Getting Around the Blog

Well, that was interesting. Yesterday an old MMM article appeared on the front page of MSN.com (the 13th most viewed website in the world, apparently), and it sent quite a flock of people here.

It was a bit embarrassing, since the article was described as a “guest posting”, but really it was just an existing article scooped from the archives (“A brief history of the ‘Stash“), so it didn’t really have the kind of style or approachability that a guest posting should have. It was just a quick one I had typed up for you personally one day with no thought of the outside world. Plus, they covertly took out the swearing, which was my favorite part.

Partly because of the tone, and partly because of the fact that we live in a world of at least 38% hopeless complainypantses, the comments section on MSN has sprouted a rich and smelly list of complaints. I look forward to heading over there for a harvest some day with my copy/paste buttons.

But oh well, all publicity is good publicity, right? And to those stronger people who came from MSN and decided that maybe there was some useful stuff to be learned over here – thank you, and welcome!

So the real point of all this is, there are always a few new people showing up these days in the middle of this long story we are sharing. They have questions and want to know what the Mustachians are all about. How can they do it?

Quick Reference: Directly to the right of the list of articles on the front page, you’ll see a box labeled “Google Custom Search”. Try it out – it is a perfect search engine for all 600+ pages of this site’s content, and it is fantastic. For example, one friend told me the main reason he enjoys this blog over all the other personal finance options out there is because I am the only one who threatens to punch people in the face. So I typed in “Punch” to the search box, and learned that in fact I have only done that 19 times so far. Probably something I can improve. So if you want to know what the MMM family does about kids, health insurance, groceries, or anything else like that, try the box.

Full Research: As mentioned in the “Welcome new Readers” box in the top right corner of the front page, the articles are all linked in chronological order. If you ever feel like reading the WHOLE STORY, you can easily start at the very first article, then use the little link at the bottom of the article to move on to the next one. Save a bookmark when you get bored, then come back and read more some other day. There are somewhere close to 200 posts now, and over 5,000 comments. Some people write to me and tell me they have read the whole thing, including all the comments. This blows my mind and I am not vain enough to think my stuff actually deserves this much attention, but those folks definitely have earned the title of Senior Mustachian and should feel free to flaunt it. I even authorize you to make a customized mustachioed avatar at gravatar.com to appear next to your comments.

Further Clarification: I also get emails  asking for information. Sadly, I can’t answer them all, otherwise I would not have time to write anything new or read any books to learn more (I only get to use a computer about 1-2 hours a day, the rest of the time is spent being a regular family man). I still like hearing from people and I do get to read every one. So hopefully the steps above can answer some of the questions, and for specific ones I also recommend the Financial Independence Forum on reddit.

That’s it for this Sunday edition, I hope you are having a great weekend!
Mr. Money Mustache

  • mike crosby January 8, 2012, 9:23 am

    “we live in a world of at least 38% hopeless complainypantses”

    Where in sam hell do you get your statistics? At least with the polls they give a 5% error margin.

    I don’t mean to be a complinypantses, but I guess i am one;)

    • Diane January 8, 2012, 9:45 am

      I thought that statistic was much too kind, as well.

    • Naomi January 8, 2012, 10:35 am

      I’m pretty sure that was a joke.

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 11:34 am

      I deduced that number by the percentage of people who gave the article a “thumbs down” on MSN.

      I mean, what the fuck is there to give a thumbs down about, in a story about a guy and girl who spent less money in their 20s, so they could eventually quit their jobs to spend more time with their kid!? If you don’t like that example, you’re a complainypants, plain and simple. Very scientific.

      • Steve Adams21 January 8, 2012, 3:33 pm

        They gave it a thumbs down not because it was a bad story but because in reading it they felt bad. Some people don’t like others doing well because it makes them look bad – they no longer have an excuse for being broke!

      • Kevin January 8, 2012, 9:51 pm

        WELL SAID! You are a God amongst men Mr. Money Mustache. By all means, preach your trademarked Complainypants labeling to all the haters and ignorants out there. The 38% that thumbed down your blog here simply do not have the high enough IQ to understand what this is really all about – being FREE from the crutches of debt, a corporate politicked job, and living a full and happy life as a family man who happens to be smart, frugal, and above all, Financially Independant and Free. This is my own goal in life and I have already tackled Debt.

    • saudisimon January 9, 2012, 10:27 pm

      94.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot. A man in the pub told me, so it must be true…. let me guess Mike, you come from a country that needs to remake things like “The Office” because the humour confuses you….

  • PK January 8, 2012, 9:28 am

    Saw the MSN article yesterday… right after the sports section. Congrats on the mention! Your next goal should be to have an article syndicated with swearing, cursing, and face-punching threats intact.

  • Jeh January 8, 2012, 9:32 am

    “Some people write to me and tell me they have read the whole thing, including all the comments. This blows my mind and I am not vain enough to think my stuff actually deserves this much attention, but those folks definitely have earned the title of Senior Mustachian and should feel free to flaunt it.”

    I’ve read the entire blog front to back along with all of the comments. My wife and I are also currently reading the blog front to back together, without the comments this time. What does that make me, a Super Senior ‘Stachian? Lol. If only I lived up to even the more modest moniker of ‘stachian…still working on it!

    And to all of those sissy pants MSN visitors…get over it, it’s just a bit of salty (and so much fun!) language. It won’t kill ya. To those who came and loved what they found, welcome!

  • MacGyverIt January 8, 2012, 9:45 am

    So… MSN didn’t contact you for permission to re-post your intellectual property? I guess so long as they provide a citation of authorship. Hmm. I can only imagine what a boatload full of non-ER types must’ve thought reading such alien concepts as “consume less” and “do for yourself”. We can hope a small percentage of MSN-linked readers remain curious, stick around for the long haul and learn about their independence options! :-D

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 11:38 am

      Actually MSN did ask permission, and I gladly approved. I just didn’t have time to offer to re-write the article for their posting, since the deadline was only a day or two away. I don’t know how the editors there found this site, but they were very nice and professional and I was glad to have the chance for this random bit of internet sharing.

      • Kjnanny January 8, 2012, 5:16 pm

        I do believe that every year about this time MSN tends to put interest articles up regarding money… they brought you back alive so-to-speak ;)

        I’m kind of glad it randomly hit you ;)

        Nice job! It perked my interest!

  • MacGyverIt January 8, 2012, 11:02 am

    O…M…G…. I’m on page six of the replies to MMM’s MSN post and wow are many of these folks negative, hateful, suspicious, jealous… Many have ASSumed MMM is *lying* rather than the accusers take the time from their ComplainyPants schedules to READ the contents of this blog. God forbid any of these folks visit the ERE forum, their heads would most definitely explode… There are some practical questions (how did your portfolio surviving the downturn, how do you afford insurance) but several posts consist of “that darned foreigner came and took our jobs” (as a native born American, I’m thankful MMM is a resident!), “he must be living off of Medicaid and social security” or “these are all flat out lies or it’s just plain luck”… it’s just shocking to see how quickly and easily people descend to the lowest common denominator. *sigh* Reminds me that I’m glad to have dropped cable tv :-D

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 11:50 am

      Yeah.. I love the accusations of lying. What incentive do I have to make shit up? So I can sell more of all the products I’m offering for sale here on MMM, or get more viewers and corporate sponsors for my reality TV show?

      My biggest motivation is just to get people excited about the fact that you don’t lose any fun in your life by spending drastically less money than average. That’s a non-commercial message, and it works better the more truthful you are about things.

      • MacGyverIt January 8, 2012, 2:07 pm

        “That’s a non-commercial message” — yes, that does seem to be a huge issue in the responses, “if I can’t buy what I want then I’m denying myself” rather than thinking in terms of “I’m a slave to my expensive spending habits and I should be free from financial dependence.”

        But I think it’s also a misplaced values/work ethic issue. Yay for values and work ethic – I’m a big believer – but those values aren’t exclusive to working a full time job that you aren’t totally thrilled with.

        There are a number of “if you retire early, you are no longer contributing”… because rebuilding homes or perhaps volunteering for a charity isn’t contributing? Why does working for The Man equate to giving your life meaning and purpose? There’s an entire world out there that has nothing to do with setting your alarm every morning and commuting through miles of traffic. Doing the 9-5 workerbee routine isn’t spiritual enlightenment and is certainly isn’t the meaning of life. When I make my early retirement goal part of my time will be spent teaching reading and computer skills which is far more significant and positive impact to society and the world at large.

        To modify a Jacob-ism: get out of the Matrix!

        • Greg January 7, 2016, 6:52 am

          Oh, amen! Well said!

  • Kara Brown January 8, 2012, 11:35 am

    I loved the article that appeared on MSN and that was the reason I’ve subscribed to the blog posts! Regardless of the others who are so ridiculously negative, know that some of your ideas and views are definitely helping others and that’s all that matters. Thanks for sharing – we look forward to continuing to read!

    • MacGyverIt January 8, 2012, 3:58 pm

      Welcome, Kara!

  • jlcollinsnh January 8, 2012, 11:38 am

    looks like MSN has done for your blog what my posting here on MMM has done for mine. except your readership is far more astute than, based on the comments over there, MSN’s. ;)

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 11:44 am

      Indeed, I am very thankful for the thoughtfulness of the Mustachian Base. If the comments here were like the ones prevalent on all of those mainstream news sites, I would have quit long ago, since I’d figure it was a lost cause.

      I do still have to trash about one meaningless comment here every few days to keep our discussion on-track. I don’t want to be a dictator censoring free speech, but sometimes it is obvious that someone has just come in from the outside world, read part of a single article and not even read the other comments that came before them or used the search box to do some fact-checking. In this case I block the comment so everyone else doesn’t have to get frustrated and engage in pointless corrections/flame wars.

  • Chris January 8, 2012, 11:51 am

    Haters gonna hate, MMM. I also enjoy your colorful language. Reading this blog is a refreshing punch in the face.

  • Dancedancekj January 8, 2012, 11:57 am

    Man, some of these comments range from the inane (“This guy is full of shit! He’ll be flipping burgers in two years”) to the hopeless (“MMM just got lucky, was in the right place in the right time, and had the thought to do this and this to where he got today”) to the outright hilarious (“Who the hells calls themselves Mr. Money Mustache?!”) Although to be fair, some of the comments did have legitimate questions, which I hope will be bringing them here to read the blog!

    Most people are missing the point though. The numbers are important, yes, but it’s so much more than that is the Mustachian philosophy. Don’t live excessively, make and save money, do everything yourself, do your research, and most of all be always learning, growing, and planning for the future.

    Still, I am excited for the influx of new readers!

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 1:55 pm

      Haha.. I just noticed that someone (probably one of you) added this David Attenborough nature show narrator style comment to MSN:

      “…and here we find the Complainypants in its natural habitat. A sometimes reserved creature in public environments, the Complainypants unveils its true nature when stalking in the bloggy undergrowth of the internet jungle. Blind to the truly awesome displays of badassity around them, the Complainypants instead vomits a truly vile substance at any predators. Thankfully, those who embrace their inner badassity are immune to this attack, and so we watch as the Complainypants wanders away in the muck, in search of weaker prey…”

      • drewstees January 8, 2012, 3:40 pm

        Ha, glad you caught that, MMM.  I think I can bump my field knowledge of the Complainypants up a notch after reading those comments…geesh.

        Seriously though, this is my first comment on your site, and you’ve been an awesome inspiration to me and my wife.  We were on the road towards a frugal early retirement before we found your site, but you gave us that extra kick in the pants to make some more significant lifestyle changes. Thanks so much for the work you put into this blog, and keep at it!

        Also, my wife and I just recently finished back-reading all your posts, so I have modified my avatar appropriately.   :-)

        • MMM January 8, 2012, 3:50 pm

          Excellent!! Congratulations on your prestigious new position, Senior Mustachian.

          • Peter January 9, 2012, 9:47 am

            So now reading your blog is a refreshing punch in the face (see Chris above) AND the extra kick in the pants that drewstees & his wife needed! Pretty good for sitting and some finger dancing …

            When will MMM-san bring out the crane?

            I too am always hoping for another punch in the face.

      • Maura January 9, 2012, 8:25 pm

        I’m laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes after reading The Complainypants in its natural habitat.

        I am going to put this quote on my wall.

        I first found MMM somehow- I tend to look on the net for personal finance articles. I have done pretty well, but I wish I had gone to the extremes you have gone to when I was in my 20’s! Then I too could be retired today.

        I am 59 and think I will have to work until I am 64. I am trying to build a home based business, but even if that takes off there is the problem of health insurance. I read your article on finding health insurance, but I have a preexisting condition that makes it hard for me to get insurance. But if my business is successful, I could retire at 62 as long as I could afford the COBRA coverage (36 months in California).

        So all of you who are younger, start NOW with your savings and investing and mustachianism. It really works.

        BTW, your language cracks me up.

    • Marcia January 8, 2012, 7:42 pm

      I have to say, I agree completely. My step-dad made a modest salary at the gas company and has saved over $500k by living frugally. It helped that he was single till 43 and didn’t have kids until he married my mom (and we were grown). But he’s frugal.

      My dad retired at 62. With a paid for house, and nothing else. That guy managed to save $40-50k or more (can’t remember exactly how much, with that and the house split 7 ways when he died) on Social Security in 20 years. And his social security payments were less than $800 a month. For Christmas one year when I was in my 30’s, he gave me his copy of Walden. :) He never had a credit card.

  • makincaid January 8, 2012, 12:06 pm

    It’s amazing how things have changed over the last ten years. Back in 2000, most people believed that they could take 8-10% withdrawals from their investments. Now, it seems that people have gone to the complete opposite extreme and believe that their investments will yield no return at all, .

    The new math seems to be:
    $800k stash/40 year life expectancy = $16k per year (Only the most extreme family could live on this.)

    The 2000 math would have been
    $800k stash X 8% withdrawal rate = $64k per year (average consumerist couple could live on this)

    The more sensible assumption would probably the traditional 3.5% withdrawal:
    $800k stash X 3.5% SWR= $28k per year (very possible for a frugal couple who own their home)

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 1:50 pm

      Yeah, and most beginners don’t realize that a 3.5 (or even 5% in my opinion) withdrawal rate means that you are leaving enough invested to keep up with inflation. Forever. So it doesn’t matter how long you live – a newborn baby could retire right now on an 800k investment, even if she had to pay for her own diapers and her life expectancy was 200.

      And what do you do if the markets or the economy go crazy for a while and your investments don’t keep up with inflation for some period in the distant future? Hmm.. do you sit at home and complain and continue spending the same amount of money regardless? Or do you adjust your spending as needed, or even accept some income? Hmm.. tough question. Better to stay at home until you’re broke, then go beg for a job flipping burgers.

      (Don’t bother opening a burger restaurant of your own, either – better to work for big corporations who pay minimum wage!)

  • George January 8, 2012, 12:30 pm

    Frack. I can’t find the article on MSN to read the comments.

  • Mortgage free Mike January 8, 2012, 2:44 pm

    I read some of the MSN comments and they don’t surprise me because so many Americans are excuse makers, looking for a reason to justify why they don’t have their shit together.

    I have been addicted to MMM and Mrs. MMM’s posts from nearly the beginning. My salary is nowhere near what theirs was during their working years, but I am on pace to “retire” by the same time they did.

    It’s really not how much you make, but how you live and the decisions you make that determine your success. The people who criticize MMM are the ones in school who always said “I can’t” and the rest of us, the followers, are those who said “I will.”

  • Dividend Mantra January 8, 2012, 3:25 pm


    Congrats on the face time over at MSN! Good stuff, man. As you like to point out, for every negative comment posted there are 100 people at home nodding their heads saying “I could do that too!” and they’re just not saying anything.

    You’re changing the world one article at a time man. I’m doing my best to help as well. Keep showing ’em how it’s done and knocking the complainypants’ heads off.

    Best wishes!

  • Jen January 8, 2012, 4:39 pm

    I found your blog from the MSN article and fully appreciate your swearing and non stuffy approach to talking about moola. I have been fully obsessed with idea of retiring in the next 5 years, I am 37. I find your blog fascinating and have been emailing my husband links to your site since yesterday. I now know that I am not crazy or lazy or alone in the pursuit of enjoying our lives now, traveling, mountain biking and trail running, cooking and gardening to our hearts content. Awesomeness in a blog!

  • poko January 8, 2012, 4:54 pm

    I don’t know how you guys made it though all the comments over there, sheeesh! All those folks saying “companies don’t give raises like that, and companies don’t match 401ks”. Bullshit, I work as a dev now, and it’s entirely possible to get those raises, especially if you switch jobs. There is still a huge scarcity of (good) developers out there — I get 2-3 emails a week asking if I want to “explore new opportunities” and many times, these are from companies not in my geographic area, so you know they’re getting desperate. Also, my current company does match my 401k, so that does still exist.

    I considered creating an MSN account to comment over there, but I think that would be feeding the trolls. I’m sure they’d call me a liar, too.

    • MacGyverIt January 8, 2012, 5:45 pm

      “and companies don’t match 401ks”

      – I laughed as I read this, remembering that my cousin works at Lowe’s and they match 6% on her 401k. Lowe’s! At SIX percent!!

  • Hilary January 8, 2012, 5:57 pm

    Goodness. I read the first and last page of the complainy pants comments and that was more than enough. They were very much looking for excuses as to why it couldn’t be true rather than looking at how retirement could occur. At 61 I’m just sorry I hadn’t learned about this 40 years ago. However it isn’t too late. I still have another 40 years to go as I’m only half way through my adult life. I’m on to the frugality lifestyle now and love it.

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 6:12 pm

      Wow, Hilary! What you have said incorporates so much concentrated Badassity that I feel it deserves the MOST MUSTACHIAN COMMENT AWARD!!!

  • truenorth418 January 8, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Don’t let the turkeys get you down, Mr MM! Despite all the negative comments, I’ll bet a lot of people were introduced to the early retirement concept for the first time. It will probably inspire at least some people people to empower themselves by saving more and living below their means. Keep up the great work!

  • Peter January 8, 2012, 7:00 pm

    Guys, we should be welcoming the comments of the complainypants. They are the ones spending all their money on the shit that drives up our stock prices.
    I think we should all give them a group hug and tell them “Buy, my friends, buy to your heart’s content. Buy until you have nothing more to buy with, then buy some more anyway.”
    They will feel better for it, trust me.

  • Marcia January 8, 2012, 7:39 pm

    I really enjoyed reading many of the comments, but I admit to only reading the first couple of pages (and responding to a couple of them). I couldn’t help myself.

    Like the lying about year 3/ year 4 “how does adding $20 get him up 50k?” Well, he added 20k to his 401k and saved the rest elsewhere…re-read the post dude.

    And the 401k max comment too. Now, my company is a startup, doesn’t match 401k. But my husband’s company puts 20-25% of his SALARY into a 401k for him. It’s not a match, a direct contribution. So I can tell you that the annual limit is around 50k. If only he’d gone there 5 years earlier….

  • Dragline January 8, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Stay strong and be gracious, MMM, no matter the arrows sprayed at you. Don’t fall into the trap of arguing with people who simply disbelieve your reality.

    You build it, and they will come. “For it is money that they have, and peace that they lack.”

  • Brian January 8, 2012, 8:20 pm

    Congrats on the mention, my favorite part is whe people start to complain that you made the whole thong up…jeez…

  • Spider January 8, 2012, 8:51 pm

    Don’t these people realize that if someone wanted to fabricate a story for some kind of financial gain that the person would have gone through their math in order to make sure everything checks out. The fact that some of these inconsistencies exist is probably more telling that the story is true rather than false.

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 9:35 pm

      Perhaps – but when I looked at the complaints, all the questions I saw about the math were incorrect. Maybe they assumed higher tax rates without taking into account the 401k deductions, or the fact that capital gains are not taxable until after you sell, etc.

      In fact, I suspect they were just pulling the objections out of their asses, without even taking the time to open a spreadsheet program. There’s not even enough detail in that article to get into a silly battle over its feasibility. And I already know it is feasible, because we really did end up with that amount of savings after that amount of years – without even attempting to optimize taxes, let alone cheating on them!

      The numerical complainers were worse at math than I am. (Hmm, could this even be part of the reason I’m the retired person and they’re the still-working complainer?)

      • Marcia January 8, 2012, 9:40 pm

        Well, one of the guys didn’t read the post very well. He assumed that the money you put into your 401k was the only money you saved that year.

      • Mr. Frugal Toque January 8, 2012, 9:58 pm

        I did find it pretty surprising that somebody thought you would only net $695k on income of $1 050 000 over ten years.

        Maybe if you earned all that in *one* year, as income and none of it in dividends or capital gains, but I really didn’t think U.S. progressive tax rates were that steep even in that case.

        “You’re going to get audited.”

        Really? Does he really think that people who cheat on their taxes are going to publish their numbers on MSN.com? Is taunting the IRS some kind of pass time down there?

      • Maura January 9, 2012, 8:33 pm

        When I scanned your numbers I thought that some of the increase in youe net worth came from appreciation on your houses and reduction of principal through mortgage payments. this is in additone to your 401k savings. Some people might not realize that.

    • Katie January 9, 2012, 10:33 am

      My favorite comment was from the guy who DID do the math – and found that, with MMM’s current investment and % return rates, he gets about $40,000 a year, but then USED that math to say MMM living off of it was IMPOSSIBLE due to the fact that $40,000/yr was “nowhere near the salaries” that MMM & wife were used to having (and I guess, in his mind, used to spending…. lol).


      I laughed at that for a good while. He clearly, ENTIRELY miss the point of the article!

      • poko January 9, 2012, 10:51 am

        Yes! I laughed at that one for a while as well.

  • Vanna January 8, 2012, 9:10 pm

    I too found you on MSN yesterday, and subsequently did not move from my chair until I nearly peed my pants! Apparently, some people don’t take kindly to getting punched in the face, even when they need it. I on the other hand feel like I have just been slapped out of hysteria. Thanks MMM – times 752.

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 9:38 pm

      Thanks Vanna – but why 752? :-)

      • Vanna January 8, 2012, 10:26 pm

        You know… the ‘weekly Starbuck expense x 10 years plus 7% ($20 x 752 = $15,040 for the index fund instead) formula.’

      • Vanna January 9, 2012, 5:04 am

        I do have a quick question; Are you basing the ‘live on 25%’ theory on net or gross income? Thanks again.

        • Jimbo January 9, 2012, 11:19 am

          Let’s go for ‘Save as much as possible’…

          Mr MM does not believe in budgeting, but rather goes for saving as much as possible. All the time. On everything.

          And when he buys something, he aims at paying 25% of what would be expected for a normal price…

  • Mr. Frugal Toque January 8, 2012, 9:38 pm

    That is truly awesome.

    The odd thing for me is that I’ve been reading your stuff from the beginning and I never had trouble believing that you were pulling it off.

    Sure, as a Canadian I wondered about how you were handling health care and other details, but it never occurred to me that you were a LYING PROSTITUTE or a JERK WITH RICH PARENTS lording it the less fortunate. (JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE KIDS!!!!1!!).

    More power to you. The more people hear this message, the more people will take heed and get off the disaster train. It’s unlikely we can shut that rail line down for good, but there’s always room for improvement and no good reason not to try.

    Oh, and there’s one thing my dad noticed:
    In one comment, there’s a guy babbling about how you had to go to the U.S. because Canadian taxes made it impossible.
    In a nearby comment, another guy is complaining that you must be lying because health insurance in the U.S. is going to bankrupt you.

    One way or the other Complainypantses. You can’t have your Consumerist rationalizations contradict each other.

    • MMM January 8, 2012, 11:18 pm

      Thanks Mr. Frugal Toque,

      I can tell you really put some strong feeling into that comment, because you were typing so vigorously that a number 1 snuck in amongst the exclamation points.

      • Mr. Frugal Toque January 9, 2012, 6:21 am

        When I quote ignorant people, I prefer to maintain their spelling and grammar for the sake of authenticity. When you see a phrase like the following, you might find it confusing:

        “Children are a soul crushing expense on your budget!”

        But then we quote the phrase in its original form:

        “Children are a sole CRUSHING expenss on you’re buget!!!!1”

        It becomes a lot clearer that the writer is, at the very least, in such a state of wrath that he failed to notice the red wiggly lines under his words and the un-shifted exclamation point at the end of his sentence.

      • NatPatBen September 23, 2014, 9:40 pm

        I’ve been reading all of the posts since the beginning for the past few weeks. This is probably the first comment that had me actually laugh out loud. I will make it a point to use wording similar to this when reading certain creative grammar on Facebook.

  • marven January 8, 2012, 9:44 pm

    I first noticed that MSN had mentioned you sometime in the middle of last week. At first, I actually didn’t even realize what it was that I was actually reading, then I started getting the feeling that I’d read it before at some point. After finally figuring it out, I ventured into the comment section while it was still rather young to find that two and a half complainypants had already arrived. At the same time, I’m sure a good amount of people definitely had their eyes opened and/or a clearer goal defined for them. I dare say that you as MMM are the epitome of the American Dream–which of course isn’t to get a good job and buy a house but to be able to live without worry.

  • Jaketucson January 9, 2012, 12:07 am

    Like many others, recently found your blog from the MSN article. Started from the beginning and am about halfway through May 2011. Hope you don’t mind yet another “Thank you for the punch in the face.” After college I spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (basically a Catholic domestic Peace Corps) and one of their values is Simple Living, which dovetails with a lot of what you write about here. Frugality, examination of true needs vs. wants, awareness of consumption in relation to the rest of the world, intentional choices, etc. I’m now 34, married, two kids, and not quite at the same starting point as you income-wise but I’m with you on the philosophy behind it all. We have been able to reduce our debt to only a mortgage and my wife’s student loan. It’s taken some discipline as my wife works half-time and I work slightly less than full-time because we want to raise our kids ourselves. Almost all additional income that would be gained from two full-time jobs would go to daycare, so it was a no-brainer for us. A little luck was also helpful–won a $16k windfall on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It was amazing how much flack I got over putting almost all of that money to ridding ourselves of debt. We got rid of two car loans and our credit card debt. The cash flow that was freed up allowed us to really pump up our emergency fund. Then…stagnation for the past few years. This blog has sparked some great conversations with my wife and we’ve been re-evaluating everything we’re doing. Re-directing money to better use in the long-term, finding little pockets of waste and inefficiency, etc (kicked cable tv in the ass on it’s way out the door). Sorry for the long comment, but I appreciate all the other commenters who have shared their story and find it inspiring that even though there are so many differences in the stories, it’s proof that anyone can do this if they are serious about it, no matter their starting point.

  • Mercedes January 9, 2012, 5:32 am

    I am a new reader brought her from the MSN article. I am currently reading your blog from post one (I’ll probably read some comments, but most likely not all). Can’t wait to see what kind of content you have on here!

  • AGil January 9, 2012, 6:59 am

    It’s almost disturbing. MSN Money is in my opinion the frugality training wheels for most people. They read the section to improve their finances by exploring others ideas on frugality. When presented with the holly grail, they are immediately angered and rationalize their consumerist ways that landed them at the web site int he first place. Wouldn’t it be far more rational and self serving to reply with – “Thanks MMM for the punch in the face.”

    • Kira September 18, 2014, 5:31 pm

      There seems to be a tiered progression for many people on the path towards Mustashianism — I doubt most people in the U.S. will ever make it past Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman (if they even make it that far). Although, I may have a little more faith in young 20-somethings because they seem to be doing well at avoiding debt (based on some random statistic I read online the other day, as well as my knowledge of a few people in that age bracket).

  • firefighterjeff January 9, 2012, 8:20 am

    What you should do is follow-up with the complainey-pants article for all of the haters out there. Imagine the comments after that one! They might have to put you guys in protective custody.

  • Steve January 9, 2012, 9:31 am

    Look at this guy’s guns, he can’t be a computer geek!! I love some of those comments.

    Anyway, I’m actually surprised that the number of complainy-pants is only 38%. Let’s face it, not pursuing a culture of consuming for the sake of consumption is anti-most-everything-they-preach-in-these-days. Like an alcoholic addicted to the drink, most folks have to go down and hit rock bottom before they wake up and say, “Hey I’ve bought all the stuff they said I should buy. How come I’m not finished/complete/happy?”

  • FreeUrChains January 9, 2012, 11:21 am

    For entertainment purposes i go to Big Websites like MSN and Yahoo’s Personal Finance Articles.

    They and many consumer “Financial Advisers” advice the same things about how you need $6-8Million in your 401k account to retire.

    HA! But unfortunately they mostly filter out the mustachian Truth of Happiness and that’s not having to be or wanting to be a consumer worker slave. (so they can get more 3rd party profits.)

  • Will January 9, 2012, 11:50 am

    The amount of hyperbolic complaineypantsing on MSN is laughable. I really am amazed that people feel like it is impossible to repeat this. No matter how much evidence you show someone to the contrary they will dig deep within to find some sort of confirmation bias that will continue to lock them into the prison that they have built for themselves.

    Thanks for the blog MMM, the non-complaineypants among us appreciate it!

  • Maura January 9, 2012, 8:51 pm

    To give MSN personal finance credit, they have run articles about frugal living over the years. i remenber on article about a couple in Silicon Valley that lived in a condo with only one car, so all their co-workers thought they were really poor. They were able to “retire” (i.e. take their savings, move to a less expensive area and work in jobs they liked) after a few years.

    Why do all the complainypants think it is IMPOSSIBLE!!! to live frugally? Our parents (for my generation at least) raised a passle of kids (7) in a home about 1500 sq ft and only had one car and Mom stayed home. She worked- just raising us kids! They did not waste money on magazines, beauty salons, lattes, SUVs, or McMansions. My dad bought most of his cars used. It is still possible to be happy living that way so you can save money. And having savings makes you feel relaxed instead of stressed that you might not be able to pay for a car repair, or worse, your rent if you lost your job.

  • marven January 9, 2012, 10:05 pm

    I think the underlying issue that has been exposed is the notion of what “retirement” actually means. I suspect that the cause of half of the commotion over on MSN is the assumption that the MMM family will now crisscross the country weekly in a giant RV visiting children, going to graduations, and catching up with old buddies–because that is what is fed to the people as retirement. Their concept of retirement does not include the possibility that MMM may very well do as he’s mentioned he does and work odd jobs here and there, which could obviously add some big boosts. Their concept also sees the stock market as a growth vehicle, where the traditional wisdom is to aggressively invest in growth stocks while young, then trend more conservative into bonds and cash later in life. Not many look at the stock market to just provide a steady income through dividends instead. However, the biggest difference in retirement thinking is that they simply have not considered the possibility and/or the effect of living with low expenses and no debt. Once one realizes that a quality lifestyle can be had w/o having to expense $100k/year, retirement becomes easier to reach. (On a related note, when one realizes that a substantial portion of their expenses can be covered by dividends, even if they do expense $100k/year, it also changes the idea.) However, it still assumes the traditional notion of retirement = being lazy at home.

  • Chris January 9, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Wow… I read a couple pages of those comments. They aren’t Complainypants, they are straight up Douche Rockets. People are fucking idiots, don’t sweat ’em… keep on keepin’ on, brutha stache.

  • Matt G January 10, 2012, 1:22 pm

    I love the comments along the lines of, “MMM couldn’t do this with my life. Car payments and insurance on my four SUV’s costs too much.” Um, yup.

    • MMM January 10, 2012, 1:43 pm

      There were so many great comments that I ended up saving them ALL (14 full-page cut/pastes) into a big document for future mining.

      I believe that four-vehicle guy also said it would be impossible for me to be a contractor with a Ford Probe (which I said right in the article that I sold years earlier), and in the “Colorado winters” (dry streets and sunny skies, just got back from biking home from the grocery store in a t-shirt). Others said it was implausible that I built houses because you need a contractor license to do it (which is correct, luckily I was smart enough to pass the test).

      It’s not the lack of knowledge that makes these people so fun to make fun of – it’s the proud and confident voices with which they make their totally incorrect statements. Sometimes the smartest thing you can say is, “I don’t know much about that topic”.

      • Matt G January 10, 2012, 2:01 pm

        Yeah, these Colorado winters are pretty tough for a driver, especially someone who was spoiled by the driver’s paradise that is Toronto in January.

        • Chris January 10, 2012, 6:06 pm

          Today’s 60F sunny day was especially heinous. :)

  • JaneMD January 12, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Does it go “Lies, damn lies, and statistics?” I wonder what statistical value a thumbs up versus a thumbs down has.

    As ever, our culture celebrates consumerism and people lack the interest to look at articles that have real descriptive titles. I bet your comments would have been different if they titled it “How one man saved money and used it to quit his corporate job so he can be a part-time property manager and live on his savings’ dividends by age 30.”

  • Kay January 14, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Those comments don’t surprise me in the least. When people are faced with something they can’t cope with, they will deny, deny, deny. Oh well, we can’t all be winners.

  • Solon October 29, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Disappointed the article is no longer available on MSN. Did anybody archive the comments? This post makes me want to read them!

  • Shfarmgirl November 9, 2017, 12:33 pm

    I’m not very religious, but didn’t the complainypantses do the same thing to Jesus? You speak the light MMM. They’re just not ready for it and trying to crucify your work. Keep it up, you’ve started a new religion lol! I love being part of the choir listening to your straight up no bullshit preaching


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