Lindyman and ERE

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Lindyman and ERE

Post by nomadscientist »

Recently I have been reading the blog of this twitterer Lindyman.

He separates life into "Consistency Space" (you are paid for your availability; jobs especially salary jobs) and "Payoff Space" (you are paid for providing value; business, NGO, idiosyncratic hobo).

I think this provides a useful framework for understanding what ERE actually is.

Jacob's great accomplishment, as I see it, was not to find a fast track to retirement, but to strictly separate living in "Payoff Space" from the need to have great wealth, a very difficult 'job' like business/non-profit owner/manager, or even a "payoff" at all. This is what makes him different to almost all other FI bloggers before and since.

He understood (in other language) the difference between these two spaces, the desirability to most humans to live in PS rather than CS, and found the fastest and most widely executable plan for the CS-born human to enter PS.

I find this especially consistent with jacob's own retirement, which some have argued was not a retirement because he continued to work for pay (as a copy-editor) and engage in business (as an author and publisher). Yes, he continued to make money, indeed even by physical and mental labour, but he exited and never returned to Consistency Space.

This in contrast to the Boglehead-style "real retirement" where arguably the salaryman never actually leaves CS, rather transitions from a salaried consistency-type life with productive aims at the company to a salaried consistency-type life without productive aims as a pensioner.

Perhaps some others also find this mental model useful.

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Re: Lindyman and ERE

Post by Frita »

Yes, I look forward to checking out his blog. It seems to me that some people are more geared to doing things for other than financial remuneration. This is why I struggled with Your Money or Your Life as transactional with the life energy exchange when it first came out. From a young age, it tended to do things for other reasons than exchanging my time/labor/values for money. (e.g., Ironing handkerchieves and pilllowcases because it made my mom happy plus the pride in doing the work. Bottle feeding bum lambs because they were cute, needed to be fed, and doing my part on the farm. Babysitting because the kids were fun, watching cable TV after they went to bed, and feeling responsible. Waiting tables with cool staff and appreciating being treated well by my boss. Teaching because I enjoyed facilitating self-discovery, learning from the kids and highly skilled staff, and being in a functional island within a broken system.) At one point, money was a nice perk because I needed it. Now, who cares?

Indeed, Jacob is unusual amount the FI set. I find it refreshing when people are not just trying to sell coaching, get product referral links, etc. We live in a Never Enough Culture that be hard to shake.

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Re: Lindyman and ERE

Post by jacob »

Much of the later FIRE movement (and bogleheads)---work a high-income job saving 50% for 15-20 years to spend retirement as an average-spending consumer---never move out of the "salary man"-quadrant as far as my classification scheme goes.

Indeed, there's a peculiar resistance to leaving that [salary/consumer] mindset often exemplified by an insistence on the law of comparative advantage: "Why do anything but the highest hourly paid work I do now since I can just pay for everything else?". This argument is often made w/o any calculation of value beyond the hourly wage of a professional. E.g. "Since I make $50/hr as an engineer, I will not learn how to cook, since cooks only make $14 per hour" and so on.

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Re: Lindyman and ERE

Post by nomadscientist »


This CS/PS space distinction I see transcending money entirely. In this frame, it's not about the dollar throughput but lifestyle form with the caveat that one must live in Consistency Space if cashflow is a problem. If one has absolutely no money, probably one must live in Consistency Space or risk starving some months, which is no good. So, there is some need for money. But the reverse is not true: one can have lots of money and still live in Consistency Space (or still not realize that Payoff Space exists). See the FIRE blogger who takes a long vacation and then goes back to work (as a professional blog salesman, or whatever).

You have a lot in common with Elon Musk - you both seem to do what you want. That's despite my assumption that Musk buys in everything to maximize him time for Payoff ventures, while you are a renaissance man living on a shoe string budget.

You have a lot more in common with Elon Musk than either has with a Boglehead doctor who earns $300k/year and will retire with millions in the bank. Not because of the money, but because being a high rolling doctor is pure consistency.

Even your insistence on actively managing your own investments (which I see as largely idiosyncratic and inefficient - but I admit you know more about the topic than me!) is an expression of your desire to live in a Payoff Space rather than a Consistency Space (watch the average return roll in... although even indexing is far less consistent than most of what Consistency Space people deal with or tolerate).

ERE has other angles, like deep ecology. That constrains possible lifestyle further. But my impression is only a small fraction of "converts" are in it for deep ecology; despite otherwise extremely varied backgrounds, most mainly want to escape CS.

Do you think there is anything to this? One thing that leapt out at me was his implications on the true nature of the salaryman relations:

"They [employees] are not their to do pieces of work, they are there…for some other purpose. Something, not quite family, not quite strangers, some other status that perhaps has a word we don’t want to use." (I read this as implying slavery)

compared with your H/T to the Ancient Greeks believing that salary scudwork is slavery even if it's contracted for.

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Re: Lindyman and ERE

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

An idiosyncratic hobo or a guerilla-style permaculturist doesn't necessarily need cash-flow, just shelter and food. Depends on vagrancy and other civil codes.

Another thing to consider is that the difference also has to do with who offers the contract or how it is offered. The ability to freely determine availability is why a lot of people like gig work even though it usually ends up being poorly paid on hourly basis for same reason that piece work or attempting to sell something that is strictly a commodity (Grade B Field Corn 2) usually ends up being poorly paid. It is usually better if you are the one who writes the contract. It's interesting that the blogger mentions dating as being like hustling in your own business or "payoff" space, because this is true, and this is also a realm in which who "writes the contract" makes a difference, and participants are often just as limited in their thinking, or conception of the space, as "at will" employees.

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