When did you discover ERE?

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cmonkey
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When did you discover ERE?

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:52 am

I thought it would be fun to start a thread (outside of journals) where we could talk about our beginnings.

How long ago and how did you discover the ERE lifestyle?

Was it something you were practicing before finding this community or something you learned to practice afterwards?


Personally, I have been living and ERE lifestyle since 2011, but didn't discover this community until 2013. I committed myself to owning my house (no mortage) as fast as I could because I like having roots and its much cheaper than renting. We learned to live on like 40% of our income, putting about 50% to 60% toward the mortgage without even breaking a sweat. It never dawned on me that I could keep up that lifestyle, and save so much that I could quit my job.

Once I paid off the mortgage I had a ton of extra money and so I started playing around with Excel spreadsheets, running numbers on how much I could save and how fast I could save and was astounded at the sum I could "mathematically" achieve in a short time (3-4 years), and dumbfounded at the level I could achieve by age 65. Math doesn't lie.

Of course, I started having doubts about whether it was possible so I started searching around for people who lived similar lives and bingo here I am :)


What's your story?

akratic
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by akratic » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:16 pm

6 Dec 2009

My friend and former coworker sent me a Facebook message with a link to the ERE blog. At that time, neither of us were retired, and now we both are!

walker
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by walker » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:33 pm

I have always been what DH fondly calls "cheap", and lurked for a long time on forums such as Motley Fool Living Below Your Means and early-retirement.org. Found ERE through MMM, who I found via Lifehacker. Started out saving 50% of income to pay off student loans and never looked back… but this forum/blog takes it to a whole 'nother level!

Sclass
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by Sclass » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:29 pm

In all due respect to Jacob I didn't find ERE till I found this site in 2011.

I have practiced frugal living and aggressively invested my savings since about 1992. Motivations moved around from hating waste, environmentalism, hating work tyranny and more. Why I did this stuff and lived what my pals call an "alternative" lifestyle has moved around a lot. Sometimes I just gave up on trying to fit in and be normal because it was too hard. Living debt free and asset rich is easier in some ways.

I think I can trace the beginnings back to a conversation with a mentor in grad school. He was a CTO of a Fortune 500 company that must have had a nervous breakdown and came back to grad school. I didn't realize it at the time but he threw his very successful career away to hang out with a bunch of kids.

Anyhow he warned me that I would never make back what I'd have earned if I had gone to work at his company as a bachelors degree grad. I rode my bike back to my dorm that night and got out my BA35 (didn't have the dough for the HP12c yet) and verified what he had said. I freaked as the numbers came off the display. I'd lose four or more years of earnings plus interest while getting my PhD and only get a modest bump in salary if the company paid for my "experience". So I set out to change that likely outcome.

Well that was the start.

IlliniDave
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:07 pm

It was just about a year ago for me. I was already actively pursuing early retirement. I started with reading Dave Ramsey soon after my divorce (mostly for the rah-rah enthusiasm component, I handle money responsibly and was well down the road to being out of debt). I then migrated to bogleheads.org, read Your Money or Your Life, and a couple of the Ultimate Cheapskate books, and a couple by Ernie Zelinski, started visiting Mr. Money Mustache's site on occasion. Not sure how I actually found this place, likely a mention on bogleheads. I'm too old to be ERE, but am applying some of the principles to just plain ER.

drh177
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by drh177 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:44 pm

Maybe the seed was planted as a high school economics project where we had to project what our lives would be like 5 years down the road and create a budget. I realized that once I took care of the most basic expenses (food, utilities, rent) there were gobs of money left over. If I saved this money at a reasonable interest rate and let it compound, I was looking at having a ridiculous amount of money by age 65. This led me to believe early retirement was possible.

After starting my career, I did some spreadsheet work and found out that spending less was the key to saving more. After doing some projections I was looking at retirement much earlier than 65. So I googled early retirement to find out more which led me to Mr. Money Mustache and eventually here!

luxagraf
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by luxagraf » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:52 pm

When I read Thoreau, Muir, Abbey, Franklin's autobiography etc in high school I guess. Those were the seeds anyway.

It wasn't until much later, after college, that I was re-reading walden again, thinking about how boring the opening chapter on economy is and wondering why Thoreau started with such an un-hook (esp given that Thoreau was such a coiner of hooks and aphorisms) that it occurred to me that that was exactly his point -- you have to take care of the boring basics like financial independence before you ever have the time to move on to all stuff that Walden is famous for. that was the ah-ha moment for me. prior to that I would just save up whatever I needed to travel and go travel for a year, rinse and repeat. After that I started to think more long term. And I guess that was about 2004.

black_son_of_gray
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by black_son_of_gray » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:58 pm

Not exactly sure of the date... Probably found Jacob's blog about 2010 plus or minus a year.

For as long as I have known, I've always been conservative with spending. For a period of time in high school I had a $20 a week allowance (not sure why... I didn't really do much for chores). It was a real shock to my parents when they one day discovered I had $700 in $20 bills in my room.

The transition between undergraduate and graduate school saw me with my first real income stream and full budget, and although I never spent more than I made, I did have about one year where I spent almost everything I made (maybe a 10% savings rate). Up until then, I had ZERO interest in business, finance, investing, or money. But something happened- I started becoming very contrarian and exploring topics that I thought I wouldn't like just to see what they were like. That's when I started getting really interested...

slsdly
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by slsdly » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:14 pm

I've always been saving around 50% of my net income since I was in university. After a particularly rueful day at the office in 2012, I thought about my options. I figured if the typical retirement ideal was maxing out one's RRSP (18%) + owning a home by 65, then I must be able to retire sooner. A search online brought me here, although it took a few tries because early retirement brought up bullshit like 40s and 50s which I dismissed as unacceptable :).

Sclass
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by Sclass » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:16 pm

black_son_of_gray wrote:But something happened- I started becoming very contrarian and exploring topics that I thought I wouldn't like just to see what they were like. That's when I started getting really interested...
What topics were these? Just curious about catalysts.

black_son_of_gray
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by black_son_of_gray » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:43 pm

Sclass wrote:
black_son_of_gray wrote:But something happened- I started becoming very contrarian and exploring topics that I thought I wouldn't like just to see what they were like. That's when I started getting really interested...
What topics were these? Just curious about catalysts.
In addition to business/finance/investing/money:
Different philosophies/religions/atheism (coming from a Christian background). E.g. I have read the Satanic Bible.
Experimenting with various diets (Omnivore, Vegetarian, Vegan) and non-"Western" foods
Various fitness/personal habit things (e.g. weight gain/strength training/sleeping on the floor)

Just a general sense of "don't knock it 'til you've tried it" mentality coupled with a curiosity to test limits.

theanimal
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by theanimal » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:45 pm

2 years ago now. January of 2013. Over the previous 2 months, I had decided that I didn't want to pursue the normal lifestyle but didn't know what the alternatives were. Early January I plowed through Dick Proenekke's journals and that changed everything. I wanted to do that. I signed up for my NOLS course almost immediately after that, found and read YMOYL and then ERE. I came to the blog and forums right after that.

Fiddle
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by Fiddle » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:19 am

I found ERE in May 2011

I was unhappy with the job I was doing and felt trapped so I ordered about a dozen books on the early retirement and semi retirement theme, any book with a reasonable star rating on Amazon was popped in the shopping cart. When the books began to arrive I picked through them and one of the books was Jacob's ERE. I remember doubting the purchase initially when I opened the package, no pictures, small, unusual front cover, then I read the back and thought wow I remember why I bought this. I read though the book, realised right away there was some much more depth in this little green book than in most the other much larger and colourful books I had also bought and then noticed the website on the back of the book. So I looked up the site and have been an avid follower of ERE ever since :-)

I would say I had been using some of the principles instinctively for some years, as they suited my lifestyle but they were never fitted into a wider plan of achieving financial independence and the ERE style of life as they have become since reading the blog and joining the forum.

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jennypenny
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:33 pm

I'm pretty sure I started reading in the summer of '09. I read GRS regularly back then and Jacob used to comment on JD's posts. IIRC, the first comment of Jacob's that got me to look at ERE was about Daniel Suelo.

I lurked for a couple of years before jumping into the forum. Back then, it was (or seemed to be) mostly young guys and I felt a little odd joining in their conversations. OTOH, I used to read some of the posts and feel so relieved to see that others thought the same way I did about all kinds of issues. I felt like I'd found my tribe and eventually started to contribute. Dragline joined right around the same time, and I remember reading his first post and knowing I was in the right place.

Up until I found ERE, I had all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, or at least most, but no picture. Jacob, and others here, helped me see the picture.
Last edited by jennypenny on Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cmonkey
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by cmonkey » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:43 pm

jennypenny wrote:I felt like I'd found my tribe
I have the exact same feeling, something about this lifestyle and the discussions on this forum just resonate at a deep level for me. Its great knowing you are not alone with your thoughts. I was just commenting to DW that I feel like I have found somewhere I belong. Too bad I can't find some people in real life that feel the same way (beside the DW, which is good enough).

I just read Draglines intro and couldn't agree more with what he said. I am also a fan of Chris Martenson and follow him closely along with others like Richard Heinberg.

Dragline
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by Dragline » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:22 pm

Thanks for finding that first post of mine, jenny - I was trying to remember how many years ago it was. Besides what I said there, what drew me specifically to this site was a reference in a book by Charles Hugh Smith "An Unconventional Time to Investing in Troubled Times":

"In the conventional view, human and social capital is invested in a specific field of study or endeavor with the goal being fulltime, high-income, stable employment. For example, a young person attends law school (i.e. invests financial and human capital) and then uses his connections from university (social capital) to secure a high-paying position at a prestigious law firm. In a blue-collar example, a young person attends technical school and uses social connections to secure a lab technician job at a major hospital. In both cases, the employment is assumed to last a lifetime, though perhaps with a variety of employers.

That centralized, stable paradigm of work and human capital is crumbling, and is rapidly being replaced by a more dynamic model which is still so new that only the outlines can be discerned in June, 2011. In the “end of work” era we are entering, conventional fulltime jobs will become increasingly scarce, and employment will become increasingly insecure even at institutions that were traditionally considered rock-solid such as government. Investing in a hybrid-work career offers another path forward for those who cannot secure stable fulltime employment or those who choose not to rely on that model.

My concept of hybrid work recognizes a vast spectrum of activity that counts as work, as opposed to the usual conception of “paid work,” i.e. a narrow spectrum of labor that can be traded for money on the marketplace. Hybrid work recognizes value in all effort even as it recognizes the need to generate income via employment or via one’s own enterprises and investments.

(The lower the household cost structure, the lower the income that must be earned. For more on this concept, consult Jacob Fisker’s book Early Retirement Extreme: A philosophical and practical guide to financial independence.)

Implicit in hybrid work is the awareness that humans are not robots, and the need to have some control over ones’ work and schedule is fundamental to well-being. Just as sitting down all day at a desk job increases the risk of heart attack by 50% because it is unnatural, stress is not so much the result of hard work as it is of work over which we have no control. One of the goals of hybrid work, then, is to seek work where you have some level of input or control. Sometimes the only way to achieve this is to fashion multiple sources of income so no one position becomes necessary enough that the worker surrenders all control to the employer, i.e. becomes a wage-slave.

Control enables integrity, choice, self-expression and the opportunity to put capital at risk to seek an outsized gain. The employee with no control is a wage-slave who can be exploited, coerced, deprived of dignity and devalued without recourse. The investor with no control is also open to exploitation and ruin without recourse.

Humans are “built” to favor variety and novelty, and this truth is also implicit in the hybrid model. Doing one task all day, every day, atrophies the human mind and soul. Doing a variety of tasks in a variety of settings is more rewarding and interesting."

Smith, Charles Hugh (2011-07-19). An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times (pp. 118-120). . Kindle Edition.

BeyondtheWrap
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by BeyondtheWrap » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:41 pm

I had long been one to avoid spending money due to lack of it; I also by nature did not care much for conforming. For about two years before I discovered the ERE site, I often browsed sites having to do with things like personal development, lifestyle design, and minimalism.

During the summer of 2009, which was the summer after my sophomore year of college, I worked almost the whole summer trying to save up as much money as possible. Inspired by the various blogs I followed, I formed a plan to work for a few years after graduation to save up a bunch of money and then take time off to do the fun stuff I had been putting off.

I was a member of the Steve Pavlina forum, where many members aspired to free themselves from the rat race through something passionate like self-employed blogging. In July 2010 (near the end of my junior year of college), I saw that someone in the Business & Financial section of that forum had made a post linking to the ERE site, commenting on how this guy was able to retire in 5 years. This intrigued me, so I clicked and read a few blog posts, including the series How I became financially independent in 5 years and the post How to spend very little money.

I thought the ERE idea was very cool. Finally, an alternative lifestyle that's just weird enough for my tastes without requiring me to separate myself from society. Additionally, I don't have to worry about not feeling passionate about a job if I'm not working that long anyway.

I wasn't completely sold on ERE, due to having some unnecessary expenses in my vague plan of a future, but I recognized that ERE wasn't an all-or-nothing deal and that I could still benefit by adopting some of its features.

I began visiting the ERE site very frequently. I joined the ERE forum as soon as it opened a few weeks later.

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jennypenny
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:05 pm

I found the comment that jacob made about Daniel Suelo on GRS. Vintage jacob (#43) ... http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/ ... /#comments

I know that's the one. It made me wonder what else jacob had to say, and led me to ERE.

Dragline
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by Dragline » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:28 am

Kind of goes with our "definition of success" thread, eh:

"4) There is more to comfort than plushy toilet seats and golden handcuffs. Let me explain this with the analogy of “comfort food”. If you eat a lot of that, you feel comfortable while eating, but eventually, your living will be quite unhealthy and uncomfortable. Similarly, all this hard work modern life comes with the convenience and comfort of technology and stuff, but show me anyone who is not somewhat stressed in their work-work-buy-buy lifestyle which has half the control but twice the responsibility of a free man. I mean. We have blogs like GRS and prety much any other pf blog talking about emergency funds all the time. Emergency funds!
Yes, anything happens, and the only solution is to have money to go and pay for something. It is the last but only resort available to modern consumers. I do not think this guy worries about emergencies. Or what to wear for his next interview? Or whether he filed his forms correctly. I bet his blood pressure is low. I bet he doesn’t take medication regularly. I bet that he sleeps well at night every night. I bet he is happier than us."

george
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Re: When did you discover ERE?

Post by george » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:46 am

Have always known that I had to save and earn a passive income because you never know whats round the corner. Learnt that as a child. Not something we talked about we just had some really difficult circumstances completely outside my parents control. We did talk about finances in general though and I knew what we had, what we needed and how we obtained it. We actually had a lot of laughs about how dire our situation was.

But I guess you could say from the day I started working I had a plan for leaving. It was in stages and had a number of ways I could go. Conservative, middle and not so conservative. Was often checking the plan and adapting it. But really my motivation was - what if I lose my job, how will I live. Never thought I would just walk out.

I'm not someone that anyone can put in a box. I'll kick my way out which is why I'm better out of the so called work force. I think its that really strong sense of knowing what is right and wrong that has helped with ERE. I wonder how many other ERE people are the same.

To achieve ERE, to me its about living well below your means and adapting. You cannot control all the events in your life but you can get far by pushing through and saying what needs to be said to whoever you want. You can do that when you're free.

The strange thing is fear motivated me toward being able to ERE. But understanding risk and managing fear helped me achieve it.

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