What is essential to ERE?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
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Fish
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What is essential to ERE?

Post by Fish » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:18 am

What are the essential attributes (mindset, actions, external and material circumstances) of a person that is ERE?

Can one be ERE without having read the book/blog, and if so, does this apply to (for example) high-level permaculturists and followers of other FIRE movements like YMOYL or MMM?

Or perhaps more relevant, does this label apply if a person is aware of the ERE philosophy, exhibits some consistent behaviors, but refuses to correct some of their larger inefficiencies. Is a web of goals required for membership?

Is it possible to define a boundary and say, inside this line you are ERE and differences between persons are of degree. And the differences between those in/out are of kind.

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fiby41
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by fiby41 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:25 am

A job.

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Tyler9000
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by Tyler9000 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:47 am

Only ERE people will understand:

Image

;)

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distracted_at_work
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by distracted_at_work » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:51 am

I laughed too hard at that :lol:

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cmonkey
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by cmonkey » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:22 am

This sounds like it belongs in the Wheaton thread, but I think if I could pick out the two difference between EREers and anyone/everyone else its that we focus on reducing the waste in our lives and maximizing the efficiency of each dollar spent.

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by rfgh » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:20 pm

Retiring Extremely Early.

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FBeyer
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by FBeyer » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:38 pm

Fish wrote:What are the essential attributes (mindset, actions, external and material circumstances) of a person that is ERE?.
It's funny. I read the topic title and thought to myself: Fish is going to come into this thread and quote something verbatim from the book. Color me suprised when you're the one who started the topic.

Why are you curious about what is essential to ERE? Are you worried your approach is not canon?

Other than that I guess the systems thinking is what primarily separates ERE from pure optimization towards FI.

Did
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by Did » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:36 pm

Well I like to think of myself on the ERE path, and did eat lentils for dinner.

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C40
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by C40 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:47 pm

Image

Another ERE Requirement - Bicycle for transportation :-D and have fun doing it

One of the big things about ERE, or about having a good life in general, is to be able to have fun and get joy from simple things, from free things, from your own creations, ideas, etc. A huge step to a life full of joy is to learn that joy and spending money are (or should be) entirely separate things.

and.... I also had some lentils with my breakfast.

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by jacob » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:37 pm

About ERE wrote: ERE is a set of principles that are based on a systems theoretic approach to “lifestyle design” allowing each individual to create their own robust strategy to a flexible lifestyle that is resilient to economic shows and which meets all needs and reasonable wants while minimizing ongoing costs and effort.

...

Although FIRE received the majority of attention on the blog, it is just a subset the larger ERE philosophy. What still differentiates ERE from the other FIRE communities is that ERE is mostly about independence from the money-based economy (economic independence) and not just independence through it (financial independence).

One of the design goals of the philosophy was to establish what principles would work both if the exceptional characteristics of 20th century US markets would turn out to be a one time event but also if the 21st century should enter a non-growth phase with depressed incomes from global competition and increased costs from environmental damage and resource depletion.

This was achieved through a much greater than usual focus on developing a wide array of personal skills (that no one can ever take away from you, unlike money) and combining them in mutually reinforcing ways. This is also known as the renaissance ideal and include the 21st century equivalent of the same life-skills that our grandparents and great-grandparents used to know but which largely have been forgotten over the past two generations.

The systems theoretical combination of mutually supportive skills and plans is similar to the guild-concept in permaculture. However, since living life as a human (skills, people, money, desire, opportunity) differs somewhat from life in a garden (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, water, heat, soil), ERE uses a type of probabilistic/adaptive contingency planning, called web-of-goals, instead of the semi-static design methods of permaculture.

This development of using skills to substitute for consumerist spending means that ERE adherents pretty much display some of the lowest expense levels amongst the various FIRE communities while still enjoying middle-class lifestyles. The typical range of expenses is between $4000/household/year and $16,000/household/year. This also means that extreme early retirement is possible for people who haven’t mastered high-five or six-figure income jobs.

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BRUTE
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by BRUTE » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:19 pm

all humans who haven't consumed lentils in 48 hours will have their ERE license revoked immediately. also savings rate can never drop below 75%.

more serious:
- not having a TV
- having contemplated living in an "alternative arrangement" (van, bridge, extreme roommate situation, boat, super cheap country, ..)

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bryan
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by bryan » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:27 pm

made a bunch of lentil burgers this weekend, still one left for tonight. Good stuff! Though next time I'll probably deep fry the mixture (some sort of bastard falafel).

I'm a simple man. It makes sense to me that the only requirement is to have the mindset (leading your actions) to "retire" (relatively) "as soon as possible." One could re-phrase that in a few ways without losing equivalence.. I suppose Wheaton levels apply. A lot of the other stuff follows from that? I guess it can be more complex than that (and maybe what you are asking about) but I am happy in that pigeon-hole.

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Fish
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by Fish » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:53 am

@FBeyer I don't know why it's so important to me. But I'm thinking about it all the time, like an oyster growing its pearl. To use @brute's words I'm stuck with the ERE mind-virus.

@jacob Fair response. I have a hard time improving on it, but here goes:

At a very high level (comparing vs. all other humans) I can think of these attributes which describe most if not all ERE people:
  • Not viewing less consumption as sacrifice. (Also see viewtopic.php?t=3509)
  • Efficient living (low waste).
  • Having or pursuing multiple solutions for each need.
  • Lower than average dependence on the market.
I would be fine ending the list there but we should also add the following quantitative financial and lifestyle results:
  • Low expenses
  • Accumulated wealth from high savings rates and investments
  • Extreme early retirement
These attributes comprise the "ERE phenotype." They are observable traits. While FIRE gets the most attention, the more remarkable thing is how these characteristics are so prevalent and consistently observed throughout our community. It's not innate or the result of self-selection. We have our share of rags to riches (or lobster to lentils?) stories here.

I submit that ERE is an intentional way of life, meaning that one has to be aware of the component ideas and have put them together to form a coherent philosophy of living. When one commits to ERE and applies the ideas to life, the results naturally follow.

The essential part of ERE is not early retirement, or low expenses, or even independence from the market. Although this might be your reason for pursuing ERE, it's important to distinguish cause from effect and recognize that these things are consequences. It's not ERE because FIRE. It's FIRE because ERE. The philosophy is the cause. And it's the philosophy that is essential. It's what we have in common. It's who we are.

So this is what I think makes a person ERE:

1) Awareness of ERE philosophy
2) Commitment to the ideas
3) Application to life

The rest is a difference of degree.

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bryan
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by bryan » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:30 am

Love that ERE dogma.

I don't follow on cause and effect:
> The essential part of ERE is not early retirement <snip> Although this might be your reason for pursuing ERE, it's important to distinguish cause from effect and recognize that these things are consequences.

My cause for pursuing ERE is the desire for "early retirement," except early retirement is actually the effect of ERE philosophy?

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by vexed87 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:42 am

I'm starting to wonder if there is a dependency at the personality level too. How many Guardian types are there on this forum, or at least engaging in a lifestyle that follow ERE principles?

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Fish
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by Fish » Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:43 am

@bryan You are extrinsically motivated. What I'm trying to say is that the philosophy is a common thread regardless of our goals or reasons for pursuing ERE. You want early retirement. I want to eliminate the work-play distinction in life. Because we have differing goals or desired end-results, we can't say that either is an essential feature of an ERE person.

And in over-complicated fashion I just want to say, let's take one step back, recognize that your FIRE and my work-play equivalence are the result of this philosophy. That's what is common to both of us. The philosophy is essential. It's a rather dull observation which is stating the obvious, like a tautology: ERE is ERE.

Could we sift through the ERE book and blog and remove bits and pieces and still call the result ERE? Probably, but I don't think that's a fruitful exercise. Rather, recognize that readers are at different levels of personal readiness for the various concepts, and some will make more sense or have more immediate applicability than others. If you never did the web of goals exercise, but took the other concepts to heart, isn't this still ERE enough? It's like ERE is a giant idea toolbox and people who open it up will have different levels of proficiency with each item inside. As long as you open the toolbox, resolve to use the tools, and actually build something with them, that's good enough. It doesn't matter if you build a house or car or toaster or paperweight. It doesn't matter if you only use the hammer or never use the screwdriver. A bunch of ERE people are known for building some really cool stuff. But what distinguishes us from others is not what we build, but the ERE toolbox that we share.

There are other ways to build. There's a YMOYL toolbox, etc. You can build the same stuff with different toolboxes. We all have access to a unique set of toolboxes based on reading and life experience. What I'm suggesting is that "uses ERE toolbox" vs. not is a useful distinction.

I'm still not very satisfied with this answer because it doesn't actually define ERE or attempt to identify any of its essential component ideas (for that see viewtopic.php?t=5166), but as a means of determining who's in the club and not, it probably doesn't get any better.

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Fish
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by Fish » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:46 am

Wow. Sorry guys, on second read I've realized how incredibly vapid and information-free my last 2 posts were. I'll be flattered if you don't see it that way, but I'm going to call myself out first. What I thought was insight was the trivial solution (i.e., ERE = ERE). There really needs to be a facepalm emoticon for moments like these... :( :oops:

With something as multi-dimensional and complex as ERE, Jacob's answer is likely as good as it gets. It states the defining and novel features of the ERE philosophy. It states generally what people have been able to accomplish applying it.

What is essential? The philosophy is from my perspective indivisible. And the motives, behaviors and circumstances of the followers are diverse. So can we define the "ERE boundary" in practical terms? And even if we could, would it be relevant? There's no need to signal ERE, though anyone can with a bowl of lentils... ;)

One of the cool things about this community is the uniqueness of the solutions people have devised. No one here brags about low spending, and if they do it's not meant to be competitive (I think?). Rather, we marvel how ERE reveals a person's true personality when they are given the freedom to pursue their dreams. Instead of seeking common ground maybe I will go back to appreciating all that is unique here.

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:49 am

Fish said: But what distinguishes us from others is not what we build, but the ERE toolbox that we share.
Agree. My immediate thought after my first read of ERE was "What a nicely organized giant box of tinker toys!!!" Of course, I had already read a decent portion of Jacob's bibliography prior to happening upon his book, so...

The funny thing is that "ERE" offers a theoretical basis for what other's had only previously offered in more engineered-example type formats, but we all sometimes get stuck on thinking that Jacob's own engineered-examples are the goal or ultimate model. Lentils are not required, and neither is SWR.

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by ThisDinosaur » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:33 am

Instead of seeking common ground maybe I will go back to appreciating all that is unique here.
+1
I've been told by Jacob, multiple times, that I don't "get" ERE. But I keep reading here because everyone on this board has different and very unusual ways of dealing with my biggest concern: how to avoid being dependent on pay from "others" for my basic human needs. I came here thinking that FIRE was the answer. ERE took me a step further to realizing that that just means I'd be dependent on my portfolio and the financial system. The Web of Goals concept forced me to think about my wants and needs from a First Principles perspective. C40 lives in a van. 7Wannabe5 grows her own food. Ego has gotten someone to pay HIM for the place he lives, and can uproot to any place in the world on a dime. I don't know anyone IRL who has their shit together this well, so this is all outside the box thinking for me.

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by distracted_at_work » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:25 pm

@ThisDinosaur

I think you get it.

I certainly wouldn't be here if I had nothing to learn and I feel like that goes for mostly everyone on the board.
Some of us have a longer ways to go than others is all...

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:42 pm

Good news, I found precooked bricks of lentils at Trader Joe's. Now all ERE takes is $3 and a microwave.

Real answer - complementary web of goals, producer mentality.

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by JamesR » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:09 pm

What's essential to Retiring Extremely Early?

It's a maximization/minimization problem:
  • Save a shitload (80% savings rate!) & invest it (4% SWR!)
  • Live for next to nothing (20% cost of living!)
  • Do things to be more self-sufficient
    • Cook from staples (sub-$80/mo food bill!)
    • Explore alternative forms of shelter like an RV ($300/mo rent in SV!)
    • Leverage hobbies to produce extra income for you! (Bazillions!)

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by fella » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:12 pm

I think most ERE people have the firm belief that they are in control of their own destiny/life.

When I fail at something I see it as a choice I made, not something that happened to me (This is closely tied to yoda's do or do not philosophy). The same goes for when I succeed. Of course there can always be some major circumstances that derail the best of plans but the mindset is what is important.

I forget what Jacob calls this in his book but I think it is essential to my ERE journey at least.

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BRUTE
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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by BRUTE » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:17 pm

internal locus of control?

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Re: What is essential to ERE?

Post by ducknalddon » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:10 am

fella wrote:
Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:12 pm
I think most ERE people have the firm belief that they are in control of their own destiny/life.
I think you have to be careful with that, some things are within our control but much isn't. We don't live in a meritocracy and the more we believe we do the worse we seem to treat people who happened to be less fortunate than ourselves.

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