310 comments

Frequently Complained Questions

postIf you haven’t heard the news, it has been a pretty exciting weekend for Mustachianism. I had the rare treat of doing a little interview with the Washington Post, and it somehow got promoted to the front page of the paper’s online edition where it remained for the entire weekend. Even Ralph Nader retweeted it. This blog’s already ridiculous traffic doubled overnight, and so all of us old-timers would like to welcome the 50% of you who are brand-new!

Part of the fun of a new bit of exposure like this is the controversy. Every time the surreal and happy world of this blog has a brush with the mainstream media, it triggers an explosive round of complaints, as well as a meaningful stream of questions.

The complaints won’t get us anywhere, because that’s pretty much the definition of a complaint: a whining statement of something you don’t like, without an accompanying proposal to fix it. But just to indulge ourselves, let’s review a few of them I came across:

Wow – REALLY? ICK – YUK!!! You sound like one seriously f’d up socialist. YOU keep that CRA*. Me – I’m going AMERICAN ALL THE WAY!!!!!!! ‘Cause you don’t really want to live on less – you just want to push your political agenda and I for ONE am NOT buying it – no pun intended.

Can not express yourself without profanity?

Shocking to hear, I know, but did you know that most of the country does not live in a place that is always been 60-80 degrees year-round? Much of the country has 100 degree summers and 0 degree winters. Not conducive to biking/walking. That’s probably why people starting buying cars once they were invented…

(MMM Note: Colorado has some of the most rapidly changing weather in the US, and many of us here find it fun to bike both below 0F and above 100F. Walking is even easier.)

What a privileged, sanctimonious twit. He should peddle his philosophy in southeast D.C., see how successful it is.

(I’m not sure if “privileged” is the right word for encouraging high-income people to spend less money on themselves, but at least you made me have to go look up “sanctimonious”, so you get one point for that.)

Mustache’s retirement is a euphemism for a unemployment with a low standard of living. Many people running around the wilds of Africa, and welfare queens in America, have done him one better.

I still get treats like that every day, and I collect them in a little secret website to share with other bloggers.  While it would be fun to do battle with people like that, it would use up the precious free time I’d rather spend writing to YOU, who probably have real questions about building a ‘Stash of your own.

So let’s begin – here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about the early retirement lifestyle. While they are often phrased as complaints or accusations, I’ve converted them into polite questions here to avoid accidental damage to your computer screen.

But what about Health Insurance? 

We’ve got it. At $237/month for the family, It’s not as expensive as most people assume. More on that here. I think this country could run more efficiently if workers were not held back from switching jobs, starting new companies, or retiring by fear of losing health insurance coverage. While the situation is still not ideal, I like to promote the idea that it is not scary to purchase your own insurance these days. Many of my entrepreneur friends are in the same boat, and they have been for many years.

But that has a $10,000 deductible! What do you do if someone gets really sick? 

When you have early-retirement-level savings (say, $1 million), taking a $10,000 hit is only 1% of your wealth. You could do it year after year, for over 30 years, and you’d still have $700,000 sitting around. In my mind, that is preferable to having a job, spending most of what you earn, and having lower-deductible health insurance. Meanwhile, as a saver you have plenty of time to decide if you want to go out and earn more money, or scale down your lifestyle by moving to a less expensive house, or (unlikely) move to another country where healthcare is much cheaper. Savings give you peace of mind and options, and this blog is really about spending less and investing more so you can have those life benefits.

What about a College Education for your Kid(s)? You could never pay for that on $25,000 per year!

This comes down to the savings issue again. People often read these interviews, and fixate on the fact that we only spend $25,000 per year. But we actually earn more than that. And even if we didn’t, an early retiree you have a heap of invested money that you can cash out and use for anything you like. As long as you have sufficient safety margin in your retirement ‘stashing, that is more than enough to cover any educational expenses while barely making a dent in the war chest. On top of that, I’m willing to bet that my son won’t need too much of my help by that time anyway.

Are you making this all up? These numbers don’t work out. Nobody could do this.

Every single thing I’ve written in the 336 posts of this blog is true to the best of my ability to write it. I don’t have any incentive to make stuff up: writing lies would ruin the fun of this blog for me. In fact, I believe the best way to make good things happen is by harnessing the sometimes-mysterious power of Honesty.

You’re a Prosperity Anomaly: you made money in the stock market and the housing market. That’s all luck.

Not true in my case, unfortunately. By owning mostly index funds, we’ve matched the market’s appreciation and dividend yield for all our stock holdings, which we built up since 2001. This hasn’t been a great time for stock appreciation. I did make some money on my first house, but that was mostly due to renovating it using my own weekends. Then I lost a bunch by starting a house-building company right before the housing crash. D’oh!

The real ‘secret’ to how my wife and I saved our first $800,000 over nine years of work was simply saving just over 65% of our income. Do the math right here, and you’ll see that saving at that rate adds up to financial independence in 9 years.

As one wise person on Hacker News wrote in defense of this strategy:

“His good fortune shaved years off of his retirement. Maybe even two of them.”

The bottom line is if you can live on 50% of your take-home pay and invest the difference, you will be weathy enough to retire in 17 years. Saving more gets you there even faster. No magic or unusual luck required.

But I don’t want to be frugal – I want to LIVE, and travel, and, and, … !!

First of all, we’re not all that frugal. We lead a pretty spendy life these days, live in a luxury house in a good neighborhood, and travel at least three months of the year. I’m ashamed to admit that I probably own almost as much fancy stuff as you do. And if we wanted to spend even more, we would. But by focusing on happiness instead of shopping, and working to make the spending we do more efficient, the annual total just ends up being lower. A big part of this comes from driving less, since cars cost more than you think they do. But more importantly, the sooner you let go of the belief that these things you want really bring you more happiness, the happier and richer you will be. Look into the philosophy Stoicism, it is freaky-powerful stuff.

You have a Rental House. Isn’t that still a job?

Not for me – first of all, because I’ve had the best tenant in the world for two years, and also because I enjoy it. But I’m doing a terrible job at it: My rental house is an expensive custom one that I originally built myself, to sell. But I got stuck with it in the housing crash and a messy business partner situation. I only clear about 5% of the value of the house in rent every year. I could do better by just selling the place and owning some REITs. Or buying a 4-plex that would deliver double the rent, even after hiring a property manager. So when you see “rental house”, just substitute the words “$500,000 of assets yielding 5% after inflation”.

Can you stop being a Smug Asshat? And stop swearing too?

Some people say they like the message here, but not all the judgmental opinions and the made-up words like Mustachianism. They want Mr. Money Mustache to write in the straight-laced style of newspapers and magazines. And to omit certain words, so it can be shared with the children of anti-swearing households.

I’m really sorry to have to say this, but this blog is a hobby and not a corporation. So in order to stay motivated to write, I have to write in the way that I enjoy writing. And I just happen to find this shit funny. If it’s any consolation, I don’t actually think I am even remotely badass in real life, so you can imagine a mild-mannered computer engineer doing the typing, rather than a Smug Asshat, whatever that looks like. And as a consolation to me, plenty of people seem to be reading all this smug asshatty profanity, so I’d say it’s a sign I should continue writing this way.

Why are you writing the blog at all? Is it to judge me and make me feel bad about my life choices? Or is it to make yourself feel better, or sell me stuff?

None of these things. It’s just one guy’s attempt to try to make the world a happier place, by sharing some things I was lucky to learn along the way. Most of the principles I write about here are at least 2000 years old, and yet they are not widely known in the modern world. And, so I can laugh at my own jokes.

Your plan is silly – consumers drive the economy. If everyone became frugal, we’d have no economy and we would all have to live in cardboard boxes.

I think this represents a misunderstanding of economic principles, confusing our productivity per hour with our chosen rate of number of hours to work and rate of consumption. I wrote about that more here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/09/what-if-everyone-became-frugal/

You’re not really Retired! You just said you like working!

This blog is about how to build up the wealth required to make work optional. Mrs. MM and I reached that milestone in 2005, in order to start a family without the distraction of jobs. Since then, we’ve gone on to do some things that earn money, and lots of things that don’t. But that doesn’t take away from the original message: if you save and invest enough money, work will eventually become optional, which is a great thing to happen. If you don’t like my idea of retirement, you might prefer to get a job with the Internet Retirement Police.

I can’t ride a bike where I live!

Good! It sounds like you’ve at least identified the problem. Now, let’s work on a solution. Is it because of irrational fear? (if you see other people biking in your city, I’d be a bit suspicious). But even if you do live in some bleak cars-only location, my job is to at least plant the idea in your head that there is another way. You probably didn’t choose your current location with “minimize the need to drive” as a top priority. What would happen if you did? I can already tell you what will happen, since this has been my priority for all of the 12 addresses (spread across six cities and two countries) I’ve had over the past 19 years. The result? Over 20,000 miles of biking, almost no car-commuting, and over $200,000 in estimated life benefits so far. Rather than telling us all you can’t do it now, just consider it as a way to improve your own future.

I’m Way too late for Early Retirement. What approach can a late starter like me take?

Exactly the same approach as an early starter! Spend less than you earn. The math here is equal-opportunity: it does not care how old you are.  Older people often have the advantage of higher salaries, or things they can sell to get a head start. But even if you don’t have any of that, you still have your wisdom. And there is nothing to lose and everything to gain from starting now to improve your financial situation. I still get emails from people of all ages sharing inspirational stories of giant transformations for the better. I look forward to getting yours too, and sharing it on this blog for the next person who does not yet have the confidence to make a change.

You look sort of like the Dos Equis guy in that Washington Post picture!

Wow, really? That would be cool. I could see a Internet meme forming around this. You can take a picture of Mr. Money Mustache, and add your own words, just as people do with Dos Equis Man. Planting this idea may turn out to be a very good, or a very bad idea :-)

mmm_quotation

Any other frequently asked questions that I should add to this article? Let me know and I will make some updates, and then stick it up in the menu for permanent reference.

 

  • Jakub April 29, 2013, 5:14 am

    I’m reader of this blog since about 60 days birthday, and I love your swearing. Even more when I hear that you should stop. :)

    I think it adds more power into words, and I personally swear all the time. Anybody who doesn’t like it should shut up, and leave :)

    Reply
    • Herr Handlebar April 29, 2013, 9:12 am

      Congratulations on 2 months in this awesome community! May will mark 1 year of MMM readership for Frau Handlebar and I. We have only been striving to the Mustachian ideal for about 6 months but in that time we have managed a 72.6% savings rate. (Frau is a little nervous this might just be a phase)

      I must say I still relate to the complainypants commenters. I have a hard time keeping it all in my head at one time. It looks like this months spending will push us slightly south of 70% saving. There were quite a few anti-Mustachian blunders. I paid someone to put a new chain and rear cassette on my bike! I really need to learn to work on my bike myself. That is why the Frau and I call our blog Becoming Mustachian.

      We have begun to connect with similar minded Seattle folks and, when I am thinking straight, have every confidence that we will make financial independence work in this high cost of living megalopolis. The major issue we keep batting around is the housing dilemma.

      I think my favorite thing about reading MMM is his well reasoned hyperbole.

      Reply
    • taryl April 29, 2013, 11:36 am

      Some people never get to badassity because they’re stuck at the ass level. Go MMM Family. I learn something every week from this blog.

      Reply
  • UK Money Motivator April 29, 2013, 5:21 am

    “I don’t always punch complainypants people in the face,

    But when I do,

    they fucking well deserve it!”

    Reply
    • Stephanie April 29, 2013, 8:13 am

      funny! that should definitely make an appearance!

      Reply
  • Tomato Ketchup April 29, 2013, 5:30 am

    Hey MMM,

    Love the site, but this latest post isn’t showing up on your home page.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 8:39 am

      This is usually just browser caching – did you try shift-refresh or ctrl-refresh?

      Reply
      • Holly@ClubThrifty April 29, 2013, 9:15 am

        Same here, FYI. It isn’t showing all of the comments that it says are there. Refreshing doesn’t change anything.

        Reply
        • Miser Mom April 29, 2013, 11:50 am

          Tomato and Holly,
          Same thing happens to me. If I go to the address line in Chrome, I usually find there’s a long string added on that begins with “?utm_source=feedburner&”. Delete that string, but leave the first part of the address intact, and you should be able to see the comments.

          Not sure why this happens, only with the MMM site!

          Reply
      • Pablo April 29, 2013, 12:34 pm

        I’m a 47 year-old professional and wannabe early retiree who has been reading your blog for the past 18 months. If you ever stop being a swearing, smug asshat I’ll find my inspiration elsewhere. Keep up the great work!

        Reply
        • Patrick April 29, 2013, 12:49 pm

          Congrats MMM, I’ve been reading for several months and have appreciated every foul mouthed piece of asshattery.

          Haters and disbelievers struggle with math. Stashing cash takes a plan combined with data beyond zen technology.

          See you in DC.

          Reply
      • lecodecivil April 29, 2013, 12:56 pm

        Just FYI, I have the same caching issue, but it didn’t begin until you recently did all those server and other recent backend updates. Maybe it’s something to do with those? Using Chrome, and I need to refresh on every page I’ve previously viewed – front page and each individual article (to update the comments). Not complaining, just consider this an error report for your IT guy/gal.

        Reply
  • Points Surfer April 29, 2013, 5:31 am

    I am one of the many who just started following after the WaPo piece! I love your idea and look forward to reading more!!! :D

    Reply
  • Justin Katz April 29, 2013, 5:33 am

    Keep doing what you’re doing kind sir. Changing people’s lives one post at a time.

    Reply
  • Mike April 29, 2013, 5:39 am

    Good on you! I loved the Wapo article. You deserve every bit of exposure you get. I wish I’d have discovered your philosophy much sooner.

    Reply
  • Aarchman07030 April 29, 2013, 5:53 am

    Change scares the shit out of people (Hey–swearing IS fun…).

    Being confronted with straightforward, rational evidence that they have been bamboozled by the Herd into spending their money on a huge pile of crap, wasting their lives chained to a soul-destroying cubicle a in dumb-ass job–enabling someone ELSE to Mustache their lives–is, inevitably, going to make folks cranky.

    I’d be willing to bet that the more they howl and moan about the Mustachian credo, the bigger their consumer debt for shit they thought would make them happy but just made them prisoners of the monthly credit card minimum.

    Take their criticism for what it truly is–the lament of the lost sheep who has just had the Truth revealed!

    Reply
  • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies April 29, 2013, 5:54 am

    I liked the Washington Post interview and even shared it with a few IRL friends who don’t know that Mr. PoP and I run a blog, too. It provoked an interesting discussion on spending values, etc.

    Reply
    • CashRebel April 29, 2013, 6:06 am

      I still haven’t shared my mustachian values with my irl friends. This looks like a good opportunity!

      Reply
  • retired early April 29, 2013, 6:02 am

    I left the world of work 10 years ago. 35/40% of my income is from a rental property. .why is this considered any different than income from stocks/bonds/compounded interest on a pile of cash [ which I also have]? Why is this considered not being retired?…silly, silly people.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 8:36 am

      I agree, Early.

      I was marveling the other day that the most confident complainers are usually people who are not financially independent themselves! Meanwhile, I now keep in touch with a good number of other early retirees, and not one of them has told me I’m making the wrong assumptions or doing the wrong math. How is it that the novices know so much more than the experts?

      Reply
      • crazyworld April 29, 2013, 10:07 am

        I am one of your complainers =) I am naturally fruagal-ish, skeptical of marketing and have savings (maybe ~700K)? But it is all tied up in the house or 401K’s. I agree with your philosophy completely but for the life of me cannot figure out how to save cash enough to retire now (at 43) so I can live until 59.5 until 401K is free. Big stumbling blocks for me personally:
        -not at all handy, so anything the house requires (or future rental), will need to be outsourced.
        – after much reading still haven’t uncovered any great income producing stream and just living off principal (provided I manage to save a ton to begin with) is not confidence providing.
        – the biggest expenditures are taxes, mortgage, travel (family is abroad, also love to travel-you can only go so far by car) childcare, parent care. None of these are really negotiable. Childcare would be greatly reduced upon retirement, but kidlet will probably still want some summer camps.
        Count me as 100% frustrated. What sucks even more is not retiring early but still living pretty frugally – old cars, cheap old cellphones, rare new clothes & accessories. So all the “sacrifice” seems to be for “goal not achieved”.

        Reply
        • Clint April 29, 2013, 10:47 am

          Sounds like you should cut back on 401k contributions and start funneling to non-ira-bound index funds for a free stream of dividends.

          That’s what I’d do, anyway, if I was as far upstream as you seem to be.

          Reply
        • AndyfromTucson April 29, 2013, 12:13 pm

          “-not at all handy, so anything the house requires (or future rental), will need to be outsourced.”

          That is a false statement. The correct statement is “have not yet spent the time and effort necessary to learn how to repair/make things.” I challenge you to not outsource the next repair you need done, but instead google “how do I [whatever it is]” and take it from there. Sure it will take you longer than a pro, and sure you will screw things up, but if you persevere, you will (a) know how to repair one thing, and (b) have chipped away at the delusion that you are not handy.

          Reply
          • crazyworld April 29, 2013, 1:35 pm

            tried, failed, had to get electrician! glad we did because there was some macgayvered(?) wiring, that i would not have followed because i did not know what i was looking at. we can paint, do gardening, hang pictures – that type of stuff. anything much more than that is outside our comfort zone. i commend everyone who can be electrician, plumber, drywall installer. could be due to growing up abroad, not sure, or could be just me.

            also, until i retire, time is in short supply – catch-22…

            Reply
            • Mr. Risky Startup April 29, 2013, 3:29 pm

              I don’t think its a crime that you do not do handy-work. I used to install hot water tanks for living in my youth, but now I would rather pay someone to do it for me. I love my job, and time I do not spend fiddling with plumbing allows me to make enough money to pay for the plumber and still have money left over for added savings.

              Reply
        • AndyfromTucson April 29, 2013, 12:16 pm

          You don’t need to wait until age 59.5 to withdraw from your 401k without penalty. Google Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPPs) to learn the IRS rules for taking money out before age 59.5.

          Reply
          • Pablo April 29, 2013, 12:38 pm

            The IRS allows penalty-free 401k withdrawals at age 55, provided any/all your 401k accounts are with the employer from which you are retiring, quitting, and/or being fired from.

            Reply
          • crazyworld April 29, 2013, 1:41 pm

            I have…not confident $$ will last until the end given the expenditures. 15-20 years. We will be 63-70 years. Longevity on both sides of family.
            I think I have pretty much answered my questions to myself with the exchanges above – its not gonna happen anytime soon. The only plus is when we do retire, we will be secure and not dependent on social security.

            Reply
            • Mr. Risky Startup April 29, 2013, 3:34 pm

              Can you sell the house, move into something much smaller and use the cash to live off until retirement? Or, can you earn a bit more and put some money in non-locked investments that could let you retire earlier? Or, since you have good chunk saved, could you semi-retire (work less, or less frequently)? I am nowhere near your stash, but by learning that I could live for fraction of my current income, I was able to negotiate better working conditions and start my own company too. Used to work 80 hours weeks, never used all my vacation… Now, I work 40-50 hours, and take 4-8 weeks off per year of real vacation (just returned from Florida and did not even bring my laptop with me :)

              Reply
              • crazyworld April 30, 2013, 8:15 am

                The good news is I already work a bit less (35 hours). Ideally, what I would like is to not work at all while our son is young. What worries me that taking a decade off effectively means the end of my current career.

        • AndyfromTucson April 29, 2013, 12:22 pm

          “- the biggest expenditures are taxes, mortgage, travel (family is abroad, also love to travel-you can only go so far by car) childcare, parent care. None of these are really negotiable. Childcare would be greatly reduced upon retirement, but kidlet will probably still want some summer camps.”

          Taxes. If you mean property taxes, those can be reduced by moving to an area with lower property taxes.

          Mortgage. You should be aggressively paying down your mortgage instead of putting money into your 401K. Paying down a mortgage is functionally the same as earning the mortgage’s interest rate on savings, and you probably are not getting that rate on your savings.

          Reply
          • crazyworld April 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

            this is one i question too – but, then i will just pay more in income taxes too no? or it is still worth it?

            Reply
            • Kenoryn April 29, 2013, 4:54 pm

              crazyworld, why don’t you head over to the forum and post your financial situation (breakdown of your expenditures, savings and income, like in one of MMM’s case studies) in the “Ask a Mustachian” category? I bet we can help.

              Reply
        • nicoleandmaggie April 29, 2013, 1:53 pm

          What crazyworld said, but my networth is a bit higher (at least as of when I checked last night) and I’m younger and don’t want to early retire (thus appreciate the tax advantage of continuing to funnel savings into retirement funds). There are many ways to live. It’s ok for people to have different preferences, especially if they’re happy with their lives.

          Reply
        • jopaul April 29, 2013, 7:09 pm

          Crazyworld, I can completely relate. I just turned 50 and was figuring on somewhat early retirement by 55 if not earlier. Like you, virtually all my savings are tied up in the house (750-800,000) and my RRSP/LIRA (Canadian) with a significant inheritance hopefully a long ways off. I have thought of selling the house and moving back to somewhere cheaper that I could probably buy two homes and rent one out to provide at least partial income. The real kicker is that I was laid off about two months ago. Now I just can’t get the nerve up to make the plunge and see if I can make at least semi-retirement work. Probably my biggest hesitation is that I am single and feel that I have nothing to fall back on if I mess this up.

          Reply
          • crazyworld April 30, 2013, 8:11 am

            Easy for me to say, but your plan sounds good to me in theory. Or maybe sell your home at least and rent cheaply if possible? Thinking back to my own life, I feel our savings were best and fastest when we rented. As soon as we bought our home, we started paying “rent” for way more house than we used, landscaping, home maintenance, home improvements etc. We did not even have a child then, and we had 4 bedrooms!

            Reply
        • Marcia April 29, 2013, 9:56 pm

          You can choose cheaper childcare.

          Reply
          • crazyworld April 30, 2013, 8:00 am

            I have the cheapest possible childcare actually – after care at his school provided by the Y. But add to that spring break, summer, winter break – all those camps add up. But as I said, if I actually retire, that expense will be the easiest to cut way back on.

            Reply
        • Katherine April 30, 2013, 5:28 am

          Crazyworld- At the beginning, it can be frustrating to know where to start. When I started this process (13 years ago), I made a list of my monthly expenses. I then looked at every line and asked, how can I decrease this expense? Here are the items that I did;

          1. Refinance mortgage to lower rate
          2. Called cable company and cut the rate by 10%
          3. Raised deductible on homeowner’s insurance, which cut the rate by 1/3
          4. Found phone plan that billed in 6 second segments (no longer important)
          5. Put a 4 week moratorium on Target (saved a lot of $$ in frivolous spending)
          6. Stopped contributing to 401(k) until my reserves were increased
          7. Added drapes to windows (already had blinds) to cut the heat coming into the house, which lowered my electrical bill
          8. Added a program le thermostat, which helped decrease electrical bill
          9. Watched grass for signs that it needed water instead of running sprinkler twice a week.
          10. Changed my attitude to look for ways to save

          Except for the Target change, my lifestyle did not change too much, I just optimized the spending that I was doing. After about a year, my consumption had greatly decreased and my savings grew exponentially.

          BTW, you can fund travel fairly easily. Our 14 day family vacation to Europe this year is costing 14% of the retail value. Start looking at Flyertalk or Milepoint or any of the myriad points and miles blogs to get an idea of how this works.

          Reply
          • crazyworld April 30, 2013, 8:04 am

            Thanks for the detailed reply (and all the others up there as well!). Good news, I already have i, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 covered. The others are not applicable or less important to me personally. So I have the low hanging fruit taken care of. I think at this point I need to analyze in detail where every dime is going and see what is the drain. Thx for the travel pointers – that I could use.

            Reply
      • Rich Uncle EL April 29, 2013, 10:46 am

        Great Reply to the novices. Stop complaining and get your dollars up so you can drink the retirement juice as well. I value the posts we read here because it sets all of us strait and away from all the buy this now on debt mentality affecting the society.

        PS Novices, move out of your parent’s basement!

        Reply
  • CashRebel April 29, 2013, 6:04 am

    Acting like a smug asshat, swearing, and laughing at your own jokes are the best part! Doubling your readership overnight is pretty intense, congrats MMM.

    Reply
  • RetirementInvestingToday April 29, 2013, 6:10 am

    Great post. I’m UK based and on a very similar journey. I’m currently saving 60% of gross earnings (the UK government loves to tax us) while living in London and have accrued enough assets to be 70% of the way toward retirement. I’ve achieved that in 6 years.

    My forecast has me at retirement in another 3 years. That forecast is conservative and based around a 4% real return on my assets plus the ability to stay at a 60% savings rate.

    So that’s 9 years from essentially nothing to full financial independence. Exactly as you managed. It is therefore possible.

    Therefore anybody who says it can’t be done either hasn’t thought it through or simply doesn’t want it bad enough. Of course by doing either of those things they can then blame somebody else for their troubles when they can’t retire at a sensible age rather than look inwards on themselves.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 8:07 am

      From your story, it’s more than just “therefore possible” – you’re showing us that it is even possible in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. Living in an expensive city is one of the more frequent complaints I get, so, great job!

      Reply
  • JJ April 29, 2013, 6:27 am

    In your Washington Post interview you mention that your living expenses of 25k are covered by income off one rental property and that your living expenses could be extended by the dividends thrown off by your index fund investments. Is this a clue into how you think about those two different investments.

    Do you choose to live off the rental income because a rental house is something tangible and more stable than stock market investments? Did you ever do it the other way around (live off dividends from index funds and bank rental income for eventual purchase of another rental)? Obviously with dividends re-investing your are cost averaging with each payment but the same could be said if you bought a house whenever you had enough saved from rental income to buy one.

    Is there a reason you’re living off the tangible investment returns rather than the intangible investment returns?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 8:05 am

      No, there’s no clever strategy at work here. I consider all the money to be equal, so it’s just a matter of convenience – the rent payments get auto-deposited directly into the bank account from which all the family bills get paid (again, thanks to the best tenant in the world). The dividends reinvest unless you expressly ask Vanguard to send you auto-deposits. So I just left everything on default mode.

      I think living off of dividends with no rental house would be even more stable and hands-off. But it ties up a bit more prinicpal (unless you can get over 5% dividend yields). And at this stage, it would deny me some fun.

      Reply
      • GregK April 29, 2013, 8:47 am

        MMM, congrats on the WaPo feature!

        I’m curious to know how your auto-deposit setup works. I’m living in a 2-unit and renting the second apartment, but we’ve just bought another house and are moving, so we’ll soon have two sets of tenants, and they won’t be able to just run the rent upstairs to us anymore. I’d love to have an easy setup like this!

        Feel free to e-mail me if you’d prefer.

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 8:54 am

          The ‘secret’ is to send your tenant a referral to get themselves a CapitalOne 360 account, and to get one yourself too. There’s a cash incentive for both parties, so the tenant may be happy to do it.

          From there, they can easily send you e-payments on autopilot every month. Best rent collecting system in the world ;-)

          If you browse to http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends/ , you will see my first link is a referral that gets you $50 for opening the account. (this blog will get a few bucks if you do too).

          Reply
          • Herr Handlebar April 29, 2013, 9:22 am

            Thanks for the heads up! I’m a renter currently and, strangely enough, may soon be a landlord as well. Is that a form of geographic arbitrage? Regardless, with my current landlord I wanted to get such an automated rent collection system set up. We failed. We tried three different services to no avail. I settled for my bank automagically cutting and mailing him a check every month.

            Reply
        • Diana April 29, 2013, 3:56 pm

          This is getting easier and easier to do. Chase also offers QuickPay now, so your tenant can deposit the rent check that way (up to $5K/day, if that’s a problem you might have). Lots of banks seems to be offerring similar options.

          I own several rentals, and I no longer wait for rent checks to arrive or have to make deposits. Some of the funds arrive via QuickPay, and some of my tenants go directly to the bank and deposit into my account. Getting rid of this small hassle is a perk I truly enjoy.

          Reply
  • Emily Allred April 29, 2013, 6:28 am

    Congrats on the new bump in readership! You deserve it. Enjoy tearing apart all the new haters with your relentless optimism and logic.

    Reply
  • Renee S April 29, 2013, 6:33 am

    Mr. MM,

    I loved the article, but the comments were starting to drive me *crazy*. I have been following you for awhile and I just want to say thank you for not only using your blog to share your wisdom and ideas, but also thank you for defending your ideas against the naysayers. I don’t know that I would have the patience…

    Reply
  • Mr, 1500 April 29, 2013, 6:35 am

    MMM, you must have very thick skin. I can only imagine the amount of hate-mail you get every day (every hour?).

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Reply
    • ultrarunner April 29, 2013, 10:13 am

      The same thing I was thinking… those were some really nasty comments on the WaPo article. I guess it’s best to just not read them and keep on keepin’ on…

      Reply
      • CrucialDebtCrusher April 29, 2013, 10:15 am

        It’s that thing, when the success of others reminds you of your own failure.

        Reply
        • Mike @ UB April 29, 2013, 10:45 am

          Even the Maryland readers of the Washington Post will appreciate this, a quote from Wikipedia: Crab mentality is a phrase popular among Filipinos, and was first coined by writer Ninotchka Rosca, in reference to the phrase crabs in a bucket.[1] It describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise.[2][3] The analogy in human behavior is that members of a group will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy,[4] conspiracy or competitive feelings.

          Reply
          • Gunhild April 29, 2013, 1:58 pm

            Parallel to this is the Scandinavian Law of Jante (which all citizens know about, even though it is from a novel anno 1933).
            The ten rules state:

            You’re not to think you are anything special.
            You’re not to think you are as good as us.
            You’re not to think you are smarter than us.
            You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than us.
            You’re not to think you know more than us.
            You’re not to think you are more important than us.
            You’re not to think you are good at anything.
            You’re not to laugh at us.
            You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
            You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

            Please continue defying the all too present Law of Jante, MMM!

            Reply
    • rjack (Mr. Asset Allocation) April 29, 2013, 11:14 am

      That was my thought as well and constant attacks was one of the reasons that Jacob at ERE stopped posting on his blog.

      MMM – You are really starting a movement here and I really appreciate what you are doing here. You need to come out with a mainstream how-to book, so that you can spread the word further.

      Reply
  • My Financial Independence Journey April 29, 2013, 6:51 am

    Congratulations on getting featured in the Washington Post. That’s pretty huge.

    Reply
  • acorn April 29, 2013, 6:56 am

    WaPo’s personal finance columnist, Michele Singletary, has a frugal outlook similar to yours- you’d like her.

    Reply
  • Stephen @ SE April 29, 2013, 7:01 am

    The question I would like to see answered would be: will this content ever be made into a cohesive bookish format? I enjoy the material but many of the least mustachian people I know that could benefit from this type of material just can’t “get into a blog”. It seems strange to me that is the question I get asked most because blog reading comes so natural to me.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 8:00 am

      I agree that a book needs to be written. And it will. I just need to finish the other non-blog projects that are currently going on and using up all free time at the moment. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Reply
  • kit April 29, 2013, 7:04 am

    Whoa! This is huge and may I just mention that Ms. Money Mustache is a hottie? Good job, sir.

    The face-punching hurts the normies. The rest of us, like a Shaolin monk learning iron-(insert body part) techniques, we have already learned to accept and grow from the pain into a place where we are stronger. We can be simply amused that the article is accompanied by a video ad for a Mercedes, while staring upon our sneakers and bicycles.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 7:58 am

      You got a video ad for Mercedes? Cool. It’s all financial companies for me. But those are user-sensitive ad boxes.

      I still get occasional angry complaints about the presence of ads here too. If they really bother you, just run adblock plus for Google Chrome. But I enjoy the irony of the odd consumerpants company funding its own criticism, and web hosting for 4 million pageviews a month is not cheap :-)

      Reply
      • GregK April 29, 2013, 8:50 am

        Phew! Glad to hear you condone the use of Adblock. I was feeling a bit guilty.

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 9:00 am

          You can always have it automatically make exceptions for sites you want to support, if you feel charitable. But it only takes the odd click or bank account referral, etc. from a tiny percentage of readers to keep a site like this in the black, so don’t sweat it too much.

          Reply
  • Zeb April 29, 2013, 7:45 am

    I don’t know if this is frequently asked, but it is frequently wondered by me: How do you morally justify living off of the labor of others?

    It sounds like a loaded question and a judgmental one, but I honestly wonder how you address it, if at all. I deeply appreciate the ‘tips and tricks’ and the general mindset you are promoting. I’d recommend everyone come here and read your stuff and just ignore the ‘early retirement’ bit and focus on the frugality and financial independence. But the early retirement thing – it sounds like you’ve used a fortunate origin in a rigged game to get into a position to exploit the billions of people who do work. Of course even if that is a fair characterization it is very small potatoes in the realm of economic injustices in the world so it is more a question of personal morality than of social consequences.

    Reply
    • Jeremy Doolin April 29, 2013, 8:12 am

      MMM isn’t living off the billions of people who do work. He’s part owner of a few thousand publicly traded companies in the world and receives shares of their profits. Those companies use his money and the money of others to PAY the people who work for them (among other things) and give him that money back. So in a way, investors like MMM are helping to *give* those people jobs by providing capital to the company.

      On top of that, the money he is investing in these companies is money that he earned mostly through his own hard work.

      Reply
      • Zeb April 29, 2013, 8:25 am

        The profits of those companies come from the productivity of their workers. The workers get less of the value of their productivity because part of it gets siphoned off to investors like MMM. MMM is literally living off of the productivity of working people.

        Of course capital investment is necessary for business growth, and interest is [a] necessary [evil] to incentivize capital investment. As a small business owner I know this, and I am glad I can get money from people who have it to spend on making my business more profitable even though I have to pay interest on that. The bigger moral question is not whether it is ok to get interest on your savings, but whether it is ok to live on that interest (which is the productivity of others) rather than on your own productivity.

        Reply
        • Jeremy Doolin April 29, 2013, 8:41 am

          I think the moral issue you speak of is a rabbit hole that goes deeper than just “is it ok to live off the productivity of others?”

          It brings up other questions like, “Do the employees already get paid adequately for their productivity?” After all, they are still getting paid, and as we know from this very blog, it’s often enough to do just fine in this world if you keep your spending in check. So why *not* be kind to those who gave you the investment capital in the first place. They are part owner, after all.

          And would that person have a job in the first place without the capital investment from the shareholders? When a business fails, everybody loses. Investors help keep public businesses growing.

          And how about the job MMM left himself? That job is paying someone else now, and it’s likely somewhere around double what MMM is making in dividends these days. By exiting the workforce, he gave another young engineer the opportunity to make a living.

          Anyway, that’s my take on all this. :-)

          Reply
        • TOM April 29, 2013, 9:03 am

          Thought-provoking questions. My thoughts are:

          1. Can’t you extrapolate your thought process to anyone who is retired, especially in the American social convention of retirement (Work 40 years, retire at 65, live off of retirement investment)? At what point of time-service does it become more ethical to live on investment? I ask about time since 9 years of well-above-average personal investment levels doesn’t seem to do it for you.
          2. Is the real estate income more or less ethical? Many people assume managing a rental property is “more work” than managing financial investments.
          3. Obviously he is still producing things, just not out of necessity. I wouldn’t be surprised if this website brought in enough money (a few times over, perhaps) for his family to live off of by itself.
          4. How he acquires his spending money speaks only a portion to how and what he contributes to his local/national/global community.
          5. Doesn’t Vanguard (or any financial institution) make money off of its clients for almost no production? I have a co-worker who complains about expense ratios in our 401k plan’s mutual funds, even though the ratios are <0.50% The only justification I can provide to him is the immediate diversification provided on such small starting sums of money. All you pay for is access and concise, semi-comprehensible summaries.

          Reply
    • GregK April 29, 2013, 8:54 am

      Zeb, this article doesn’t directly address your question, but it’s in a similar vein. I recommend giving it a look.

      http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/09/what-if-everyone-became-frugal/

      Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 9:05 am

      Zeb: welcome to capitalism!

      Far from a morally-flawed system, I think it is the most effective invention humans have ever created for lifting ourselves out of a mostly brutish, short, and war-torn existence.

      It has its rough edges, but only because we as a species still have our rough edges, which creep into the national culture of, ahem, some countries more than others. But much of our inherent selfishness can be overwritten, given the right cultural values.

      So by changing the culture itself, you can make capitalism even more effective and less harsh. But you won’t do it by discarding the entire idea of owning assets which provide investment returns to their owners.

      With that assumption, even owning a rental house or building (aka ‘business’) and collecting rent for it would be immoral.. especially if you employed people to manage it for you, since the results of their efforts would be ‘siphoned off to investors’ (you)!

      Reply
      • Geek April 29, 2013, 10:26 am

        MMM is investing in an asset (say, a giant 100-man-powered mill, to make things concrete), which then enables workers to become employed, and in return he receives a portion of their productivity as his profits, and they receive a portion of their productivity as wages.
        This seems very morally sound. Without the workers, MMM would not receive profits. Without MMM, the workers would not receive wages. MMM has provided “value” in providing the means of production.

        This becomes immoral when workers are underpaid, conditions are unsafe, etc. The immorality happens a lot, and perhaps more than those of us investing in index funds would like.

        If you’re questioning ownership itself, I think we’re in danger of jumping the shark.

        Reply
        • Des April 29, 2013, 10:58 am

          “I am questioning the lack of personal economic productivity while continuing personal consumption of others’ productivity.”

          Wait, how is that not even better? He freed up a well-paying job for someone who otherwise would have (presumably, given the current climate) been unemployed, AND he continues to consume – creating even more jobs. I fail to see the immorality. Wouldn’t it be worse to keep the job (leaving another highly trained and motivated potential-engineer sitting on his ass unemployed) and waste money on excess consumer goods (like most people would do)?

          Reply
          • Kenoryn April 29, 2013, 12:53 pm

            Zeb – that assumes that the production of more goods is a positive thing for society. In fact the production of goods is a horribly destructive thing for society which we should avoid as much as we possibly can. But because our society is much more efficient than it used to be, we need to produce ridiculous amounts of unnecessary stuff in order for everyone to be employed for the 5 days a week that they need to support their stuff addictions. In an ideal world we’d produce much less and consume much less, and everyone would have to work much less so there would be work enough for everyone to share in it. There might even be a cap on how long you’d be allowed to work for money. You can’t have people work more when there is no more work to do. If more people took only what they needed in terms of work, like MMM, there would be more jobs to go around and less unemployment. Plus if people dedicated their time after that to non-economic social benefits, like personal development or raising their children, the positive impact on society would be huge.

            Reply
            • Doug May 2, 2013, 7:58 am

              Wow, you summed up what I said in a short paragraph. It all seems so simple, the idea of everyone working less, consuming less, and having more time to have a life. I don’t know why more economists don’t get such a ridiculously simple idea.

              Reply
          • Ms.W April 29, 2013, 1:31 pm

            Zeb- So it’s okay to invest, but immoral to use the profits from that investment? Then why would anyone invest? There have to be rewards for the risks. Businesses need investments to grow, or sometimes even just to survive. But why would anyone give their money to a business as an investment, if the only options were loss, or getting back exactly what you put in? In that instance, better to just shove your money under a mattress! If they’re willing to risk the loss, there must be the chance of gain. Otherwise the whole system would fail.

            Reply
          • Kenoryn April 29, 2013, 5:07 pm

            Problem is, you can’t just live off your principal, as your principal will depreciate. If you worked one day a week for 45 years, your wages would keep going up during that time. There needs to be another system to replicate that if you’re going to do all your lifetime of work up front.

            The basic part I’m not clear on here though is, why should it be immoral to do a service for someone (loaning them money) and get something in exchange for that service (interest/gains)?

            Reply
        • Andrew April 29, 2013, 12:36 pm

          Where did he get the money to invest? Personal economic productivity that outstripped his personal consumption during the time it took to accumulate it.

          Where’s the problem?

          Reply
          • Ms.W April 29, 2013, 1:09 pm

            By that rationale, aren’t we all guilty of this, to varying degrees? Small business owners who make a profit? Managers? CEOs? All profiting off of someone else’s hard work, more than the person doing the work.

            The way I look at it, people deserve the profit for their willingness to take the risk. Investing in stocks, being an entrepeneur, leading a large company, all involve risks that the average person may not be willing to take. And yet, someone needs to take these risks in order for society to function the way that it does. The potential for rewards are necessary to encourage the risk.

            Maybe I’m not understanding the logic here. And the morality question could go both ways: MMM could be considered MORE moral than the average worker, given that his lack of consumption resulted in a lesser burden on our natural resources. He’s consuming less resources, investing to help economic growth (on a large scale through index funds, and a small scale through peer-to-peer lending), and he’s working to improve his community (fixing up houses in his area, etc). I think it’s a little far-fetched to say his lifestyle is somehow less moral than the average American consumer.

            Reply
            • Ishmael April 30, 2013, 6:32 am

              Risk is a funny word. If a person has a net worth of $5bn, are they undertaking the same “risk” investing in a startup business that requires $100k seed money as someone who has saved their income diligently for years and now has a net worth of $100k?

              I think the system is warped – IMO, it’s not “risk” that should be rewarded, but talent/skills, effort and results.

              I think ideally, anyone wanting to start a business should be able to aquire the resources required to start the business, based on the true viability of the business plan and the talent/skills they have to pull it off, and then the people that actually do the work of making it a success (including all the employees of the company) should benefit from it, as opposed to someone who simply has a pile of money.

              If you have money, it’s easy to make more. The first million is the hardest…

              Reply
              • squeakywheel May 1, 2013, 7:47 pm

                Why does the number of comments on this article keep going up, but still the last comment I can see is April 30th at 6:32am? Have refreshed browser, etc. Link is shown to older comments, but not to newer comments?

              • Mr. Risky Startup May 1, 2013, 9:21 pm

                There is a tiny text link “click here to see older comments” on the bottom of the comments. In some browsers/cases it seems that this link does not show up. I had the same issue and after reload I was able to see this text link.

              • Schmidty May 1, 2013, 9:48 pm

                I had this happen too. Try the “Older Comments” link below the last comment.

              • Schmidty May 1, 2013, 11:53 pm

                The more recent comments must be replies to replies, which show further up the thread.

          • Clint April 29, 2013, 3:21 pm

            The morality is, it’s moral (in my opinion). You’re living off something you’ve earned. The U.S. economy is consumer driven. The vast majority of Americans are borrowing (outrageous sums for some) to live off the production of others. I’d say that’s more of a moral issue–for both the producers and the borrowers–than anything you’ve been proposing here.

            Reply
        • Mr. Risky Startup April 29, 2013, 3:51 pm

          In a perfect world, we would all be creating enough value to sustain us and no more. In the real world, some people are lenders and some are borrowers. Yes, there is a moral question in there somewhere, but if you redefine economic model, you may find other issues.

          I lived in a socialistic/communist country in my youth. They had some positives, but due to lack of economic incentive, system did not work out well. Companies were owned by their workers, but for every worker that was applying himself, you had two who did not. So, those who were pulling more than their weight, realized that it was in vain and they moved to capitalistic country, or gave up and got lazy and contributing just as little as they had to.

          They had saying back then – “You can never pay me as little as I can work”…

          Reply
    • Herr Handlebar April 29, 2013, 9:27 am

      In the immortal words of 21st century philosopher Ice-T, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

      Reply
    • PK April 29, 2013, 10:11 am

      Is this a serious question? Do we question people who drop out of the workforce about their moral constitution now? And how are you defining ‘exploit’?

      Recognize that if he isn’t paying Payroll taxes he’s giving the rest of a system a break. Or, go the whole nine yards and question every North American born English speaking writer on the internet for exploiting an accident in their birth and internet access.

      Reply
      • woodnclay April 29, 2013, 11:32 am

        There are lots of interesting moral issues but something that came to mind when reading this particular discussion is the definition of “productivity”…. It could be argued that MMM is being productive in a number of ways: one is raising a child! That is hard work. In the UK (and probably elsewhere) we get paid to raise children by the government, which is also exploiting others productivity. Is that wrong? Is retiring on a state pension wrong? What about voluntary work? Does that count towards productivity?

        It is interesting and complex. I am a widowed, early retired mother of an 11 year old who is productive in a number of ways!

        Reply
        • Geek April 29, 2013, 1:05 pm

          “Dropping out of production and living off of the productivity is something one CAN do, as MMM has clearly and extensively documented. But is it something one should do or may do, from a moral standpoint?”

          Yes, but that’s not what MMM is doing. He’s contributing to the productivity of others with his owned goods, and then buying more goods and contributing more.

          “I am questioning getting paid for ownership”

          I own my time and body, and I get paid to come to work and do things on someone else’s behalf. So, yes.

          Reply
        • Kenoryn April 29, 2013, 1:08 pm

          Agreed; I think productivity in terms of goods is the worst way of defining our benefit to society, since the production of goods usually involves the destruction of resources and robbing future generations of their ability to sustain themselves. Our value to society as a human is (or has the potential to be) much, much greater than our value to society as a consumer/producer – two sides of the same coin.

          Here’s what Buckminster Fuller had to say about it 43 years ago:
          “We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

          While I don’t think we’re at the point of technological breakthroughs that can support ten thousand people, the basic point is that there is no point for people as a whole to do more work than is necessary to support our basic needs.

          Reply
    • Zeb April 29, 2013, 1:45 pm

      ” he only needed to labor for nine years in order to earn enough rectangles to cover all the labor of others he will need for the rest of his life” Not true. If it were true he’d be draining down his principal. He is siphoning off the labor of others via investment instruments and trading that labor for consumables while keeping all the ‘little rectangles’ he earned locked away in the investments.

      Reply
      • Jen April 29, 2013, 7:14 pm

        Um… no. Or rather, “kind of”. He has loaned his capital to other companies who are paying him interest on it. He is living off the interest. In the meantime, he is living in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner and has freed up his old job to allow someone else to do the same (or not; as they choose). I really don’t see the problem with this – you’ve gotten lots of interesting replies, and you keep repeating yourself verbatim, over and over; you don’t seem to be getting the kind of answers you want. Maybe you are looking for a discussion of moral purity, rather than discussing this one particular instance of potential grey area?

        You might like The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson. You can watch it on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xx_5PuLIzc

        Reply
  • Jash April 29, 2013, 7:52 am

    I’ve been reading this blog since nearly the beginning, but I finally biked to work for the first time today! I guess some lessons take a while (and several punches to the face) to sink in. Thanks MMM!

    Reply
    • GregK April 29, 2013, 8:57 am

      Congrats! Better late than never… I’ve been reading the blog for over a year and just started bike commuting a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely love it. Wish I’d started sooner.

      Reply
      • Early Retirement Journey April 29, 2013, 9:18 am

        I just have to add that to this. We’ve been biking all around San Francisco during a long term visit, and every time I throw my leg over my bike I get a big grin of pleasure. It’s such a great way to get around, particularly when I pass a long line of cars waiting to get through a red light, or madly searching for a parking spot, uber expensive of course in this city by the bay.

        Reply
    • CrucialDebtCrusher April 29, 2013, 10:07 am

      Isn’t it awesome? Don’t you feel better than the rage of traffic?

      Reply
      • Jash April 29, 2013, 7:20 pm

        Loving it! Best commute of my life!!

        Reply
  • CL April 29, 2013, 7:54 am

    Thanks for compiling this list, MMM! I have done my own sharing of the Mustachian philosophy, and I know that one objection from intelligent and frugal people has been to wonder about boredom. They know that early retirement is within reach because it is only logical, but they have no idea what to do with themselves. This might be a separate post.

    Reply
    • GregK April 29, 2013, 9:01 am

      Just a couple posts to get you started. I’m sure there’s more about this on the blog, but this is what I remembered off the top of my head. Both are guest posts, oddly enough…

      http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/06/guest-post-why-youll-become-busier-after-retirement/

      http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/03/23/reader-story-the-man-who-thought-early-retirement-sucked/

      Reply
      • CL April 29, 2013, 9:28 am

        Thanks for the links, Greg. I’ve read all the MMM posts (been reading for about a year now), but I’d like to see something from MMM himself. The short version that I’ve seen from MMM is that they had the baby soon after retiring and children take a lot of time (and sleep). I know that ERE has a list compiled of stuff to do in retirement and I’d love to see something similar for Mustachians.

        I started reading ERE in 2009 and I have a huge list of things to do in retirement, but I think that I’d like a set of pointers on how to make those decisions to share with other people.

        The “and then?” framework seems a lot like the “so what?” framework that I had to teach in freshman composition. The reason why we stopped using that question was because it was almost impossible to stop. To use the example from the real estate blogger, you’d be challenging the assumption that you want to have a family. And then? what’s the point of having a family, what’s the point of having solid interpersonal relationships, what’s the point of setting up a system/community in which you’re happy? And therein lies the road to nihilism. It might work for other people, but I guess using reductio ad absurdum [what EREJacob calls taking things to their extreme logical conclusions] it doesn’t work for me.

        Reply
  • cj April 29, 2013, 8:04 am

    Give ‘em hell, MMM!!!! And congrats on making the Washington Post!! And you may very well be The Most Interesting Man In the World.

    Reply
  • Grant April 29, 2013, 8:12 am

    I’ve been following your blog for several months and appreciate the occasional punch in the face.

    Though my ‘stache is not even peach fuzz, I think to an extent the size of the ‘stache isn’t the point. The point is maximizing your happiness with your family and loved ones through life, and you don’t need a lot of money to do so. You just need time and some creativity, and the outdoors gives plenty of opportunity for time and creativity. That’s really what kids want (time with parents), and that in turn brings optimal happiness. The other toys, TVs, and gadgets are expensive distractions that really don’t bring happiness.

    Thanks for the good work and the face punches. They hurt, but bring along with them needed lessons.

    Reply
  • Savvy Financial Latina April 29, 2013, 8:19 am

    I love reading your blog! Forget about the haters!

    Reply
  • Phoebe@allyouneedisenough April 29, 2013, 8:23 am

    Awesome post! Congrats on the WaPo article, I love that your thoughts are geting shared with a wider audience.

    Personally, I’m also grateful for this post. While I definitely buy into early retirement there are times that I fear I won’t be able to afford health care or pay for college once we get there.

    And, it’s encouraging me to figure out a way to bike more, even in the cold Midwest.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Early Retirement Journey April 29, 2013, 8:35 am

    Well deserved publicity, and it sounds like you understand it will bring on a boatload of haters which you are already prepared to ignore.

    It’s beyond fascinating to me that people are so married to their over-consumption they are absolutely unwilling to entertain any suggestion on giving it up in order to live a better, less stressed life. Show me the budget of someone complaining they are barely scraping by, and I’ll show you the ridiculous waste contained within.

    Our early retirement lifestyle is primarily based around finding meaning and enjoyment through physical activity – biking, hiking, running – and attending ridiculously low priced classes for older learners at a nearby university. It’s amazingly simple – work out your body and your brain each day, and life becomes very pleasant.

    High deductible health care plans are very affordable as has been well documented on this blog. Living a healthy lifestyle minimizes the chance of ever needed to payout our entire deductible, but if we do, we do, and will simply cut back on our travel that year. (I would assume that needing to pay out our entire deductible would render us less able to travel for some time anyway, so the trade off seems sensible.)

    To the haters, I say, great, please do keep working. For as long and as hard as you possibly can. In the meantime, my husband and I have a national park to go explore today . . .

    Reply
  • Stavros April 29, 2013, 8:40 am

    Was real proud to see your mug on the WaPo, very awesome to see you hit the mainstream!

    The real question is though, where is this super secret website where you shame all of the complainy-pants hostile emails??

    Reply
  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets April 29, 2013, 8:48 am

    Haha, the comments in that article had me cracking up! I got through a few pages of them, and after a while, people were just posting links to your exact blog posts where their complaints could be answered, one by one.

    Also, here’s a meme for you:

    “I don’t always ride my bike to work…

    BECAUSE I’M F*#@ING RETIRED!

    but seriously….you should ride your bike to work”

    Reply
  • TOM April 29, 2013, 8:49 am

    What’s really incredible to me is the contrast of positivity in the comments here, versus the negativity in WaPo readers. The first comment I saw was someone complaining about needing above average intelligence to invest, and your obvious good luck with health.
    For the amount of readership on this vblog, combined with the low barrier to entry to comment, I’m still amazed at the great community going on here.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 9:29 am

      I agree! The Mustachians are so badass and enthusiastic, that the owners of some more complainy blogs accuse me of deleting most of the comments and only keeping the select few that I like.

      Technically, I would do this if I had to. I fucking hate complaints both in real life and on the Internet, and I view this blog as my living room with a bunch of invited guests, rather than a public square. If someone is being an asshole, we’d all kick them out, right?

      But the good part is that complaints almost never show up here. Occasionally they do (I’d estimate about 0.5% of the attempted comments fit the bill). Out of those, sometimes I let them publish in order to get torn up by the wolves. Other times, I delete them in order to prevent the endless distracting flame wars.

      The main rule for a comment to publish is that it must be apparent that
      – the commenter read and understood the basic points in the article,
      – and they read most or all of the preceding comments and is thus not repeating what has already been said
      – and their comment seems to be intended to help others, rather than just to whine about something they don’t like.

      The fact that over 99% of comments meet these criteria is pretty amazing to me, given what we’ve all seen elsewhere.

      Reply
      • Mike @ UB April 29, 2013, 11:03 am

        It really is nice that this is such a supporting community. I’ve found the same on your forum too.

        Regarding the WaPo comments, it’s easy to be anonymous on one’s computer and be snarly. What the commenter might take for witticism, actually exposes their stupidity.

        BTW, it’ll be fun to have some of these new readers of the WP article to start commenting down the line, as they aborb this new infomation. It takes courage to change, but one can’t argue the overwhelming evidence to living some of the ideas of Mustachianism.

        Reply
  • JC April 29, 2013, 8:51 am

    Congratulations MMM. You have changed the life of my family for the better and I thank you for it. I’m always excited to learn something new from you.

    Reply
    • jf April 29, 2013, 9:10 am

      Hear, hear. I just wish he would have started writing thirty years ago and do not give me any complainy pants excuse that he was too young. Mozart was writing full symphonies at six months old. It is surprising that we live in the richest country and in the richest time period and there are so many complainy pants.

      Reply
      • Mike @ UB April 29, 2013, 11:05 am

        JF, ain’t that the truth.

        Reply
  • Diana April 29, 2013, 9:11 am

    I personally hope that your blog is going to change the world. It has helped my 55 year old ass to see things in a new way (I grew up in the Reagan years of over-consumption!) I love your no-bullshittedness, your freshness, your logic, your data and I wish you the best!!!

    Reply
  • Jeremy @ Go Curry Cracker! April 29, 2013, 9:17 am

    Best. Post. Ever.

    Your reasonable and common sense approach cuts through the fear and anger like a hot knife through butter

    Reply
  • Amanda April 29, 2013, 9:19 am

    It feels so weird to know your first name…

    Reply
  • Carolina on My Mind April 29, 2013, 9:31 am

    Congratulations on the Post story and the extra publicity, MMM! I read through a bunch of the comments on the Post’s site over the weekend. Mainly for laughs, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to see — sprinkled among all the complaining and vitriol — a fair number of comments that more or less said “This guy is right.” And not just from blog readers, but from people who clearly had never heard of you before but recognized that the message makes sense. There were more of those comments than I expected to see, and I thought that was really encouraging.

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 11:29 am

      Agreed! I found the comments to be much better than the ones I’ve seen about MMM on most other mainstream sites. I was pleasantly surprised.

      Reply
  • Holly@ClubThrifty April 29, 2013, 9:44 am

    We own two rental properties and I don’t consider it a “job” at all. We have several long term tenants and we only have to do some basic maintenance on the properties a few times a year.

    Reply
  • Iforonwy April 29, 2013, 9:45 am

    You know I never would have guessed that your name was Pete!

    We have just returned from our travels, yes again, and have been explaining to folk how we manage to afford them.

    I think the whole crux of the matter is saving as you go along and living well within your means. We have a small efficient home (solar heating, part solar eletricity), veggie patch, small efficient car, pensions (not great but that wonderful word – enough) and keep a tab on what comes in and what goes out moneywise.

    I retired 4 years earlier than would have been the norm and we lived on one salary for about 10 years before that. It can be done.

    Reply
  • David White April 29, 2013, 9:46 am

    Huge gratitude for your warmth and humor and sensibilities. Probably helps that I already ride a bike full-time (80 miles a week commute) and take vacations on it (bike tour of the Mendocino Coast last summer and weekend bike-camping trips in Sonoma and Marin County). The idea that we can refrain from using a car is difficult for many people; as a society we have been indoctrinated to believe a car is essential personal property. My use of a bicycle as transportation is buttressed by my recovery from Cancer and the requisite treatment in 2010. If I, a middle aged fat man (less fat with each passing day), can do it then so can you!

    Thank you for encouraging us all to focus on what is important and leave behind what is not.

    Reply
  • Jennifer April 29, 2013, 9:47 am

    Mr. MM,
    I found you through the print edition of the Wash Post this weekend (front page of business section). My husband gets the Post on Sundays and I sometimes skip it or read the Parade/advice columns and take a quick look at the business section to see if there’s anything useful about personal finance. I’ve been doing that routine for a few years…then yesterday and the great article about you.

    We do all right with our money but I know it’s not optimal. I was interesed to read about your ideas and get some practical down to earth advice instead of just skip the lattes or pack your lunch or make your own meals. We already do that. I have already found some wonderful information on your website since yesterday. Thank you so much!

    I think sometimes people who give personal finance advice think all this is common sense and don’t get into the nitty gritty like you do, but I think some of this “common sense” is really “communal wisdom” that might in the past have been handed down from the elders. I just don’t think that happens much, if at all, anymore. Thank you for filling in the huge gaps in my knowledge. Already I have food for thought from your articles on grocery shopping, psychology of habits and insourcing and I am looking forward to working through the rest of your blog posts slowly but surely.

    For some reason I can’t put my finger on yet, I feel inspired by your advice in a way I have not been before. Maybe it’s because you give concrete, practical AND doable steps that are missing in the advice of others.

    Reply
    • Mike @ UB April 29, 2013, 11:19 am

      Jennifer, welcome and you’re in for a big treat. Enjoy all the articles.

      Loved your fresh perspective. From a former Marylander (District Heights)

      Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 11:35 am

      Thanks for posting, Jennifer! I love this line from your comment:

      but I think some of this “common sense” is really “communal wisdom” that might in the past have been handed down from the elders

      I do think that communal wisdom is something we have lost (not to mention a respect for the wisdom of elders) and this is something that I am trying to find again.

      One of the great benefits of being retired and having more time is being able to live a more community-oriented life. Getting to know people in your community, being connected to teachers, local entrepreneurs, and elders. Finding local opportunities and discovering your community by walking or by bicycle. It’s a great thing that we could all use a bit more of in our lives.

      Reply
    • Clint May 2, 2013, 5:36 am

      I know what you mean about feeling inspired. I think it’s partly because MMM is funny without really being mean and comes off so optimistic and happy … Like this efficient lifestyle is really not a sacrifice at all. There’s absolutely no complaining and that lifts the message.

      Reply
  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup April 29, 2013, 9:48 am

    I love people that complain because they don’t understand something. It makes me laugh a little, but then feel bad for them. I enjoy your writing style and think it brings a little life to it.

    Reply
  • AlexK April 29, 2013, 9:51 am

    This month I reach 25 years of expenses in investments. I had almost nothing in 2008 and I earn a normal engineer salary. It’s not only possible to do, but laughably easy. The first step is stop watching TV.

    Reply
  • MsSpenderella April 29, 2013, 9:52 am

    I really enjoyed your piece in the Post mostly because of the honest perspective of, if you’re going to spend, make it worthwhile! I am no where close to a saver (hence the name) but I am inspired by you to move that way! I also was curious….for the $25k a year in spending, is this post tax? You mentioned rental income of $25k but I would think that would net out to lower if it was pre-tax. Just was extremely impressed if your family’s spending is actually closer to 15k a year!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 10:10 am

      That’s the post-tax amount, taken directly from the credit card statements. But note that if we really earned only $25k, there would be virtually zero tax, not the $10,000 you are implicitly estimating: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/04/the-lovely-low-taxes-of-early-retirement/

      In reality, we earn more and paid income taxes and SS/medicare premiums this year of somewhere around $12,000 – half as big as our annual spending! But I don’t account this as “spending”, because it is not really a living expense – it would go away if we stopped earning so much.

      That $12k in tax was on a relative boatload of income, which resulted in a huge amount of savings. So the tax burden is painless from my perspective. It is a tax on surplus income, rather than a tax on basic lifestyle.

      Reply
  • Mr. Risky Startup April 29, 2013, 9:53 am

    You just need to quit trying to please everyone. I have been reading this blog from the early days (got here via ERE), and it is always same complaints (hence the title of this post, I presume :)

    Your time is better spent finding new ways to help those who want your advice.

    Those who just pick single point and whine, or those who think that they must exactly match everything you do, should be ignored. Those who stick around are people like me – we use this blog as a measuring stick, support system etc in our quest to be more financially and personally independent.

    I for one will always work as I love my job and have little in terms of hobbies. But ERE and MMM blogs helped me pull out from under the huge debts, realize that working a whole year of my life for Cable company was stupid etc… Since we paid off the debts and realized that $30k per year would sustain us, I was able to negotiate better terms with my current company without fear of losing my job, start new business on a side, my wife was able to quit her job to stay with our child which was her dream, etc… Best of all, because I am less worried about my job and being able to survive losing it, we are happier family, with much more time spent together. Yes, we still spend more money than we have to, we still have two cars and we still spend money on luxuries on occasion, but because we are moderate in other spending, we are decking away 30-40% of our annual pay while living wonderful lives. So, for those who are complaining – either find parts of this blog that you like, or leave.

    I do want to congratulate you on the meteoric success of this blog. Only one in thousands of blogs make it, and yours has had incredible growth. Good work!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 10:07 am

      Do I look like I’m trying to please everyone??

      Posts like this are not to defend anything or make amends with foes, they are to welcome a new group of people and give them pointers to a few of the answers that are buried in the archives.

      But I also think it is important for everyone to be aware of the controversy surrounding all of this stuff, because it makes it so much more exciting! We are breaking the rules, and everyone is pissed off that is working out so well for us. That provides motivation for us to do it even more.

      Reply
      • Mr. Risky Startup April 29, 2013, 3:22 pm

        It is noble that you keep trying. Maybe I have been reading this blog for too long, but it looks like there are those 3-4 standard complaints:

        1. You are not really retired.
        2. Your situation does not apply to me, because of ABC reason.
        3. I won’t bother reading your blog, but I will dismiss your advice anyway because it makes me look bad by comparison.
        4. One of the 1001 good pieces of advice you give does not apply to me (or I disagree with), so I will crap on the entire blog.

        Reading some comments on WP site, I have no idea how you keep it together? I would have no patience to listen more of that BS. Some of those people really sound like spoiled children.

        Maybe have a shorter version of this FAQ (pronounced “Fuck You”) for those who cannot just leave the site without whining. Or, link to Amazon.com where they can shop to make themselves feel better…

        Reply
      • SomeYoungGuy April 30, 2013, 6:50 am

        Do you ever go through the archives and update anything? For instance, the one about how great buying a breadmaker is (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/09/08/my-750-bread-making-machine-2/). Or would you still recommend buying a breadmaker??

        Reply
  • @debtblag April 29, 2013, 9:55 am

    Yikes. I can’t believe there are people like that. It’s not frugality for frugality’s sake. You can still live. Just budget and find out where your money’s going and cut out the stuff you don’t need

    Reply
  • CrucialDebtCrusher April 29, 2013, 10:02 am

    I was there in the comments. It was a heavy does of anti-mustachian sentiment. I felt dirty all over. And then, I remembered Aristotle’s concept of natural slaves, and realized that these people are my eventual prey.

    Reply
  • Rick April 29, 2013, 10:05 am

    Hi MMM,

    I’m one of the new 50% and I find the blog intriguing. Any thoughts on bike commuting is hot summer weather for sweaty people with no access to a shower at work?

    Reply
    • AndyfromTucson April 29, 2013, 12:03 pm

      Baby wipes are your friend. Carry a full change of clothes in a backpack, along with some baby wipes and deodorant. After you arrive, wait 30 minutes or so before you clean up and change into your dry clothes to give your body time to cool down (if you don’t you will soak your dry clothes with sweat). Then wipe down with baby wipes, apply deodorant, and you are good to go.

      Reply
    • Chi-Chi April 29, 2013, 1:38 pm

      I live in humid DC metro and my suggestion is similar to Andy’s. You shower before your commute. You can use a shammy (diver’s towel) to wipe the salt off your skin once you are at the office. Second clothes are in the backpack and perhaps you can leave a pair of shoes under your desk.

      If the commute is long enough you might want to stretch a bit, it also helps to cool down and dry.

      Reply
    • Heath April 29, 2013, 1:59 pm

      I’d like to hear this as well, as I live in Phoenix, and I’m finally about to start biking to work. No showers at my job. I suppose I could wear whatever I like, bring a change of clothes, and then change in the restroom when I arrive… But maybe there are some other things to consider or clever solutions I haven’t thought of?

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 2:23 pm

        One of my 100-degree-day tricks was to take off my backpack and shirt for the last mile of riding. The hot air would dry everything off, and I could dress back up before going into the refreshing air-conditioned building. But for more humid climates, you’d want fresh clothes to change into.

        I’ve never needed or wanted to shower at work, although it is great that many employers provide them.

        Also, while different people have different sweat responses, your sweatiness may decrease as a bike ride becomes easier.

        Reply
        • Tanner April 30, 2013, 12:33 am

          I live in PHX and commute year round. Depending on how far your commute is changes whether you need a change of clothes, etc.

          I think the Key is not to wear a backpack if at all possible once its in the the mid 90s and above. Carry your clothes in a bag on a rack on your bike or rotate clothes in your office/desk/cubicle to change into. You stay so much drier, you really sweat a lot less without a backpack. Also, although unhip, wearing cycling shorts and shirt help wisk sweat from your body during the ride and a change of socks is a must!

          I agree with showering before work. I also use a seldom used basement bathroom to change. I wash my hair in the sink right when I get to work which helps cool your body down fast and helps me look fresh. Quick dry of the body with paper towels and a fan at my desk and in 10 minutes you can’t tell I road to work.

          Reply
  • Ashley April 29, 2013, 10:11 am

    Wow there are a lot of haters on Washington Post!

    Just wanted to thank you for writing this blog. I’ve been following for a couple months since JD retired on GRS and loving all your articles.

    We are neighbors! I think I’m going to take the scary first step soon to commute to work in Boulder via a bike/ bus combo.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • retirebyforty April 29, 2013, 10:15 am

    Congratulation! My wife’s boss saw that edition and commented on it. She was able to say she met you last year. :)

    Reply
  • Joanna @ Our Freaking Budget April 29, 2013, 10:21 am

    You do come off as a bit of a smug a**-hat sometimes, but I think that’s partly what draws people in. ; ) You’re unabashedly Mustachian.

    Congrats on the awesome interview!

    Reply
  • George April 29, 2013, 10:33 am

    Congrats MMM on your latest mainstreet media mention.

    It is too bad that you take a lot of incoming fire your way everytime a section of mainstream people see this blog for the first time.

    I suggest you don’t waste anymore of your time or effort answering the complainypants newcomers.

    Just answer every criticism email with one paragraph saying that if they don’t like the blog and that they can simply just stopping read it.

    I don’t know what your overall goals are for Mustachism. It really seems to be getting big now, the bike article had probably about 280 comments alone last week.

    You may want to consider keeping it as a smaller niche group and turning down some future main stream media interviews; that is unless your goal is truly to take this thing to big-time national exposure;

    please keep in mind, the more popular you get, the emails and requests for your time will go up exponentially; also you and your family are going to start getting more attention the bigger this gets; by not doing the interviews, you will only get traffic from people who actually want to be here, i.e. people who actually desire to learn

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 10:43 am

      Sorry, George.. the goal here is not a niche audience, but rather to convert THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES, and eventually THE ENTIRE RICH WORLD, to a more thoughtful form of consumption, thus saving humanity from destroying its own habitat. That will probably take several more major media interviews. :-)

      Reply
      • Mike @ UB April 29, 2013, 11:30 am

        MMM says: “That will probably take several more major media interviews”

        Interesting. Other media reads other media. And with the success of the WaPo article, I would think other artices by major media, including TV and radio interviews, not too far behind.

        You, Dear Sir, might have a budding empire on your hands.

        Reply
      • Pretired Nick April 29, 2013, 11:44 am

        Next stop 60 Minutes (once the book is released):
        “Tick Tick Tick
        He calls himself ‘Mr. Money Mustache’ and he’s on a mission: to save the United States from itself. His weapons? A blog laced with profanity and his own story of how he retired at 30 years old. The best part: He says you can do it too.
        Tick Tick Tick”

        Reply
        • squeakywheel April 29, 2013, 8:14 pm

          Too funny, thanks!

          Reply
      • Erica / Northwest Edible Life April 29, 2013, 5:36 pm

        But George has a point – you probably can’t do a “Welcome New Readers!” / “Meet MMM” / “Addressing Comments From Elsewhere” type post every time you are featured in a mainstream media article. Because we can all see where this is going and those big readership interviews are likely to come fast and furious now. “Rare treat” now maybe, but “meat and potatoes” in < 6 months.

        Reply
      • Ms. Must-stash April 29, 2013, 9:28 pm

        YES!! World domination through awesomeness, badassity, and logic – count me in!

        “What are we going to do tonight, Brain?”
        “The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!”

        Reply
  • canadian miss-stache April 29, 2013, 10:59 am

    MMM, you’re my hero! I’ve been reading your blog for months now, and this is my first time commenting. As an avid profanity-spewer, I absolutely love your style of writing, and feel that it adds to your site – f-bombs and all. I’m always amazed at how nameless complainypants feel the need to type snooty comments on take-it-or-leave-it advice articles (from their grey cubicles, no doubt). Although….they do make for some pretty great afternoon reading.
    My boyfriend and I recently made the very mustachian (regularly-used term in our conversations, btw) decision to move in with his parents to save for a down payment on a house and pay off my student loan. It was quite an adjustment after almost 9 years of renting, although we couldn’t be happier with the result. I was originally on track to pay my loan off by 35 (I’m 28), and I’m happy to say that my final payment will be in May of this year. I can feel my ‘stache stubble growing in already.
    I wanted to thank you for all of your VERY reasonable and helpful tips on how to get to early retirement faster. We live in Toronto, Canada and our next step is home ownership…..compared to most U.S. cities and many Canadian ones, we’re in a bit of a pickle (read: gigantic, overwhelming housing bubble). Perhaps we’ll send you some info for a Canadian reader case study at some point!
    In conclusion, a big fat juicy THANKS for sharing your success stories with us, your ever-faithful readers. Sending you support from the north! :)

    Reply
    • Jeremy Doolin April 29, 2013, 11:11 am

      Awesome, and congratulations on the accomplishments! My wife and I did the same thing, moving in with family to pay off debt and save for a proper downpayment for a house. It’s amazing how well it’s working out. The debt is paid off and we’ll have the downpayment saved in very little time.

      Reply
    • Kenoryn April 29, 2013, 5:19 pm

      Consider moving just an hour and a half east to Peterborough – beautiful town, all the amenities, way cheaper! :)

      Reply
  • jlcollinsnh April 29, 2013, 11:18 am

    “I don’t actually think I am even remotely badass in real life, so you can imagine a mild-mannered computer engineer doing the typing…”

    One that can bench press 300 lbs, that is.

    Reply
    • Mr. Frugal Toque April 29, 2013, 11:51 am

      It’s true, though, that he isn’t that bad-ass.

      Once, he got hit by a car and the car did *not* burst into flames around the point of impact. In fact, there was only a couple of thousand dollars of damage to the vehicle instead.

      So, y’know, use the term “bad ass” with caution.

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 10:53 pm

        Fuck, thanks for reminding me of that unfortunate evening. And guess who then had to PAY to fix the dented Pontiac Sunfire (and buy himself a new bike), out of his own new-grad salary?

        Reply
        • Mr. Frugal Toque May 1, 2013, 9:39 am

          That could be your next meme-poster:
          “Got hit by a car once.


          Paid the owner for the damages.”
          I never knew it was a Sunfire. I’ve always felt endangered when Sunfires are near me, so maybe I knew it subconsciously.
          Seriously, though, besides my proclivity for contributing smart-ass remarks to your blog, it’s important to remind your fans that you are a human being rather than a super-lucky, perfectly disciplined robot (who swears).
          This and the Big Fucking Mistake probably have that covered.

          Reply
  • Joe April 29, 2013, 11:21 am

    Great interview, congrats on all the new traffic. I can’t believe all the nasty comments, you really touch a nerve with the over spenders. Keep doing what you’re doing, it is truly awesome info.

    Reply
  • Giddings Plaza FI April 29, 2013, 11:25 am

    Smug asshat indeed. As you well know, MMM, drown out the moans of the whiners, and keep up the good work! It’s amazing how angry entitled consumers can get if their right to fast food, big house, and cars (and lots of ‘em) is questioned. Funny thing is, our lives are so much better living on less. And it doesn’t feel like deprivation at all–getting all the stuff off our backs and off our minds makes life better in every way.

    Reply
  • Junius April 29, 2013, 11:28 am

    MMM, your smug asshattery is what makes your blog so joyously readable, thus getting your message out to many, many people who enjoy not taking everything so terribly seriously all the time. I was Mustachian in my youth, having read “The Wealthy Barber” and “The Millionaire Next Door”, but I was anxious and very, very serious about it. After accumulating quite a ‘stash, I married a douchebag, whom I unloaded several years later, along with most of my net worth. As a scared, stressed single mom of a little boy (same age as Little MM) I started to attempt a return to frugality, feeling terribly miserable about it all. Then I started reading MMM, who CHANGED MY LIFE. This is fun. This is joyous. I have a big shiny Optimism Gun. I work part-time at a job I like, so that I can still (walk) to pick up the little guy almost every day after school, and I still manage to save. I plan to have a fully formed ‘stash again well before high school graduation rolls around. I can’t thank you enough for changing my attitude about money and frugality. Next thing I’m going to look into is crossfit, ’cause Mrs. MM looks badass in that workout wear.

    Reply
  • homerica7 April 29, 2013, 11:45 am

    Long time reader, first time poster. After reading the comments on the WaPo article, it just confirms to me how dumb most of America is. I’ll give credit to people who’s comments included legitimate questions, but most of the questions are answered on the blog in the most popular posts section on the side of the front page. Especially the numbers regarding real estate. I live in Denver and can attest to all of the numbers regarding housing to be pretty much spot on, as I have been looking at rentals and houses quite a bit in the last few months.

    Reply
  • AndyfromTucson April 29, 2013, 11:48 am

    Most people have a strong and primal aversion to changing habits and/or behaving differently than their peers because they fear the unknown and they see their habits as defining their identity as a person. When someone presents them with valid reasons to change their habits they have a psychological choice: Come up with reasons to dismiss that person’s message or admit to themselves that their habits are not serving them well and that they should do the hard and scary work of changing them, thereby putting their very identity at risk. Most people make the psychologically safe choice, and that means vilifying you.

    Reply
  • No Name Guy April 29, 2013, 11:50 am

    “I don’t actually think I am even remotely badass in real life, so you can imagine a mild-mannered computer engineer doing the typing, rather than a Smug Asshat, whatever that looks like. ”

    Dilbert? Nahhh….met you at the Seattle meet-n-greet….you’re no Dilbert, but he IS a mild-mannered computer engineer type.

    Reply
  • Andrea April 29, 2013, 12:08 pm

    I wish you didn’t get exposure; much of what constitutes Moustachianism is living off the fat of the land, which is built on a high degree of consumerism.

    I wonder how well these techniques would work if everybody was as frugal as you? It would probably be a Marxist meltdown.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Reply
  • Terri April 29, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Hi. Love the blog and will be curious to see how you feel about peer to peer lending over time. I’m increasingly interested in how that can work in the US. We are part of a not for profit doing micro-financing in Africa and have a 98% payback rate, but the culture and community are so different there, it’s hard to compare it to the US.

    Our experience in Africa is that the community supports the loan, not just one person. Also, in Kenya for example, the amount borrowed is often about the equivalent of .25 (yeah, a quarter) US funds. In Kenya that’s a lot of money, but the whole community backs up the lender, so if she can’t repay the loan that week, someone else in her circle will. It’s a completely different sense of what it means to succeed or fail. If you are interested you can find us at http://www.MicroFinancingAfrica.org Our main team is there now working on the cow project we have going on.

    Please keep us posted on your experiences with this, I think it’s a wonderful thing and I’m excited some of these same concepts are taking off at home.
    We can change the world. Thanks for the part you play in that.
    Peace,
    Terri

    Reply
  • Andria April 29, 2013, 12:13 pm

    I do not know why people hide behind their computers and insult others. It makes me crazy. If you do not like something remove yourself from the website. How would you know if it works or not until you actually try it. Ignorance is bliss today. All I can say is I have applied these techniques and I feel incredibly rich now money wise and I am a happier person. If you do not like it do not follow or read this website.

    Reply
  • Ms. W April 29, 2013, 12:19 pm

    I really don’t understand all the complainers either. I found your site about 6 months ago, and quickly read every post. I found exactly what was missing in my search for financial stability: Motivation.

    You’ve motivated me to make countless changes in my life, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars as a result. I may not adopt every change that you suggest, but I’m figuring out where my priorities are, and where I want to be in the future. We’re never all going to agree, because we’re all different people, coming from different perspectives. But that’s what makes the world interesting. So take what works for you, and stop criticising the rest!

    So thank you! Finding your blog has changed my life for the better, as I’m sure it has for so many others.

    Reply
  • Carla April 29, 2013, 12:25 pm

    I can’t bike where I live!

    …because I’m scared shitless while riding a bike in on roads so I’m spending a ton of time on sidewalks and residential streets until I stop being such a wimp because the goddamn grocery store is a mile away. Cause my life matters to me. Jussayin’

    Reply
    • Cujo April 29, 2013, 3:31 pm

      Keep at it; you get used to the fear. Indeed, in my case, eventually you get a thrill out of it, such that I really enjoy riding in traffic.

      Reply
    • Schmidty April 29, 2013, 7:09 pm

      You will get there, and you will love it. In the meantime, a caution about riding on sidewalks: cars pulling in/out of driveways do not expect or look for a bike shooting along a sidewalk, where the “traffic” is typically pedestrian-speed. On balance it’s usually safer to ride defensively on the street.

      Reply
  • Chipamogli April 29, 2013, 12:47 pm

    I’m glad you’re not letting the complainty pants bring you down. While I was always frugal, your blog pointed my frugality towards a goal and gave me the courage to make some scary (for me) decisions! I now feel ready to live free! (and will get there soon, financially speaking).

    Reply
  • WageSlave April 29, 2013, 12:48 pm

    You said, “Any other frequently asked questions that I should add to this article?” I was surprised that you didn’t include a link to your “Avoiding Ivy League Preschool Syndrome” (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/). Seems like one of the obvious complainypants questions would be “How can you deprive your kids like that?!”

    Reply
  • Kenneth April 29, 2013, 12:52 pm

    Well about the only advice I will never take from MMM is to carry a spritzer bottle full of water in our car, so that on 100 degree days, we can save money by having the air conditioner OFF and spraying our faces every 5 minutes!

    Other than that, I owe an immense debt of gratitude to MMM and all the Mustachians on board this site. Maybe the most important thing I have learned is to spend modestly and intentionally and frugally. Having a $30,000 a year cash burn to live like a king is MUCH better than having to pay $90,000 a year to live like a slave (to your debt). Seriously, we have downsized our spend to under $30,000 a year, and this alone feels sustainable, real and immensely freeing and gratifying. No more keeping up with the Jones here!

    Reply
  • BeatTheSeasons April 29, 2013, 12:57 pm

    I have an extra FCQ for this page.

    Even though I hate my job I can’t think of anything better to spend all day doing, so therefore what is the point in trying to reach early retirement at all?

    Reply
  • Sam Silvers April 29, 2013, 12:59 pm

    How about a few blogs of your reader success stories to get these complainypants to shut up? It would be cool to hear the reader stories! I absolutely couldn’t stand you when DH first started in on your methods (we referred to you as “He who shall not be named”) BUT after reading your entire blog from the start of time (took me three months!!) and noticing we saved $100,000 in seven months, I decided to shut up and start referring to you by your actual name!;-) thanks for showing us the light! Many of my friends think we/you are weird but we are happy as clams! Plus the whole saving the human race helps!

    Reply
    • ultrarunner April 29, 2013, 1:01 pm

      bwhahaha! Lord Money Voldemort does have a nice ring to it. ;-)

      Reply
  • Eric April 29, 2013, 1:04 pm

    I’m new! And I think I’m in love! My wife and I have always had the goal of retiring by age 50, but after reading through lots of your blog posts, I think we may be able to move that up even closer. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • Dorian April 29, 2013, 1:04 pm

    As a long time reader I didn’t want to waste my first comment on this… so first Congratulations :) But I am a little disappointed by the swipe at the “whole yoga industry” from a man whose wife spends $1000 a year going to a gym for the quintessential at home / diy workout. If you could not acquire everything necessary for crossfit for $1000 (or very much less), then I’m very much misunderstanding the crossfit workout, and if you don’t think yoga can be a comparable fitness regimen, you haven’t tried it enough.

    Love the blog though
    -Aspiring mustachian Dorian

    Reply
  • Cujo April 29, 2013, 1:11 pm

    As one who plays both sides – I both agree with most of what you say and practice much of it, and also think you’re a smug asshat – I’ll point out that the reason for a lot of the hate might be the sort of bait and switch of, “I retired early and you can too. First, get $140K a year in take-home pay.” Well, shit. Duh.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 2:00 pm

      Ahh, but early retirement doesn’t depend on high income. Only with savings percentage. Quiz for long-time readers: who is the famous blogger that preceded me and did exactly this on a single $40,000 salary? (hint: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/)

      More importantly, how many people in our country earn MORE than $140K household income, but spend most or all of it? How many people in Washington DC alone? For them, learning about early retirement is not “shit, duh”, it is “Shit, Yeah!!”.

      Which group consumes more resources? The rich or the poor?

      Reply
      • Cujo April 29, 2013, 3:34 pm

        I hear you, and largely agree, but I’m sure a lot of haters really bristle at seeing you talk about saving 65% of your take-home pay when they’re barely making enough to keep their family fed.

        Also, of course, there’s lots of just plain envy.

        Reply
  • wheelingit April 29, 2013, 1:22 pm

    Just want to say congrats on the article in the Washington Post despite the complaints (really found that odd). We’ve been following your blog a long time (well, mostly hubby but I’ve followed through osmosis LOL) and retired ourselves pre-40. We agree with pretty much every step you’ve outlined. We also saved during our younger years, have lived relatively frugally (but still travel/explore/experience), currently have a high-deductible health insurance plan and still do “stuff” even though we’re technically “retired” (your definition is exactly right on by the way). We just happen to do it all from an RV.

    So yes, it can be done and it’s worth getting that story out there….more power to ya MMM!

    Nina

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 29, 2013, 10:58 pm

      You guys sound like great fun – thanks for sharing your story!

      Reply
  • Jacster Trixter April 29, 2013, 1:33 pm

    Keep doing your thing man, you ROCK…Mustachians rock! Don’t even waste your breath on the hypnotized masses. You are doing right by all of us who can hear the intent of your words. For those who can’t, well, they have their rewards.

    Reply
  • truenorth418 April 29, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Congratulations, MMM! I read the Wash Post interview and could not believe the negativity of most of the comments!

    Being early retired myself (reached ER at 47), I have heard all of the whining first hand. What I found really shocking is that many people do not know that health insurance is available to purchase on an individual basis on the open market! So many misconceptions go un-challenged these days it is scary!

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I think you are a great writer, and you are one of my “go blogs”.

    Reply
  • Accidental Miser April 29, 2013, 2:28 pm

    Congrats on the WaPo Article, MMM. May your world-changing philosophy now explode across the world!

    Screw the complainypants people. They’d bitch if you gave them a lollipop and offered to suck on it for them.

    Reply

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