I think we have basically butted heads from your first post onward. That's a good thing though, because the people with whom we most violently disagree, are generally the people we can learn the most from. This is also why this place is great, it's one of the few places where people with opposing opinions can duke it out for the world to see.
In general, I post the way I do because it's who I am. Maybe even more importantly I want to proffer reasonable alternatives to the rather singular, INTJ personality, pessimistic about future world, point of view that dominates this board. I purposefully interject emotional and practical-mined arguments into my posts because most humans are not calculating, machine-like in their thought processes. Also, because I think the INTJ weak point(s) are moving theory into practice, and often missing the pleuthera of type II errors that occur in favor of guaranteed results in the type I arena. This last post was on the extreme side. I sat there for about 15 minutes trying to decide if i wanted to post it or not. In the end, I wanted to elicit discussion and bring emotional responses to the table, so I did post it.
The tax argument was simply an example of showing how a conservative refrain that's posted all over the forum here (pay all taxes now or else they will be more later) ends up creating other problems (ie I want to sell but I can't do it). Sometimes the conservative option ends up creating unanticipated problems too. I think it would suck to work an extra several years a job one dislikes only to have created extra problems for yourself. I guess that's an opinion though.
I think it's the type of thing that enures uninformed lurkers will be turned off to the concept of ERE. E-ER vs ERE, your explanation is basically the wiki. Maybe 44X is the smart move for an INTJ, failure is not an option, pensionless, risk averse, person who likes their job and wants E-ER. It's like ultra guaranteed success, with almost guaranteed type II errors baked in. So yes, I think there is an audience for this, I just happen to disagree that that audience is potential ERE'ers. Has @jacob, creator of ERE, ever drawn on his capital? I can't find any post to indicate that he has, but he can enlighten me if I'm wrong. That's really the way ERE is supposed to work though, no? Live a life of producing value on your terms, in your way, reduce consumption to 1/4th through personal application of systems design. IMO advocating saving 44X spending to start doing that is a overboard. It only applies to very specific circumstances, and very specific personalities. It's not a good general rule.
Personally, I think I oversaved at 16X, my # at time of semi-ERE. Not because I think that'll last me forever, but because I worked in a personally unfulfilling situation to save more and more. Post semi-ERE I quickly realized:
a) I will never feel safe just living on capital, so I will always need some form of income, even if it is intermittent or from some quasi self-employed ERE activity.
b) I need some form of structure in my life to maximize free time usage. Some type of occasional work fits the bill and it also makes a bunch more money.
c) My spending naturally reduced by about 20% when I wasn't working, plus I was more easily able to identify areas of improvement to potentially drag this lower.
These are three errors in judgement that would still be present even if I saved to 33X or44X, it's a REALLY good thing I didn't. I would have wasted 4-6 more years of my life in an undesirable situation. Think about that, 10% of my adult life gone! If that doesn't give one pause to think, I don't know what will.
Anyway, my point is that ERE really is Semi-RE, if you are planning to be value producing. This all comes down to the definition of what retirement means in ERE. I think the biggest enticement for ERE, outside of it's robust nature, is that you do not need to be FI to be ERE. A clear definition of retirement in ERE should be the disclaimer point, not amount of savings.
I almost addressed this directly on my first post/rant because I knew you or @jacob would bring it up. Yes, obviously fossil fuels have added a huge return to capital post industrialization. I certainly do not debate this, nor do I debate that eventually it'll just be used up. My point of contention is that 1/3 from human ingenuity. I think it's at least that much. I also think we will not lose that productivity increase from ingenuity to the sands of time. Economic systems, social systems, government types, computing power, agricultural methods, electricity use, and many, many more human accomplishments that will exist post fossil fuels. We may not have attained these things without oil, but now that we have, we've got them. I also think there's a ton of human ingenuity we've barely begun to tap, like bioengineering or quantum computing, that are not super energy intensive, and can continue to develop indefinity. Additionally, some ingenuity is not being used to it's practical limit because we still have oil (permaculture). Once it's economically feasible, some of these things will go into more widespread use and help reduce the impact of productivity loss from lack of easy energy. Bottom line, we've got some huge problems to overcome. However, we also have a hugely increased tool kit to address them thanks to our time spent in easy energy.
Now, i know i'll be accused of being a techno-optimist. That is not the case. I think transitions are difficult and I also think this one will hit us hard, a techno-optimist would dispute that. However I do think that the end result of this situation will probably not look as bad as the doomers think it will. I also think the doomer timelines are often extremely exaggerated. I think the bulk of the problems from climate and energy will not come into play for decades, which is far longer than the average investors timeframe in a single investment vehicle. Case in point, the new peak oil thread. I was absolutely amazed to read @jacob's comment, who was heavily involved in the movement, that the peak oil folks had no idea how much fracking would impact the timeline of the issue in the late 1990's, 2000's. I didn't give a s**t about peak oil back then, yet I knew of fracking's potential because I had a couple of beers with a single geologist one night. Like, no body in peak oil bothered to investigate this stuff? Or was it, this obviously readily available information, didn't fit into the doomer peak oil confirmation bias so they ignored it? Either way, they missed it completely. Obviously it's not just the average joe, c_L type who can fall victim to confirmation bias. As a matter, of fact I think the intellectuals are much more likely to fall into this trap because they bubble themselves off from reality into self reamfirming think tanks.
My basic point is that we are not going to fall into the dark ages in the near future. Returns on capital will slow, particularly as these things manifest themselves. However, I do not think it's fair to say they will return to 3% real of preindustrial revolution.
Yes, it would. Were you suggesting 15X back in 2009? I don't see that in the blog. Probably because no one knew the outcome and how all this QE would inflate assets.
Im sorry I came across so strong. I just want to make an counterpoint that also plays into emotions. I do, however, think you are a pessimist, which is not a bad thing. Look, I'm not arguing that a E-ER person who wants to "set it and forget it" invest, can sustain 60 years on 25X with no other income. That's a huge risk! I do think they'd be safe at 33X, even in these valuations. The thing is though, that's not ERE. That's mainstream FIRE, or E-ER. ERE has never advocated a static, singular investment strategy. I think you're giving mainstream FIRE financial advice, but giving it to people trying to do ERE.
Mainstream FIRE can be found all over the place now-a-days. It's essentially evolved into something only the top 20% in income can attain because they are saving half of their 150K+ dual income salaries. That leaves a huge gap of people who get excited about reducing consumption, then read into it and realize it's unattainable for them. This is where ERE comes in, because it's attainable for almost everyone. You don't really even have to be FI to do it, you just have to make sure you want a "retirement" in line with what we define. Value producing, 1/4 of resource usage through systems design, active, self directed.
People come to ERE because it's different than FIRE. Something they feel they have a chance to attain. I simply want to be a voice encouraging them to go for it if they are unhappy with their current arrangements. That's why I detail my struggles trying to reach some semblance of an ERE lifestyle in my journal. I feel it's semi-ERE, not because I still work intermittently. I think ERE demands value producing work. It's because I haven't been able to fully integrate the systems thinking and 1/4 spending. Basically, I just don't want the casual reader to come in here and think they need to save 44X their current spending to make this work and click "x" because it's even worse than what the FIRE sites are telling them.
I also realize you are probably a bit conservative because of all the times you took it in the proverbial a** from the casual observers/media not understanding when you were actively blogging. You took it for all of us back then, so thank you. I can see how you, as the creator of ERE, wouldn't want to be called out for recklessly advising people they don't need to be FI, only financially secure, to quit their jobs and try this lifestyle. I, however, am a nobody, so I can do it as much as I want.
Thanks for letting me use your journal!