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Old 01-19-2016, 12:33 PM   #61
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The one glaring inaccuracy in that article is the title, "I retired at 30". As DrRoy, REW, and a few others have pointed out, he didn't retire - he switched careers. This is really my main issue with MMM - he portrays himself as retired when he so obviously isn't. In that sense, it turns his blog, in my mind, into a sophisticated form of click-bait. There's definitely much good information on his site, and he's obviously an intelligent guy with writing skills, but I find his brand of overly-confident cockiness off-putting.

I'm just not fond of the use of hyperbole and misrepresentation to generate internet traffic. It doesn't speak much to his personal integrity, IMO.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:43 PM   #62
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Click-bait? Oh, my! I thought that never happens!
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:51 PM   #63
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Wow, thank you MMM, I just realized that I have been retired for some 35 years now. I retired early at 32, not 66 like I had previously and erroneously thought. Because 1980 was the last year I received a W-2, and it was for only 20% of the year. The rest of the time I spent doing things that I liked doing, and had been doing anyway for free before then. But people did start giving me money for doing that stuff. I thought I had started a microprocessor consulting business, but now I realized that really I was retired!!!
I got paid for things (I was about to say worked) I did from my home office, so I could still be around my kids when they were young, and take off when I wanted. Gee.
I should have started a blog about it too, but they hadn't been invented yet.
call it what you want it seems like you have enjoyed a pretty awesome life
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:57 PM   #64
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Click-bait? Oh, my! I thought that never happens!
I would be terrible at online promoting. Instead of writing, "What you see at 3:47 will astonish you and completely turn your life around", I'd probably write something like, "This video is quite amusing. I think you'll get a chuckle out of it."
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:13 PM   #65
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MMM also leaves out many of his expenses in his budget such as taxes and "business" expenses, like home improvements and travel. And his budget is really a list of expenses for the year, a true budget would allow for at least some high medical expense years, car replacements, saving for college and a new roof. Add those in and his budget is not really much different than many middle class households. Plus as others have mentioned he obviously works - he is just self employed and not salaried.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:18 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
The one glaring inaccuracy in that article is the title, "I retired at 30". As DrRoy, REW, and a few others have pointed out, he didn't retire - he switched careers. This is really my main issue with MMM - he portrays himself as retired when he so obviously isn't. In that sense, it turns his blog, in my mind, into a sophisticated form of click-bait. There's definitely much good information on his site, and he's obviously an intelligent guy with writing skills, but I find his brand of overly-confident cockiness off-putting.

I'm just not fond of the use of hyperbole and misrepresentation to generate internet traffic. It doesn't speak much to his personal integrity, IMO.
+1
This is my problem with his site also. I find it just too disingenuous, seems to me to be mostly marketing flash. If one has a point, make it, there is no need to use hyperbole and misrepresentation. But then again I am just a crotchety old ex engineer.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:54 PM   #67
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Well, I do "work" a few hours per week for some very lucrative pay. The work is essentially the same thing as posting on the ER forum (which I've done for free for 10+ years) or discussing finances with a friend (also done for free for 10+ years).

It is intellectually stimulating, entertaining, and feels good to do it (like volunteering, with a fat paycheck, and not annoying like a regular 40 hr/wk job).

But I've set things up so I'm not doing more than a few hours work per week. Everything else gets turned down. Maybe that changes when the kids are all in school or they leave for college. Maybe not - there are a lot of games I want to play.



My wife is working on quitting. Strike that, your Honor. My wife is trying to quit. And not just to legitimize my early retired status.
You are upfront about your situation and freely admit that you do some work. I don't feel pressure when I read your blog. I feel "I'm not worthy" when I read MMM.
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:47 PM   #68
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I find his type of retirement to be a common theme. My facebook feed is full of MLM folks talking about not have a JOB..and then trying to sell me their stuff or sign up. To me its a misuse of retirement when they really mean financially independent (ie. I don't absolutely need the paycheck, but I'll take it if its offered and I like the assignment). However, I won't diss him because many I know that are retired still own rental properties which managing, maintaining them to me can easily become a job. We never counted my friends dad as retired because every day he got up, did the rounds and collected his quarters from the laundry mats he owned, called maintenance. Sure he spent most of his time golfing, but he still ended up doing errands to keep his laundry mats going which otherwise he wouldn't have received weekly income.
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Old 01-19-2016, 03:04 PM   #69
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You are upfront about your situation and freely admit that you do some work. I don't feel pressure when I read your blog. I feel "I'm not worthy" when I read MMM.
Well, I clearly need to ramp up the pressure then!

I actually enjoy reading most of MMM's articles. Some are over the top but most are entertaining (even if I don't agree with them).

I get it - he's a type A person and really enjoys the go go go life. Some folks are like that and most of them don't ever want to quit work ("I'd get bored. What would I do all day?").

I don't know how MMM decides on what paid tasks he takes on. For me, I ask myself "Do I enjoy doing this? Will it allow me plenty of leisure time and the flexibility to do whatever I want whenever I want? Is the compensation worth my time to deal with the finances/business side of the transaction?" As long as the answer to all questions are yes, then I will do things in exchange for money.

I imagine MMM applies a similar heuristic when deciding on what projects he tackles and what work he turns down. His definition of "leisure" is probably very different than mine because his apparently includes manual labor (carpentry). Although I don't mind the occasional DIY task either, so I get it (difference of magnitude but the same thing). Hanging out with friends, drinking beer and making stuff.
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:56 PM   #70
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I read that article and wondered about the construction company, boutique carpentry and other ventures that have come and gone. The only one that still survives at the time of the article is the "boutique carpenter operation"(can anyone tell me what that is). Those of you that are familiar with this man, were these bankruptcies? I'm trying to understand putting up the money to start a construction company and then realize it was too much for him. Does he have that much money from his 10 years of working (is that how long he worked at a full time job?) to keep starting ventures that come and go. It sounds like a lot of wasted money on business ventures. It says he retired in 2005 so it doesn't sound like these ventures/businesses were long term.


Quote from article "So in my own case I started just with the goal of being a parent, but then ended up starting a house-building company to pursue my lifelong love of building things. Then I learned that the daily stress and schedule of big, multi-person projects was still too much for me at the time, so it evolved into a boutique carpentry operation that still does local projects to this day. Other ventures have come and gone, but none of them were done because we needed the money. That is my definition of a modern retirement: the activities you pursue once you are done searching for money."
He has roughly outlined how they accumulated their nestegg (aka the "stache") here: A Brief History of the ‘Stash: How we Saved from Zero to Retirement in Nine Years

He also provided the details on his business partnership that went bad here -- lost quite a bit of money on that, but eventually bounced back: Mr. Money Mustache’s Big Mistake

More recently, they bought a fixer upper in their neighborhood that was slightly smaller/older than their previous house, renovated it, and sold the original house for a significant profit:

We Sold the House! Here’s How I’m Investing the $400,000.

Although I personally wish he had chosen to classify himself as "financially independent" rather than "retired," given the blog and his other ventures, I think it is pretty clear from reading his blog (which is very much written in a "persona" voice that is not necessarily a direct reflection of Pete himself) that he basically does whatever the f*** he wants with his time and energy. The blog is probably a huge cash cow for him at this point -- more power to him. Unlike others, he hasn't sold out. He even kicked off lucrative sponsors when they wanted to control him.

For those who have been put off by the forums, you may find a more welcoming tone in the "journals" section -- much more variety in outlook/approach there. There are also some really useful tools in various places on the site (e.g. poster MDM has developed a great "case study" template that has a very nice sheet in it where you can project your SS earnings given different scenarios).
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:41 PM   #71
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I read the article and liked it. I think that issue of whether or not he is "retired" is a distraction from the points he is making. I liked this quote in particular:

Quote:
financial independence isn't so much about freedom from work. It is more about freedom to do your best work, without money getting in the way.
And I think that is really the key to a lot of what he is says. I note by the way that the description of him at the bottom described him as retiring "from the field" of software engineering, which I think he certainly did.

I used to read his blog a great deal (and his forums a fair amount). I quit reading it mostly because (1) I got busy writing my own blog and (2) he annoyed me. He didn't annoy me because he called himself retired (I don't care how he describes himself) or because he earns money or even that he doesn't spend a lot of money or includes living expenses as part of blog expenses and so on. What annoyed me was how he made fun of choices other people made when he spends a lot of money on things that he values. For example, he made fun of people eating restaurant meals basically taking the view it was ridiculous to do that. Yet, he spends way more money on travel than I do and he thinks that is totally fine. It annoyed me that he totally discounted people's enjoyment in things he doesn't like, without realizing that maybe some people think some of his preferences are a waste of money.

But, anyway, I actually kinda understand his view on retirement and working. I know that some feel that as soon as you do anything other than passive investment that brings in any money during retirement then you are working. But, put in one Adsense ad on your blog and then it is a job. I don't actually see it that way.

To me, there is a big difference between someone working for money who needs that money and someone who earns income from something that they do for pleasure but they don't really need the money.

I don't make any money from my blog but I am not sure that putting some ads on it would mean that was my job. I have toyed with the idea of being a Weight Watchers leader which I would do simply out of desiring to help others. Yes, it pays money (not much). The money would be immaterial to me, but I wouldn't turn it down.

I also have a master's degree and license in a field that is not the one I worked in for 30+ years. This other field is one that is not well paying at all. I never actually got a job in that field because I could make so much more money in the field I did work in. But, there are times, when I have thought about getting a part-time job in that field. To me, it would be just for the fun of it. Yes, I would get a paycheck. But, frankly, it would pay me less than SS benefits would pay me. The money wouldn't be my motivation for doing it. It is just that I could never afford to do it before and now I can. It isn't the money I would want, but just the opportunity to do the tasks that come with that job. (I am not likely to actually do it because I don't want the other stuff that comes with a job ...I think I would like the work but hate the job).

To me, there is a big difference between doing work that you are doing because it is fun for you, but they happen to pay you for it, and you don't need the money and doing work that you need to do in order to make ends meet or work that you do because you are primarily motivated by the money.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:32 PM   #72
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Bigdawg,
I like the LBYM and low consumerism message on the MMM website, but I get a similar feeling from the site. If you are not 100% on board, you are not one of us. I guess that follows his "tough" stance on those who don't live by his every word.


An example: MMM decided it was reasonable behavior to knock on the windows of people sitting in idling vehicles, because he didn't approve of their vehicle choice, and he didn't think they should be polluting and wasting more energy than he would. He is going from someone recommending alternative values and lifestyles, to someone who believes he is on the side of all things good, and he is doing a good deed enforcing his beliefs onto others. It almost has the feel of a crazy cult.


Take care,


JP
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:44 PM   #73
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......An example: MMM decided it was reasonable behavior to knock on the windows of people sitting in idling vehicles, because he didn't approve of their vehicle choice, and he didn't think they should be polluting and wasting more energy than he would. He is going from someone recommending alternative values and lifestyles, to someone who believes he is on the side of all things good, and he is doing a good deed enforcing his beliefs onto others. It almost has the feel of a crazy cult.

Take care,

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Wow, he really is living in an alternate universe. One of these days he's going to knock on the wrong window, and it won't end well for him.
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Old 01-24-2016, 12:56 AM   #74
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I don't think there are really enough details on the blog on the key metrics to tell if they were realistically FI after working 9 years - what were investable assets (without home equity) AA, expected rate of return, planning age, realistic budget until end of plan (allowances for items like braces, increasing health care costs with age, sports injuries, replacement cars, new roof, LTC, serious illness / car accidents, etc.). We go out to eat, see movies and plays, and drive to the grocery store but with or without these expenses, either way these aren't the items that are going to make or break our ER budget. The biggies are / were things like health insurance, college, travel, housing, income taxes / RMDs, home repairs, and LTC and many of these are not covered in his expense lists.
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:24 AM   #75
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Where's your blog? I'm interested.

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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
I read the article and liked it. I think that issue of whether or not he is "retired" is a distraction from the points he is making. I liked this quote in particular:



And I think that is really the key to a lot of what he is says. I note by the way that the description of him at the bottom described him as retiring "from the field" of software engineering, which I think he certainly did.

I used to read his blog a great deal (and his forums a fair amount). I quit reading it mostly because (1) I got busy writing my own blog and (2) he annoyed me. He didn't annoy me because he called himself retired (I don't care how he describes himself) or because he earns money or even that he doesn't spend a lot of money or includes living expenses as part of blog expenses and so on. What annoyed me was how he made fun of choices other people made when he spends a lot of money on things that he values. For example, he made fun of people eating restaurant meals basically taking the view it was ridiculous to do that. Yet, he spends way more money on travel than I do and he thinks that is totally fine. It annoyed me that he totally discounted people's enjoyment in things he doesn't like, without realizing that maybe some people think some of his preferences are a waste of money.

But, anyway, I actually kinda understand his view on retirement and working. I know that some feel that as soon as you do anything other than passive investment that brings in any money during retirement then you are working. But, put in one Adsense ad on your blog and then it is a job. I don't actually see it that way.

To me, there is a big difference between someone working for money who needs that money and someone who earns income from something that they do for pleasure but they don't really need the money.

I don't make any money from my blog but I am not sure that putting some ads on it would mean that was my job. I have toyed with the idea of being a Weight Watchers leader which I would do simply out of desiring to help others. Yes, it pays money (not much). The money would be immaterial to me, but I wouldn't turn it down.

I also have a master's degree and license in a field that is not the one I worked in for 30+ years. This other field is one that is not well paying at all. I never actually got a job in that field because I could make so much more money in the field I did work in. But, there are times, when I have thought about getting a part-time job in that field. To me, it would be just for the fun of it. Yes, I would get a paycheck. But, frankly, it would pay me less than SS benefits would pay me. The money wouldn't be my motivation for doing it. It is just that I could never afford to do it before and now I can. It isn't the money I would want, but just the opportunity to do the tasks that come with that job. (I am not likely to actually do it because I don't want the other stuff that comes with a job ...I think I would like the work but hate the job).

To me, there is a big difference between doing work that you are doing because it is fun for you, but they happen to pay you for it, and you don't need the money and doing work that you need to do in order to make ends meet or work that you do because you are primarily motivated by the money.
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:27 AM   #76
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Where's your blog? I'm interested.
If a member has a blog you can usually find it by clicking on their user name, then on "Visit [user name's] homepage" (if they have one) in the drop-down menu.
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Old 01-24-2016, 12:04 PM   #77
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Wow, he really is living in an alternate universe. One of these days he's going to knock on the wrong window, and it won't end well for him.
especially if it's in downtown houston, dallas, etc
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Old 01-24-2016, 12:46 PM   #78
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An example: MMM decided it was reasonable behavior to knock on the windows of people sitting in idling vehicles, because he didn't approve of their vehicle choice, and he didn't think they should be polluting and wasting more energy than he would.


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if he tries that with me I'll tell him I don't need my windshield cleaned
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Old 01-24-2016, 01:40 PM   #79
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Ihamo, Thanks for those links. Sorry, no convert here.
In the "stash" post he wrote "I have hesitated to share the details until this point, mostly because I didn’t keep a written record through the years and it seemed pretty complicated and imprecise in my mind."

"Year 6 “It is complicated to remember what portion of income was taxable salary, and what was non-taxable gains inside of retirement accounts and such. But a reasonable estimate of the total is Year 6 ‘Stash: $365k.

"Year 8 My earnings must have been something crazy like 125k this year."


How can you save for retirement and invest your money if it's complicated and you're not tracking your money? I hope he does well.



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Old 01-24-2016, 06:31 PM   #80
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A person named blackstache who says he is Mr. MM posted this on Reddit when the amount of his investable assets and timeline from the blog was questioned:

"My post-retirement financial picture is confusing and ever-changing because I play around with investments and earnings so much. That's why I am hesitant to focus too much on personal details and can never explain it fully - it always leads to recursively-packed cans of worms."

https://www.reddit.com/r/personalfin...nders_welcome/
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