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View Full Version : Revealing article about Mr Money Mustache



pinkytoe
2-22-16, 9:37pm
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/02/29/mr-money-mustache-the-frugal-guru

catherine
2-22-16, 10:16pm
Very interesting. Glad to see he's pretty much who he projects himself to be.

razz
2-22-16, 10:23pm
Interesting to read. Thanks for the link

Tammy
2-22-16, 11:43pm
I've always wondered about this personal life. Fun read. He has a very understanding wife. 😄

Gardenarian
2-23-16, 3:37am
Thanks for sharing the link. I enjoy the blog and it's kind of fascinating to see the differences between the way I think of MMM and the impression he made on the New Yorker reporter. That hipster vibe doesn't come across so strongly in his own writing.

From what others have posted here about his forums (and what little I have seen myself) way more people seem interested in getting rich quick than in consuming and wasting less. Too bad.

Teacher Terry
2-23-16, 10:22am
i enjoyed the article too. I read it on the MM forum and if you go there and read his response there were a few things he corrected. The writer made him seem pretty cheap for the Magic card incident but if you read his response it was totally different from what we were lead to believe and appropriate. He wasn't unhappy with the article but a few things were misleading.

freshstart
2-23-16, 10:57am
the part that rarely gets addressed kind of irks me, many on the site earn money only from investments, they have no work income. Thus they qualify for medicaid, an already over-burdened system of health care for the poor. This really bothers me, they counter with because of their income they qualify, it's not their fault if the state doesn't do a means test that would include their investments. They get REALLY mad about this, there are 1247 reasons why what they are doing is ethical and you are an idiot. I feel like you are not very bad ass if you have to mooch off a gov't program really, in spirit, not intended for you. Don't retire until you have saved enough to pay for Obamacare, that's bad ass.

catherine
2-23-16, 11:25am
the part that rarely gets addressed kind of irks me, many on the site earn money only from investments, they have no work income. Thus they qualify for medicaid, an already over-burdened system of health care for the poor. This really bothers me, they counter with because of their income they qualify, it's not their fault if the state doesn't do a means test that would include their investments. They get REALLY mad about this, there are 1247 reasons why what they are doing is ethical and you are an idiot. I feel like you are not very bad ass if you have to mooch off a gov't program really, in spirit, not intended for you. Don't retire until you have saved enough to pay for Obamacare, that's bad ass.

I remember one time Amy D. (Tightwad Gazette--I'm not going to bother trying to butcher the spalling of her last name) went to the West Coast to be on Oprah and they, of course, put her up in a hotel. The hotel served free breakfast and she noted that she did the very frugal thing of taking a couple of muffins back to her room to last her through lunch. She got railed for that--people said that it wasn't frugal, it was unethical to take more than your share of free breakfast muffins

So, the same principle applies, right? So if she was being unethical stuffing a couple of muffins in her pocketbook, how unethical is it to take advantage of a program meant for people with no means? I agree with you, freshstart.

Teacher Terry
2-23-16, 3:55pm
That kind of stuff irritates me too. It is not made for that group of people. That is one reason that it takes so long to get SSDI now. In the old days you received it much quicker because their were not so many deadbeats that could actually work applying for it. I know someone that got it fairly quickly on the first try in 1973 because he was too disabled to work and you didn't have to be dying to get it. For awhile they were giving it to substance abusers but thank goodness that has been changed.

iris lilies
2-23-16, 6:00pm
freshstart, is it really true that income earned from investments do not count toward MAGI,* the ACA's standard for figuring income? I don't know, we haven't yet waded into that chaotic consideration. But assuming you are right:

I find the judge-y attitudes here toward early FIRED Mustacheans astonishing, I guess because I consider them heroes. So many times I've heard on this website that, when discussing welfare cheats, it is really best to consider all of the people who are helped and that mitigates the few who cheat their way into benefits. So now the MMM guys are bad guys for qualifying for Medicaid in some states, and there is a tiny minority of them. And the kicker is that they have done nothing to intentionally get themselves into a Medicaid slot, they are Medicaid cheaters without even trying yet REAL welfare cheaters, those who collect benefits in the know as fradulent, are given a pass.

O---kay.

Seriously folks, it is important to remember that the ACA created these bad guys. The ACA requires that they have full out health insurance as defined by the ACA. Prior to the ACA these bad guy MMMers would have purchased high deductible policies and would have been solid citizens. Now, that's not an option and it is the act of Congress that made them "cheaters."

I think it is ridiculous for the ACA to limit an option to live simply on one's investments (assuming they do not count toward ACA defined income.) freshstart says "Don't retire until you have saved enough to pay for Obamacare, that's bad ass." That is bs. With the ever changing Dow, Congress tweaking the ACA, and any number of changeable situations, I'll tell you what is bad ass: living a rich life on a low income, a life that isn't beholden to the man.

I greatly admire the fierce independence of early FIRED MMM-types, those who have saved up a nice chunk of assets to support themselves frugally while they develop a self actualized life. They contribute to their community and the world, I'm convinced. Anyone who can meet the ongoing challenge of scaling up or down their lifestyle to match a changeable income stream has my admiration. Independence has my admiration. That the gubmnt keeps grubbing around in this area putting limits and conditions on it, and that makes me crazy.

edited to add the gloss for MAGI
* Modified Asjusted Gross Income

Teacher Terry
2-23-16, 6:18pm
What we need is Medicare for all and then this would not even be an issue. Yes if they don't earn enough $ they can't buy on the ACA even if they want to. I had forgotten about that.

bae
2-23-16, 6:49pm
I hit the silk ~15 years ago, and "retired", living on near-zero AGI. This qualifies me for many "free cheese" programs, some of which I happily participate in, as I view it in a sense as reclaiming some of the millions of tax dollars I've paid into the system, among other things.

I used to buy a high-deductible health insurance policy for the family, but under the "if you like your plan, you can keep it" promise, my plan was no longer available to purchase as Those Who Know Better decided it wasn't good enough for citizens like myself to purchase. So I also happily let Alan pay for my family's medical insurance in the years I can juggle my income properly.

I wonder, is there some sort of ethical duty to remain employed at your highest-and-best tax generation profession? Or are you allowed to claim some portion of your life for your own purposes?

"Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant."
- Judge Learned Hand

freshstart
2-23-16, 7:05pm
I didn't say they were cheats, just that they technically can receive a benefit that was not intended for them and to me, IMO, that is not ethical even if they can legally do it. Everyone else is free to see it the opposite, that is just my belief. Just because you can, does not mean you should is my reasoning.

I too admire the FIRED but not this aspect, there has to be a better way. I saw way too many truly impoverished families unable to even get decent care on Medicaid because so few doctors take it. Seeing someone who elected to stop working at 30 and is retired, that's great but adding all these types to the Medicaid pool only makes a struggling program weaker for the poor. You know how long it takes to get a patient with a raging infected tooth, likely an abscess, into one of the two dental clinics in the city? Over a month. So they go to the ER, the Medicaid system here can't keep up with the needs of the poor, why should it take on the needs of the rich? NYS is coming out with an Essential Plan that is for people who are in the middle, too high of an income for Medicaid, too low of an income for their marketplace plans. Perhaps something like that is a good compromise.

Single payer gets my vote.

freshstart
2-23-16, 7:22pm
freshstart, is it really true that income earned from investments do not count toward MAGI,* the ACA's standard for figuring income? I don't know, we haven't yet waded into that chaotic consideration. But assuming you are right:

I find the judge-y attitudes here toward early FIRED Mustacheans astonishing, I guess because I consider them heroes.

I think it is ridiculous for the ACA to limit an option to live simply on one's investments (assuming they do not count toward ACA defined income.) freshstart says "Don't retire until you have saved enough to pay for Obamacare, that's bad ass." That is bs. With the ever changing Dow, Congress tweaking the ACA, and any number of changeable situations, I'll tell you what is bad ass: living a rich life on a low income, a life that isn't beholden to the man.

I greatly admire the fierce independence of early FIRED MMM-types, those who have saved up a nice chunk of assets to support themselves frugally while they develop a self actualized life. They contribute to their community and the world, I'm convinced. Anyone who can meet the ongoing challenge of scaling up or down their lifestyle to match a changeable income stream has my admiration. Independence has my admiration. That the gubmnt keeps grubbing around in this area putting limits and conditions on it, and that makes me crazy.

I admire independence as much as the next guy, but are you not still beholden to the man if you are accepting Medicaid? Ok, they got screwed by the ACA that was so diluted by the time we got it, it's not foolproof for those for whom it was intended. But the poor have been getting screwed by the gov't forever. So I'm not crying a river for the FIRED, sorry, I'm just not. I'm sure the glitches will get worked out because the GOP are unlikely to leave the ACA alone.

And you will never hear me on here judging MMMers for anything else but this one issue, just as you will never hear me judging alleged welfare cheats. SNAP has a 3% loss to cheats. I think that's one pretty amazing program.

The Storyteller
2-23-16, 9:25pm
Wow. The self-proclaimed socialist finds himself agreeing with the conservatives.

Once in a blue moon...

Williamsmith
2-24-16, 6:30am
I don't feel completely prepared to jump in on this conversation. I'm not a MMM follower. I did read the article. I look for genuineness and honesty as well as personal pride for a positive first impression. That was lacking in MMM. Can you have a frugal arrogance?

I have to admit feeling a little proxy jealousy on the behalf of working class people who make widgets or serve other wealthier people sometimes 60 hours a week and just barely get by month to month with no real way to make money "work" for them at the rate of a quarter million dollars by pre midlife. Not everybody can benefit from the dot.com bubble at the exact point in time.

So the frugality is a pseudo religion whereby there must be consumers doomed to hell for their addiction to debt and consumeristic abuse of the environment. I don't get that. Isn't frugality enough just for its own sake?

I am also bothered by the shunning of mainstream lifestyles when it suits oneself and the availing oneself of programs that are for financially challenged yet they have the means and wherewithal to purchase outright from their savings. Seems to be a hypocrisy there to morals and ethics holding up the frugality as the higher code.

Im not saying there are or should be consequences. If I am honest I "cheat" also in possibly very similar ways but in smaller amounts. I guess I don't mind the inconsistencies but I Do mind the arrogance.

I'm still not settled on it probably because of my own fortunate early retirement and my battle to stay in touch with those who have no real path to retirement......ever.

Tammy
2-24-16, 10:52am
I read it through my psych nurse lens. Which is why I said he must have a very understanding wife. I would not want a vice grips in my kitchen to squeeze all the juice out of a lemon, for example.

I also hope he is able to lighten up with his son. Our kids grow up to be someone different from whom we are. That's just how it is.

I really like most of what MMM has done. It's inspiring and amazing how he beat the wage slave system. But he is so damn judgmental. He might eventually lose his relationships over that. Even with his wife and child.

Ultralight
2-24-16, 10:55am
I read it through my psych nurse lens. Which is why I said he must have a very understanding wife. I would not want a vice grips in my kitchen to squeeze all the juice out of a lemon, for example.

I also hope he is able to lighten up with his son. Our kids grow up to be someone different from whom we are. That's just how it is.

I really like most of what MMM has done. It's inspiring and amazing how he beat the wage slave system. But he is so damn judgmental. He might eventually lose his relationships over that. Even with his wife and child.

Judgmentalism (is that a word) is an interesting thing. I often wonder why people care if they are being judged by people so disconnected from them or by people who cannot use those judgments against them.

Tammy
2-24-16, 12:23pm
It feels like a waste of my time to be around grumpy negative judgemental people. So I don't spend time with them. No problem.

But if they are living in my house, then it could be s problem. That's why I wonder about his wife and child. Does he truly give them room for their own opinion? Or do they have to choose between his opinion or moving out?

Ultralight
2-24-16, 12:26pm
It feels like a waste of my time to be around grumpy negative judgemental people. So I don't spend time with them. No problem.

But if they are living in my house, then it could be s problem. That's why I wonder about his wife and child. Does he truly give them room for their own opinion? Or do they have to choose between his opinion or moving out?

Just exploring an idea here: Why is choosing between his opinion or moving out such a big deal?

freshstart
2-24-16, 3:14pm
I think it would be a big deal to the child

Ultralight
2-24-16, 3:17pm
I think it would be a big deal to the child

He'd have to pay child support. That is the law.

freshstart
2-24-16, 3:22pm
not financially, I mean emotionally. Posts in his blog make it sound like he does a lot with his son, arts and crafts, he's home schooled, etc. Not that divorce would make those things stop but not living with your dad anymore is hard for most kids.

Ultralight
2-24-16, 3:29pm
not financially, I mean emotionally. Posts in his blog make it sound like he does a lot with his son, arts and crafts, he's home schooled, etc. Not that divorce would make those things stop but not living with your dad anymore is hard for most kids.

So he gets to spend lots of time with his son, does arts, crafts, home-schools the kid, etc. and you're concerned his judgmentalism is going to change this? Who says that the kid would not stay with MMM even if the wife was like: "That is it! I am tired of living this sweet life of leisure. I'd rather have debts and stuff!"

I just think that each person has the right to say: "My way or the highway!" -- especially in matters of their personal lives.

Why is it so important to people that "judgmental" folks bend to someone else's or the collective's will? Why is "the highway" seen as such a bad place?

freshstart
2-24-16, 3:38pm
So he gets to spend lots of time with his son, does arts, crafts, home-schools the kid, etc. and you're concerned his judgmentalism is going to change this? Who says that the kid would not stay with MMM even if the wife was like: "That is it! I am tired of living this sweet life of leisure. I'd rather have debts and stuff!"

I just think that each person has the right to say: "My way or the highway!" -- especially in matters of their personal lives.

Why is it so important to people that "judgmental" folks bend to someone else's or the collective's will? Why is "the highway" seen as such a bad place?

Most people who enter a marriage and have children are aware there are going to have to be compromises down the road. I can't judge MMM himself because I admit I have not read enough of his or her blog posts, they could be happy as pigs in sh** for all I know. But I think a marriage so rigid as "my way or the highway" is likely to fail. Again, not saying this about them per se, more a response to your comment. And I don't think a couple exists who so agrees on everything that "my way or the highway" doesn't happen because they are always on the exact same page.

Don't you compromise with your GF? About religion and the amount of stuff she has?

Ultralight
2-24-16, 3:45pm
Most people who enter a marriage and have children are aware there are going to have to be compromises down the road.

Or perhaps they know their partner is not the compromising type and they enter into marriage and have children anyway. Could happen, right?


But I think a marriage so rigid as "my way or the highway" is likely to fail.

Then that would be the choice of those involved. Couldn't a person see compromising in marriage as a failure of self? Why is the failure of self what has to give way to the success of the marriage. Why is marriage always prime?



Don't you compromise with your GF? About religion and the amount of stuff she has?

I compromise with her on so, so many things (more like yield to her!). But I don't like it! And there is a threshold I will not cross. Most people have a line they won't step over, right?

Williamsmith
2-24-16, 3:55pm
You mean the line in the sand that SpongeBob SquarePants draws that ever time the bully steps over it.....he redraws it in again. Yeah I've heard of that line.

Ultralight
2-24-16, 4:00pm
You mean the line in the sand that SpongeBob SquarePants draws that ever time the bully steps over it.....he redraws it in again. Yeah I've heard of that line.

I am not familiar.

freshstart
2-24-16, 4:10pm
I see compromise not as a failure of self but an achievement. But yes, there is a line I would not accept. Also, I am not saying major is prime, personally it was hell, so I am not advocating marriage above all else. Just that if you are in one, I think you need to be able to compromise.

so you are not a hundred percent "my way or the highway" because you are compromising. And I agree, it's hard to like compromising but I don't know how to get through life without it.

Ultralight
2-24-16, 4:13pm
I see compromise not as a failure of self but an achievement.

Heck of a spin, right there! Tell that to your congress!


so you are not a hundred percent "my way or the highway" because you are compromising. And I agree, it's hard to like compromising but I don't know how to get through life without it.

I kind of wish I was 100% my way or the highway! haha

I am too dang worn out most of the time to do anything more than totally yield or just compromise myself.

freshstart
2-24-16, 4:17pm
Heck of a spin, right there! Tell that to your congress!

lol, Congress popped up in my brain when I said that.

Ultralight
2-24-16, 4:19pm
!Splat!
lol, Congress popped up in my brain when I said that.

Tammy
2-24-16, 4:27pm
ultralite - why do you assume that the opposite of being judgemental is being deprived of all autonomy? MMM could make his own life as he is doing, while simultaneously giving his wife and child the choice to make their lives as they see fit.

And he may very well live that way - I have no idea.

My comments had to do with whether he allows for autonomous thought within his family or whether he's a benevolent dictator of mustachian principles within his household.

Ultralight
2-24-16, 4:42pm
ultralite - why do you assume that the opposite of being judgemental is being deprived of all autonomy?

Good question. But I think I may have not expressed myself accurately. Is the opposite of being judgmental also being deprived of all autonomy? No. But it is being deprived of some autonomy. How much varies greater for a number of reasons.


MMM could make his own life as he is doing, while simultaneously giving his wife and child the choice to make their lives as they see fit.

I politely disagree.

Here is why. Suppose MMM wants to live in a modest-sized house -- the one he now lives in. But Mrs. MMM wants to buy a $2,000,000 house with a helicopter pad, two tennis courts, and a bowling alley. How can he live his way and still give her the choice to live her way and give the child a choice to live his way too? That choice might be: "Good luck to you, see you in divorce court." Now one might say a good compromise would be a $1,000,000 house with one tennis court and a lifetime membership for the wife at the nearest bowling alley. But how would MMM be MMM with that kind of arrangement?



My comments had to do with whether he allows for autonomous thought within his family or whether he's a benevolent dictator of mustachian principles within his household.

Autonomy of thought can occur in a benevolent dictatorship, though I'd say it is somewhat hindered.

Teacher Terry
2-24-16, 6:09pm
They are living the life they agreed upon. If one person changes their mind then yes probably their marriage would end. Any relationship is about compromise. If you can't compromise you will not be able to maintain a relationship.

pinkytoe
2-25-16, 9:35am
It's interesting that MMM is all over the place recently - last name and all. Almost as if he has an agent now. Perhaps it's all gone to his head.

Ultralight
2-25-16, 9:50am
MMM gamed the system, won, and has a sweet life.

So he has plenty of reason to be smug!

freshstart
2-25-16, 11:03am
if he's gaining in popularity and dough from the blogs is pouring in, could he please get a server that supports 25,000 members so I don't have time to read my book while waiting for a post to display? I end up getting annoyed at the speed and leaving

yup, he won life. I'm curious what the amt was when he stopped working at what, 30? What was the amt that he felt was enough to go for it, when he didn't know he'd have this huge stream coming in from what started as a side gig?

iris lilies
2-25-16, 11:08am
if he's gaining in popularity and dough from the blogs is pouring in, could he please get a server that supports 25,000 members so I don't have time to read my book while waiting for a post to display? I end up getting annoyed at the speed and leaving

yup, he won life. I'm curious what the amt was when he stopped working at what, 30? What was the amt that he felt was enough to go for it, when he didn't know he'd have this huge stream coming in from what started as a side gig?

MMM retired at age 30 with $600,000.

I dont have a lot of problems with the site although a couple of years ago it was awful. But I do have occasional problems with having things load.

freshstart
2-25-16, 11:13am
thx, that's interesting to know

iris lilies
2-25-16, 11:30am
thx, that's interesting to know
oh also, he and wife own their house free of mortgage.

so he retired with $600,000 and paid for house.

Williamsmith
2-25-16, 11:34am
I assume we are quoting a retirement nest egg from his own personal report. How can you truly know? There is a difference between retirement on faith that you barely have enough to get by if you are very careful with your spending and having a comfortable plan B if things don't work out for you in your early retirement. MMM has a very comfortable Plan B apparently. I just wonder how many people follow his lead and retire only to find out......it ain't working.

freshstart
2-25-16, 11:44am
those are people I'd like to hear from; what exactly went wrong that it was not sustainable for them, how have they fixed it? I haven't seen posts like that at MMM but there are a bazillion posts and I only poke around there occasionally, they may very well be there.

iris lilies
2-25-16, 11:56am
oh i think plenty of things went wrong for a lot of people who retired in 2006. That would be the financial and housing crash of 2007 and subsequent bad years.

MMM had his problems with spec real estate, to be sure.

I had always wanted to retire at age 55 but the market was still in the toilet some years later so I didnt do it but
that is when I seriously started to run the numbers. By the year 2011 I knew my risk tolerance and had several strategies for income streams after jumping out of the big job.

As far as accuracy of his report of his own finances, sure we will never really "know" but that doesnt matter. The power of MMM is in the legend, not the actuality. The legend inspires mustacheon lifestyle. There is no question for me that he is telling the truth, but he also has A few side hustles (not counting the current huge income from his blog site) that could keep him financially solvent. He happens to be a guy whose hobbies and interests make him money.

There is much debate on the MMM site about whether he is "retired" or not. Certainly he stretches to meaning of "retired" but for me, I dont resent his use of the word. Apparently the bogleheads got so frothy mad in their discussion of Pete's "retired" life that they locked the thread. Haha.

I was gratified to see him mention YMOYL as the original mustachean.

Teacher Terry
2-25-16, 3:21pm
the whole retirement argument is so stupid. We are retired yet we still make some $ doing stuff we enjoy. OUr lives are better for it. It gives us something meaningful to do. Volunteer work didn't provide that for me although I still do some.

Teacher Terry
2-25-16, 3:23pm
I forgot to say that i worry that some of the younger folks there will retire on too little $ and have to go back to work but find their skills outdated, etc. Some get so far into cutting everything out that you wonder how they could be happy. Maybe they are-who knows? But they could get frugal fatigue down the road.

ApatheticNoMore
2-25-16, 5:10pm
I forgot to say that i worry that some of the younger folks there will retire on too little $ and have to go back to work but find their skills outdated, etc.

yes but this can happen a lot of ways, it can happen by getting out of the labor market for awhile to raise kids, or by getting a job that doesn't use one's skills etc. which many people who are currently underemployed in this lousy economy are doing. So there's no guarantee either way (those underemployed can continue working and saving and contributing to social security yada yada, but skills not so much).

Teacher Terry
2-25-16, 6:30pm
I agree but many over there are professionals that are making really good $ so they are giving up a lot.

freshstart
2-25-16, 6:55pm
I wonder if they work long enough to have enough quarters in to get Social Security when they hit their 60s? Or they figured that in and decided they don't need that money?

Teacher Terry
2-25-16, 8:02pm
FS: good point. I never hear anyone talk about that. I see you have a different handle over there like I do.

freshstart
2-25-16, 8:21pm
FS: good point. I never hear anyone talk about that. I see you have a different handle over there like I do.

yeah, I'm FLA, you picked me out of 25k members, was it something I said about using Medicaid, lol? Think I managed to insult 24,999 people, oops

Teacher Terry
2-25-16, 8:50pm
I figured it out a long time ago by your story. I am Cassie over there. I did see the Medicaid thing too and commented I think and I agreed but then IL reminded us that they can't use the regular ACA because it does not let them which I had forgot.

freshstart
2-25-16, 9:07pm
nice to meet you, Cassie

iris lilies
2-25-16, 10:15pm
Oh I know who both of you are over on the MMM site. :~)

Now Spartana, Ihamo, and fidgie, harder to find. ;)

iris lilies
2-25-16, 10:22pm
I wonder if they work long enough to have enough quarters in to get Social Security when they hit their 60s? Or they figured that in and decided they don't need that money?

I've wondered about SS too with these early FIRED people and I wonder if the later retired people will really have enough money. I Dont worry about people in their 50's but do worry about people in their 30's. People in their 40's, I dont know what to think.

i do see young people now eschewing marriage, and that is built into Soc Security benefits. I dont think thats smart, bur I also can relate to being in your 20's and not thinking about retirement in the traditional sense.

freshstart
2-26-16, 9:46am
Oh I know who both of you are over on the MMM site. :~)

Now Spartana, Ihamo, and fidgie, harder to find. ;)

you have 3 Mustachian handles???

iris lilies
2-26-16, 10:10am
you have 3 Mustachian handles???
No, those three were active members here at one time. They kept their names over on the MMM board.

It was a lame joke I made. :confused:

Teacher Terry
2-26-16, 3:50pm
When I set up my name on MM i used my favorite dog's name:~). Then l when I came on here I was teaching a uni class I love and got the idea to make it part of my name. AFter awhile i think you recognize things that people say about themselves, etc.

freshstart
2-26-16, 3:54pm
yeah, because my life is such a closed book, lol

lhamo
2-27-16, 12:25am
I agree but many over there are professionals that are making really good $ so they are giving up a lot.

The way that SS works with the inflection points, as long as you got your minimum number of quarters in to qualify and earned a decent wage, you actually get a surprisingly large SS payment once you finally start drawing on it. In my case, I really only worked full time from 1999-2015 (stopped working in June last year), and earned in the 50-70k range for most of that time. I also had a few years of PT work as a teenager/college student (grad school stipends were exempt from SS). If I don't pay any more into SS, i will be eligible for about $1500 in monthly payment sif I start taking it at 62, $2200 if I start at 67 (my FRA) and $2700 if I wait until 70. I will most likely wait until age 70.

If I were to go back to work earning $50k (low estimate for the kinds of jobs I'm currently applying for) and work an additional 5 years, with 3% annual raises, my monthly payments at the ages listed above would go up to roughly $1700/$2400/$3000. An additional 5 years of work (10 years more work total) would push those monthly amounts up to $1900/$2700/$3300.

If you want to see what your own totals would be given different scenarios, the Case Study template on the MMM forums (developed by awesome forumite and excel wizard MDM) has a Social Security worksheet that is the easiest thing I have found anywhere to experiment with. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to include SS projections in their long-term financial planning.

Williamsmith
2-27-16, 5:00am
The estimates provided by the social security website are based on continued income at or about the current level until reaching a qualifying retirement age. Many will not realize anywhere near those numbers quoted based on reduced hours worked as they age. In any event, the baby boomer generation and the relative proportion of workers to beneficiaries are immediate threats to the solvency of social security according to the social security administration itself, not life expectancy. In other words, don't bank on it because the more successful ideas like MMM early retirement, the less people are paying into the system and the less solvent it is. Legislative cuts in payments are almost certain to follow.

simplelife4me
2-27-16, 8:19am
He is not retired and never was. He simply quit one job and became a self employed blogger.

Williamsmith
2-27-16, 9:37am
As a self employed blogger he is supposed to pay self employment tax, which as I can attest is both the employer and employee share of social security and Medicare taxes. When fracking was at its height independent security brokers were hiring retired police officers to work at gas well sites for $25/ hr in my area. I live in one of the cheapest counties in Pennsylvania for cost of living. After checking out the costs of transportation and independent contractor taxes......I figured I would be working at an effective minimum wage job.

Everybody who retires can't start a blog. Sooner or later we are going to hit a blogging bubble. I wouldn't be surprised if MMM takes down his blog and disappears.

shadowmoss
2-27-16, 12:42pm
Oh I know who both of you are over on the MMM site. :~)

Now Spartana, Ihamo, and fidgie, harder to find. ;)

Hey, I'm over there as well. Equally difficult to find :).

We do freak them out over there poking fun at each other based on our histories here, and the regulars over there will jump to defend us from this 'unknown' who 'attacks' their friend. I think they are getting used to it, though.

lhamo
2-27-16, 2:05pm
The estimates provided by the social security website are based on continued income at or about the current level until reaching a qualifying retirement age. Many will not realize anywhere near those numbers quoted based on reduced hours worked as they age.

This is one reason I like the Case Study spreadsheet referenced in my previous post so much -- unlike the online calculator at the SSA.gov site and other similar calculators that do all the calculations in the background, this one is an excel sheet that has all the formulas readily visible so you can see how the computations are done. It is also very easy to tweak with different scenarios.

Here is a link to the google doc version in case anyone is interested in exploring further:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxe0EgraZFRBT2pGYjBEbG1qYlk/edit

The social security tab is the 8th one over.

Reyes
2-27-16, 5:55pm
I enjoy reading MMM boards. There are far too many posts for me to keep up and and I am very infrequent visitor there, but I do like it when I have the time to read there.

Aqua Blue
2-27-16, 5:55pm
I read MMM regularly, but never post. (For some reason it won't let me register-it says invalid and I can't figure out how to get any farther). I was thinking about him coming out about the 400k/yr. Many people said they couldn't understand why he did that, but I figure he figured someone would find out about it and make it look bad and it was better for him to come out himself than have it reported 2nd hand.

I think it doesn't really matter, it seems he is still living pretty close to what his investments would generate, so if he needed to he easily could go back to living on that.