are just as many politicians who manage the message. They start communicating early on, they attempt to manage the media (or at least make it easy for the media to use their message), they start a dialogue, they keep communicating throughout. I agree that it's difficult, but I think that there is a defense. I just wish I knew more about it and could get better at it.

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So if you know of a couple of blogs or active forum posters elsewhere who have written posts or comments about "How Nords stuff just doesn't make any sense to me", you're in trouble. If they're writing about "How Nords stuff doesn't apply to regular people", you're in bigger trouble because these authors considers themselves champions of a cause against you, for the people.
I see this as at least two blog posts. Perhaps a multi-part series!

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(*): Of course the way it was done, the surprise, did have something to do with reality-constraints: this was a lucky opportunity that fell into my lap (actually through one of my long-term readers); not a case of me sending out job applications for a sustained period, so the only other option was to either not say anything or wait a few months and serve it gently.
Well, I'm still not sure of the right way to handle the situation. Another blogger waited nearly three years to tell people he'd sold his blog, and that had its issues as well. Since then he's made other life decisions (which may be right for his personal situation) that have jeopardized his credibility even further. In both cases it's because he felt that there were things he couldn't discuss on the blog-- and then he had trouble catching up with explanations. And again in both situation there were reasons for people to question his ulterior motives, or at least accuse him of protesting too much.

I guess one way to answer the detractors would be to fully disclose the salary/benefits, what you're doing with them, and why. But again I don't disclose my finances to that degree of detail-- only to the extent of noting that anything requiring a 1099-MISC or Schedule SE is donated to charity.

Now that I've muddled my way through a few hundred words, I guess it comes down to two contrasting impressions:
1. Being a tireless advocate of a lifestyle that you've fully embraced, including its very real potential penalties for failure, versus,
2. Choosing to abandon that lifestyle for anything else.

If you've been doing the first then it's very difficult to maintain credibility as you transition to the second.

Another contrast would be the Kaderlis and the Terhorsts. The Ks are still galloping the globe and writing more than ever. The Ts have adopted a new lifestyle and deliberately faded into obscurity. IMO, both have done so without controversy.

Maybe readers just want to see the bloggers reach their goals and then write "... and they lived happily ever after!"

Early-Retirement.org readers excepted, of course. Those readers would want to know how much money was left in their estate when they died after the "ever after", and whether their withdrawal scheme was 100% survivable or just an artifact of their time period of history and their sequence of investment returns...
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:34 PM   #37
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I guess it comes down to two contrasting impressions:

1. Being a tireless advocate of a lifestyle that you've fully embraced, including its very real potential penalties for failure, versus,
2. Choosing to abandon that lifestyle for anything else.

If you've been doing the first then it's very difficult to maintain credibility as you transition to the second.
+1

I think that rakes it up into a nice, neat pile.

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Early-Retirement.org readers excepted, of course. Those readers would want to know how much money was left in their estate when they died after the "ever after", and whether their withdrawal scheme was 100% survivable or just an artifact of their time period of history and their sequence of investment returns...
Plus, did they go on a low carb or low fat diet, at what age did they expire, did they pay off the mortgage early, purchase an annuity, or buy LTC insurance, what was their AA and annual withdrawal rate during the last 30 years, when did they take SS, and how many years of expenses did they keep in cash!
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:40 PM   #38
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You've chosen to take the quant job for its access to tech and techniques... arguably you couldn't reproduce that on your own in a Bay Area RV. But I'm pretty confident that you could have replicated many of the problem's more interesting aspects without having to uproot yourself to take a job with a bunch of other societally-imposed obligations. It's the difference between a more cautious exploration of the water depth & temperature before diving right in.
It's actually possible if you do a lot of the footwork. Google "epchan" and read his book. You'd have to take a Series7 exam, do your own accounting and tax reporting, and hire some software engineers (he suggests hiring two and having them work on independent parts of your code so they don't steal your ideas). As it is, I don't need to do any of that stuff: it's all given to me.

So being an employee is definitely easier than setting up your own shop. If some unacceptable societally imposed constrictions surface come up, I can just quit. Easy as that.

I know from experience that I like doing technical and "visionary" stuff. I hate the management and regulation/administration part though, so unless I can find a manager and a developer, neither of whom are dependent on a dayjob (those people are still hard to find---most people my age are busy paying student loans and mortgages) to combine forces with, this job is definitely the preferred way to go.

Given our living and financial situation it was actually pretty easy to "uproot". We were on our way 17 days after accepting the offer (which I pretty much did on the spot having been "pre-approved" by DW).

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I guess one way to answer the detractors would be to fully disclose the salary/benefits, what you're doing with them, and why. But again I don't disclose my finances to that degree of detail-- only to the extent of noting that anything requiring a 1099-MISC or Schedule SE is donated to charity.
Well, that's pretty easy. I'm just going to put it in the bank like I've always done until I solve the "excess money" problem. As you know I currently have about 30% more money than I know what to do with. My thoughts on charity are very similar to Warren Buffett's issues when he had to figure out what to do with those extra 40 billion when he lives on some 100k/year. My problem is similar except scaled down in absolute amounts. I don't know enough about charities to decide, yet I do know enough that many of them aren't exactly conscientious spenders of money they didn't have to earn AND I don't want to see it wasted. Maybe eventually one of my bridge partners will turn out to be some kind of charity expert and I just transfer all the excess to their project.

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Now that I've muddled my way through a few hundred words, I guess it comes down to two contrasting impressions:
1. Being a tireless advocate of a lifestyle that you've fully embraced, including its very real potential penalties for failure, versus,
2. Choosing to abandon that lifestyle for anything else.
But I think that's the wrong impression to have gotten. I still live the same lifestyle in terms of efficiency, not wasting money, being frugal, buying used, and having a small ecological footprint. I still advocate being debt free and more importantly financially independent to avoid being enslaved/tied to a job. I still advocate having the means to leave a boring job and the benefits of FU money. I still think being tied into a pattern of consumption, careerism, and keeping up with the Joneses is inherently bad. I still think it's a problem that so many see this not even as the default choice but as the only choice.

I think it harkens back to the biggest blogging mistake I ever made: Using the word "retirement" in the title. I dunno if you're aware of it here (I've mentioned it occasionally on the blog) but I have a background in peak oil, resource shortages, and systemic shocks---that's what I previously wrote about. My original thought was to use the idea of retirement as a sort of carrot to get people to think in more sustainable and resilient ways. If systems thinking became more popular on a personal level people would be so much more efficient with their resources and consequently they would save so much more money and still get the same results. They would also be resilient to lay-offs, etc.

Pretty much everything I have written have been about increasing personal resilience to shocks (finance, food, housing, utilities, oil embargoes, ... ). Retirement has been a very small part of it---try to find a more than a few blog posts where I discuss in detail my plans for "retirement"; there aren't many.

In a way it worked. Some who would never have thought about how dependent they are on a functioning Walmart distribution network or how frugality and being smart about their living situations (living close to work and food and not having too much stuff/too many bedrooms) would lead to tons of money in the bank and the resulting freedom began to do that because of the retirement word.

On the other hand, those who were locked in on some specific idea of what retirement means got confused. Actually, now people tend to just call it ERE (as a noun, concept and verb)---I didn't even start that trend, but it's useful to have an acronym that became its own word. You can also see why that happened.

I could also have called my blog "financial survival" ... but I suspect I would have had the same problems with the "survalism" crowd... like "ERE is not true survivalism because we don't advocate having a bug-out vehicle and a supply of .45ACP ammo in the closet for TEOTAWKI". Or I could have called it "city permaculture" ... except that would be a problem because of" the lack of a chicken tractor" or somesuch; even as the systems thinking that underlies permaculture and ERE is practically identical.

So I disagree.

The only thing I've abandoned is the public advocating. I still show up in less public areas such as these forums and my own forums, but I'm actively avoiding showing up on podcasts and mainstream sites (unfortunately there's a backlog of interviews so stories still pop up so the pain will probably continue for another 6-12 months). Not writing too much on the blog will hopefully also make most people go away except those who are really actively looking for these concepts. Making ERE more public by accepting interviews (something I started doing in 2011) was a BIG mistake. While the Great Recession has made people more receptible to these ideas, it's clearly not made enough of a difference in the mainstream mind.

But I still do what I advocated on the blog...and it never really had much to do with what people traditionally consider "retirement". It has much more to do with independence and freedom to do what you want without being externally constrained.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:55 PM   #39
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The only thing I've abandoned is the public advocating.
Understandable. The receptive audience is rather small.

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But I still do what I advocated on the blog...and it never really had much to do with what people traditionally consider "retirement". It has much more to do with independence and freedom to do what you want without being externally constrained.
The essential message! Economic survival [I think that is an OK name for it]; escape from the trap of consumerism. From your example, I know that, in extremis, we can survive...until medical bills bankrupt us.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #40
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But I think that's the wrong impression to have gotten. I still live the same lifestyle in terms of efficiency, not wasting money, being frugal, buying used, and having a small ecological footprint. I still advocate being debt free and more importantly financially independent to avoid being enslaved/tied to a job. I still advocate having the means to leave a boring job and the benefits of FU money. I still think being tied into a pattern of consumption, careerism, and keeping up with the Joneses is inherently bad. I still think it's a problem that so many see this not even as the default choice but as the only choice.
Hey, you're the one who has to explain the difference in a credible manner. Or who can choose to not explain it at all and just let a QED lifestyle do it for you. The trick is deciding when enough people seem to understand the message you're trying to communicate, and I guess that's another good reason for a thoughtful exit strategy.

I think that in the eyes of many skeptics you've gone from "guy who lives a frugal life because he believes in it so much that he quit his job to live it full-time" to "guy who lives a frugal life because it's fun and he can quit anytime he wants."

Maybe ER is like investment managers... maybe we should seek out the ones with long-term performance records so that we can sort out the luck from the skill! I guess I need to think about that for another 10-20 years.
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