So, after learning that I am still an INTJ, I looked it up on wikipedia (I know, I know) and saw that INTJ only accounts for 1-4% of the population. After reading the thread containing everyone's results, I did a quick count and found that over 50% of respondents are INTJ. Obviously there could be some other link that I'm missing, but perhaps ERE draws predominantly INTJ personality-types. Any thoughts?
INTJ linked to ERE?(22 posts)
Early retirement in general draws predominantly from the INTJ and ISTJ types. Also some INTP. I think this comes down to competent money handling skills as much as it comes down to a desire for job-independence.
If you do a general survey of personal finance bloggers, you'll find that many of them (again close to half) are INTJs; even the ones talking about saving 6% for the company match in your 401k.
I'm INTJ and there may be some selection effect in that INTJs tend to find my rants more bearable than other types. There's also an educational bias. Most people here are either highly degreed or self-educated to a similar level. This is great in terms of being able to bounce ideas off of people and having discussions without any mud slinging. However, it has also been a bit of a problem in spreading ERE to the general population. Some are simply not smart enough to follow along.
"bit of a problem in spreading ERE to the general population. Some are simply not smart enough to follow along."
Unfortunately, it's true for the majority of the population. When half the population can argue a math problem emotionally, and still think it's legit, you know we are in trouble.
The more we discuss useless spending, the more it encompasses my overall thinking. I am frugal, and I can't help it. I am even getting a little worried about myself. I am actually getting to the point that spending money on just about anything (except a slick and clean M1911A1 Colt Automatic) is distasteful.
I was humming around my shop and discovered I needed a table mounted router. I already have an old router table and about six routers. So off I go to Amazon and I find the Bosch model and it is highly recommended. I did not have a stand for it, but keep reading. I was about to push the "add to cart" button and I just could not do it. I just could not spend the money, when with some effort, I could remake what I already had. So, I got an old table saw stand, and took it apart and repainted it. Carefully making it very stable and nice looking. Then I got my "old" router table and took it all apart. I remounted one of my more powerful routers, made a new fence, rebuilt my dust port, and repainted the table. I then mounted the router table onto my redone stand. TA DA!!! Looks and works better than new, cost: nothing but my time and labor.
This can work for most things. Many just go buy the new gadget, when they have something better made just for the redoing, or redesigning. The good feeling for me was not spending the money for a probably Chinese made router table that I would have had to put together anyway, cussing the quality, and then my probable disappointment.
I would not mind buying just about anything, but my experiences in doing that the last few years is disappointing in the quality of the products available in general. Moral of story: Look around for something you already have before buying something new. I think it is the aversion to a day's work and scrounging around to find parts to remake the stuff that puts consumers in the dog house.
@jacob. Enjoy your rants very much and have enjoyed your recent new blog material and increased attention and responses to the forum posts. (I particularly enjoyed Bloggers should post their personal opinions and plan to not hold back my personal INTJ values when posting in the future especially in my journal. I concur with some are simply not smart enough to follow along. The responses I get from educated "smart" folks about my evolving lifestyle are often filled with nonsense and the responders fear of facing their own issues.
@hspencer. Agree with your thoughts about objects and think the same low quality analysis points can be applied to the majority of service available for purchase.
I think a lot of it has to do with being able to analyze a situation or a thing and understand it and have confidence in how to approach it. The first time you figure out how simple it is to fix a bike, or change your oil, or fix your toilet... some people never even really seriously consider it, and therefor never undertake it. I think it's similar when you actually sit down and think in earnest about ERE and think to yourself - wow, I think I can really do this!
That ability to view things outside of any external context for the pure puzzle or problem or challenge that they present. I think the INTJ types have that ability are more apt to seriously consider the ERE situation.
@jacob... btw off-topic, but what did you mean by "even the ones talking about saving 6% for the company match in your 401k."? Why wouldn't you take advantage of the company match? (or am I reading that wrong)
@chilly - I just meant that in the sense that most pf bloggers (out of which a great deal are INTJs) still write about standard middle class advice.
So while INTJ almost seems like a necessary (in 75%+ of the cases anyway) condition for ERE, it is not a sufficient condition.
RE: "Some are simply not smart enough to follow along."
Ernest Hemingway famously wrote at a 3rd to 5th grade reading level. Perhaps other types are not the only ones to suffer from the occasional emotional blind spot?
@hickchick - Indeed, conversely, I'm not smart enough to reach the average reader. Or maybe I have too much elitist integrity/snobbery to compromise and start writing at a 3rd grade level just to be widely understood. Also, fortunately, I don't need to be expedient about my writing style.
@Jacob - I just can't miss a chance to make fun of you for using all those big words. ;)
I think you're missing the problem when you couch it in terms of artistic integrity v. intelligence v. emotion, etc. I've been feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance lately about ERE. Which is completely deserving of its own thread.
The INTJ's really do have all the components for ERE. I'm an INTP and the P really messes things up for me. We generally get stressed with planning and want things left more open-ended. The INTJ's are better suited to plan and execute. It looks like INTP's are still pretty high in the ranks around here though.
By the way, this is my first post. I like the site and I've read the book!
"This is great in terms of being able to bounce ideas off of people and having discussions without any mud slinging. However, it has also been a bit of a problem in spreading ERE to the general population. Some are simply not smart enough to follow along."
disclosure: ENTJ here. ;)
personally, i wouldn't want ERE to spread to the general population. not that it could happen - most people are set on the societal norm of spend-buy-die. but as an outlier, it makes it so much easier and more pleasant to live our off-the-path life. so much easier to buy our clothes at the thrift store, have the movies to ourselves on a tuesday afternoon, have yellowstone to ourselves in september, find a great used car, snap up like-new workout equipment at 90%-off, etc., etc., etc., when there's less *competition*.
i suppose it's the silver lining to the cloud of not being able to convince society to consume less.
Some are simply not smart enough to follow along.
Holy crap. I understand the middle of the IQ bell curve is 100 but sweet Moses that's elitist. The concepts aren't that hard.
Yet, if we're so smart why did we need to get advanced degrees to figure out we didn't want/need advanced degrees? Why did we need to work 9 to 5 jobs to realize we didn't want to work 9 to 5 jobs. That's what children do:
"I want that!"
"Here you go."
"This is stupid and I hate it."
Where was the foresight that comes from wisdom? I'm severely INTJ so this applies to me as well. Actually it's more like I(2x)nTJ(10x).
How about mature? Or creative? Smart doesn't have much to do with it. I would hazard a guess that it's more the J that clinches it. Js tend to be focused and intense. They can also become dissatisfied easily and seek alternates rather than tolerate the dissatisfaction. A strong internal locus of control.
I really wish more people embraced it. I'm too elitist to have my standard of living dragged down by the middle of the bell curve. And they will be dragging us down if we listen to the doomers. Sure we'll have our little self-sufficient life rafts as we watch the Titanic sink, but hey, we used to be on the Titanic. It had champagne and strawberries and a string quartet.
My life boat has MREs. Scrambled eggs and ham. They still make that?
@JasonR - It's not that the concepts are hard in themselves. For example, the concept of negative numbers isn't hard and practically everybody knows it. However, if you try to explain the concept of negative numbers to someone who has never heard about it before, how fast they grasp it will be significantly determined by how smart they are.
Very few things are inherently hard. Most things are fairly simple. Given enough time, I believe I can explain the special theory to anyone.
Smart is probably not the right word or the problem here. The bigger problem is just how enormously ignorant people are.
For example, one third can't find north on a map!
I'm not making this up.
"On a more practical level, given a map of a hypothetical place and told they could escape an approaching hurricane by evacuating to the northwest, one-third would travel in the wrong direction."
This level of ignorance is mind-blowing. It shows that the middle of the bell curve when it comes to actual knowledge is just slightly above that of being able to tell left from right on a map.
Believe you me, if you ask questions like "if you put $100 in the bank at 5% interest, how much money will you have in the bank one year from now" to a random person, it doesn't get much better. A very significant fraction will simply not know how to answer this question.
It's really tempting to be an elitist in such an environment. Elitism is really nothing more than believing that smarter/better informed people make better decisions; alternatively, that stupid/uninformed people make dumb decisions. However, elitism per se has nothing to do with how dumb people are or with the problem of teaching ERE. It's just an argument for which people should make the decisions.
The general problem isn't that people aren't "intelligent" in the IQ sense. The problem is that 1) People don't think---they just regurgitate results; and 2) People don't know much of anything beyond their chosen profession.
So if I try to explain things like "So if your expense level is $9,000/year and you can invest your money at 3%, then if you have $300,000 you can get $9,000/year adjusted for inflation for an eternity and thus you don't need to work for income since you got everything covered". And you know what the typical answer is ... even from people who are supposedly capable of calculating with percentages? Such as people who graduated 8th grade.
"But don't you need like a million dollars to retire?"
(because that's the number they heard from some expert)
No, the ability to think for yourself is extremely rare(!)
The INTJ personality does seem to come with this ability though. Thinking critically is a natural tendency for INTJs---not just a school assignment. It's not that it doesn't come with other types, but it's very expressed in the INTJ personality.
>> WRT 5% of $100, I had to smile. Why do you suppose McDonald's had to replace their cash registers with devices that only required the counter staff to press a button linked to the product ordered? Some of it was increased time efficiency, but some of it was the deficiency in math skills of their employees. The bell curve hasn't changed, but the general skillset of most people educated prior to the 1980s has been supplanted by the ubiquity and ease of access to cheap computational devices and the internets.
It may not be a matter of the intelligence of your audience as much as it is a question of the currency of attention being required of any prospective reader/listener. It is astonishingly difficult to compete with the mind-numbing array of options demanding the attention of individuals in our society. It takes a particular sort of person to favor ERE philosophy over the antics of Kim Kardashian or the coffee: good or evil? debate.
WRT the OP, I tend to think it's not J vs. P. I am a P that's often forced into J-like behavior by the scheduling demands of the legal profession. That isn't my preference, but I can cope with the demands. So, I admit I may have a conceptual bias. But, I would argue that a high-P would be more resilient than a J in the face of situations requiring adaptive responses to changes in financial or lifestyle changes. We are much more comfortable going with the flow if a particular milepost isn't met yet or if the path suddenley forks in an unexpected direction. So, if the real fruit of ERE is successful adaptation to peak-oil society, as you have often suggested; then I and other P-like folks may be attracted to the fuzzy (in the sense of bounded but not yet determined) adaptive challenges.
So, it seems to me that the key distinction is the F vs. T. As I remarked in another thread, Kiersey considers the NT temperament to be the most absorbed with minimal/maximal efficiency analysis. And this is precisely the sort of reasoning that the preparation and execution of ERE requires. What is the least that I need to consume to effectively end my reliance on paid work? While it is certainly possible for a high-F person to have an emotional attachment to the concept of an ERE lifestyle or appreicate the aesthetic value of its practice, it doesn't surprise me that the majority of those who are comfortable undertaking it tend to have an NT orientation. It feeds into the way we think about the world in general.
@Maus - While Jacob's formulas are cogent, I think Kim Kardashian's parabolas will win every time.
That was embarrassing. I'm sorry.
I agree that examples of stupidity abound but pointing out American's lack of geographical knowledge is a low blow. It's our Achilles heel (or maybe it's spelling). That's like making fun of the British dental system or pointing out that Denmark (somewhere above Canada?) is only famous for Legos. I'm sure Denmark did something else...something...you guys have a statue or something...?
You're right it's not intelligence. Intelligent people still mess up the old "I have a bat and a ball that cost $1.10, the bat costs $1 more than the ball...how much does the ball cost?" Or the lily pads in a pond question or the 5 machines make 5 widgets in 5 hours...but I'm not sold on Myers type either. I have no evidence, I'm just stating things. Like a J.
I think ERE will struggle in the mainstream not because most American's have run directly into a hurricane or because a very small percentage of people are a specific alignment. Maybe it's because you're asking people to replace an entire value system. To me it's more akin to asking someone to swap religions. You can be very intelligent, an INTP/J and have a vast knowledge of many belief systems--therefore not ignorant and a proven will to learn--but actually making the jump from one to another or giving one up or adopting one...that's a life changer. It's a huge emotional investment to realign your principles. It's easier to stick with what you have until you're forced to change. Maybe it has more to do with that?
There was a recent survey of 5 questions along the lines/difficulty of the interest rate question. 90% [of American's, but I bet other nations as well] didn't get them all right.
"Maybe it's because you're asking people to replace an entire value system."
This is definitely part of it.
INTJs probably have the easiest time with the "I'm wrong, you're right"/"While my system is good, your system is better, so I'll adopt yours"-pragmatism.
I leave you with Britney Spear's guide to semiconductor physics.
No. Not embarrassing. Clever. Again, I smiled. Afterall, even if I don't care a wit about KK's opinions, I know who she is. Now I will forever have a mental association with certain curves.
And Denmark (NW of Germany) should be famous as the birthland of our Dear Leader himself. There is absolutely no excuse for Americans geographic ignorance. It's the easiest damn wedge in Trivial Pursuit after all.
I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment of the "conversion" to ERE by the mainstream. It is definitely a counter-cultural value system. But I suspect adherents may be more forthcoming when necessity goads them to reappraise ERE in light of the resilience and adaptive success of we pioneers. Not so much forced change as a reality check.
Also see the following fresh post in which I---in my infinite and may I say extremely reasonable wisdom---proceed to call people dumb, stupid, ignorant, idiots, etc. 8-)
"After reading the thread containing everyone's results, I did a quick count and found that over 50% of respondents are INTJ."
Maybe all the ISTJs like myself lurk and don't respond to posts. The study up above shows that ISTJs have a higher percentage than the INTJs but I didn't see a single ISTJ in the personality test poll.
Maybe I could do a survey on the blog. That seems to bring out the lurkers.
(It could also be that people simply don't know---that INTJs are into MBTI more than many other types. For example, given the rarity in the population, there are a surprisingly large number of INTJ forums on the web.)
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