161 comments

Three Months of Slacking

Unsuccessfully but Refreshingly trying to climb the local waterfall

“MMM, are you still alive?”
– somebody on Twitter

Holy Shit! I just realized that the last time I wrote a blog post for you was on April 18th, and now it’s late July. That’s an entire quarter of a year that I have let this wonderful, golden field of interesting opportunities and people sit untended.

 How could Mr. Money Mustache, a reliable stalwart of bossy financial advice since 2011 and usually good for at least one post per month, have drifted so far from his original dedication? It’s a question that earnest fans have been asking, and that I have even started asking myself.

When you break out of any habit, it can be hard to get back into it: the psychological barriers start to stack up and the pressure rises and you find yourself waiting for more and more unattainably perfect conditions that, surprise surprise, never really come.

If it’s a workout habit that you have broken, you might tell yourself,

“Oh, I just need to get over this injury or this cold… And then my Mom is visiting next week but after that I’ll be ready to get back to the gym.“

With my blog-writing hobby I make excuses like,

“Oh, now that it has been so long, I have to wait until I have something really interesting or worthwhile to say.

And yeah okay, maybe I have a few articles like that in the drafts folder, but those ones take a lot of thinking and focus to write, so I’d better wait until I am feeling really smart and focused to crack into that subject.”

But in both cases, the correct solution is just to say,

“Fuck it. I am going to just do something towards my goal, no matter how tiny.”

To get back in shape, you just need to start with at least a few pushups, which you can do right now on the floor of your office or kitchen. To resurrect the MMM Blog, Mustache just has to type some shit into the computer, and heck, why not just an easy breezy article telling you about some of the interesting things I’ve been doing in lieu of blogging?

Some stories from a real life of early retirement, which may be more relevant than plain old financial analysis and reader case studies anyway. And once we’re all caught up in life, maybe it’ll be easier to keep in touch on a more regular basis henceforth.

So in fairly rapidfire format, here’s what I’ve been up to this spring and summer:

1) Renovating The Shit Out of Our New Two-House Compound

We found the previous shower had been leaking for years and creating the most interesting scene of decay. We tore out and rebuilt the whole area, and cut in a nice window for good measure.

You may recall that back in January, I teamed up with a friend to buy the house next door, with cash, at a below-market price. Once she moved in, we realized that it needed even more renovations than we originally planned. So I’ve had a joyful time tearing down walls, framing in new windows and doors, reworking the floorplan and changing the wall surfaces, as well as fixing the shoddy plumbing and electrical work that was found along the way.

On my own house right next door, I’ve been going just a bit wild with metalworking, making all sorts of fences and decks and even a “Juliet Balcony” which features a fireman pole allowing me to slide quickly down from my master bedroom to the ground where we have a shared hot tub between our properties – in case of Hot Tub Emergencies, of course.

Cutting a giant hole in the back of my house (in February!), adding a sliding door where there was previously only a silly little shitty window, then many fun, casual days of metalworking. The last pic is my side deck, which I built mostly out of wood but also features lots of metal and a fun little outdoor kitchen including coffee machine and induction cooktop!

2) Working on a Pretty Big Documentary Project

Hmmm.. something seems different about the HQ kitchen.

I have said for years that I would never do it, but somehow a very persuasive filmmaker who has made some documentaries that I really respect, roped me into helping out with a probably-pretty-big documentary.

I did a casting call in March and found a couple that I am now coaching and working with throughout 2021. The film company doesn’t want me to talk about it much until they are ready to announce it, but suffice it to say that it is taking a lot of my time and energy, which comes out of what would otherwise be my blog-writing time budget.

However, this is the good kind of hardship – forcing me to experience things I wouldn’t otherwise get to do, and the end result will be reaching a lot more people than I could by just writing on this website alone. My fingers are crossed that it will come out the way I hope!

3) Switching 120,000 Underserved MMM Email Subscribers over for Better Newsletters

Easier signups, and better eventual emails.

Since the beginning, I’ve mostly ignored the fact that I sorta have a list of email subscribers, with predictable lackluster results. People were able to subscribe and unsubscribe themselves automatically, and the only thing it got them was an automated mailing of any new blog articles on the day that I posted them. The emails were poorly formatted, people who had non-gmail addresses often had trouble subscribing, and many probably wondered why I couldn’t make it work better.

Thankfully, a mini-crisis happened that has forced me to do the work to solve this problem, at last: Google announced that they were shutting down the aging Feedburner email service, so all of the old-school bloggers like me who were still using it were forced to migrate to a more modern platform.

I did some research, and in the end I decided to go with a higher-end option called ConvertKit, which is one of the most popular email services. It can do a lot more cool stuff, and I have taken advantage of this to create an automated (and free of course) “MMM Boot Camp” email series that people can sign up for. 

It’s just a curated feed of some of my most useful articles (about 35 out of the 500), which automatically go out to people once per week until they have graduated, so you’d think it would be pretty easy for me to create this.

But as I read through my old stuff, of course I realized that much of it was crappy and outdated so I ended up partially rewriting every one of those 35 posts as I went through, which took some time. The good news is, the updated versions are here on the website as well, so the work should benefit anyone who happens to read them in the future.

4) Having lots of Fun Times (and Hard Times) In Real Life

Just another cool sunset/storm in my back yard, taken during the traditional Evening Walk.

I’ve had a series of wonderful visitors who came and stayed at my house, sometimes for a week or more. Friends and I have hosted some big events at the HQ Coworking space, which left me both energized and drained at the same time. Then I got Strep Throat in mid-July, which knocked me out for the count for a full week or more – even well after the antibiotics worked their magic, I have still been having some ups and downs with energy. 

And then of course there’s the heat – I am always more energetic in cool weather (The typical 50 degree sunny days of a Colorado winter are some of my favorite for outdoor work in t-shirt and jeans). So the summer season here is always a challenge for me, with an endless procession of cloudless 95 degree desert days (35C) making me resent the very Sun I normally worship so much. I’ve been taking refuge indoor more than I should, hiding in my air conditioned house and making excuses and accomplishing less because of it. At least this has led me to the keyboard today, to write this blog post.

5) “Cutting the Pipe” at HQ and Installing a Giant Fancy Heat Pump system.

I had fun working alongside my co-owner Mr. 1500 for this work. Everything was easy about this install … except rebuilding some of the filthy century-old ductwork we found once we took out the old furnace.

Since I first bought the building in 2017, the MMM-HQ coworking space has been limping along with a clunky decades-old gas furnace, a gas water heater that was about 20 years overdue to spring a leak, no central air conditioning at all, and very high utility bills due to the way our local gas company charges commercial customers.

When you combine these irritants and contrast them with the fact that we happen to have a glorious DIY solar electric array on the rooftop that makes a surplus of power, you can see why I would be itching to tear out all the gas appliances, cancel the service account permanently, and install all-electric replacements that are more efficient and will also save an estimated shit-ton of money each year.

I’ll save the full details of this for my very next blog article, but as a spoiler: we found and successfully installed a unit that should be able to cool and heat our building year-round, is very DIY-friendly, and cost only about $4000 to buy. It should prove to be a great annual return on investment, and I am excited to start installing these things on all of my properties and those of any friends who are doing upgrades.

And with that, I’d say we are all caught up.

In the comments: what have YOU been up to these past 3 months? And what subjects do you think we should be covering here on MMM in the next three?

Previous Post:
  • Susana Vazquez Garcia July 25, 2021, 3:31 pm

    What to do which the proceeds after selling my only rental property- one singe home to keep the money growing

    Buy another rental?

    Other?

    Reply
    • George Choy July 25, 2021, 10:35 pm

      Hi Susana. We just keep buying more residential and commercial rental properties. We have £2 million and are about to finish a purchase taking us to £2.5 million. We were able to retire at 39

      Reply
    • Adam demchik August 7, 2021, 5:51 am

      If you have owned the rental property for more than 2 years and you are making a significant capital gain, I would 1031 exchange the proceeds into another rental property. The 1031 exchange allows you to defer the capital gain tax.

      Reply
    • LuizS September 14, 2021, 9:50 pm

      Advice from George’s and Adam’s answers were very good, so I’ll try to build upon these.
      As you asked clearly to focus on “keep the money growing”, I’d advice to diversificate:

      – if you would like to stay in rental, buy two or more units (possibly in another towns or cities, just use manager systems like turnkey, or even the ‘House Hacking’ post here on MMM.com), you would keep a steadier profit from rental and also diversificate on house valorization rates;

      – if you would like to venture in other business, keeping the money growing (instead of, for example, keep the profit flowing) would demand a risk check: low risk suggests keeping the money growing against inflation, meaning government/companies bonds; medium-high risk suggests keeping the money growing more than inflation, meaning buying stocks (joining a company, medium risk) or starting a business (creating a company, medium-high risk).

      Both “buy another rental” and “other options” are valid, but must be answered after deciding about risk, personal time availabiliy, and willingness to change from rental to other.

      Note you can buy a cheaper rental (perhaps using turnkey services if the cheaper rental is outside of your expertise) and use the remaining proceeds to diversificate, possibly buying index funds to diversificate further.

      Reply
  • Chad V July 25, 2021, 3:32 pm

    Glad to see you haven’t died I been waiting a while for you to post. You changed my idea on money and now I have 15 tenants in a span of 2 years and an empty building I am going to build a laundromat, beauty Salon because someone wants to rent it, and 4 more 2 br apartments. Hoping to quit my day job and relax and enjoy life a bit more as well as soon as I can get enough passive income. Trying to improve my small town in Northern Maine that I live in. Take care enjoy yourself but keep writing posts :D Financial Freedom is a great goal for everyone even if you choose to keep working it is nice not having to worry about money and be paycheck to paycheck like I used to be! Thank you for the inspiration.

    Reply
  • Sean Martin July 25, 2021, 3:40 pm

    Nice one Mr MMM. Good to hear from you again. Thanks for all of your efforts. When I was building my stache reading your stuff and the comments from the community helped me feel like I wasn’t alone. In a society that continuously messages, “consume, consume, consume”, it is such a boost to have an online island to visit where people think differently.

    Reply
  • Raj July 25, 2021, 3:40 pm

    Mainly I’ve just been doing a lot of reading what with Covid still locking us down over in Ontario. I also have been trying to pick up a new skill in coding and have tried to keep up with exercising with mixed success.

    Reply
  • Chris July 25, 2021, 3:43 pm

    You’ve got some great excuses here for not keeping up with the writing here, Pete! Loads of projects, and hey, that’s as good a reason as any for stepping—focusing on what matters more to you. Fun little update. I especially enjoyed the fire pole balcony exit (great to have your own tools and ingenuity to make that work!) along with your heat pump project at HQ with Carl. You two combined can really DIY your way into some just-a-little-over-my-head fun! Ha.

    And hey, like you said at the open, you’re all caught up now—you’re due for some thoughts on money, life, and the meaning of it all next ;) No pressure!

    Reply
  • Martina July 25, 2021, 3:45 pm

    It’s like riding a bicycle… you never really forget…you just got to get back on it.

    Reply
  • Tim Vandehey July 25, 2021, 3:46 pm

    Good to see you back on the Intarwebs, MMM. As for me, I’ve done what I usually do over the last 3 months: ghostwrite nonfiction books and book proposals. I also spent 3 weeks in the desert of California seeing family for the first time since the pandemic, did a whole bunch of singing, and took my oldest on the first leg of the College Tour (TM): the University of Missouri.

    For Q3, I’d love to see some thoughts on where readers can pick up some of the DIY skills you seem to have mastered. I’m reasonably handy, but I don’t think I’d have the guts to tear apart my master bath. But I REALLY want to…

    Reply
  • BC Kowalski July 25, 2021, 3:47 pm

    I’d say that’s all time well spent, especially hanging out with Mr. 1500! In the past three months I’ve built a newsletter business bringing folks a straightforward account of all the local news without the noise, and otherwise been hiking, mountain biking, hiking, playing guitar and otherwise enjoying life! Life is good man.

    Reply
  • varanic July 25, 2021, 3:49 pm

    Maybe a discussion on inflation and whether it is a concern or just a hot take from very important people.

    Reply
    • Ryan Stephenson July 26, 2021, 10:18 am

      “Americans are getting stronger. Twenty years ago, it took two people to carry ten dollars’ worth of groceries. Today, a five-year-old can do it.” – Henny Youngman

      Read Ch. 2 of The Intelligent Investor for a baseline understanding. Governments like inflation because it reduces the value of debts made. However, it eats up gains made by investors, or even results in losses. REITs and TIPS are a couple tools to hedge against inflation, but come with their own vulnerabilities.

      https://www.moneyshow.com/articles/tebiwkly08-48918/

      Reply
    • Mark August 5, 2021, 12:10 am

      Moderately higher inflation (if it does come) is NOT any significant concern or reason to change the indexing strategy outlined by MMM and other reputable authors.

      Higher inflation means higher prices. Higher prices means higher nominal profits. Owning common stock means you are entitled to that stream of profits, and also all the capital owned by companies you own through common stock is valued more highly due to inflation. I really don’t see much reason to own bonds now, and I definitely wouldn’t hold any more cash than is needed for immediate expenses…

      Reply
  • Jesse July 25, 2021, 3:57 pm

    Great to hear from you MMM, glad you’re having a productive and fun summer! Can’t wait for the documentary. My brother and I bought a church, and are renovating the bottom with 13 beautiful egress windows for a full daylight basement that we’ll Airbnb when we’re done. The upstairs will be a creative space for anything we can dream up. It’s got beautiful wood floors upstairs, hiding underneath some old carpet, and a fully functional bell that you’re welcome to ring if you ever make it to Coeur d’Alene, ID. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Sarah Suitter August 2, 2021, 5:45 pm

      Wow that sounds amazing! Can I ring your bell?

      Reply
  • Zack Harris July 25, 2021, 3:58 pm

    Great article and great to hear from you again, MMM.

    I remember in a past article from a few years back, when PE Ratios were abnormally high, you mentioned that times like these would be a more acceptable time to “keep 6 to 12 months of expenses in cash or pay more towards the principle of your mortgage”. So in a future article, I’d like to know if you think that right now is one of those times as well. Do you think now is a good time to keep a little more money in cash or pay down the mortgage, or is it still “all in” on index funds such as VTI?

    As always – thank you.

    Reply
    • James July 27, 2021, 5:48 am

      Very good point! I would be interested in this too. Do you know the title of the article this was originally discussed on?

      Reply
    • Pascal September 13, 2021, 2:08 am

      This is exactly what’s on my mind as well! I recently got a rather large windfall and I have invested half of it, but I am hesitant to invest the other half with all the articles about high PE-ratios and nearing corrections. I have almost 3 years of expenses sitting in a savings account and it’s making me rather nervous. My mind has been going to value stocks like Berkshire Hathaway as a safer investment in times like these but I am still on the fence about stepping away from my trusted index funds.

      Reply
  • CapitalistRoader July 25, 2021, 4:02 pm

    I’ve been working out on the cable machines at the local rec center, which re-opened in early June. Done in air conditioned comfort, the 2x/week, 1/2 hour resistance workouts complement my 3x/week one-hour bike rides.

    That, and getting a rental property up to snuff. Should be ready to advertise it mid-Aug after long-term tenants left mid-March.

    All of your posts are relevant and interesting.

    Reply
  • Julia July 25, 2021, 4:21 pm

    Good to hear from you!

    Your email was slick, but I could not find a link to this webpage on it. Usually if you click on an image in such an email, it takes you to the page, but this time it opened a window with just the image, really big. Which is cool, but then maybe the title “Three Months of Slacking” should have been a link to this page? Just FYI.

    Reply
  • Logan July 25, 2021, 4:22 pm

    Thanks for yet another great article, and I love your writing style!

    I would love you to continue to promote your solar array at MMM HQ, and I hope you could claim to have helped significantly expand rooftop solar. If other types of solar arrays make sense for fairly regular people, it would be awesome if you wrote about those too. You could give updates about the power generated on your own array, a current ballpark on how much it would cost for other people to get their own array up and running (with a cost comparison between DYI and having a recommended company doing it for others). Big and small ideas on getting more people to use more solar energy would also be awesome.

    I think learning the ropes from a solar installer for a while, and then turning that into your own business/side hustle sounds like a great idea these days. Interviewing such a person that made such a dream become a reality would make another great blog post.

    Thanks again for your amazingness!

    Reply
  • samanil July 25, 2021, 4:34 pm

    I fired up the old MMM app in search of the hard cider brewing article (to show a friend) and was delighted to see a new blog post fresh off the press! Glad to hear from you MMM, sounds like you’re doing some cool stuff! Keep us updated with the technical trades stuff you’re doing as well as the more conceptual finance and lifestyle stuff. It’s all good!

    Reply
  • Rachel July 25, 2021, 4:34 pm

    So glad MMM hasn’t disappeared for good! I ran across your blog in 2018 (always late to the party) and it changed my life. I’m about to cut the cord with my job, having saved enough money to have the courage to try something new, knowing it doesn’t have to work out. I am always inspired by your Stoic-influenced, anti-capitalist world view and would love regular posts, even if they recycle old wisdom. The human mind seems built to forget, so I always appreciate reminders of what it is that might really matter in life! If you’re still thinking about economics amidst all the renovating, I’m also interested in how to think about inflation, what to think about bonds as a safe investment with interest rates so low and whether the current P/E ratios should lead to further rethinking of the 4% rule.

    Reply
    • Bernhard July 26, 2021, 1:11 am

      I doubt his world view is anti-capitalistic – He stressed that the capitalist economic system is the base for the affluence we have the privilege to enjoy in the so-called western world. Rather he is eager to wipe out some of the ridiculous spending and behavior patterns to make in more efficient and sustainable.

      Reply
  • Laura Zeffer July 25, 2021, 4:34 pm

    Climate/environment & individual household changes that can help!
    I.e. : heat pumps, recycled building products, etc…. Drawdown.org.

    Been bike training for a tour of E. ORegon, trail running, home cooking, swimming, enjoying great Mexican food outdoors complete with margaritas. Cheers!

    Reply
  • kate July 25, 2021, 4:39 pm

    Pete,

    Unless that grill was salvaged or traded for, we might have to discuss facepunching. That’s not a Mustashian grill set up. However, it looks awesome and it will bring you tons of happiness!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 25, 2021, 4:48 pm

      Haha.. would you feel better if I told you that beauty was $399 at Sam’s Club, about EIGHT YEARS ago?

      Reply
  • Keith July 25, 2021, 4:40 pm

    It’s great to hear from you again, MMM. Can’t wait to hear about the heat pump project… and to see the documentary! I’m casting my vote for cheesy face punch graphics a la Batman and Robin.

    Reply
  • Philo July 25, 2021, 4:43 pm

    Thanks for the new post. I have always enjoyed reading your articles (since (2013 or so if I remember right.) I freely admit that you have been a positive influence in my life, and I thank you for that. I’m happy to hear (and see) that you are doing well and still taking challenges head-on!

    Cheers

    Reply
  • IF July 25, 2021, 4:50 pm

    Looks like you have much more valid excuses for posting absences than I do! Awesome stuff–sounds like you are keeping plenty busy!

    Reply
  • No More Weekdays July 25, 2021, 4:55 pm

    I think you’ve had enough going on to qualify as a good excuse for not blogging ;-)

    I’ve been thinking about a heat pump for our house for the last couple of years. We have some ductwork issues of our own that have kept us from pulling the trigger already.

    Looking forward to your write up on your DIY experience!

    Reply
  • Karen July 25, 2021, 4:55 pm

    Working with six young people to build a cooperative/regenerative farm comprising four different enterprises…and seeing the excitement that comes from this hotbed of entrepreneurial energy and growing confidence!

    Crowsfeatfarm.org

    Reply
  • Alternatepriorities July 25, 2021, 4:57 pm

    Thanks for the update! It looks like you’ve been having a good time being productive as usual. I retired in April thanks in part to your blog and have been so busy I don’t know how I ever had time to work! :) I’ve stocked four freezers with salmon and other wild game. I also cut split and stacked about 6 cords of wood for myself and my father. For fun, I’ve explored two remote corners of Alaska I hadn’t seen as well as bike packed 400 miles of highway. I’m almost caught up on the miscellaneous repairs I put off during the final push to FIRE. The rest will have to wait until after I help my brother build some running trails on his new property.

    I look forward to seeing your update on the heat pump installation. That sounds fascinating.

    Reply
  • Mark July 25, 2021, 4:58 pm

    Great to hear from you I always enjoy your posts. Would love your take on vaccines and vaccine hesitancy, if you want to wade into that. I was an early recipient and frankly surprised there has not been more uptake.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 25, 2021, 6:26 pm

      Yeah, I hear you! That subject might be a bit too specific and far from my main focus on this blog, unless you expand the idea to include herd-like behavior in general, and how amazingly prone we are to falling into it.

      Throughout the Covid era I have found myself in an unfamiliar place without many allies on either side. I kept reading the CDC website to follow the effects and death rate of the disease itself, and thought, “Hmm, yeah it’s a bad virus, but I think our response is still way overblown – we have healthy young people irrationally fearing for their *OWN* lives and wearing masks outside when exercising alone – the world has lost its mind!”

      But then the vaccines came out, and they were way better than we could have hoped (I got mine as soon as I could in April), and suddenly there are 120 million Americans who are self-appointed medical experts saying, “I am just gonna be careful what I put into my body – this stuff is too new, and too untested”.

      And I’m wondering – “NOW you are going to suddenly start caring what you put into your body? And the medical researchers are not trustworthy, but your Facebook friends and the news talkshow host somehow know what they are talking about?

      With that empty pile of Coke cans sitting in your trash bin and every other packaged carb junk food in your pantry and the health profile to show for it????

      Yeah, I definitely have some opinions. For me, it’s all about numbers: I get mad when people don’t read and understand the numbers, and then place rational bets based on minimizing risk based on those numbers.

      Reply
      • Chris July 26, 2021, 10:50 am

        MMM, totally agree. I tell people “unless you are more of an expert about mRNA vaccines than Pfizer or Moderna scientists, just go get vaccinated”

        Reply
      • Adam July 26, 2021, 10:53 am

        Pete, I certainly respect you and your writing has had a positive impact on my life.

        However, why do you assume that someone who hasn’t been vaccinated basically lives like an unhealthy piece of trash? I’m early 40’s, active, and have a good health profile. I don’t have the numbers to back it up (and will certainly listen if you do), but my feeling is that I’m a very low risk of complications if I do get Covid, the high risk people in my life have been vaccinated, the vaccine is of unknown long-term risk, and I can always take it later as I age and/or if my health situation changes. Where am I wrong?

        Reply
        • Jorge July 26, 2021, 11:30 am

          “We” will all be dealing with COVID for a long time as long as people continue to take the “I” approach. If it would not hurt you to get the vaccine, why not just do it for the good of the community as a whole, so we can all move on and get past this?

          Reply
        • Paul July 26, 2021, 11:33 am

          You’re not wrong. The CDC itself says people under 50 have a 99.95% and higher survival rate. Those are the numbers that matter. And this is everyone in those age ranges averaged. If you are fit and healthy your survival rate is ~100%. I just had COVID and it was a bad cold for 4 days. I worked the whole time.

          If you want serious analysis follow Alex Berenson on Twitter at @AlexBerenson

          Reply
          • JB July 26, 2021, 12:49 pm

            He’s right, it’s not about the “me” but the “we” and as long as folks keep considering just themselves and not others the virus will keep spreading. The virus don’t have a mind per se, but it has am imperative, to live. The virus just wants a host and it doesn’t care who. The idea with vaccines is to cut off as many hosts as possible so we get rid of it. (Remember smallpox? I don’t because it was eradicated before I was born because folks got the vaccine and we stopped it in its tracks.) Look, maybe you get it, or you don’t. Maybe it affects you or it doesn’t but if it has a host, like you it will keep living, spreading and mutating. (A 5 year old child just died in N. GA cause his folks didn’t “believe” in the vaccine.) One day a bigger, stronger version might make its way back to you or someone you love and then it might matter to you, but it could be too late for them. In the meantime as long as Covid keeps being strong from lots of hosts especially with vax numbers low in way too many communities across the U.S. and around the world, it will keep spreading and growing and killing lots of people. This is enough for me to get vaxed. I want to stop the virus and save lives. It’s a pretty simple choice for me. I would think it would be for everyone.

            Reply
          • Bijan July 31, 2021, 4:50 am

            I don’t mean to hijack MMM’s post and turn it into a COVID debate (in fact I come here in part because I know his posts won’t be COVID focused), but I can’t in good conscious let multiple references to Alex Berenson sit there on this esteemed forum without a response.

            Fully understanding medical journal articles requires a fairly high level of knowledge regarding medicine, epidemiology, clinical trial design, and statistics. It also requires a bunch of practice. It wasn’t until many years after medical school and residency that I really understood what I was reading. Mr. Berenson either doesn’t understand what he is reading, or is purposely misrepresenting that data in his “serious analysis.” Getting vaccinated is a personal choice. I strongly recommend it to my adult patients and family because the benefits clearly outweigh the risks; if you are worried about long term mRNA issues (I’m not), get the J&J. But PLEASE don’t base that choice on Berenson’s twitter nonsense. The Atlantic is not always a good place for science information either, but this article points out a few (of many) of Berenson’s errors: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/pandemics-wrongest-man/618475/.

            Reply
            • Mr. Money Mustache July 31, 2021, 2:48 pm

              Thanks for pointing that out Bijan – I hadn’t bothered to look up this Berenson character but WHOOSH, yes that is exactly the type of shit that causes these problems. Self-appointed non experts posing as experts on Twitter and then going on Faux News and then confusing everyone who watches, because they don’t have enough scientific background to spot the bullshit.

              It’s the same thing that causes woo-woo folks to spend $79.00 per ounce on supplements that don’t do anything, and fear the cancerous waves coming out of their wifi router, while missing the big picture of health entirely because they’re so busy sorting through the distractions.

              I think the strategy is simple: if you’re not at least at a practicing doctor’s level of medical and scientific expertise, and if you’re not the type of person who reads the WHOLE study with a calculator in hand so you can check the numbers, just do what the CDC says and don’t question it. Most of the time, you’ll end up on the best path because the CDC is a solid chunk of brainpower that thinks carefully before putting out statements.

              If you *ARE* one of these few people who are that passionate about doing the research, dig into the studies very carefully, discuss with peers including some who are actually credentialed in that field, and maybe tweak the advice slightly in those rare cases that you’ve found a way to do better.

              What if you don’t have many friends who are practicing researchers and scientists? There is nothing wrong with that – at ALL – but it is probably a sign that you are not the hard-nosed statistics-breathing numbers type that you *need* to be when wading into these deep waters. Because that type of person tends to hang out in clusters, and you’re not in such a cluster. So you should follow the CDC.

              All of this to say: don’t blindly follow tips from someone on Twitter who claims to be one of these people, because YOU are not able to judge their credibility unless you are at that level yourself.

              Reply
              • Adam August 17, 2021, 9:46 am

                I get what you’re saying and all but what if I had taken this approach to my health and listened to the mainstream? Or my finances instead of listening to you or others? I can confidently say I’d not be in a good place right now because this is how I lived before I started questioning things myself.

        • Mr. Money Mustache July 26, 2021, 12:15 pm

          My response to that is that you are trading a known-low risk (getting Covid) against a very-well-tested even-lower risk (getting the vaccine)

          Even more important, by getting vaccinated you help cut the ongoing bullshit of a surge in cases and further restrictions on life. I disagree with all of the restrictions, but if getting my shots contributes to having less of them, I am willing to do it.

          Heck, even if the vaccine was fairly risky I would still do it in order to chip in – that’s how shitty I think the lockdowns and restrictions are for society.

          Reply
          • Davin July 29, 2021, 7:22 pm

            “My response to that is that you are trading a known-low risk (getting Covid) against a very-well-tested even-lower risk (getting the vaccine)”

            I would ask.. what if there is an even lower risk treatment/s than the vaccine such as Ivermectin?

            If you have an open mind.. and look at the research (done by a global network of frontline doctors) without a pair of biased blinders on it can be an effective treatment.

            Reply
        • Joe July 26, 2021, 2:36 pm

          It comes down to whether the vaccine will help the greater good or not.

          So many unknowns at play: will you taking it make any difference? Will others still get it if you are not vaccinated. Will it stop variants? Covid vaccine is different it doesn’t eradicate a disease but is more a preselected cocktail of protection against known variants like flu vaccine, and no respiratory illness has a vaccine that erradicates unlike other illnesses. If youre against running off to a doctor everytime you get a cold, why on earth would you want the vaccine.

          The other side is: lockdowns suck, covid sucks, wearing a mask sucks, not hugging family is horrible, and if we can go back to normal because of covid becoming a seasonal epidemic rather than pandemic then lets go for that chance.

          Reply
          • Jorge July 26, 2021, 3:58 pm

            My father-in-law died of COVID on April 2, 2020. He died in Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NYC. That hospital was at the epicenter of the COVID chaos in NYC at the time. It made the news for all the wrong reasons: patients were lying in beds in the hospital hallways, simply waiting for a room, for DAYS because they were so swamped. I can remember the daily phone calls to the hospital, trying to reach his room to speak with him. Visits were not allowed. It was a roller coaster of emotions. One call stands out. He asked his grandson to please take care of his great grandchild. He said she was beautiful and wished him many more children. In hindsight, that call was the “goodbye” call, when he knew it was clear he was not going to make it. Even in his dying days he was thinking of others. We never got to see him before he died at the hospital.

            He was a wonderful man and did not deserve to go that way, alone. He left behind a spouse who has dementia. Even months later we were answering her question about how he had passed away (despite having told her many times before). He used to care for his wife and take her to doctor’s appointments.

            I say all of this to make the point that his death should not have been in vain. He died at a time when there was no vaccine. He never saw the virus coming. Now is different. Even if you don’t think that you will get “sick” from COVID because you’re in good health — and I pray that you are right — I ask you to please reconsider and get the vaccine anyway. If it can reduce the chance that others will have to go through the heartache that we did, why not? To me this website is about helping others if and when you can. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve told people about this website and how many times I’ve sent them MMM videos or articles. But life is about more than just achieving financial fitness or FIRE. Hope we can all get past this sooner rather than later and god bless you all.

            Reply
            • joe July 29, 2021, 3:55 am

              I’m sorry for your loss – the separation when folks are in hospital has truly been the most agonising part. I’ve had more virtual Zoom funerals these past 16 months than I care to remember and it never ends. Young, old, healthy, sick. The anxiety of those that have gotten it and whether they’ll recover. The inability for families to travel to sick family members in other countries. It is truly a horrible time, both in terms of the virus and the restrictions put in place to try control something uncontrollable.

              I do think about the younger people that we’ve buried as to whether they would’ve been spared had they gotten a vaccine. It wasn’t available, and I don’t know if they had a weakness to Covid (considering the death rate for their age group was so low probability in any case) that it made no difference if they had had the vaccine, but you do wonder. I’m glad that everyone that wants the vaccine is able to start getting it – The virus will continue to be a part of our lives for ever now, despite what people do with vaccinations.

              Reply
          • Teri J Babcock July 27, 2021, 11:33 pm

            Hi Joe.
            You wrote: “Will it stop variants? Covid vaccine is different it doesn’t eradicate a disease but is more a preselected cocktail of protection against known variants”
            This is not correct. The covid vaccines are not a ‘cocktail of protection’ like the flu virus shot that targets the 3 main (expected) flus for the year.

            Covid vaccines are a vaccine against one single virus, the original Sars-Cov-2. They are constantly being assessed against new variants, and the results have been very good for Pfizer and Moderna, and pretty good for AZ, so long as you have both shots.

            So yes it will work for variants. Are we likely to ‘eradicate’ covid? If everyone took their shots, yes, actually. The effectiveness is that high.

            But we won’t, because too many people have decided not to take it.

            Reply
            • joe July 29, 2021, 3:37 am

              True. I’m waiting for the stats to come out from countries that have had a large amount of vaccination and whether the death rate has decreased now with Delta. Interestingly, in my own country, we haven’t been able to get the vaccine (way below the world average), think we are approaching 10% now, but because of this almost everyone I know has had Covid. Most have recovered, and it seems that now the questions start as to whether antibodies from Covid will provide as much protection against variants as J&J or Pfizer. Our government gave away all our AZ vaccines in the beginning of the virus as they weren’t effective against Beta. Now they realize they would have been good against Delta.

              Anyway, as I noted, I want to see what both mass vaccination will do for a country in terms of death rates (UK is a great case study), and what a population that has been fully exposed to Covid will do. I’m not against the vaccine to get back to normality, but at present our country has so little doses available that I’d prefer the at-risk to get vaccinated first.

              Reply
        • Noah July 26, 2021, 6:59 pm

          Adam,

          You should get the vaccine even if you are young and healthy primarily for the reason that if you don’t, you are more likely to require hospitalization from covid and become a burden to our healthcare system. There are only about 30 ICU beds per population of 100,000 in the united states. Right now, there are something like 60 hospitalizations for covid daily per 100,000 people. Every one of these ICU beds represents a significant percentage of the resources available for managing these covid patients not to mention the other issues for which they are needed.

          It is so hard for us to wrap our heads around the reality of a million humans and everything that goes along with them. And it’s easy for us to brush off small percentages as insignificant. That is the mistake that leads to a lot of our problems.

          Reply
        • M3m July 26, 2021, 11:44 pm

          Short answer: Long Covid. While death is the worst outcome and can easily be counted (and thus ignored by a certain age group due to low probability), there is a bunch of symptoms that last for quite some time for a significant percent of infected people. Just like with smoking, you may a) die, b) catch a crippling disease resulting in disability or maybe be one of the lucky ones and c) stay (relatively) healthy. For some reason, people and mediay only focus on a) or c). Vaccination should help avoiding long covid, so yeah, do it for the greater good, but do it for yourself as well.

          Reply
        • DuckReconMajor July 27, 2021, 5:09 am

          Did you read Paula Pant’s account of having it? She’s even younger and just as healthy and it sounded like absolute hell. Also, yes this is another anecdotal account, from what I’ve heard from health care workers online everyone that’s been in the hospital for COVID has said they regret not getting the vaccine. I’ll take the possible side effects from a new, “unknown” (not really) risk of vaccine vs. the effects from a new virus we’re still learning new symptoms of.

          The long term effects of COVID are also not fully known and I highly doubt they’re going to be less harmful than any vaccine’s unlikely effects

          Reply
        • Alex July 31, 2021, 7:00 am

          The way I see it. If you are prepared to live without ever seeing anyone else (and therefore not able to infect anyone else), and are also happy to not be cared for by the medical services if you do get it, then by all means don’t get vaccinated.

          Otherwise, get vaccinated.

          Reply
  • W Dean Pulley July 25, 2021, 5:30 pm

    That’s pretty far from slacking, MMM – but doing anything you love or want to do is refreshing!

    Same here, replaced all the old central AC systems with DIY minisplits. So very quiet, so very cheap and so very decentralized. If one goes down, the rest hum along – and replacing a unit is the cost of my old central unit’s not-so-occasional repair bills. Lots of building, lots of hiking, lots of happiness.

    At 64, I’ve engaged Travis McGee’s approach to FI/RE since my late 20’s: take your retirement in installments instead of waiting until you’re too dead of mind, body and spirit to enjoy the fruits of your labors (assuming you’re fortunate enough to have longevity in the first place) I figure I’ve racked up close to twenty years of retirement in this fashion so far. The time-offs keep getting longer, and this current mode has just enough interesting work thrown in to be the model from here on.

    Glad to hear you are healthy and happy, long may you run.

    Reply
  • Glen July 25, 2021, 5:43 pm

    Nice! Glad you’re on-board with how great heat pumps are! One of the big tasks ahead for America is to replace all fossil-fuel powered things in our homes with electric things. Rewiring America has the detailed game plan: https://www.rewiringamerica.org/ (not affiliated, just really love the project)

    Reply
  • Tom Just Tom July 25, 2021, 6:02 pm

    Well, silly me; with no blog post for 3 months, I thought you might have actually retired.

    This post must have made the Internet FIRE Police very disappointed!

    Reply
  • Rob July 25, 2021, 6:35 pm

    Welcome back!

    How can we identity which articles have been rewritten? It’ll be nice to re-read them.

    Reply
    • Aisling McCarthy July 25, 2021, 7:16 pm

      I would say subscribe to his “bootcamp series” by email. That will give you them all :)

      Reply
      • Chris L July 25, 2021, 8:24 pm

        That’s what I just did because I was super curious about updates to the best of the best!

        Reply
      • Nitsan Avni July 26, 2021, 4:42 am

        Or just just re-read them all! :)

        Reply
    • Joe August 3, 2021, 11:00 am

      Would like to know the list, as well. I don’t want to have to wait 35 weeks to get all the updates! I’ve already read every single MMM post but I was a late arrival, having completed all articles just within the last year or so. I’d love to see the updates.

      Reply
  • fierymillennials July 25, 2021, 6:42 pm

    My partner and I bought a house together and have been learning how to live with each other, catching up on delayed projects around the house, surviving our jobs, and playing video games! I’ve also been getting back into my quilting and stained glass hobbies. Good to hear from you Pete!

    Reply
    • Heather July 27, 2021, 1:46 pm

      Stained glass hobby?! Would love to know how you got into that! Any online resources you could share would be so appreciated. Congrats on the house and coexisting!!

      Reply
  • Stacey MILLER July 25, 2021, 6:50 pm

    We enjoyed 2 days in the Finger Lakes region of NY, 3 days in Burlington VT, and now a week in Maine to hike Acadia and chill & ponder next steps…Tomorrow we ferry to a remote Maine island. My husband & I are savoring our time traveling the country & eating yummy fresh seafood! We’ll be back to our responsibilities too soon!

    Glad to hear you (& the MMM community!) are thriving.

    Reply
  • Al July 25, 2021, 7:00 pm

    Glad you’re doing well, MMM!

    On the question of what topics I would like to see here: I think your DIY posts (and videos) are immensely helpful. For example, it would be great if you can cover bike maintenance on here (or maybe on the YouTube channel). Also, I do miss the old-school case studies. Not sure if you’re interested in doing those anymore, especially since the documentary seems to revolve around a similar theme, but those were super fun and informative to read. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    Reply
  • Frank Cardoza jr. July 25, 2021, 7:01 pm

    Hola M3!

    It would be cool to hear your take on how underrated the trades are..
    Especially when many trades can parlay well at the homestead..😎

    Reply
  • Nathan Perrier July 25, 2021, 7:57 pm

    Honestly MMM, I think most subscribers are happy to read about what you’ve been up to this month over a write-up of some novel budgeting technique you’ve just discovered.

    Reply
  • MarciaB July 25, 2021, 8:14 pm

    The fireman pole…your love of exercise…is pole dancing in your future? Now THOSE are some pictures I’d like to see! 🤗

    Reply
    • Melissa The Roamer August 1, 2021, 8:07 pm

      Sorry I had to let you know that I LOL’d at this!

      I do think the pole seems very fun.

      Reply
  • Goose July 25, 2021, 8:17 pm

    Nice Heat Pump. The DC Inverter-driven compressor should be ultra quiet, in theory. I did not know they had a multi-position A-coil air handler product out there. MRCOOL claims no vacuum pump is needed. Did you use one anyway?
    I have installed maybe 5 heat pumps myself. Far from an expert. I installed a few Daikins and also went to a Samsung presentation (took a couple of hours). Samsung sold me on their inverter-driven product. Many a complaint has been levied over loud AC & heat pump condensers. I made myself the guinea pig for the Samsung (put a 18,000 BTU unit in our house). Accounting for condensate drainage and other variables, the condenser needed to go pretty much right under my wife’s hummingbird feeder and right next to a bush they like to sit on. I promised her that I would move the unit (which would require more lineset than the manufacturer would allow with the pre-charged refrigerant) if it drove away the birds. Well, it didn’t. I’m amazed how quiet it is. They still use the feeder and sit on the bush. You can’t even tell if they thing is on when you’re outside unless you’re standing in front of the fan getting hot air blown on you.

    Anyway, these things are easy to install. The tool investment is minimal and the skills are easily mastered. The biggest barriers are getting refrigerant legally (a one day class, which can be done online) and whatever trade-block restrictions your state has (mine requires an electrical or oil technician license).

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 26, 2021, 12:22 pm

      Congrats on your own installs, Goose! I’ll cover full details in the actual heat pump article, but: no vacuum pump or refrigerant needed, the Mr. Cool comes with the linesets pre-charged and a novel valve design that lets you unleash everything with just an alan key once you have it properly connected.

      And yeah, it is SO QUIET (both indoors and out), that I would now replace my home system just even if it was for that reason alone – because it’s worth it to eliminate that torturous summer A/C noise. The extra efficiency and the year-round climate control and the easy DIY install are just icing on the cake.

      Reply
  • Tom Kinsky July 25, 2021, 8:37 pm

    My big COVID projects were to build a wattle fence around my garden, and also a cob pizza oven (making a second one for my mom now!).

    Reply
  • Jim July 25, 2021, 9:14 pm

    Hi Mr. MMM,

    One of the hottest topics while you’ve been gone is inflation. How hot is it going to get. Some people like Mr. Big Short Michael J. Burry talk about Weimar Germany coming. Are you looking more at hard assets these days?

    Best,

    Jim

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 26, 2021, 12:27 pm

      Great subject idea! I think it might be time to dust off my years-old “Mr. Money Mustache vs. Inflation” draft post, update it and publish it.

      The quick answer is that inflation doesn’t hurt us stock investors anyway – company income and share prices will inflate right along with the economy at whatever rate it does happen, so there is no need to go to non-productive superstition holdings like gold or clown-crypto tokens. However, inflation DOES hurt both cash-holders (because cash becomes worth less) and people who are less well off (because the system changes under their feet in unpredictable and unfair ways), so a low, steady rate of inflation is still much better than having it happen quickly.

      Reply
      • Sam July 26, 2021, 3:23 pm

        MMM, I realize you’re not a stock picker but Warren Buffett says during inflationary times to focus on businesses that generate cash, not consume it, and can increase prices easily. Any thoughts of stepping outside the index fund guardrails to invest in such businesses?

        If inflation rapidly doubles the SP 500 can come down 40%. It happened in the 70s.

        Reply
  • Skippy July 25, 2021, 9:33 pm

    I’ve been spending the last few months studying web development to upgrade my leaky tap of cash to something more firehose-like. Or Attempting to. Anyone got any good reading on procrastination/discipline? Facepunches not accepted

    Reply
  • Unusually Intentional July 25, 2021, 10:10 pm

    BIG STASH! Good to hear from you again!
    It’s really great to see you living out the MMM commandments and setting an example for all of us! I just wanted to let you know that while this blog is an absolute gift to humanity that changes us reader’s lives, we would never blame you for choosing something that would bring you more happiness!

    I can only hope to one day have internalised the teachings of the Mustache to the level you continuously uphold!

    Reply
  • George Choy July 25, 2021, 10:38 pm

    Hi MMM
    It was great to see your email in my inbox this morning.
    Glad to see you are back into rental properties again and I love the fireman’s pole…my kids would really like that.
    I’m really looking forward to watching your documentary. Exciting!!

    Just a suggestion, it would be great to have a link in the headline of your email back to this article…to make it easier to comment. Your previous emails were like that.

    Reply
  • Jim July 26, 2021, 12:56 am

    Welcome back MMM! One topic that’s grown hot in your absence is inflation. Getting hotter. Even Mr Big Short Dr. Michael Burry warns of Weimar times ahead. Are you leaning towards hard assets these days?

    Reply
  • Allen b Harris July 26, 2021, 1:37 am

    My wife and I have talked about going on a motorcycle tour. Before this article, I wouldn’t have thought about bringing all the Harley bike parts. Having a fuel siphon is a great idea.

    Reply
  • Cameron Kirby July 26, 2021, 4:25 am

    Hi MMM,

    Great to see you posting again.

    Personally, if you’re open to talking about it, I’d love to hear more about your ADHD diagnosis and how you think it has or hasn’t influenced the FIRE lifestyle you’ve designed for yourself. I just got diagnosed with ADHD myself and I’m also a software engineer on his way to FIRE (UK based so it’s gonna take me a fair bit longer) so I’ve been thinking a lot about how those behaviours influence my spending habits and my desire for FIRE. At first glance the strict saving required for FIRE seems antithetical to the impulsiveness but I think fits quite well with other factors and I’d be super interested to hear your thoughts.

    Reply
  • Anya July 26, 2021, 5:10 am

    Whoot! Thank you for the inspirational update! I’ve been job searching mostly! Please keep fingers crossed for my next adventure in the corporate world!

    Reply
  • Chris July 26, 2021, 5:55 am

    Looks like it has been a pretty productive summer. Glad you got the update post out, was starting to wonder if you were retiring from the blog!

    What good would retirement be if you couldn’t take a few months off!

    Don’t give up on the draft posts, I definitely want to read them.

    Reply
  • Petitmju July 26, 2021, 6:16 am

    For those, who are not newcomers, is it possible to get that magical subscription for 35 refreshed articles?:) If so, how to get it?

    Reply
  • Marianne Halavage July 26, 2021, 6:38 am

    Nice update, nice house! For an upcoming update, would you consider covering: when is a good time to get into the market. I have cash sitting in a personal SIPP but keep anticipating the markets crashing and so been reluctant to invest it. Same with buying a first home. It seems like there might be bubbles and crashes on the horizon. Any thoughts on best times to enter in current climate?

    Reply
    • Dharma Bum July 27, 2021, 6:26 pm

      Rule #1
      The BEST time to get into the market is yesterday.
      Rule #2
      The SECOND BEST time to get into the market is today.
      Nobody can predict the direction of the market in the short term.
      The biggest gains in any given year are made on a few select days. When those days occur are unpredictable.
      In the long term, over several years, your investment today will grow.
      You cannot time the market.
      If you have cash to invest, there’s no time like the present.
      Set it and forget it.
      Until you have to rebalance your allocations.
      A fee based (non-commissioned) financial advisor can assist you.
      If you want to go it alone with a DIY brokerage, there’s plenty of basic direction on the internet regarding how to set up a balance and diversified portfolio according to your personal goals, situation, and risk tolerance.

      Reply
  • Mr. Boy Millionare July 26, 2021, 6:55 am

    In my first year as a mustachian me and the SO now have 20k!

    Reply
  • VeganBetty July 26, 2021, 9:34 am

    You talk about renovating a lot and so I think a good post would be how to do that as environmentally sound as possible. For instance when I rehab a property I put every single little thing that seems like complete junk on craigslist free and lo and behold someone will want it. Even paint! So at least doesn’t end up in the landfill. I’d be interested to hear what solutions you find to minimize the waste of a rehab project going to a landfill. Also just as an FYI, there’s nowhere to click on the email to get to this post on the web from your new service. That I could tell at least. I clicked on the heading and the picture to try to get to the post on the web so that I could comment and it was not clickable. Just a little tidbit. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 26, 2021, 12:37 pm

      Yeah, that is one of my favorite ways to run a construction project as well – reuse as much as I can, source LOTS of stuff from craigslist and other scrap sources, and then sell/donate all the stuff that I have left afterwards. Even the scraps of clean wood that are too small to reuse, become fuel for an efficient woodstove to heat a friend’s house.

      Here’s a 2011 article on our experience with this on a long-ago fun project:
      https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/11/15/foreclosure-project-increasing-profits-with-the-recycled-building-materials-store/

      Reply
      • Asim July 28, 2021, 5:55 am

        Hi MMM,

        I am from india.

        I’ve been following your blog since 2016.. still to this day I read your previous articles …

        Please keep posting articles atleast on a monthly basis and will you come up with your own personal finance book in near future ???

        Also , please post vdos on ur youtube channel … Show us ur home n ur HQ building … The homes that you’ve renovated etc.

        Can you please write an article focusing on fitness … How to be in the top 5 percent of fit people, please ????

        Please consider the below topics for ur future blog posts –

        1. Savings rate revisited
        2.different levels of personal finance
        3. Case studies
        4. PF book reviews
        5. What should we really spend our money on ???

        Reply

Leave a Reply

To keep things non-promotional, please use a real name or nickname
(not Blogger @ My Blog Name)

The most useful comments are those written with the goal of learning from or helping out other readers – after reading the whole article and all the earlier comments. Complaints and insults generally won’t make the cut here, but by all means write them on your own blog!

connect

welcome new readers

Take a look around. If you think you are hardcore enough to handle Maximum Mustache, feel free to start at the first article and read your way up to the present using the links at the bottom of each article.

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.

Love, Mr. Money Mustache

latest tweets