The ERE Wheaton Scale

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
paul wheaton
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by paul wheaton »

Forgive my intrusion. I just now made my first account here.

Maybe a financial comfort scale

level 0: heaps of debt, living hand-to-mouth, gradually building debt
level 1: being aware of finances to the point of slowly getting out of debt (1 billion people)
level 2: can get by for two to six months without a job (100 million people)
level 3: retired, or can retire (10 million people)
level 4: retired with extra safety nets (1 million people)
level 5
level 6: retired with extra safety nets plus a massive garden and living in a drama-free homestead community (10,000 people)

I'm not sure how to define levels 7 through 9, nor who to pick for level 10. That might take a few years of growth on my part to even try to understand.

But I tried to be inclusive of conventional retirement stuff. I also tried to emphasize that I think it is important to define a large buffet of scales - it is not necessary to come up with just one scale for everybody.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I think "comfort" is a useful descriptor because it accounts for those affluent individuals who find themselves unable to retire for psychological reasons. IOW, those for whom no amount of money or other assets are enough to calm internal issues. Obviously, continuing to work for money past point of reason could be an effective compulsive avoidance mechanism.

Jean
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by Jean »

Level 10 could be when your homesteading community is alone on its own planet, but you have means to find another community on an other planet if you ever need to.

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Stahlmann
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by Stahlmann »

as for Elon Musk I tend to disagree (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features ... rtin-tripp or this case with naming random guy a pedo [but here we mentally masturbate to diffrent interpretations of single tweets; yea, there aren't many saints in Stahlmann's religion]), otherwise great concept :)

__

giving second thought to it, if speak that "caveman/monkey" can be on top...
firstly why not? but more seriously I think there could be problem in understanding of depth of ERE (yea, a bit cultish).
nominating somebody's on each level would create neverending problems like mentioned in my first paragraph

this why Popes/"masters" (as even in "Best Korea") used to be ruthless psychopaths (or at least behaving this way) [to eliminate anykind of competition]
btw, this why also homosexuality/pedophilia is constantly hidden in such groups.

I would go with average https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udarnik just for sake of being controversial and providing other viewpoint on American centric forum

However, I see world through lenses of "no Gods, no masters" and my disdain towards authority is sometimes counterproductive.
Last edited by Stahlmann on Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

theanimal
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by theanimal »

@stahlman your English is getting noticeably better! Nice job. All that time digging up old threads is paying off ;)

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Stahlmann
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by Stahlmann »

It seems I tackled issue of lacking micronutrients and I've been having less stressors in my life recently.

More is prolly known only by folks on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XKeyscore :lol:
(Let's this some kind of inside joke of patient and high Kegan and Wheaton readers of Stahlmann's posts here over last 5 years. And his other accounts too :lol:)

So folks on neurodiversity spectrum read below shit even you save every last $5:
https://nutrientoptimiser.com/nutrients/autism-diet/
https://nutrientoptimiser.com/nutrients/adhd-diet/
https://nutrientoptimiser.com/nutrients ... sion-diet/

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jennypenny
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by jennypenny »

@MEA -- Chop wood, carry water is a zen proverb ... "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Its position at the top of the scale isn't meant to imply any particular lifestyle.

I'd also say your suggestions for a Wheaton scale are good but not necessarily for an ERE Wheaton scale. I'm not sure how any form of 'leave a legacy' would be a part of ERE. A richer, all-encompassing ERE lifestyle (which jacob hinted at originally but didn't explicitly state) might include a form of 'leave no footprint' which is different.

jacob
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by jacob »

Perhaps if legacy was recast as "net lifetime contribution" it would fit into the overall scheme. I did explicitly state (at the back of the book) something like "your contribution [to society] is the difference between what you produce and what you consume". For the purposes of the table, this could be measured/gauged in terms of positive addition of the various forms of capital. I would not necessarily frame it in environmental terms though.

I could exchange the "travel" column for something like that because that one is probably the most iffy column. OTOH, the table in its current form is enjoying some widespread usefulness. I find if it begins to value people by their contribution or legacy, the ones deemed to be a net negative might get turned off rather than encouraged to do better. It also has the problem of becoming/encouraging "what you measure".

Don't take this as a total dismissal of the idea. I just haven't thought that much about it.

And yes, "chop wood, carry water" refers to the zen koan. Another one, I found googling around is "When hungry, eat your rice. When tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh, but wise men will know what I mean." This would also fit ERE Wheaton 8 and to be sure it does not imply subsisting on a diet of rice.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Elon Musk might be at the top of Techno-Optimist Wheaton Scale, but ERE schisms from Techno-Optimism at Kegan Level 4. However, it is clearly retained as thread in option of Capital Investment.

One way to think about the higher levels would be in terms of internal skills vs external resources. For instance, who is at a higher level, the human who has to haul 80 lbs./ $8000 worth of supplies into the wilderness to survive for a weekend, or the human who just needs a pocket knife? However, this needn't/shouldn't just apply to "wilderness" type environment. How many different environments could you be air-dropped into with just the shirt on your back and readily make your way forward? I think part of what is meant by "chop wood, carry water" is that in any given environment this is how you proceed; it's just that this is not always obvious because so many of our highly human mediated environments make it so effortless; so easy for us to be mindless rather than mindful.

Another way to look at it is that humans are always striving to create or recreate very simple patterns of living that tend towards positive emotional states. For instance, "form the hearth" can be as simple as constructing a fire ring at a campsite or as complicated as a $40,000 kitchen renovation.

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jennypenny
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by jennypenny »

What I question about 'legacy' or even production - consumption is that the value of what someone produces is subjective. It's that lens problem again.

The woo-woo world uses the term imprint to mean the spiritual imprint we leave behind. (IIRC it's described as a vibration we leave or something like that.) I don't subscribe to those ideas but I like the concept of leaving imprints, not footprints when possible.

BookLoverL
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by BookLoverL »

I know for certain that I wouldn't want to be working my way up any scale that Elon Musk is at the top of. On the other hand, I find the chop wood, carry water image very inspiring.

I still love the ERE Wheaton scale as it is, to be honest. I think it's a great way of understanding different finance philosophies, and I don't think it has to take exactly the same form as the original Wheaton Scale, with only one defined person at the pinnacle, in order to be useful.

BookLoverL
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by BookLoverL »

Hunter-gatherer cave living is one method of living "chop wood, carry water", but it's not the only one, I feel. It's just one that happens to work if you live in an area with a decent amount of wild food. I can't entirely imagine what the different options might be, probably because I estimate myself to be at around ERE Wheaton level 5.5, but I assume the benefit of this level is not any one specific lifestyle, but the mindset and the many skills you carry with you at that level. So somebody at that level could *choose* to live in a standard house and have a job if they wanted, but they wouldn't feel locked into it as the only way of living, probably, and would have a number of unusual and radical options they could pick up in various situations.

(As an aside, I was rereading the last few pages of the thread and spotted where 7w5 mentioned the different financial situations of rationals in the apocalypse. Curious, I looked up the site, and the description for my own type that I normally get these days, INFP, is "Wealth: renounced it." And the ENFP burned it as an act of protest. I did used to test as INTP sometimes as a teenager though...)

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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

The reason why I like to do the conversion to land values calculation is that I think there is something about the inherent territoriality of wealth that is hidden in distant, liquid electronic assets. Production-> capital vs. consumption can also be viewed as something like power vs. pleasure, but meant to be transcended. 1 Jacob spending = global population divided "dumping" allowance, but amount of capital necessary to generate 1 Jacob/year income at 3% = at least 25X value of 2 acres land and there are only 2 (non mountainous/desert) acres/land per human currently.

So, I think of the imagined human at the top of the ERE scale being more like an uber John Plant (the primitive technology guy.) Somebody who could start with nothing but 2 undeveloped acres and end up with a working radio, functional antibiotic, and pizza made with custom bred variety of tomatoes after a few years.

basuragomi
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by basuragomi »

I always interpreted "chop wood, carry water" more as a state of completely benefiting from one's labour. Every action taken has real benefit to yourself and no effort is required to undo the negative effects, if any, of your actions. Your environment has been intentionally designed/chosen to enable this. Living like a permaculture caveman would fit there since a common interpretation is spending minimal time gathering resources solely for your personal consumption, and the rest of the time amusing yourself.

Level 1 is wage slave, without benefiting from capital or labour. Going up to around level 5 maximizes capital efficiency, going further starts to improve labour efficiency. Or maybe maximizes knowledge/social capital efficiency.

As a non-caveman example of the top of the scale, I think Paul Erdős would fit. Wandering the earth as you see fit, having all your needs provided for solely by doing the things you love most.

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Lemur
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by Lemur »

@basuragomi

A story about Paul Erdos! Apparently he was quite fond of stimulants lol
After 1971 he also took stimulants, despite the concern of his friends, one of whom (Ron Graham) bet him $500 that he could not stop taking them for a month.[25] Erdős won the bet, but complained that during his abstinence, mathematics had been set back by a month: "Before, when I looked at a piece of blank paper my mind was filled with ideas. Now all I see is a blank piece of paper."[citation needed] After he won the bet, he promptly resumed his use of Ritalin and Benzedrine.

ThriftyRob
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by ThriftyRob »

Re: level 6 vacation and experiences - I'm unsure about 'vacations in a DIY van' being an appropriate indicator. Having been wowed by the possibilities of a DIY van conversion, I have researched this option in some detail. Whilst a DIY van is great value compared to a regular camper van (sweat equity) the cost per mile is high compared to efficient transport (econobox hatchback car) and in parts of the world where boondocking is illegal, there's an on-cost of camping ground fees which are close to budget hotel chain nightly rates.

A DIY van calls for a significant capital allocation and ongoing running costs which is counter to level 5 optimisation. I'm not sure whether the loss of capital growth and earnings have less impact on outgoings than driving an economical car and carefully planning/shopping around for the best value accommodation (glamping, hostels, hotels, Airbnb, etc.). As someone who aspires to keeping his carbon footprint as small as possible, I have issues with driving a thirsty, dirty diesel-fuelled heavy van long distances. Vans which are de-fleeted and available for conversion have covered over 150,000 miles, so they are cheap but don't comply with latest emissions standards.

There's something missing also, in terms of the clever things that FIRE bloggers do: using credit card sign-up bonuses, loyalty points and scheme offers (free nights, arbitraging buying points vs cash bookings) to get free flights and hotel nights and very attractive savings.

Maybe a less prescriptive descriptor would fit better, e.g. 'practises geo-arbitrage and takes advantage of market opportunities to reduce travel and accommodation costs'.

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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by jacob »

@ThriftyRob - With increasing levels the distinction between creation and recreation becomes increasingly blurred. The W6 example is not meant as buying a DIY van, vacationing in it for a few weeks or months per year, and otherwise keeping it in the garage. At W6 the van is recognized as providing the yield of housing and transportation instead of an extra expense on top of owning a car and a house.

Using credit card bonuses, loyalty points, etc. requires that one is still mostly spending [heavily] to solve travel problems instead of using other means/arrangements. I think this becomes moot beyond W4 as "experiences" become largely free once the will and skill are there to look for them.

Either way, the vacationing column is in my opinion the most iffy of the columns, whereas the focus column describes the actual paradigm of how one thinks about thing. The other columns should reflect what someone in a given paradigm might come up with, choose, and how they might see things like retirement goals or experieinces. It's not meant as a prescription or an identification. For example, literal misunderstandings aside, chopping one's own wood or spending $6k/year does not automatically mean one is W8. They're neither necessary nor sufficient conditions.

flying_pan
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by flying_pan »

I really like the vacation column, as it really helped me to click with the system, because I distinctly went through several phases and can easily relate. But yeah, it definitely requires imagination, as these are just examples, since some people for camping on BLM are buying a 4x4 truck, a new Airstream and shit ton of gear to use it 1 time per year.

And I also agree that after W4 it basically is up to the individual as one will realize the true freedom you have for your vacations.

ThriftyRob
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by ThriftyRob »

@Jacob, thanks for your response and for clarifying. Your explanation makes sense: it's certainly more efficient in cashflow and capital terms to live in a van than a sticks and bricks home. Maybe that's a characteristic that should be emphasised in the 'focus' column – having a mobile, minimalist dwelling that's multi-purpose in blurring the distinctions between home, workplace and recreation.

I see a trade-off between spending of money and time. Achieving retirement, it's easier to allocate time to save cash outflows. For example, travel by bus instead of plane. Making a sofa from 2 x 4 vs. buying an IKEA flat pack.

I don't take the levels literally. I was chopping my own wood when I was in level 2 and still do! Isn't W8 about tending towards self-sufficiency? Make/grow/create to meet all needs while minimising/eliminating cash outflow?

BookLoverL
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Re: The ERE Wheaton Scale

Post by BookLoverL »

The focus column I think is definitely the true heart of the table - all the other columns are examples of something that someone might do at that level, but at each level there are a whole bunch of different options. It's all in how someone is thinking about what they're doing, really.

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