Book review: Early Retirement Extreme

Early Retirement ExtremeFor over five years now, I've spent most of my waking hours reading and writing about money. I've learned a lot. Using this knowledge, I've been able to get out of debt, build savings, and even begin pursuing my passions. What's next? As time passes, I find myself thinking more about financial independence and early retirement.

No surprise then that over the last couple of months I've been obsessed with Jacob Lund Fisker's Early Retirement Extreme blog. And no surprise that my first book review since September is of Fisker's book, also called Early Retirement Extreme.

Early Retirement Extreme

Imagine a personal-finance book written by a theoretical physicist. What would it be like? Full of formulas and figures, right? Well, that's what you get with Early Retirement Extreme. But you get more, too.

Fisker's story and style are unique. After graduating with a PhD in theoretical physics, he worked for five years as a research associate. For that five years, he saved 75% of his net (after tax) income. Fisker reached financial independence at 30 and then, at age 33, he retired. (How does Fisker define financial independence? By the time he was 30, he'd saved the equivalent of 25 years of living expenses. That's a 25-year emergency fund.)

While many people think you need to earn big bucks to retire early, Fisker did it differently. Instead of boosting income, Fisker cut costs drastically. While drawing an average salary, he learned to live on less. Much less. He started to do things himself. (He wrote, edited, and published this book, for example.) His pre-retirement lifestyle and post-retirement lifestyle are essentially the same. Except now he doesn't have to work.

Early Retirement Extreme feels like a book written by an engineer for other engineers. This isn't a bad thing, but it is unique. Some people will love it; others will hate it.

Here's a scan from page 111 to show what I mean:

excerpt from Early Retirement Extreme

While this sort of thing isn't on every page, there's still plenty of it in the book. Because Fisker is (or was) a theoretical physicist, his book is filled with formulas and figures. If this bugs you, Early Retirement Extreme probably isn't a good choice. I found these passages amusing. Instead of letting the math intimidate me (my only college math course was behavioral statistics, and that was over twenty years ago), I glossed over it looking for the core concepts the book was trying to convey. (In the example above, “spend your time and energy on the things that will give you the biggest returns”.)

Note: Fisker notes that the book only has about twenty equations, and sixteen of them belong to one argument about investing. This is true. But Early Retirement Extreme does read like a textbook, and there's other math, even when there aren't complex calculations involved.

Fisker's technical mind manifests itself in other ways. When writing about how to save money in the kitchen, for instance, he approaches it as an optimization problem. How do you choose what food to buy? Fisker writes, “The most optimal method is to shop for ingredients, and then, based on the ingredients one has available, determine a recipe.” In other words, start with what you have (or what's on sale) and go from there. Learn to improvise. And optimally, you wouldn't have a stovetop or a refrigerator. (You would have a slow cooker and a chest freezer, though.)

But Early Retirement Extreme is more than just a personal-finance book filled with formulas and figures. It's also philosophical.

Philosophical Extreme

In many ways, Early Retirement Extreme is a book of philosophy. Fisker doesn't set out to give you a step-by-step map to wealth; instead, he tries to give you the tools to draw your own map. He wants readers to think about their choices and about the world around them. He wants to challenge their assumptions about what's financially feasible.

When I say this is a book of philosophy, I don't mean that in some vague metaphorical sense. I meant it literally. To challenge his readers' assumptions, Fisker begins the book by exploring Plato's allegory of the cave.


Plato's allegory of the cave — like The Matrix for ancient Greeks

We're like prisoners chained in a cave, Fisker says, except that we're chained to our jobs, our expensive homes, the things we own. We don't even realize there's any other way to live. But it doesn't have to be this way. “By taking the other end of the bargain, saving as much as other people are spending on wants, it's possible to retire and live on invested savings after just five years of full-time work.”

Fisker notes that there are plenty of people who will dismiss this idea as crazy:

The most frequent objection to casting off the chains is that living on something corresponding to every third paycheck, or even every fourth paycheck ($6,000 to $10,000 a year), as opposed to living paycheck to paycheck, must be a boring life. Not knowing any better, I must admit that I started my own adventure with such assumptions.

[…]

As a lifelong consumer used to spending large amounts of money to obtain food, stuff, and entertainment, it's hard to imagine how it's possible to spend practically nothing on furniture, a few dollars on clothing, very little on food, almost nothing on transport, and generally less on rent/mortgage. However, it's possible to live on a third or even a quarter of the median income, putting one solidly below the government defined poverty line, without living in austerity and eating grits.

This philosophical underpinning sets Early Retirement Extreme apart. The book (and the blog) are unlike any other financial material I've ever read. Yes, some books — including Your Money or Your Life or even my own Your Money: The Missing Manual — contain bits of philosophy, but not like this. At times, the philosophical bent is overwhelming.

Note: Think Early Retirement Extreme sounds too extreme? Check out these journals over at the ERE forums. Here's where other people are documenting their experiments with this lifestyle.

Putting Theory into Practice

The first half of Early Retirement Extreme establishes a philosophical framework with which to evaluate your relationship to money. After he sets the stage, Fisker spends the last half of the book explaining how to put this theory into practice, how to work toward extreme early retirement.

In some ways, for instance, Fisker is like the opposite of Tim Ferriss. In The 4-Hour Workweek, you'll remember, Ferriss advocated “outsourcing” as much of your life as possible in order to give yourself more time to do the things you want. Fisker thinks this is nuts.

“People spend eight hours a day for 30 years to buy electric can openers,” Fisker writes. (An electric can opener is one degree of outsourcing.) “The solution is to reverse the outsourcing of ordinary life skills and gradually insource skills that were previously acquired in the marketplace.” He urges readers to mend their own clothes, grow a garden, cook their own food, walk and bike for transportation, and so on.

Some parts of Early Retirement Extreme are brilliant. For instance, the six pages on “construction methods” (by which Fisker means using life skills to solve problems) are some of the best I've ever read about the value of doing things yourself. Fisker doesn't actually tell the readers how to do anything; instead, he provides a framework for problem solving.

And I love the section on deciding which things to own. Fisker says that the stuff you buy should:

  • Have “appropriate quality” and a low lifetime cost.
  • Be durable.
  • Be easy to dispose of.
  • Be small and lightweight.
  • Be easy to make.
  • Be easy to service.

“For commonly used items,” Fisker writes, “a higher quality tends to pay off in the long run.” After years of frugality, I finally figured this out. Yes, it hurts to pay more for a quality item. But if it lasts, it's worth it. (As Fisker notes, being willing to pay for quality is one of the differences between being frugal and cheap.)

Fisker also writes, “Only a fraction of the things we own contribute to our actual quality of life. These are the things we use on a daily basis.” Instead of owning lots of Stuff, why not focus on making sure the the things we use all the time are well made and a pleasure to use?

Note: My real millionaire next door is an example of someone who adheres closely to the lifestyle Fisker describes. Coincidence? Evidence that this works? Something else entirely?

Not Without Flaw

My chief complaint with Early Retirement Extreme is that the book could use an editor. Fisker writes well, but he tends to repeat himself at times. He uses long paragraphs. There are (minor) contradictions and typos here and there. An editor would help smooth some of these things — but an editor is anathema to Fisker's philosophy.

Also, although Fisker writes with an authoritative and persuasive voice, I'm not convinced he's always correct. (Fisker dismisses the need to cite his sources, but I think that makes the book weaker rather than stronger.)

The third chapter of Early Retirement Extreme, for instance, discusses “economic degrees of freedom” and includes a financial framework of Fisker's own creation, which divides people into four categories:

  • The salary man — A wage earner with one source of income.
  • The working man — A freelancer or consultant with variable income.
  • The businessman — A business owner.
  • The Renaissance man — A generalist who makes a little money at many different things.

I'm sure these classifications make sense to Fisker, but they don't make sense to me. I read this section several times and still the labels and differences between the groups seem arbitrary and not based on reality.

Despite my complaints — which are mostly about the book's style, not its message — I loved Early Retirement Extreme. I don't agree with everything, but I agree with much of it, and I admire the rest.

Early Retirement Extreme is about strategies, not tactics — it's about the Big Picture instead of the day-to-day actions needed to retire early. As a result, some readers will be frustrated. But if you're up to the challenge of filling in Fisker's framework with your own details, this book could be a life changer.

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Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago

What’s wrong with eating grits?

Mary H
Mary H
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

I’ve always loved grits. Even before they became trendy, served in some restaurants with seafood and stuff. Although they are inexpensive I’d never consider them a part of austerity, especially not cheese grits.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Mary H

They are trendy now? I always think of them as ultra-cheap food and keep a can in the pantry for emergencies. I love them, but too many carbs lard me up. 🙁

Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Wow! Canned grits? I had no idea there was such a thing.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Oh no no, sorry, I didn’t mean a tin can, I meant a cylindrical container made of cardboard and with a plastic lid, but it’s the cylinder shape that makes me call it a can. Sorry for the confusion.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

You can get steel-cut oats in a can though. 🙂

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

@Nicole
Yes, but those pricey imported oats ($8+ per can!) are not cheap like Great Value grits, 99 cents per 24oz container! ‘Merica runs on corn!

Hey, if I’m spending $8, I’ll pick up 2 bottles of Trader Joe’s Coastal Syrah instead– oh yes, $4 each, and yummier than oats.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Sure if you *have* a TJ’s. Waaaah.

DreamChaser57
DreamChaser57
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..grits, yummy. I love them with a touch of butter and a couple teaspoons of sugar. Now back to serious stuff like retirement!

Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago
Reply to  DreamChaser57

Have you tried real maple syrup? HEAVENLY! 🙂

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  DreamChaser57

i love them with eggs, sunny side up, and then the yolk runs through them, yesssss.

also, with olive oil, garlic, and a little parmesan cheese. mmm-mmm-mmm!

LC
LC
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Mike Holman
Mike Holman
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Ok, I give up. What are “grits”?

DreamChaser57
DreamChaser57
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike Holman

Mike – you’ve got to be joking, say it ain’t so -LOL. Seriously!?!? How cute. I wonder are grits a regional thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grits

Try some and let us know what you think

Mike Holman
Mike Holman
9 years ago
Reply to  DreamChaser57

Hmm..so maybe grits are the same as oats?

I feed my kids oats – boil with water, kind of turns into this white porridge stuff which they seem to like.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  DreamChaser57

Oh no, grits are made from corn. Specifically, from hominy, which is corn treated with lime for digestibility and increased nutrition (like corn tortillas, posole, etc.). Otherwise (for me anyway) it’s just polenta.

http://www.sallybernstein.com/food/columns/fussell/hominy.htm

[& @Betsy: apparently, according to that article, there are/were canned grits, yes!]

Good night.

Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago

Dividing people into four categories of men doesn’t make sense to me, either.

siredge
siredge
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

It seems to me that the different categories of men is like Robert Kiyosaki’s distinction between being an employee (salary man), creating a job for yourself (working man), and owning a business (business man). An employee has a single source of income that he does not control. Those who create a job for themselves have multiple sources of income (customers), but they can’t step away from the business and have it continue to function. A business has multiple sources of income, control over that income, and the income is generated even when the boss is away. The last category (Renaissance… Read more »

Debra
Debra
9 years ago
Reply to  siredge

I think “Renaissance Man” is basically odd jobs … doing whatever comes up. My neighbor in a very rural area falls into this category. In a typical week, he’ll clean out horse stalls for one person, help someone else assemble parts in a cottage industry, and water trees and flowers for a third person who’s on vacation. He never knows what he’s going to be doing one week to the next, but has developed such a low cost of living and relaxed lifestyle that he can afford to wait for the next odd job to come up. He’s not a… Read more »

Suz
Suz
9 years ago
Reply to  siredge

I think you’re missing Betsy’s wry humor.

Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago
Reply to  Suz

And all the more wry now that I’ve seen the first couple of replies.

Good to know where things really stand, I guess.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  Suz

I got it.

Obviously you’re the kind with two x chromosomes.

KAD
KAD
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Nice one!

USCROGER
USCROGER
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

I wonder if he was naming the types of men as a comparision to the Allegory of The Cave; in other words, your income level determines how you view your expenditures. If you are at the top echelon of the income pyramid (make a myriad bucks) then you could not conceive living on grits alone–you don’t have to make ends meet, for that mattter; so, why change your habits. If you are at the low echelon, you are already eating grits, what could be worst or cheaper than that; you do not save because this is the life you are… Read more »

Anne
Anne
9 years ago

How does this work with having/educating children? I can see doing this myself, or even with my husband, but with kids?

Lauren @ Pineapple Pizza
Lauren @ Pineapple Pizza
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne

I was thinking the same thing! I know there are some good examples out there of people who save a lot with kids (and of course, I can’t remember their names or book titles right now), but I don’t know that $10,000 per year is reasonable when you have children. As Penny at the Saved Quarter Demonstrates, you can live off very little, but I $10,000 seems low.

E. Murphy
E. Murphy
9 years ago

I agree entirely. It’s the same way I felt about Your Money or Your Life. There is a small group of people who want to live childless, and fine for them. But for those of us who chose families these philosophies don’t quite work. Even being married would be difficult, as two people rarely agree on where to cut to the bone.

But still there is alot of food for thought here.

Michiel
Michiel
9 years ago
Reply to  E. Murphy

I disagree. With a lovely wife and one son, we’re saving quite fine. Our main trick: ever since we started working, for each salary raise and financial benefit, 75% went to automatic saving, 25% for life style increase. Increasing fun, while ensuring our long-time goals. This made no difference when our son was born, since we were used to living on 80% of net income anyway.

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago
Reply to  E. Murphy

In response to Michiel’s comment about saving 75% of raises and increasing lifestyle with 25% of a raise, I think many folks today only get cost-of-living increases, not raises. I know that between my husband’s employment problems and the fact that I work for a nonprofit that gets 2-3% most years (and sometimes less), that doesn’t work for us. We are treading water, and I’m trying to figure out if there are ways I can squeeze another stream of income into my life, but being busy with housework and parenting outside of work hours, I haven’t figured that one out… Read more »

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Most fans of ERE are very interested in resource efficiency, peak oil and self-determination.

They mostly aren’t into the concept of having kids 😉

Jaime B
Jaime B
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne

I don’t have kids, but I love Frugal Babe’s blog and she’s been featured here on GRS before – http://frugalbabe.com/ She has two kids (just had her 2nd a couple months ago) and neither are school age yet. She does, however, often challenge the ideas about how expensive kids “have” to be. She spends on things she considers important (organic mattresses for the kids) but doesn’t buy into the “theme room, everything must match” mentality and also uses cloth diapers. She shops at secondhand shops for clothes and toys, they garden, they walk most places, etc. As far as I… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

Ooh, I don’t like the comment rating. Boooo.

Smith
Smith
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Exactly; if there’s a thumbs up option, there should be a thumbs down option.

Aaron
Aaron
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

It would be better if you put the thumbs up next to the Reply link. Takes up less space, and feels more like the Facebook “like”.

Kate
Kate
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Ack! I hate this “rate comment” option! Even if I choose not to use it, there’s glowing green thumbs going all the way down the page!

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Some of the thumbs are greyed out…

bon
bon
9 years ago
Reply to  Kate

How about a grey colored thumb unless someone has actually clicked on it, then make it green to draw attention.

And then get rid of the text “was this comment helpful”

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Are the rating thumbs related to the super slow caching thing this morning? The main article says there are 14 comments, but clicking on the comments I can sadly only see 4, sometimes 0, no matter how often I reload. That makes me sad. 🙁

Apparently if I hit reply, I can see all 14…

Mary H
Mary H
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I’m not a fan of the comment rating either.

DreamChaser57
DreamChaser57
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

+1 Cannot stand the comment rating, please never bring it back again. I love the idea of everyone’s contributions are on an level playing field….

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago
Reply to  DreamChaser57

While I appreciate this, it’s also one of the most commonly requested features here at GRS. I’m not a fan of introducing negative votes — I’ll handle problems through active moderation (or try to) — but I think people want to be able to sort through looking for comments that get a lot of “likes”. Does that makes sense? It’s a tool for people who can’t make time to read *all* of the comments.

Steve
Steve
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I would love this feature. It’s hard to keep up with 188 comments on every article.

No Debt MBA
No Debt MBA
9 years ago

I really enjoy reading the Early Retirement Extreme blog and the associated forums. It’s a nice alternate voice in the world of personal finance where “if you can afford it go ahead and spend it” and “save 10% for retirement” is pervasive. I don’t follow the methods literally, but I do enjoy the spirit of challenging yourself to save more and enjoy life more on less. I haven’t read the book, but I’m betting those categories are symbolic archetypes for discussion and not meant to fully represent reality. Reality is clearly more messy and complex than four categories, but simplifying… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  No Debt MBA

Exactly. It’s necessary to read with tact–a polite attempt to understand–before criticizing something, and I’m glad you get it. Too many people react with knee-jerk responses at things that are alien to their own narrow range of experience, and end up nitpicking on irrelevant terminology and distorting what the core ideas are about. To quote the great Themistocles, “you can hit me, but first listen to what I want to tell you.”

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  No Debt MBA

Indeed. There’s actually a further division into 8 categories in the book. It is much like personality typing psychology. Many personality typing theories work with a limited (finite) number of types, like 9 or 16. However, obviously there are more than 9 different kinds of people. People tend to be a blend of several types. It is a way of thinking or a starting point for discussion. The way I split it was Salary man: Simple financial/economical organization, Tightly coupled finances (money comes from a single job and is spent immediately on stuff) Working man: Simple organization, Loose coupling (money… Read more »

Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago

Is there a way to tell which kind of man I am?

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy
My apologies, but I’m sort of traditional when it comes to writing which means that I’ll never ever substitute huwoman or huperson for human. It just doesn’t roll of the tongue the same way.
Catherine
Catherine
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Oh, please, ERE. Substitute person for man. How hard is that!

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Jacob, I’m siding with the women on this one. I’ve been writing for a long time now, and though I still have occasional sexist lapses (hey, I blame my culture!), I’ve found that’s its pretty darn easy to express myself in a gender-neutral fashion. If you don’t like “person” or using plural pronouns, it’s easy enough to alternate genders, using “she” in some cases and “he” in others. Try it! I think you’ll like it…

Susan D.
Susan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

I’m with Jacob on this one, and the last time I checked, I was a woman. Over-concern with gender-exclusivity makes communication unnecessarily awkward. We all know that “man” is a generic term for both sexes, and it’s much more pleasing to the ear than is “person.”

DreamChaser57
DreamChaser57
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Agree w/ Susan D. I’m not offended at all by the exclusive use of male pronouns or female pronouns for that matter….

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

I agree with J.D. here. Even when subtle, language can be dangerous.

Though with the break-down in this case, I’m perfectly happy to have it just be men in these arbitrary roles.

Betsy
Betsy
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Okay, okay, we’ll use your pronoun!
I still want to know which kind of man I am.

For that matter, which kind of man is your wife?

CEE
CEE
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Oh my God, people!

WOMAN = WO MAN = MAN with WOMB

Relax!

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Betsy

Jacob, when making normative arguments, you really have to cite your sources. What surprises me is that scientists don’t use “man” as a generic term for “human.” I do academic editing on the side of research, and almost all major journals disallow this usage of “man.” That said, I’m sure there are some who submit their favorite vernacular to arXiv.

Professional norms aside, it’s completely messed up to use the masculine form as a default. Here, “person” would have been ridiculously easy. When the choice is between “he” and “she,” I usually alternate.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

I’m curious — what kind of assumptions does this book make? I’ve only read a little of his blog, but it seems like you’d have to be in very good health and live in a certain kind of climate to pull off such extreme living.

His lifestyle intrigues me though. I may have to investigate 🙂

Matthew
Matthew
9 years ago

Like all extreme theories, there are nuggets to extract from this about efficiency and living simply. However, not due to greed, but how we enjoy life, most people would not be able to live this lifestyle. I can’t imagine this retirement involves any travel. Children throw in another wrench. Finally, I can’t imagine the author of the book got married during this time, so what happens if he meets someone and wants to get married. Does he tell the girl of his dreams that he is retired at 33 and will only be contributing $10k a year to the family… Read more »

Jen
Jen
9 years ago
Reply to  Matthew

His wife does it too. Not all women want to shop til they drop!

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  Jen

Jen

While that may be true, your comment about his OH isn’t. Was reading the blog today and she isn’t FI, so hasn’t followed his example.

Mike Holman
Mike Holman
9 years ago
Reply to  Luke

His wife is still working.

I don’t quite understand the idea of being financially independent or retired if your spouse isn’t.

Not talking specifically about Jacob, but I’ve read about a number of early retirees who have working spouses. Assuming they share some resources (housing), there is obviously some benefit flowing from the working spouse to the retired spouse.

I’m very confident that Jacob could easily get by if he was single, but I’m not sure if that is always the case with other early retirees.

Des
Des
9 years ago
Reply to  Luke

They keep separate finances, and split the bills. I think that still fits with his philosophy, and their living situation was a compromise (he wanted to live even cheaper than they do). Presumably, he would have a roommate (or, more likely, several) if he were living single.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

I have been very intrigued by Jacob’s methods for some time now, and I have to say they are highly appealing from the monetary point of view. My wife and I are trying to make a living from our art, without having to hold jobs (though not without giving up profit and entrepreneurship), so we’re not in the position to save 75%, but we certainly welcome finding new ways to remove the financial pressure from our lives. While there are areas where it’s very hard for me to embrace Jacob’s methods (e.g. the food and cooking system scare me a… Read more »

CEE
CEE
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Well said, Nerdo. I’ve been reading his blog for a while now and have even commented a few times. I’m reminded that it’s not just “Early Retirement” but “ERE” = “Early Retirement Extreme”. That presupposes “extreme” choices or methods allowing not only for an exit from the cave, but an early exit from it. I also find that much of what ERE translates to is not compatible with my preferred lifestyle. However, the FI (Financial Independence) side of the equation is very appealing. I read the blog gleaning the suggestions that help me to better achieve this goal. I’ve been… Read more »

Luke
Luke
9 years ago

I love the ERE blog and forums and think Matthew has struck the nail on the head with his comment. As with everything you find on the internet, you should take the bits that work for you and ignore the bits that you don’t think adds anything to your experience. For example – I enjoy the philosophy of self-reliance and acquiring skills espoused on the blog, Jacob comes across well (if a bit too focused at times) and there are some very good discussions about the concept. As well as that, he provides some concrete examples (including the one mentioned… Read more »

Laura in Cancun
Laura in Cancun
9 years ago
Reply to  Luke

Agreed. I read through his blog a few months ago. In general I didn’t like the concept for myself because I plan on traveling and having kids someday, plus I enjoy spending some money on outings with friends.

At the same time, there were tons of great lessons in there about how to be happy with less, and saving a higher percentage of income. Definitely learned some lessons there 🙂

aproustian
aproustian
9 years ago

I assume he cited his sources when publishing his research, why wouldn’t he in his book? How would you be able to follow up and read more about those ideas from other perspectives? How annoying.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  aproustian

As JD said, this is a pf book like nothing he’s ever read before. Who would I cite? As mentioned in the preface on why I don’t cite sources (there is a large bibliography in the end which you can also find in a blog post on my site), most of the book are conclusions I’ve reached independently. Sometimes I found that others had said the same before, but then in many cases, I found that the ideas were dated even earlier. For example, “Life Energy” is often attributed to Your Money Or Your Life. However, if you read Walden,… Read more »

aproustian
aproustian
9 years ago

Thanks for the reply and rationale. I’m not convinced that it’s the best way to go, but at least I don’t see it as a reason not to read the book. I’ll have to check out the site.

Smith
Smith
9 years ago

In a different world, you wouldn’t need to explain. If your work is dependent on others, you cite your sources. If your work is independent (which it is), you don’t need ANY sources.

This is the trouble with academics today: their obsession with citations, and they wonder why none of their research is original and only derivative. I think Dr. Richard Feynman said something along this as well, but we can be glad that some people – like the Sir Isaac Newtons of the world – care more about their own conclusions than others.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Smith

“…and they wonder why none of their research is original and only derivative.”

What?! I’ve been a theoretical branch of science my whole life, and I’ve never heard this.

If you believe in scientific progress, then fields have only finite potential for these big paradigm shifts–if shifts of the same magnitude kept happening, it would probably mean we weren’t getting anywhere.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Smith

Actually Feynman (generally rated second only to Einstein for 20th century physicists) said that the best way to come up with original ideas was to NOT read literature and come up with your own ideas. I think his track record speaks for itself. Most science today is incremental with small improvements of existing things. The grant system ensures this since it is extremely hard to get proposals for original research funded. Funding is directed towards projects with a high probability of success which typically means projects that has already been done in some variation of the proposal. One problem with… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

Yes, but Jacob there are times you make assertions that seem pulled from thin air. I’d like more rationale or else some sort of citation as to where you came up with the info. I don’t have any examples right now (your book is up at the office and I’m at home), but there were some spots early on that really bugged me.

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

With all due respect J.D., the need for ‘proof’/citations sometimes smacks of people needing to walk the ‘tried and tested’ path/needing confirmation bias before trying something out. ERE is very much about forging a highly individualistic life and I agree with some of the earlier posters – citations are meaningless when you’re trying something new. Still, Jacob could use a few more of the ‘I did X…. I now hold Y shares’ type posts, as it sometimes seems a bit like he glosses over these. I know he purposefully avoids these, guess he doesn’t want to become another PF guru… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

@Luke – Jacob believes in Peak Oil. So in the future there wouldn’t be any electricity to power the computers people would use to cite him. So he should have nothing to fear.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

A major pitfall for investment style posts is that I may have a post saying “I just bought 50sh of EXC” (which I actually did some weeks ago). However, if people followed this without thinking about it (and I can assure you some would) then we’ll reach a point in the future, where someone will ask me about those Exelon shares and whether they’re still a good choice to which my response may be “I sold those last year”. One of the reasons so many pf bloggers suggest dollar cost averaging into index funds is because it’s an excellent CYA… Read more »

Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
9 years ago

I have degrees in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, and I have no desire to make personal finance as boring as those things were. I’m sure there’s great content in the book, but I could never bring myself to read it.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

I really didn’t find the book boring. There are some passages like the one I scanned, but most of it is thought-provoking and interesting.

Actually, if you go browse Jacob’s site, you’ll get a good feel for what the book is like, I think.

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

I know “Money is more about mind than math” and all, but how can you do personal finance without any numbers and calculations at all?

Charlotte
Charlotte
9 years ago

I am an Engineer so this sounds like a good book for me…lol

We are thinking along the lines of semi-retirement but maybe this book will help us reach it earlier. We need to challenge ourselves to save more and reduce consumerism.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

I don’t really understand his logic there…I guess with investing and good returns perhaps it would work…but a 25 year emergency fund from age 33 = age 58. What happens when he turns 58 and runs out of money? Or with investing maybe he turns 70 and runs out of money, who knows? He isn’t going to be able to find productive work when he is that old, is he? He won’t be on the new advances in his field. Is this assuming that his 25-year emergency fund will actually last much longer?

Des
Des
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

At the standard 4% withdrawal rate, 25 years of funds should last indefinitely. (If your money is earning 7% in the stock market and inflation is 3%, you can withdraw 4% and still come out ahead, or only touch very little of the principal.)

Steve
Steve
9 years ago
Reply to  Des

That’s a common misconception. The original safe withdrawal rate study was only for a 30 year period.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

… which is why the book recommends a 3% withdrawal rate. That rate is safe for infinite or as long as you live anyway as long as the world doesn’t endure a commercial collapse similar to what happened during the Dark Ages.

jammer(six)
jammer(six)
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes, but he’s also continuing to earn money from various gigs, like his book, his blog, etc. I believe that the original “Trinity” study modeled portfolio behavior with no further inputs. If you make money along the way, then you don’t need to withdraw 4% to get by.

Steve
Steve
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

How did you come up with 3%? Did you do a Monte Carlo simulation? Follow the methodology of the original Trinity study? Do a backtest?

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Monte Carlo for the US markets. Also read A History of Interest Rates. It’s riveting reading describing financial return rates and instruments dating back to Babylonian times. For instance, did you know that the ancient Romans paid 5.5% on their mortgages? This leads me to believe that 3% (real return) will work even outside the limited range of 150 years of US stock returns, if, say the future will look radically different than the past. So even if the stock market doesn’t exist 40 years from now (how many 401k savers have thought about this … I know I have),… Read more »

derek
derek
7 years ago
Reply to  Steve

3% is more than possible. I did a study of the UKs FTSE vs GDP. using the FT30 to go back pre 1984 and FTSE100 post 84. The FTSE varied by about 2:1 vs GDP x a constant over about 100 years despite the horrific inflation we’ve encountered (far more than the US)

Basically if you buy the market you’re buying something of fixed intrinsic worth.

It then pays dividends, and 3% is quite realistic for a decent sized portfolio.

Robert Muir
Robert Muir
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Elizabeth, the whole point of achieving what Jacob calls “Renaissance Man” status is to ensure a great number of self-employable skills. Anyone who could do what Jacob has done, will have fantastic worth ethics. Any employer would love to have someone with this “get things done” attitude to work on a project for them. Jacob still works. His primary “job” is as a capitalist. That is, making his capital work for him. Since he quit is “job”, the return from his capital investments has exceeded is expenses. So currently, the 25 years is getting longer every year. Also, while he… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

Hey, all. The thumbs were a surprise to me, too. Sometimes the technical elves are sneaky. 🙂

Actually, I like the idea of the thumbs, but I agree that: the green could be a less obtrusive color, they’d look better next to the reply link, they don’t need the “was this helpful?” text, and there’s something goofy where some of the thumbs are greyed out and I can’t click them.

We’re gradually trying to make the comments more useful for folks. As you’ve noticed it’s a slow process, but I think the improvements are good. We’ll get it right!

bon
bon
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Definitely the right direction JD – just need the kinks worked out!

Joe
Joe
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I see the elves also changed the greenness threshold of newer comments, the ones up in the 200s were getting painfully bright green last week. Aside: When you said new comments would be greener I guess I thought it would be related to the last time that I looked at the page, so all of the comments that came in since I last refreshed the page would stand out. Not that I think it would be better, just what I thought it meant. About the book review: As an engineer, I agree that the book was written for other engineers,… Read more »

Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

JD, for some reason the site keeps yelling at me today to “enter a valid zip code”. I’ve never had that pop up at me before, so I assume it’s somehow tied to the other work going on behind the scenes. I’m running Safari on a Mac.

Lo-Wa
Lo-Wa
9 years ago
Reply to  Nancy L.

I just wanted to quickly second Nancy L.’s remark: I am also on a Mac, using Safari , and getting the zip code message. Just thought you should know that she’s not the only one. Thanks, J.D., for introducing me to Early Retirement Extreme. I am in my 40’s and self-employed. I love my job and have no burning desire to retire any time soon, but when I checked out the ERE site, I was pleased to see that a lot of the tips and methods described there could be useful to anyone who is willing to put forth the… Read more »

Daryl
Daryl
9 years ago

I read the first half of the book but didn’t finish it because it was recalled by the library. I did like some of what I read, but I agree with a lot of the comments that it’s not for everyone. I like more of the stuff I see on the blog better than what I read in the book. That being said, I would like to finish the book. I will say though my biggest criticism of the book is the tone sometimes sounded like a slightly bitter academic (I work at a university), which was a bit off-putting.… Read more »

Justin
Justin
9 years ago

Does Fisker have a family or does the book address if this level of austerity is tenable with children? Obviously people raise families on little money, but that is different than being poor and having means but choosing not to spend (could make for some crabby kids if they can’t do things like sports, band, etc….)

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Justin
The book does address spouses and children.

Personally, we don’t have children and we don’t plan to. We do have a dog. If you look at the journals linked above, there should be examples of people making it work with children.

Anyone remember Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette? She had 6 children.

Random Anonymous
Random Anonymous
9 years ago

I think the Dacyczyn family included a career Navy spouse. If I remember correctly, their financial independence was not achived in 5 years but rather near the end of a 20 year career in the military.

Adam P
Adam P
9 years ago

In the Toronto Star Moneyville section yesterday there was a similar post about a couple who worked 90 to 100 hours a week (each) in 3 or 4 jobs for 5 years to get rid of student debt and pay off a $300,000 mortgage (while living on 10 or 20% of their net pay). They mention sleeping 2 or 3 hours a day only. I’d link the article but I don’t want to end up in moderation. I don’t get the joy of “extreme” anything in practical terms. Is this interesting stuff to read about? Okay, sure. But to put… Read more »

Mike Holman
Mike Holman
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam P

I’ll be brave and link to the article:

http://www.moneyville.ca/article/991896–how-we-paid-off-our-house-in-three-years?bn=1

I agree with Adam – I can see slumming it for a little while to get rid of the student loans, but going crazy for five years just to pay off a house (and loans)?

That’s too difficult and what’s the point? It’s not like your life completely changes once you pay off all your debts.

fetu
fetu
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike Holman

There are married couples that come from New Zealand on contract to drive long range trucks in the USA for a year or two. They live in the truck cab, see the country, and go home with enough money to pay cash for a house in NZ dollars.

Steve
Steve
9 years ago
Reply to  Adam P

The 2-3 hours of sleep “wasn’t unusual” but wasn’t every day either. I don’t think a human could actually survive on that little sleep for 5 years straight.

Tina B
Tina B
9 years ago
The thing I like most about ERE is the way it encourages you to think outside the box. Most people will continue to some form of work but my goal is to be able to pick and chose what I do.

J.D.’s note: This is what I like about this book (and other extreme measures) too. It helps me redefine what’s possible.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  Tina B

I agree! I can see myself staying employed in one form or another for a very, very long time. However, my goal is to not have to work at all. It’s interesting that more and more studies are showing that people want to stay in the workforce longer because they want to stay active and engaged. One study out of the McGill University in Canada found that even people who had the financial freedom to retire at 58 or 60 wanted to continue to work longer, work as a consultant or start their own business. (These were execs and managers… Read more »

retirebyforty
retirebyforty
9 years ago

It’s too hard to do ERE for most people. We like to be comfortable. It’s too much deprivation for me. We live pretty simply, but like the title, his lifestyle is too extreme for me.
I think Jacob is married, but has no kid. Kids shouldn’t cost that much. The number thrown around is way overblown. But 10k/year is definitely not enough to live on with kids.

Jacq
Jacq
9 years ago
Reply to  retirebyforty

Retirebyforty, I think for those of us that want to do what we want to do without having to get paid for it, it’s “too hard” to work for 40 years. That’s “too much deprivation” (of life). So if you ‘retire by forty’ chances are you’ve done the same thing as Jacob, only scaled for the lifestyle you want – which might look too hard and like too much deprivation to someone else. I followed much the same m.o. as Jacob in the same time frame, but with a higher income so that my income now can be higher. I… Read more »

Angela
Angela
9 years ago
Reply to  retirebyforty

“Kids shouldn’t cost that much”? Actually, they cost A LOT- even if you only let them eat homegrown tomatoes and read books from the library.

Jan
Jan
9 years ago

One meal made in one pot at the beginning of the week, in a RV with few possessions, in a great climate and then enjoy all of the “free” public things available to the US citizens sounds good. Sort of the “hobo” American dream. He probably pays little to no taxes. He does have a great US graduate education. (Notre Dame—who paid for that?) He hob nobs with people who own boats. They get a person who can jib a rig- he gets to play like it is his boat. Bike fixing is a hobby- so the gas prices don’t… Read more »

getagrip
getagrip
9 years ago

Like others I’m not seeing this as something easily done with a family? I found that when I lived alone and when married before kids, I, then we, could make choices and save easily. Once children entered the picture it became harder to do. I’m not saying impossible, just that your choices have additional consequences. Also, as already mentioned, a 25 year emergency fund could help you for 25 years, but if you’re planning on living until 90, you’re still needing to pull in income of some sort until you’re in your sixties and this isn’t complete independance unless it’s… Read more »

siredge
siredge
9 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

if you have 25 years worth of expenses put away, using the rule of 72, you only have to earn 3% to generate 1 years worth of expenses. Even if you add in inflation at 2% or 3% annually, it’s not hard to stay in front of. Besides, I don’t think retirement means the same thing to all people. When I hear about people retiring before 50, I figure those people have the option to quit at any time and still have their expenses covered, not that they have removed themselves permanently from the workforce. Great point on healthcare- that… Read more »

Luke
Luke
9 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

This is addressed on the blog. Basically he has a lot of investments (shares) and has a withdrawal rate of 3% a year.

The theory behind this being (as I understand it) that capital appreciation should more than make up for the 3% withdrawn each year.

The 3% is spent on his (tiny) expenses. So his funds never run out as such (assuming it works!)

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  getagrip
My withdrawal rate (expenses/invested assets) is actually 2.2%. I overshot my savings for my needs and thus my investments are generating more money than I can spend. This means that I’m still saving money. It also means that I’ll eventually be a millionaire with no further effort on my part. Maybe I’ll be in the 2025 edition of the Millionaire Next Door book 😀

(And yes, I did look into what health insurance would cost when I get old although projecting government regulations 50 years into the future is somewhat uncertain).

Annemarie
Annemarie
9 years ago

Back when Your Money or Your Life first became popular, people said the exact same thing: not possible with kids. A few families proved otherwise, but it did take more time and it helped if your income was large to start with, so you could save more and faster. And it helped if everyone stayed well.

That’s always been my issue with the ERE philosophy: health care. Even if you pay into your HDHP faithfully (or your traditional plan) you can find yourself shelling out a lot of your principal if something goes horribly wrong.

chris
chris
9 years ago
Reply to  Annemarie

I really enjoy ERE although I am not the “right” Meyer-Brigg’s profile. There was a discussion about the health insurance issue not long ago. Jacob said something about the system is broken and not sustainable and he trusts that is will be fixed before he get old and needs much health care. If I recall correctly his wife/partner does work and they have employer sponsored health insurance through her employer. Anyway since I am ten years older and have two minor children the health care thing is currently keeping my family from attempting any ERE type of life. For my… Read more »

Nancy L.
Nancy L.
9 years ago

I’m curious what he does for health insurance. Living off of $10K a year when one has a job that is providing healthcare (and potentially disability insurance)–and when you are dropping 75% of your pay into savings–is a far different beast than living off of $10K a year with no healthcare (and no steady source of income). A single major medical issue could easily destroy the entire retirement fund. My uncle basically lived this lifestyle, minus the extreme frugality (he didn’t care if we tossed paper towels, for example) and the environmental bent. He worked hard in his twenties and… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
9 years ago

My future hubby and I lived on around 16K a year for 5 years while I was getting my PhD. So it is possible to live on less than 10K a year (16/2=8K). I didn’t feel deprived (too busy doing stuff!) Now that I have a kids and house, don’t live quite that way anymore. Children create a structure and routine in one’s life. However I should say early retirement with kids IS possible. A couple we know have done it, with a combination of an inheritance and extreme frugality. Even if they had not had the inheritance due to… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

I still don’t understand why people want so badly to retire early. Especially if it means that they’re going to have to take up a bunch of different types of work (i.e., sewing clothes and farming) instead of something they’re already good at.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

I gotta say, I like my job a lot more than I like to clean, or really more than I like to do most pastoral kinds of occupations other than cooking. Yay for comparative advantage.

That is one thing I like about YMoYL… it allows you to enjoy your job! It’s not anti-job, just pro-you making those employment decisions without worrying about how to pay the bills.

Ely
Ely
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Yes I agree! I LIKE my job. And it would be challenging to provide myself with all the benefits I get for working: insurance, tuition reimbursement, that sort of thing.

Brenton
Brenton
9 years ago

Well, you have to be retired if you plan on spending every day making soap and mending clothes. Personally, Id rather spend 8 hours a day working a traditional job, and then have someone else make my clothes and soap. Especially when I end up with more money at the end of the year. Early retirement sounds great, but I picture early retirement as being able to do what you want. This early retirement consists entirely of staying home, eating gruel, and being uncomfortable(cold in winter, hot in summer). Specialization has greatly benefited human society. No need to disparage the… Read more »

Coley
Coley
9 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

Oh, I so badly wanted to make this point, and (not surpisingly) Tyler beat me to it.

This argument jumped into my head when I read the little point about in-sourcing everything.

This guy’s not retired–he just thinks he is. Retired means you don’t have to work; any work you do is optional and not required for your continued subsistence.

Gardening? Mending clothes? Making soap. Retired my eye! This guy’s about as retired as “Pa” Ingalls in “Little House.”

Bella
Bella
9 years ago
Reply to  Coley

as retired as Pa Ingalls – YES! I love it!
I’m all for a frugal lifestyle – but I won’t be gardening any time soon. I make enough money to pay someone to grow my food for me, just like cleaning my toilets (although hopefully not the same people!).
Although I do think that what’s important when reviewing any extreme lifestyle choice is not how ‘the whole package doesn’t work for me’ but ‘what parts of this can I adapt to improve my lifestyle’

Nate
Nate
9 years ago
Reply to  Coley

If you can’t afford to eat out every day, does that mean you aren’t retired? What if you can’t afford a driver to take you to the restaurant? Cooking your own food or driving yourself to a restaurant could be considered “work” in the sense that you aren’t doing nothing. Taking two sides, mending your own clothes vs working a job to buy new clothes, you should analyze all of the implications. If you work to buy clothes, what if you get fired? Will you still be able to buy them? If you mend your own clothes, can this ever… Read more »

Kevin M
Kevin M
9 years ago
Reply to  Coley

By your definition (no work at all) no one is retired I guess? My (retired) neighbor still cuts his own grass, I guess he’s not retired then? Clearly everyone’s definition of retirement is different, it’s more about having the option to work, not work being a necessity.

Catherine
Catherine
9 years ago

I can’t imagine wanting to retire, even if I could. Why? I love my job and I love my part time writing gigs. Rather than complain about my work, I am thankful that my facility with numbers has allowed me the resources to turn my passions into money generating ventures. The time saving things in my life give me more time to pursue my passions to the point that they are profitable. Finally, I find collaborating with others expanses my horizons and allows my work to be shared with a greater number of people.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

I read “retirement” more as a code word for “financial independence” than “quitting work.” Most people are of the mind that financial freedom is achieved only after a lifetime of compulsory employment, so the term retirement is appealing to the public at large, though not determinant of what one may do with said freedom.

I love my work, and the prospect of a life without it seems absurd, but I would love to have financial independence to pursue the projects that interest me most without concerns about month-to-month profitability.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo
I think we all love our work, but maybe sometimes we don’t really love our jobs.

I love my work as a writer, investor, gardener, woodworker, and sailor. However, since I’m financially independent, I don’t need to turn any of them into a job anymore. I don’t have to worry about whether they are profitable or not. I don’t have to worry about whether I have enough time to do my job.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

Wouldn’t you like working as a physicist though? Because that’s what some people would argue here– that if you have the highly specialized training to be a physicist, and if you can be better at it than most people, it is potentially less satisfying be a woodworker/gardener/handyman instead.

Or let me put it another way– can your system work even if you choose to keep your original career? Because I really like what I do, minus the constant pressure to earn or die.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago

Certainly. If I had kept working, I would have been a millionaire (next door) at age 38. I just felt that 15 years in physics (long education + five years of work) was enough for me. I wanted to “pursue other interests”. It’s similar to being an athlete. You will probably like your sport all your life, but you probably wouldn’t want to compete professionally all your life. There’s more to life than working on one single thing your whole life. At least that’s what I think. The ERE method (which is really nothing more than an organized way of… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago

Yeah, I myself don’t enjoy overspecialization, and life has different stages, but that’s an argument that some commenters are making here– why retire, I love my work, etc. The perception is not that you’re advocating a short path to financial independence, but rather a “dropping out” of some sort. I don’t read it that way, but wanted to hear your answer to those criticisms.

As for my early 30s– too late for that though 😀

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago

The problem is that the “old world” terminology doesn’t really fit the “new world”. You could also say, as some do, that I changed my career to writer. It used to be that people would work the same career for 40 years and then when they were no longer productive and capable of work, they would be retired, and live off the money they had saved. None of this fits me very well, but it’s not like there are any new good words to use. Financial independence is a good technical term but not everybody agrees that this means having… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
9 years ago

Come on, ERE. As a writer you know that words have meanings and you chose to call what you are doing “retirement” rather than “switching careers” or “financial independence” for a reason — early retirement extreme has a better marketing hook than early switching careers extreme or early financial independence extreme. You switched careers in your early thirties; guess what, me, too? And several times thereafter. For the Baby Boom Generation, at least with me and many of my friends, that is the norm rather than the exception. I applaud your philosophies and your actions, but I find your rationalizations… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago

Yes, but semi-retirement has also come to have a distinct meaning in personal finance, namely that you need some work income to pay your expenses, because your savings are not quite high enough to be 100% financially independent. It is all very confusing and I have to account for that. I called it early retirement because that’s what most people say when they’ve saved enough money to never need to work again and do so before 65 or whatever the traditional retirement age is. As mentioned, many people can not give you a straight definition of what financial independence means.… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I know a lot of phd physicists who are no longer doing physics (many of them go into economics or finance). I don’t think the job market is actually that great. But they’re not retired.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

No, because they didn’t save enough to live on their savings and investments, so they still have to work for a living. Unlike me…

SuperT
SuperT
9 years ago

… The salary man, The working man, The businessman, The Renaissance man.

This guy might as well endorse The Welfare man.

The Welfare man mastered minimalism and frugality decades before it was cool to write books and blogs about it.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  SuperT

I think you should call it the Straw Man– which is the kind of argument you’re trying to make.

SuperT
SuperT
9 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Not trying to argue, just trying to poke a little fun. I see that’s not tolerated. I wont post anymore on GRS. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks!

CEE
CEE
9 years ago
Reply to  SuperT

.
Ahhh, Nerdo hurt your wittle feewings.

Try being a blogger. These guys do an admirable job of taking criticism and jabs while maintaining their composure. I’m impressed.

Maybe when you stop feeling sorry for yourself and grow up a little, you be able to enjoy blogsphere a little more.

Michael
Michael
9 years ago

One thought this prompted in me, but is not directly relevant to the article, is that to stop yourself from buying more ‘stuff’ it would be interesting to know the value of that money you’re about to spend. Let’s say I’m 30 (i wish) and am planning on retiring at 60 (still possible), and my wife and I are considering buying a new kitchen appliance for $200. If we, at the touch of a button (or a few), that $200 in 30 years would be worth $xxx then that would be one more argument not to spend the money and… Read more »

skeptic
skeptic
9 years ago

someone on amazon made the argument that his recommendation is to live a life “one step up from camping” or similar.

It does raise the issue: what is wasteful consumerism, and what is a genuine quality of life enhancement that is worth working for?

Very, very intriguing ideas; I enjoyed the review.

Nami
Nami
9 years ago

To me, having kids made me finally get focused on saving money. If you buy toys & clothes from garage sale/thrift store, find cheap classes at local community center and borrow books/dvds from the library, kids don’t cost that much. We are paying almost triple payments of mortgage (planning to pay off in 2 years), saving aggressively for 529 college and retirement. We are doing so much better now that we are focused after having kids. It’s about mindset. I understand we have to be more responsible, though. We have life insurances on both of us. Jacob is so inspirational.… Read more »

hardworking single ma
hardworking single ma
9 years ago
Reply to  Nami

Kids DO cost a lot if you factor in child care / after school care. No way to get around it for single parents with no relatives nearby…

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

If you presuppose a) kids b) single parent and c) no relatives nearby, then yes, perhaps. However all three of those are choices (though granted, the choices may have been made in the past and thus the die already cast.)

Katie
Katie
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Really, Steve? I mean, “choice” in the sense that you probably made some point to have kids. But nobody has total control over whether a partner will die or leave them, or whether relatives will die or be willing to help them out.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
For answers to questions about what I do for health insurance, how to retire with children, and other frequently asked questions, please see
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/frequently-asked-questions.html
Peggy
Peggy
9 years ago

Thanks for this review. As a physicist mom who self-published a book on having a baby cheaply, it was VERY amusing for me to learn about another physicist writing about personal finance.

Kevin M
Kevin M
9 years ago

I’m really glad you reviewed this JD – I’ve been reading Jacob’s blog for years now and it has literally changed how I think about spending money.

As you said, the real value in the book is the high-level strategy, or systems thinking. I haven’t read the comments yet, but I hope people give the book a read, there are ideas that everybody can use, regardless of the level of extremeness he/she wants to go to.

Nate
Nate
9 years ago

I discovered ERE late last year and it changed my life. For everyone who is skeptical of the Extreme approach, ask yourself this question: how much do you really enjoy compulsory employment? I understand people who enjoy their jobs. I enjoy mine a lot too (most of the time). What I don’t enjoy, is being locked into having a job because of my mortgage, my car payment, and all of the bills which i previously viewed as “needs.” As an example, let’s take cable TV. At $100/month it costs $1200 a year. How much capital would you need to make… Read more »

Laura in Atlanta
Laura in Atlanta
9 years ago

Thanks for this review!

I am very inspired by Jacob’s blog and his life. I don’t think I could live my life to the extreme he does, but it does make you think!

He seems very, very happy and content with his life and prospects for his future. A lot of people can’t say that. More power to him!

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

I just got back from the gym, and went back to highlight Jacob’s comments. Also, as many of the recent commenters have mentioned, a lot of the value in Jacob’s book and blog comes from the inspiration he provides. You may not want to do exactly what he’s done, but I’m certain that reading what he has to say can help you find new ways to improve your own financial life. An example: Though it got edited from my review, another example of Jacob’s engineering scientific bent comes when he breaks down the average cost for a variety of modes… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

The final mode of transportation was running. To get the times, I simply took the average of how long it takes me to go to the dojo I train in using the various methods(*). (I don’t have any short cuts, it’s all the same route). The point was that everybody should do this calculation for where they go. Hence, no documentation necessary 😉

(*) I usually use my bike but sometimes I run.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I’m happy to see the correction here–theoretical physics and engineering are very different fields!

Coley
Coley
9 years ago

The other point I might make to this group, which is generally a conscious, world-oriented bunch that often likes to weigh the significance of their own lifestyle decisions on their effects toward their communities at large– We, as a society/nation, would absolutely NOT be better off if a large portion of the population adopted this early (non-)retirement extreme lifestyle. Our country would crumble under the weight of supporting this. Taxpayers/ERE’s parents/financial aid/the proceeds of the university endowments, etc. spent a lot of money supporting and educating this guy well into adulthood, for over a quarter of his lifetime. Then he… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Coley

Alright, Coley, tally up how much you have earned in your lifetime. That’s how much you gave to society. Now tally up your lifetime expenses. That’s how much you took away from society and consumed for yourself. The difference is your net worth which also becomes your financial net contribution to society. Since my net worth is higher than most people, I have contributed more than most people on a net basis. Maybe not you, but certainly most people. If you consider my lifestyle choices, I don’t wear down the roads. I don’t use a lot of oil and thus… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

Alright, Coley, tally up how much you have earned in your lifetime. That’s how much you gave to society. Now tally up your lifetime expenses. That’s how much you took away from society and consumed for yourself. Neither of these statements are really true. The first has many exceptions: If someone earned a million dollars by spending a lifetime growing food for society, and another guy earned a million dollars by convincing congress to pass a law that lowers taxes on the oil industry, it doesn’t really stand to reason that they gave equally to society because the profits were… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

Just because you can name counter examples, does not mean there is no correlation between money earned and value created.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

A correlation between two things is not the same as them being equivalent. There is probably a correlation between driving while tired and crashing your car, but that doesn’t mean you can say “take the number of times that you’ve driven while tired, ok, that’s the number of cars you’ve totaled.”

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago

Tyler – Be careful not to be normative here. Just because you and I don’t find something valuable doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t. Clearly someone found it valuable to pay someone a million bucks in lobby fees to reduce oil taxes or whatever. As it is we have to go by proxy and use what people pay and are paid for things and services in the general economy as a proxy for how much value society ascribes to it no matter what we may personally think it’s worth. For example, I consider my work with ERE to have been… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

Even if you go strictly by proxy and assume dollars=value, it still doesn’t follow that your net cost to society is equivalent to the amount of money you personally spend. You’d have to include all the money that other people spend on you, including your parents and the government.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

I know I already conceded that for the purposes of this exchange “value created=money earned” but this is a fun story I just saw that shows why it’s not strictly true:

http://kottke.org/11/05/when-nothing-else-works-try-this

I’m assuming the day shift workers earned the same on both days.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago

Tyler – And you’d have to subtract all the money you spend on other people and pay in taxes. And maybe you should also correct for all the non-monied work you perform or receive. Look, we can make the calculation as complicated as we want. However, if you need a quick hand way of putting a single number on net contribution, I think net worth is a good proxy. I can easily think of other ways of judging contribution. For example, the traffic numbers on my blog+forum correspond to people spending 1700 hours per week on my site. Do I… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

I’d like to buy a Team Tyler t-shirt, please.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

sorry, there’s only underpants! 😀

(regular GRS readers will get this)

Brenton
Brenton
9 years ago

If everyone lived like you we would actually be in the dark ages. The dark ages is called the dark ages because it was an era of little scientific, cultural, economical, or political progress. If everyone spent their time strictly looking out for themselves, there would be no time to research new technologies or medicine. There would be no doctors. There would be no engineers. Or at least very few since each doctor or engineer would only work for a few years before “retiring”. There would be no policemen, no airlines, no railroads, etc, etc, etc… Tyler is right, your… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

On the other hand, think of all the people my investments provide employment for. It’s somewhat of a fallacy to use the argument of “what would happen if everybody did what you did”. Remember that I did work for my money thus providing an employment input. I did not inherit it, nor did I get it handed out. You can search for my name in google scholar for my work output. I did write more than 25 journal papers during my career. If everybody did like I did, they’d still have have to work for some years. They’d just cut… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

While I think Brenton overstates my position, I wanted to say that in regards to: “It’s somewhat of a fallacy to use the argument of ‘what would happen if everybody did what you did’.” I don’t think that’s a fallacy at all. It’s Kant’s Categorical Imperative which isn’t something that’s provably true, but it is a 250-year-old and well established philosophy that certainly can’t be dismissed as a simple fallacy. You’re right, we could all work less and live with less. And Brenton’s right, if we take this far enough we end up working none and living with nothing. Personally,… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
9 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

I disagree with the “if everyone…” argument Brenton makes. If everyone exploited the salary/needs gap like this, then salaries would go down because it would be deemed that if you can live on so little there’s no need to pay you more. If everybody did the same, our environmental impact would be a lot smaller too, and we’d be all a little safer. If everybody did the same, there would be so many unintended consequences that we couldn’t possibly calculate them. The basic initial rational behavior in an economic environment is that of self-interest, and the ecosystem sorts itself out.… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

The Kant argument is closer to “if I do this to you, I’ll also accept that anyone can do it to me”. All ERE transactions are voluntary. I am not forcing anyone to borrow money from me. Furthermore I’m fairly sure that as long as the interest rate is low enough, I can lend my money out for a return. And I’d happily borrow money personally at 1%. In other words, if more people started doing it, interest rates would go down. This would require more assets to live on interest income and people would either have to spend less… Read more »

We the Living
We the Living
9 years ago
Reply to  Coley

Perhaps society wouldn’t be able to handle everyone doing this, but society won’t have to handle it because everyone won’t. The problem I see with this logic isn’t the practical matter put to bed by the first sentence, it is the assumption that we should live our lives for the “greater good”. The problem with that philosophy is you are essentially enslaving me for whatever you or “society” deems to be the desirable product of my output/tax revenue. There are things on the federal ledger that almost anyone would disagree with (some more than others), so paying less towards that… Read more »

Pey
Pey
9 years ago

I totally wanted to read this book but couldn’t afford it since I’m contributing 75% of my pre-taxed earnings.

Steve
Steve
9 years ago
Reply to  Pey

You can still get it from the library. Just make sure you bike or run there.

Pey
Pey
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

I thought about it, Steve, but realized I have a hole in my shoe so I’m unable to leave the house to bike or do any running/walking.

Vanessa
Vanessa
9 years ago
Reply to  Pey

Ah dude, you obviously should have invested in better quality shoes! 🙂

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago

I’ve looked at the ERE blog and I can’t decide if he’s some sort of ascetic self sacrificing monk or just a selfish human being. As it stands now, we spend about 30% of our gross income, save 15%, and the rest goes to charitable donations and taxes. If we retired today and assumed a 4% rate on our savings, we could survive and live ok, at least as well as Mr. Fisker, but why would we want to? We get a lot of joy from watching our kids succeed(which sometimes means private lessons). I’m glad our kids (and us)… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I don’t give money to charities (well, not very much anyway) although I sometimes give money to homeless guys—sorry homeless people. I volunteer fixing bikes from time to time for a women’s shelter. And sometimes I get bikes from freecycle, fix them up and send them on to the shelter. If you like giving money rather than time to help out, that’s your choice. I know that most charities prefer money over time (except the ones that don’t have any money to hire people like said shelter) I see no virtue in paying taxes. I do what I can to… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

“homeless guys–sorry homeless people”

I had a physics teacher in high school who liked to do this kind of mock apology thing with gender pronouns all the time. Of course, he was a sexist jerk in many many ways outside of the pronouns he used. I’m not saying that only sexist jerks do this kind of mocking, but there does indeed seem to be a strong correlation between being a misogynist and pretending to humor the ladies and their quaint little disagreements about speech. I would stop if I were you.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

And I wouldn’t be so quick to judge if I were you.

aproustian
aproustian
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Thank you, Nicole.

Now it seems I *do* have a reason to avoid this book, thanks to these sorts of comments by ERE.

Des
Des
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I found this sexist attitude to exist on the ERE site as well. It was what turned me off from visiting there. I loved the concept, but Jacob’s personality is somewhat off-putting.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I think it’s a case of seeing what you want to see without giving it the benefit of the doubt. I don’t understand this desire to judge so quickly before trying to understand. I suspect it’s a generational thing. My generation (late X/early Y) has not had to deal with gender issues (although of course some of my generation are quite interested in them), so to me it is _implicit_ that whenever someone uses the pronoun he, it also applies equally well to women and vice versa. The fact that some want it written out explicitly suggests to me that… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

No, the reason you don’t say “people of all colors” instead of just “people” is because people of all colors are all people. The reason you are being asked to say “person” instead of “man” is because not all people are men.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

If you go back 100 years, you’ll see that it wasn’t automatically presumed that “people” implied “people of all colors”. If you go back 50 years, I also recognize that the word “businesswoman” made a statement that women too could do business. But this is now! Everybody knows or should know that men and women are equal and I shouldn’t have to point it out. Rest assured that when I say “businessman” I mean “someone doing business” regardless of what their gender is. I do not feel the need to explicitly point out that men and women are equal in… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Hopefully the following language lesson will end this discussion once and for all http://old.theshtick.org/language/woman.html To wit, the word woman derives from wifman; wif means what we now understand as woman, that is, a female. The equivalent for a male was wap resulting in wapman. “Man” as it enter many words such as businessman, sportsman, salary man, working man, Renaissance man, means “human being”. Hence wifman means “female human being” and wapman means “male human being”. The wap has subsequently been lost and so wapmen are now just called men. This DOES NOT mean that the -man ending in all these… Read more »

csdx
csdx
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

For someone bent on challenging the norms, you are sure quick to hid behind them in this case. The fact that this isn’t common, maybe suggests something wrong with the status quo, rather than the status quo is ‘good’. (If you don’t believe that society is still fairly sexist, why do women only get about 75% pay men do?). So we assume (implicitly through language) that the ‘default’ sex is male. So there’s this whole concept of privelege and yada yada, I won’t bore you with the details because you’ve seemed to already dismissed that whole debacle. But the gist… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

Yes, I’ve pretty much dismissed the debacle as being archaic—I find it to be largely of academic interest these days and I don’t understand why some people still obsess about it. (In any case, it is completely irrelevant to early retirement and to this book review.) Consider that there are now more females going to college today than males. Is this a problem? Not to me. Do I think it’s a problem for young males? No. Even though this will likely mean that females on average will have a higher income than males in the future. Whatever. It’s true that… Read more »

csdx
csdx
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I think you’ll find that in the wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male%E2%80%93female_income_disparity_in_the_United_States) your concerns are already addressed. I know it’s not necessarily an authoritative source, but it does cite external studies, to wit, “By looking at a very specific and detailed sample of workers — graduates of the Michigan Law School — economists Robert Wood, Mary Corcoran and Paul Courant were able to examine the wage gap while matching men and women for many other possible explanatory factors – not only occupation, age, experience, education, and time in the workforce, but also childcare, average hours worked, grades while in college, and other… Read more »

hardworking single ma
hardworking single ma
9 years ago

OK, I’ve read everything @
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/children-and-early-retirement.html
Why is everybody assuming that children ==> 2 married living together parents??? With divorce rate what it is? Really?
How about SINGLE parents with no relatives to help out with childcare? Is ERE something achievable in that case? Or is it more like NTER (not-that-early-retirement) for them?

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

If you apply Jacob’s ideas, at least you will have earlIER retirement (than you would have if you continued down the path of consumerism).

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
9 years ago

Thanks for sharing this book review. Definitely going to check it out soon.

Roger
Roger
9 years ago

I’m one of the people that purchased and read Jacob’s book and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Jacob takes a more philosophical view as opposed to here are some money saving tips. I think the way he puts it is it is more important to do the right things than it is do to things right for financial independence. He attacks large expenses (housing, food, transportation) in a big way.

I’m already a millionaire, but until I read his book I honestly didn’t think I could possible have enough to retire. Now I plan to retire much sooner.

Susan
Susan
9 years ago

I absolutely love the Early Retirement Extreme blog & I do plan to read his book. I think most of what he says makes so much sense & I just can’t believe the amounts of money & time that people waste, trying to attain a certain lifestyle. People tend to not think outside of the box & I think that is the one thing that Jacob does so well. He doesn’t follow the “herd” mentality & as a result of his style of thinking, he has achieved financial independence. That is something that 95% of this country will never do.… Read more »

bob bolesic
bob bolesic
9 years ago

Less looney-binnery please. Living like this guy has appeal to readers of this blog the same way living like Robinson Crusoe or the Boxcar Children does: nice in theory, interesting, but desirable and doable by almost no one. That’s why it makes an interesting book, because it’s an extreme view. I for one would much rather experience and enjoy culture, both in my country (the US) and abroad, and enjoy food, and enjoy other weathers and views and peoples and languages. I would much rather have many experiences and enjoy my life without wondering which minor illness and resultant MRI… Read more »

De
De
9 years ago

If I had read his book or website years ago, I’d no longer be working at a job I don’t like. It’s all about choices – we all make our own, and I see no need to judge someone else for their choices if they are radically different from our own. I eat low carb so the rice/beans thing is not going to work for me, but if it works for him so what? One of my favorite parts of his book/blog is learning new skills. Need a can opener? Get stronger. Bike broken? Car needs an old change? Learn… Read more »

Brian
Brian
9 years ago

I used to think that early retirement was possible if someone could save 300k and have no debt, after all the stock market yields 10% historically, so I could live on 30k a year. Then I saved that much and found that, hey wait, the past performance of the stock market is no indication of the future performance in any way really, so I increased the target amount to 1 million. Then I realized that, oh yeah what about the currency itself, what happens if the USD declines relative to other world currencies or commodities in the future. Then there… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Brian

If you spend 30k/year then you could retire with a 3% withdrawal if you had 1M now. This has historically been safe and survived world wars, thirty year wars, collapses of nations, etc. If you don’t have that, your future target will be higher due to inflation. For instance, in 20 years, the target would be 2M if inflation stays at little over 3%. That said, as you correctly note, there’s a diminishing return on the amount of safety you can get by simply having more money. Having 5M instead of 1M is probably not going to buy a whole… Read more »

Brian
Brian
9 years ago

I agree with you in many ways, and have done as well as you in a similar time frame using a similar approach, however I personally don’t think early retirement is the best strategy to advocate. There is a magic number that if you could see into the future and make the correct investment decisions at the right times then you will be fine financially. I don’t think that it is possible to know that number and that it is generally prudent to work (at what you want to do) and save as much as you reasonably can until you… Read more »

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Brian

I’ve reached the point where my investment returns are already higher than my expenses by a material margin. Thus spending a lot of time to add something which I don’t need, namely more money, doesn’t seem like the correct strategy, for me. I think some got the impression that I now work full time as some kind of homesteader. This is far from the case. I only do the things myself where the return on effort is high, e.g. spending $40 to fix an appliance that would cost $500 to replace or $200 to have someone else fix. I don’t… Read more »

Luke
Luke
9 years ago

I’ll start you off with June, Jacob and wait to see if anyone has the exact date 🙂

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Luke

Hahahaha! I’m not really worried about zombies. It’s more the issue of food and energy shocks. You can already see both food prices and gasoline/propane becoming volatile because the supply chains are strained to the max. This will become worse as the population grows even larger and when a bigger fraction of the rest of the world becomes able to compete directly for US resources simply by buying us out—hopefully not by starting another world war.

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

btw, I wanted to note that the equation in that clip isn’t a particularly scary one

It’s actually in YMoYL… it’s just a very simple upside down parabola/quadratic equation (like the St. Louis Arch) and he’s saying that the top of the curve is in the middle. Not exactly rocket science and better illustrated with a picture as in YMoYL. (Though both are assuming a parabola rather than diminishing marginal returns.)

With simple concepts like that, some folks try to communicate and some folks prefer to intimidate.

Early Retirement Extreme
Early Retirement Extreme
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I was trying to tell JD that (he sent me a draft of the review) but he wanted to make a point about me using [too many?] equations, so he used page 111. I have the picture/graph of the resulting upside down parabola on page 112 (the next page) and a picture/graph of the law of diminishing returns (sigmoid curve) that comes from the differential equation on the previous page (page 110). The whole section discusses the law of diminishing returns and how to optimize. So I provide a way for those who want to gloss over the math to… Read more »

evelyn
evelyn
9 years ago

J.D. – I can’t thank you enough for introducing us to Jacob’s website! Jacob, I spent almost all day yesterday reading your blog, sending links to my sons who are a little younger than you, one who makes $200k/year and spends it all on stuff, and the other who is a freelancer and $80k in debt. Your blog motivated me to do a LOT of thinking and reassessing. I read many finance blogs, but yours is exactly what I needed to read right now at age 56, after having had breast cancer surgery and treatment, in the process of redefining… Read more »

Roger
Roger
9 years ago
Reply to  evelyn

I had the exactly same reaction when my son pointed out the site to me! I read the book and it radically changed my outlook on Personal Finance and life. Jacob’s arguments in his book forced me to examine what is really important to me and adjust my life accordingly.

angelika
angelika
9 years ago

Jacob, thank you for the blog. Still have to read the book. I want to be where you are at. It’s so amazing for me to read some of the comments getting stuck on wording when the most important idea is lost in the process.
I wonder how many people are FI-ers? I am sure there are quite a good amount of them. How many are willing to share what they know? Something to think about.

Jaime
Jaime
9 years ago

This book seems to be a copy of “Your Money or Your Life.” I read early retirement extreme and I hated it. I didn’t like it. I thought the formulas were pretty boring and I skipped through those pages. Its style is too academic. Personally I think there are better books that cover the subject better and are much better organized. I like YMYL, I also liked your book J.D. and I like Suzie Orman as well. Their books are much better organized, there’s more information, sources, etc. I like a list of sources because it means there’s proof for… Read more »

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