YNAB BLOG

Jesse Interviews Mr. Money Mustache: The Full Transcript

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A second interview, where we dive into some other topics, is available here as Podcast Episode 96.

Jesse: Okay, I’m here with Mr. Money Mustache, from MrMoneyMustache.com and today we’re going to focus mainly on the savings rate, and I want to have everyone approach this with an open mind, so open your minds, and then let’s dive in.

*Full transcript available for download at the end of the post.

Welcome to the podcast,

Mr. Money Mustache: Thanks a lot Jesse, it is a pleasure to be here.

J: So you and I just finished up a business trip down in Ecuador.

M: Yes it was very serious, very business like.

J: Very business like. Powerpoints were flying. There was lots of downtime and conversation and we got to know each other pretty well. I wanted to basically have you come on and introduce you to YNABers who don’t already know about you, which there are probably a good bit. For those that are fans of both of us, then you know, double bonus.

I want to talk about the savings rate today, and I guess first, let me have you give a little bit of background on who you are, and why you’re an authority–the authority–we talked about how absolute truth flows from your website. So, why you’re THE authority on all things you decide to write about, and then I’ll start asking you questions–I might even play devil’s advocate.

M: Sounds like trouble. Okay well, the story is that I came to this United States country from another one, one called Canada, and I just found, without studying up on the cultural norms here, I found that by earning a reasonable professional salary and spending a reasonable amount of money, you end up saving a reasonable of money so I had enough to retire just before turning 31–my wife and I did. So I quit working in 2005 in order to start a family, and here we are eight years later.

A couple of years ago I found that none of the other coworkers in this industry–engineering–did the same thing. They’re all living paycheck to paycheck. I became exasperated with their financial behavior, and started this blog explaining how you can actually not spend all the money you earn, and how it builds up and gives you financial freedom sooner than you realize.

J: Much, much sooner than what is the norm out there. So you retired at almost 31, and you and your wife were both working, I guess, and you were an engineer, correct?

M: Correct, we both worked in a high-tech industry, sort of engineering things. She was a project manager for a while, and while we had higher than average salaries, they weren’t like wall street or lawyer salaries. So it’s entirely within the possiblity of a lot of the type of people I see YNAB customers as…most white collar…well the biggest thing is just understanding savings rate, and undersatnding happiness, and how often is that really connected to spending–less than we think.

J: Yeah, they’re not really connected much at all.

M: Right.

J: That is a good point. I guess that’s one way to approach it is from the angle of what makes people truly happy, but we’ll do a little bit–we might get into that, but that’s a fairly deep topic–but we’ll definitely talk about maybe some ways that you question the cultural norms that you didn’t study up on, and maybe how people could do that as well.

You’re well known for a post, I can’t remember the exact name…

M: Yeah, the Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement.

J: Give me, walk me through a hypothetical scenario…someone saves x%, what their retirement horizon looks like.

M: That post was all about how retirement saving is simpler than they think. Everyone thinks in terms of million dollars needed, or how many hundreds of years do I have to work to retire. Really if you do the math it kind of cancels itself out and you end up with some neat stuff.

So if you’re saving 10% of your income, and investing to get stock market returns, it’ll take about 51 years of saving that much, until you have a big enough stash of investments that you can live off, replace that 90% of your take-home pay that you were spending. But then as you slide up the savings rate, that makes a huge difference, so just going from 10 to 15 percent you’re down to working only 43 years, so you just cut eight years off your mandatory working career just by going from 10 to 15 percent.

Here’s where things get crazy. I talk about people saving 50% of their take-home pay, which sounds crazy but it’s not difficult at all once you get into practice, so if you do that, it’s a 17-year working career. If you start at 20, you’re retired at 37. It can go even further. A lot of people who read my blog, have more like 65 to 75% savings rates and that actually. That translates into about a 7-year working career. Mine was somewhere in between, where I worked about nine years before I had enough to retire.

J: You mentioned in that same post that it’s a two-edged sword, a double-win, if you lower what it takes to live happily, then you lower the amount you need to save in perpetuity.

M: Yeah, that’s right. So imagine somebody who’s gotten used to a lifestyle that costs them maybe $65,000 per year, which is maybe what a 2-income family would be living on nowadays, with pretty good jobs. And they’re locked into that, because they can’t imagine spending any less, which means they’ll need $65,000 per year, with inflation, which takes well lover a million dollars, a lot of money, to have that type of passive income.

On the other hand, it’s possible to live on a lot less. My family, with the exception–the only cheating we do is that we have a paid off house and the property taxes are fairly reasonable, but anyway on top of that it only costs us about $25-30,000 to live, so you can retire with much less than a million dollars, or even less if you’re a landlord or rental house guru, so you can income out of even less savings with that.

J: Building up a little stream of income, if you were to build up, just to give people some math, if you were to build up a stream of income that paid you $1,000 per month, that’s $12,000 per year, and ignoring taxes for a little bit, then you’d say, to nest egg that amount you’d need $12,000 times 25.

M: We didn’t mention that in this interview so far, but to figure out how much money you need to save thinking about dollars, take annual spending and multiply it by about 25, and that’s about how much you need saved. So if you have $10,000 of spending, you’d need $250,000 saved to live on that the rest of your life. You may make an adjustment if we were to go through some giant economic depression or something comes along.

It’s called the 4% rule, and you can basically think of it as 25x your spending.

J: So if you LOWER your spending by $1,000 per month, it’s the same as finding an income stream of $1,000. They work the same way–well no they don’t. The nice thing about cutting your spending is that you’re not taxed on that $1,000 that it took to earn. Although if we’re talking about spending levels, and income levels where you’re at, then taxes become almost a non issue.

M: You’re totally right. I made another post about this called The Lovely Low Taxes of Early Retirement and while the typical golf-at-the-hilton [person] needs to plan for a $250,000 a year retirement, which means a lot of that money is going to taxes out of your retirement income, in my case, living as a family with a young child, on $30,000 or less there’s pretty much no income tax due on that, because the government takes pity on you and says “Oh! It must be so hard living on only that amount! We’re going to put you in the lowest bracket and give you credits and stuff like that!” So if you’re really only drawing that amount, you’re pretty much immune from taxes in the US anyway.

Now I’ve been having a higher income so we’re still paying lots of taxes, but it’s sort of like an unexpected thing that happened in retirement, and it doens’t matter because our needs are still the same, because we only need that 25-30,000 so if that income ever went away then the taxes would go away too.

J: The income’s kind of gravy, the taxes you shrug your shoulders at, because it doesn’t approach your needs at all.

Now, you have thousands and thousands of people right now, that heard you say well, we live on $30,000 or something…

M: Yeah it’s 25-30 depending on the year. Last year it was in the 25 range, but we’re trying to spend more.

J: Trying, as hard as you can.

M: It’s hard to do, but once your needs and your wants kind of fade away, then you feel that you’re living this crazy expensive life, then you add up the bills at the end of the year and it’s still 25,000. It’s kind of a nice problem.

J: Yeah, that is. So tell me, let’s do a little bit of lifestyle analysis. I’m sitting here questining even the remotest possibility on living on such a–I would adjust mine up because I have more kids–but I would still say No, that’s too low. I can’t do that. So a big area for people is housing, tell me how you would approach that from a Mustachian point of view.

M: Well, I’m not the most mustachian person when it comes to housing because I have a fairly big house right now. But property tax is a big thing, so a lot of people live in NJ or CN, so your property taxes are $10-20k a year, you’re never going to have a $25,000 annual expense with that. So you have to question where you live, or you just have to save more, if you live in this high-home priced areas. Or you could be a renter.

But one of the biggest things you could do with any house is to figure out your energy consumption and make it lower. For example, our natural gas bill is less than $40/month year round. A lot of people spend a lot more. Our electricity is about $20. Just standard stuff, like what kind of lightbulbs you use, how much air conditioning you use, considering line-drying your clothes if you live in a dry climate like you and I do. It’s really, actually huge changes–thousands of dollars per year and people just aren’t thinking about them.

So you look at each of your expenses separately, don’t think “25% I can’t get there!” You think about each of these things, sliced down individually instead of the total, and it ends up being small.

J: I’m working on an epic cell phone post and that’s one thing, my business pays for the cellphone and so I suffer from this small business owner mentality where the expense, if it’s through the business is somehow not as important.

M: I do the same thing.

J: A lot of people do that, so it’s like play money until it actually hits your personal account. But I’ve been saying, no, even though the business pays for it, I still want to get it down. Inspired by your post about just cutting your plan, I think from my analysis, and I maybe wasn’t as aggressive as you in your post, I can’t remember the details, but I’m jumping from $170 a month for me and my wife, with fancy iphones, down to $20 per month, if I’m okay with only making calls in a wifi area, or grabbing an emergency phone out of the glovebox of my car. So, people will always say, “What if you’re stranded on the side of the road?” As if we weren’t for the prior 50 years before cellphones–and nobody died.

Anyway, I was looking at that, $165 down to $20 per month, a savings of $140 a month, about, and thinking about how much I would have in my nest egg for that. 140 x 25…

M: Actually, 140 x 12 to get your annual, and then times 25. That’s a great way for the readers.

J: 42 grand. That’s what I got.

M: I got the same thing.

J: So you’re thinking about saving that much money for somebody…that would take a long time.

M: So there you go, you think about slicing your expenses by $140 per month, that’s $42,000 closer that you are to retirement. A lot of people spend more than that just on coffee per month. Let alone, you know, important stuff like communications. And the same thing goes with cars, people are, financial beginners are still financing cars. They might have $150 to $300 payments, and then they realize later, “Oh I don’t have to do that. I can buy a used car.” And if you choose your housing to be relatively close to work, then you never use that used car, so it may last you 15 years instead of a new car lasting you five years if you live out in the sticks. So these things can make a much bigger difference than $140.

I hear from people every day that have cut their expenses by $3,000 per month. they went from $6,000 for a family, down to $3,000, just by changing stuff like cars, cellphones, cable TV, groceries, restaurants, so $3,000 times 12 times 25.

J: This is the best math to do.

M: Yeah, so those people are $900,000 closer to retirement.

(Laughing/Coughing)

M: A million bucks richer, by just cutting this typical high-income lifestyle in half. And they’re still just as happy because they still have their friends, eating healthy food, and didn’t even have to move to a smaller house. If you do that, it’s an even bigger change.

J: Our blogger Mark, who really likes your stuff, he started walking to the office, which is I think two miles away from his house, he and I live in the same neighborhood, and he’s dropped his gas needs on a monthly basis down from, I think they were maybe $250 per month, and now they’re $100 per month. So it’s the same thing as the cellphone bill, you look at a $50,000 nest egg bonus AND he’s lost I don’t remember how many pounds, and inches he’s lost, but you know that it’s meditation for him, to and from work.

M: So now you’re talking, because this is what my blog is all about: you’re not making sacrifices; you’re making improvements in your life that happen to make you wealthier. For example, I would say, nobody should ever start their work day without getting some exercise first. You gotta do something outside, so you don’t want to just get out of your bed, into your car, have coffee then go to the office because you won’t be productive, and you’ll be getting creeky and old at the age of 30 if you maintain that kind of lifestyle. So your blogger, Mark, has made a positive change, and made a ton of money in the process. That’s kind of what I push for in all areas of life. Nobody is making their life worse to save money, you’re making it better. I never compromise on life quality.

J: And that is the ticket. You’ll have people that, you know, I’m one of them, I still will push against things I’m sure, you just have to ask yourself, what do I care about? When we were in Ecuador, when JD Roth gave his presentation about what you care about, you know if you’re financially free, what would you do? I think the next was if you had a year to live, or five years… but you didn’t know when exactly, what would you do…and then if you had a day to live. 24 hours. And it was amazing how my answers changed from being financially independent and thinking what would I do, versus having 24 hours to live…what would I do. Then it was all about my family, spending time with my kids, enjoying them, and if we could adjust our thinking more toward what we REALLY care about, at our core, all the spending just plummets.

M: It’s really nice when that happens. I’m kind of living my life, not on a 24-hour plan, but on some kind of “make the most out of every day” plan. So what I do is that I spend what I can with my son, who’s 7 1/2 years old, and I’m with that guy when he wakes up I’m making him and my wife breakfast, and then he goes to school, and then after school we’re doing things together. So if he’s not playing with his friends, which he loves to do, but when he’s with his parents then we’re with him too. We’re not just watching TV or doing work while he watches, we’re actually with him, at the park, or making stuff, or writing books together, so that stuff doesn’t really cost any money. You don’t have to take him to Cirque du Solei every night and spend $300. Kids don’t care whether you’re making legos with them, or messing up the kitchen table with paint, or going for a bike ride. So if you have a limit to the amount of wealth, a billionaire already, you just choose the cheaper stuff with your kids, which is good for them, and then surprisingly it doesn’t cost $100,000 a year per kid, to raise a child.

We actually added it up and we’re around $300 per month, for the total cost of childhood stuff if the 7 1/2 year range.

J: You said $300 a month for your son?

M: Yeah, we spend $300 a month on our son-related stuff since he was born.

J: The norm is that 100 grand or something per kid.

M: Sometimes it’s $250,000, it all depends on the income. People will sign up their kids for ballet lessons 2.5 hours away, so then they’ll drive the Chevy suburban 5 hour round trip three times a week, for ballet lessons. Things like that, “I’m doing it for my kid, because she’s the most important.” They don’t realize that you can separate importance from incredibly expensive and still win in both ways.

J: Yeah, and that is the double-win. It’s the quality going up, spending going down, and when spending goes down, there’s another layer of psychology there, that we get a bonus from, that we haven’t mentioned. When you’re living within your means, WELL within your means, you feel, I mean, there’s this stress that just melts away. So not only area you spending less and your quality life is improving from these hacks that we’re doing, and lifestyle design scenarios–moving closer to work, or walking or riding a bike to work, eating healthier, which means less eating out–all of these things that are paying us dividends in other aspects of our life, on top of THAT our stress drops. Which means we lose more weight if we’re overweight, our sleep improves, we don’t snap at our kids, we’re happier parents.

M: Yeah, you get better at your job, which means you’re more likely to be promoted, and the mental energy to try new stuff. If you’re totally stressed out, you might think you can’t give up cable TV because it’s all you’ve got, but when you have the cushion you have more energy, “Hey, I’m going to try and get ride of TV and see what happens!” Suddenly that’s another change, and you have even more mental power. “You know what? I’m going to bike to work even though it’s 8 miles each way because I’m feeling pretty strong, and am not stressed about work.” These things build on each other.

J: And then you reach the penultimate of where you have a grocery trailer.

M: Yes, that’s right. Then you stop taking your car to the grocery store.

J: I’m not there yet, I would need two trailers for our Costco runs. They’re fairly substantial. It would be a good experience.

M: There’s bigger trailers for people like you. Company called BikesAtWork, I’m getting one myself, because I use my trailer for construction materials, so anyway, you can get a trailer that’s like 8′ long. You can carry appliances on it.

J: And you’re on a bike.

M: Of course.

J: You’ve piqued my interest. Mark wrote about, inspired by you, he decided to make a Costco run on foot. It’s about 2.5 miles from our house, or three miles. It’s close, which is nice, and he did it on foot and then was carrying–(laughing)–the box on his shoulder for miles. He said it was poorly planned.

M: Yeah, I believe he complained about it. “In this case MMM, isn’t too smart.” I felt like mailing him a boxing glove with a spring in it to punlch him in the face. Dude, even I don’t carry boxes home from Costco. Put it on a dolly man. There’s a difference between being financially savvy just being…just being…dumb.

J: That was dumb, for sure. It made for a good blog post I suppose.

M: Yeah, it got a comment out of me, so that was worth it.

J: We’ve talked about a lot of different things, Mustachians don’t finance cars, they don’t buy gas guzzling cars, because why would you? It doesn’t make any sense. They don’t use their car if they don’t have to. And they kind of question the norm there. They probably don’t have cable, I’m guessing..

M: We’re too busy to be watching other people broadcast stuff. We’re busy learning and stuff.

j: Learning, creating, you don’t eat out a ton, we ate out a lot on our trip and didn’t you get kind of tired of it?

M: Well, I enjoy luxury as much as anybody else, but you know eating out all the time takes more time, and it’s nice to be able to control your own food intake, because another thing of Mustachianism is that you kind of want to eat as healthy as possible, and most restaurants aren’t going to provide that for you. You need to be able to control your vegetables. You don’t want to be eating a bunch of white flour, or the cheapest oils, whatever the chef could find on sale.

J: The benefits, financial benefits, that come from eating healthier are huge. One of the biggest costs that the US has on our health system is obesity. So it naturally follows that if people were healthier, they’d be spending less fighting that fight, the sickness that they experience a lot.

Everything’s connected, and when you make an iprovement in one area like I did, you mentioned bulbs a while ago, I didn’t really believe..I’m naïve when it comes to electricity consumption..I mean I just figured out what a killowatt hour was a year ago. I looked at my bill and thought, “oh $.11 per KWh” which I guess is a pretty good rate. I got one of those meters where I could measure the usage of different appliances and someone said..an electrician came to fix something, and he said the biggest drain is bulbs. I thought for sure he would say dryers, you know, the big clothes dryer, but he said no, bulbs. You’re using 60 watts all over your house, all the time, pumping, so you switch them out– so I did with CFLs. I couldn’t believe how much my bill dropped.

It cost me a little bit to get them all, and we had like 100 bulbs in our house, which blew my mind as well. I went and counted them all and couldn’t believe how many bulbs the house has. But, we have a large house, so I bought all of the bulbs, put them in, and my bill just plummeted. It was so simple, and very satisfying. It’s paying dividends daily for me. Which is fun.

M: Yep, that’s one of things I tell people. Especially if you have a modern house, modern houses have a lot of those recessed lights, and so the builders just put those in, in a grid, you know just all over the house so you can actually add up to a huge amount. Someone in a smaller house where you’re using lamps, then your clothes dryer or AC is the biggest draw. Either one, you just look at it and if you think about–I have a 2,600 square foot house– and my electirc bill is about $20 per month. So if you’re anywhere near 10x that, or much higher, then it’s worth looking at. It makes a big difference in your savings rate.

J: The LED bulbs are looking even cooler.

M: Yeah, I’m switching CFLs, I’m upgrading those to LEDs in the important rooms of my house, because the LED gives a much nicer kind of light, more classy like boutique look to it, and then also you’re using less power. They cost more, so you don’t put them everywhere, for now you just put them where you care about the light quality.

J: And in fiveyears, they’ll be cheap and we’ll be enjoying that luxury.

M: Exactly.

J: So you live a luxurious life, you really do.

M: Yeah, it’s hard to convince people, except for the ones that know me in person, occasionally I put articles describing the stuff, but then new people come along, “Oh! $25k per year. It must be such a terrible lifestyle.” So it’s an ongoing battle, but I’d say that pretty much anybody with the right mentality could have a similar lifestyle with similar cost, and you just have to add in any unique stuff. So if you have some healthcare stuff, sure you add that on, or if you have more kids, you can add in $3-4k per year per kid if you wanted to just compare yourself to the Mustache Family. Certainly it’s not a minimal lifestyle. A lot of peoplle do much better than us. It makes the savings rate pretty easy, the high savings rate pretty easy.

J: YNABers make pretty good money. I did a survey a while ago and they make good money. They’re learning how to manage it better, and be aware, and align their spending with what they care about, and I guess the point of this podcast here is to really ask yourself what you REALLY, really care about. So when..something trite..going to a movie, you really care about the in-theatre experience, with all of the people around you? Or WHAT exactly are you going for? Are you going for the family time? At its essence, could you get that family time back at home? So asking yourself what your core motivation is for taking whatever action it is. Going out to eat, for instance, “I love the social aspect.” I love that too. That’s way more fun than the food. But having people at my home is social, and healthier, and less expensive, and all of those things. I think at the core, when we question our values, and I’m always telling people when your money aligns with your values you start to feel content, but you really need to get to the base values, adn then ask yourself, okay I’m doing these things, what do I really care about?

M: So true. There’s a great little trick you can play on yourself, because people always think, “I’m happy when my spending aligns with my values.” The trick is to convert saving into one of your values, and give it a different name. I call it freedom. Every dollar you save is actually becoming an employee that works for you for life. Because you’re going to have it invested. When you’re deciding on the $100 dinner out for the third time in the week, you think would I rather spend on this? Or would I rather buy a little bit more of my freedom. Freedom is a pretty nice sounding thing to buy, and that’s really what you’re doing. You’re not depriving yourself–your’e buying freedom. As soon as you put it that way, people get a little more excited. I’m going to put 50k into my freedom this year, instead of saying I’m going to deprive myself of $50,000 of luxury cars this year. That sounds sad.

J: Reframing is a good idea. You’re investing in your freedom. You’re purchasing your freedom.

And you stay busy? You’re still making money and I know the blog has been an unexpected success for you because it resonates with millions of people. I know you do rentals, and love construction, so retirement is not the martini-sipping hammock situation that we all think it would maybe be. That would be boring.

M: Not every day anyway. Especially if you’re doing an earlier retirement, like the younger you retire the more energy you’ll have left over and you won’t have been destroyed by a 40-year corporate career. I find that everyone that I know who retired early, ends up doing a lot of interesting stuff. Sometimes it makes money, usually it does, other people are really charitably-oriented, so they just donate all their time and surplus money, either way it’s a pretty happy existence. It’s certainly not..it’s more energetic than your working life usually.

J: That actually makes a lot of sense. You kind of wander through the cubicles and there’s not always a lot of positive energy. Some people love their jobs and I think they should keep doing what they love, but there are many many more that would love to invest more in their freedom and get there a little sooner.

M: I can’t recommend it highly enough.

J: So YNABers savings rate..a lot of us are sitting at 10-15% and were feeling really good 32 minutes ago. And now we’re not. We’ve got a little bit of a challenge but I think everyone should start with squeezing out five percent, take a month to do that, to analyze and then take another month to look for another five percent. Since I started reading your blog in…February…I think I was a latecomer, I bumped my savings rate from 15 to 35 percent.

M: That’s a huge difference.

J: I’ve got more work to do yet. It is quite fun.

M: Your biggest enemy is the mainstream media because they’re the ones telling you about this five, ten, even fifteen percent savings rate. “yeah, it’s just compounding so magically! If you just save a dollar a day for 500 years, you’ll have hundreds of millions of dollars!” We don’t have decades and decades that we want to be working. Why not just increase that, with shockingly simple math we’re told that small increases make a huge difference in your freedom coming up sooner. So ten percent is really not a useful goal, unless you’re living right on the edge, you know if you’re in a poverty situation–a single parent with multiple kids then that might be all you can do. But for anybody with the gift of a professional job, university degrees, and all of this other stuff, you’re wealthy enough to own a car, then you can do way better than ten percent. You’ll thank yourself for that.

J: So YNABers, let’s step it up. I’m right there with you all. And Mr. Money Mustache, thanks for coming on and helping us question our norms. Because that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Hopefully we can have you on again and we can keep spreading the word. It’s an awesome message. So, MrMoneyMustache.com for those that haven’t been there yet. I should warn, because we have a somewhat…um…let’s see…if you are not used to colorful language then MMM will maybe get you a little used to it. Because we didn’t have any color on the podcast, but I can’t say anything for the writing. But, that’s your style and truth flows either way. Just want to give a few of the…I don’t know what word I should use there…but a few of those that are maybe sensitive to colorful language, to be forewarned. But I love reading it. I don’t subscribe to any personal finance blogs, except yours, where I get an email whenever a new post comes up. I enjoy every one of them thoroughly. My highest endorsement for everyone to check it out.

Thanks again for coming on. It was 9AM when we started this, which means for a retiree that’s like, you know, ripping your eyelids open I would imagine!

M: I had already biked my son to school this morning, so I was wide awake.

J: So you did the exercise thing, just as you preached. Thanks so much and hopefully we’ll talk to you again. I’ll see you at Fincon and that’ll be fun. So we’ll catch you there.

M: Sounds good.

J: Talk to you later.

This post is 5,479 words, which is why I’ve made it available as a PDF download. It’s not pretty, but the links are intact. Enjoy. Click to download the full transcript. - Mark

55 Responses to “Jesse Interviews Mr. Money Mustache: The Full Transcript”

  1. JR

    Where do you go to listen to this, I’ve searched all over and just can’t seem to find it.

    Reply
    • mark

      Jesse will be publishing the podcast within the next couple of hours; you’ll find it in the iTunes store.

      Reply
      • jesse

        To be clear, THIS interview is only available transcribed. The audio wasn’t good enough to publish.

        A follow-up interview, where we hit different topics, is linked at the top of this post.

        Reply
        • Tom

          And you put this note aaaallll the way at the bottom :-(

          “This post is 5,479 words, which is why I’ve made it available as a PDF download. It’s not pretty, but the links are intact. Enjoy. Click to download the full transcript. – Mark”

          Seriously it’s a great read though! I’ve got that feeling in my stomach like when I first discovered YNAB. I’ve been justifying my Wants spending because it conforms to the template of 50-30-20 (Needs\Wants\Savings)% yet I have always been laser focused on improving my Needs spending. Do I need or want my car? Many other questions ahead of me!

          Reply
        • jlcollinsnh

          Hi Kenneth…

          Just notice a small flood of readers visiting my blog from over here.

          Thanks for the link and the kind words, and welcome to the YNAB community!

          Oh, and if you’re going to goof off in Ecuador, or most anyplace else, Jesse and Mr. MM are good to have around! You, too, I’ll bet.

          Reply
      • Tony

        Couldn’t agree more Kenneth. These guys are the ‘Holy Trinity’ of personal finance.

        Reply
  2. Carola

    I listened to the podcast the other day, but reading the transcript was refreshing (more sinking in), thank you Jesse, I discovered MMM through your interview and I have been reading his blog since. A big eye opener, I’m working on re-framing some of my beliefs, and hopefully my actions will follow.

    Reply
    • jesse

      Carola, please write me with what actions you end up taking! I’m sure MMM would love to hear about it as well.

      Reply
      • Carola

        Hi Jesse,
        Context first, I’ve been married for 17 yrs, and this is the way it works: I first need to change myself and show results and then my husband follows. So I removed all grain, sugar and dairy, got in the best shape of my life and then my husband followed. Now I’m revamping our finances with YNAB, but this MMM stuff can be pretty scary for him, so a couple of changes just in progress:

        * I want to rent in a co-op building where a friend lives, and save $400 a month. It’s a great area, great building, nice people but smaller than our current apt, we have an amazing place/location, so he’s not on-board yet.
        * I’m a reader, I don’t watch many movies but I had this Netflix $7.99 a month -just in case- because is a pretty “innocent” expense. I realized I don’t use it every month, and after listening MMM I researched and found that the Cineplex online store rents movies on Tuesday for $2.50, or regular at $4.99 cheaper than iTunes.I might buy it if I feel like it, or maybe not, but it’s not a monthly thing.
        * I stopped my magazine subscriptions, I just realized the library have them all online for free using the same service I was using zinio, and I download them to my reader if I want to keep them.
        * I went to Costco for the first time since we moved to Toronto, just to save on fish/meat, cut the bill by $40 a week for now.
        * I’m planning on buying a used bike and ride to work to stop my metropass. The co-op place is even closer to my work than our current apt, another plus.

        I’m just looking at things in such a new light. No deprivation, just clear intention, and I would have never considered moving until I listened to that podcast (even with the sound issue), well I wouldn’t have had the talk about the co-op with my friend if I hadn’t mentioned that I wanted to find a way to save on rent which is our largest expense.

        Thank you for the second interview. A lot of food for thought.

        Reply
  3. Purfectoptions47

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Jesse! And here I was feeling like I needed to figure out more ways to work harder to earn more so I could do more and have more of the things I thought were making my friends (who make more than I do) happier! I’ve been feeling cheap, when actually I’ve already been living smart! This interview helped me re-evaluate happiness in relation to my money and spending. I’m already saving $$ using YNAB, and now there are so many more MMM savings ideas I get to explore and share with my very ‘spendy’ friends! I’m a believer!!!
    :)

    Reply
  4. Micro

    I’ve been following MMM for a bit now but it just registered about his retirement date being a couple years before the financial meltdown. This just provides another argument that early retirement is attainable to everyone. If MMM and his family can navigate through what is probably a once in a generation financial meltdown in retirement. I think everyone else should be able to handle any recession that gets thrown their way.

    Reply
  5. cynewbie

    Kudos to you both — you are two people whose work has transformed my thinking — and more importantly, my behavior — radically. I made that crazy, radical leap this year to a huge savings rate (thank you MMM!) I never dreamed possible, and will never go back. And, I can do it because I can track it and tweak it and manage it (thank you YNAB!)

    Reply
  6. Kenneth

    Great interview with a rapidly rising superstar MMM. Check out his recent featured piece on forbes.com. The choice is yours, you can live your life in a fog, or live it with purpose and massively increase your savings rate through the process of constant optimization.

    Reply
  7. Jay Bee

    I found MMM before I found YNAB, and we were already doing quite well all things considered.

    I completely agree that you can increase quality of life while decreasing spending. I found that each change that we made actually made our lives much better, much more family oriented, and a lot more relaxing (less stress).

    Our goal is to save 80% of our income. We are getting close to that. It’s very exciting.

    Reply
  8. Shannon

    I have been using YNAB for about a year and have cut our cc dept from 45,000 to 29,000. I started reading MMM about 5 weeks ago and we have increased our 401k from 6% to 22% while still paying off at least $1500 a month to debt. Just last month I cut our grocery bill from $1500 to $800 and I think this month will be $500. We made the decision to increase our 401k instead of paying off the dept faster since we are in the 25% tax bracket now and the cc dept is all on 0% interest cards. We will still meet our goal of no cc dept by the end of next year. My husband has been slowly converting but he is much more of a spender than I am. Check out MMM it changed my life already. Hope to retire in 8 years I’m 50 now. The good news is I have been investing in a 401k since my early 20′s so starting with 200,000. Wish I had seen this 20 years ago but better late than never. I still can cut 9 years off my retirement goal.

    Reply
  9. Dollar Flipper

    AWESOME! I love seeing two of my financial loves in life meet. YNAB gives me much better resolution than Mint ever did, and MMM helps me decide where I need to make changes!

    Reply
  10. Bill

    I’ve been following MMM for sometime now. In the past, I have kinda thought he was a bit of a fraud. I can see more and more that this is actually how he lives. It is a bit unfathomable to me, but that doesn’t make it untrue.
    I think the thing that hit me most about this transcription is saving or not spending an extra $1000 is a huge bonus, because you are not taxed on it.

    Good interview. Thanks.

    Reply
  11. Owen Billcliffe

    I love the principles here, but opening with “just save 50% of your income!” really puts me off and makes me feel pretty depressed.

    The fact is that we are living in London UK – I have to be here for my job in TV – and our rent takes up 50% of our income in one go!

    We shave down our gas, electricity, eating out, groceries, etc etc but the off-hand way MMM says “you should save 50% every month!” really puts me off. It’s just not possible for a great deal of people. The idea that a couple on an average wage in the UK could retire after 8 years of saving is aspirational but not that realistic without basically living like paupers for those 8 years – I’m pretty sure MMM and his wife’s salaries during those 8 years were considerably more generous than most people’s!

    But like I say I really like the principles and we take them on board and work them in our own way. But it feels so unrealistic to suggest that people could save 50% of their income without serious changes to their rent or mortgage.

    Reply
    • Daniel

      I’m in a similar situation. My rent is about 50% of take home, but that is not bothering us too much. Why? Well, we don’t want to live in the city where we are at long term. Been doing a bit of math, and Living here and saving 20% of my take home ends up adding up to more than I would save (dollars wise) if I lived in the city where we want to live long term. The number I watch more closely is (expenses – rent), which allows us to calculate how much our expenses will be in our desired destination (when we add housing there).

      Reply
    • Terry

      Well, MMM didn’t say that at all. No where did he say that this will work instantly for people who demand to live in London, spend 50% of their income on rent, all because of one particular job. In fact, he said that location matters a lot, and was a major factor in his decision and his success.

      More importantly in your case, I think you should read the unedited version, and catch the examples on how small changes build into bigger changes. One’s attitude gets better (and you need help there) and it inspires you to solve the next hurdle. Stress goes down, and you start to enjoy life.

      MMM himself didn’t just one day start saving 50% and retire in 9 years. It was a process. Everyone wants everything instantly nowadays

      Reply
    • AJ

      I live in a part of London which means that our rent is 50% of our spending (luckily not of income), despite just having a flat. And I’m not in a posh part of London.

      However I know that I could live in a much cheaper part of London if I wanted to. I would have to commute longer, I would be (even) further from the centre, I would lose contact with the friends we’ve made in the local area, and the area might be a bit dodgier, but I realise it’s a CHOICE.

      I could also move to the commuter belt and pay a lot more in transport but still come out WAAAYYY in front financially. I haven’t done it because saving rate is not my ONLY priority, but I could, and so could you.

      MMM never says everybody can save 50%, but he does say that you can almost certainly save much more than you are, and he’s nearly always right! Sometimes you just need to think big. You DON’T need to live in London to work in London.

      (Sorry if I’m making any assumptions about you, which aren’t true)

      Reply
  12. M Barrett

    This isn’t the first time I’ve come across the idea of saving extreme portions of one’s income, either to retire early or to have mid-career sabbaticals, and I’m always shocked at how casually classist they always are. The underlying message is basically “if you didn’t graduate from college into at least the upper middle class, then you don’t exist”. Since YNAB itself doesn’t have this limitation, it depresses me to see it being tied to such attitudes.

    Reply
  13. JLM73

    Saving 50% of your income sounds great, but it is totally unrealistic for most people. Saving that much when you’re in your 20′s and making what was probably a pretty good income is one thing, but when you’re older and raising two kids, it is simply impossible!

    Reply
      • Bill

        if anyone should know why, you should Mark. Until recently were you not living the American (debt) dream too? I think what JLM is saying that it’s not a life that everyone can adapt too.

        MMM theory is definitely something to strive for. Some really great ideas that can be applied in everyday life.

        Some people can’t just pick up and move away, just to find a lower cost of living. some people need real jobs and real transportation to get and from them. Some people need to be near family to aid with old parents, or for child care. Again, it is a nice theory and perfect for some people, but not everyone.
        Some great take-aways from MMM.

        Reply
        • mark

          Nothing is “perfect for everyone,” is it?

          I replied “why” to the comment because it’s always worth challenging a declaration of “impossible.”

          “I can’t save 50% of my income” is a boring statement.

          “I wonder how I could save 50% of my income?” is a very interesting question. In my case, saving 50% of income might require a 50% to 75% increase in earnings – which raises more interesting “how” questions. What if I never get there? I’m much better off for the attempt.

          It’s unfortunate when people look at a guy like MMM and their first thought is “great for a very select few, but impossible for me.”

          You’re right – it’s something to strive for. Figure out your totally non-negotiable constraints (job, near family, transportation, etc), then work to maximize savings rate within those constraints. If budgeting teaches us anything, it’s that over time our non-negotiable constraints become very negotiable.

          That’s why Jesse begged everyone to keep an open mind as they listened to the interview.

          Reply
          • Terry

            I agree. It’s funny seeing people blurt out, “It’s not feasible for most people!”.

            That’s definitely true. Because most people are in the wrong mindset.

            There’s a lot of people over the years that learned the hard way to adjust to 1/2 their income, after losing their job. And people in other countries smashing computer components down to find trace elements to eke out a living.

            People are simply unwilling (right now) to give up X, Y, and Z.

            I think MMM does a good job pointing out that when you finally start by giving up just X, you find that life isn’t so bad, and sometimes surprisingly better.

            Reply
  14. Travis

    I was happy to read/hear the joint podcasts. The combination of reading MMM and using YNAB made a big, positive impact in my financial life. I almost dismissed MMM for his “extreme” views years ago myself- but I think most people will find themselves quite a bit better off even just applying one or two of the things talked about here. Any growth in ongoing savings rate is a win!

    Reply
  15. AJ

    Gives me a warm feeling to see MMM and YNAB collaborate :)

    These are two of my favourite things and, like others have said, have combined to improve my life drastically!

    Reply
  16. D.J.

    What a coincidence. Just this morning my husband said in a dreading kind of voice, “Just 19 more years of going to work.” Except that we retire from the military in just less than a year. If I could take this principle and make it work now, when our pay gets cut in half after retirement I will have learned to live on it and he won’t HAVE to find another job!

    It’s a super scary thought, though, living on half of what we live off now. We still have four kids at home, five daughters to pay for weddings, six college educations (including mine-six classes away from graduation with a BA), an international move (back to the U.S.) that although the gov’t pays for still costs us a lot of money, and a house that still has 13 years left to pay off. We were also talking to a builder about a new house, selling the one we have, that will be more efficient (ICF construction) but more costly up front. When I showed my husband the podcast he commented that he’d like to be able to buy a computer now and then, too.

    Reply
  17. Jesse

    I initially rejected MMM’s ideas as extreme, but loved his writing, so I kept reading anyway. And lo and behold…I started changing my views on things. Our savings rate has bumped out, and I probably need to do another budget review and write about what changes we’ve made, and how that’s had an effect.

    Reply
  18. Barb

    I really prefer the transcript form…I find I can stop and think about what I’ve just read, and easily re-read parts in a way that is hard to do with an audio file.

    Reply
  19. Aunt Maud

    MMM’s principles for saving money are savvy and are what enabled me to save enough to buy my first property (I’m in the UK). However, it was a long time ago, I was single, in a well paid job, no family to support and willing to share a dirt-cheap flat which really wasn’t fit for human habitation. Roll forward a few years and things are very different as I now have a family to support and the cost of living in the UK has increased.

    So on behalf of those of us in the UK, I’d like to throw the question back to MMM and ask him to do a similar exercise for the UK, to see how the figures stack up here, given that:
    - Costco isn’t available to most people.
    - Location, if you have a family, is generally dictated by schools. To get your kids into a half decent school you need to be living in the area, which will be more expensive than other areas because every other parent will also be moving into the area.
    - Rent is more expensive than mortgage payments where I live.
    - Becoming a landlord requires a 20% deposit to get a mortgage. Have you seen UK house prices?

    I think there is another principle that MMM has touched on with his lightbulbs but not spelt out, and that is cost of ownership and resale value. Whilst secondhand/lower quality is cheaper up front, it is sometimes cheaper, in the long run, to buy new and sell after use (plus a newer item will be easier to sell as it’s in better condition and will have been less likely to break/wear out).

    What do we think would be a realistic savings target and duration in the UK?

    Reply
  20. Julie

    This was so interesting. I had never heard of MMM. I am really mulling this over… It makes a TON of sense.

    Reply
  21. Ben Rose

    I understand the frustration of some of the commenters here, because I feel it myself to a certain degree. I have five kids and have to support my family on a single income. I am not an engineer, lawyer, doctor, or anything of the kind. My grocery bill is second only to my mortgage. I recognize that there are areas I could improve, like my electricity usage. I’m looking forward to replacing my light bulbs with high efficiency ones. But I’m having a hard time imagining being able to support my family on the kind of money MMM talks about. I haven’t read his blog at all, so I guess I ought to do that for a while before making any hasty judgments.

    Reply
    • mark

      Hey Ben –

      Even MMM would give you an “allowance” of $300 to $400 per month, per child. Having four more children than he has, it seems like your perfect “mustachian” budget would be between $14,000 and $19,000 more per year than his.

      Of course, he’ll be the first one to tell you that his extremely short retirement timeline hinged on his low-spending AND high income (which allowed for his high savings rate). He made both sides of the equation work in order to become financially independent. In evaluating your own approach and timeline, make sure you consider your earning power.

      Reply
  22. Fawn

    Ummm….. Poverty situation of a single parent with multiple kids? I’ll have you know we are RICH! Living a life of abundance and luxury. But you are right about the 10% savings rate. Nevermind, I wouldn’t trade a single kid for earlier retirement.

    Reply
  23. Daria

    Thank you for posting this, it’s an interesting approach and a good article. Not applicable to everyone, though.

    As MMM points out, they bought and paid off their house BEFORE retiring. I live in Australia, and all I can say – good luck to anyone who wants to do that before retiring at 30! Have you seen Australian property prices? Most 20-somethings can’t even afford to buy a shack, let alone an average suburban house… The rental market is very tight and expensive, the supply is much lower than demand.

    There are many other expenses that are much cheaper in the US. I cracked up laughing when I read about 11 cents per kWh – our power bills are $0.23 kWh and rising! Petrol /gasoline in the US is heavily subsidised (I think our prices work out to about $6-7 per gallon), which makes everything that much cheaper. Our taxes are higher, our cost of living is sky high, even on frugal level.

    MMM mentions that he lives in Colorado – have a look at this link, it compares cost of living between Denver and Brisbane, Australia (which is still cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne!) http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=Australia&city1=Denver%2C+CO&city2=Brisbane

    Australian ‘poverty line’ sits at about 57K a year for a single person, before taxes. This will pay for a decent standard of living – inexpensive housing, average car, modest holiday, expected amount of stuff, groceries, public school education for kids, public health care etc. This is NOT the absolute poverty line, just a normal, expected standard of living. Any lower than that, and you are struggling. 25K a year, especially for a family, is going to put you in ghetto-level housing and on handouts from charities.

    I like MMM’s ideas about saving, he is right in that it’s very important to set aside as much as possible, but it’s rather unfortunate that he comes off sounding so smug about it. People live in different situations, different countries even, and this cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work. Sure, if I was earning what I am in Thailand, I would be able to set aside 50-75% of my income, but it’s all relative.

    P.S. Besides, if I retired anytime soon, I’d be bored stiff. :)

    Reply
    • AnatidaeV

      Hi fellow Australian! I live in Perth with its joyous mining boom pushing the price of everything up like there’s no tomorrow. I found MMM through YNAB last week and I am hooked! I’d love a multi country comparison, as I am finding I just feel depressed when I hear american prices for things. I have a little question, though. Where did you get $57k as a poverty line? How was “single person” defined? I’ve been looking for such a number and want to know where to research further :) my partner and I live on my income of $65k before tax (51k post tax) and while we aren’t saving any, I already see room for improvement :) thank you!

      Reply
      • Daria

        Hi V,

        I use YNAB as well, it’s a good software, certainly made a difference for us in regard to budgeting etc.

        Regarding $57K – read up on Henderson Poverty Line – here http://melbourneinstitute.com/miaesr/publications/indicators/poverty-lines-australia.html or there are good summaries on Wikipedia. Obviously, there are people who earn much less (or anyone on Centerlink benefits…) According to the above link for first quarter of 2013, the cutoff for a couple with no kids is $654.45 (including housing) PER PERSON (in the workforce, it’s a bit less for non-working partners), per week, AFTER taxes. That’s about $35K post tax per person, so somewhere in the high 50s pre-tax. Last year it was calculated as $57K pre-tax, this year is still being adjusted.

        You must remember though that Henderson Poverty Line is defined as a “minimum income level, required to AVOID the situation of poverty”. It goes back to 1972, and gets adjusted every quarter annually, originally it was defined “weekly household disposable income required to meet the basic needs of the average family (two adults and two dependent children).”

        It’s very generous, it’s NOT an absolute poverty line, but what it implies is that if you are living on less than this amount, you will have to be frugal in some areas (or many). As you wrote above, you are not saving any, and you consider prices in WA to be excessivly high.

        Don’t get depressed, it’s an economist’s benchmark, but its useful. It’s very generous – it allows for repayments on new cars (whereas many people will buy a secondhand one or not have one at all), a constant allowance for clothing (although people in reality don’t shop that often), average prices for utilities etc. In some ways it’s the worst case scenario.

        P.S. American prices suck :) I wish I could support a family here on 25K!

        Reply
      • Daria

        Ok, so I worked out a rough estimate for an early age Aussie retiree, based on the information in the above link. Correct me if I am wrong :)

        Assuming a couple, no kids. Both not working, including allowance for housing – because not everyone pays off their house by the time they are 25, so they will have a mortgage. Actually, I’ll just calculate the worst case scenario.

        So it’s $654.54 per person, after taxes (I’m assuming the “working person’s wage”, not the non-working partner). Taxes for that level of income average out to about 20%, but let’s say it’s 25% just in case they haven’t paid back their HECS etc. Also, let’s not bother too much with adjustment for inflation (currently 2.5% per annum). Cost of living will go up annually, so let’s assume a nice round number of $750 per week, per person = which, incidentally, makes it $1K per week, per person, before taxes. Easy maths, and if I’m being over-generous, so be it.

        I’m also not going to get into the whole “retirees don’t need expensive clothing or new cars” issue. Because that way lays madness and anyway, how long is a piece of string? Who knows, this couple might have health issues and require expensive surgeries or maybe they live in Perth in the middle of a mining boom. ;)

        So, $2K per week for the household to live on, before taxes. $104K per annum. According to MMM above, we need to multiple that by 25, which will give us 4% interest per year, so we can put it into a trust fund or cash or gold (ie. regular secure investments, not volatile shares), and live on that without touching the capital. Currently our banks give only about 3-3.5% on savings, which barely covers inflation, but never mind.

        So, 104K * 25 = $2.6 million. Are my maths correct for now? That’s being overgenerous, but if you don’t have ANY other stream of income, that won’t hurt. You can drop it to 2 million, if you wish.

        Either way. To save that in 20 years (forget MMM’s eight!), the couple will need to set aside 130K per year, or 100K if you are just happy with 2 mil. Which means that, to set aside 50% of their salary, they will have to get paid as much as a judge. Or a politician.

        Q.E.D.

        P.S. I think I might have to retire to Thailand or Malaysia… a gal can live on 1K a month there, and the food is pretty good… :)

        Reply
        • Barb

          I think Mr. Money Mustache would say that you’re falling into the trap of believing that your fixed cost are really fixed. I live not too far from Mr. Money Mustache, and it isn’t as low cost an area as you might imagine. He’s made radical changes in his lifestyle — if those aren’t changes you want to emulate, then retirement savings are going to be a lot different for you. (And I’ve never had the impression that he advocates retiring before you’ve paid off your home.)

          I also follow a lot of the Dave Ramsey forum, and over and over again I see posters who are spending $170/month for a two-person cell plan, $140/month for cable TV, and $500 or more a month for a car payment “because I have to have a reliable car.” My 12-year-old (fully paid for) car has had precisely 0 breakdowns in the past 10 years, and our cell phones costs tremendously less, and we do just fine with minimal cable. RIght off the bat they’ve bought into the notion that $810/month is an absolute necessity for things I spend under $200/month on in total.

          Mr. Money Mustache is all about questioning your basic assumptions of what it means to lead a good life, and how much we let “normal” drive our choices.

          Reply
          • anatidaev

            Daria – Getting a itemized version of the “poverty line” would be even better, but this link is a great start. I actually feel a bit better about our income – he’s finishing uni and not working right now, but we should be able to save all of his income when he starts working – minus a little bit for some holidays we’ve been putting off! Other than that, it’s a nice little challenge to attempt to reduce our expenses now and resist spending-creep as our income *hopefully* increases.

            Barb – You’ve definitely inspired me to start my own journal in the MMM forums, as I think posting my budget/spending over there would definitely get me some facepunches to point me in the right direction. I think the biggie for us is the grocery bill at approx. 750 per month (since we started using YNAB in September). If you’re on the MMM forums feel free to comment once I’ve posted, I use the same name over there!

            Reply
            • Daria

              V, dig around, I’m sure there is itemised data out there for this poverty line stuff. If it helps, my partner and I lived for a year on his 50K (before tax) and managed without going into debt. Our rent was $400 a week (love you, Brisbane boom prices ;) ), but we didn’t have a car, he just caught a bus to work. Otherwise, you are doing fine – studying is investing in your future and usually leads to higher income down the line. :)

              Reply
          • Daria

            Sure, Barb, I completely agree with you that there are costs that are absolute necessities and others, which are ‘nice to haves’, like new cars, newest shiniest phones and other things, like you mention.

            However, I take what MMM says with a grain – or a tablespoon – of salt. Partly because he lives in a different country, with vastly different financial situation, such as very cheap (from Australian perspective) real estate, cheap gas, groceries, necessary items, even luxury items. Partly because he starts from a premise of already owning his own house – it’s easy to advocate setting aside 50% of your household income when you don’t have to pay 30-40% in accommodation costs, but the majority have to. These people will look at his blog and get depressed, because they’ll know that there is no way they can pay off their mortgage in less than 25 years, even if they try – forget saving 50% of income!

            But mainly, because his position is “save save save cash and invest in shares”. Where are his assets? His own house doesn’ count, because it’s a liability, not an asset. When the share market goes down and cash is devalued, what will he have left over? I’m an Australian, but I’ve grown up in an Eastern European country, and have seen hyper-inflation first hand. Not pretty. My mother worked three jobs just to put basic food on the table – like most people in that time and place.

            I’m glad that he was able to make a massive downsizing change in his life, and he is happy to support his family on 25K a year. I’m glad he’s happy in that situation. It takes guts and resolve to change one’s life this dramatically. But to me, who lives in a different situation, this would be a choice to live in crippling poverty – for the rest of my life!

            No thanks. I’d rather work hard, work smart, pay off our mortgage, save whatever I can, invest in more property, invest in land, and build a good multifaceted nest egg for when I’m old and ready to throw in the towel.

            Reply
            • Bill Kiele

              For all you Aussies: awesome! You do have to remap the Aussie dollar to your costs for similar things. To understand Mr MM, you DO need to read his story–his blog began in 2010-ish, where he discusses his upbringing in Canada, how his parents raised him, his wiring (remember he’s an Engineer at heart, with optimizing as natural to him as breathing, why he chose to live where he did/does, What luxuries he allows himself, his very compatible wife, his stoic philosophy, which he only recently identified it after some, and the quite long growth process over time in identifying and then putting into practice the principles distilled in his blog. He is a much more sympathetic figure as you read along, “Bad-Assing” and all. I’m 62, but I like a good challenge of finally getting my life where I want it. It’s a journey worth inspecting, and if it takes another 15 years to get it right, hey! I’d still be alive to appreciate the process!

              Pay VERY close attention to his why’s, not his what’s. It won’t get you to heaven, not that he believes in it, but it will cut down some of the “hell” on earth our decisions sometimes cause.

              Reply

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