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Old 12-19-2007, 11:09 AM   #181
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when you have a job and earn money you either spend the money or invest it. Both cases result in the creation of a job for someone else. There is no lost job.
This is a not addressing the issue. I didn't say any jobs were lost. I said I took a job someone else could have. No net loss.
I would also argue that a job is not created for every individual investor. While every job someone takes is a job someone else can't have.
Let's use the statement you quoted.
If I get a job at a bookstore I:
A. have a job which I don't need for funds.
B. continue to invest

If I don't take that job
A. Some one else who does need the money (and possibly job experience) takes the job
B. I continue to invest.

Taking the job is obviously selfish as it denies someone that needs the job the opportunity to have it.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:08 PM   #182
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Don't know if anyone remembers the cartoonist B. Kliban.....
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:10 PM   #183
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  • In this society you are expected to work more or less full time from, say, age 20-60.
Is my 17 - 57 OK then?



After reading this thread, I've decided to become less of a drag on society. I'm no longer RE. Here's what I've done
  1. After much study I've awarded myself the coveted SPFE designation (Self Proclaimed Financial Expert) and opened Kumquat's Asset Management. Sorry, I only handle one account
  2. Founded Kumquat Construction to do home reno's and landscaping. Uh, no, I can't take you as a client.
  3. Organized Kumquat Automotive. We specialize in 60's British sports cars, you'll have to get someone else for your Prius.
I feel so much better now that I'm not a drain on society.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:11 PM   #184
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Got it.

RE is like murder.

We're all obligated to people who dont know us or care about us to continue working until we're old.

That's it in a nutshell.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:00 PM   #185
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Got it.

RE is like murder.
Just in case anyone else was confused: my point was that RE is like a parking violation.

Carry on.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:18 PM   #186
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Who is going to start the "proposition: working is a sin" thread? If you do, I'll confess my sins. Oh, the things I've done in the names of money and productivity. But I will sin no more! I'm a born-again slacker.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:25 PM   #187
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Just in case anyone else was confused: my point was that RE is like a parking violation.

Carry on.
It sounds more like when someone gets the last good parking spot and you have to keep circling around.

Does anyone who's ER'd get criticized by someone who could ER but doesn't? Or is it all from people who can't ER?

I've shared my plans with a few people, about the worst reaction I've gotten is "what are you going to do?"
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:40 PM   #188
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Just in case anyone else was confused: my point was that RE is like a parking violation.

Carry on.
I hope this thread will not be closed. Why should it be? It is polite though sometimes sarcastic, and IMO it discusses real issues- even if they are real issues that are not popular here. I think diagnosis of trolling is vastly overused. In fact is often means nothing more than that a poster is putting forth an unpopular idea.

OTOH may threads are just mutual back-rubbing.

Mind control we can get at work; why not a little more freedom here?

I would like to mention one area where to me it was clear that in the professions at least, there is a downside to very high pay in the context of modern permissive attitudes toward duty, social obligations etc. When my kids were small a lot of doctors discovered that they could make plenty money working 2 days a week, sharing offices, while living in moderate if not quite grand style. This way they could go ski-ing, learn gourmet cooking, etc. I felt that society had invested in them, and that since it was often hard to find a doctor anytime, anywhere except the ER, they were not doing the job that a rational society should expect of them. They were essentially high paid slackers. They had taken up expensive, (expensive in terms of money, and in terms of human suffering caused by their learning curve) scarce places in medical school and residency training, and they were not giving back except to the degree necessary to fund an outdoor woodsy yuppie lifestyle.

I guess it may not be total coincidence that we now have "providers" rather than doctors, and some people want a lawyer to watch their back when they go to the doctor.

Who cares if the pawnshop guy retires? One of his clerks will buy him out and continue if the location is good. Pawn shops may be useful, but the skills and capital tied up in them are mostly private. In any school system other than our singularly useless public schools an 8th grade education would suffice.

No informed person except a zealot apologist could say that the skills and capital tied up in modern medicine are similarly private.

Medicine is the most obvious example, but there are others. If society bears a good portion of the cost of full training and equipping, society has a stake. Otherwise, public schools should be abolished, university teachers should get off the dole from the taxpayers both state and federal, etc. etc.

Just some idle thoughts on a Wednesday morning. I love being retired; but I do think that like whisky it is better taken straight up without the sugary pop.

Ha
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:53 PM   #189
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I think it's interesting to ask "what if everybody retired as soon as they earned enough to sustain themselves?" Is there any evidence to suggest society would be worse off? We'd have higher CEO turnover, I suppose. Not sure that's a bad thing. I'm not convinced that we'd have lower productivity, but even if we did, we'd probably be more like Europe. Not sure that's a bad thing either.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:09 PM   #190
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Here’s my summary.
Rather than multiple quote, I'm going to put your summary in red and keep my responses in black.
  • Spending time on leisure when you are obligated to do something else is selfish. Your mom wants you to take out the trash, but you play video games. I think we can all agree on that, and just haggle about the details.
I agree. In fact, I claim that doing anything else when you're obligated to do something is selfish. I think we're going to disagree on what our obligations are. I'm still willing to haggle.
  • In this society you are expected to work more or less full time from, say, age 20-60. This is just a convention – so can we reject it if we don’t like it?
Yes, provided that we are paying our own way and not financially dependent on others (for example, on welfare).
  • There is a philosophical term for this that escapes me, but there are some moral rules that exist in every society – like murder – and some that exist as a matter of convention – like parking restrictions. If you park in the handicapped spot then that is selfish. Another society might have different parking rules, and another society might have different expectations about age of retirement, but that doesn’t necessarily make breaking the conventions OK.
This convention is unwarranted. Breaking it is not a moral problem.
  • Why is this convention needed? Because you need producers to have the things society needs. You can try as hard as you like to pay for something, but if no one is making it, then it won’t be there. If paying our most productive people more causes them to work less rather than more, then the whole system pretty much breaks down, right? The ER is exploiting a flaw in the system.
This convention is NOT needed. If everyone stopped producing things (and I hardly think that's likely, but I'll consider it for the moment as a thought experiment), then things would be in short supply, prices would rise, and some ERs would have to go back to work. An equilibrium would be reached.

As a practical matter, have you seen what's happened to the US savings rate? Everyone quitting to live a life of leisure and leaving no one to produce is NOT an issue.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:10 PM   #191
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I think it's interesting to ask "what if everybody retired as soon as they earned enough to sustain themselves?" Is there any evidence to suggest society would be worse off?
Good question.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:00 PM   #192
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Just in case anyone else was confused: my point was that RE is like a parking violation.

Carry on.
You obviously missed my post about the fact that ER folks spend LOTS of the same money they spent while working, on things like groceries, travel, utilities, etc.

Seems to me they help drive the system............

I wouldn't worry too much about them, we'll always have the 95% who live over their means, work forever,etc.........fear not.........
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:01 PM   #193
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Since the thread isn't dead, I'll pile on more...

I wrote:
Other posters have already given examples of what ER has allowed them to do to help other family members, friends, neighbors, or volunteer organizations with their time and effort. Those aren't measured by economics.

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I had to go back and read this whole thread again. In the pages of posts there are maybe 20 words on this. Also in the thread "what are we all retireing to" there is barely a mention of this sort of thing. I think the evidence is heavily against you here.
I didn't reread the whole thread and you are probably right that at the time of your reply above, not very many people mentioned what worthwhile ER contributions they made to society in this specific thread or in that other one, but I've read this forum for several years, and people have mentioned that they do these sorts of things--you know, just being a decent (if not even better than before) spouse, friend, sibling, grandparent, community member, volunteer, etc.--being there more, being more present, more energized, being able to care for sick parents or family members, etc. (After a while, people just get tired of posting the same things--at least I do--but older posts contained this sharing of what various posters are doing.)

I still maintain that there is value to one's being happy that positively affects others around them, even if that happiness is not measured in GDP, GNP, or productivity. So, happy ERs are contributing to society. It's easier to be helpful, polite, pleasant, patient, etc., all those good things, when one's happy.

On a less happy track, I am on the line for feeling guilty, though, when/if I achieve ER. I was raised in the Philippines where family expectations of financial support are high. At this point, I am nowhere near ER, so it's not a big worry but it will be when/if I get there.

My guilt will not arise from what I define as my obligation to society but my obligation to my family--mom, brother, nieces, and nephews. I will hopefully come to the point when I will think I have enough for myself but then I'll have to decide if I should work a little bit more to help out other family members. I could very well be perceived by my family there as selfish if I stopped working when I still could work.

It is always a struggle to define what one's obligation is, but along the lines of twaddle, we usually define it as what is least burdensome for us. As I define it, my obligation now to my family overseas is a monthly allowance for them. I'll be re-defining that obligation in the next few years...
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:45 PM   #194
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:53 PM   #195
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This convention is unwarranted. Breaking it is not a moral problem.
Just because you don't like a convention doesn't mean you can break it. It is still selfish to park in the handicapped spot even if you think there are too many.

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This convention is NOT needed. If everyone stopped producing things (and I hardly think that's likely, but I'll consider it for the moment as a thought experiment), then things would be in short supply, prices would rise, and some ERs would have to go back to work. An equilibrium would be reached.

As a practical matter, have you seen what's happened to the US savings rate? Everyone quitting to live a life of leisure and leaving no one to produce is NOT an issue.
Just becuase other people aren't breaking a convention doesn't mean that you can. Handicapped parking again. When you break that convention, if there are no police around, you get dirty looks. Just like when the 45 year old software engineer retires.

FinanceDude: I saw your post. If people contribute to society by spending then surely ER is a problem - just for a very different reason than I thought. The LBYM side would be the problem. If you contribute by spending and also by not spending. . .

As I said before it's the spending side of the equation that aligns society's actions with your desires. You aren't contributing here, you're consuming. It's the producing side of the equation that aligns other people's desires with your actions. There should be a balance of both.

flispstress: "there is value to one's being happy that positively affects others around them" With that isn't it pretty hard to be selfish? I don't think the word is going to have the same meaning if you restrict it to only things that are pretty awful.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:54 PM   #196
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Bongo,

I my earlier post, I declined to explain my personal decision to retire early. Since this thing is still going, I will elaborate on my situation. My husband and I married at 19 and just celebrated our 33rd anniversary. We put each other through college without any student loans or family handouts. This set the stage for living a frugal life so once we got decent jobs, we saved a lot. Over the years, we have provided substantial financial assistance to a number of less fortunate family members.

We want to retire early for many of the usual reasons. This includes having a chance to rest a bit after many years of hard work and not having to deal with unpleasant office politics anymore. More importantly, we want to rediscover ourselves and follow our hearts. My husband's mom has been in a nursing home for years after suffering a stroke. My mom is nearly 80 and needs me more these days. First on our list is to spend more time with our moms.

We have also been heavily involved in volunteer work for most of our adult lives. We volunteered with a local community cable TV station and worked with lots of kids from the local high school. Many of these kids were troubled and found themselves through their volunteer work.

Over the past eleven years, we have been active in animal rescue. We have fostered many homeless and abused animals in our home and placed them into loving households. Once I retire in a couple of weeks, I will be working with the local shelter to launch a major spay/neuter project. We will focus on providing free spay/neuter services to low income citizens. In addition, we will work to reduce the number of homeless cats in our community through a targeted trap/neuter/return project. Furthermore, we will work with humane societies in our state to tackle the problem of unregulated puppy mills. Finally, we will provide free spay/neuters to any pit bull in our community in an effort to stem the tide of cruelty toward this breed.

Again, I didn't really want to go into my own personal details because I feel anyone who worked hard and was thrifty has a right to enjoy the fruits of their labor and spend their time on leisure activities if that is their wish. As I said before, I have no problem with those who choose to spend their retirement years with activities such as travel and golf. After all, what gives me the right to judge them? I have only been active on this board for a short time, but have found the people here to be most gracious and helpful. I have received a lot of good, objective advice on how to handle both the financial and psychological aspects of our retirement.

I guess I just wanted to let you know your blanket labeling of those who choose to retire early as selfish is just plain wrong.

In closing, I sincerely wish you and your family a happy holiday.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:56 PM   #197
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:59 PM   #198
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FinanceDude: I saw your post. If people contribute to society by spending then surely ER is a problem - just for a very different reason than I thought. The LBYM side would be the problem. If you contribute by spending and also by not spending. .
Good grief Bongo. You certainly twist positions to fit your preconceived notion. Now "frugality is bad for society." But since we all know spendthrifts are selfish we are damed if we do and damed if we don't.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:08 PM   #199
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Just in case anyone else was confused: my point was that RE is like a parking violation.

Carry on.
I'm still a little confused. So what you're saying is that ER is a low-grade misdemeanor?

Okay then, my last question is: if I dont pay the fines (and what ARE the fines...guess it wasnt my last question), where do they put 'the boot' on me to keep me from going anywhere?

Or do I just get towed.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:35 PM   #200
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I'm still a little confused. So what you're saying is that ER is a low-grade misdemeanor?
When ER is outlawed, only outlaws will have ER...
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