You Too Can Retire In Your Early 30’s

There seem to be a growing number of personal finance blogs touting super early retirement (ie after around 10 years of working).  These guys are “living the dream” after “jumping off the debt-powered treadmill” and they’re preaching that you too, you fool/drone/sucker*, can wake up like Neo in the Matrix and realize what a sham this whole consumerist world is.

So what how does this work?  It’s so simple I can sum it up in one sentence: You need to be cheap as fuck.

I don’t mean “no more lattes at Starbucks cheap”.  To work for 10 years and retire, you need to be “I rotate my bike tires so they last longer” cheap.  You need to be “I buy a year’s supply of rolled oats when they go on sale” cheap.  That’s basically what every one of these blogs boils down to.

If that sounds appealing to you, go for it.  As these guys are demonstrating, it definitely can work.  If material possessions don’t really matter to you, if you don’t want to do anything that requires a fair amount of money, or if you’d simply rather focus on something other than the “rat-race” (though don’t forget that being this frugal takes a lot of effort), this seems like a great way to go.

If, like me, you’d rather have your hand slammed in a car door, I just saved you a few hours of blog reading.


*Note that if you are using debt to fuel your $400 a week shoe/gadget/whatever habit, you are a fool.

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61 Responses to You Too Can Retire In Your Early 30’s

  1. You forgot to mention my $400,000 paid-off house and my 3 months of annual travel. Or my two cars, fleet of six nice bicycles, or the fact that I give a few tens of thousands of dollars of my time and money to charity and helping people out each year.

    But yeah, you are correct that I do like rolled oats 😉

    • AJ Kessler says:

      Yes, sorry. I’ll also throw in that you *will* be a millionaire some day, unless something catastrophic happens to the markets. That’s awesome, and congrats.

      I just think that’s beside the point. Your philosophy really does boil down to “be cheap as fuck”. Nothing wrong with that at all, and I truly don’t mean any disrespect. Some people would do extremely well to follow your example.

      It’s not for me though. This blog and I focus on maximizing output, not minimizing expenditures to the extreme.

      • Tails says:

        What needs to be acknowledged is that people can (and do) spend money infinitely faster than they can make it. If you are making $1000 per month and spending $1000 per month, then increasing your output to $10,000 per month, with the only spending goal being the avoidance of debt, will likely put your spending at $10,000. If you don’t have a problem being at $0 at the end of each month regardless of output/money, then you understand that for your life to continue you have to continue working.

        I focused on my spending floor first, adjusted to it over time, and am only now focusing on increasing output, while banking the difference.

      • Lysander says:

        I would say that it is all relative. A philosophy of frugality may not be ‘cheap as fuck’ for someone that was not, say, raised in an exclusive enclave in San Diego county with a tennis court in the backyard.

        • Shawn says:

          We live in a society of rediculous wastefulness. I’m guilty myself. I’ve made a lot of money and had a lot of shit in my 46 years. I had to learn that more isn’t better, for me a simpler life is better. What’s wrong with riding a bike to save money and staying in shape at the same time? What’s wrong with living,shopping,working all close together. What’s wrong with doing for yourself and feeling accomplished. What’s wrong with making your own coffee for 17 cents instead of paying 2.00?

          Ps- ur suspicions are correct, I too order the rolled oats bro!

  2. J Wynia says:

    I’d also add that not only do *you* need to be cheap as fuck, but, if you’re married, so does your spouse. And, if you have kids, so do they.

    I’d have no problem cutting cable, but my wife would be pissed. *I* would have no problem eating the same cheap meal 7 nights a week for a month, but if I tried making that the standard at our house, life with my wife would get pretty miserable.

    • sig says:

      Sigh. Same boat…

    • Eric says:

      My SO initially rebelled about cutting cable. I laid out my case, the alternatives, and she eventually agreed. Neither of us have missed it at all. Try again, and when she asks about xyz show, figure out how she can watch it online.

      Also, less TV in your life is a REALLY positive influence. Suddenly you have so much time free for better things. By having to seek out the show you’re interested in, you naturally watch less (especially without the next show automatically starting after the one you want to watch finishes).

    • Boris says:

      Oh, yeah, don’t ever cut the cable, ‘cos TV is so fucking interesting. Dumbification of the nation, sugar of the brain, park your fat arse on your sofa and sip that giant Coke, baby, America all the way. Use that dryer as much as you can, and consume a quarter of the world’s energy. Way to go, dudes.

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  4. Shane says:

    I’ve been trying to live the “Cheap as Fuck” lifestyle and chase after the early retirement dream for a while, but sadly my wife isn’t on the same page and its simply not in her DNA.

    So I’ve retreated to a retire by 50-55 goal. Pay the house off, rent it and buy a little nicer one, drive old cars til they fall apart and live as debt free as possible.

    We’ll see how it goes…

    • byebye says:

      Sounds like to me you made a bad financial decision by getting married, time to cut your losses and get out the business contract.

      • SeriyVolk says:

        Thats gotta be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Cut your business contract? You actually care about materialistic inanimate things more than having a good relationship? How sad can you get? Its pathetic when you cant even add an ounce of effort into making a better marriage. Get a grip and set your priorities straight.

        • independent traveler says:

          Then start tour journy to retierment. When you say that you are done and she have another ten year to go. Then tvinga start to happend…
          Trust me it is a business contract . you night not understand that part of it jet.

        • Dan says:

          As someone who is on the verge of completing my second divorce (and we all know how we learn from our failures) please allow me to enlighten you. Relationships are one thing, while marriage is something quite different. You are correct that relationships are extremely important, and contribute greatly to our happiness (or lack thereof). But, one can have all sorts of relationships without marriage.

          Marriage is a societally sanctioned (and enforced) contract to pool financial resources, most obviously, though not exclusively, for the purpose of raising children. Your spouse and any children will have a claim to a large portion of your accumulated assets and future earnings. Not so for a “significant other.”

          Of course, you *also* have a relationship with your spouse, but that relationship is not what defines “spouse.” What defines “spouse” is precisely the *contract* where you agree to be married, with all of the *legal* consequences that go with it.

          Now, as to the question about whether breaking off a marriage because of financial issues is “stupid,” “sad,” and “pathetic,” I just did a little googling and found that according to “The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts” 22% of clients said that “Money issues / arguments” were the main cause of their divorce. Many other places list it as a major cause of divorce. So, whatever else you may call it, it is certainly not *unusual*.

          Imagine, for example, that you are the single wage earner for your family, and would like to save a high percentage of your income, while your spouse is more of a gratify me now, live for today, shopping therapy kind of person. Your spouse’s carefree spending habits will most likely add *many* additional years of wage slavery to your life before you can afford to retire. Think about what that says about your spouses attitude: Your spouse values his/her immediate gratification of essentially unimportant consumer urges more than many years of your being chained to your work, rather than enjoying freedom and feelings of security. And we call this love?

          Now, relationships are indeed very important, but in a world of billions of people, do you really think that your spouse is so much better than the next alternative that your additional years of “working for the man” are fully justified? Perhaps you should look for someone who can give you similar love and affection and *shares* your financial values?

    • SeriyVolk says:

      Hey man. Chin up! You’ll get there. What I would go for is a job that you really love. Think of what you would like to work on after you retire and go for that now. You’ll be doing same thing you would do after retirement but youd also be getting paid as a real job for it now. Dont worry about tomorrow so much.

  5. Bill Moore says:

    I’m siding with Mr. Money Mustache. Mostly. I lived the high life owning multiple houses, cars, trips, gadgets, etc. At one point my lawyer said I was our towns ‘leading consumer’. All I got was a divorce and a mountain of debt by 40.

    So, I did what what MMM did (at 40 instead of 20) and saved like crazy for 10 years and am now retired (really, semi-retired, but I do what I want, work on what I want and go where I want, when I want).

    I also maximized investments and created passive income streams using pretty sophisticated models and strategies not unlike AJ.

    I live cheap, but not ‘cheap as fuck’. I eat out when I feel like it, I buy what I need when I need it and I am very very happy. I’m just SMART about spending money. Being smart about spending money is not being ‘cheap as fuck’, but it has a similar effect.

    Bottom line, MMM’s point of view works, and it’s been working for me for a couple of years now and I suspect we’d have a better world if it worked for more of the striving consumer driven folks in this world.

    These two approaches are not mutually exclusive. Simply take the best of both points of view and you’d be amazed how close to a ‘normal’ comfortable American upper middle class life you can live by saving your ass off for 10 years.

  6. Rebecca says:

    MMM’s approach does work and I wouldn’t call it cheap as you do. I’d call it sensible. Other people can take a more relaxed approach, pride themselves as not being cheap, and retire 10 years after me. I’m fine with that.

  7. Kalliea says:

    I also side with MMM’s approach. You don’t have to go 100% to see an improvement in your finances. If more people understood the concept of living within your means we would have a lot less vacant houses in my neighborhood. It wasn’t long ago that many of the things we believe we can’t live without didn’t exist, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to givea few up. It’s a lot more about making a choice about how you spend your money and only spending it on the things that are important to you, not letting the media or some social norm dictate your expenses.

  8. anthony says:

    “Be cheap as fuck” is not a fair simplification of the MMM philosophy. It’s much deeper than that. Being sensible with your financial choices is a big part of it, of course. But to me “cheap” means cutting back on satisfying your desires. MMM’s insight is that you can re-train your mind such that “cheap things” become your desires. You can learn to take satisfaction from learning and using the skills that keep a bike working cheaply. And you can learn to select “cheap” or even “free” options for spending your time over expensive ones…and be just as happy for it.

  9. T says:

    You’re confusing cheap with frugal.

    The fact is, most of what is out there to spend your money on is only marketed as being worth your life energy that you used to get it. For example, the important part of getting married is the commitment two people make to each other, and maybe having family there to be a part of it. No real cost to that. The designer dresses, flower arrangements, harpists, etc are just a bunch of BS, and are very expensive.

    What MMM figured out is that if you focus on the important bits, and strip out the rest, life is full of plenty and happiness. The most important thing is understanding the trade off completely (life energy vs stuff) and making careful decisions.

    • barzini says:

      What girl would marry a bicycling cheapskate? Better hope you’re AESTHETIC

      • Julie says:

        I would. I bet he’s in great shape.

      • Budding Mustachian says:

        I think the word you’re going for is ASCETIC. And “cheapskate” is so far from the MMM reality. The MM lifestyle sounds far more luxurious and fulfilling than any “keeping up with the Joneses” household.

      • Amy P says:

        I did! He’s in great shape. And he annoys me to pieces sometimes with his frugality, but all in all he’s an awesome guy. He’s taking nine months off work right now to be with our family (we just had our third baby and his navy ship was planning to sail a lot, but we had the financial freedom for him to take the parental leave – we live in Canada obviously) and you better believe he bikes our two older ones to free government-sponsored parent-attended ‘preschool’ almost every day a week, and volunteers at the food bank because he’s got the time.

      • Seantash says:

        The kind that aren’t gold diggers or into pointless spending or displays of grandeur. Exactly the smart kind of girls he would want to attract.

  10. Sam Silvers says:

    I was so on your side ten months ago. My husband started to become Mustachian. Started biking to work (23 miles round trip in Florida storms/heat all hours of day and night). He sold his car, putting us down to a one car family (of 5! Three adult drivers!). His parents and I threatened to get an MRI of his head because I was concerned he had a brain tumor. Then he put window tint on our living room windows (I tore down, cut up and threw out) and stopped using shampoo to save money. I threatened him with a divorce. Then I balanced the checkbook and realized with only HIM doing Mr. Money Mustache over 6 months we had saved $100,000! So then I figured I should shut up and start to read Mr. Money Mustache!

    • Gordo says:

      I liked that last comment.
      I’m the same age as MMM and have
      been frugal most of my life. I’ve had decent paying jobs but never even management level. By saving and investing I am now a millionaire

      I think living frugally is a lot of fun. I quit my last job when I got sick of it, now I only work part time. Enjoying my freedom. also helping others.
      Even managed to get on a reality tv show last week (I’ll have to go over to someone else’s house to watch it!)

    • Isa says:

      OK, I just got into this site after discovering Mr. Moustache’s, and out of curiosity. In frugality terms, I had been doing much of what he preaches during years, so I’m basically getting confirmation of what I had been doing. What Sam says about shampoo is fun… I haven’t bought shampoo for about two years. Not to mean I’m dirty, I wash my hair with the same gel I wash my skin with. I read an article about shampoo, and decided it was an invention and something unnecessary. I started using gel, and (this may depend on the person, of course) both my husband’s hair and mine got… Well, I’m not going to say they got better or healthier, but they didn’t get any worse than they were while I was using shampoo (actually, this good gel I’m using is at least equal to any shampoo I’ve tried, and far better than some other shampoos I tried too). If you tell people you don’t buy shampoo, they might think you’re dirty or way too cheap. When you understand that you don’t need shampoo, that you didn’t need it in the first place, that your scalp is better off with a good product to clean the skin… it doesn’t become a cheap option, it becomes the smart option, the one that needed research, thought, and trial and error to apply.

      Same thing for everything else. I need a mobile phone for job reasons (the job I love is teaching, but I need to go to villages far away to do so, my car might get stuck in the road, and I might get last-minute cancellations, so I need to be in contact). I use a dumbphone (which still has a photo camera and mp3 player plus a neat application with all guitar chords, meaning, even ). Thing is, that dumbphone requires no internet connection, no minimum monthly payments, and its battery lasts four or three days without needing to be recharged. Fun thing, everyone asks me when I’m going to get whatsapp because according to them, whatsapp messages are “free”. I tell everyone “give me a call, I’ll see it and call you back”. People are kidding themselves thinking whatsapp is cheaper, when actually it’s cheaper for me to call them than it would be for me to get a smartphone, and I still pay less for my mobile phone use than they do at the end of the month.

      So… you don’t really need to be cheap. You just need to be discriminating. My mobile phone is a prodigy of technology. It does everything I need it to do and far more. I suppose some people do need a Samsung Galaxy 18, but I dare think that most people do not really need such tremendous computing power on their phones.

      Same happens with many other things. The only thing you really need to do is break out from the desire-buy-post-buy-depression circle. Stop buying for fun. Resist the temptation. I look at Samsung Galaxy phones and I desire them: they are beautiful. I recognize the photoshop work done in the pictures: it’s the same work that jewellery catalogues get. They are trying to make me desire it. I do. But my logical mind knows I do not need all the power and functionalities of that telephone. I would basically use it for playing angry birds. The big screen would waste the battery quite soon, and that would force me to recharge it daily. In short, the benefits I would get from the phone are far less than the hours of my valuable time I would need to invest into getting it.

      Some things you will use. My computer and tablet are top notch, but then again, I am a graphic designer. I bought a guitar and paid for guitar classes, and then joined a band. You will still buy things you don’t really need. You will just make sure the things you buy are the ones that will make you happy in the long term. Sometimes you will still make the occasional mistake, but just thinking about it before you buy, just waiting months and thinking “If I still want it six months from now I will reconsider”, lowers your chances of expending carelessly.

      In any case… I quite envy people who earn so much money that six months of saving leave them 100.000 dollars untouched. My salary does not allow for that. It allows for living happily doing a job I look forward to instead of making me feel like I’m going to the gallows each morning. That is more valuable than money, at least for me.

  11. Zeb says:

    You forgot the other half of the MMM philosophy – live cheap as fuck AND makes lots of money at the same time. I lived MMM’s “cheap as fuck” lifestyle all through my 20’s. The only problem was I also refused to join “the corporate rat race” and so I subsisted on an income of $15,000-$20,000, giving me no savings. Now I am running my own business and raising a growing family so early retirement is not in my future no how. Still, I like his blog for inspiring me to go back to some of those frugality tricks that I used to do automatically because I had to and all my friends were living the same way.

    • Sue says:

      I totally agree with you, Zeb. I like MMM’s blog too for the reminders and for encouragement in frugal living, but doing everything he says doesn’t necessarily mean you will be wealthy and be able to retire in 10 years. When my husband and I were first married and starting a family, we lived off a very similar income that you mentioned. About $15,000-$20,000 a year. I didn’t go out and get a career because we felt very strongly that I should stay at home and raise our small children. We lived frugally out of necessity. We had no money to invest. Sometimes…things happened that were out of our control…for example, we live in a 150+ year old home (14,00 square foot…very modest) and one day the boiler quit. It was not cost effective to repair it. The cost of running the thing was pretty darned high and we had been living with the heat turned down which was pretty miserable. Winters in upstate NY can get pretty brutal. What choice did we have? We went into some debt to replace the boiler..not before shipping around for the best deal we could find might I add.

      My point is that sometimes stuff happens and you have to spend money. We have never. I am working now that the children are older and also, my husband’s income has gotten much better. We’ve even been able to make some financial investments, but we have quite a bit of catching up to do. It wasn’t because we wanted material stuff. We’ve never lived that way, but we won’t be retiring any time soon either.

      In light of all that…I DO think that MMM’s way of living is wise. Frugality is not the same as cheapness. It’s just smarter.

  12. Oldfox says:

    MMM has it right. Everyone makes choices. For me autonomy – having no boss, deciding how I spent my time – was way more important than spending boatloads of money. In my plan imaginary notions of status were the first to go. You will be surprised at how much money you can save if you don’t care what other people think.

  13. Think it’s really two heads to the same coin. Increasing income works, reducing expenses works. Doing both together works even better. Some of the extreme savers do take it a bit far and don’t really get to travel or do fun things in their quest to spend as little as possible. Yet there are still little tidbits of knowledge I pick up, which is why I still read a bunch of these blogs.

  14. Mustachian says:

    You are an insolent child. Please delete your blog now.

  15. Patrick says:

    I’m also going to be siding with MMM here. To me being frugal means I will have the freedom to choose what I spend my money on. If I want to tell my boss to get lost I can. If I feel like sailing around the world when my kid finishes school I will. Actually that is my plan.

    I earn more than a lot of my friends from high school, but because I spend far less they’d never know. I like it like this!

    • Andy says:

      …and most of those people *will* regret these choices later on in life , though they may not (in the future) say it out loud. Over spending is sometimes an indicator of other *personal* issues …

  16. Edith says:

    You are evidently not familiarized with Stoicism. If you were, you’d see MMM is backed up by centuries of philosophy and knowledge… and also lots of studies that reveal no amount of possesions will ever make you happy.

    Our generation is being extremely cheap with the next generations, leaving nothing for them, taking all the resources we can despite the danger of compromising the very existence of life on this planet. That truly is being cheap as fuck!

    • barzini says:

      What next generation? Certainly none of your parentage.

      MMM would have young single men refrain from dating and just masturbate to free internet porn. But hey, I guess life will go on, because poor people are subsidized by the government to breed like rabbits.

  17. Domenica says:

    Is AJ kind of pissed of with MMM success? seems like…

  18. You seem really bitter, friend.

    Status is clearly so important to you that the MMM concept goes straight above your head.

    He’s happy and retired. You smell like bitterness.

  19. MagicMan says:

    AJ: I first learned of your blog while getting my daily dose of MMM this evening. All I can say is to each his/her own. That said, you sound pretty negative and petty. Best of luck!

  20. Jennifer says:

    Actually, he doesn’t strike me as negative so much as a boor. Living well while being frugal requires creativity, intelligence and a solid work ethic. Of course, those sorts of qualities are utterly anathema to 90% of the population, but why worry about Kessler and those of his ilk. Stupid is as stupid does, and they do stupid spectacularly.

  21. Stuart Sexton says:

    MMM is the way to go! Onward Mustachians, to the land of early retirement!

  22. SteveG says:

    All these posters talking about this blogs ‘negativity’ or ‘bitterness’ must not be reading the same thing I’m reading on the MMM site (which I just discovered). The site is riddled with negative commentary against those who do not partake in the same lifestyle. This calls into serious question the legitimacy of the author’s claims about security and happiness.

    As someone who could retire now (I just turned 31), I think a lot of the claims this particular author makes in regards to the ‘cheap as fuck’ crowd are accurate. I like driving my car. It’s safer than riding a bike in a huge city, with tiny shoulders and shitty roads. I don’t like manual labor. Most ‘millionaires’ don’t either (read Thomas J Stanley for the source of that comment). I like hanging out with my friends at work. I play a lot of golf, so I blow off work and hang out with my friends ‘off-site’. I could care less what my employer thinks. They would never fire me and I can leave whenever I want (that’s real independence). I also save an enormous amount of money. It makes me happy buying things for cheap even though I don’t need to (I’m not sure why, honestly).

    You know what? Who gives a shit. Spending less than you earn is the key to financial independence. It’s pretty simple. Depending on what you earn, the spending part can be fairly significant and you are still making progress to FI. Everyone chooses to live their life differently. It’s America. If you don’t like it, get the fuck out. What works for me, might not work for you. I buy individual equities instead of an index fund. I devour 10-k’s and company filings. I won’t criticize people who buy index funds. I won’t criticize people who do things that make them happy. Do what you want, because you understand the ramifications and they make you happy. There’s no reason for anyone to get upset about it…..

    In terms of a blog’s usefulness this one doesn’t strike me as outstanding (the MMM one has lots of good info on it). But, the author of this post is probably closer to the truth with his one sentence than many people will choose to admit.

    Just keepin it real……

    Good luck!

    • Tyler says:

      Cheap, is of course, relative. The fact of the matter is that anyone who views things that you think are cheap as luxuries will achieve their goals faster than someone who considers eating at Chipotle instead of Ruth Chris to be cheap. The person who see’s Burger King as a real indulgence and makes the same amount as the person who sees any fancy sit down restaurant will achieve financial independence faster, be a much less wasteful person, and probably will be happier as a result.

  23. SeriyVolk says:

    Totally sounds like you are trying to be very disrespectful.

    At least mention that you should live below your income. Or get a bigger paycheck. Lets not be ignorant.

  24. FreeTim says:

    I would revise;
    Note that if you are using debt to fuel your $400 a week shoe/gadget/CABLETV/under-3-year-old-car/orSECONDcar/largerHOUSEthanyouneed/bracelets/yetMOREnewshoes/whatever habit, you are a fool.

    AJ, I politely disagree “it takes a lot of work.”
    Well, no. It’s hard to initially track what ONE IS REALLY spending, but after one gets used to it (lots of new tools make it easy), it becomes EASY habit and just being that much more aware of what Dunkins/Starbucks/RealCostOfDrivingCar/ whatever really costs a month is certainly an eye-opener.

    The lot of work you are referring to, are those very experienced seniors-at-being-frugal that are proudly sharing the fine-tuning they are doing, that’s all. So you’ve taken one of the extreme examples of fine-tuning and made it seem like that level is required, but it’s not.

    Your readers should know that the base philosophy of being frugal in general and not spending everything you earn, doesn’t require that deep level of commitment such as rotating bicycle tires. My family is committed to NOT getting a second car, which means using buses or bicycle a time or two per week for me to commute leaving the car for her. I use the bus time to sort my to-do list for work, it’s productive time and saves us from having to extend onto a second car, which is hugely expensive to own, maintain, insure, and bear depreciation.

    I earn six figures US$, yet I pack-my-lunch. Does that make me cheap-as-youstated? This was a small very easy change and was actually healthier for me. The first week doing this was hard (humans resist change) but it’s habit now!

    Readers, you could be more frugal and wiser about weekly and monthly spending habits, and maybe avoid Financial Killers like buying-bigger-house-than-you-need and buying-more-car-than-you-need but you don’t need to be as cheap-as-AJ-said.

  25. James says:

    I quit my career to travel the world and realized I could live happily out of a backpack. It’s when I get back to the good old USA that I get sick and hate life and sometimes want to go back to the grind to buy shit I never get to use because I’m working 40+ hours a week selling shit to people who need anything but what I’m selling. This country has become so toxic it’s sickening. Less is more and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we can repair our broken relationships, friendships, families and the world.

  26. Mattbkk says:

    It bugs me that people mock bicycle tire rotation, which takes 10 minutes, saves money and reduces landfill. Why not do it?

  27. Rommel says:

    Live Cheap as f***. A simple universal truth- if you want to bring more money into your life there are only 2 ways to do that- 1) Spend less, 2) Make more. KISS- the beauty of the MMM philosophy is that he focuses on both. However, when he makes money by exchanging his time/effort/skill for money, he does so by first taking money out of the equation- Would I do this even if I weren’t getting paid for it? He’s already reached a point where More Money or More Stuff, DOES NOT equal More HAPPINESS.

    Money is only a vehicle/tool, focus your efforts on Happiness, and the things that create it. “In no particular order, the biggest factors influencing human happiness include meaningful work (with lots of autonomy, low stress, and low fear of losing your job), private life, community, health, freedom, and a philosophy of life.”

    I personally am seriously contemplating retiring this year at 38 years old. A little late to the game, but by simply combining the 2 ways of bringing more money into your life, I’ve been able to achieve FI on my own, with my own philosophies, which happen to be well represented on the MMM website. For every dollar you save by not spending it, it creates a dollar you can put to work for you, an employee and a soldier, printing and making copies of itself; saving for retirement is exponential.

  28. MariaD says:

    As a first-time visitor to MMM yesterday, I can’t say that I felt any negativity. The mockery is the frank humor that I needed to help break down more of the things I’ve learned from society – things that aren’t frequently good things. It’s a refreshing bit of humor instead of the flowery piles of “stuff” I’ve seen in efforts to find more ways to reduce spending. Being able to laugh at yourself brings both positivity and forgiveness rather than the negativity that will keep you in unproductive habits.

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  30. Kiev says:

    Dear Mr. Kessler,

    I do like your blog and articles a lot. But I think you are wrong with reducing the mustachian way of life to “Cheap as fuck”.
    You want to focus on maximizing output. I do not think that this differs much from the mustachian approach. It depends what your output should be.
    You are an attorney and are passionate about photography. You do have books in your shelf reminding you of the great time you had when reading them (Lord of the Rings). If you imagine your life to be independent from the necessity to work, you could focus on your passion such as photography and maybe family life.
    I do also understand that successful people have higher goals so that they continue to pursue their dreams. This is fine. However, I did get to a point in my life, where I could not imagine any material possession making my life much more better than it already is. So I am content and thankful for everything we have achieved. And I would like to protect that and not seeking more. You may be right, that this is kind of a loss aversion, but if I am really happy with everything we got what is wrong with it? I am focusing on building up stocks and paying out depth for my investment properties so that we can pursue our dreams. I do want to have an even better relationship to my children as I already have. I do want to go into vacation when and as long as I want. By the way I do have a vacation home close to the sea in Europe. I do also know people being far more rich then I am. As long as you find happiness in pursuing better material possessions you are not free. The Stoic describe how a fulfilled life could be. I do want to follow my passions and improve my skills. I want to focus my time on people and events which really matter.

    Best Regards,


  31. All Lize says:

    Dude, MMM is a millionaire. His net worth is growing exponentially. You don’t have to be extreme to save a portion of your income. How is it “cheap” if you live a luxurious life of leisure, while your peers work 50-80 hour weeks? Who cares how many gadgets your own, if you don’t even own your own time? For those working year after year and dreading Monday mornings, even if you claim to enjoy your work, there is usually some emptiness, or unfulfillment you are trying to fill with material possessions to stroke your ego or for short-term satisfaction, to fend off the niggling fear that you are wasting your precious time on earth. That is uncomfortable for some people to acknowledge within themselves. If you can really be honest with why you’re buying anything that is anything beyond Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you realise there is very little beyond food and shelter that you truly need. The trick is to realise this while you’re still inside the rat race/matrix. Once you know this, it’s very hard to ignore, and you can’t understand why the penny hasn’t dropped for everyone else. Besides, the ultimate in class, is ethical frugality – spending only what you truly need, to live. I would even argue that it is unethical and inhumane to use any resource beyond your most basic needs – the world’s impoverished suffer unfair wages to sustain your purchases and the earth loses valuable resources. It is utterly classless (and reckless for the earth and the poor) to mindlessly spend every cent you earn or, worse, willingly go into consumer debt, in the vain pursuit of “status”. Meanwhile, I’m retiring at 32, I’ve invested, travelled overseas every year I’ve worked, eaten very well, and been well-dressed and heeled. I don’t spend any money on cars, gadgets, salons or luxuries items. I will continue to work to end poverty in less fortunate countries, but now I have the luxury of not needing a salary to do that work. And yes, I own a bicycle. If this is what “Cheap As Fuck” means to you, then I’m reclaiming the term.

  32. Just Saying says:

    The one thing, to me, that comes across loud and clear is the person on the one side (can’t imagine be “Cheap As Fuck”) is bitter & negative where the person on the other side (apparently, “Cheap As Fuck”) is happy & positive even when faced with someone negatively attacking his approach to life. Without a doubt, I know which person I’d rather be and which side I’d rather be on.

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