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MJ DeMarco

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A nice take on this FIRE movement where people think they can scrimp and cheapskate their way to an early retirement (I retired at 35!) with less than $1M saved by leveraging Wall Street.

The stock market’s downturn could mean a painful unwinding of the FIRE movement

Reminder: Real financial freedom doesn't rely on exacting mathematics predicated on rigid withdrawal rates, exacting life expectancies, and average stock market returns.

Fastlaners are indifferent to what Wall Street is doing because we're insulated and have saved a fortune, not a pittance. We don't worry about eating out at the steakhouse, buying super old used cars, coupon clipping and whatever other defensive strategies are rolled out into the vernacular.

The game is WON on offense, not this defensive frugality stuff. While that's important, it's like trying to win a baseball game stuck in the outfield and not batting.

Depending on Wall Street for your financial future will be a financial future fraught with anxiety and worry.

That's not financial independence, but financial dependence.

As for what my thoughts are on this movement (I've been asked several times now) is that these FIRE folks are in the RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD, but at the WRONG HOUSE.

Freedom and early retirement (doing what matters to us) is a great focus (the neighborhood) but Wall Street/job market reliance is foolish (the wrong house) whereas the right focus should be explosive income (savings rates of 50%+, not 10%) and net assets built in accordance with CUL, controllable unlimited leverage as identified in The Millionaire Fastlane.
 

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A nice take on this FIRE movement where people think they can scrimp and cheapskate their way to an early retirement (I retried at 35!) with less than $1M saved by leveraging Wall Street.

The stock market’s downturn could mean a painful unwinding of the FIRE movement

Reminder: Real financial freedom doesn't rely on exacting mathematics predicated on rigid withdrawal rates, exacting life expectancies, and average stock market returns.

Fastlaners are indifferent to what Wall Street is doing because we're insulated and have saved a fortune, not a pittance. We don't worry about eating out at the steakhouse, buying super old used cars, coupon clipping and whatever other defensive strategies are rolled out into the vernacular.

The game is WON on offense, not this defensive frugality stuff. While that's important, it's like trying to win a baseball game stuck in the outfield and not batting.

Depending on Wall Street for your financial future will be a financial future fraught with anxiety and worry.

That's not financial independence, but financial dependence.


As for what my thoughts are on this movement (I've been asked several times now) is that these FIRE folks are in the RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD, but at the WRONG HOUSE.

Freedom and early retirement (doing what matters to us) is a great focus (the neighborhood) but Wall Street/job market reliance is foolish (the wrong house) whereas the right focus should be explosive income (savings rates of 50%+, not 10%) and net assets built in accordance with CUL, controllable unlimited leverage as identified in The Millionaire Fastlane.


What is sad.....

I once bought all this bullshit!

THANK GOD FOR YOUR BOOKS MJ.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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To me, financial freedom is knowing that I can make a full time living whenever and wherever I want and I CONTROL 100% of it.

The problem I have with the FIRE crowd is that (they won’t admit it) they are obsessed with MONEY.

While Fastlaners are obsessed with CONTROL.

They have their FIRE number (how much they need in Wall Street to live off of 4%), and they do whatever it takes to reach it, because that number is their “ticket to freedom”.

They also believe (consciously or unconsciously) that it is indestructible, and compound interest will always be their friend. Unfortunately compounding also works in reverse...

They fail to realize that money is a result of VALUE. If you can control your value, you can control your money.

THATS where true financial independence comes from.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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The other day I saw a post on MW about how this theory is supposed to work with systematic withdrawal rates based on a life expectancy and an average rate of return.

Even if those "variables" came to pass, who the f*ck wants to be 65 years old and running out of money? While ignoring the elephant in the room, inflation? At a time when you need money the most, when your health starts to deteriorate and you want to maximize your life experience?

Once again, we have someone who will preach this shit using Slowlane math (ULL) but will get rich using Fastlane math (CUL). Kinda like the Get Rich Slow dude who made a quick million selling his Slowlane blog teaching frugality and other compound interest crap. No, your golden child compound interest didn't make you rich, building a valuable asset did.

Again, retire early (right neighborhood) but financial independence doesn't have Wall Street as the lead boat.
 

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The other day I saw a post on MW about how this theory is supposed to work with systematic withdrawal rates based on a life expectancy and an average rate of return.

Even if those "variables" came to pass, who the f*ck wants to be 65 years old and running out of money? While ignoring the elephant in the room, inflation? At a time when you need money the most, when your health starts to deteriorate and you want to maximize your life experience?

Once again, we have someone who will preach this sh*t using Slowlane math (ULL) but will get rich using Fastlane math (CUL). Kinda like the Get Rich Slow dude who made a quick million selling his Slowlane blog teaching frugality and other compound interest dingbat crap.


It really makes me sad that the world we live in is so messed up.

Would be great if everyone genuinly wanted the best for each other and had no agenda.

Seems hard to come by.

The world can make you angry sometimes, but you just have to keep a smile on your face and be as optimistic as possible about the future.
 

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The game is WON on offense, not this defensive frugality stuff. While that's important, it's like trying to win a baseball game stuck in the outfield and not batting.

I tell all my friends this. Was just speaking to an employee last week about 401ks. $10000 saved today at 11% return in 30 years would be around $150,000. What can you do with $150,000 in 30 years?

I tell them that you can put away $500 a month and have $6000 a year saved, or you can try to make $150k-$300k a year and put away $50-$100k chunks. Or sell a business and put away $500k.

So don't save that $6000 this year, use it to start a business. There's much better potential for returns even if you lose it all 5 times in a row and hit a homerun with the 6th.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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There's much better potential for returns even if you lose it all 5 times in a row and hit a homerun with the 6th.
You don’t even need a homerun.

I recently listened to a podcast with Seth Godin where he said “None of my content has ever gone viral. I’ve never hit a homerun, but I am constantly hitting singles.”
 

MJ DeMarco

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Let's see...

Yesterday FIRE people are jumping for joy.

Today they're shitting bricks again.

Is this any way to live?

No, it isn't.

Again, right neighborhood. Wrong house.

I recently listened to a podcast with Seth Godin where he said “None of my content has ever gone viral. I’ve never hit a homerun, but I am constantly hitting singles.”

I agree. You don't have to be some famous guru or some Silicon Valley startup genius to build things that can change your life, under the radar, and with total financial freedom. I wouldn't classify what I've done as a homerun, but a lot of singles and doubles. Once you make 5 and 6 figures monthly, this Wall Street BS can go out the window.
 

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Once you make 5 and 6 figures monthly, this Wall Street BS can go out the window.
Cashflow > market returns.....for building wealth.

Preserving wealth is a different story.

If I want my “nest egg” to pass on generations then I’ll certainly invest in people/companies greater than me.

As for building that nest egg, compound interest ain’t gonna do it.
 

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Yesterday FIRE people are jumping for joy.

Today they're sh*tting bricks again.
What happened? Market turned sour? Hope it wasn't caused mostly by the government shutdown, if that was the case.

This is why I've been uncomfortable in using a regular 9-5 income to go into shares like most of my peers do (and the ones that do are still the minority). You got to lose some to learn some, and having a cap on income limits your experimental freedom.

I recently listened to a podcast with Seth Godin where he said “None of my content has ever gone viral. I’ve never hit a homerun, but I am constantly hitting singles.”
Consistency is the word.

That way, you don't have to worry about needing luck to get money ever again. And it turns into a viable skill or set of principles rather than by fortune of the market.

To think of it, on the financial side of things, the valuation part of the sale of a business asset is dependent on past cashflow/earnings. During that past record, you'd need to of course, score singles and doubles for them to add up into the 'homerun', if you may call the liquidation event as one. Still don't understand why most folks think that business acquisitions are like striking the Vegas lottery.
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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Consistency is the word.

That way, you don't have to worry about needing luck to get money ever again. And it turns into a viable skill or set of principles rather than by fortune of the market.

To think of it, on the financial side of things, the valuation part of the sale of a business asset is dependent on past cashflow/earnings. During that past record, you'd need to of course, score singles and doubles for them to add up into the 'homerun', if you may call the liquidation event as one. Still don't understand why most folks think that business acquisitions are like striking the Vegas lottery.
Exactly. If the math works out, there’s a buyer out there somewhere.

I have the same view when it comes to starting a business. Most people think it’s a lottery and your “chances” of succeeding are very slim.

(Pulls a slot machine lever and out pops a successful business)

Yet they completely disregard steady improvement, learning from past mistakes, and the honing of your craft that overtime increases those odds tremendously.

But who’s going to buy you out of your 30 year career so you can start something new?

Nobody, because you have no assets, and skills aren’t transferrable through a bill of sale.
 

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The problem I have with the FIRE crowd is that (they won’t admit it) they are obsessed with MONEY.

I remember reading an article written by a guy who gave advice on how to save money, but emphasized that he doesn't obsess about money because money doesn't buy happiness.

He was perfectly happy wasting an hour to walk home so he could save $2 on a bus ticket. He didn't do it for health benefits: in his mind, it was a great deal to waste an hour of his life to save $2. And yet he claims he isn't obsessed with money.

Same with people who retire on $30k a year. No, we aren't obsessed with money - followed by articles on how to save $300 a month riding a bike for two hours to the nearest store (living in the middle of nowhere without a car is cheapest), wasting 12 hours comparing bank accounts ("save $5 a month on fees!"), saving $2000 on proper vacation by printing a huge a$$ picture of a tropical beach and staring at it in your sunglasses while sitting by an electric heater, and stuff like that.
 

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It's the "safer option" that ends up being the most unsafe in the end.

It's much more pleasing for an average white collar worker to hear:
"Save money and you can retire early. Here's a step by step guide."

than

"Every professional life choice you've made so far was bad, but don't worry, if you work hard and start a few businesses, risk failure and humiliation, endure having everyone you know think you're an idiot for taking the risk so that maybe then you'll get some success and make enough money to do whatever you like."

It's an easier pill to swallow, and that's what most people prefer. It's cognitive dissonance, and people generally avoid it.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I remember reading an article written by a guy who gave advice on how to save money, but emphasized that he doesn't obsess about money because money doesn't buy happiness.

He was perfectly happy wasting an hour to walk home so he could save $2 on a bus ticket. He didn't do it for health benefits: in his mind, it was a great deal to waste an hour of his life to save $2. And yet he claims he isn't obsessed with money.

Same with people who retire on $30k a year. No, we aren't obsessed with money - followed by articles on how to save $300 a month riding a bike for two hours to the nearest store (living in the middle of nowhere without a car is cheapest), wasting 12 hours comparing bank accounts ("save $5 a month on fees!"), saving $2000 on proper vacation by printing a huge a$$ picture of a tropical beach and staring at it in your sunglasses while sitting by an electric heater, and stuff like that.

Funny that was my thought too.

"We're not obsessed about money"

And yet, every f*cking decision you make is about saving money, wasting time to save money, and making sure your numbers (money) don't exceed rigid withdrawal rates vis-a-vie inflation and what the stock market is doing.

Again, it's an absolute insane way to live and think.

This is not freedom or financial independence and those that think it is, are living a lie.

Essentially you've traded ONE MASTER (a job, M-F work existence) for another MASTER (money/stock market consistency). Changing the bars of your prison doesn't change the reality.
 

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saving $2000 on proper vacation by printing a huge a$$ picture of a tropical beach and staring at it in your sunglasses while sitting by an electric heater
Please tell me this isn't true.
 

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What gets me every time is when the buy and hold 401k crowd says the stock market has returned 8-12 percent(whatever the number is) over time and yet "Past returns are not indicative of future returns"?

Isn't this a confirmation bias?

Or what happens if a black swan event happens like the federal reserve destroying all dollar denominated assets/debts?
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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This one was just a hyperbole but I'm pretty sure that some people do something like that.
Ahem, it’s called a “staycation”
 

Nik@16

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A nice take on this FIRE movement where people think they can scrimp and cheapskate their way to an early retirement (I retried at 35!) with less than $1M saved by leveraging Wall Street.

The stock market’s downturn could mean a painful unwinding of the FIRE movement

Reminder: Real financial freedom doesn't rely on exacting mathematics predicated on rigid withdrawal rates, exacting life expectancies, and average stock market returns.

Fastlaners are indifferent to what Wall Street is doing because we're insulated and have saved a fortune, not a pittance. We don't worry about eating out at the steakhouse, buying super old used cars, coupon clipping and whatever other defensive strategies are rolled out into the vernacular.

The game is WON on offense, not this defensive frugality stuff. While that's important, it's like trying to win a baseball game stuck in the outfield and not batting.

Depending on Wall Street for your financial future will be a financial future fraught with anxiety and worry.

That's not financial independence, but financial dependence.


As for what my thoughts are on this movement (I've been asked several times now) is that these FIRE folks are in the RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD, but at the WRONG HOUSE.

Freedom and early retirement (doing what matters to us) is a great focus (the neighborhood) but Wall Street/job market reliance is foolish (the wrong house) whereas the right focus should be explosive income (savings rates of 50%+, not 10%) and net assets built in accordance with CUL, controllable unlimited leverage as identified in The Millionaire Fastlane.
Only American stock market has given 4-5% real returns for about half a century and more .No other country ever gave this much returns for a long period of times. Switzerland, United Kingdom , Canada haven't returned significant amount of money .Countries like Itlay, France and Spain will give negative due to wealth tax on the rich.
 

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A local tv-show was sent three weeks ago here, with the same focus, introduction to the FIRE community etc.

The journalists followed a couple of people who "retired" early this way. A couple who chose the tiny living way, building their own tiny house etc, a woman who traded stocks for 17 years with the income from her full-time job and now retired, and a man who moved to the US, bought a cheap house and is saving every penny he can (he is way deep in the FIRE community) - also makes a living with stock income.

In the show the 'FIRE' man says, that he would rather thirst for many hours than buy a bottle of water for a dollar. He even makes his own washing powder from scratch to save the few dollars it cost. He refuse to go to restaurants, the cinema, bowling, partying etc. to minimize his expenses. The journalists keeps calling him "the master of financial independecy". He makes $1,500/month from stocks, and his living expenses is $600, re-investing the $900.

The woman who traded stocks for 17 years, and who now makes enough to live off the stock income, keeps telling about her dream about a big house, which she knows, she'll never get. She spends all her day watching stock charts and listening to financial radio shows. In a luxury clothing store, holding a jacket worth a thousand dollars, she says "if you can do without a jacket like this every month for 10 years, you have saved $120,000 - and with the compund interest it will be something around $160,000 in 10 years". Followed by a scene, where she's looking at her dream house, imagining how nice it would be to live there - it's her dream life actually, but she never will, because then she'll have to work again - for the rest of her life.

That's followed by a cool math example done by the tv-show:

"Ask yourself - can you do without your daily cup of coffee? The biggest Caffè Latte at Starbucks is $7.50. If you DON'T buy a big Caffè Latte every work day in 10 years, how much money will you have? If you invest that money in stocks, compund interest etc. in 10 years, you will have a fortune of $30,600, and you will have $12,250 more than you'd have paid for the coffee."

The tiny house living was interesting, and the show used a few minutes on a dude, who's investing in real estate, expecting to live by that when that's making him at least $7,500 per month. But, well, the "save $7.50 every day and have $30,000 in 10 years" deserved more screen time.
 

MJ DeMarco

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In the show the 'FIRE' man says, that he would rather thirst for many hours than buy a bottle of water for a dollar. He even makes his own washing powder from scratch to save the few dollars it cost. He refuse to go to restaurants, the cinema, bowling, partying etc. to minimize his expenses. The journalists keeps calling him "the master of financial independecy". He makes $1,500/month from stocks, and his living expenses is $600, re-investing the $900.

The woman who traded stocks for 17 years, and who now makes enough to live off the stock income, keeps telling about her dream about a big house, which she knows, she'll never get. She spends all her day watching stock charts and listening to financial radio shows. In a luxury clothing store, holding a jacket worth a thousand dollars, she says "if you can do without a jacket like this every month for 10 years, you have saved $120,000 - and with the compund interest it will be something around $160,000 in 10 years". Followed by a scene, where she's looking at her dream house, imagining how nice it would be to live there - it's her dream life actually, but she never will, because then she'll have to work again - for the rest of her life.

That's followed by a cool math example done by the tv-show:

"Ask yourself - can you do without your daily cup of coffee? The biggest Caffè Latte at Starbucks is $7.50. If you DON'T buy a big Caffè Latte every work day in 10 years, how much money will you have? If you invest that money in stocks, compound interest etc. in 10 years, you will have a fortune of $30,600, and you will have $12,250 more than you'd have paid for the coffee."

LOL, but they're not neurotic about money! If someone calls this existence "financially indepdenent" then we also have to call the homeless guy who lives in a tent behind the warehouse also "financially independent" -- afterall, he doesn't have a job either.
 
Funny that was my thought too.

"We're not obsessed about money"

And yet, every F*cking decision you make is about saving money, wasting time to save money, and making sure your numbers (money) don't exceed rigid withdrawal rates vis-a-vie inflation and what the stock market is doing.
...

If every decision you make is about the thing you say you don't obsess over, then you're obsessing over it.

I read a very entertaining and sad article about a FI family's max-frugal ski trip, everything they did that day is about maximizing savings. You only have to see the tone of their writing to see the cynicism and misery. They don't obsess about money my a$$, they obsess to the point where they can't break character for more than two sentences!

Their lunch is the saddest part. Having a $15 pizza for lunch only because they had $40 left of a $50 gift card that they got with their ski passes. Explaining how they avoided the restarants sugary drinks, Proudly proclaiming that "that no price is cheap to drink that junk", and nonchalently drinking water they brought in their backpack. Even ski bums hold themselves to higher dignity than this, they'll get their food to go so they don't get dirty looks inside the restarant.

In the very next paragraph, under "Pushing the Extreme Frugality Limits" their definition of dangerous living is being in eyesight of impulse purchase opportunities - so they act on their ingrained urge to leave the area, because in their own words "I know, we were living dangerously. We had to run out of the pizza shop to avoid the tourist trap that is a ski resort. There is no way we could stay here a second longer without having money just start flying out of our pockets, could we?"

Their whole day was spent thinking about costs: reducing costs, minimizing costs, avoiding costs at all costs. They didn't have fun or even a good time, for fear of triggering a (small) incidental expense. They stopped their minds from getting into a flow state, conflating a flow state with being careless. Careless, in their mind, is associated with paying extra.

This is toxic. The kid is going to be the most hurt from this stingy behavoir. I consider subjecting offspring to high degrees of experiential depravation to be child abuse. There is no reasonable excuse to go without when it's easily afforded.

This is a result of people not knowing how the fastlane works. They want freedom from needing to work, and the only way they know is to wrestle between sidewalk instant gratification and slowlane delayed gratification, maxing out the variables in the slowlane equation by existing in a obsessive compulsive, maximizing, frugal-driven life. This is why I recommend TMF to everyone I can, and donated a copy to my former high school & the library.


To me, this article is the epitome of the cognitive dissonance insanity that befalls the FIRE crowd. It's The FIRE scam: Live Poor to Live Poor for the rest of your life (just without a job).

I know this frugal maximiser mindset because I lived it for a few years, getting buzzed when purchase prepping and then getting a rise from resulting transactions that maximized savings & gains. I constantly worked to avoid and minimize small one-off & select recurring expenses, at the expense of every other aspect of my life. I was like a Graham Stephan, and thought I wanted to live like Graham Stephan. Learn from me that this purchase maximizing life is absolutely, positively no way to live at all. Fortunately I found Afford Anything and then TMF before this miserly mentality could settle in.

This cynical misery comes in many different colors and flavors, a few of which I know intimately because I considered myself a part of the communities where this mindset is a commonality. Their unstated ideal is for you to become miserable like them, it's the same crab mentality inside of different buckets with differing aromas.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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This cynical misery comes in many different colors and flavors, a few of which I know intimately because I considered myself a part of the communities where this mindset is a commonality. Their unstated ideal is for you to become miserable like them, it's the same crab mentality inside of different buckets with differing aromas.

Instead of drowning in debt, they're drowning in their self-imposed obsession, virtual children stuck in a virtual candy store where all they can do is smell the candy, but not eat it. Then they reason, "But hey, at least we can go into the store any day we'd like!"
 

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I spent some time around Reddit’s FIRE community a few years ago and it opened my eyes to what I could do with sound money management. I wouldn’t say it was complete crap - at least they want to get off the treadmill - but at its root it’s a philosophy of inaction. I can’t tell you how many times I saw a variation of someone saying ‘I’m 25, I make low six figures as a developer, I just want to fart around, can I retire in five years by buying rental properties, eating rice and beans, and never having kids?’
 

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I can’t tell you how many times I saw a variation of someone saying ‘I’m 25, I make low six figures as a developer, I just want to fart around, can I retire in five years by buying rental properties, eating rice and beans, and never having kids?’

Ha Ha, well that might actually be possible in a tiny house, no health insurance, no kids, and no life.

I spent some time around Reddit’s FIRE community a few years ago and it opened my eyes to what I could do with sound money management. I wouldn’t say it was complete crap - at least they want to get off the treadmill

Very true, as I say, "right neighborhood" (we want freedom!) but "wrong house".
 

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I actually found some of the 'teachings' in the FIRE community quite helpful. For example I follow both Dave Ramsey and Grant Cardone. Two completely different philosophies but you can learn from both of them and take from it what you want.
 

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I personally know several people "high up" in the FIRE movement. I think there's a bit of a misunderstanding.

We're all searching for the ability to do things that allow us some freedom. The FIRE folks do this by cutting expenses and saving large amounts of their income. People on this forum attempt the same goal by creating a business.

But I don't know a single FIRE person who had stopped working after "retiring" - in fact, most make more after they retire than before.

To me, a bit of financial freedom allows one to pursue things they otherwise would not be able to, and often, these things add tremendous value to society, and end up producing some awesome revenue.

I don't think it's an either/or situation, is a matter of doing what fits better into your lifestyle and goals.
 

Olov

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Funny that was my thought too.

"We're not obsessed about money"

And yet, every F*cking decision you make is about saving money, wasting time to save money, and making sure your numbers (money) don't exceed rigid withdrawal rates vis-a-vie inflation and what the stock market is doing.

Again, it's an absolute insane way to live and think.

This is not freedom or financial independence and those that think it is, are living a lie.

Essentially you've traded ONE MASTER (a job, M-F work existence) for another MASTER (money/stock market consistency). Changing the bars of your prison doesn't change the reality.
Haha, I was thinking the same.

It's not that they are just "deep into it" or "a little extreme", they are literally obsessed. It seems sick, without trying to put them down.

Definition of obsessed: "preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually and to a troubling extent. "

But they know this deep down, otherwise they wouldn't have chosen that exact word. It's kinda like a drug addict who tries to convince everyone, including themselves, that they are not addicted.

It must be like living in a prison.
 

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