Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confusion

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Dragline
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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by Dragline » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:13 pm

Devil's Advocate wrote:C40 : FUME’s funny! Guaranteed to elicit a smile, that one! But you know (if I may be allowed to solemnly dissect a joke), I myself don’t follow the “fuck you money” premise at all. Quite the contrary. I think it is the consumerists who have a totally dysfunctional relationship with money. They are slaves to money, and often I suppose they dislike this and resent their slavery, can’t do anything about it, and in frustration cry out in impotent fury : “Fuck you, money!”—and then go drink themselves silly or burst a coronary or whatever, and then get back to crawling on all fours to their cars and their gee-gaws.
You must realize (or maybe not) that FU money is not about cursing at the money. It's about having enough money that you are not dependent on whatever job you have and could say "FU" to your boss or whomever controls your situation and just walk away from it.

The phrase has been around for awhile, but most recently re-popularized by Nassim Taleb of Black Swan and Antifragility fame: See http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/n ... -interview where he uses it.

In his case (and in the original meaning), it usually implied having many millions of dollars, but as we have come to learn, that number is more flexible than that.


Can you understand why we question whether you have really done your homework or have thought through your posts? A little use of the Google machine might go a long way when you see something unfamiliar.

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by jacob » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:47 pm

Fuck you money was also mentioned in Cryptonomicon which predates Fooled by Randomness, but it's older than that. (I thought it was in Liar's Poker, but I couldn't find it.)

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by jennypenny » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:05 pm

"Fuck you money" is a Burt Reynolds line. Not sure if he said it first, but he definitely said it before Lewis and Taleb.

Says it just after 7:00 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVdi7Lw3x1M

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by Dragline » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:35 pm

Genius! I would bet (hawh-hawh) that's the modern source.

Not sure about that 8% SWR that his little friend there was advocating, though.

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by jennypenny » Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:16 pm

I couldn't believe I found a clip. I hadn't seen it in a long time. I remember taking my first trip to Atlantic City not long after seeing that movie.

I think an 8% SWR might have been possible since I was paying 14% on my mortgage back then!

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by jennypenny » Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:50 pm

To the OP's question ... I don't equate FI with ERE. It's obvious from my previous post that the FU money seed was planted in me a long time ago. FU money has a broad, but still limited usefulness. Maybe that's just the prepper in me talking, but I felt almost as nervous relying solely on a bankroll as I did on employment. I ended up branching out into other areas of what's now called sustainability.

When I read ERE, I could finally see a clear picture of what kind of freedom was possible. Jacob knitted together several aspects of the life I had been pursuing into a coherent plan for being as close to independent as one can get in my world.* ERE is much more nuanced and all-encompassing than simply attaining FI. I can understand why people pursue that goal first--it's easy to measure progress and it's kinda fun. I just think of it as a less robust strategy for permanent independence.

I also don't see FI and retirement as the same thing. My vision of retirement was always closer to Buffett's. Retirement was just a hurdle to getting to the good stuff.

* Meaning not going the Full Proenneke.

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by JamesR » Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:12 pm

Devil's Advocate,
A little white space can go a long way. Thanks :)

It's interesting that you strive to limit your internet usage to less than 3 hours every 3 days, especially if you were previously hooked on the internet drug. I can only hope to achieve that some day. I'm pretty good with an info-diet, particularly news, instead of following news, I just rely on other people mentioning what's happening.

My chicken comment was definitely simplistic, and a really bad joke. I don't disagree, and I suppose it could attempt to retire when not-FI, but if it doesn't have enough money to survive until deathday, it's hard to call that retirement.

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by C40 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:05 pm

oh, I just realized that Akratic already used/invented the term FUME:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=85&start=125

"But now that I'm finally invested, I can finally start to taste FI/FIRE/FUME/ERE. Wheee."

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by Devil's Advocate » Sun May 04, 2014 8:15 am

Jacob : The dojo example clinched it for me. I think I have to agree with you, when you put it like that.

Minor quibble : Isn’t that just a bit like the oily sales tricks that we see all around us? Do we really want to ensnare people, drag in folks against their (full) will? But like I said, that quibble is only minor : and after all, proponents of and masters in attainments far loftier than ERE have been known to resort to such “tricks” to snare in people : show them only one part of the picture at first, and then slowly draw them in, revealing more and more, bit by bit.

The elephant example was apt. Still, let’s not make ERE out to be more esoteric than it really is. I’ve not read the Book (yet), and correct me if I’m wrong, but its parts encompass no more than (in no specific order) : 1) Limiting expenditure ; 2) DIY and frugality ; 3) Non-consumerism ; 4) Shrewd investing ; 5) Setting up near-perpetual / lifetime passive income streams. That’s it, right? It’s quite common-sense wisdom, that, after all.

(But no, don’t bother answering—unless I’ve actually missed out or mixed up any of the steps there. Because I realize I’ve just enumerated trunk, tusks, torso, legs, and tail. And that the whole is indeed bigger than the parts. And that those who don’t see it, won’t see it, simple though it is once you do see it. Those like that fellow who wrote that hilarious book review you linked to—not, of course, that I’ve read the book myself yet, but still. So anyway, once more, your point taken.)

Devil’s Advocate gladly retracts this particular question : go plan your new halo-friendly haircut now! The question’s been answered to my full and entire satisfaction.

By the way, your sex ratio figures, the first set that is, I’d never have expected. My guess would have been no more than 35:65 at best, probably much less, certainly not 50+. Live and learn, live and learn! (Although of course, like you say, those figures are not current and far from conclusive, and the second set speaks a different story.)

And yes, that Chateaubriand quote was truly beautiful. I have no idea if Chateaubriand himself approached real greatness, or if he was one of those who, like Shakespeare, were prolific with words, and had the genius to have some of those words reach heights that were probably far loftier than their own—but the “art of living” he describes is many levels removed from ERE. In fact, that ideal (if you consider all of it, especially the mind-body part) has far less to do with external circumstance and activities than one’s inner development, and is more Zen-ish than ERE-ish, if you ask me. The what-you-do is less relevant to that kind of ideal than the who-does-it and how-he-does-it. Although yes, I have to say, “chopping wood, drawing water” sounds and feels much better than “guiding research, making final recommendation to investment committee”!



Dragline : Touché! No, I actually wasn’t aware of that term at all. It was very much fourth-quadrant stuff : something I didn’t know, and didn’t know that I didn’t know.

The FUM term reminds me of a sequence from a story I’d read long back. There’s this person who, towards the end of some unusual experiences, is contemplating getting rid of his “fortune”, his inherited pile which, though fairly small, nevertheless makes him financially independent. And there’s the first-person author trying to dissuade him. Among the many arguments he puts up, one is exactly your/C40’s FUM argument : This money allows you to tell anyone in the world to go to hell. To which the protagonist replies : But I don’t want to tell anyone in the world to go to hell. And if it so happened that I did want to tell someone to go to hell, then not having this money won’t stop me.

Not a point of view many can take, or should even attempt—should be left strictly to certified professionals and certified loons, like they caution—but food for thought, isn't it?

Re. the “google machine”, point taken—but only up to a point. See my reply to James, below. It is wearying and also unnecessary to carry a reference book to conversations (unless the conversation is overtly on technical subjects unfamiliar to one, in which case it’s either the google machine and reference book, or don’t go there at all, I’ll grant you that)—after all one of the many points of intelligent conversation is these little nuggets of trivial yet interesting things you get to know in the course of those conversations, without having to overtly seek them out, isn’t it? Also, in my profession jargon was/is so very endemic that any kind of jargon makes my stomach turn, and I resolutely refuse to pander to those who, for whatever reason, pepper their talk with jargon—not that I’m saying that’s the case here and now, in this particular thread, not even remotely, but just making a very general point about how I tend to look at other people’s talk, and approach conversation in general. And, well, conversation, conversing, we’re doing no more (and no less) than that here, are we, albeit online and hopefully not entirely unintelligently?

My long-suffering wife keeps telling me I have this wearying habit of killing the best of jokes by launching into a detailed analysis and pontificatory dialog around them (especially when my slow mind cannot think of a shorter and catchier/wittier come-back, which is often). My kids are too young to articulate such a complicated thought, but sometimes they look at me as if thinking that very same thing. Symptom of approaching middle age? Anyway, in deference to that sentiment of theirs (which you’ll doubtless start echoing in a minute unless I stop, if you haven’t already), I’ll not launch into a more detailed analysis of your little observation/joke. :D



C40 : Hadn’t fully appreciated your quip last time round (see my exchange with Dragline). FUME’s cool (hot?)! Not just cool, but between them FUME and FIRE do cover the gamut of nuances that ERE respresents (with FUME perhaps the ‘better’ term, in the sense that it’s more general than FIRE, as Jacob had observed earlier—which observation, as well as Seneca’s subsequent comment, had left me just a bit mystified at that time).

Incidentally, just as an exercise in taking a 360-degree look at this business (and without necessarily having to agree with that point of view), you could check out that little story sequence in my comment to Dragline just above.



Jenny, it does seem that for many of us ERE has been less a revelation than an expression of our own inner thinking, concretized into full-bodied structure. That’s how it is with ideas “whose time has come”, I suppose.



James : Retreating from the unending, ever-more-frenetic sensory barrage around us can be very soothing. My work required me to be available online literally 24/7, weekends included (some capital-rich places have quite different weekend days, you know), since I used to have to deal with multiple international teams and time-lines and in situations where practically every week we’d fight impossible deadlines and emergency situations, where ‘switching off’ was simply not an option. Not nice. But that was the deal, and we’d opted for it, in fact worked our asses off to get to it. Besides, the money was more than good. (And credit where it’s due, it was great fun to begin with and for quite some time after.) So I shan’t cavil at what was, but it lets me fully appreciate the luxury of my present retirement from sensory overload while it lasts.

What amazes me is how so many people willingly undergo this torture for free, actually pay for it, and what is more feel panicky and deprived when somehow removed from this torture even for short spaces. My non-contrarian doppelganger, I mean a friend of mine, had raised this issue in a thread here some days back. The way we compulsively ‘stay connected’ and stay enslaved to everything the Internet throws up (beyond the dictates of strict necessity and some reasonable indulgence) makes me think of a very fat man at a huge table overflowing with all kinds of food, stuffing himself with enormous quantities of every kind of food he can lay his hands on, replenishing his plate again and again and again, stuffing himself on and on, without stopping, without thinking, eyes glazed, on and on and on, endlessly. Not a pleasant picture, eh? Although strictly speaking this is less a money question than a time-and-effort-and-attention question, but the principle is the same : our Internet gluttony is exactly akin to the consumerist lifestyle that is the norm today. That’s one bugbear even our intrepid ERE troop doesn’t seem to have vanquished, or even challenged, thus far.

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by jacob » Sun May 04, 2014 9:08 am

@DA - If we stick with the martial arts metaphor. One could say that martial arts is simply: 1) punching, 2) kicking, 3) joint locks, 4) throwing, 5) falling. But taxonomy is a simplified way of looking at a[ny] system. Surely, there's more to fighting than just knowing how to punch, kick,... There's also putting them together. This is called Kata. However, Kata is just stylized training and there's more to fighting than Kata. There's also interacting with an opponent. Beyond this level, there's also the understanding that the original classification was just a teaching tool to show how to use arms, legs, and body to fight. At this point all styles will begin to blend together.

The ERE book (the middle third) is about how to fight opponents and how things begin to blend together. That is to say, how to mix methods together to make living highly efficient in all dimensions so that you no longer see the different between work and play, etc.

It seems to me that there's definitely some Zenish parts to [ERE] in that once internalized one gets close to the Chateaubriand ideal without having the emotional/mental issues that causes most people to spend a lot of money because they don't want to "sacrifice" or to hang onto jobs out of fear. The main reason for these mental blocks is of course the cultural conditioning everybody in the developed world has received since age 1 (the first half of the ERE book).

Going back to the analogy, at this level you no longer think "if he throws a high punch, I'm going to block high and then kick low". You just move your arms and legs and it happens.

Another way of putting it as that you can do ERE at a very simple level, e.g. lower your phone bill by switching to a different carrier. That's like learning how to punch. An example of a simple Kata is substitution: Sell the car and ride a bike instead---punch and block. When fighting an opponent, you can start doing simple combinations. This is like the 21 day makeover on the blog. Once you start doing more advanced combinations, e.g. having your hobby which incidentally (not really, that was all planned out 5 moves ago) required the tools you used to fix your house turn into a small project where you get paid to combine it with what turns into a vacation that allows you to meet people and grow your and their network, etc. that's when your "ERE" reaches a high level of development. You'll find yourself doing all the things upper middle class people do but at a quarter of the cost and typically with much more involvement than being a simple spectator.

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by C40 » Sun May 04, 2014 10:35 am

Devil's Advocate wrote: I’ve not read the Book (yet)
Read the book.

I appreciate these Devil's Advocate threads, but it would make a lot of sense to read the book before making more of them. There have been a couple times where I've read your posts and thought "this was covered in Jacob's book... (and probably blog posts also)". I suppose that, in discussing how to recruit more people to ERE (assuming we want to..) these posts do help

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon May 05, 2014 11:05 am

I think the forum does discuss the specific engineered example solution more than the general theory Jacob outlines in the book and for some people this specific example based on Jacob's personal experience/success will be more relevant than others. For instance, from my perspective when I read the book, I would think that Extreme Self-Employment Early might be a better title because to me the point of the specific engineered example was to go from being Other-Employed in a specific career to being Self-Employed (1)with low capital input as a widely-skilled domestic worker/home-economist (practitioner of frugality) and (2)with high capital input as a stock market investment manager. To follow the dojo analogy, maybe the first would tend towards increasing your resilience and the second would tend towards increasing your strength. However, there could be a bajillion different variations up and down the dial between low capital input and high capital input on the bag of skillz and forms of self-employment (widely defined) any given person could choose to create their own unique solution.

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by GandK » Mon May 05, 2014 2:14 pm

I also love the FUME acronym. :-)

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Re: Redefining ‘retirement’ as FI creates unnecessary confus

Post by Devil's Advocate » Sat May 10, 2014 7:55 am

Jacob : Once again, I cannot find anything to not agree with in your dojo analogy. Of course, whether that analogy (of the whole being so very much bigger—as opposed to being simply bigger, as I’d thought and said—than the sum of its parts) actually applies to your book is something I myself cannot comment on before actually reading it.

Having arrived at FI and actual retirement at an age not exactly young but certainly young enough to qualify as “retirement very extreme” through much the same route as you yourself advocate, and on my own, I was thinking that what I could pick up from this website and this community would be more in the nature of details as well as some interesting viewpoints. And of course, the pleasure of ‘hanging out’ with people who evidently think, and also think as I do on this whole careerism-consumerism-work business : something I rarely come across in the real, non-virtual world. The book itself, I had thought, I could safely let alone, given my current self-imposed moratorium on acquiring new stuff and on general sensory overload, and also given the huge ‘reading backlog’ of my own books, literally spilling out of my many bookcases, acquired but not fully read (or read at all) over the last many years.

Looks like I was wrong. What you suggest in your last post is very interesting, and even if only a quarter, or even a tenth, of what you say is correct, definitely reading the ERE bible I ought not put off any more.

(Nevertheless, I think there’s something fundamentally wrong about thinking about ERE as something that is Zen-ish. That latter, as I understand it, has to do with inner transformation : and someone really ‘into it’ may well, in their external life, be a butcher, or a soldier, or a king, or for that matter an investment banker or a physicist, just as they could be an active retiree, a do-nothing retiree, or an actual chopper-of-wood and drawer-of-water kind of person. But that’s a wide tangent to what we were talking of, and in any case what little I know of Zen is purely intellectual, which is to say it is as good as not knowing anything about it at all, so well, two blind men gabbing about the beauty of the sunset … on the other hand, what better way for two near-blind men to spend/use time on, unless it be a LASIK operation, I mean something that can let one actually see?)

They do say that you generally get to encounter the best of an author in his books (as opposed to the person), since whatever he has to offer is distilled and concentrated in his books. It was great meeting you here, and I look forward to seeing ‘the best of you’ soon.


C40 : Agreed. (As above.) Although I have to say the point of my posts was nowhere near as altruistic as to get others on to the bandwagon. It was a far more selfish desire to simply air and perhaps clear my own doubts.


7Wannabe5 : That does make sense, that the very same thing can mean quite different things to different people (or at least, the emphasis can be quite different). No matter what’s in the book, there’s bound to be a good deal else that can be addressed outside of it too, especially since we have this wonderful forum here, and since Jacob himself partakes so freely and in such detail in it. (I mean, very often other EREers too come up with really valuable inputs too, but Jacob’s own points would, I suppose be the ‘official’ view, and therefore, probably—although of course not necessarily—the most well-reasoned-out and ‘correct’ view.)


Meantime, enough said about this particular topic I suppose. Something had felt awry to me and so I spoke up, and my question’s now been answered fully satisfactorily.

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