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Old 02-26-2016, 11:23 AM   #161
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Reading MMM's blog is what got me started on the idea of trying to reach FIRE, but I no longer read it very much or read the forum. The forum is strongly atheistic to the point of being openly antagonistic to anybody who is religious. They are also pretty arrogant people. The biggest section of the forum is an area to shame people who aren't living a monk-like spartan lifestyle like them.
The arrogance is the reason I seldom read the blog. Some of the topics sound interesting, but it usually only takes a paragraph or two before the superiority complex kicks in and I close the window. I could care less how he lives, how much money he makes or spends, or how he does it. But if I'm reading something financially oriented I'd like to learn something, and I seldom do reading his stuff. Here, Bogleheads, and a few others I at least pick up interesting tax treatments, Roth conversion ideas, SS planning items, etc. On MMM it's more "I'm great, and if everyone would do what I do you could be almost as great, but not quite." It gets old, really fast.
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Old 02-26-2016, 11:03 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by MoneyCat View Post
Reading MMM's blog is what got me started on the idea of trying to reach FIRE, but I no longer read it very much or read the forum. The forum is strongly atheistic to the point of being openly antagonistic to anybody who is religious. They are also pretty arrogant people. The biggest section of the forum is an area to shame people who aren't living a monk-like spartan lifestyle like them.

I did learn some useful stuff though, like the importance of having skills you can monetize and the importance of being able to DIY to save money. I also picked up a tendency to avoid using conveniences when putting out a little more work is better for me (i.e. DIY, riding a bicycle or walking instead of taking a car whenever possible, cooking my own food instead of ordering in, doing my own cleaning, growing a garden, etc.)

I also got the idea to really start investing from reading the blog. MMM's tendency to refer to his dollars as his "employees" changed my mindset about the purpose of money and work. Now I invest my money so I can profit from other people's work as well as my own work.


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This is about my exact experience with MMM as well. All of those early posts definitely made an impression on me for the better. Nowadays I don't really go there for the above reasons.

He has done more for financial literacy than any of the people above in this thread bashing him. I understand a lot of us are here (ER.org) instead of MMM because we don't want to live spartan lives but that doesn't mean his methodologies are crap.
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:02 AM   #163
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This is about my exact experience with MMM as well. All of those early posts definitely made an impression on me for the better. Nowadays I don't really go there for the above reasons.

He has done more for financial literacy than any of the people above in this thread bashing him. I understand a lot of us are here (ER.org) instead of MMM because we don't want to live spartan lives but that doesn't mean his methodologies are crap.
Some on this forum live what could be described as pretty spartan lives, at least in dollar terms. And in some ways they live fairly 'rich' lives (they keep physically and mentally active, but find opportunities that just don't cost much). They've made some choices that some us might not care for (small apartments), but it works for them. I mention it though, because they've described their methods here in some detail, and there is no hypocrisy, or 'holier than thou' attitude from them. It that stuff from MMM that turns many off.

But I think you are wise to learn what you can from any source, and move on and/or ignore the other stuff. For some, that other stuff just is too distracting, and they maybe already learned the other things, so no value there for them. Maybe his methodologies are crap, because they seem to be so distorted?

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Old 02-27-2016, 09:26 AM   #164
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I find his wife much more likable and reasonable, both in the New Yorker piece and in her online persona at what I assume is a partner site in the MMM empire:

Mrs. Money Mustache
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:32 AM   #165
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Maybe his methodologies are crap, because they seem to be so distorted?

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I'd be curious to follow a random sample for 10 years to see how many fall off the bandwagon. I suspect most, maybe even all, will.

There's a reason diets don't generally work. Because no matter how much will power a person has, deprivation isn't enjoyable and it grinds you down over time.

I've followed extreme budget travelers for nearly a decade. These are people who hitchhike and couch surf or sleep in train stations if no other free accommodations are available. And they all evangelize about their superior way of travel. It gets them closer to the locals, they have more "real" experiences, etc. etc.

Over the years, though, as these folks' blogs take off and they start making some money the extreme nature of their budgets get noticeably less extreme. They move off the couches and out of hostel dorms into private rooms. They start dining out and even having some drinks with dinner rather than water. The hitchhiking stops. And so does exclusive travel to impoverished nations, with more stops in places like Europe and New Zealand.

What you learn is that much of the deprivation is due more to necessity than choice. And that the evangelization was mostly just rationalization because when given a choice, they invariably choose differently.

Even David Thoreau only spent 2 years at Walden Pond.

And if MMM now feels the need to bury expenditures in various off-budget classes (e.g. "work travel", etc) it may be a signal he's going through the same process but wants to hide it from the disciples.
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:33 AM   #166
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Reading MMM's blog is what got me started on the idea of trying to reach FIRE, but I no longer read it very much or read the forum. The forum is strongly atheistic to the point of being openly antagonistic to anybody who is religious.
It's ironic that some of them then simply replace religion with Mustachianism and get overly disappointed when they find that the founder does not seem to be living up to the principles. I read both sites and have gotten tremendous help from both, but MMM to me is just a guy with great ideas AND a $400,000 side-hustle.
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:40 AM   #167
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...

Even David Thoreau only spent 2 years at Walden Pond.
I'll need to look back and see how much money he made from that book!

I had to read it in high school. There are some parallels, I enjoyed the book, learned a bit, looked at things a bit differently, but I also sensed hypocrisy and for the most part, was not something I'd emulate to any great degree.

I should try re-reading it today, with this 'old guy' perspective.

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Old 02-27-2016, 09:45 AM   #168
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There's a reason diets don't generally work. Because no matter how much will power a person has, deprivation isn't enjoyable and it grinds you down over time.
This is just a snip out of your post, but it brought home a saying that a niece says to us 'fat' people in the family...

"Food is fuel"... IOW, she really does not eat for enjoyment, but to fuel her body... she runs, including a few marathons, and exercises all the time...

If people had this attitude, we would not be as fat a nation as we are...
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:50 AM   #169
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"Food is fuel"... IOW, she really does not eat for enjoyment . . .
That's not a curse I'd wish on anyone.
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:41 AM   #170
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Over the years, though, as these folks' blogs take off and they start making some money the extreme nature of their budgets get noticeably less extreme. They move off the couches and out of hostel dorms into private rooms. They start dining out and even having some drinks with dinner rather than water. The hitchhiking stops. And so does exclusive travel to impoverished nations, with more stops in places like Europe and New Zealand.

What you learn is that much of the deprivation is due more to necessity than choice. And that the evangelization was mostly just rationalization because when given a choice, they invariably choose differently.

Even David Thoreau only spent 2 years at Walden Pond.

And if MMM now feels the need to bury expenditures in various off-budget classes (e.g. "work travel", etc) it may be a signal he's going through the same process but wants to hide it from the disciples.
Yes. THIS. Exactly.

Although, tbh, most of these bloggers just fade away when their 'make money off the internet' plans don't pan out.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:32 PM   #171
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I think some of us older posters here have already read books like The Millionaire Next Door, The Tightwad Gazette and Your Money of Your Life so the concept of not buying a lot of junk or status items in order to be FI was not really new. The second chapter of TMND is called Frugal, Frugal, Frugal, and that book was based on market research of many millionaires living otherwise fairly mainstream lives with good value homes, not the unverified experiences of one household.

In trying to lower our own expenses, I think the highest ROI frugal oriented activities these days we've found are more from sites like this forum (tax savings, cutting cable, ACA / retiree health costs), the boarding area blogs (free travel), Reddit beer money (low effort extra cash and gift cards), etc. than through deprivation. IMHO actually these days it would be possible or pretty close to possible to live well in a low cost of living area without a job, travel and go out quite a bit and take public transportation if you don't want to drive just with an accumulation of lots of ways to make or save extra money from the deal sites and forums. I have one book called Living Well on Practically Nothing that mentions to be careful to think about the ROI on your time as doing too much DIY and homesteading kind of work as one's hourly rate might turn out to be about 40 cents an hour. Which is fine if that is your hobby and lifestyle choice but if your goal is simply to save money there are probably higher ROI ways to do that with less manual labor.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:29 PM   #172
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I think some of us older posters here have already read books like The Millionaire Next Door, The Tightwad Gazette and Your Money of Your Life so the concept of not buying a lot of junk or status items in order to be FI was not really new. The second chapter of TMND is called Frugal, Frugal, Frugal, and that book was based on market research of many millionaires living otherwise fairly mainstream lives with good value homes, not the unverified experiences of one household.
This is a great point. Every generation of any movement has its inspirations and touch points. LBYM and early FI has existed long before MMM, but for the folks who got turned onto such concepts by way of MMM then ofc it will hold a stronger place in their heart than other teachers of the same concepts. The opposite is perhaps more true. I learned programming via BASIC and C/C++, so when I look at the latest languages & frameworks I can't help but compare them to my originals and judge them from my perspective vantage. The new languages (analogous to MMM teaching his flavor of LBYM and FI) basically do the same thing, but since the concepts aren't new to me I'm less wowed and dazzled by the truly important concepts they enable.

For me, I found MMM first, then jcollins, then e-r.org, then bogleheads. I didn't get intro'd to the concept of LBYM and FI via books; rather, those sites helped me find great books. There are many paths to the center of the mountain and the routes have their own twists & turns, characteristics & styles.
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:23 PM   #173
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This is just a snip out of your post, but it brought home a saying that a niece says to us 'fat' people in the family...

"Food is fuel"... IOW, she really does not eat for enjoyment, but to fuel her body... she runs, including a few marathons, and exercises all the time...

If people had this attitude, we would not be as fat a nation as we are...

I recently lost 20 lbs and it didn't really take a lot of work. I just stopped eating junk and started exercising for about 40 minutes a day, six days a week. The weight just melted right off.

The weight problem in our country comes from the same place mentally as the financial problems that many people have. We live in a culture of instant gratification. When we want something, we buy it or we eat it or we do it, instead of really considering if we really need it or if it's something worthwhile. I learned that just because I felt hungry that didn't mean I needed to eat. Sometimes the hunger was a result of boredom or thirst and the craving went away after a couple of minutes.
It's the same way with buying stuff. Do I really need to buy a new laptop or is the one I already have sufficient for my needs? Do I really need a smart watch? Should I lease a new car every three years or just buy a car and use it for fifteen years? Should I pay someone to mow my lawn and clean my house or can I take a couple hours every weekend and just do it myself? We get so addicted to convenience that we end up being incredibly wasteful.
Changing my mindset has changed my entire life. Now I have healthy retirement accounts, lots of investments, lots of savings. I can say "no" to people without them being able to really retaliate against me. Being in control of yourself -- ignoring wasteful "wants" and focusing on real "needs" -- give you an amazing amount of freedom.


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Mr MM Explains the Why of FIRE
Old 02-28-2016, 06:44 PM   #174
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Mr MM Explains the Why of FIRE

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I recently lost 20 lbs and it didn't really take a lot of work. I just stopped eating junk and started exercising for about 40 minutes a day, six days a week. The weight just melted right off.

The weight problem in our country comes from the same place mentally as the financial problems that many people have. We live in a culture of instant gratification. When we want something, we buy it or we eat it or we do it, instead of really considering if we really need it or if it's something worthwhile. I learned that just because I felt hungry that didn't mean I needed to eat. Sometimes the hunger was a result of boredom or thirst and the craving went away after a couple of minutes.
It's the same way with buying stuff. Do I really need to buy a new laptop or is the one I already have sufficient for my needs? Do I really need a smart watch? Should I lease a new car every three years or just buy a car and use it for fifteen years? Should I pay someone to mow my lawn and clean my house or can I take a couple hours every weekend and just do it myself? We get so addicted to convenience that we end up being incredibly wasteful.
Changing my mindset has changed my entire life. Now I have healthy retirement accounts, lots of investments, lots of savings. I can say "no" to people without them being able to really retaliate against me. Being in control of yourself -- ignoring wasteful "wants" and focusing on real "needs" -- give you an amazing amount of freedom.


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When I retired, I

1) bought a low maintenance bike

2) only bought what I needed for meals the next day.

3) used the bike to do my grocery shopping.

If I really wanted something extra later I'd hop on the bike again and go get it.

Works really well for me as a routine. The market is only about 1.5 or 2 miles from me (depending on if I go to trader joes or not ) . I can see how it might not work if you have distances too much longer than that.




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Old 02-28-2016, 07:29 PM   #175
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When I retired, I

1) bought a low maintenance bike

2) only bought what I needed for meals the next day.

3) used the bike to do my grocery shopping.

If I really wanted something extra later I'd hop on the bike again and go get it.

Works really well for me as a routine. The market is only about 1.5 or 2 miles from me (depending on if I go to trader joes or not ) . I can see how it might not work if you have distances too much longer than that.




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I bought a bicycle too. Just a cheap little thing but it does the trick. Got a cargo trailer for it too for grocery shopping and whatnot. Now I only use my car when going to other towns. Good way to save money and get some exercise.

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Old 02-28-2016, 07:38 PM   #176
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As I posted on the MMM forums.
I find it a bit disingenuous that he is talking about retiring in your 30s with only $500-$600K with a family to support, when his wife worked for most of it and he soon started a blog which turned out to be a gold mine.

I know we have a few forum members living on 24k a year, and fair number that have under million (although it seems most of these have a pension now or in their future.)

It's the combination of very young retirement age, and not particularly safe 4% withdrawal rate, and spending rate close to the poverty level which concerns me.

Now the forum as whole may be overly conservative which leads to OMY. However, with the challenge of finding a good paying job over 40 and especially 50 if your investment good south or your spending goes north, being conservative isn't too bad.
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:30 PM   #177
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I've followed extreme budget travelers for nearly a decade. These are people who hitchhike and couch surf or sleep in train stations if no other free accommodations are available. And they all evangelize about their superior way of travel. It gets them closer to the locals, they have more "real" experiences, etc. etc.

Over the years, though, as these folks' blogs take off and they start making some money the extreme nature of their budgets get noticeably less extreme. They move off the couches and out of hostel dorms into private rooms. They start dining out and even having some drinks with dinner rather than water. The hitchhiking stops. And so does exclusive travel to impoverished nations, with more stops in places like Europe and New Zealand.
Yeah, back in the '70's, fresh out of college, backpack crammed full (and Frommer's Europe on $10 a Day in hand), we found this a great way to travel. It was affordable; the bones didn't creak after sleeping on a train all night; and it didn't matter that we were living on bread/cheese/fruit from the markets. We could eat little and sleep little, but still put in 12 hours of hiking around cities every day. Then do it the next day.

Fast forward 40 years. Friends and I now want to sit down for meals, sleep in comfy beds, and have our own bathroom. We see a few places each day, then call it quits for a nice dinner with wine. We go to bed early, so we can do it again the next day.

The years catch up with us. With a few more funds in our pockets now, it is still nice to see the world. We are just slower at it now, and these aging bodies are more demanding than they used to be!

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Old 02-29-2016, 02:06 PM   #178
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I absolutely agree that when older you want more creature comforts. I worry about the younger people over there that retire with so little. It is a foolish plan.
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Old 02-29-2016, 02:16 PM   #179
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I absolutely agree that when older you want more creature comforts. I worry about the younger people over there that retire with so little. It is a foolish plan.
It's also an inherently more risky plan (which us older folks might also confuse as foolish.)

One of the things that I draw comfort from is the fact that I haven't cut spending to the absolute bone. If my retirement plan goes tits up and I have to live like an ascetic monk to survive I still have that option. If, however, your plan requires you to live like an ascetic monk from the start and things go south from there, how exactly do you survive then?
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Old 02-29-2016, 02:44 PM   #180
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If, however, your plan requires you to live like an ascetic monk from the start and things go south from there, how exactly do you survive then?
Sokushinbutsu

Not sure if that qualifies as "surviving" though.
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