Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

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Devil's Advocate
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Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Devil's Advocate » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:38 am

What do you ERE types feel about philanthropy?

Now this is my first post with this nick, so brief introduction: I’m an “ERE type” myself, in fact rabidly so, all the way, both in theory and in practice. I’ve been lurking this website and the posts and discussions here for awhile, and very occasionally post using another nick as well.

So why have I taken on this nick? Well, while I’m very much sold on ERE myself, there are quite a few points about ERE that I have, when asked, not been able to answer others to others’ full satisfaction (which hasn’t stopped me doing what appealed to me, in this case moving towards and embracing ERE, but fact remains there are points which can do with better representation than I was capable of); then there are some points, far fewer, where I could not respond to others even to my own full satisfaction; and finally, there are some contrary thoughts that sometimes arise in my mind about this whole ERE business. It is to air these doubts, and seek answers that elude me (or better answers than occur to me) that I’ve taken on this contrarian persona.

All of this was by of saying Hi, and to present a one-time disclaimer that “Devil’s Advocate” is no troll, nor someone out to grab attention through contrary posts, but a serious participant in ERE discussions. Right, introduction over.

So, back to my first question in Devil’s-Advocate mode. Where does philanthropy figure in the scheme of things of ERE?

By obsessively targeting savings in quest of FI, the scope of philanthropy is inevitably curtailed (if not eliminated altogether). And after FI is reached, if actual retirement follows, then earnings (at least the large chunk that used to come from the regular job) cease (or at least shrivel, in case of part-time work), again curtailing the scope for philanthropy.

That’s the theory. And this is borne out in practice also. I have not come across serious discussions on philanthropy in these forums where people have been talking/typing so much for months and years together, and dissecting threadbare the pros and cons of such momentous things as cheap umbrellas, single-pan cooking and re-usable fries obtained free of cost. Which is not to belittle those latter concerns, I partake of (some of) them myself, but to simply point out that philanthropy does not exactly loom large in the ERE mindspace. (If I’m wrong, and if I’ve simply missed such discussions, do point it out here, and I’ll check it out: but even if I have missed perhaps one or two threads, the essence of my point remains, which is that such discussion is scant, if not actually non-existent.) On a personal note, I myself have not worried about this aspect of ERE at all, until it was pointed out to me; and even when highlighted by another, it has not, thus far, affected me enough to act on it (although I have thought about it, felt uncomfortable about it, and am now posting about it).

I have very recently been introduced to a gentleman, a banker in fact, who actually contributes around 75% of his after-tax income to philanthropy. (That he gives away such a large portion of his income is not due to frugality. On the contrary, philanthropy apart, this gentleman is a very voracious consumerist/materialist, and his lifestyle is luxurious, even opulent. This is a seriously rich guy—rich as in high-income, I have no idea about his accumulated wealth and did not dare ask lest I be seen as an even bigger a******, but more about the nether apertures later—and even his 25% leavings will probably far exceed the full 100% of practically everyone here, certainly it many times exceeds mine own. So although this paragon does not in any way rough it out, the good that he does actually far exceeds most EREs, perhaps all EREs.) And lest we see a show of hands and a chorus of “we do volunteer work”, let me add that despite his busy work schedule this gentleman probably does more volunteer work than the average here, and certainly more than I myself do. (Yes, I know, the Pope is probably considering the first before-death beatification here.) And we all know of people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, don’t we. (Although it can be argued that Bill Gates is himself ERE, in that he stepped back himself, voluntarily, after a point: but I wouldn’t agree. ERE holds FI as the bar, beyond which lies retirement. At least that is the base case scenario. Bill Gates must have reached his FI back when he was still proud of his just-sprouting chest hair or thereabouts, and this (the FI bit, not the chest hair) was not something he ever dreamt of tom-tomming. If he had followed this same bar as the rest of us, which is FI, his philanthropy would have been limited to one big kindly laugh, and perhaps a bag of peanuts, and not the serious money it now entails.)

This kind of thinking, and this sort of motivation, would probably be totally alien to how the ERE mind works. True, there is nothing in ERE that actually forbids philanthropy, but when someone suggests to me that this kind of person (the saintly banker, I mean to say, and Bill Gates as well) is a better human being than your quintessential ERE, I don’t like it, but cannot in all honesty disagree. The ERE mind can more easily think of philanthropy as free soup being ladled out by someone else which we can eat in preference to more expensive options (or a free park built by someone else in which to jog or take walks rather than going to an expensive gym, or education grants put in place by someone else that one can avail of for free, or a town hall or community space sponsored by someone else that one can meet or hang out in for free), provided it was near enough and one didn’t have to spend on car and fuel to drive to it. That is philanthropy to the ERE mind. To put it more bluntly and concisely (as it was actually put to me, in fact, by one of the very few people whose opinion does matter to me), EREs are basically a******s (or at least this particular ERE, who has been goaded into acquiring a new nick and posting to you, is). An a******, and if not a freeloader, certainly not a philanthropist-at-large. An a******, and if not an actual liability to society, certainly not a prime asset either.

Let’s see what kind of defense my fellow a******s here can put up to this accusation. I myself had none: or at least, I had plenty, but none that were adequate, and none that did not leave me feeling a wee bit sick. As an aside, DIY tips on how to batter aforementioned saintly banker paragon to death (without risking detection) are welcome too.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:28 am

The banker, through his strength of participation in the financial system, has taken that money from the very people he is so generously giving it back to. Outsmarting the poor from the fruits of their labor, taking a cut, and giving what's left back, is not overly saintly.

Through his luxury consumption, he's also re-directing productive labor from tasks that might actually contribute to improved quality of life for others.

When you're dealing with someone that has power, you're dealing with someone that is consolidating other people's energies and doling it back out as he sees fit. That may, or may not, be better than leaving them to expend their energy as they'd prefer.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by JasonR » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:30 am

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Last edited by JasonR on Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

takapunch
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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by takapunch » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:02 am

Welcome! I'm new myself. It's always good to hear something that challenges your assumptions, or at the very least requires you to actively support your arguments. No knife ever got sharp without a whetstone.

That said, I think a few of your assumptions regarding "the ERE mind," "retirement," and what makes a contribution "better" or "worse" are quite far off.

"The ERE mind" seems to refer to a very particular person who lives by extreme self-interest. I very much identify with "the ERE mindset," but ERE can appeal to a variety of personalities with individual goals, who happen to share the common goal of financial independence, productive self-sufficiency and the lifelong lust for learning and continual self-improvement. Perhaps some ERErs hold the eventual goal of resting on their investing, but my (perhaps unfounded) opinion is that we seek financial independence so that we can spend our time following our deepest passions. It is extremely hard to make a profound contribution to the world while chained to a 9-5 job. I am most inspired not by the goal of early "retirement" but by the quest to become a productive, beneficial, resilient, knowledgeable, totally free, sustainable member of the ecosystem. I do not feel that wasting my money on useless crap for the companies that encourage this kind of waste (gasoline, cheap consumer goods bound for landfills) will help the world, even if it "boosts the economy". I do not feel that economy is worth boosting. In my quest to achieve FI, I will become the kind of person the world needs more of. After I have achieved FI, I will be free to put much more energy into my goals than I could as a downtrodden wage slave.

So, "retirement" isn't "golf courses and mint juleps on the front porch." Jacob seems to have to belabor this point every other week, but "retirement" is interchangeable with "financial independence:" you no longer have to work for a living. People who assume that "retired" ERErs will immediately cease all production forget that sustainable production itself is a cornerstone of ERE living.

Finally, your valuation of an individual's contribution to society, via the example of your philanthropist banker friend, is also extremely limited in scope. You seem to measure contribution purely in "dollars given to charitable causes," much in the same way that locked-in consumers measure their success in "dollars spent on consumer goods." There are a huge number of ways one can contribute to the world, even (especially) living ERE. The time freedom of financial independence enables our undiscovered Darwins and Da Vincis to make groundbreaking contributions to the whole of human knowledge. The sustainable lifestyle reduces each EREr's environmental impact, and one EREr can inspire others like Jacob has inspired us to be the positive change in the world that we want to see. The skills I devote my time to honing directly benefit my friends and family, and help me become a much more useful person than I could be as an extremely specialized cog, capable of combining my multiple areas of knowledge into creative new solutions. I won't bore you with the details now, but there are a bewildering number of exciting projects and opportunities I have that stem directly from this Renaissance Man way of thinking. To disregard this variety of contributions because they don't have an easily measurable dollar value is extremely short-sighted.

I'm sure your banker friend is a very good person, but all he's really doing is redirecting a bunch of money from various people into worthy causes. Throwing money at problems, while necessary to an extent, is not nearly as effective getting your hands dirty and actually solving them. Throwing money around is what got us into this mess, and "you can't solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it."

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by jacob » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:20 am

Most consumers buy their charity (donating money is like buying charity) whereas ERE allows for making charity (putting in time and skills is like DIY charity).

I think the primary fallacy of the objection is in only thinking of charity as something to be purchased in the form of a donation of money. This is consumerist thinking. However, there are other ways to be philanthropic than paying an some organization to do the dirty work so to speak.

Personally, since ERE, my monetary donations to charity have been tiny to non-existent but I have worked pro-bono on a non-profit startup, I have fixed bicycles for a shelter, I have consulted on bio-project related to cancer research/tissue degeneration, and I ran this website for a long time witout expecting a profit.

That said, I do fall under the "altruism is egoism"-banner and I do these things mostly for myself. I don't think of myself as existing for the sake of the service of others but it's a nice side-effect that my efforts are helpful to others and I don't mind giving my time away rather than charging money for it (which I could subsequently give to another charity).

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by ffj » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:45 am

Well, while certainly I can be a selfish asshole like everyone else, or just an asshole in general that prevents me from charitable giving, I am more so an efficiency freak. And I want real results for my time or money given with a hard look at unintended consequences. Most organizations do not fix their adopted problems because their intended solutions are mere band-aids on symptoms of the larger issue. Worse, some make their intended rescues co-dependents of their charity, which creates this never-ending cycle of perpetual need which also disturbingly validates the charitable organization.



"The ERE mind can more easily think of philanthropy as free soup being ladled out by someone else which we can eat in preference to more expensive options (or a free park built by someone else in which to jog or take walks rather than going to an expensive gym, or education grants put in place by someone else that one can avail of for free, or a town hall or community space sponsored by someone else that one can meet or hang out in for free), provided it was near enough and one didn’t have to spend on car and fuel to drive to it. That is philanthropy to the ERE mind."

Wrong! ERE is not about living off the largesse of the greater society. If Jacob had proposed years ago that he had retired but also was receiving food stamps, government housing, and free healthcare courtesy of the government than I would not be here today defending this movement. ERE is about never having to depend on those programs or having to avail oneself of the charity that you are bemoaning we don't contribute enough to.

I would propose this to you: Leading a productive, healthy life has more influence than most well intentioned gifts. Through this site and others, the ability to learn how to emulate people that are respected is readily available. The tools, knowledge, and support are right HERE. For free. Can't get much more charitable than that.

subgard
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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by subgard » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:58 pm

Producing and consuming too many goods and services is destroying physical, mental and spiritual health throughout society.

This production and consumption is slowly but surely destroying the entire biosphere - the biosphere we depend on for the very existence of our entire species.

Science and technology will not save us. It caused the problems in the first place.

The single most important thing the human race could do right now is to cut back on production and consumption.

So, every dollar you don't earn producing and don't spend consuming is like giving a dollar to the "Not Destroying the Biosphere We Depend on to Live" charity.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Felix » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:09 pm

Scott 2 wrote:The banker, through his strength of participation in the financial system, has taken that money from the very people he is so generously giving it back to. Outsmarting the poor from the fruits of their labor, taking a cut, and giving what's left back, is not overly saintly.

Through his luxury consumption, he's also re-directing productive labor from tasks that might actually contribute to improved quality of life for others.

When you're dealing with someone that has power, you're dealing with someone that is consolidating other people's energies and doling it back out as he sees fit. That may, or may not, be better than leaving them to expend their energy as they'd prefer.
This one. :-)

Welcome to the forum.

I see ERE as self-defense. Take the power over your life away from a system that has you waste your time on earth with making someone else rich at the expense of everyone else aka "productivity". I don't think you help anyone by perpetuating this only to then soothe your conscience with charity.

Put on your life vest, then help others.

It's not a perfectly idealistic solution, but a very practical one.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by George the original one » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:37 pm

The real Devil's Advocate would remember that "Charity begins at home" and ask the question, "Why not build a better society that doesn't require charity?"

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Seneca » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:37 pm

firefighterjeff wrote: Wrong! ERE is not about living off the largesse of the greater society. If Jacob had proposed years ago that he had retired but also was receiving food stamps, government housing, and free healthcare courtesy of the government than I would not be here today defending this movement. ERE is about never having to depend on those programs or having to avail oneself of the charity that you are bemoaning we don't contribute enough to.
EXACTLY. That is "evil-ERE", not ERE.

There is enormous pressure in our society to be philanthropic, which I guess is a sign that greater society has "made it" so it is overall a good indicator.

I once ended up at a rich guy "look at me" foundation dinner/auction due to some non-profit work my wife had done and it was real easy to be crass based on all the characters straight out of central casting we met that night. Plus the free, plentiful and delicious booze. :lol:

On later reflection I did decide I'd been unfair, charity needs both money and man hours. Money can buy man hours at any time, but man hours might not be able to buy "stuff" the charity needs. Bill Gates made money at such an efficient rate that his foundation will scale in a way he never could have if he'd devoted his whole life to charity.

Overall we are less giving of time and money since getting on the debt free/FI path. I think this is in fact a lifestyle that while you are headed to ERE, is selfish. But once there, it is whatever you choose.

I wish you hadn't called your friend's job out. Trying to decide which job is more "worthy" than another is as bad as arguing your charity can beat up my charity. Presuming he took care of his house first, I think the way he is living his life is better than the way I live mine. I think long and hard about just how to be more like him honestly, and ERE is part of my conclusion.

Like MMM says, first "retire", then get rich...

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by 1taskaday » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:47 pm

This is the Wiki definition of philanthropy:"private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life".

It goes on to state;
"Instances of philanthropy commonly overlap with instances of charity, though not all charity is philanthropy, or vice versa. The difference commonly cited is that charity relieves the pains of social problems, whereas philanthropy attempts to solve those problems at their root causes (the difference between giving a hungry man a fish, and teaching him how to fish for himself). A person who practices philanthropy is called a philanthropist."


Is this not what Jacob is and did through the ERE website?

Is he not one of the greatest philanthropists the world has ever known?

How many lives has he touched or influenced with his wisdom and knowledge?


Devil's Advocate,your argument seems to place all us ERErs as carrying out what Wiki calls the opposite of philanthropy, "private initiatives for private good, focusing on material prosperity"

Surely if this is what ERE was all about we would stay working and accumulating for all our lifetime and want to increase our material prosperity at any cost? (Similar to 99.9% of the world's population)

Surely the ERE mindset is superior to any free "park" or "museum" provided by a philanthropist, it is set at a higher level of "self development" evolution and understanding.

If I was starving in Africa then a philanthropist that provided a well that provides fresh water would be my greatest requirement and the subsequent food it would help produce.

I would think that the rich philanthropist was the greater (giving his money to provide this), BUT in my journey and stage in life- Jacob's work is far more effective and relevant to me.

Surely all "philanthropy" is relative to where you are at in the world and at what stage of your journey you're at, it’s all relative and one cannot be judged as more worthy than the other.

If all my life energy is NOT sucked out of me (by working 9 to 5 everyday) and I give this energy (freely) to help all around me either by being a "role model" or an example for an alternative lifestyle, am I not a philanthropist on a smaller scale?

Practicing "private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life".

Jacob through his evolved level of thinking, on his website and also through his book has thought a lot of people how “to fish” and just because a few people can’t see the relevance of this way of life in the greater scheme of things (and have a limited narrow view that giving has to be financial to tick the boxes of their view of philanthropy), does not mean that any type of philanthropy should be rated greater than another.

I love takapunch's description of the ERE mindset. +1 for this from me.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by C40 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:08 pm

Others have already pointed out most of the things I came to say..

Someone mentioned that there is social pressure to be philanthropic. I've experienced nearly zero. Comparatively, I've experienced almost infinitely more pressure to buy and consume things and experiences. I've also experienced VERY little pressure to be charitable (a handful of Charity 5k runs, homeless begging, etc.) I've certainly never had someone say to me "why aren't you giving away all your money? You're being selfish!" but I have been told that I'm selfish for not spending all of my money.

I think there are a few personality types that value philanthropy/charity/helping others much more, and that view them as a purpose of life. For the vast majority of the population, their concern is about themselves, their close family, and changes that will impact them over their own lives and at most 1-2 generations. The personality types most likely to "see the light" about FI/ERE (INTJ and similar) are typically not in those categories that value philanthropic ventures highly. Neither group is "wrong" for their own different preferences. Neither group is selfish. (I'll argue that, if we're talking about being selfish, that label falls on the vast majority of people who are effectively dedicating their lives to personal consumption)

....

While pondering what I might do after ERE, my goals include having a positive impact on the world and/or on the human race. In my (possibly short-sighted) opinion, raising the standard of living for those at the lower end does very little to improve the world or benefit the human race. I'd actually wonder if it might have a negative impact. (Developing countries are aspiring and in some cases progressing towards a U.S. level of consumption. Thus, increasing the standard of living for those most in need of it will, at best, boost them up to much higher consumption. I'm not interested in increasing the rate that the human race consumes our natural resources.

As subgard pointed out, many EREers are full-on believers that what we are doing is good - not just for ourselves - but for the earth and humans. Setting an example of "better" ways to live could have a significant impact on consumption levels. I believe that if I could substantially reduce the desire for and actual consumption by a lot of people, that would be much better than helping sick/poor to increase theirs. Now - how to go about this? I'm not so sure. Not all philanthropy would result in increasing consumption, so aside from me setting a good ERE example for other to follow, encouraging it through sharing, conversations, or some kind of work, there are other ways that I could help and, for me, it's something I'll think about when I'm not working. I don't feel I have a burden or debt to be doing this, so it's unlikely to be some kind of life's calling for me, but I think it will be fulfilling or enjoyable.

I know the above may seem very selfish or too self-centered. Ok. For me, personally, if you compare two possible life routes - one being ERE and one being a normal life-long worker and high consumer - the ERE route has a MUCH higher likelihood of charity, volunteering, etc. Yes, there is the possibility of a third option - to continue working and donate instead of consume, like that banker. That would be a very nice thing to do. But choosing something other than that does not in itself mean a person is selfish or doing anything wrong.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by jacob » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:52 pm

I also wish that the banker's profession hadn't been revealed. There's too much witch hunting of the finance profession these days, perhaps justified, but the purpose of a banker is to allocate resources to where they are best employed. As such they provide a great service. Unfortunately, there's been a lot of rent-seeking lately. That doesn't mean that everyone who works in finance is a parasite.

Now, onto the "evil-ERE" (i.e. freeloading asshole) accusation which I didn't answer the first time around.

I have never advocated any form of evil-ERE, that is, exploiting social services or other people's good will out of convenience or laziness. If anything ERE advocates contributing more than you taking. Something at which most people barely manages to break even with. In my mind breaking even is fine---you don't owe anyone anything, but if you take more than you give in the long run, you better have a good excuse such as losing the genetic lottery or something. A great many mainstream consumers don't live up to ERE standards. Net worth is a very good measure of how much someone has put in vs how much they have taken out [of the economy --- not that the economy is all there is]. In addition, aside from not consuming (a synonym for destroying) goods, a simple calculation shows that.---Going with a P/S ratio of about 1, each $100,000 invested results in $100,000 in annual revenue and since most of the revenue in most businesses actually go towards wages, for every $100k an ERE person saves and invests, they make it possible to pay out $100k in wages annually. Let's assume a profit margin or 20% and call it 80k. And lets say the typical ERE has $250k-500k invested. And lets say the average wage is $40k. Then this means that I, as an investor, am employing (250-500)*0.8/40 = 5-10 persons. Now that's contributing to society as opposed to just blowing the money on consumer goods. If a person was making 40k, they'd only be responsible for providing job opportunities for one other person. An ERE person is a much bigger contributor to the economy than the average person.

That said, of course I've been accused of freeloading and many other things (e.g. sacrificing and not having all the fun money can buy). This is always from consumers who equivalise low spending with low standard of living because they don't see/acknowledge the skill-component of ERE.---Likely because as consumers they lack skills of their own. As such ERE is considered poverty standard living and because of that "obviously" it must involve food stamps, section 8, and otherwise exploiting social services. Yes this will even go as far as complaining about not paying my fair share in taxes to ride a bicycle on the street despite their truck impact being hundreds of times bigger. Furthermore, most people are employees and don't understand how it's possible to earn a living from investments as opposed to a paycheck. They see us as not working. Hence a related objection is that "we're not doing our duty to the economy by failing to be corporate employees commensurate with our college degrees". So the objection basically comes down to not understanding what ERE is actually about.

Unfortunately, it takes more than 5 minutes of research to figure that out and several barriers of cognitive dissonance have to be resolved to even consider that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Therefore these objections will keep coming up. That is, until I develop a quick one-line retort :)

In conclusion, the primary tenet of ERE is to increase efficiency above all. Others have stated this already. Unfortunately being super-efficient makes us superficially look like we're not contributing as much even if we are often contributing much more than the average complainypants consumer. This is unfortunate, but I don't know what to do about it.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:24 pm

I think any time you're talking about a high earner, you're talking about someone who's figured out how to work the system. Not to say this is good or bad, just that I don't think the profession of "banker" plays into my perspective.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Seneca » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:10 pm

Scott 2 wrote:I think any time you're talking about a high earner, you're talking about someone who's figured out how to work the system. Not to say this is good or bad, just that I don't think the profession of "banker" plays into my perspective.
Why?

As Jacob alluded to with investment returns, I find the most surefire way to make more money in the marketplace is to figure out how to help more people get more of what they want.

Felix
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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Felix » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:22 am

The most surefire way to make more money is to be a rent-seeker. It's less risky than having to engage with the real world.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:50 am

I agree with Jacob, just giving money is stupid, I have seen how money is wasted by NGO's in Africa, they live in huge houses, the biggest cars, flying business class, paying no Tax, making studies of studies, etc.. probably 10% of the Money you give will go to the people that need it. If you are really concerned about certain groups in Society, it is better to do things yourself, or invest in direct projects that help (not via NGO's).

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Hankaroundtheworld » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:03 am

Personally I am more concerned about Earth and other species than human beings, we are already a plague with 7+ billion people, so if you want charity/philanthropy and give 75% of your income (even better your personal time), do it to save Earth, not human beings.

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Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:02 am

Scott 2 wrote:The banker, through his strength of participation in the financial system, has taken that money from the very people he is so generously giving it back to. Outsmarting the poor from the fruits of their labor, taking a cut, and giving what's left back, is not overly saintly.

Through his luxury consumption, he's also re-directing productive labor from tasks that might actually contribute to improved quality of life for others.

When you're dealing with someone that has power, you're dealing with someone that is consolidating other people's energies and doling it back out as he sees fit. That may, or may not, be better than leaving them to expend their energy as they'd prefer.
+1. I am happy this was the first response.

OP, would your banker friend donate so much if he were making $40k/year like the average American? Alternately, how many ERErs would donate more if they were making $400k/yr with stock options and million dollar golden parachutes? I know I would. I've said before that if I were to win the lottery, for example, I would merely donate away the difference between the winnings and my FI number.

Since you necessarily have to have the money in the first place in order to give it away, from my perspective, your argument essentially devolves into "the more money you have, the better a person you are". And frankly, that disgusts me at a deep level. I rolled my eyes at this:
this kind of person... is a better human being than your quintessential ERE

Dragline
Posts: 4452
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Devil’s Advocate says Hi. Also: Philanthropy & ERE.

Post by Dragline » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:46 am

Devil's Advocate wrote:What do you ERE types feel about philanthropy?



So, back to my first question in Devil’s-Advocate mode. Where does philanthropy figure in the scheme of things of ERE?

By obsessively targeting savings in quest of FI, the scope of philanthropy is inevitably curtailed (if not eliminated altogether). And after FI is reached, if actual retirement follows, then earnings (at least the large chunk that used to come from the regular job) cease (or at least shrivel, in case of part-time work), again curtailing the scope for philanthropy.
I think its a completely independent question. Whether you choose to do ERE or not and whether you choose to engage in philanthropy are two separate issues. In this regard, philanthropy is no different than choices of food, clothing, hobbies, whether to get married, whether to have children or whether to support one's relatives. Some things cost more than others and/or take more time. You could argue that ERE prevents you from spending on [fill in the blank with anything that costs time or money]. Or not. Or just changes your time frames for FI. There is no reason to assume that philanthropy somehow gets put in its own special or magic category.

The latter paragraph also implies a "foolish consistency" assumption -- that the philanthropic efforts/preferences you choose today are set in stone and they will never be different later on. I would hope nobody would choose to live their life that way, but I am aware some do choose the relative rationalized comfort of rigid thinking.

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