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Old 09-08-2014, 09:26 AM   #21
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I disagree. If trading stocks is fun, why can't writing be enjoyable as well?

Many 'retirees' trade stocks frequently and they do it for money.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:00 AM   #22
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I disagree. If trading stocks is fun, why can't writing be enjoyable as well?

Many 'retirees' trade stocks frequently and they do it for money.
Most here are not saying that writing a blog or a book about "retiring" to far away places is not fun or is not appropriate. I think the point is that if one is getting a substantial part of one's income from the writing activity, they should mention it in their blog. After all, they are modeling how people might retire outside of the US and have a wonderful, carefree life.

But we will not all be able to write blogs and get money to fund that sort of life. So people who think they want to follow such advice should be able to remove that income stream from their planning process. For example, if I'm writing about the unique benefits of an overseas lifestyle and also getting 50% of my living expenses from such writing activities then I think that to be ethically and factually correct I should disclose that fact.

If I were "retired" but making big money as a trader AND I was writing a blog about my carefree lifestyle, shouldn't I mention about my special income source?

P.S. I do a bit of trading but have no plans to write a book about my carefree lifestyle. On second thought, perhaps people here would like to buy my book titled Retire and Live Carefree (While Trading ETF's for Big Profits).
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:09 PM   #23
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But we will not all be able to write blogs and get money to fund that sort of life. So people who think they want to follow such advice should be able to remove that income stream from their planning process. For example, if I'm writing about the unique benefits of an overseas lifestyle and also getting 50% of my living expenses from such writing activities then I think that to be ethically and factually correct I should disclose that fact.
I agree 100%. However, in at intensely commercial and media savvy culture like ours, most of what we read is self serving on the part of the author. No one should really expect a retirement blog to tell the whole story, because the bloggers are selling a fantasy, they need to sell this fantasy, and if they get very realistic about it the dreamers will buy their fantasies elsewhere.

Compare to a profile on a dating site. Are these truthful, or a sales document? It has been shown that ones that succeed are sales pieces. Later, one can do the old bait and switch. My guess would be that "retirement bloggers" need success at least as much as a prospective online dater.

We should be glad the ER bloggers understand their true role, it will keep them self supporting. As consumers, we do not have to fall for any of it, there are plenty others who will. And some experienced realists will say, so what if a lot is concealed, there are tips here that I can use anyway.

Ha
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:37 PM   #24
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As far as blogging negating the use of the term retired... Look at Nords - he blogs, and has ads on his site.... But he donates the money to military charities. So... is he retired? I'd say he is.

These arbitrary rules about when you can call yourself retired always strike me as splitting hairs where there is no need. If someone makes a CHOICE to no longer work for pay. And income comes in from something they'd be doing anyway, for enjoyment... why deny them the word "retired". If they *have* to get income to get buy... in other worlds, if their nest egg or income stream (pension, SS, etc) isn't enough... then I can see it.... maybe.

I am taking a 5 unit Italian language class - does that mean I'm not retired, I'm a student?
I am a mother to minor children - does that mean I'm not retired, I'm a stay at home mom?
In the first case, I am taking the class because I want to - and being retired gives me the time to do it.
In the second case - I was a mom before I quit my job, and that hasn't changed... my status changed when I quit paid work to live on my SWR.

Why split hairs over the label retired? If someone considers themselves retired, and isn't a wage slave... let them call themselves retired.
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:48 PM   #25
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I've heard about the internet retirement police but this is the first time I've seen em. lol. Paul wrote one book in 1988 and it isn't even in print anymore. They also do not have any advertisements on their blog. Now are they retired? Come on people... Paul does write an occasional article but I doubt he is making much. It seems like he just likes to write.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:17 PM   #26
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I disagree. If trading stocks is fun, why can't writing be enjoyable as well?,,,.
Not to mention,

Quote:
Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter, open a vein, and bleed it out drop by drop. WALTER ‘RED’ SMITH
Kudos to the Terhorsts and everyone else who realize their personal retirement dream on whatever terms they can manage. It isn't and never was my dream (I love to travel for maybe two or three weeks but I love coming home just as much), but good for them.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:17 PM   #27
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I have no issue with the profit motive. I don't read most blogs and I agree that if someone wants to write about retiring to an overseas area that is fine with me. Maybe the people mentioned make no appreciable money from their efforts. I'm just suggesting full disclosure.

I'm probably just too suspicious having seen many internet schemes. So apologies in advance if I've offended anyone. With all the weirdness happening in the world, this is pretty small stuff.
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Old 09-08-2014, 07:41 PM   #28
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I was not offended, I was politely disagreeing.

I am amused with some of the definitions about who is actually retired. One guy retires early, but his wife still works and covers him under her health insurance. But the same guy declares another person not to actually be 'retired' because he accepted a relatively insignificant consulting gig, mostly because he enjoys it.

Pot calling the kettle black?

I have no idea about the profitability of travel blogging. I have a hunch that its more like a hobby that covers the costs and sometimes a bit more. I'd be more skeptical of bloggers that promoted a product like the following:

Hi! I retired in my 30's with no savings and now I travel the world, live in exotic places and support my lavish lifestyle with only 30 minutes of Internet blogging a day. For only $x,xxx I can teach you my exclusive secrets of living the dream and never working again!

I don't see the bloggers in question promoting their sites in such a manner. From what I gather they were retired for several years before they began blogging. My hunch is that both couples would continue their perpetual traveler retirement lifestyle with or with out the blogging
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Old 09-08-2014, 07:48 PM   #29
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Caveat Emptor, never buy real estate in a foreign country. If you follow that rule, you will never be duped by a travel blog. Blogs make money because people relate to the ideas and concepts that the blogs present.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:00 PM   #30
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^ You mean you wouldn't 'buy' real estate that you don't legally own? (because you are a foreign national)

You and me both Buddy
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Old 09-13-2014, 01:17 PM   #31
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I still don't know how people who write books and blogs for a living can claim they are retired. Maybe they left punching the clock behind but they all seem to be looking for easy ways to make money.
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Yep, seems there sometimes are hidden agendas. It would be best if those people are very up front in disclosures. I never know how much of this to ascribe to the profit motive.
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Why is it OK to trade stocks in retirement- but writing a blog is considered employment?
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Trading stocks is like playing poker. You enjoy the game and hopefully make some money.

Writing a blog might be for enjoyment. It depends on whether there are ads on the site. The Calderlies and Terhorsts both write for money, and they do travel a lot. I think it would be more forthright if they say they began independent living at 35.

It is simply a matter of degree.
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As far as blogging negating the use of the term retired... Look at Nords - he blogs, and has ads on his site.... But he donates the money to military charities. So... is he retired? I'd say he is.
Thanks, Rodi-- I appreciate the support.

I suspect that if the Terhorsts have made any money from blogging, then it didn't even pay their hosting fees. Writing one book about reaching financial independence and early retirement won't make you rich, either:
Book Sales, Military Charity, a Linkedin Book, and Military Discounts - Military Guide

Just to be clear, I no longer own the blog (or the ads):
I'm still donating all of the book royalties to Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House Foundation. You can see the numbers (as of April 2014) at that link.
I started the blog in September 2010 on WordPress.com (the free hosting) and blogged for two years with zero revenue.
In October 2012 I moved to Bluehost (using WordPress.ORG open-source software) and turned on the revenue faucet.
I sold the blog in August 2013 to a U.S. military servicemember. (He's planning to retire in a couple of years, and blogging is one of his income streams.) The purchase price was a large donation to Wounded Warrior Project. He keeps all of the blog revenue (whatever he can earn) and I keep marketing the book through the site. Even clicking on "The Military Guide" book link sends the Amazon affiliate revenue to him (although the royalty still goes to me).
The buyer and I have a three-year earnout agreement. For every year that I contribute a certain number of posts to the blog, he donates more money to WWP. Next month he's making another large donation, and I expect to keep up the pace for two more years.
I'm working on a second book ("The Military Guide to Good Insurance Decisions") and I have plans for three more. "Whaddya DO all day?!?" indeed. But I do not have deadlines.

I started working on the first book in 2005. Over the years I'm about $800 in the red: paper, toner cartridges, postage, phone calls & Skype fees, hosting fees, business card stock, bits & pieces of software, books to give away. But SamClem bought me lunch when we reviewed a draft together, so there's that. I also paid taxes on all of the royalties and blog revenue, and of course I deduct every self-employment expense that would reduce those taxes. But I don't even move any of the writing money into my Roth IRA-- I don't need to.

If you're writing purely for the money then you're going to be very disappointed by the hourly wages. When blogging is done for profit, it's only 10% writing and 90% promoting. The visibly successful authors do the same-- that's why you notice their visibility and it's what makes them successful. There are hundreds of thousands of good writers in America alone, but most of them suck at marketing.

I enjoy writing, and it's a good thing that I do because I can't shut it off. I work on a blog post for at least 20 minutes every day, but almost every day for the last decade I have written for at least a couple of hours-- e-mail, social media, planning, analyzing, or other personal projects. When I want to think through a problem or a question, I write about it. It helps me understand things better. Why, if I stopped wasting so much time on the writing and focused on the marketing then I could retire... oh wait.

Anyone who feels that I'm not really really retired is welcome to join me for a surfing session at White Plains Beach. If you can swim then you can learn to surf, and I'll teach you how (for free). But you'll have to wait until I get back from FinCon14, where I'll be hanging out with dozens of friends I've met over the last three years who understand why we write and when we're retired. A surprisingly large number of them are military, although perhaps it's not so surprising that we find each other in the crowds.

If you're attending FinCon14 then you know how to find me. If you're not attending FinCon14 then let me know what questions you'd like me to ask the other rank & file personal-finance bloggers. Everyone there has something to sell, but they're all giving value for their product.
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