Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

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Fish
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Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by Fish » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:49 am

Here's my attempt to fix the problems with the original ERE Wheaton Table and produce a scale that is suitable for popular consumption. My main issue with the table, while insightful, is that the purpose is easily confused and subject to misuse by others as a personal awesomeness chart instead of using it as a tool to gain perspective. Also, the original table can't be shared outside of this site without other people thinking that we're full of ourselves (although who says we're not! :lol:). In short, it completely fails as a pedagogical tool.

The starting point is the realization that it is generally accepted within the FIRE community that a Wheaton scale on expenses exists. See any of the following:
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/how-i ... -year.html
http://moneyboss.com/do-what-works-for-you/
http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/ ... ost1539982

It's well known that people applying ERE concepts spend less money on average than most (all?) other personal finance/FIRE communities out there. The controversial part is that due to the fog of comprehension, it's not readily understood how it works. Most people will see it as sacrifice, i.e. the extremely low spending results from deprivation and having a low quality of life. But I think we can get the message across if we make a Wheaton scale based on expenses and explain how and why the efficiency of spending gets higher when moving up through the levels. As before, the example numbers represent the required $$$$ to replicate a median 2-person lifestyle at that level of "skill of living". Following this, the next step is to give people what they expect and make it the personal awesomeness chart.

However, this is still a serious attempt to recast the paradigms of the previous table along the development of mastery in spending efficiency. The levels in this scale correlate pretty well with those in the table! And it still retains the fog of comprehension aspect where immediately adjacent levels seem remedial/inspiring while 2+ levels is unequivocally a difference in kind. Starting at the beginner level, the only way to save money is to do without. A sacrifice in the loss sense. Then we realize that we can use budgets to control and plan for wants and needs. The next step is to be a smarter consumer and get good deals. Buy the same basket of goods, but cheaper. Following this, the next step is to insource needs and DIY where the efficiency is high. And so on and so forth. I think I included enough detail to make it self-explanatory. Please speak up if you have suggestions or think you can make an even better scale.

Lastly, this arrangement leaves open the possibility of level 8+ where the logical progression is total independence from the market (while somehow still maintaining an equivalent quality of life). It's not included because it hasn't been defined yet, although I have speculated about level 8+ here. It's still something to strive for.


1. SACRIFICE ($48k/year) (skill = 0.9) - Money is spent on anything and everything. High interest consumer debt may be used if cash is insufficient. Spending is finally contained when money runs out. Then the sacrifice begins.

2. BUDGETING ($42k/year) (skill = 1.0) - Needs and wants are prioritized to control expenses. Routine purchases are made without incurring debt.

3. COUPONING ($36k/year) (skill = 1.2) - Is a smart consumer. Avoids paying full retail using tactics such as waiting for sales and buying things used.

4. INSOURCING ($30k/year) (skill = 1.4) - Uses own labor and DIY skills to further reduce spending on products and services.

5. OPTIMIZATION ($24k/year) (skill = 1.8) - Minimizes waste. Lives much more efficiently and deliberately than the typical consumer, significantly reducing demand for products and services and acquiring what is needed with little money spent.

6. VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY ($18k/year) (skill = 2.3) - This is "living poor with style" in the sense of no longer trying to "have it all." Lives well without products and services which most people consider to be universal needs.

7. SYSTEMS THEORY ($12k/year) (skill = 3.5+) - Stable, self-reinforcing systems are set up to provide for needs and wants. Minimal reliance on products and services from the market, but intentionally spends money where the efficiency is high. Focuses on closing the loops and using waste in a productive manner to generate value.

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jennypenny
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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by jennypenny » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:58 am

@Fish--I posted something here that's related.

I'm starting to wonder if a more accurate ERE Wheaton Scale is one that measures how many other scales are incorporated into the system. A basic scale would be FI. Other scales might include resiliency, flexibility, impact on others, and impact on the planet (including resource depletion). Does that make sense?

I don't know how to assess someone who's high on the FI scale but still low on the impact or resiliency scale. Is that better or worse than someone who's a 4 in all scales? Not sure. My first instinct is that a person is only as 'ERE' as their lowest number, but that's seems a little arrogant.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by FBeyer » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:14 am

I personally like how every Wheaton scale 'we' come up with, place 'us' near the top every time :)

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by Fish » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:39 am

@jennypenny I think you're saying something to the effect of: life is a decathlon, but we're awarding the gold medal only based on the results of the 100m dash. Which I think is a valid concern if we're wanting to measure a person's actual fitness. But in trying to develop a Wheaton scale for the mass market (outside of these forums) it made more sense to use expenses because it seems to be the one and only area where there is a consensus that ERE is excellent.

So to continue this analogy, if others acknowledge that ERE runs the 100m dash faster, then the method for outreach should start here, and communicate our insights and see whether we can help others to run the 100m dash better as well.

Your proposal to measure multiple scales, while I think would get a lot of interest from within this community, is not really suited for popular outreach because it's like the 100m gold medalist trying to get everyone else interested in the decathlon when others didn't even care about the other 9 events or agree what they should be. It's just not a good starting point for discussion. We need to meet others where they are and start with expenses since that's the common part of our FIRE culture and language.

@FBeyer I've tried to be objective in the sense that I've found many references in other forums where people who are aware of ERE (but not necessarily practicing it) still acknowledge that this philosophy results in lower expenses than other methods. And as for placing ourselves at the top, see this post by Jacob on the MMM forums, at least if we do a Wheaton scale for expenses it's acknowledged that one can still go further (but almost no one does).
jacob wrote: 2) This is a Wheaton eco-scale problem. People who are spending two or more levels above are seen as unskilled and wasteful. People spending two or more levels below are seen as austere/crazy. Here's a short level scheme which is only meant to be SUGGESTIVE, not necessarily accurate. It's more reflective of my personal observations of correlations between resistance/acceptance to/of ideas and origin.
Level: IWTYTBR, Bogleheads
Level: E-R, GRS
Level: MMM
Level: ERE
Level: No known bloggers? (the $4000/year level)
Level: Suelo/Mark Boyle.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by Crazylemon » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:22 pm

@Fish I am not sure it is possible to share a table outside of a forum where it puts you at the top as anything but being full of yourself pretty much irrespective of content. I am not sure what benefit showing the table would have, given the established '2 levels lower you look crazy'

In this sense I think the decathlon is the important aspect as it is the involvement of those spheres in the financial that allows you to improve your skill of living.

For example level 6 'lives without services others deem essential' when this is not about going without but you have built and efficient loop/s such that the service is provided gratis/not needed. But the quote included in the definition shows its own problem, a few levels down this does just look like sacrifice and so provides no information; 'but I hate lentils' syndrome.

The table as a tool of where to send people to get information/help that is level appropriate is clear up to and including MMM. It also clearly works given how popular that blog is and others 'below'. How to get more people at MMM level to 'progress' is the current part of the toolkit that seems most deficient. For me the ERE blog post about 'pick and mix strategies defeats the point' gave me the initial light bulb to carry on beyond. I suspect most people here is rather varies, hence the challenge.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by jacob » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:50 pm

I'll leave the whole selling/not making people feel bad about themselves to others ... but I do have a few comments.

There will always be someone at the top. They will not necessarily be full of themselves even if they made the table(*). The whole education system is one long table. It's a useful guide to tell by what grade-level someone is in how big their vocabulary is, what kind of math they can do or understand; and the level of complexity they're capable of processing. You can key in from any of these dimensions and get a fairly accurate understanding of where the student is and where they might be going. If a bunch of professors made such a table, I don't think people (say freshman or 8th graders) would think that the professors were just full of themselves.

(*) However, by construction, the people making the table will probably be unaware of levels that are much higher than themselves. Why? Because they simply can not be aware as they haven't made the journey yet. I don't know what lies beyond systems thinking. It would meta to that and somehow explain the systems themselves or incorporate them in a grander scheme.. but I'm stuck in my mind trying to explain systems-theory using systems-theory thus clearly demonstrating that I obviously don't grok the next level. Similarly, people who are at prior levels will tend to try to explain further levels as "more of what they already know". But that is a mistake. Systems theory is not a more optimized version of optimization.

The challenge of making the table is that the table is not a measurement of grades of degree. It's measuring "grades of kind". Furthermore, it often requires climbing to level N before one can begin to understand how N+1 works. A PhD level mathematician doesn't just know more different kinds of math or more techniques total than a 5th grader. The PhD also thinks about math very differently than the 5th grader. This difference is very hard to put into a table if the goal is to explain what the difference is rather than just convey that a difference exists.

After making the table, I recall some requests for a basic how-to guide to system's thinking. However, that's a bit like having a 5th grader asking for a how-to guide to prove theorems in differential algebra. Or Ed Gruberman wanting to skip all the philosophy and just learn how to beat people up. It's not possible.

This is also why ERE is not really a decathlon. It's not like Dave Ramsey is 1 method, Bogleheads is two methods, and ERE is 10 methods. The rows don't exist independent of each other. They build on each other. Crazy should be interpreted as a positive word meaning weird or different.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by Dragline » Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:01 pm

@jacob -- this reminds me of my favorite science paper, "More is Different" by PW Anderson (Nobel Physics 1977): http://robotics.cs.tamu.edu/dshell/cs68 ... ferent.pdf

I do also wonder what new emergent level/hierarchy might come out of systems theory.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by jacob » Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:46 pm

@Dragline - Or this http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/1198/1/fulltext.pdf

Level 0 learning: The same trigger always leads to the same response. (Dumb as a switch. Out of pedagogical reach)
Level 1 learning: Able to learn from mistakes and form a different response. (Tries different tactics.)
Level 2 learning: Able to change how they learn from mistakes. (Tries different strategies.)
Level 3 learning: Able to change how they change how they learn from mistakes. (Tries different modes of thinking.)
Level 4 learning: Nobody exists? (If you could even switch your mode of thinking so as to be more in the frame of considering different sets of strategies ... how would you "switch the switching of modes" so to speak? This is a learning level that simultaneously encompasses all the modes we know ... but also allows one to switch to a different set of knowledge. Best analogy I can think of is it was possible to switch between a level 3 human and a level 3 dolphin (if there are any of those around)).
Level 5 learning: Left as an exercise for the reader. I figure you see how the levels progress abstractedly ... but I challenge you to actually formulate how you would explain this in ways that don't like a recursive math function full of hows and ables.

I think this speaks of something very different from the Wheaton table and I don't see how it would give any hint of what lies beyond systems-thinking(*) ... but it does illustrate the difficulty in seeing levels that are +1 higher than what one knows.

(*) Thinking of it as a combination of intellectual, emotional, subconscious, etc. is a bit of a cheap cop-out. It is what I did for level 8 chop wood, carry water ... but I'm not proud of it.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by Dragline » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:22 pm

That little story from the end of the article is worth a quote as capturing the ERE mindset:

"Consider the nuances of `learning’ in the Sufi teaching stories of the Mullah Nasrudin, an archetypal `wise fool’ (e.g. Shah 1973):

`Nasrudin was eating a poor man’s diet of chickpeas and bread. His neighbour, who also
claimed to be a wise man, was living in a grand house and dining on sumptuous meals provided
by the emperor himself.

His neighbour told Nasrudin, “if only you would learn to flatter the emperor and be subservient
like I do, you would not have to live on chickpeas and bread”.

Nasrudin replied, “and if only you would learn to live on chickpeas and bread, like I
do, you would not have to flatter and live subservient to the emperor”.’ "

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by BRUTE » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:47 pm

how about a horizontal scale that indicates to what percentage an individual meets their standard of living through the market (==money). on the right (100%) would be someone who pays for literally everything - sex only with hookers, never accepts a home-cooked meal, and so on. pretty far out there and maybe non-existent. 0% could be a true hermit, who builds their own shelter and grows 100% of their own food, and makes all of their own tools. or someone who uses social capital for some or all of those needs - maybe a concubine type, a servant to the emperor, or a child with no allowance. probably more common, but also rare for adult humans.

benefits:
1)on a horizontal scale, nobody is "on top" and therefore implicitly more awesomer than everyone else
2)it draws attention away from the $$$ amount, and towards the fact that the same standard of living can be achieved in different ways, and that ERE is more about the strategy to achieve a certain SOL than about the number of dollars.

in a sense, ERE, more so than other FIRE schemes, is about freedom from the market - not because the market is bad, but because the market is volatile. it's a hedging strategy to secure a given SOL given an unknown and unknowable future. the golden butterfly of lifestyle design.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by Fish » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:42 pm

@Crazylemon Higher levels will look like sacrifice until one has tried it. I'm not suggesting that everyone will like it either, but some will. But the expectation is that someone towards the middle (MMM-level) can look back at the levels they've already passed and realize, the beginner levels looked like sacrifice to me once. Maybe it is possible to change my opinion of the levels I have yet to reach.

The Wheaton scale is just a map of the territory. It's not the glossy tourist brochure. Maybe we should be making that instead?

@jacob I really appreciate all your thoughts on the subject but all I can think to say is that it's very helpful to realize that reviewing everything we already know will not lead us to what we don't know. You said as much in the other Wheaton thread but it didn't sink in quite like it did now with that example referencing Bateson's levels of learning. The Wheaton table can be hugely insightful but not for those making the table. Like Dragline I too am curious about what lies beyond systems-theory but I'm not willing to live at $3000/year to find out! I must not want it that much.

[quote="P.W. Anderson, "More is Different" (first linked by @Dragline above)"]
Marx said that quantitative differences become qualitative ones, but a dialogue in Paris in the 1920's sums it up even more clearly:
FITZGERALD: The rich are different from us.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, they have more money.
[/quote]

Thanks for sharing the paper Dragline. Although we can construct a linear scale of expenses, there are differences of kind when progressing through that scale. The level 2 consumer can't clip 5x more coupons and get to level 7 expenses. Something else has to change. The part about quantitative differences becoming qualitative ones succinctly illustrates the point the Wheaton scale is making. To be better, one has to be different.

@brute I think there are 3 regimes. First, total dependence on the market where competence is staying out of debt and learning how to acquire market solutions in the most cost-efficient manner. Second, a reduced dependence where waste is minimized and other types of capital are used to substitute for money, this culminates in optimization. Lastly, moving towards self-sufficiency where needs are eliminated, waste is turned into stuff, and systems are set up to extract value through good design that applies our knowledge of natural and human processes. I see the last stage as a mastery of self rather than independence from the market. Market independence is just a side effect.

If presented as a 0-100 scale of market dependency, the scale (no longer Wheaton) no longer functions quite so well as a map. Wheaton levels 1-3 are all 100% dependence but at different levels of competence. Although market dependence correlates with mastery, looking at that dimension doesn't present the differences of kind as well as expenses does. There are problems with using expenses to illustrate the point, but a lot of people are drawn to ERE precisely for the purpose of cutting their expenses beyond what is possible with other methods. If the objective is outreach I think the interest and attention that an expenses scale commands outweighs all the disadvantages.

Independence from the market? Not interested. How to cut expenses by 75%? Tell me more.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by jacob » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:40 am

jacob wrote: Level 3 learning: Able to change how they change how they learn from mistakes. (Tries different modes of thinking.)
Level 4 learning: Nobody exists? (If you could even switch your mode of thinking so as to be more in the frame of considering different sets of strategies ... how would you "switch the switching of modes" so to speak? This is a learning level that simultaneously encompasses all the modes we know ... but also allows one to switch to a different set of knowledge. Best analogy I can think of is it was possible to switch between a level 3 human and a level 3 dolphin (if there are any of those around)).
On further reflection, I think a better word that summarizes "modes of thinking" is "persona", so

Level 3 learning: (Tries different personas) --- this would be like a schizophrenic who is in complete control of which persona they express.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:43 pm

I think the choice of "median two-person lifestyle" as basis is not insignificant. I understand that this is just meant to be used in a manner such as since Jacob and his wife spend $11,000 total then single guy X whose spending in $6000, and family of 4 that spends $23,000, would pop out as rough equivalents on scale. I also understand that the total spending number is meant to be more descriptive than prescriptive of Wheaton level. The problem is that if you start with the most financially efficient combination as base unit for household, which would obviously be two adults who could otherwise function independently, but derive benefit from shared consumption and/or division of labor in home-based production activities, it's like you are already egregiously priming the system towards accumulation of money or income-producing assets.

I read this thread at the same time I was reading a memoir of pioneer living in my region in 1835. The entire family of 8 was literate, and had an understanding of the math/science of the time at a level that the 12 year old son could make calculations about the velocity and likely shooting distance of balls from his musket. They moved to Michigan Territory from the relative civilization of a small stony farm in Putnam County, NY. The father could triangulate bee trees, brew metheglin from the honey, and came up with an ingenious method of storing and dispensing it from a barrel in the chamber above the clay coated chimney he designed and constructed himself. The mother sewed everything by hand, baked in a coal covered cast iron pan, and kept her embroidered linens snow white with ashes. The 12 year old could earn a half-man's wages ($13/day inflation adjusted) helping to build the Michigan Central Railroad. However, at one point in the memoir, after the two oxen died and before the fields were cleared enough of stumps and roots, the pioneer couple (deed was also in the mother's name) had to mortgage their land to wealthy, old widow who lived in the nearby city of Detroit (population 5000) for $100 at 7% interest with $20/year carrying fee. And, they could not afford to pay off this mortgage until the son was around age 20 and able to earn better than day labor wages in Michigan script (which was not worth as much as Federal money) by hunting for bear, deer and coon pelts. My point here being that I don't think that this pioneer family as a household unit was lower on any Wheaton scale than the wealthy, old "city" widow as a household unit from whom they had to borrow money, even if she subsisted on nothing but lentil soup and continuously stashed away 80% of her interest income until she died.

I am likely doing a very poor job of it, but I am trying to express something that is non-trivial and relevant to systems level thinking. The boundary of a system is always arbitrary. Defining the default boundary of a household that functions as an economic unit as two human adults is something that never would have occurred to anybody prior to maybe 50 years ago, if that. IOW, it is a microcosm that is representative of the possibility of negative human population growth. The viewpoint that you are financially independent when you have set aside enough resources to support yourself for the rest of your expected life is in marked contrast to the viewpoint that members of one of the South-East Asian rice-land based economies which believed that you were financially responsible for the 15 generations of descendants likely to follow you. We are all also aware of examples of individuals who lived solitary simple lives and were found to be quite wealthy benefactors of universities or other charities upon their death. We are also aware that there are individuals who led useful lives although completely financially dependent throughout, for instance the spinster daughter/sister who tirelessly helps with the care of multitudes of nephews/nieces and aged parents, or a monk who never earns any money for making copies of great works by hand. Anything or anybody from which or whom you derive care or sustenance or towards which or whom you provide care or sustenance is part of your system, and fiddling with the boundary in a manner that temporarily obscures this is not helpful. What it comes down to is are you lending your life energy to something that you love, are you following your purpose in accordance with your values, or not?

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by The Old Man » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:56 pm

This looks to be a pretty good outline. I do have some comments. Some examples illustrating the concept would be useful. Using the 80-20 rule, then 80% of expenses would be housing, transportation, food, and medical.

3. COUPONING: Spending some time and thought in choosing an appropriate health care plan, car, house/apartment, and where to go for food.

4. INSOURCING: Preparing your own food, rather than eating out. Performing your own vehicle maintenance. Performing your own home maintenance/repairs up to your skill level. Performing your own day-care.

5. OPTIMIZATION: The decision to go car-less. A successful car-less lifestyle requires a strategic approach to lifestyle design. Another strategic decision would be on where to live by taking geoarbitrage into consideration. Finally, choosing an appropriate occupation that enables a person to meet their life goals.

6. VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY: Choosing shared living arrangements.

7. SYSTEMS THEORY: I don’t understand this level. An example would be useful.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by jacob » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:20 pm

The other issue with such a table is that it tries to project something multi-dimensional onto a single dimension.

For example,

Does voluntary simplicity necessarily fall between 5 and 7? If so, how do you explain Nasrudin?

Is VS required step to get from 5 to 7? YMOYL focused on VS as a technique ... but that's independent of the money aspect.

Where would minimalism fall if anywhere on this scale? Is minimalism a kind of VS? If so, what about those $500,000 NYC designer apartments complete with Murphy beds? Or the $100 "real artisan leather" key-fob? Is living with 15 items and doing AirBnB all the time a kind of VS? Is it a kind of ST?

What the Wheaton level table really does is to take a single but reasonably common trajectory of personal development and hammers it out into a table form. Different people might start from different positions. For example, I didn't start off as some Dave Ramsey candidate. I didn't go from being a financial trainwreck to seeking to becoming a multimillionaire. I started from anti-consumerism (which is a kind of VS) ... but then went for FIRE.

Obviously, insofar new insight require older insights before it clicks, the thing needs to be multi-D. It's like learning a new skill. It doesn't necessarily have to be in order, but it often is.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by Fish » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:33 pm

@7w5 Interesting observation about how the concept of FI depends on how the system boundaries are defined, and has some cultural aspect to it. The way we've defined it is probably not universal. Consider a person that has/earns/spends nothing but is totally dependent on others for their food and shelter. Is this person FI? Mathematically yes. Does the answer change if those supplying the food/shelter are on precarious financial footing themselves? It definitely depends on how we define the boundaries.

This leads to questioning whether there is more to being FI than having money for life? I think that's a perspective that was revealed in the discussion about E-ER vs ERE that started here:
http://www.forum.earlyretirementextreme ... 48#p120448

The theme of what you're describing is consistent with the trajectory of personal development, which I've typically seen presented as dependence -> independence -> interdependence. And maybe the ultimate goal lies beyond not being a burden to society but actually enhancing it. I do think life is more meaningful when the system boundaries are expanded to be more inclusive of those that are a part of our lives, going beyond loved ones.

Usually we speak of designing systems such that the value flows toward ourselves, but after passing the "enough" point there's no reason this value can't be directed outward.

Stage 1: Work for needs.
Stage 2: Work for FIRE.
Stage 3: Work to help others.

It's unfortunate that most (including myself) tend to make stages 1/2 harder than they need to be and don't save much life energy for 3.

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Re: Improved FIRE Wheaton Scale

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:09 am

@7w5 Interesting observation about how the concept of FI depends on how the system boundaries are defined, and has some cultural aspect to it. The way we've defined it is probably not universal. Consider a person that has/earns/spends nothing but is totally dependent on others for their food and shelter. Is this person FI? Mathematically yes. Does the answer change if those supplying the food/shelter are on precarious financial footing themselves? It definitely depends on how we define the boundaries.
I think that the person who was totally dependent on others for food and shelter would not meet the definition of Financially Independent. I think the concept of financial independence can not be separated from a cultural heritage which includes known recent (in human terms) path of expansion of voting rights (full franchise as citizen.) However, I would like to empathize that I do not make this point in the interest of political correctness, but rather towards the achievement of economic accuracy. If the quality we are attempting to maximize is "Freedom" through the means of achieving a certain maintainable level of Stock that might be labeled Total Productive Financial Assets Owned, we must come to some sort of agreement of the definition of the quality of "Freedom."

https://www.history.org/Foundation/jour ... ctions.cfm
Property requirements were widespread. Some colonies required a voter to own a certain amount of land or land of a specified value. Others required personal property of a certain value, or payment of a certain amount of taxes. Examples from 1763 show the variety of these requirements. Delaware expected voters to own fifty acres of land or property worth £40. Rhode Island set the limit at land valued at £40 or worth an annual rent of £2. Connecticut required land worth an annual rent of £2 or livestock worth £40.

Such requirements tended to delay a male colonist's entry into the voter ranks until he was settled down and established. They reflected the belief that freeholders, as property owners were called, had a legitimate interest in a community's success and well-being, paid taxes and deserved a voice in public affairs, had demonstrated they were energetic and intelligent enough to be trusted with a role in governance, and had enough resources to be independent thinkers not beholden to the wealthiest class. English jurist William Blackstone wrote in the 1700s:

The true reason of requiring any qualification, with regard to property, in voters, is to exclude such persons as are in so mean a situation that they are esteemed to have no will of their own. If these persons had votes, they would be tempted to dispose of them under some undue influence or other. This would give a great, an artful, or a wealthy man, a larger share in elections than is consistent with general liberty.




This can be combined with imagined perspective of being an intelligent, objective alien viewing humans within ecological system in the manner that human ecologist construct system diagrams related to wolves, coyotes, rabbits and field grasses within boundary of Yellowstone, and the realization that, for instance, ERE is a book written from a very different perspective on human population dynamics, or morality related to such, than the early 20th century frugal-efficiency-optimization classic "Cheaper by the Dozen." I haven't really read or followed MMM much, but I found this post/chart on his forum which I thought was quite applicable.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/09/ ... y-one-kid/


The population density of the United States in 2017 is approximately one person for per 7.5 acres, with average value of approximately $10,000/acre. Due to impossibility of constructing same "market basket" applying straight-forward inflation rate over 200 years would be quite inaccurate, but the amount of property a white man over the age of 21 needed to own in order to be granted full franchise circa 1800 was roughly equivalent to an average year's salary for a male school teacher. This is obviously not far off from $75,000 that might be earned by high school teacher with master's degree in 2017 which is also roughly equivalent to ( 7.5 X $10,000) which would equal value of property held by each current resident of the United States if sliced like a pie by a Sesame Street Socialist.

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