142 comments

How to be Happy, Rich, and Save the World

change-world-diapers

Can we Change the Diapers of the Entire Rich World?

With this being the fall of 2016, I just passed the 11-year anniversary of my retirement from real work (Mrs. MM escaped her cubicle a few months earlier than me). Coincidentally, this Mr. Money Mustache gig just had its 5.5th birthday, which means that I’ve been writing about being retired for fully half of the time that I’ve actually been retired.

You’d think that this would get boring at some point, and indeed my production of new blog posts is slower now than it was in the early years. I only sit down to type additional shit into the computer when I really want to tell you something and happen to have the free time to do it.

But the desire to keep working on the overall project never gets any weaker, because it’s such a big one that allows me to learn so much in the process. If you’re a nerd like me, imagine having unlimited free time, money, and good health to spend the next 60 years working on and learning whatever you want. This is living life in a state of Permanent Nerd Nirvana.

The project, of course, is to try to get the people of the world’s rich countries excited about separating the idea of lifetime happiness, from the idea of buying expensive shit with which to pamper yourself. We use early retirement, personal fulfillment and social status as the carrot, and being a wussypants clown as the stick. It’s a human psychology problem as much as it is a financial or technical or political one.

So anyway, part of the deal is trying new stuff, in order to reach new groups of people. According to Google Analytics, about 21 million supposedly-unique people have visited this website since it was first created, and almost 90% of us are in the United States.

That’s 5% of the country’s population at best, which even assuming a fictional 100% adoption rate would still leave at least 95% of us as Sucka Clown Consumers subject to the risks of buying a new GMC Acadia and driving our kids 1 mile to school in it. Recent observations of my own neighborhood confirm this estimate. Badass bicycle-based living in the fresh air is way up, but we still need way more of it.

One of my recent attempts at this advocacy was giving a daunting presentation to a big scary theater full of people at an event called the World Domination Summit (as noted in the earlier article about doing difficult stuff). Since the attendees of this event are generally fans of author Chris Guillebeau, many of them had never heard of old Mr. Money Mustache before.

So the challenge in this case was to present a concise summary of financial independence and early retirement, how and why you’d want to do it, and why this is a actually good and ethical thing to pursue. I tried to make the case by walking through the following three logical steps:

  • Almost everyone (currently) sucks at money
  • Getting rich enough to retire takes way less time than most of us think
  • Work is better when you don’t need the money

Although the talk isn’t super-sparkly and polished*, I’m still pretty happy with the overall thing and it was quite well recorded**. I figured hey, since I put so much work into this thing, I might as well share it with you. You can then poach any ideas from it when presenting Mustachianism to your own stubborn friends and family members, or even make them watch the whole 28-minute thing. Also, since companies and local TEDx talk organizers occasionally pester me to come give talks at their venues, I can now respond, “Nah – how about I stay home and go on some hikes with my family while you just watch this video?”

So here’s a link to the full recording on Chris Guillebeau’s Vimeo page (you can ignore that weird name on the title screen – it should say “Mr. Money Mustache” ;-)

WDS 2016: Pete Adeney from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

Chris originally shared that video through this page on his own website – there is a nice intro/discussion around it there.

Also, here’s a link to my slides and transcript, which I wrote in Powerpoint then converted to a public Google Slides presentation. Copy, plagiarize and share those ideas around as much as you like. You can even personally give my entire talk to your own company if you like – I found it was a lot of fun to deliver.

That’s it – no real article today as another sunny day beckons. But I am hard at work on more experiments and persuasive entertainment for you, as the project continues.

 


* The lines I forgot when giving the talk were:

Every financial adviser, and newspaper journalist, and even these softie liberals who are supposed to be working to make sure the common person gets a fair share. They’re all still stuck in this basic assumption that luxury products are part of the recipe for human happiness. “Well, the rich people can all afford cars and suburban houses and Starbucks, so we need to make sure the poor people can afford this stuff too, to ensure a fair society!” They never even think to question it. Which means most of their advice is useless at best.

** The stage production at the WDS is pretty amazing. Gigantic, glitzy with top-of-the-line people, lighting, and equipment. The only sad part (for me) is that I now realize they recorded it with a camera that’s up high in the seats. Meanwhile, among many other rookie mistakes, I was looking down to talk to the first level of the audience, which are the only ones you see due to  the bright lights on your face. In the video, it looks like I am talking to the floor. Also, since I talk with my hands and not my face, I would have preferred to have them use a full-body shot instead of that awkwardly-close shot so much. But whatever – still better than anything I could have recorded myself!

  • Nice Joy October 10, 2016, 8:19 pm

    Great talk . I hope they show this on CNN.

    Reply
  • Primal Prosperity October 10, 2016, 9:00 pm

    Great speech! I think you would really like the documentary “I AM”. It is about a Hollywood producer who became a multi-multi-millionaire and realized that the mansions and private jets didn’t make him happy, so he sold off most everything and moved into a mobile home park and started riding his bike to work. The whole movie is about finding happiness in real life and not just stuff. There is a large environmental and social message with the movie also. It includes Howard Zinn, a Rumi translator and Noam Chomsky among others. There is a lot of similarity between this documentary and your speech.

    There is a great story in the film by Thom Hartmann, that I love to use in my workshops: Imagine you are naked and alone in the woods and it is cold and rainy and you haven’t eaten for 3 days. We can all agree that we would be unhappy. Now imagine you stumble upon a one room cabin and someone opens the door and offers you dry clothes, a blanket, a bed, and a warm bowl of soup and conversation next to the fire. You would go from unhappy to happy with very little stuff, but it is the stuff that makes a difference. So, that’s the truth. The lie then is that if that much stuff makes you that much happier, then 10 times as much stuff must you 10 times happier; 100 times stuff makes you 100 times happier; 1,000 times stuff makes you 1,000 times happier; and Bill Gates lives in a state of perpetual bliss.

    Reply
    • Primal Prosperity October 10, 2016, 9:03 pm

      By the way…. I would LOVE to see you do an interview with Tom Shadyac.

      Reply
  • Doctor K October 10, 2016, 11:22 pm

    You are my hero :)

    Reply
  • Lost in Space 🚀 October 10, 2016, 11:34 pm

    You’re getting popular, noticing more and more articles about early retirees. Business Week had a column a small column on how the 4% rule works for several early retirees (hint very well)

    Reply
  • Cleona October 11, 2016, 2:13 am

    Wow! Love your message – especially about including other people in your own needs. I am giving a workshop on ‘Nonviolent Communication and Money’ tonight and will definitely borrow a few of your slides, mentioning the source. I blog about a conscious relationship with money. Thank you for your generosity in sharing!

    Reply
  • Kathryn October 11, 2016, 2:56 am

    Dear Mr Money Mustache, I’m one of the 5% of your non-US fans. Love your work. Thanks for sharing the presentation.

    Reply
  • Chris October 11, 2016, 3:38 am

    Bravo kind Sir. I’m gonna shamelessly steal “nerd nirvana!!”

    Reply
  • Michelle G. October 11, 2016, 5:38 am

    Thanks for sharing. It’s good to see you spreading the word using an entirely different medium, even if it was a lot more difficult and time-consuming than you had realized at the outset. Everyone can benefit from your message, but not everyone reads blogs.

    Reply
  • Rachael October 11, 2016, 7:28 am

    Thank you for the video version of your philosophy. I love the three points that bring the whole message/plan together. I will be sharing with hubby tonight, as previously he has been getting small snippets through my reading all the posts.

    Reply
  • James G October 11, 2016, 8:24 am

    Hello,
    I’m a reader from England, (currently a software developer). I felt compelled to say a couple of things:

    1. I enjoyed the talk, and it gives a nice shorthand I can pass onto people, rather than trying to mind-meld all of this stuff into their heads. Thanks for having integrity to yourself. Its rare, as you know.

    2. Initially, I found much (not all) of it was an entertaining ticking off excersise for me, particularly in terms of reducing costs. Nothing you have said in this blog is rocket surgery. However, I didn’t have the knowledge or insight to assemble the existing things a knew into a skateboard, let alone a rocket. Showing people how to assemble the parts is non-trivial. Your doing so has created a significant impact in my life.

    I now have hope of achieving freedom; a path that is not a bottom-dollar scam, dependant on the infeasable or anyone else. As a result, I’ve done research, made changes and investments, and am slowly saving my way to freedom. When I get an unexpected advantage/windfall now, I reflexively use it to build my long term freedom.

    So… Thank You.

    Thank you doesn’t really cover it, but I suspect you understand the shorthand for the reality underlying my gratefulness. I hope that one day I will gain my freedom, grow my mustache, and go on a mission to buy you a beer in person.

    James

    Reply
  • Abandoned Cubicle October 11, 2016, 8:59 am

    I’m glad you still post on your blog, even if it isn’t as frequently as it once was. I think I speak for the disciples (i.e., the FinCon Crazies) that what you’ve created here is like a security blanket for us. Just popping onto the site warms you up like a cup of homemade cocoa on a Minnesota winter’s day. Thanks for keeping at it with all the insightful, data-driven, humor-laced wisdom. We are lucky to have Mr. Money Mustache (even if my wife gets tired of always hearing about you.)

    Reply
  • Divnomics October 11, 2016, 9:16 am

    Apparently I belong to the other 10% that visits your site (living in the Netherlands).

    Haven’t watch the video yet, but will def check it out later on. I really respect the message you want to spread about “separating the idea of lifetime happiness, from the idea of buying expensive shit with which to pamper yourself”
    Not only can you use it to upgrade your own life, but imagine when companies or politics would be driven by this ! The “issues” about financial inequality would take a whole other spin to it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Fiscally Free October 11, 2016, 9:24 am

    Don’t get too down on America just yet. This post seems to assume the only people who aren’t “Sucka Clown Consumers” are those who have visited this site. I know for a fact this is not the case. There are plenty of people who have never read MMM who are more or less following Mustachianism, without even realizing it. I was one of them for a long time, and I know plenty more.

    Reply
  • Kay October 11, 2016, 9:27 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I am going to have my 11-year old watch this. Hopefully he will be smarter about his finances and work choices than I was.

    Reply
  • Fred Atwater October 11, 2016, 12:16 pm

    Thanks! Nice presentation.

    “Happiness is the only logical pursuit” — Love it!

    Authenticity is the most powerful form of marketing” — Love it!

    “The purpose of work is to create” — Love it!

    and… “work is better when you dont need the money” — AMEN!

    Fred

    Reply
  • Alex October 11, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Amazing talk. I love the quote about how money has the power to make the world greater or to totally trash it.
    Glad you are promoting a more sustainable lifestyle.

    I completely agree with point #3: Work is better when you don’t need the money. We should all strive to do a lot of work–that we love and that makes the world a better place.

    Reply
  • JoSo October 11, 2016, 5:25 pm

    Happy anniversaries!! Thank you for changing my life 5 years ago. I had no debt except mortgage, but was miserable at my job with no chance of leaving because the law market tanked or quitting because I wasn’t FIRE. In fact, I had no idea what FIRE was, but your posts resonated with me. I followed your advice, and today I can quit whenever I want. It’s great to be me. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  • Timmy October 11, 2016, 7:08 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed the article. It was a strange process to become aware of in oneself. You realize rather quickly that the purchase has given you no pleasure. Most have little trouble feeling that. A greater difficulty is overcoming the consumer bs that you have been told you whole life that the reason it did not make you happy has to do with the quality or luxury level of the product. Nothing you can buy, provided you already have enough food, is likely to make you happier. But years of conditioning to the contrary takes some time to undo. In my own case, six months of hard work has lead me from sucka-ville to respectable tightness. Roaming around with practically nothing other than a bike and clothes is one of the most satisfying things to do, yet it is so foreign to our current way of thinking. Unlearning the conventional thinking is the real key, MMM seems to have been born that way, the rest of us have to learn.

    Reply
  • Joe Freedom October 11, 2016, 8:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing Pete, this was great. I’m curious to know how the conference attendees received the message. (From their reaction on the video, they clearly found your presentation to be engaging and entertaining, but I’m more curious about any conversations/comments that took place after your talk … maybe when the beer started flowing.) I don’t know much about WDS or the identity of its population, but from a quick review of what I see on the intrawebs it appears to be a group of creative, non-conformist individuals, so I imagine it was very well received. But I continue to scratch my head over the number of folks out there that are overtly hostile to the idea of reducing materialism and wasteful consumption for the purpose of making life more meaningful and potent.

    Reply
  • Buried October 12, 2016, 12:09 am

    Quote:
    “According to Google Analytics, about 21 million supposedly-unique people have visited this website since it was first created”
    The unique people are actually unique IP’s – So I count for 3 of those (My phone, home PC & GF’s laptop). It wouldn’t be a stretch to figure that maybe half of those are actually separate people.

    Quote:
    “That’s 5% of the country’s population at best, which even assuming a fictional 100% adoption rate would still leave at least 95% of us as Sucka Clown Consumers”
    The other factor is the 100% adoption rate. While I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of people who are smart enough to understand what you’re talking about are doing their best to adopt the FI principles, not all of us are able to.
    I’d love to swap my 10 year old mustang for a more efficient anything, it’s not worth enough. My current net worth is at -$1964.00. Thursday it will be (best case) -$2161.00. I’m not trying to be a complainypants – I have a job in a city that isn’t doing well. The average national unemployment is 4.9% – my city is 9.6%. I make $16/hr.
    I’ve got a torn rotator cuff, I’m diabetic, I have a hurt knee & back. I can’t go out & start a fencing company (I would if I could survive it, I just don’t think I’d be able to sustain it. Moving a few boxes around once in a while puts me out of commission for a couple days), or some other labor intensive job. I’m not afraid of hard work, it’s just that my body can’t take it like it used to. I should mention I’m early 40’s.
    When I was in college I was working three jobs, eating a ramen & leftovers diet, waking up in my mom’s car at traffic lights several times a day. I was just taking classes, I didn’t have a clear objective that I was working towards. I decided to keep the jobs & drop the college. Not the best choice, I know, but the only feasible one at the time. I had to reduce the amount of Go I was putting out (dropping college allowed me to only work two jobs, I felt like I had tons of free time after that).
    Enough lamenting – my point is that some of us are so buried to start with, that flirting with the poverty line seems like progress. At this point I’m stuck treading water. I can’t afford schooling for anything more profitable than entry level BS jobs, nor can I double up effort due to the amount of injuries I carry. I do what I can to make my life more mustacheian, it’s just that my resources are extremely limited & there’s not a ton of fat to trim from my budget.

    All that to say that the number of adopters you see in public vs what you think you are seeing traffic-wise might not be completely in sync.

    Reply
    • lurker October 20, 2016, 4:47 pm

      You seem way to smart to be stuck where you are for long….good luck to you!

      Reply
      • Buried October 21, 2016, 11:21 pm

        Thanks. Still, it takes a long time to move a mountain with a tablespoon.

        Reply
  • Chris October 12, 2016, 1:42 am

    Looking forward to watching the presentation this evening. In the meantime, the reason not everyone is following your example is because you’re up against what the fantastic N. Chomsky describes as The Propaganda Model. But you are helping to erode that model, do don’t feel bad.

    Reply
  • Angie October 12, 2016, 2:15 pm

    What I like about your blog is that you challenge people to find what is essential for their lives. I think many people complain about FI or early retirement because it is really scary for them to find a meaningful purpose or work with no need of earning a salary.
    Sometimes it is easier to hide yourself behind a busy nonsense work day. It takes a lot of courage to be free.

    Reply
  • Chris October 12, 2016, 2:27 pm

    Great talk! Your heart-warming authenticity came through at volume 11. Thanks for all the effort. Definitely worthwhile.

    Reply
  • fi-by-40-I-hope October 12, 2016, 5:14 pm

    Thanks for all that you do MMM. Really great video overall :)

    One minor piece of feedback if it’s cool in case you do it again: around 16:50 you imitate the Dalai Lama. I know it was meant as just a joke, but I think it might alienate some people. I know for me it kinda took me out of the moment and was like “Wait that was sort of racist-y?” Anyway I’m probably overly sensitive but figured I’d share in case it helps you on your quest to save the world by appealing to more cool people.

    Reply
    • Brewer's Arcade October 13, 2016, 1:43 pm

      Really?? Really…yes, overly sensitive.

      Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 14, 2016, 10:02 am

      Man, I hope this doesn’t mean my ideas of fun have become old and socially inappropriate (I don’t want to be the next Trump). But in real life, the greatest joy is a conversation in which uses everyone throws in all sorts of imitations and lots of sound effects too. For example, the way Robin Williams spoke in interviews seemed totally normal to me. I can not even RELATE to people who only talk in one style of voice.

      I just can’t hang around with non-silly people. So if I have to go through the rest of my life talking in a single voice while everyone else does the same, I might as well check out right now :-)

      Reply
      • Jon October 14, 2016, 12:36 pm

        I read that in the voice of the Pope, and now I’m offended. You should watch your tongue MMM

        Reply
    • Kathy Abell January 17, 2017, 12:58 am

      One year the California Governor & First Lady’s Conference on Women included the Dalai Lama. I can’t remember the exact question California First Lady Maria Shriver asked the Dalai Lama (something along the lines of how do you keep calm in the face of constant contact via mobile phone), but his answer was, “I don’t have a cell phone.” Maria appeared absolutely stunned by his response and was rendered momentarily speechless. So the warning on the iPhone 7 box with the picture of the Dalai Lama was very appropriate to make MMM’s point: human happiness is not based on having the latest luxury item.

      Reply
  • Bear from the Great White North October 12, 2016, 7:41 pm

    Absolutely loved this!. Wish it was around 30 years ago. Made some changes a few years ago and almost ready to retire early (just as soon as my fourth child finishes university). Fewer, well thought out and meaningful articles are worth their weight in mustaches instead of trying to keep with all the articles on how to retire early or the 7 mistakes you are doing now or how to have it all now while leaving like the 1%… Keep up the great work!!

    Reply
  • Chris October 12, 2016, 8:40 pm

    Loved it! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Pankaj October 12, 2016, 9:03 pm

    Awesome video! All the same stuff that we have been reading here. But watching you render it was even cooler. Loved it.

    Reply
  • Alain October 13, 2016, 4:52 am

    Nice speech Mr Money Mustache! I’m going to share it on my blog.

    Reply
  • Mitchell October 13, 2016, 6:15 am

    I love your blog, but the two passages below are real head scratchers:

    “That’s 5% of the country’s population at best, which even assuming a fictional 100% adoption rate would still leave at least 95% of us as Sucka Clown Consumers subject to the risks of buying a new GMC Acadia and driving our kids 1 mile to school in it.” The unstated assumption here that one cannot avoid being a Sucka Clown Consumer without also reading your blog, which is thoroughly wrong.

    “Since the attendees of this event are generally fans of author Chris Guillebeau, many of them had never heard of old Mr. Money Mustache before.” This sentence implies a negative causal relationship between being a reader of Guillebeau’s blog and hearing about MMM, which is also wrong. Readers of Guillebeau would be much more likely than the average person to have heard of you, as he has written about you and has interviewed you for his website in the past.

    Not being a complainypants; just want the product to be as good as possible.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 13, 2016, 9:59 am

      Ahh, right Mitchell. I do agree with your logical conclusions. But I think you are missing a key detail: when not talking about serious numbers like kWh and BTU, Mr. Money Mustache is prone to attempts at hyperbolic humor. So indeed I did mean to imply that non-MMM readers are sucka clown consumers, thus reinforcing our identity as an ironic fake cult.

      And the second paragraph doesn’t depend on negative causal relationship to work. “Many” or “Most” people of almost ANY given crowd of people have not heard of Mr. Money Mustache, with the exception of a crowd of Mustachians (or maybe financial bloggers).

      Reply
  • Savannagal October 13, 2016, 11:02 am

    I was able to download your slides, but not your text. I’d like to read it on my train ride home. Is it possible to download the transcript too? I haven’t figured out a way to do so. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Meredith October 13, 2016, 12:27 pm

    MMM, I stumbled upon you via Optimal Finance Daily Podcast last April-ish, and since then, I’ve been reading your archives, listening to you on podcasts (please do more / I’ve exhausted them), and read everything I can to bust out of my financial messes. Since April, I’ve paid off $3K of consumer debt, and now I only have the mortgage left as debt. Per your advice, I took advantage of super low interest rates and am the middle of a refi from 30 down to 15 years at 2.875% interest. WOOHOO! It’s scary, though, but I’m going at it hard core. I’m constantly running numbers of how to pay off the mortgage early and beef up my savings which is now at $14K. I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around the point you made about how it takes surprisingly little time to snowball yourself into financial independence.

    Hope to hear more of you on podcasts in the future. Congrats on your talk at the WDS. It was a good one! Thanks for helping me see the light.

    Reply
  • Matt October 13, 2016, 4:00 pm

    Well done Sir, I know that wasn’t easy.. but very glad you made it happen!

    The Scientific Happiness Hexagons very much resonate! Care to elaborate on the “Privacy” element? Struggling to wrap my mind around that one since it eludes to seclusion, or isolation. Just curious what the experts say there… or perhaps its more in reference to protection & autonomy? Just curious!

    Reply
  • Miki Yamashita October 13, 2016, 4:44 pm

    Mr. Money Mustache!! Today is supposedly “Treat Yo Self Day.” Are you familiar with this concept? If not, here’s some background. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/treat-yo-self-day-october-13_us_561d4bf8e4b0c5a1ce60ba55 I am sure you HATE it! But would love to know if you might find any value in such an idea.

    Reply
    • Jeffrey W October 14, 2016, 8:52 pm

      Isn’t this basically what every day in America looks like?

      Reply
  • Wso October 14, 2016, 1:46 pm

    “The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre or to balls, or to the pub, and the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you will be able to save and the greater will become your treasure which neither moth nor rust will corrupt—your capital. The less you are, the less you express your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the greater is the saving of your alienated being.
    ― Karl Marx on Alienation, “Economic Manuscripts” (1844)

    WRONG AGAIN, MARX!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 15, 2016, 6:49 pm

      Wow, I have to admit I haven’t read much of Marx’s actual stuff, even though I learned in an early University course called “labour studies” that I am absolutely against Marxist philosophy. The textbook for that one was called “The Alienation of Work”, and I totally disagreed with the premise.

      It sounds Ol’ Marx formed his perspective was formed when humans were mostly cogs in sucky industrial factories – and he didn’t see any path out the other side. There was definitely some truth to it – factory and mine work was really shitty initially, and still is in many parts of the world. But for those of us lucky enough to do flexible, high-creativity work that we enjoy, all this “alienation” talk is bunk – work and play are the same thing, and you make a lot of money whenever you do it.

      Reply
  • Samuel Mandell October 14, 2016, 7:53 pm

    This was a lot of fun to watch. My wife and I have been reading your blog for years, but seeing you on video speaking was a real treat. You’ve got a dry whit that works really well for public speaking, so despite what you’ve said I hope you to take on other speaking engagements.

    Reply
  • Bill G October 15, 2016, 3:31 am

    As a Brit’ I was horrified, though not surprised, to see in the retirement graph that the UK savings rate was even lower than the USA. The U.K economy floats on services and debt fuelled consumer spending, and Brexit is pulling away the source of the cheap credit.
    Great talk and thank you for publishing. In the UK we are about to make Moustachianism a vitrue by necessity.

    Reply
  • Tyrone October 15, 2016, 10:11 am

    I followed a similar path, living frugally and investing all the money I saved, and although not quite as early as you, my wife and I still managed to save enough to retire at 36. What was weird was that even though we had the ability to work less and spend more time with our young children (now 6 and 8) we didn’t do this…at least not at first. My wife just kept on working a job she wasn’t really in love with and I decided to change careers. We were busier than ever, but it just seemed like this was what people were supposed to do.
    That was five years ago, and now, as I write this, my family and I have broken free of that idea of what life is supposed to be. We are using our financial freedom to spend a year living frugally in Southern Spain and are loving life. My kids are now fluent in Spanish and learning about different cultures, my wife volunteers doing things she loves, and I’m hanging out with the kids way more, learning Spanish, and writing a book.
    After spending some time thinking about this, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three gates one needs to pass through to reach mustachian utopia.
    It is evident to me that many people don’t consider mustachianism because they can’t wrap their head around the fact that there can be a different way to live. I’ll call this gate one to mustachian utopia. It is the first gate you need to pass through. Without the knowledge that you don’t need to work your whole life, you will just accept that this is the way it has to be.
    The second gate to mustachian utopia, as you so eloquently point out in your presentation with stick people and the village, involves realizing that happiness is not related to the accumulation of more stuff, bigger houses, or more expensive cars. I’ve told many people how I was able to retire early be living frugally and many tell me they aren’t willing to live frugally because money is meant to be enjoyed. The funny thing is that even though I lived in a less expensive house and drove a second-hand car, I never really noticed that any of the people that told me this were any happier than me.
    The third gate to mustachian utopia, once you realize there’s another way to live and that happiness is not related to spending everything you earn, is to actually do something about it. As Napoleon Hill writes in his classic book Think and Grow Rich, nearly every person that has been successful at accumulating wealth has managed to conquer two of mankind’s most detrimental traits – procrastination and its evil twin indecision.
    Good luck at converting the other 95%!

    Reply
  • Doug October 15, 2016, 8:49 pm

    Great video, I think you summarized how to get financially independent quite well. I especially like your quote: Any money you spend that doesn’t make you happier is wasted. That is so true, and consistent with my findings. Yet, I think most people don’t understand it. For example I remember in my working days being asked questions like why don’t you buy a new car? I figured doing so would be pointless when the car I had worked just fine, and for an average of 23 out of 24 hours a day (which includes weekend road trips) it just sits there being unused and depreciates and ultimately doesn’t bring me any added value or happiness. I’m glad now that I made such choices years ago and enjoy being retired.

    On the subject of spending and happiness I figure that on average if x equals spending and y is happiness it levels off with increasing spending, like y = (square root of x) or y = log (x+1), and as x goes to very high levels it completely levels off like something (such as temperature or terminal velocity) that reaches an equilibrium state. How’s that for an engineering analysis?

    Also you mention that rather than doing nothing in retirement you find the work you like and enjoy it more when you don’t need the money. That’s exactly the idea you’ll read about in the book Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin, published over 20 years ago. It’s good reading, I highly recommend it.

    Reply
  • Frugal Bazooka October 15, 2016, 11:45 pm

    Great job, the speech was fantastic. I’m always fascinated when a bunch of people laugh and applaud at being called money sucking idiots. Ok, maybe you didn’t direct your comments about what’s wrong with a lot of American consumers directly at the audience, but how many in the audience AREN’T doing the exact things you’re saying are idiotic??

    This is by far the most interesting way to further spread the values and concepts of the MMM mantra. Far be it from me to suggest you go all video for the blog, but a few here and there certainly would appeal to the next generation who seem to be addicted to visual media.

    Reply
  • KKel October 18, 2016, 8:10 am

    Awesome presentation! I started following your blog after my older brother sent it to me senior year of college (3 years ago). He wanted me to avoid his mistake of stupid spending for the first few years after graduation. I’ve always been a saver by nature but found true motivation when I started reading your posts. With the help from this blog, I opened an index fund and immediately enrolled in my 401K when allowed by my company. I’ve been able to save about 30% of my entry level pay that amounts to over 1 year’s salary. I’m on my way to early retirement! Thank you!

    Reply
    • lurker October 22, 2016, 9:06 am

      Rock on!!!!!! the earlier you start the faster it will happen for you….the snowball really grows when it gets a bit bigger!!!!! stay with it!

      Reply
  • Jeff October 20, 2016, 9:12 am

    Always enjoy and appreciate your thoughts. You are helping many people with the straight forward ideas you share to grasp realities that unfortunately are not so common in our world today. Since I know you are a very thoughtful individual open to discovery I would suggest there is one significant idea which I believe you will change your perspective on at some point down the road. I do not believe that personal happiness is the end goal of life. Personal happiness is far too small a goal for our purpose on this earth. Personal happiness wrongly positions each one of us at the “center” of existence. As flattering as it is to position ourselves as the central character or main actor in the ongoing narrative of the universe, we simply are unfit and incapable of adequately filling that role. We are much better positioned to potentially be supporting characters in a “story” much older, much bigger and much more significant than our individual stories. Just as the moon “shines” because it reflects a light that is much bigger and much brighter, we were created to reflect a Light that illuminates a world that otherwise would be be dark. In simplest terms, we can dream of being “big fish in a small pond” but I believe the more likely reality is that we are all “little fish in a much bigger pond.”

    Reply
  • Readinglearner October 20, 2016, 7:15 pm

    Very inspirational! I always find your blogs refreshing and optimistic. Thank you for living your dream!

    Reply
  • Dawn October 21, 2016, 10:15 am

    Great talk. One thing I noticed was that you talk quite a bit about how to be happy which made me think about an article I read a couple weeks ago (article link: http://www.vox.com/first-person/2016/10/4/13093380/happiness-america-ruth-whippman ). I am curious to know what your thoughts are on this.

    Reply
  • GB October 24, 2016, 9:24 am

    Longtime reader, just wanted to say thanks and great presentation. Your online voice sounds much bossier than your real voice, I have to say, though!

    Our quick story – I came across your blog (your post on air-conditioning to be specific) when researching how to be comfortable during a particularly hot weather spell in the upper midwest/great lakes area where we lived at the time. The blog articulated a lot of latent ideas and thoughts I’d had, so I continued following. After a long and grueling graduate school experience, we started working full time in 2012 and we are well on track to hitting early retirement around 2020 while still in our thirties (or 2021 if we seem to be signing the chorus to the song “one more year”.)

    While ours is by no means the most inspiring story (especially considering we have 6 diplomas between the two adults in our household – it would be foolish to be *this* well educated and suck at money), I just wanted to say that sometimes the seed is there, it just needs encouragement to grow and transform. So thanks for all the laughs, ideas, cussing, silliness and the encouragement to mock our lavish lives endlessly.

    Reply
  • Archon October 25, 2016, 3:52 pm

    WOOOOOOO finally caught up! Haven’t read much in the forum though.
    Brace yourself, forum!

    Thanks for all your work so far, MMM and MM family! Change is afoot in my life, and I’m moving in the right direction thanks to your advice.

    Reply
  • Vijay October 25, 2016, 7:46 pm

    I liked the video. But, many things you say is pretty much mirroring the spirituality and concepts of Hinduism.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgowgm1KeZ4

    Reply
  • Seize The Aisle October 25, 2016, 11:32 pm

    Congrats on the 11 year anniversary. You were the first blog that I read that introduced me to the concept of early retirement, and lead me to rethink my priorities in life. I started slowly noticing these societal beliefs of what you should do and what you should own at each stage of life, and how they really weren’t in my best interest. We are saving heavily and avoiding lifestyle inflation with the goal of financial independence. I don’t think I would ever want to do the “traditional retirement” where you stop working, I hope to just be able to focus on hobbies and not care if they ever make money.

    Reply
  • Australian dime October 26, 2016, 2:56 pm

    Thankyou MMM! I love your blog and my partner and I are constantly trying to translate that into the Australian market.
    We already practice a mild version of frugality but this summarised rendition of your philosophy has really given us a refreshed energy to completely change our way of thinking – your article on habits was a great tool in his regard.

    If you have the time, I’d love to be pointed to an article that talks about how you (or others you know) live fugally in a heavily regulated market?
    An example of this for you would be that even though my partner is an electrical engineer, by regulation he cannot change a light bulb unless he goes through a 4 year apprentiship to get an electricians license!

    Also any fellow australian mustachians give us a shout out. We would love to hear your experiences too!

    Cheers

    Reply
  • Jose Picón October 31, 2016, 1:32 pm

    Hi M^3,
    Since you give us permission to copy, plagiarize and share the ideas in your video, I will do all of them and create the spanish subtitles in order to spread the Mustachianism across the Iberian Peninsula.
    I hope you like the idea!

    Reply
  • Ga Lok November 2, 2016, 3:04 pm

    Great talk, I’ve been following your website for a few years after a recommendation from a friend; and it’s been inspiring. The idea that we can become authenticate by freeing ourselves from needing to make money is a powerful goal.

    Reply

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