Some readers might be awed about the amount of things I know (wishful thinking on my part?) or perplexed by the (somewhat extreme?) views that I adopt when writing some of my blog posts. If you are what you eat, it isn’t that far-fetched to believe that a man’s writing is heavily influenced by his reading. And just like many of you here, I am also a big fan of some blogs.
Earlier this year, I had stumbled onto these three sites which have really intrigued me and I became a keen follower of all three blogs. They have inspired me to start a blog, re-evaluate my life and gave a purpose to my savings and investments.
By giving you a brief description here (actually I prepared really long for this post and even postponed publishing it several times in order to do more justice to these amazing blogs), I am hoping to reduce the barriers for you to go over and take a look (just click on the many links below).
I am pretty certain that if you liked what I have written so far, you would not be disappointed.
1. Early Retirement Extreme (www.earlyretirementextreme.com)
Early Retirement Extreme is a blog started by Jacob Fisker in 2007. He retired after 5 years of work. And no, it’s not because he started an internet business and sold it away for millions. In fact, he worked as a physics research assistant earning about $40,000-$60,000 a year and accumulated more than $200,000 in those 5 years to achieve Financial Independence (FI).
“Wait a second! To accumulate $200,000 on those salaries means a savings rate of >75%?! And how can he reach FI with such a small sum of $200,000?!”
So yeah, that’s where the extreme part comes in. This guy went through a few years spending only $7,000 a year! That amount would only get the 15 HWW household through 2 months! Now, you can probably understand why when I say there’s plenty of fat to be trimmed in our monthly budget. =)
Jacob’s lifestyle/achievements are ideals for me to strive for and even though some of his tactics (the warrior diet and freezing a week’s portion of food) seem to be beyond my current appetite and ability, it’s really about embracing his spirit and original ideas. Same direction but just a difference in degree?
ERE is not just a blog. There’s also a wiki and a book*. The book is a personal favourite of mine and his analysis of our current consumer society and system hits the jackpot! This guy doesn’t provide a laundry list of money saving tips. (Since it can be easily googled?) Instead, he puts forward a coherent argument/strategy to persuade us to abandon the consumer mindset and lifestyle to achieve financial independence early.
2. Mr Money Mustache (www.mrmoneymustache.com)
Mr Money Mustache sings a similar but slightly less extreme tune compared to ERE. Which is quite understandable since Pete and his wife have a kid, and earned about twice as much as Jacob in Pete’s previous life as a programmer. The MMM household saved 65% of their income and retired after 8-9 years at the age of around 30?!
If Jacob was Bruce Lee, then MMM could be considered Jackie Chan as he has carried the early retirement torch left behind by ERE (after Jacob took up a job as a quant trader/researcher) and delivered the same message to a much bigger audience. As a testament to his popularity, he was even mentioned in our local papers by Jonathan Kwok in a Sunday Times article.
Instead of the technical/mathematical nature that is a trademark of Jacob’s writing, MMM’s posts are injected with a huge dose of more light-hearted humour, badassity and face punches. It also helps that an expenditure within $30k a year is also much more achievable and appealing to the masses. Living in a house (as compared to a RV) also signals a lifestyle that is closer to middle-class too.
His articles are comprehensive (>1,000 words most of the time?), well-written and an enjoyable read. I devoured the achives within a few weeks! I am also not ashamed to admit that I do try to model after his posts sometimes. Heck, afterall he was the one who gave me a push to start my own blog with this post.
3. Raptitute (www.raptitude.com)
Unlike the two bloggers above, David Cain’s main focus when he started his blog wasn’t about money, and it still isn’t. If my assessment and memory doesn’t fail me, David is a smart, shy guy with plenty of insecurities (at least in his younger days) and I can strongly identify with him as he explores some of his personal stories to try to gain insights on how to become better at being human.
And recently, he has befriended Mr Money Mustache and started writing more blog posts indicating his displeasure with work and also exploring the option of an early retirement and away from the daily drudgery of “work”. He finally did it in October and his time will now be spent doing what he loves: write.
And boy, can he write. Most of his articles deserve to be archived in my personal reading folder for future reference as he explores a wide range of topics from learning what humans are not good at to themes like moving away from conformity and convention and other human limitations. “Thought-provocating” is an understatement.
*The book’s title is Early Retirement Extreme and surprisingly, it’s available in our local libraries too. It’s actually easier to borrow it than to buy and I have read it at least 4 times in the past half a year.