Why did Mr. Money Mustache get Political today?

Well, that was interesting. I posted an article about rich people and taxes today, and the comments section rapidly exploded to set a record for activity. I’m glad to hear people are interested in politics, but I actually didn’t intend that as a political posting.

So while the comments section of that article continues to get murkier and murkier like a toilet that never gets flushed, we’ll start again right now with a fresh white bowl that explains the simple point I was trying to make the first time.

I liked Mr. Buffett’s gesture because it represented a spirit of sacrificing your own immediate interests for that of your community/country/planet. The feeling that there is plenty to go around, and we should put our resources to work instead of hoarding them.

I wrote that even the middle class should be willing to do so, in the right situations, because that represents the spirit of thinking big, and being strong and open-minded and realizing we all have plenty of money to put to work as needed, rather than being small, whiny, and thinking the problems in your life are created by someone else.

The foundation of this whole deal, Mr. Money Mustache, is the fact that the middle-class people of America have great power, plenty of wealth, and lots of opportunity. Once we realize this, we can stop complaining about how hard life is and how corrupt this or that politician is, and get on with the business of getting Rich. As long as we’re busy complaining, we’re creating excuses why we cannot actually get it done.

I witnessed a silly conversation on Facebook yesterday, where one guy posted the Buffett article, and another guy made the point, “200k to 1M of income isn’t what it used to be. This is not rich”.  Being a little bit fired up and not thinking clearly at that hour, I chimed in, “What!? That is a shitload of money! I have been retired for six years and I never even made close to that level of income! Even 60k is a damned healthy salary“.

Even after reading my point, this young man said this, “… $60k is a barely scraping by salary in Ottawa for a family. Just affording the mortgage on a $300K house requires more than that without over leveraging. Good luck getting a family sized house for that in Ottawa. If you lived in NYC, Boston, Vancouver, a $100K salary would get you squat (maybe a small 2 bedroom apt with a parking spot)….

And that is EXACTLY the point I am trying to make. Facebook Guy will still be stuck working for many years, Mr. Money Mustache graduated long ago. Because of the attitude of “Appreciate what you have, and make it work for you, instead of complaining it is not enough.”

That’s all. No political commentary required.


  • Bryan August 16, 2011, 9:00 pm

    I found your blog a week or so ago and have read nearly all of it and find it interesting. You bring up some good points about how to live well on an average salary. One of my favorite posts was the one about millionaires are made $10 at a time. I had a hard time accepting that $10 was a lot of money but I digested what I had read and re read it a day or so later and realised how true that statement is…Ten dollars is a lot of money!

  • MMM August 16, 2011, 9:09 pm

    Thanks Bryan! Glad to hear it – I still do love my Tens, even to this day ;-)

  • Wanna.be.frugal.George August 16, 2011, 9:13 pm

    Very well put MMM, I’m glad I read this before your earlier one which by the sounds of it is pretty bogged down w/ crappy comments. I totally agree with you, but as I’ve said before these like minded people are driven to believe that if they do not have the biggest house, or the fastest car (or whatever that item might be that they believe will elevate them to a higher social status) they’ll never be happy, EVER. It is truly sad to see people with this mindset: to achieve status through (put bluntly) stuff. I once worked with a man that would work double over time, side jobs, every job (electrical contractor). He was very good at his job, however he’d just work so he could afford the LATEST and GREATEST *THING*. That man had a nervous breakdown one day at work, and lost his mind from all the pressure and exhaustion he was having from not eating right or getting enough sleep. Later on he lost his wife and his kids to his insatiability for materialism.

  • Dan August 16, 2011, 10:55 pm

    Agreed. Regardless of politics, Americans are already so wealthy and yet few realize it. We should all be more thankful and thoughtful with our cash- whether we be fiscally liberal or conservative.

  • Dan August 16, 2011, 10:57 pm

    Though the socially conservative can just go to hell (haha just kidding, kinda)

  • Fu Manchu August 17, 2011, 6:55 am

    Bravo MMM, couldn’t agree more.

    And for the record, I live in Boston, rent a nice 2 bedroom, own no car / need no parking spot (take the T), and save around 46% of my $50k in salary. My friends, girlfriend and I all tend to choose a BBQ over a bar, free events in town over Six Flags, and homebrew on our rooftop over Bud Lites in front of the TV :-D

  • Oskar August 17, 2011, 7:14 am

    Thanks MMM, very good post (both this one and the last)

    Politcal discussion in the world has become so much about taxes, and the level of them going so far as to some the solution to all problems are higher taxes and for others the solution is allways lower taxes. To me politics should be about ideas how to build a better world/country, talking taxes without political ideas is like discussing price without knowing what you are buying.

    • MMM August 17, 2011, 9:21 am

      Fantastic point, about price vs. Service, Oskar! Hopefully everyone can agree on that.

  • Kevin M August 17, 2011, 9:18 am

    The second to last paragraph is gold, MMM! It took me awhile to realize I had enough, but I am so glad I got there and married a smart woman that feels the same way. Our country needs to stop with the “more is better” crap though, what a waste of time and money.

  • Robin July 21, 2012, 4:07 pm

    Found your blog through a GRS commenter and have been slowly catching up when I could. The ‘ appreciate what you have….’ quote struck such a chord with me that I just had to say thank you for writing this blog and for being an excellent source or wisdom and inspiration.

  • Mathematical Carpenter January 26, 2015, 7:00 pm

    Mr. Money Mustache –

    I believe that you have found true happiness with your Stoic philosophy, minimalistic tendencies, and all around badassity (Plus you have a spouse who shares and from what I can gather, strengthens your system of core beliefs) As I pay off some fancy overpriced Ivy League degrees, I am using your story as a “See, it can be done proof of concept.” I have a few years of catch-up work, but I am very disciplined. I cannot help but distill your philosophy into two parts: MMM= .90(Better living advice through stoicism) +.05(clever, fun and witty writing) + .05(collectivism). I’m torn on this last part and assumption that either (a) selfishness is bad altogether or (b) selfishness is necessary to get what you need (or only the first part) and then you should work towards higher goals of helping others. I hold the strong view that both (a) and (b) are assumed to be true too often without regard to the virtuousness of selfishness. The character Howard Roark from the Fountainhead, shares many of the same characteristics that you deem productive and Mustachian, but not collectivism. I perfectly understand how eliminating waste in your personal life is extremely similar to eliminating waste that is put into landfill and taking responsibility of your checking account, real assets, and freedom is akin to taking responsibility of the earth. These connections don’t need explanation, but I struggle to understand why you do not triumph in the independent success of others and how you cannot see that helping others is really an imaginative pat on your own back as you are making yourself feel good about philanthropy. Please, none of this is intended as complainypaints or provocative. As I share so much of your belief system (I know you probably disagree with the MMM decomposition I presented, which is fine) I just trying to understand the point where we diverge.

    • Mr. Money Mustache January 30, 2015, 8:57 am

      You’re right that everything we do is to make ourselves feel better at some level. And I’m plenty fond of high achievers and the great rewards they can earn in the nicely capatalist US society. I just find it a bit lacking when everything becomes ideological rather than logical. No science, just all strong opinions.

      Ayn Rand was great at idolizing the great badasses of industry, but didn’t seem to know much about how to make the most of the mixed bag of human personalities. To her, you’re either a laser-focused achiever or a hopeless whining looter that just needs to be executed. I propose that there’s a much more efficient way to think about the species by understanding a bit about the biology that formed us all in the first place.

  • AlCanDr&RN April 11, 2015, 2:18 pm


    While you may not be an ideologue it is plain to see that you have a strong core belief system (Badassity). If there is a lack in our present society it is the recognition of and balance between the individual and the collective…and they’re not mutually exclusive in humans.
    I keep reading about your heavy reliance on Science and it is disconcerting to this reader that such weight is given to this field of study to guide your decision-making. Scientific studies can be VERY domain-specific. While we may agree that lead is tough to “transmogrify” into gold there are many areas where our understanding of Science is literally infantile. In the end, of course, a basic understanding of “shit that works” and “shit that doesn’t work” may be all that is required…and that is just my opinion. :-)

    • Bill November 11, 2015, 10:31 am

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think when MMM, or many people for that matter, say “science” they really mean rational thinking in general as opposed to specific scientific studies. However where those studies exist they are, of course, given weight. The rational thinking mindset is as opposed to something like, say, prosperity religion, where one believes that if you give 10% of your income to God, God will return it tenfold. Or just ignoring the matter altogether and assuming you will someday win the lottery or have enough in social security without doing the math, or if you can just make it to that next paycheck…

  • Val September 18, 2016, 10:05 am

    My cousin was gifted $50k from her father’s estate just for her wedding when he passed. Not for savings, not for education…for a wedding. And by golly, they spent it. Live band, expensive venue, expensive dress, your choice of hen, steak, or vegetarian plated. I remember thinking this was excessive at 13. Now it makes me grimace knowing what 50k would be doing for their family right now.

  • Be September 27, 2016, 8:41 am

    I’d be very happy with a small 2 bedroom apartment, myself.
    The thing about taxes in the USA is that people have been taught to fear them. If you’re familiar with the phrase that the only certainties in life are ‘death and taxes’ then you have some idea of the average US American’s view on the subject. They lump them in there with DEATH – which they are also terrified of (personally I am not afraid of either and would be quite put-out if either were done away with entirely).
    It cheers me to see your attitude on taxes is similar to my own – that they pay for things I want in society such as an educated population, public health and safety and etc. Perhaps this is because I’m not an American (I’m from New Zealand but have lived in the US of A since 2012) so perhaps it harder for me to understand that life-long fear mongering from every politician and other human around them.

  • Lyssa December 11, 2020, 10:55 am

    Ah. Yes, this I can completely agree with. You can either complain and stay in the cycle you’re in, or adjust. Change and make what you have work, possibly while planning to change further if necessary.


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