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FIRE:Is It Intelligence or Determination
Old 10-19-2014, 10:41 PM   #1
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FIRE:Is It Intelligence or Determination

I have often wondered which one it is that is the driving force behind FIRE.I have tried to help a few people on the right path toward FI and it's like they just are not interested or it is beyond their understanding and they can't be bothered.There is no doubt do it yourself investing takes a certain amount of brain power.So are we just wired differently,more intelligent,or simply more determined?What is the driving force behind FIRE?
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:18 PM   #2
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Persistence / Determination and the fortitude to resist consumerism.


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Old 10-19-2014, 11:33 PM   #3
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More likely we have to be 'tetched in the head just a particular way.

The math behind all of this is something my 5th grader would readily understand. The harder parts are the ability to work on a long term plan, and the willingness to do something considered strange/bizarre/antisocial/un-Merkin.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:12 AM   #4
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I'm of average intelligence, so it must be internal wiring. The ability to plan and prepare for the future.


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Old 10-20-2014, 12:19 AM   #5
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In the ER type forums in general, there seem to be assorted discussions and a significant over-representation of mild Aspie/INTJ/engineering/geek syndrome type personalities. People suited to those kinds of STEM careers tend to have higher than average pay, which makes saving easier, plus highly analytical types are less likely to see the logic in paying $300 for designer shoes or purses made with $20 worth of materials, so it is a twofer kind of personality - money making as well as money saving.

From Stop Acting Rich (by one of the Millionaire Next Door authors) -

"The frugal nature of wealthy engineers is certainly reflected in their demonstrated superior ability to generate wealth from income. Overall, engineers produced about 22 percent more wealth per dollar of realized income than did millionaires in general.

They have a higher than average propensity than others in their income/age cohort to accumulate wealth. They are less likely to favor expensive status denoting products and brands than others."

Engineering Economic Productivity
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Old 10-20-2014, 02:13 AM   #6
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I have often wondered which one it is that is the driving force behind FIRE.I have tried to help a few people on the right path toward FI and it's like they just are not interested or it is beyond their understanding and they can't be bothered.There is no doubt do it yourself investing takes a certain amount of brain power.So are we just wired differently,more intelligent,or simply more determined?What is the driving force behind FIRE?
Luck is also a huge factor. Being healthy and working hard at the right place at the right time. In this global economy many people have been screwed.

Life just hands some people a great card. Others are handed a terrible card.
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:40 AM   #7
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It's both and neither. There are plenty of more intelligent and determined people who will struggle to reach FI equal to their accumulation years spending.

And luck isn't always a huge factor. Some luck of course (lack of bad luck sounds more accurate maybe), but most of the stories here seem to involve far more determination than luck.
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:05 AM   #8
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics my salary was pretty close to the median and my educational background had nothing to do with finance. I did have the opportunity during graduate school to live on pinto beans and biscuits and a future of that or cat food was no longer appealing. So I guess fear was a big motivational factor. Once I married then it was to make sure if anything happened to me then my wife would not have to worry where she would live and where her next meal would come from.

Cheers!
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:58 AM   #9
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I think it may have something to do with a personality that is accustomed to "being on the outside looking in." What this means is that many folks here (myself included) were either never the leader of the pack nor a follower when it came to popular social circles growing up. We had our own set of friends, but for the most part were forced to find our own ways to "survive" our growing up years (and perhaps were also less susceptible to peer pressure to conform). This independent streak provided perspective that being a conformist would have denied as an acceptable reality. Unfortunately for those who "followed," the chains of conformity grow even stronger into adulthood.

Again, some folks here may have been the homecoming king/queen, but I wasn't. FYI, many of the popular kids in my high school "peaked" back then or in college.


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Old 10-20-2014, 06:32 AM   #10
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Luck is also a huge factor. Being healthy and working hard at the right place at the right time. In this global economy many people have been screwed.

Life just hands some people a great card. Others are handed a terrible card.
I agree that life isn't fair but we all have the same chance to be born a crack baby or the child of Bill Gates. Bill Gates was also lucky coming from a well off family and going to a private high school that happened tohave better computer coding equipment than the nearby University of Washington. It's what he made of it that made the difference for him and many others - both up and down the economic ladder.

"I think, dear Brutus, that the fault lies in ourselves and not the stars." a probably hacked up quote from Wm. Shakespeare.

I've worked in a lot of chemical plants and refineries. In my first supervisory position I had a 60 something maintenance man that had well over $2MM in 1974. That was an absolute fortune back then. He was making less than $15k/yr and had aggressively saved since he started working at age 14. There were many similar age people in the maintenace department that didn't have two nickles to rub together.
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:40 AM   #11
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I believe it is more of a vision thing. If you can vision yourself FIRE'd, or vision how to be a billionaire at a younger age, you can do it.

The trouble most of us have as youngsters is our parents are living the standard American lifestyle, not the life of the wealthy. Our aspirations are only as much as we see.
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:03 AM   #12
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I suspect it is more self-discipline and a willingness to sacrifice somewhat today for a more secure tomorrow. Like the little red hen or the ant and the grasshopper stories.
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:19 AM   #13
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I suspect it is more self-discipline and a willingness to sacrifice somewhat today for a more secure tomorrow.

This has the feel of truth to me (truthieness? ).
Of course there are so many different factors at play for each individual person but if you don't have some amount of self-discipline and the ability to sacrifice short-term satisfaction for long-term rewards I don't see how it could ever work, no matter how much money you make or how "smart" you think you are.
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:37 AM   #14
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I think being an outlier is very helpful. This means being able to resist peer pressure and general societal pressures including consumerism and living the so-called "life scripts" such as buying big houses, expensive cars, having kids, eating out all the time.
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:54 AM   #15
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I think it may have something to do with a personality that is accustomed to "being on the outside looking in." What this means is that many folks here (myself included) were either never the leader of the pack nor a follower when it came to popular social circles growing up. We had our own set of friends, but for the most part were forced to find our own ways to "survive" our growing up years (and perhaps were also less susceptible to peer pressure to conform). This independent streak provided perspective that being a conformist would have denied as an acceptable reality. Unfortunately for those who "followed," the chains of conformity grow even stronger into adulthood.
Yep, that's me.
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:00 AM   #16
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I'd say determination more than intelligence. But more determination toward FI than RE. Starting out, I just wanted to increase my net worth for financial independence, not planning for retirement. Retirement was just the byproduct of getting to FI.


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Old 10-20-2014, 08:10 AM   #17
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The ability to plan and work towards something that isn't on the immediate horizon.
This doesn't necessarily imply a lot of intelligence, just an ability for long term goals.

Luck may play a role, but not necessarily.
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:15 AM   #18
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For me, it was just dumb luck.
I was FI and didn't even realize it until I was laid off and really took a good look at my situation. Finding this board was a big help!
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:52 AM   #19
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My first boss out of college told me it was impossible to escape the rat race since whenever one got a raise they would simply spend the additional money on a higher lifestyle. I thought to myself "That's ridiculous".

So yes luck and intelligence play a part, but I think the most important differentiating factors are desire, determination and discipline.




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Old 10-20-2014, 08:59 AM   #20
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I would argue it's the ability to delay gratification, and/or anticipate the future. You can be dumb and lazy and still have this foresight.
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