ERE vs sacrifice / The Wheaton scale of ERE.

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Chad
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Post by Chad »

Very interesting responses. What I liked:
"One of the hurdles I'm still working on is the desire to be what others consider normal. Not always. In fact, not all that often anymore. But it still happens." - Ego
"If they try to 'copy' their master, they will fail. This may seem or appear like a rejection of their master, but really it is more a synthesis of the teachings to ones own personal being. As you recall, every single apprentice in mastery eventually 'rejects' their mentor, in order to make their own mastery." - My Brain Gets Itchy
"...reasons for going ERE are downright fuzzy because motivations are fuzzy to begin with." - George the orginal one


sshawnn
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Post by sshawnn »

Whereas

4=make as much as you can, money is for spending

3=something is wrong, there may be a better way

2=This is the way!

1=practicing the way
We started at 4 or greater. Thankfully we had some signs that pointed us to 3.
The SACRIFICE stopped at about 2.5-2.0!(a realization gateway)
We are at about 1.8 with the TRUTH being needing less money.
Numerous nuggets above.
This is a TRUTH,"It really comes down to whether you're living in accordance with the world as well as yourself. Without friction. "
NEW ERE is bad ass "emergent renaissance ecology"


sshawnn
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Post by sshawnn »

and....
Posts like this remind me that number ones do exist and I get to see a piece of their world here.This thread is full of such talk. For instance, ego's honesty about normalcy puts into words a human reaction and how it applies to life getting to or being a 1.

I have said it before blanket style and individually, but again, thanks.


My_Brain_Gets_Itchy
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Post by My_Brain_Gets_Itchy »


"If they try to 'copy' their master, they will fail. This may seem or appear like a rejection of their master, but really it is more a synthesis of the teachings to ones own personal being. As you recall, every single apprentice in mastery eventually 'rejects' their mentor, in order to make their own mastery." - My Brain Gets Itchy

I hope I am not beating a dead horse with this point but:
If I recall the history correctly, MMM at one time would have been considered to be an apprentice to ERE. (I am wrong?)
ERE came before MMM.
A large part of the foundation of MMM's success was via the referral and endorsement by ERE.
MMM then took what he learned, and made it his own.
He became his own master, in his own way.
And now, he is spawning his own apprentices based on the synthesis of what he learned and who he is.
These apprentices will (or will not) then eventually become masters in their own right, and make it their own.
(It's obvious that I clearly enjoyed Robert Greene's Mastery. One of my favourite books of the year. It was ofcourse referred by Jacob. I wouldn't have read it had he not referred it.
So in an ironic way, everything I have posted about Mastery, in an apparent differences of view with jacob, I learned from Jacob). ;)


Dragline
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Post by Dragline »

Nice thread. Boiling it all down to the goal of achieving "A life without friction" is impressive and useful.
But whenever somebody divides the world into two types of people, I always think of this and start laughing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLW_OCLz ... nQ&index=2


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jennypenny
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Post by jennypenny »

I don't think either ERE extreme alone--financial wealth or resource/skill wealth--is good. If the dollar collapses, a person with $10 million in the bank sitting in a loft in Manhattan is going to be hungry within a week. OTOH, a person with land and skills who is planning on homesteading is just as vulnerable to things like drought, fire, illness, disability, or future taxes/restrictions placed on their land. You should play to your strengths--money management or skill acquisition or whatever--but also be mindful of your weaknesses and address them as well.
----
To be fair, some of the people in Group 1 aren't better at the ERE thing just because they made their own mistakes, flipped a switch, or reached some magical number. They are also older. You do get perspective. You've faced problems that money couldn't fix. You've also faced problems where having money put aside would have saved you a lot of grief. It's a cliche, but you do learn to see things in shades of grey. You learn there is usually more than one right answer, and what's right today might not be right tomorrow.
ERE should be a fluid and constantly-evolving concept for people. If it's static or rigid, you risk becoming a slave to it; then you've only switched from Plato's Cave to ERE's Cave.


BPA
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Post by BPA »

@MBGI: The ERE blog certainly predates MMM, but I think that according to Jacob's definition, they were living the ERE/MMM lifestyle simultaneously. Looking at which one technically reached FI first, I think that was MMM by a few years.
However, when it comes to influence, Jacob was first and many of us found MMM as a result of the ERE blog.
I agree with Jacob that it is much less of a struggle to focus on the skills and live the lifestyle than on reaching FI as the goal. FI will come from focusing on the skills and lifestyle.
Am I the only one who sees more of that struggle in the MMM forum posters than here? MMM has more mainstream appeal and seemingly more traffic. Not trying to trash the MMM posters at all (since I am one), and many of them do not seem to struggle with the lifestyle adjustment, but it strikes me that there are more posts about adapting to the lifestyle there than here.


My_Brain_Gets_Itchy
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Post by My_Brain_Gets_Itchy »

@BPA:
Thanks for the clarification BPA!
200 years from now, scholars will be examining these antiquated computer bit forum scrolls, studying, pontificating, and debating the ancient schools of MMM and ERE philosophy.
And your post will serve as a historical reference note..


Chad
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Post by Chad »

My sense from the MMM posters is that they are more money oriented/FI focused than here. However, that is a fairly small sample size, as I don't really enjoy MMM's writing style and don't go there often.


ffj
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Post by ffj »

@Dragline
I guess there are two kinds of people in this world, my kind of people and assholes. Funny stuff.


Seneca
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Post by Seneca »

I wonder if the emphasis on the FI/SWR part on the forum is due to:
1) That part of the equation is the most unusual aspect of ERE compared to the general public

2) Selection bias- your book makes it clear how much you value skills beyond just money (moreso than MMM in his posts) so people that come here already agree, but are still working on how to get the cash
Using myself as an example-
In the thread I posted in the investing part of the forum about Barbell investing ideas- viewtopic.php?t=3468
Quite a few of the responses were related to general ERE skills. I really do appreciate all responses, but the reason I was focused on investing was because it's something I am working on where my skills do not match my other long developed ERE/DIY skills. Many here are much more highly skilled than me at investing and living on the fruits from a young age. That's unusual information and experience to find. Very few people I know can talk stoicism and practical philosophy we discuss here, so I enjoy those threads and participate in them more.
The week before I posted that investing thread I'd been discussing with my grandparents, who volunteer in a food-bank, the current recession vs the Great Depression. My grandfather told me they had a garden, a few cows, chickens and a .22 rifle to put squrrels in the pot. No mortgage on their small farm, and back then, no taxes. No money = no problems, nobody his family knew lost their properties either, and there were no safety nets other than personally developed skills. Today he talks in sadness and amazement about all the families he meets that have lost homes and rely on the charity of others for basic necessities. To me, these things are just a given, I don't really see the need to bring it up normally. It's no coincidence we bought a home on significant acreage and situated where it is, and I am so anti-debt.


Felix
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Post by Felix »

One benefit of the "emergent renaissance ecology" interpretation of ERE is that one becomes less involved in a basically exploitative economic system and derives value otherwise.
Even though a person with skill can squeeze more value out of less money, it still requires more squeezing and there's a limit to the squeezing itself. I would also disagree with the idea that working on a cruise ship is equivalent to a vacation on a cruise ship.
The whole squeezing argument simply says that you can get more consumable real wealth with less monetary investment by -essentially - being a smarter consumer. Quality of life is then still related to consumable wealth. It's a more efficient way towards it, sure. I'm not convinced it's really different in kind.


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Post by jacob »

@Felix - That way of looking at it is the diametrically opposite of what I have/had in mind with ERE.
Renaissance - Being generally and widely proficient. Able to do many different things and combine them in novel ways. Synergy effects. Resourcefulness. Working smarter, not harder. Has many tools available.
Compare to being a specialist. An insect (as per the Heinlein quote).
Ecology - Engaging with the world using renaissance skills. Serving the role as a human, not as an insect/specialist. Bringing concepts together. Adding value. Think like a designer, not a manufacturer. Closing the cycle from resource to production to consumption to deconstruction to resource. Removing inefficiencies that are created by the production-consumption model. Living in accordance with the existing complex ecology instead of trying to impose a simplifying engineered structure. Always picks a tool that works with the environment.
Compare industrial agriculture to permaculture.
Emerging - That it scales. The principles work inside the existing system and could ultimately change it.
Compare to Utopian ideals that only work if everybody agreed to them first.
As a result, ERE has a lot more in common with permaculture and survivalism because it uses the same modes of thinking about the world. It has, surprisingly, not a whole lot in common with the modes of thinking exemplified by early retirement, investing, and personal finance groups. The only thing that ERE shares with the latter approaches is that through ERE many tend to accumulate large sums of money.
From having observed hundreds of reactions to ERE, permaculturists and survivalists grok it immediately. I don't recall seeing a single negative remark/reaction about ERE from those communities. The early-retirement and personal finance communities will typically be of the "Is this possible? Could you do it?" and they'll emphasize the "what can you buy for $7000/year" and thus miss the point. Investing communities tend to be downright hostile. In their world it's all about maximizing the amount of money that can be spent.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth »

Let's go back to the working on a cruise ship vs. vacationing on a cruise ship example, because I've done both (on a ship, not a cruise ship per se) and my parents happened to call me from their Bermuda cruise today, so I have ships on the brain.
Working on a ship, you get a free trip. Yes. And you also are told when to man the ropes, change the sails, when to prepare the food, serve the people, etc.
Vacationing on a ship, your time is your own. You do what you want, when you want, for the most part.
The difference is that the vacationing on a ship involves saving money beforehand, so the labor component is separated from the travel component. In the working on a ship scenario, they're simultaneous.
I don't think either needs to be preferred to the other or a proscriptive judgment needs to be placed on one or the other. I do think, however, that equating the two is disingenuous and simply wrong.
To make it simpler: say you need to get cross town. You can either take a taxi or be the taxi driver. Journey is the same but the experience is very, very different.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/wiki/ ... Philosophy
I consider this philosophy the essence of ERE. It's not about what you do or what you want to do because everybody does things differently. It's not about how you live. It's about how you think and interact with the world. I think the ERE philosophy is very useful. I think this philosophy leads to "the good life" regardless of whether you want to live in a barrel or become a ruling class tycoon.
I also suspect that if someone focuses mainly on "FI", "investment safety", "sacrifice", "standard of living", and what their money can buy, it means that they're still following the old script where money is the only tool. Only the job income has been replaced with investment income and the consumption has been replaced with less consumption or smarter consumption.
While it's not up to me to decide, I suggest spending less energy focusing on money and what it can buy and more energy on developing/internalizing ERE.
I also realize that nobody is one group or the other. I realize that it's a range. I just want to push/prod people [gently] towards ERE and away from the "must have more money to spend" meme.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth »

I don't think the focus so much is on investment, sacrifice, standard of living, etc. The focus is on autonomy and freedom. I don't see how getting a free ride on a boat in exchange for labor is any freer than paying for a ride on a boat with a 9-5 office job.


Chad
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Post by Chad »

Yeah, working on the cruise ship would actually be worse than my regular job. While some of what on here is just different strokes for different folks, I struggle to see the positive in the cruise ship.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

@sw - I'm not sure where the boat example came from (did I miss something?) but I see what you're getting at.
The difference between the two is that
In case 1:

You have 10 things/activities you want to have but only 1 thing you can give: your job work. Hence in order to have all 10 things, you need to repeat your 9-5 office job ten times.
In case 2:

You have 10 things/activities you have to have. You also have 10 things you can give. By design there's a close match between all of these. Hence in order to have all 10 things, you just pick whichever sounds more attractive on that day.
The difference between the two is understood using the icecream example. Activities are fun, even work, as long as you want to do them. They become less fun or no fun if you have to do them.
In case 2, you have the freedom to choose activities from both sets: giving and taking. In case 1, you must always give from the same job. Too much icecream.
Case 2 might sound too much like temp work always exchanging 1 for 1. There's also a case 3. Once you're able to do many things, you begin to put them together. You then only do the highest compensated work. This may mean spending 10 minutes to make $50. Conversely, if you do the same thing, you max out your profit potential more easily because you run into the law of diminishing returns. If your focus is on picking up nickels from the floor, you might get all the nickels, but you might miss some dimes or a dollar.
Maybe this is more easily explained in terms of consumption.
Case 1:

You buy a table with money. Cost $300. (Later you break the table leg and put it out for the garbageman.)
Case 2:

You see a table that's listed for free if you pick it up. However, nobody wants it becomes one of the legs are broken. However, you happen to have the same kind of wood in storage. You also know how to replace the leg. Because of these skills, the otherwise broken and useless table becomes available to you. Cost: 1 hour of work and $0. (Maybe later you can sell it for $150 or swap it computer parts to update your desktop.)
The more you know, the more you can begin to put together. The more inefficiencies you can correct, the more value you unlock.
This value is better unlocked by combining many different skills than by working harder at one thing (unless you make $200/hour or $5/hour).


Seneca
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Post by Seneca »

@Jacob "http://earlyretirementextreme.com/wiki/ ... Philosophy
I consider this philosophy the essence of ERE. It's not about what you do or what you want to do because everybody does things differently. It's not about how you live. It's about how you think and interact with the world. I think the ERE philosophy is very useful. I think this philosophy leads to "the good life" regardless of whether you want to live in a barrel or become a ruling class tycoon.
I also suspect that if someone focuses mainly on "FI", "investment safety", "sacrifice", "standard of living", and what their money can buy, it means that they're still following the old script where money is the only tool. Only the job income has been replaced with investment income and the consumption has been replaced with less consumption or smarter consumption."
I gathered this from your book and blog, which is what drew me in, but I agree, the forum doesn't always sound like this. (nor do I always post like it either)
The list of example skills from the wiki I can answer affirmative to every one, and ended up working in auto repair and cooking for years, which started as hobbies/volunteerism.
Am I ERE without being FI? Heh.
I'll admit I fall to the tycoon-wannabe side, my name was chosen for a reason, but I don't think I'd be too comfortable talking about that here at length based on norms.


spoonman
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Post by spoonman »

It's been a true pleasure reading this thread, lots of interesting perspectives. If I may continue using the boat analogy, I would rather work a few extra years in a job I enjoy 80% of the time (because the assignments change frequently) so that I can have the -option- not to man the ropes. I'm sure I will find a way to play with the rigging every so often, but it’ll be good to know that I can have all the time that I want to do as I please.


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