147 comments

Weekend Edition: Why are you Writing this Blog, Anyway?

earthWow, that post about the Internet Retirement Police really stirred up some controversy! We had a wide variety of comments, ranging from those egging on Mr. Money Mustache, to those shooting him down for overstepping his reach by suggesting that we change the dictionary.

“Sure, if we call you ‘Retired’ as you insist, will you stop publishing dud articles like this?”, said one guy

“Now that you’ve successfully redefined retirement, it’s time to tackle hubris”, said another.

Behind the scenes, things got even messier, with accusations of insanity, cowardice, and other smelly stuff.

While I’m quite pleased to have such high emotions on tap in the normally bland media of a personal finance blog, I thought it might be helpful to pull back the secret velvet curtain for a moment so those who are confused by posts like yesterday’s can understand what’s really going on. After all, at any given moment, the majority of readers on a site like this are relative newcomers.

You see, while it may occasionally appear so from a brief skimming of the text, Mr. Money Mustache is not really a Smug Asshat, as has been presumed in Hacker News comments. In real life, I don’t think I’m an extraordinary man or even much of a badass.  But this blog is about living life with gusto, and part of that involves a vibrant portrayal of life itself.

Don’t get me wrong – It’s all real, and this is truly how I try to live these days. For example, every meal to me is a Feast, every evening is a Celebration, and every night I crash into bed like the Hometree and sleep like a Thousand Babies. That shows up in the writing style as well, where the Superlatives sparkle so intensely that they occasionally capitalize themselves, and the detractors of the Mustachian lifestyle are mortal foes, flopping around tragically in pools of their own drool and urine, and so in need of satirical mocking that we can barely figure out where to start our descriptive sentences.

But why am I writing about it in such a polarizing way? Why do I need to write about it at all? Does Mr. Money Mustache feel compelled to defend his lifestyle by writing constant explanations and feeling threatened any time someone speaks out against it?

No, silly. In real life, it’s not about trying to look good to the world, or chopping down the comments of naysayers. You should know by now that I love efficiency and optimization. If I wanted to prevent people from writing mean stuff about me, I would simply use the amazing time-saving technique of not having a blog.

I don’t really care what the Internet Retirement Police say about early retirees. In fact, other than a few tasty morsels that people point out to me, I don’t even know what is being said because I don’t read other blogs and forums – this one already takes up more than enough time.

It’s also not about trying to make money or sell things – Sure, I’ve enjoyed the experience of learning how to create some earnings as a self-publishing writer, but it is not what keeps the blog alive.

The real reason this blog exists, is simply to save the entire human race from destroying itself through overconsumption.

That’s a pretty short mission statement for such a big goal, but you gotta keep it simple, right? And although I fully acknowledge that it sounds crazy (in fact, I describe it that way to make it sound as crazy as possible), it just might be more feasible than either of us think.

Let’s break it down to see what’s really going on:

  • I stumbled upon a lifestyle that is both incredibly satisfying and extremely rare in this country.
  • It turns out that this lifestyle works well for other people as well, not just me.
  • It also turns out that if everyone embraced it even in the slightest, it could solve most of humanity’s problems.
  • As an added bonus, I find it extremely fun to write about all of this.

So obviously, I’m going to start writing down some shit, right? Which is exactly what happened in April, 2010.

Interestingly enough, the message started catching on. People started transforming, and word started spreading. It became an exponential trend, and a very good one. You could even say Mustachians exhibit some cult-like behavior, which is true for almost every movement that spreads rapidly through society.

What creates a cohesive movement? While not realizing it at the beginning, some of the properties of this blog were pressing the cult buttons that are built into most of us. A relentlessly confident and optimistic ‘leader’. A sense of identity among members, and an “Us versus Them” game that allows our more badass lifestyle to be a mark of pride for us, just as the lazy learned helplessness of standard consumers is a mark of shame. And of course some pleasant entertainment to go along with all of it – witty remarks and good old-fashioned Swearing. If it doesn’t please everyone, that is just as well – sometimes you need to prune the unsuitable parts of the audience by scaring them off, in order to leave room for an appropriately dedicated and fun-loving club of survivors to get things done.

It was accidental, because that’s just the way I like to tell stories. But it was also real stuff – I really do believe that a battle must be fought against the default idea of maximum thoughtless debt-fueled consumption that gets served out to every citizen these days.

And what if the meteoric rise of Mustachianism doesn’t immediately take over the world as we all currently expect? No problem whatsoever. I look at this blog as a lifetime exercise in mass persuasion. If I can’t get the message just right today, I still have about 70 years more to keep refining the presentation to make the benefits more unavoidably obvious. We’ll get it right, all in good time.

So THAT is why you’ll occasionally see Mr. Money Mustache doing verbal battle with these internet foes or evil bits of the retail world. It’s also why he has a superhero name instead of just my standard real-life name. It’s because we have a big mission ahead of us. Big goals. Whipping your own spendypants consumer ass into shape so you can have the option of early retirement when you’re ready for it, as well as growing our authority to be broader and more intense, until it is sufficiently powerful to whip our entire fuckin’ society into shape.

Big goals like that call for big words and big concepts. And you can’t accomplish something so patently monumental while still taking yourself too seriously. People will immediately dismiss the idea as impossible. But with the aid of metaphors and fiction, we can all read along and enjoy the story without worrying about all those serious details.

Until everyone wakes up one day, and Whoops, we’re all Badass Mustachians, ready to walk outside and begin our day in a bright new world. How did that happen?

 

  • kudy February 16, 2013, 10:11 pm

    Cult leader? Just don’t tell me to drink the koolaid and I’ll keep following you ;)

    We (your followers) love your writing style and your writing, and I hope that’s motivation enough to keep going till you’re 100.

    Reply
    • Dragline February 18, 2013, 2:45 pm

      Yes, Build it and they will come!

      Reply
    • CincyCat March 6, 2013, 12:00 pm

      Wow – the Internet Retirement Police sound an awful lot like the Internet Motherhood Police of a few years ago, or the Internet Grammar Police, or the Internet Religion & Spiritual Correctness Police.

      Amazing how these individuals come out of the woodwork sometimes, isn’t it? (And I say this as a mother, a Christian and a self-professed grammar nut.)

      The good news is, they can’t write tickets, they can’t arrest you, and they can’t make you stop writing whatever you want.

      The fact that these people feel compelled to publicly denounce you on their own blogs means your message is getting out there, which is a GOOD thing!

      When you think about it, they’re actually doing you a favor by providing tons of free publicity!

      Reply
  • Sarah February 16, 2013, 10:11 pm

    I keep waiting for the day when everyone stops driving cars. It didn’t happen when I said “no more cars by 2010,” but now that Mr. Money Mustache is so popular, it’ll probably happen soon.

    Reply
  • Lee Lau February 16, 2013, 10:19 pm

    To be perfectly honest I haven’t been following your blog in the last little while because I came to the conclusion that I was retired in my own way and you were retired in your own way and that we didn’t really have much to learn from each other in that our methods diverge.

    However, I will say one thing. Success in anything attracts naysayers and haters. Humour helps you deal with those killjoys and you sir, have that in spades.

    Thanks for interesting writing

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 17, 2013, 8:18 am

      Hey Lee Lau – I’d be interested in hearing about your different retirement too. It seems if our methods diverge so widely there might be even More to learn!

      Reply
      • Lee Lau February 17, 2013, 10:26 pm

        Mr Money.

        Like you I saved a lot. Only difference is I took expensive habits (skiing and biking and a liking for travel) and made all three into a hobby where I write reviews about skis and bikes and about travelling. Apparently myself and my wife are competent enough at it that we get these things for free now.

        Basically I do the same thing you do in terms of saving and developing passive income streams but in terms of the expense side all I/we did is remove the expenses not by discontinuing the expensive activity but by getting others to underwrite those expenses.

        I suppose that might mean that by conventional thinking I/we am not retired except in MMM terms but so be it.

        Reply
        • stratat February 18, 2013, 6:47 am

          That’s pretty amazing and my ideal retirement. Get others to pay for my expensive hobbies and live off my passive income!

          Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache February 18, 2013, 11:57 am

          I dunno Lee – you sound pretty darned similar to me. I also like skiing(snowboarding) and lots of biking and travel. On top of that, I like computers, books, energy-saving technologies, power tools, fitness and home renovations. I get paid to write about all of these things too, and get many of them for free – sometimes because of the writing itself!

          I haven’t removed a single expensive activity as a compromise to reach early retirement. Rather, we designed a large enough passive income stream to accommodate our current expensive lifestyle by working and saving all the way up to age 30. We could have taken an alternative track and lived on half of what we do now, and been just as happy – an important thing to note for those who don’t have access to the shortcuts of dual $70k+ incomes in their 20s and no kids until age 30 as we had.

          Reply
    • Lisa February 18, 2013, 4:49 am

      “Success in anything attracts naysayers and haters.” So very true. In addition to humour, not giving a shit is a handy tool too…when you can manage it.

      Reply
    • Doug February 18, 2013, 10:54 am

      Yes, success in anything attracts naysayers and haters. When a sensible, rational, emotionally stable and secure person sees someone else who is successful they ask: what can I do to have their kind of success and how do I go about it? An insecure and irrational person is the jealous naysayer and hater, trying to find fault in the person and what they’ve accomplished.

      Reply
  • patrick February 16, 2013, 10:35 pm

    Blogs are a funny thing, my friend.

    I ran a successful blog for several years and ended up wrapping it up because it really got to me. I found that what the “tribe” wanted was for me to really bleed out my soul on the keyboard. Living so much in the open is not for everybody, and having strangers tell you that you’re important to them is a real head trip.

    I’m a long time lurker here and really appreciate the forthright transparency that you bring, but I’ve sort of been waiting for you to “go to war” with the Interwebs. You’ve got strong opinions and the Interwebs loves/hates that shit. Just keep in mind that you’re not blogging about financial independence anymore. You’re blogging about blogging.

    People are always going to poke holes in what you say when you say it with confidence and conviction. I’m sure you’re not really worried about that because of all that American Cash Money (skrilla, scrap, scratch) you’ve got laid up. But, the fact that you start blogging the way you think and feel about a topic as sensitive as money means there’s definitely something missing in the equation. When you invite the Interwebs into your brain, be prepared for some interesting discussions with your significant others over a second bottle of vino.

    You’re doing seriously cool things when you present a topic that is several thousand years old in a new way. You saved me a couple of hundred dollars. That deserves a sincere comment in your Interwebs blogothingy.

    Hugs, Kisses, and Shit,
    patrick

    Reply
    • Erica/Northwest Edible Life February 17, 2013, 9:48 am

      +1. Nicely said Patrick. And thank you. I’ve been licking my wounds a bit over the Internet apparently being populated by douche-rockets lately. Your comment helps with my own perspective and blogger focus setting.

      Reply
    • lurker February 17, 2013, 10:25 am

      I must concur. Love this blog and always will. Thanks for writing it….

      Reply
    • pachipres February 19, 2013, 3:26 pm

      “You saved me a couple hundreds of dollars” MMM’s blog has literally saved me thousands and thousands of dollars. Probably even ten thousand dollars!
      Thanks MMM for all your articles. Oh btw, waiting for an article
      from Mrs. MMM or Ms. MMM.

      Reply
  • Ross February 16, 2013, 10:43 pm

    When I talk to other folks about the moral imperative to be frugal, they can’t seem to connect the dots between over consumption and an unsustainable society. It’s all way more connected than we think. We shouldn’t live by the mantra “Growth is good”. We should try to live sustainably and spend the rest of our effort on helping the rest of the world that wasn’t lucky enough to be born in the land of opportunity. Thanks for leading the cult MMM!

    Reply
    • chubblywubbly February 18, 2013, 8:34 am

      While I can never be described as frugal, I am a huge proponent of sustainable living and helping the rest of the world.

      Reply
  • Mrs EconoWiser February 16, 2013, 11:01 pm

    Whoop whoop! I seem to be talking, thinking and applying Mustachian Badassisms every day now. This also seems to have a snowball effect. The speed at which we’re paying off our mortgage was not to be expected a year ago. I could never go back to throwing my money at useless fancypants things. I now thoroughly believe early retirement is accomplishable in The Netherlands as well. Thanks MMM!

    Reply
  • SomeYoungGuy February 16, 2013, 11:49 pm

    “The real reason this blog exists, is simply to save the entire human race from destroying itself through overconsumption.”
    Wow, that was a bit of a surprise, and I’ve been reading along for a while! Unless you start making your content relevant to India and China, or telling people to slow down on the population growth, I got the impression you were focused on just saving younger demographic Americans from wage-slavery… maybe I took you too literally, I’m guessing this post wasn’t meant to role out a new global direction…

    Reply
    • Nick February 17, 2013, 4:20 am

      Good point on relevance to an international audience (although MMM may be surprised at how many international followers he has – I’m a South African, living in Brazil)
      While the key concepts here are universal to us all – reducing waste, avoiding pointless overconsumption and an excessive reliance on convenience – different parts of the World are at drastically different points on this scale of “progress”. While some forward-thinking Americans seek to return to grassroots self-reliance in protest against a society of convenience, in many parts of the developing world you see the opposite still; millions of new cars replacing bicycles and disposable goods taking over from a culture of repairing and making do with what you have.
      Hopefully there is still time to learn from each other, to see that we don’t need to pass all the way through to massive overconsumption before realizing the importance of careful stewardship of what resources we have.

      Bravo to MMM for taking this beyond the scope of personally seeking a way out of the system, and attacking the bigger fight of what can be done to change it for the good of all who come after.

      Reply
    • Lina February 17, 2013, 4:27 am

      By getting young americans realize that consuming isn’t everything and scaling down you can actually also influence people around the globe. Many are just trying to get the same lifestyle they see from american TV -series without realizing it is nothing to strive for.

      I like to read the blog even though I skip most of the content related to health care and college fees as that is not applicable from a northern european perspective. Your “high” gasprices make me smile as ours are three times higher. The idea of buying a house for 100 000 USD sounds like a bargain. Even 300 000 USD is a bargain. I would need app. 1 million dollar to have the same lifestyle MMM have with a 4 % withdrawal rate.

      The point is though that the basic principles are valid around the globe, you just need to adapt them to your situation.

      Reply
      • Hatawa February 18, 2013, 10:22 pm

        “The point is though that the basic principles are valid around the globe, you just need to adapt them to your situation”.

        Totally agree. I am Russian and MMM’s ideas are definitely relevant here as well. So he is actually making a big difference in lives of people around the globe

        Reply
    • Amicable Skeptic February 17, 2013, 8:19 am

      I’ve always felt an undercurrent of sustainability in MMM’s posts, so his sentence about overconsumption didn’t come as a surprise. In fact when I tell people about MMM I always say “It’s a sustainability blog masquerading as a financial blog”. Maybe you just need to read more of the blog to get it, or maybe I should just call it a financial blog and refer to other, spendier financial blogs as “Hedonism blogs masquerading as financial blogs”?

      That being said your “Unless” comment makes me think that you might be more interested in complaining than learning. The U.S. has been the top consumer in the world for many decades now, and even as China and India take off we’re still massively less efficient per capita. We waste over half of the energy we use for crying out loud! Sure, it would be great for MMM ideas to spread globally but if they only affect the US they will still make a huge difference.

      Then again, maybe “Unless” was just an unfortunate word choice though and you really are interested in seeing the impact of this blog go global? I’d be super excited to see that happen too, because there is an amazing opportunity to help developing countries get it right the first time instead of following the initial bloat phase like the US. Unfortunately I think the only realistic way to make that happen is to find people to carry the MMM torch in those other countries. Maybe I’m being to negative but I think a native success story will play better in India and other developing countries than another rich white foreigner trying to tell them how to live. Soooo, any native Chinese or Indian MMM readers out there interested in spreading the word in your home countries?

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache February 17, 2013, 10:10 am

        You should meet the http://chandoo.org/ guy – an entrepreneur in India who is both a mega success story and interested in living a simpler and more meaningful life. He made a spreadsheet for Mustachians at one point: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/07/15/two-fun-tools-from-the-mmm-software-department/

        More recently, I noticed his story was one of the examples used by Chris Guillebeau in the $100 Startup.

        Reply
        • The Head Hunter February 17, 2013, 11:24 pm

          I know why you’re writing this blog. To pick up chicks… oh wait, I forgot. Oh, I know why, to make money! Ooh, not that either, huh? I guess you do it because you have too much free time ;-)

          Keep up the good work mang

          Reply
        • Mrs EconoWiser February 18, 2013, 12:02 am

          Another great example from India: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNp3p3T-e8E
          Ribhu Vohra and his team created a classroom series called Garbology 101, he’s part of the WasteLess foundation. It all starts with awareness, where better to start than with the kids?

          Reply
    • Vad February 17, 2013, 4:58 pm

      I’m from India and the content of this blog is very relevant here. I can honestly say that MMM saved my life and filled me with hope. That is not an overstatement.

      Reply
  • @PX_Last February 16, 2013, 11:54 pm

    Keep the entries coming. If everyone was a Mustachian, the concept of a frugal lifestyle would be severely diminished, and might not even exist. You see, the Mustachian race needs the over-indebted, consumer race to even exist. Without them, there’s no us. Every yin needs a yang.

    Reply
    • Aaron February 18, 2013, 12:01 pm

      Without the insane no one would be sane.

      Reply
  • Daryl Gerke February 17, 2013, 12:09 am

    Bravo! Very deft handling of the trolls and assorted whiners. I agree with your assessment of over consumption, which I see as a form of self imposed economic slavery.

    Much better to be free. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • mike crosby February 17, 2013, 1:07 pm

      Never looked at overconsumption that way Daryl. Bravo to you too.

      BTW, on Netflix is a 2012 doumentary called The Queen of Versailles. You’ll see so much overconsumption it’ll make you puke. Schadenfreude at its best. Fascinating documentary.

      Reply
      • Aggy August 5, 2014, 9:31 am

        Recently watched The Queen of Versailles – what an awesome documentary! You could actually see the the cloud of sadness and depression in every single character featured because they had “so much stuff”. How about that Christmas scene? Less is more.

        Reply
  • ael February 17, 2013, 12:13 am

    I agree with your point about overconsumption, but it’s not clear what unintended consequences would be if there were too few producers left. Would stock market returns continue to support passive income retirement if we all retire at 35. Look at the major components of index funds: Apple,Exxon, GE, Chevron, IBM, Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson . . . If we quit buying gadgets and gas the first 6 take it on the chin. Could you start a dialog with some economists to try to play this scenario out a little further? It would help allay some reservations, maybe.

    Reply
    • Geek February 17, 2013, 1:06 am

      This question has been answered.
      http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/09/what-if-everyone-became-frugal/

      I think what you want to know is more like “how do we support neurosurgeons as a society” or some other highly specialized thing with only a few people, if we don’t have a buzzing economy underneath them. And I agree with MMM, there will always be somebody ambitious looking to do research and other things that have a lot of prerequisites, including money.

      Reply
      • ael February 17, 2013, 4:01 am

        Yes, I read it before and wasn’t quite satisfied then either. It is mostly MMM speculation on what would happen, and even there he admits a temporary depression. I would like to see a serious discussion, not an exercise in knocking down a straw man.

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache February 17, 2013, 7:27 am

          While I have no way to prove it, I feel strongly that our production of goods that are actually good to society would not decline in the event of a more Mustachian populace. Because I think they types of people who like to create things would still keep creating. They would just do so in a way independent of the personal need to get spending money.

          That is why I wrote the preceding post about the Internet Retirement Police. I want to encourage the idea that becoming financially independent or Retired does not mean kicking into Consumption-Only mode for the rest of your life..For some, it means taking your production into a higher gear where you produce things more likely to help society.

          Reply
          • ael February 17, 2013, 9:01 pm

            I like your approach; it makes sense for any individual and will benefit the world as it gains momentum at least in the short term. However, being an engineering type you would normally examine the potential downside of a huge adoption of a certain plan as well as the upside which you have well stated. You dismiss the downside as compensated for by creativity and societal readjustments; you may be correct. I would still like to see a thoughtful, civil discussion of this issue with economists who can shed more light than either you or I. By the way I purchased the book “Economics Explained” which you recommended. Good book, but still doesn’t answer my question. I won’t pester you more on this topic, but consider the answer “no” unless stated otherwise.

            Reply
    • Grant February 17, 2013, 10:22 pm

      This is like the “what if EVERYONE used public transport/a bicycle to get to work”… What an AWESOME problem to have!

      Reply
  • Eric Finlay February 17, 2013, 12:39 am

    Tell it like it is MMM. Thanks to you I’ve been out of school less than a year, already paid off a $17.5k student loan and have enough savings to buy a car with cash (which I have not done) – and I STILL feel insufficient to call myself a mustachian. Re-define all the words you want, your message is Great and the delivery is excellent.

    Reply
    • lurker February 18, 2013, 8:59 am

      awesome….my advice is buy a nice bike and do NOT buy a car….your early retirement will thank you…..keep rocking dude…If I had started reading this blog at your stage of life I would be long retired by now…oh well.

      Reply
  • NestingFish February 17, 2013, 12:41 am

    You had me at “sparkly superlatives.” I am so grateful to you and Mrs. MM for being so willing to share your message. You’ve made such an impact on my life in the year or so that I’ve been reading. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Purple February 17, 2013, 1:45 am

    Good on ya MMM! You are having a massive impact in physical and metaphysical ways.

    I have often thought of you as a modern secular Quaker.

    Thanks friend.

    Reply
    • lurker February 18, 2013, 9:02 am

      A quaker who drops the F-bomb for emphasis and sometimes delivers the much needed punch in the face….peace out yo….lol. Modern Quaker indeed.

      Reply
  • tammy February 17, 2013, 3:56 am

    I love your style.

    Reply
  • UK Money Motivator February 17, 2013, 4:26 am

    I can see the cult name now: “The Ministry of Mustachianism”.

    Similar to Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food… If each Mustachian pledges to teach the ways of Mustachianism to at least 2 other people, the cult will sweep the world!

    Reply
    • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies February 17, 2013, 6:30 pm

      Sorry, I can just hear Ferris Bueller saying this in response…

      “Not that I condone [Mustachian]ism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, ‘I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.’ Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off people.”

      =)

      Reply
    • UK Money Motivator February 18, 2013, 6:29 am

      Old version: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me

      Ministry of Mustachianism version: “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of debt, I will fear no interest rates, for you are with me; your hammer and stache, they comfort me”

      :)

      Reply
      • Chad February 20, 2013, 10:25 am

        ha ha nice one UK Money Motivator!

        Reply
  • Melissa February 17, 2013, 4:33 am

    MMM is a good mentor. It’s like reading the newspaper or a really good book–take away what you like and use it. Lashing out at definitions and proving something is not my cup ‘o tea.I get enough of that drama day-to-day. I like Happy, and hanging with generally content people who brainstorm fun or smart or generous ideas. Bring it on MMM!

    Reply
  • Mike February 17, 2013, 4:42 am

    You peddle the tonic that heals. To hell with the naysayers.

    Reply
  • My Financial Independence Journey February 17, 2013, 5:11 am

    I do enjoy your writing style most of the time. I am pretty passionate about achieving financial independence, but environmental concerns don’t even register for me as motivation. My main motivation is hedging myself against layoffs or a souring work environment. I want to keep working, but aim to have more control over where I work and for whom I work.

    Reply
    • Ishmael February 17, 2013, 6:34 am

      What I always found odd is that environmentalism and economic growth/efficiency have a huge amount of overlap and commonality, yet they are portrayed as two things that are incompatible.

      Use resources more efficiently = more profit. Use less foreign resources = more peace and domestic security.

      The only conclusion I’ve been able to reach is that there is a small segment of the wealthy (i.e. oil companies) that would lose by a move to a more sustainable system, and therefore they’ve been creating the artificial arguments.

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache February 17, 2013, 7:32 am

        Indeed! That’s the reason I write this blog almost entirely from the perspective of getting rich, rather than from environmental stuff.

        I care mostly about the idea of leading a good life. Right now most of the shittiness in rich-country life comes from the side-effects of overconsumption. So we don’t have to care about saving the whales in order to improve our lives. But the action of buying less and spending less time sitting on your ass driving around is the same. It cures both ailments.

        Reply
        • Gerard February 20, 2013, 9:09 am

          And when you talk about sustainability and the like to most people, they think of shit like “New Sustainable Homes”, a book about 4000-square-foot homes that are “sustainable” because, uh, they used the trees that they cut down on the site as firewood.
          So you’re better off pitching Small Is Beautiful from a financial perspective, and seeing how people connect the dots as they get their shit together.

          Reply
    • Mr 1500 February 17, 2013, 7:33 am

      “environmental concerns don’t even register for me as motivation.”

      The great thing about the frugal lifestyle is that all of us are taxing the earth much less whether that is our primary motivator. We drive less and bike more. We buy less and reuse. We make smarter choices about home energy consumption.

      I often consider of my in-laws who think global warming is an “Al Gore hoax” and dislike pro-environment causes. However, they are very frugal and live very modestly. So, even though they hate the green movement, they are probably some of the greenest folks out there.

      Reply
      • mike crosby February 17, 2013, 1:28 pm

        Mr 1500, I’d be like your in-laws too.

        I too believe Global Warming is a bunch of nonsense, yet I’m vegan and live a frugal life, as opposed to someone like Al Gore. Just look at his face and you know he eats meat, lots of it. Not eating meat is the most powerful statement we ourselves can make in creating a sustainable environment.

        Don’t mean to be political, or start an argument, sorry.

        Reply
        • Erica / Northwest Edible Life February 17, 2013, 10:46 pm

          “Just look at his face and you know he eats meat, lots of it. ”

          Now that’s funny. Seriously couldn’t stop giggling. Thanks.

          Reply
        • chubblywubbly February 18, 2013, 6:17 pm

          Kudos to you to not eating meat. I am slowly limiting my intake. Nowadays I aim to only eating meat 3 times a week. But I doubt I would be able to wean myself off meat entirely. I love food to much and I love to cook.

          Reply
          • T-Lou February 26, 2013, 9:45 pm

            I’ve just decided to not eat 4 legged animals – it’s been 1 month. Probably half of my meals are vegetarian but I expect I will soon join my daughter who has been a vegetarian since Grade 6 (4 years). Watching a netflicks doc on the brutality of the food industry got me half of the way there. My concern for the environment also helped “wean” me off cows as I find it outrageous that the methane they produce is as bad as carbon from all our vehicles. Hard to reconcile with the paleo diet that is recommended by Mr. MMM.

            Reply
  • Simple Economist February 17, 2013, 6:04 am

    Greaf post again. I think a lot of us end up writing things out because we see so much waste and inefficiency and there are not enough voices out there screaming about how bad it is.

    I think watching others so miserable, unfulfilled and wasteful makes people want to get the word out about a different type of lifestyle that can be so much better!

    I know the blog takes a lot of your time but it has already impacted a lot of people and even your ‘how to start a blog’ post a few weeks ago has motivated and unleashed another group of readers to get out and start writing about a more efficient lifestyle! I think a lot of other people can relate to this post in why we write also.

    Reply
  • Ed Mills February 17, 2013, 6:08 am

    I love this blog because it provides numerous eureka moments embedded in a hilarious writing style. 3M, you are one funny sumbitch!

    Reply
    • Ishmael February 17, 2013, 6:36 am

      ‘3M’ is taken… I’d say it’s more M^3 (or M-Cubed) :)

      Reply
  • rjack February 17, 2013, 7:10 am

    MMM – This is my favorite blog and has been so since before I retired. In fact, this blog inspired me to retire!

    A good cult needs some additional paraphernalia like t-shirts, bumper/bike stickers, and hats. When are you going to add that to the mix? You could use something like CafePress and donate all proceeds to a good cause. Or is this just more consumerism?

    You should also come up with a more ambitious goal besides just saving the world. :)

    Reply
    • Chris February 17, 2013, 7:15 am

      Mustache stickers. T-shirts. I’d buy that shit so hard.

      However, there’s the dilemma of selling something to advocate a decrease in consumerism. :)

      Reply
      • Carolina on My Mind February 17, 2013, 8:29 am

        Yeah, but the Mustachians would buy the t-shirt and then wear it for fifteen years. And then turn it into a throw pillow. :)

        Reply
      • Grant February 17, 2013, 10:29 pm

        New competitiion!

        Design stickers and t-shirts… entries to be available for download so people can screen print their own shirts or print their own bumper stickers…

        Reply
  • Chris February 17, 2013, 7:12 am

    I’m not sure if anybody has asked this yet. Correct me if it has been.

    Why is important to give a singular name to what we do? Why does it matter what we call it, if the end effect on our lifestyles is the same? Potayto potahto. If we all sustain ourselves on passive income, live efficiently, and increase optimism, then why is it important to decide what to call that happy combination of lifestyle choices? If somebody disagrees with you, well, they totally can; even if they want to call it something else, they aren’t detracting from your freedom to live Mustachianly. “A rose by any other name,” etc. What I’m asking is, why isn’t this argument a triviality?

    Reply
    • nicoleandmaggie February 17, 2013, 9:44 am

      Ditto. I also still don’t see what is wrong with the term “financial independence” as it has a very clear definition. Retirement means different things to different people (as in, there is an entire subset of sociology literature studying what retirement means to different people and why), and there is nothing wrong with that.

      Reply
    • CALL 911 February 17, 2013, 1:36 pm

      I hear you. I have a really frugal friend that follows Dave Ramsey. He references “budget” a lot. It always confused me, since he’s bright enough to know how much he has, how much he makes, and what else he can afford. I have never had a “budget”, and never will. I know what I have, and what I can afford. Finally it hit me. If a boat isn’t in the “budget”, he can’t buy it. If I didn’t save for a boat, I can’t buy it. Budget is a word that means something different to me than him. I was hung up on the word, not the meaning/message. Language. Huh.

      Reply
      • Aaron February 18, 2013, 4:32 pm

        Misunderstanding

        That is the source of most Internet hate/bashing methinks.

        Reply
        • Chris February 19, 2013, 5:46 am

          You mean worldwide hate/bashing.

          Reply
  • firefighterjeff February 17, 2013, 7:57 am

    I think your article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/07/how-to-tell-if-youre-a-complainypants, should be the default response to all of the shit-heads out there. Hell, it should accompany every high-school diploma too. Maybe even framed and placed on the wall of every household. You could stop writing tomorrow knowing you have contributed immensely with that one piece of perfect advice alone.

    Reply
  • Carolina on My Mind February 17, 2013, 8:36 am

    This seems like a good opportunity to say that this is one of only two blogs I read on which the comments are as interesting and valuable as the blog itself. I read as many of the comments as I can. Thanks, MMM, for (among other things) attracting such a diverse and fun group of followers.

    Reply
  • Johnny Moneyseed February 17, 2013, 9:13 am

    I enjoy this blog a lot, but if we were all bad-ass Mustachians anti-consumerist non-spendypants wouldn’t the economy tank? Wouldn’t it kill all of the investments that we work so hard to build up? We need some people to remain clueless, as I’m sure they will, so that those who have “figured it out” will be able to enjoy the proverbial fruits of their labors.

    Reply
    • Ishmael February 17, 2013, 10:31 am

      It’ll never happen, because chasing the symbols of status and wealth are an intrinsic part of the human condition, I fear. However…

      To manufacture quality, long-lasting items which would enable everyone to lead a comfortable life wouldn’t require very many workers, and what jobs did exist could be shared so everyone works 1 day/week. That’s pretty sustainable, so the need for “retirement” goes away.

      There would still be a need for teachers, doctors, police, etc. And of course, technologists (scientists and engineers), because they’re the ones that move the human race ahead and are those whom have formed the foundation that Mustachianism can grow upon.

      Factory farming would go away, and more people would move to sustainable, family-based farms. More homesteaders.

      All of those are pretty satisfying careers that make one feel good at the end of the day, especially if you can do it as part of a balanced lifestyle. It’d basically just eliminate the junk peddlers, advertisers, stock brokers, telemarketers, etc.

      The wealth distribution is the most important part – if you have a huge group of people in poverty, that would look pretty miserable. If you can figure out how everyone can be part of and contribute to this future, than it would look pretty awesome, I think! 10 hour work-weeks for all!

      What a great idea for a blog post… asking what everyone envisions a Mustachian future might look like.

      Reply
      • woodpecker February 17, 2013, 1:50 pm

        A 10 hour work week for all would be fantastic indeed!

        We are a far from way from there, but here in Germany there is a discussion currently going on about the economic possibility of a general 30 hours work week (Average today is 37 hours, and about 30 days holiday).
        I don’t know too much about it yet, but there are some serious economists involved with quite valid points.

        Additionally there is a trend among the younger (below 35) to strongly focus on work-life balance. They increasingly demand extended parental leave, sabbaticals, finish work at 5, home office and the like and are less interested in career, expensive cars (sales are going down in Germany despite good economic condition) and status. Things that were quite uncommon only 10 years ago.

        Sure interesting, as both shows, that the “more-and-more-mentality” slowly gets undermined!

        For me personnaly, moving to 30 hours work per week would be sufficient for the time being, especially when concentrated on 4 days.
        I like my job and have no intentions on quitting it currently but 4 days work, 3 days off + holidays would be the perfect balance.

        Cheers,
        Woodpecker

        http://www.gooddaytolive.net

        Reply
    • Ishmael February 17, 2013, 10:52 am

      Also, I wonder what are the most Mustachian countries in the world? Maybe there’s already a partial example out there.

      Reply
      • Clint February 18, 2013, 6:01 am

        Ishmael (can I call you Ishmael?),
        I’m betting Sweden would rank pretty high up there.

        Reply
        • Lina February 18, 2013, 11:43 am

          Clint, I would say you loose that bet.

          Do you know what the pay back time on house mortgages is in Sweden? If you are shopping for mortgages the bank suggest a pay back time of 60 years. Many have mortgages that they only pay interest on as they calculate that they are never able to pay back the whole loan.

          The saving rates are low as many are counting on a social security system that doesn’t exist at same level then before. Universities are free and health care is cheap. If I get unemployed I get 80 % of my salary the first 6 months because of a mix of insurances and unemployment benefits but that is not the case for many others that have made other choices. The swedes of today are used to that the state takes care of everything so they don’t have much money saved. Or they have for a trip to Thailand.

          My guess would be Japan. Small housing and high saving rates.

          Reply
        • Gustav February 19, 2013, 7:54 am

          Clint;
          Last 10 years alot have changed in Sweden. Our private debts are now at the same level as government debt of Greece. Housebubble were a standard house in Stockholm cost 1m$.

          Reply
          • Clint February 19, 2013, 6:27 pm

            Is it too late to say I meant Norway? :)

            Reply
      • SomeYoungGuy February 18, 2013, 10:09 pm

        Not sure about Sweden (they are known for their moustaches), but I can comment on having lived in Stavanger Norway and it is Super-Mustachian. Everyone works on their own house as much as physically possible (have to paint them frequently), ride bikes to work rain or shine and aren’t ashamed to deliver face punches to the softies, weekends out in nature… Fast food, snacks etc. are taxed so as to make them a ‘luxury’… Proudly egalitarian, which IMHO is a big barrier America has to achieving the Moustachian ideal… Would be an interesting experiment for the MMM’s to live there for a couple years. (As a bonus, there is a Norway-related gem in the archives: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/)
        I currently live in Dubai, UAE and it is the least Mustachian city I can think of, but it would also be great to get others input on this end of the spectrum!

        Reply
        • Ishmael February 19, 2013, 4:41 am

          Not to mention Norway’s massive heritage fund… nothing more Mustachian than spending less than you make, and saving for the future!

          But yeah, I’m a big fan of Norway. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some Norwegians, and they’ve impressed me with their practicalness and focus on efficiency. It’s neat that they have a higher rate of entrepeneurship than the US – their social safety net makes people less afraid of taking risks. I think a lot of countries could learn a lot from them, even ignoring the oil fund.

          (PS Ishmael is an obscure reference to the book of the same name, by Daniel Quinn)

          Reply
    • Chris February 17, 2013, 1:35 pm

      Hi Johnny,

      This was already answered by MMM in the comments here if you scroll up. Link to his response: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/09/what-if-everyone-became-frugal/

      Reply
    • Doug February 18, 2013, 11:15 am

      Yes, the economy as it works now with its dependence of reckless consumption and inefficiency could not work if everyone were mustachian. However, if a lot more people were mustachian the economy would undergo major shifts that in the long run would be better for everyone and the world as a whole. Obviously less consumption would lead to less employment, but why does employment need to be a 40 hour workweek? Mustachians would INSIST on having more free time, and the work week would reduce to something less like 20 to 30 hours. It would be a win-win situation for everyone, with more balance in their lives people would be less stressed out, more healthy, and more productive while on the job. In addition, we in the wealthy countries of the world would consume less resources and free up more for emerging market countries to improve their standard of living.

      How do I know this to be true? I gave up full time permanent employment long ago, voluntarily, and have been working on and off ever since. Oh sure, there’s the volatility, but I am 52 years old and feel GREAT! I’ve never felt better! With more free time, I get out, get more exercise, have more balance in my life, and have NO health problems. I’ve had more time to travel and pursue hobbies and interests. Add to that I am freeing up more employment for someone else. Not everyone gets the rationale behind this kind of living, they assume that life is a zero sum game where if someone thrives they figure someone else is suffering more somehow and paying for it.

      Reply
  • Strick February 17, 2013, 9:26 am

    Most would prefer to think themselves trapped than voluntarily perpetuating a life they hate, so you’re either extremely and unfairly lucky, a liar, or mistaken as to your state of freedom. So of course you therefore must be a troll or a fool or just a pompous ass.

    The only confusion to me is why they would be reading this blog at all and not the mainstream money articles talking about good debt, trying to up their retirement savings from 6% to 7%, and why this generation will never be able to retire.

    Reply
  • Steve H. February 17, 2013, 9:34 am

    I think the IRP and complainypants commenters are all a result of post depression era offspring. Many come from parents whose parents went through the Great Depression and were taught to get and hold onto it. The old “work, save, and go to the grave mentality”. Work became so “essential” that both moms and dads worked, leaving junior girl or boy child to their own device. Such was my predicament for many years.

    Those children grew up seeing mom and dad go through life in this way and so the problem perpetuates itself. Life evolved into this role of defining ones self though work, possessions and outward appearances of success.

    MMM, what you are doing is good and true. I wish that I had access to a resource like this when I was young and starting out. I was always told that saving 15% of income was sufficient- this by personal finance magazines. I actually learned on my own that I could save much more and not feel any ill effects in my happiness level. Luckily, I chose a profession that had a defined benefit pension available after 25 years of work or 50 years of age, whichever came first. This, combined with (not quite mustachian) levels of frugality allowed me to max out in my govnment deferred compensation plan and still be able to put away a good 25% in personal investment accounts.

    YOU MMM, and your blog helped me at a turning point last year. Either I could work another four years and retire after my kids were out of high school, or I could retire with full benefits and and my investment accounts to spend time with them in these teenage years. Retired at 51? me? It should have been a no-brainer, but I had considerable angst over it. I had been conditioned to grind away until the very end and I was having trouble letting go of working. How could this be? Was a few more percentage points toward my pension worth extra work and time away from my family?

    It was through reading your blog that I realized that there really was an alternative! I had been living a semi mustachian lifestyle all those years, but who knows, if I had this blog as a resource, I might have been able to get out of the Matrix much sooner. I made that decision in July, 2012 to pull the plug. I haven’t looked back. I am healthier, happier, and spend quality time with my kids. Every day is a blessing. For those out there just starting out on the mustachian journey, there is hope. Just know that life will throw a stumbling block before you. Don’t get into the “one more year” syndrome or agonize over the millions in savings so called experts will tell you you need to retire comfortably. MMM is right about calculating this according to your own needs.
    Do your homework, stay disciplined, and success will be yours.

    Keep fighting the good fight MMM. Your Kung fu is strong.

    Steve

    Las Vegas

    Reply
    • Ishmael February 17, 2013, 10:40 am

      I second the opinion that I wish there was a resource like this (although I guess there technically was, the book YMOYL, but I didn’t know about it until I came here!)

      I was of the same mind as MMM for the most part, but I didn’t realize that it was possible to retire that early… I thought 50 was the limit, for some reason. So even though we lived modestly, and saved a lot early on, after we got to a point where our savings would grow to be plenty at age 50, I figured we might as well indulge ourselves.

      *sigh* I was so close… but have renewed optimism and a vision to retire in 5 years or so! My kids won’t be too old, and my job gives a decent amount of vacation in the meantime.

      Thanks, M^3!

      Reply
    • Accidental Miser February 17, 2013, 3:39 pm

      Your post made me think. Maybe we need a MMM martial art! I propose it be called:

      Fungk yu!

      Reply
    • Ms. Must-stash February 18, 2013, 9:53 am

      Excellent point! What is amazing to me is how many of us didn’t even realize we had a choice about working to 65+ until our Fearless Mustachioed Leader encouraged us to THINK — and showed us a functional alternative. And amazingly – since I have been talking about this concept non-stop with my husband for the past 4 months or so, he went from saying “this does not compute” to “well maybe in 10 years, in our early 40s, we really could pull this off…” Progress!

      I’ll also note that encouraging followers to think is quite different from the approach that most cult leaders take. :-)

      Reply
  • Kristin February 17, 2013, 11:15 am

    Seriously, anyone who got their panties in a wad over what “retirement” means needs to go outside and get some sunshine.

    Reply
    • Accidental Miser February 17, 2013, 3:37 pm

      +1. Amen to that. And they need to smack themselves in the face with a rubber chicken.

      Reply
  • Tony O. February 17, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Keep up the good fight, MMM!

    I have no qualms about ME being a Mustachian whereas society at large remains on its consumerist binge. I don’t think there’s any risk of Mustachianism becoming the predominant way of thinking, and for me personally, this is all for the better so I can benefit from the “returns” and “growth” driven by consumerism. Maybe I’m being selfish, but I’m a Mustachian first and foremost for myself & family. If I can pass the message on to a few people who have open minds and will listen, then great. But I’m not losing any sleep over those who want to be haters and continue on their own path. Go ahead… keep spending and fund my retirement.

    Reply
  • Jamesqf February 17, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I suppose you will delete this, too, but I have to say that (in addition to skipping your meds) I think you’re missing an important point. My disagreement (and I suspect that of a lot of other people) is not over frugality or a “Mustachian” lifestyle, ’cause I’ve been living my own version of that for many years. It’s over this retirement thing.

    The thing is, I actually LIKE working. I like the particular kind of work I do now, but I also like generalized doing something productive that I get paid for work. I’ve never had a job that I hated, as a job. (Though there’ve been a few managers I could cheerfully have strangled.) I hope to emulate my neighbor, who was working part time at 97. So when you get on this “what I do is retirement, and retirement is good” kick, that becomes a threat, because it’s just a short step from convincing people that something is good to making it mandatory. We already have plenty of instances where people (as for instance the pilot who landed his airplane in the Hudson) are forced out of doing work they enjoy, and are good at, simply because of their age.

    Reply
    • Dr.Vibrissae February 17, 2013, 1:04 pm

      James, I think you missed the whole point of the article. You don’t have to completely stopped working to be retired!

      -“Retired” means you no longer have to work for money, and you are aware of this fact. You can then proceed to do whatever you want, as long as you do it consciously and of your own accord. If you meet this condition, and you feel retired, congratulations, you are.

      And

      -one of the rules of Mustachianism is that if someone tells you they are retired, you do not question them. You congratulate them.

      It sounds like you’re caught up with MMM’s usage of the word, rather than the concept. So while he is saying “what I do is retirement, and retirement is good”, it also allows what YOU do to be retirement and be good. That’s the beauty of it, your retirement doesn’t have to look like what anyone else thinks it should. The forced age based retirement of pilots is conflating the issues.

      Reply
    • Stephen February 17, 2013, 7:02 pm

      Jamesqf likes working, and currently commercial pilots are forced into retirement at age 65, so therefore MMM shouldn’t say that early retirement is something worth pursuing? I don’t follow. What would you rather him do, make sure he caveats every statement about retirement with a statement about how people who like working can keep doing so? This is a blog by an early retiree about early retirement.

      Reply
      • Jamesqf February 17, 2013, 9:03 pm

        Sorry, but no. This is really the heart of the issue between MMM and those of us he calls the IRP. Frugality? Great. Rejecting mindless consumerism? Wonderful! Saving & investing to attain financial independence? I’m on board with that. Heck, I even applaud his decision to leave an engineering career for work that he finds more congenial. (Indeed, I did the same myself a couple decades ago, though in the opposite direction, leaving construction for a degree in computer science.)

        Reply
        • Stephen February 18, 2013, 7:49 am

          Sorry, but no, this is definitely a blog by an early retiree about early retirement.

          All I’ve heard from you is that you like working and you’ve liked your jobs. Good for you. Guess what? I can’t identify with that. I identify with pursuing the chance to retire early, to quit my job, to live a life like MMM’s.

          You’re basically doing the same thing MMM is doing, taking the word “retired” and attaching a very specific definition to it, more specific than the dictionary definition, which is full of words like “work” and “employment” that have become very fuzzy in the past two decades. The problem is, when MMM re-defines the word, it comes across as full of optimism and hope, but when you re-define the word, you come across as the opposite, a curmudgeon. By your definition, retirement is negative and constraining, all about what you can’t do. Well, I don’t want my post-career life to be like that.

          What would MMM have to do to be “retired” by your definition, beyond the things he already dealt with in the last article? More importantly, why is it important to you that MMM not call himself retired?

          Reply
          • Jamesqf February 18, 2013, 11:36 am

            “What would MMM have to do to be “retired” by your definition…”

            Stop working?

            “…why is it important to you that MMM not call himself retired?”

            Besides the fact that it does violence to the language? Because it’s another nail in the “retirement is good, everyone ought to be retired by age X if not sooner, so we’re not even going to look at your resume” coffin. Because of all the “You should act your age, and not ski/bike/hike up mountains/ride horses/want to work” crap that I’ve been getting for effing DECADES now. “Slow down, take it easy, why not learn to play golf? Sorry folks, but I’ve no intention of living half a life. I’ll die when I’m dead – and even then, I’ve got the organ donor sticker on my driver’s license, so some parts may keep on going.

            Reply
  • rod February 17, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Mmm, I love it, and enjoy it when your wife writes also. This blog draws lots of folks, some. Small percent are just peniswrinkles. Not sure if the dictionary has that one defined, but I do. I hope they have a chance to lighten up, and understand what freedom really is. Your family has it happening, on terms you guys made. Please don’t let them scuff you up, egg them on, we know they are watching, hopefully they will get it sooner than later.

    Reply
  • sockmunkee February 17, 2013, 1:28 pm

    Another long-time lurker, first-time commenter. Just wanted to say that I appreciate your posts immensely and I understand the importance of your extreme positions – it wouldn’t be fun to read otherwise. I have always been into personal finance and elements of frugality, but when I found your site back in September (or whenever Chandoo referred his readers to you), it was like you struck a chord (E flat minor). You combine everything I enjoy reading about – economics, frugality, and psychology – into one badass blog. I’ve already saved hundreds on cable, paid off our HELOC and most of my wife’s student loans, and started eating healthier – all because of you.

    While I will never be as hardcore into sustainability, I certainly aspire to be. As you correctly point out, part of your appeal comes from the Superlatives and the Fact that You Don’t Give a Shit. I’m already looking forward to the day when I recreate the scene you describe in which you tell your employer about switching to part-time hours. Even if you stopped writing today, the manifesto you’ve written is awe-inspiring and more motivating than anything else I have come across. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Robert S February 17, 2013, 1:47 pm

    Just wanted to post to give you my support. Dealing with trolls is an unfortunate byproduct of speaking out about life choices different from those made by the trolls. I really enjoy your blog and the community of people who share these general values. Sometimes it feels like the majority of people on the internet are trolls so I wanted to jump in so you could mark me down as a supporter!

    Reply
  • UK Money Motivator February 17, 2013, 2:10 pm

    In the future, Mustachians will invest in robots to do our work for us.

    This chap was trying to get in on the grass roots of this movement by using China (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21043693)

    Reply
  • Accidental Miser February 17, 2013, 3:29 pm

    Hey MMM,

    I would merely like to observe that SOME people on the internet take themselves WAY too seriously. Although this blog has a serious message and has caused me to take a comprehensive look at my relationship with money and how I live every day, it delivers that message in a super-hyperactive FUN way that makes me laugh out loud.

    I may not agree with every single word you type, may not buy every calculation, may not pursue every brilliant idea or embrace every plan that you put forth but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the sardonic wit and mordant humor with which you deliver your ass-kicking message.

    If you were lame and boring, you might win the IRP seal of approval, but you wouldn’t get hundreds of comments on every post you write. We would all just drift away. So, keep kicking ass, MMM! It’s the only way any one has ever changed the world!

    Reply
  • Massive February 17, 2013, 4:45 pm

    I sometimes wonder if the people that whinge the most are those that haven’t done the hard yards to put together their first $100,000 (or equivalent) wherever they are.

    This is the hard part.

    For whatever reason it seems to become a lot easier after that.

    Some people will make the hard decisions to get it done, others will just hang about and whinge.

    Just a thought.

    Love the blog, don’t change a thing.

    Massive

    Reply
  • Shilpan February 17, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Hedonism has enslaved generations and its creators have no desire to kill the beast. Long live Mr Money Mustache movement until the beast is in the coffin. The road to victory will be a difficult feat to achieve, but with your persistence, there is hope for a free society.

    Reply
  • GubMints February 17, 2013, 6:53 pm

    3M –

    You could tone down on the profanity a bit, but other than that I would not change a thing!

    The Internet Retirement Police just don’t get it… they think we should all be chained to our cubicles writing TPS reports.

    Reply
  • Nate February 17, 2013, 7:12 pm

    I read this blog every single day; first time commenter. There has been significant swirl and posturing among the trolls the past couple days. I too wanted to join in and offer my EXTREME gratitude and appreciation for this blog and its message. I love your crusade to ”…save the entire human race from destroying itself through overconsumption.”. I must confess that one of the greatest lessons I learn reading this blog every day is how to REALLY LIVE… I mean to say how to live an authentic, optimized, meaningful life full of badass adventures and excitement with utmost respect for the resources we have been given. I realize that carriers your mission statement a little further than you intended to communicate, however I felt it necessary to mention because it has such a significant impact on my life. Thanks for what you do; I am fully aware that you don’t HAVE to do it (but man am I glad you and Mrs. MMM do). I just lost my MMM comment virginity!! :-D

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 17, 2013, 7:48 pm

      Whoa Nate!

      Your excellent sentence about the “authentic, optimized life full of badass adventures and excitement with utmost respect for the resources we have been given” has won you the MOST MUSTACHIAN COMMENT OF THE DAY AWARD!!

      Not a bad way to make your debut here.. not bad at all.

      Reply
  • LauraC February 18, 2013, 12:19 am

    Just wanted to let you know I biked to Wal-Mart today and got groceries. For the first time. With a bike trailer. Because of you. Read all your posts the last month or so, most (not all) the comments. Hubby and I have mortgage-only debt, but need to save more. Thanks! Sorry this comment is unrelated to your post, but didn’t feel like sending an email. :)

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 18, 2013, 8:35 am

      Awesome, Laura! And I bet you were the only one biking your groceries home from Walmart that day. More prestige than showing up with the fanciest SUV in the parking lot, and at a fraction of the cost.

      Reply
  • Christine February 18, 2013, 5:13 am

    mrmoneymustacheisnotreallyretired.com has 75 visits so far. Most are from US (52), second Canada (7) and third Australia (5). 1 from UK, Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria and South Korea. Kinda interesting seeing what traffic the link you mentioned generated! I bought it 4 or 5 hours late too.. so probably would be double the visits or more if I bought from the beginning..

    Reply
    • The Taminator February 19, 2013, 12:12 pm

      Haha Christine! I just visited the site. I love it!

      Reply
      • Christine February 19, 2013, 12:20 pm

        Thanks! So geeky.. I’m collecting the stats to see how much one of his random links generates visits… For a random link.. its doing pretty well!

        Reply
  • Matt F February 18, 2013, 7:35 am

    MMM, your blog has been great for me as well. I read YMOYL a few years ago and the message sounded good to me, but it lacked a certain … je ne sais quoi … in terms of actually motivating me. When I found your blog I realized that “missing something” were Face Punches, F-Bombs, and Telling It Like It Is, to get me off my ass. I’ve been biking more to work, saving 50% of my pay, and finally working on upping the sustainability of my lifestyle thanks to you. I never thought one blog could have this much impact on me.

    Also a big +1 for the comments mentioning Mrs. MMM as a really valuable perspective on your blog as well (especially for those of us who are a married team and starting families).

    In terms of T-shirts/bumper stickers, we could always just post some graphics we could iron onto shirts we buy at thrift stores. I’ve been planning to make one that is a mustache, a plus sign, and a fist. Wait till you see the baby onesie with that on it.

    Reply
    • Ms. Must-stash February 18, 2013, 9:57 am

      “a mustache, a plus sign, and a fist” – dying laughing! Must have the onesie version!

      Reply
  • Simplicity Seeker February 18, 2013, 9:13 am

    Long time reader, occasional commenter here. Just want to say keep up the good work!
    Also, I love this line : ”a battle must be fought against the default idea of maximum thoughtless debt-fueled consumption that gets served out to every citizen these days.”
    I couldn’t agree more. I teach philosophy, and if there is one thing I try to impart to my students it’s to think critically, to quesiton everything society tells them and that consumption is not the road to happiness.

    Reply
  • Jon February 18, 2013, 10:02 am

    MMM, saw this article and thought you might like it: http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/

    Keep up the great work. You’re one of my favorite blogs out there. :)

    Reply
  • Heath February 18, 2013, 10:03 am

    The Prarie Home Companion introduced me to some powerful poems yesterday, and this one seems highly relevant…

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173579

    (that’s “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest, for those who’d like to google it themselves)

    A bit of an excerpt…
    There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
    There are thousands to prophesy failure,
    There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
    The dangers that wait to assail you.
    But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
    Just take off your coat and go to it;
    Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
    That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

    Most excellent!!

    Reply
  • Your Boss @ What Your Boss Thinks February 18, 2013, 11:31 am

    As long as you have something to say and enjoy doing it, your blog will be a place for people. Those who hate will always hate. Success brings in jealousy and trolls. Don’t let them affect you in any way.

    Reply
  • madeline February 18, 2013, 11:36 am

    Ok–who cares about the naysayers and time wasters..back to your excellent ideas and advice for me! HELP! We have saved some money.But we are investment wimps.In the days when bonds got 5% 7% and, yes, EVEN MORE we thought we had retirement sealed up.Now we are not making much interest. We are so risk adverse it is..well, not productive.But we’re 58/59 and need to get off the treadmill.HOW TO LIVE OFF SAVINGS that are no longer making much interest income. buying and flipping houses appears to be about over..tips?hints? hit us over the head with a shovel?

    I want my husband to be able to quit his job completely and enjoy retirement
    NOW while we’re youngish and healthy!!!!

    Reply
  • Edward February 18, 2013, 1:23 pm

    I’d been reading personal finance blogs for a year or more and the first time I opened MMM it felt like oxygen rushed into my lungs after a long stint underwater. Finally, finally (!!) here was somebody who wasn’t dallying around with 1 or 2% points, dragging their heels, gazing at their bellybutton, but could offer sane advice. It reminded me of the first time I heard the Sex Pistols. I always knew there was something better than the overproduced, unpassionate crap that I’d been forcefed by mainstream music for years. It instantly made everything else frivolous and irrelevant.

    So, reading this didn’t seem like joining a cult as much as finding my favourite band of the PF world. …And the fans all rocked as well like punk rock superstars,

    Reply
  • Rob aka Captain and Mrs Slow February 18, 2013, 3:08 pm

    Wow a lot df comments today

    Very interesting blog post today, kind of both fascinating and depressing at the sametime

    http://www.sooverthis.com/how-do-people-survive-on-minimum-wage/

    BTW amazing how many people on minimum wage have 70 dollar a month cell phone plans

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 18, 2013, 7:41 pm

      Oh, man.. great calculations in that article. Because OF COURSE a person earning minimum wage should have their own car with $1200/year insurance, drive it 1400 miles per month (as implied by $140 of gas), and use 300% of the gas/electricity that the MMM family uses to operate a 2600 square foot house!

      Never mind the fact that I didn’t buy my first car until I was making $41,000/year, and even then I made sure to drive it less than half that amount (and my share of rent was $350 at the time, with utilities around $20).

      Reply
      • Andrea February 19, 2013, 7:05 am

        Those calculations were based on my reality as a person who lives in a rural area – a town of 4000 people – and (at that time) commuted 40 miles one way for work. There is no public transportation here so I’d be interested to know how else a person with *that* reality is supposed to go anywhere. But I’m used to people from larger areas not being able to grasp that concept and I’m so glad that I could give you another reason to pat yourself on the back!

        Reply
        • Mrs. Money Mustache February 19, 2013, 9:16 am

          Hi Andrea – sorry you were offended by MMMs comment. Obviously you’re not a fan. ;)

          This line cracked me up by the way: “I’m so glad that I could give you another reason to pat yourself on the back!” Haha!

          You probably already know what MMM would do, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. He would move. In fact he grew up in a rural area, so I’m sure he’d understand the dilemma.

          We were once in a situation where our commute was increased from a bikeable distance to work to a 20 minute drive by car. We ended up moving, even though it seemed hard and a bit silly to me at the time. So, no matter what you say about MMM, at least he practices what he preaches! :)

          I think that when you make certain things a huge priority (the environment is almost as close to MMMs heart as being a father), then you make things happen, even though they may seem extremely hard (and perhaps even unnecessary) at the time. Just like if you didn’t have a car, you’d find a way to get somewhere or to adapt your life to fit your situation.

          Good to have you here, by the way. I hope you stick around!

          Reply
  • Mark February 18, 2013, 5:56 pm

    If you remember, Martin Luther wanted to reform the church, not start a new movement. You seem to have done something similar with your view on consumerism.

    Reply
  • Frequent Traveler February 18, 2013, 7:28 pm

    MMM: Your blog is great reading and I look forward to each new one. You have many strengths, but what I appreciate the most is your consistency, and your consistent philosophy. You seem to have the ability to maximize the utility of everything you spend your time and money on. I like the way you are able to find ‘the good’ in everything. When you declare something ‘no good’, you have constructive criticism and ways to avoid, make better, re-work, re-purpose and move on.

    I am delighted to see that you have a strong following of many people early in their careers who are trying to save and live a good lifestyle, work less and enjoy life more. Saving more earlier, holding down consumption and enjoying the power of compounding can work for everyone.

    We have been semi retired 3 years and have not looked back. We travel and much as we can and enjoy at least one long road trip and one international trip each year. Plus many short ones. We plan our travel and activity to allow us to stay gone until we are road weary and ready to come home.

    Your ideas and blogs on efficient cars and LED lighting have been put into action in our house with great success. We were already energy efficient with almost all elements of our lives, but now we worry not about gasoline prices. We feather-foot down the road with our 4 cylinder cars. I started experimenting with LEDs and I honestly better enjoy every room where we installed them.

    I admire your building and handyman skills but do not try to copy as I just don’t have those skills. I do the basics but know enough to call professionals when it comes to anything beyond. I can better increase our quality of life thru putting the time into managing our assets and making good investments.

    Thanks for the good work and keep telling it like it is!

    Reply
  • Caine February 18, 2013, 10:08 pm

    I appreciate the positive slant you provide. I belonged to an early retirement forum and many of the people were extremely nasty. I got the idea the up and comers were excited and eager to learn, others were self loving, egoists, who wanted to show off they’d “made it”.

    Reply
  • UK Money Motivator February 19, 2013, 3:44 am

    In the UK, retirement is intrinsically linked to a pension in the majority of peoples minds. When I talk about my plans to retire early, I tend to be on the receiving end of raised eyebrows by these people, so I try to explain it in the terms of Financial Independence (or Financial Freedom). By being frugal, (not cheap – just sensible with the spending, like MMM), I am headings towards being free to choose to work when and where I want!

    After 11 years in the UK Military, with only(!) 5 years left to go until I could collect a reasonable pension and ‘retire’ from the Armed Forces (collecting my pension from age 40) some of my peers thought I was mad to quit and want a stable lifestyle.

    Now, living close enough to work to ride my bike, my living expenses are lower, and I have 5 years in which to raise my salary to compensate for the lack of pension income. Plus I am less likely to lose a leg in a foreign country!

    The things I am learning from MMM will help, so he can define the word however he pleases (although he does spell Aluminium wrong!)

    Reply
  • Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce February 19, 2013, 6:09 am

    “It also turns out that if everyone embraced it even in the slightest, it could solve most of humanity’s problems.”

    Ain’t that the truth!

    About a year and a half ago I, too, stumbled upon the concept of extreme frugality and (possible) early retirement. If your blog did not exist, many of us would be fumbling around for information still!

    Keep telling your story, man. Seems like quite a few people still want to read it (even the naysayers interestingly enough!).

    Reply
  • Joe February 19, 2013, 11:15 am

    I don’t know man. I think it’s the recent downturn that made frugal living such a big topic recently. Once everyone gets back to making a lot of money, they’ll spend a ton again. Well, maybe not. You are doing an awesome job though and you deserve the huge audience. I’m always trying to learn from you.

    Reply
  • Kevin @ Invest It Wisely February 19, 2013, 6:39 pm

    I originally came over here from Jacob’s blog, which was a really big eye opener for me and one of the big motivations behind striving for my own independence and taking a leap of faith. I didn’t know that there were retirement police out there. ;)

    By my own standards I wouldn’t consider myself retired, yet, as I would consider myself at that point if I had enough investment income to pay for our current standard of living. However, I’ve been able to make a good living on my own, building my own products, working on my own company, and it’s been great. We really do have unbelievable access to opportunities in today’s day and age, and I’m grateful for that.

    I definitely do think that many others can benefit from the knowledge, just like I benefited myself, and I’m glad there’s guys like you and Jacob that are willing to share!

    Reply
  • Erica February 20, 2013, 7:09 am

    Just want to say thanks for all the articles. I found you a couple of months ago and my eyes have been opened to new possibilities. I find your personality on the blog (or some calls it “hubris”) very charming and entertaining – write on! Can’t wait for more articles from you!

    Reply
  • MrMonkeyMoustache February 20, 2013, 7:50 am

    “I don’t really care what the Internet Retirement Police say about early retirees. In fact, other than a few tasty morsels that people point out to me, I don’t even know what is being said because I don’t read other blogs and forums – this one already takes up more than enough time.”

    Some muppet is using your name over at http://earlyretirementextreme.com/ then :). At least they linked back to your site.

    A big thumbs up to the blog. Some more “How-to-do-it” articles would be great. For me the PEX plumbing article has provided the most benefit of all your posts.

    Reply
  • Bec February 22, 2013, 4:01 am

    Just letting you know MMM you have a bit of a ‘cult’ following here in Australia. I’m sure that you, Mrs MMM and mini MMM would have lots of places to stay if you ever decided on a holiday ‘down under’.

    Love your blog, dig your message. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Monevator February 22, 2013, 10:25 am

    After a while, blogging is like they used to say about writing. You blog because you have to.

    If you save the world along the way you get my props! :)

    Reply
  • Ric Sake February 23, 2013, 10:33 am

    Great post, as was the retirement definition. As Sid Vicious says “Better to provoke a reaction than to react to provocation”.

    Reply
    • Mike February 23, 2013, 12:10 pm

      +20 for a Sid Vicious quote.

      Reply
  • madeline February 23, 2013, 1:48 pm

    “It is better to look ridiculous that to be absolutely boring.”

    And if you find Mr and Mrs. MM boring OR ridiculous,I’d say you may not have noticed THEY are retired and perhaps YOU are not!! I love all the posts even the ones I can’t do just yet.. a breath of fresh air!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  • BD November 28, 2013, 4:55 am

    Speaking of leading a cult, I want to add a little prayer here, it’s to Discordia (Eris), obviously the goddess of *discord*:

    “Lady, protect my enemies. Let them remain strong enough to continue blocking my path whenever I might otherwise run into danger. Let them know they have helped me almost as much as my friends.

    Lady, protect my enemies, locked inside their closed minds with the shades drawn tight and the doors barricaded against fresh thought, which might *poof* them like sunlight on the vampires they’re becoming.

    Thank you for their sensitive knee-jerk reactions. I enjoy making them dance when I’m bored. Don’t let me gloat when I scare them so easily. If I were small and grey and cold, I’d get scared too.

    You might let them know how pathetic they look in their pointy-headed-bigot caps, hatred congealed on their faces like drool.

    Should they ever become brave enough to abandon their brain’s musty attics and come out into the sunshine, please make me big enough to not hold a grudge.

    Amen.”

    I often find solace in this little prayer and I think you can use / rephrase it for your own spirituality, if needed.

    Reply

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