Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
theanimal
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by theanimal »

TopHatFox wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 1:50 pm
I feel like the site completely skips over the part where if you follow their 200k income path, you’re now locked in an office with 30 men with an up or out attitude, working 80 hour weeks, and wearing fancy suits in stressful places to live like LA, Silicon Valley, or NYC. For 10-20 years.
It's not completely black and white. My brother has one such job, but in Minneapolis. He was promoted recently and they gave him a month off (in addition to normal vacation) to completely disconnect and go somewhere else. He's spending a few weeks in South America. He also has the option of working abroad, which I think he'll pursue. It's many hours, but there are people who enjoy that, at least for a few years.

TopHatFox
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by TopHatFox »

I don’t know man, there are only a tiny proportion of people that can start a successful business or work in highly compensated roles, whether they get to work abroad or take a month off. Those high income roles do not come without sacrifices in health.

It reminds me of the other thread I started about Ferris & other multi millionaires. Their products tend to skew what’s seen as normal, and by extension, make everyone work harder to achieve their ideal. I’d imagine a decade or two ago 1M was seen as the « you’re set, stop working » marker by most people, now it seems more like 3M. Meanwhile most Americans can’t put together 1K for an emergency. Also meanwhile, you can buy just about whatever consumer item you’d want at a big box store with a few thousand, and reasonable transport and housing for the same.

When does the bravado end?

————-

I will counter the WSP article and site by saying that it’s much healthier to find a job you like in an area of the country that you like with people that you like working with. Bonus points if you can find even a median or below median earning remote job. Do what you’d do at 35 at 25.

You can also end up dying of a heart attack before 35...and then all you’d have to show for it is a few long years in the bull pit.
Last edited by TopHatFox on Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fish
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by Fish »

@THF It's not for everyone. If you're happy with 600k there is no need to get out of your comfort zone and you don't need their advice. WSP is targeted to those who want to achieve a higher level of wealth and want a plan to get there that's more robust than get-rich-quick schemes, and all the random N=1 or untested advice floating out there. More importantly I think that there's something to be gained from merely considering their ideas and observing their thought process.

I would prefer to explore and discuss whether there's anything of value in the WSP ideas that can benefit ERE adherents. Debating subjective things (e.g. is it reasonable to work 60+ hour weeks, the pleasantness of working at their suggested professions) and the fatFIRE aspects of WSP appears to be a fruitless exercise. This is my long-winded way of saying that you may have a point, but it's not what I was hoping to discuss.

TopHatFox
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by TopHatFox »

Mostly just getting a side income of some sort and maybe actually gunning for a promotion or two at whatever work you’re a good fit for. That and avoiding legal marriage and focusing on people that add value to your life.

I think that’s the bulk of what it can offer us. Any other ideas?

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Jean
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by Jean »

What I find wierd is that I don't find any advice on how to make money. I'm kinda set, but there is some ego Issue with not having anything to sell.

suomalainen
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by suomalainen »

Fish wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:26 am
The whole point of starting a business is to increase the value of your free time. If you don't have a biz or refuse to work a second job, then using the time to be frugal is your best option (substituting time for money). However, with a biz, some things that you could have done yourself such as cleaning your own house or doing your own laundry no longer make financial sense when you can earn more $$ than it costs to outsource those tasks. It allows for an increase in net income while maintaining quality of life. Furthermore, a business grows, providing very high ROI opportunities for your time and money. The stock market is a parking lot for excess money after you've made it with your business. Almost no one is going to get super-wealthy (call this 5M+) with wage income and stocks returning 7%. Hence a biz. For those with lower ambitions (2-3M), it is acknowledged that high income alone will work but they still recommend a small biz that covers the cost of living, just to get out of scarcity mindset when it comes to money.
Honestly, I don't get it. If you increase the value of free time, doesn't basic economic theory teach you that making your "free time" more costly incentivizes you to use your time to make money rather than for leisure? or for basic "business of life" stuff like cooking, cleaning, etc.? In my experience, I have found really rich people to be super boring.
Fish wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:35 pm
WSP is targeted to those who want to achieve a higher level of wealth and want a plan to get there ... More importantly I think that there's something to be gained from merely considering their ideas and observing their thought process.

I would prefer to explore and discuss whether there's anything of value in the WSP ideas that can benefit ERE adherents...
Which brings me to my next reaction - people who want to become "super-wealthy" or even who have "lower ambitions" and are focused on a dollar figure seem to be missing the bigger picture. What's the money for?! What ends up happening, in my experience, is that WSP-minded people tend to like money for optionality - they don't know what they want to do, but they end up feeling safer and feel like they have more options the more money they have in the bank. In the meantime, they are practicing the skill of thinking about and earning money to the detriment of all other life skills. Those other life skills atrophy, so that by the time they hit their number, they not only still don't know what they want to do, they have shit-all skills to do it! They've lost their imagination; they've become institutionalized/acculturated to the moneyed class. And so they stay.

Which is a long way of saying that I actually find it more helpful to NOT consider their ideas and I actively AVOID their thought processes, because I find their ideas boring.* I deal with super rich people every single day - they're clients, they're counterparties, they're opposing counsel. There's only been ONE guy out of them all where I thought, "Man, that guy is interesting." He's the ONE guy out of them all who I wanted to (and did) become long-distance friends with. What makes him interesting to me? He is the one guy who had more to talk about than work. I'm sure they all do have more to talk about than work, but not many super-rich people wear those non-work ideas on their sleeves**. It's work and money and status and appearance and BSD measuring. Blech. Unsubscribe.

* TBH, I feel about WSP culture the way Agent Smith feels about the matrix, so, you know, personal preferences. YMMV.

** Again, in my experience. Maybe more non finance/investment (yet still workaholic) types are more interesting, but I doubt it.

prognastat
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by prognastat »

Well there isn't much more going on in your life other than work when you're working 60+ or even 80+ hours a week.

BRUTE
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by BRUTE »

TopHatFox wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:18 pm
I’d imagine a decade or two ago 1M was seen as the « you’re set, stop working » marker by most people, now it seems more like 3M
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflation

@Jean

that's the one selling point for brute - WSP is targeted at individuals that already have a career in a very well-paying industry. what they're selling are strategies and tactics within that framework. brute is very skeptical of courses/books selling "how to make a lot of money" concepts.

brute doesn't know much about the financial industry, but there's a joke in the software industry: becoming a great programmer in just 10 years. (implying most humans take longer than 10 years to master programming).

thus brute believes it entirely legitimate to focus on an already-high-income clientele and sell them strategies and tactics, instead of trying to turn the average Joe into a sell side professional.

this also conveniently selects for humans who already enjoy that type of industry. THF is very right that most humans wouldn't enjoy working in such a climate a lot. (by the way, chinos are considered formal dress code in Silicon Valley, as are long-sleeved shirts. not even VCs wear ties).

seems completely legit to brute to focus on a small audience, and being frank about it.

another issue is the "interesting" part. brute is really into programming. some of brute's heroes are programmers. some of the most interesting discussion brute has are about programming, with programmers. if brute didn't care about programming and it was just a job, sure, he wouldn't care much about that. point being, it is entirely possible to get intellectual curiosity and expression satisfied within one's profession, if one happens to work in an industry one happens to enjoy to some degree.

@Fish

brute is definitely interested in what Fish has learned. what are some of the concepts he thinks would mesh well with high-income ERE?

there are a few plus signs to WSP, just on the aesthetics side - brevity, no fucks given attitude, rebel/ignore status quo paradigm rhetoric. some other signs are not necessarily positive (advice about some topics brute knows about, like nutrition, is trivial mainstream nonsense at best), lifestyle tastes a little expensive for brute's taste. but interest is spiked.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by classical_Liberal »

I think there is a disconnect between the ideas WSP preaches and the life lead to reach WSP ideals for folks who have never worked in finance. Sure, they offer good advice for the 20-something finance industry worker. Particularly, they are trying to change the mindset of their target audience. Something akin to slave vs master morality, or hawk vs dove.

The problem is the sacrifices it takes to reach the heights they speak of are particularly harsh. I would bet virtually anyone here who lived the life of finance worker for a month would be in shell shock. After a year, it would become the new norm. Humans are very adaptable, which is a blessing and a curse.

Earning more money to leverage more time to earn more money is a never ending cycle. It highly specializes the individual, creates a mentality of more is always better, ignores other forms of capital, and creates for uninteresting, one dimensional people. This is the antithesis of ERE.

I disagree with @brutes analysis. WSP is the lot's fucks given, follow the status quo version of FI. They like to pretend to have what ERE'ers actually have. I suppose this depends on your mindset though.

The monk and the minister.
Two close boyhood friends grow up and go their separate ways. One becomes a humble monk, the other a rich and powerful minister to the king.

Years later they meet up again.

As they catch up, the minister (in his fine robes) takes pity on the thin, shabby monk. Seeking to help, he says: “You know, if you could learn to cater to the king you wouldn’t have to live on rice and beans.”

To which the monk replies: “If you could learn to live on rice and beans you wouldn’t have to cater to the king!”

suomalainen
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by suomalainen »

@brute no doubt I've had interesting work-related conversations with super rich people, but I do not typically find them interesting as people, most likely due to the one-dimensionality @cL noted. I find folks like @brute, @dlJ and many others on this board to be interesting people, primarily due to the breadth of the person and his/her interests, in addition to their having one or more depths in an area of expertise. As @prog hints at, workaholics just don't do it for me, but that's just a personal preference so YMMV.

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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by Jin+Guice »

My main financial (consumer really) heuristic pre-FIRE was a theory I developed called "high-low theory." My family is obsessed with becoming rich, but they are also very risk averse and obsessed with "safety." They think these two paths aren't diametrically opposed but they are. I realized their error when I started working closely with several mutli-millionares at the recording studio I worked in after college. From doing their drugs, going to their houses and going to their parties, I learned that life at the top is pretty fucking sweet. While living this lifestyle I was sleeping in the studio, in parks or on the subway.

My grand realization was that most things marketed towards the middle class are a rip off. You either want the tailored suit or the thrift store suit, you don't want off the rack. I'm pretty sure Jacob could summarize this with an S-curve.

WSP is the high end to FIREs low. Either spend $5 a day or spend $500. They achieve the same goal of an unconventional life doing what you want through different means. I think ERE is a better and more complete strategy than both.

I do miss the "kicking ass" factor of working a job where I felt awesome everyday instead of just sitting there bored and quietly accumulating money. I hope I can find a job that excites me half as much as working in a studio in my early 20s did, without the unhealthy lifestyle and massive ego stroking that accompanied that particular time in my life.

BRUTE
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by BRUTE »

Jin+Guice wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:26 pm
You either want the tailored suit or the thrift store suit, you don't want off the rack. I'm pretty sure Jacob could summarize this with an S-curve.
this (like S-curves) seems extremely dependent on the axes chosen. there was a topic on here once where a forum member graphed some thing versus another, and discovered the "optimal point". then DLj explained to him that the appearance of that point being special depended entirely on the scale of axes - the same graph with exponential scales produces a line instead of a hockey stick curve.

this feels a bit like that.

for the record, brute has had a suit tailored overseas for less than an off-the-rack one would cost in the US. thrift store suits are typically polyester, which feels and looks terrible. brute has checked, after some forum members talked about thrift stores. almost nothing there of quality as far as brute could see.

similar thing applied with shoes. brute has gotten much more value out of a decent $100 pair of boots than a cheap, $30 pair (lasted more than 6x as long so far, still going).

what constitutes high and low, and what constitutes value, is extremely dependent on the circumstances.

in a way this min-maxing theory is something brute applies to his life, but it's more about the discrete distribution of high/low in different areas. brute dines like a king almost every day, but only owns 2 plates.

something about determining what satisfies individual preferences, and tailoring the min-max function closely to that.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Well, I would note that the title of the book (“Efficiency”is highly indicative of linear functioning/thinking and there should be a companion volume entitled “Leverage.” Furthermore, due to my hobby of playing with simulation software, I find it difficult to consider time as a resource, since all models run through time.

That said, given that I have shown a lifelong tendency to suck at making very much money and I am currently burned out on exerting authority over large groups of children, and Trailblazer said it would be the best journal ever, and I am perversely attracted to social experiments for which I am ill suited, I will give it a go!

I read the article on determining your form of intelligence and I am a bit confused. Clearly, I am almost smart enough to be a quant, I might be okay at sales since I have lost my tendency towards shyness with age and experience and it is obviously not unlike dating. I also think I must have some talent for synthesis since my thinking is always going sideways. Still, I do not know what my next step should be?

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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by jacob »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:55 am
Furthermore, due to my hobby of playing with simulation software, I find it difficult to consider time as a resource, since all models run through time.
Side-note:

That's mainly the case for models of the physical world and primarily (I think) because time is generally the independent variable in that case (follows from deep structure of the universe<--energy conservation law holds for a lot of the simulations, so time is a useful variable). However, there are also other formulations like Lagrange and Hamiltonian where time is a dependent variable.

In market analysis, trading models sometimes do not involve time. Value investing is an example. It does not matter how long the price has had a certain value. All that matters is if it is higher or lower than some point. It's also possible to see momentum strictly in terms of volume. If volume is the independent variable, the model would run in compressed time.

Humans are not very good at dealing with linear time since our perception of time depends on how excited we are.

PS: The entire purpose of the bond market is to turn time into a resource. Here time [literally] is money.

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Seppia
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by Seppia »

I don’t really understand the “too few people could do what WSP suggests, so it’s not good advice” critic.
I would think that statistically, it’s easier (= more common) to make $150k than it is to save 75% like many on this board do.
WSP is not for me, as they try way too hard to sound in your face, politically incorrect, and show the world how little fucks they give.
I like a more understated approach to things, but it is clear to me they are smart people (smart people are always worth reading as they’re always in short supply).

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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by prognastat »

@Seppia
Well the median income in the US is $59,039. Let's say you have 2 adults in the household each consuming 1 Jacob in expenses. That would be 14k which is 23.7% meaning over 75% savings rate. That means slightly over 50% of households could potentially execute ERE with 75% savings rate. Meanwhile to make 200k as a household you have to be in the top 4%.

Being in the top 50% is a lot more feasible than being in the top 4%, thus saying too few people could do it is much more applicable to WSP than it is to ERE.

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Seppia
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by Seppia »

The key is “potentially”. How many people actually do it?
Most people cannot even save 15%
I say this often so sorry if I sound like a broken record, but “simple” is very different from “easy”.

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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by prognastat »

That doesn't change the fact though that the potential amount of people that could achieve them are very different. Even if most don't achieve eitherr far fewer will ever be able to achieve the WSP lifestyle than ERE.

You argument actually makes things worse as if we actually take in to consideration that most people aren't willing to do it that shrinks the 4% that can to an even smaller amount.

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Seppia
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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by Seppia »

I don’t want to hijack the thread with this argument, but if you see it from their perspective, what WSP do is simple.
It’s a bit mind boggling that someone with extreme dedication to financial discipline who considers saving 75% something “50% plus of the population could do” fails to understand how people of average intelligence and superior dedication on another financial task can consider it easy to end up in the 90th+ percentile of income.
Instead of savings.

Anyway, that was a long way to say that my takeaway from WSP is

When people with average or above means apply extreme dedication to a task, superb performance comes natural and is considered as “easy”, when in reality it is not.

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Re: Life Traps Analysis from WSP

Post by prognastat »

I mean I can definitely understand it's not hard if you are of above average intelligence, our household is in the 90th percentile for income and we aren't near that dedicated as my average week is only 45-50 hours and I could work far harder working more hours and/or improving my skills outside of work to improve my prospects for promotion/increasing income if I wanted to or I could put that same effort towards building alternate sources of income.

If I was willing to deal with the stress of working 80 hour weeks and dedicating almost all my time towards improving my income I could probably double my income pushing our household into the 95+ percentile. So I could say it's relatively easy considering I manage to reach 90th percentile with just average dedication and could be 95th or higher if I had superior dedication.

I also understand though that I'm not the norm and that this path isn't available to most people.

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