In early 2018, a friend and I were talking about money.
We hadn't seen each other for a while and for some reason we were discussing how to handle various aspects of personal finance. He mentioned something about credit cards, and at the time I had been following Dave Ramsey for a few years.
If you know anything about itDavid Ramsey, you know credit cards are out of the question if you follow his steps. So I mentioned to my friend that I had closed all of my credit card accounts and we went back and forth a bit on the subject. At some point in the middle of the conversation he asked me if I had ever heard of Mr. Money Mustache.
Up to this point in my life I had only heard from two personal finance gurus –David Ramseyand Clark Howard. I'm the type of person who will do a little research on a topic, pick something I like, and then stick with my choice until something else might smack me in the face. I have to break this habit.
Clark Howardis a pretty good financial leader, but he hasn't set up a system for people to follow. Dave Ramsey is the opposite. You get 7 baby steps, and you stick to those 7 steps for life. Since Dave had a clearer path to follow, I settled on him over Clark, essentially ruling out all other information on the topicpersonal finance.
After being on the 7 baby steps plan for a few years, I got a little tired of them. You can learn everything you need to know about Dave Ramsey's steps with a few hours of research.
Be a little careful listeningDave Ramsey's baby stepsover and over again when my friend mentioned Mr. Money Mustache and how he had itto retire at age 30, it piqued my interest.
Bye-Bye Dave, Hello Mr. Money Mustache!
My personality type is tidy, so I like being organized and starting things from scratch. Although Mr. Money Mustache's blog had nearly 500 articles when I first landed on the site, I was starting at the very beginning.
It didn't take long for me to be drawn into Mr. Money Mustache's writing style and within a few months I was devouring every single post on his site.
This was what I was looking for. Someone who had all the answers financially. Someone to fill in any gaps Dave Ramsey leaves you.
If someone is retiring comfortably at 30 and not with a lottery win, I guess you should hear what they have to say about money.
So I became something of a Mr. Money Mustache fanboy (or, as he would call it, a mustachian). I started trying to optimize our finances as much as possible and started oneeBay businessto get more income.
Mr. Money Mustache and the Pursuit of Happiness
Having read every single post Mr. Money Mustache has ever written and been indoctrinated into the Mustachian philosophy, I notice a recurring theme throughout the blog. Money is not really the focus. Optimizing your life for health and happiness is.
If you just read the contents of Mr. Money Mustache and take him at face value, you would think that he is a big miser who revolves his life around saving a dollar.
However, you would be wrong. Becausehedonic adaptationBuying things only brings temporary happiness that goes away once the "new" feeling wears off.
Mr. Money Mustache teaches that to find lasting happiness one should invest more in health, relationships, and difficulties.
Those three things certainly sound like they care longer than happinessbuy a new pair of shoes.
Judging from his internet presence (which is my only guide), I would say that he has achieved his goal of happiness as well as anyone could hope. He really comes across as someone in control of life.
After reading all of the posts, I had created in my mind an image of the Mustache household (he, his wife and child) as the perfect little family who were probably far happier than the average American family.
Mr. Money Mustache Divorce Notice
Ende 2018 Mr. Money Moustachepublished an articlethat blew my mind. He and his wife had divorced.
When I heard the news, I thought to myself, "How did this happen?" How could a couple break up when everything seemed so perfect on paper? Also, Mr. Money Mustache always writes about embracing adversity. What's harder than a rocky marriage?
So the news hit me pretty hard. The article didn't go into the details, so I have no idea what actually led to the breakup.
Looking back on things, I realize my surprise was just a case of naivety. No one is 100% safe from divorce. Really, all of us who don't know the Mustache family personally have no idea what their lives are really like.
When I first started drinking the Mustache Kool-Aid, I wasn't following a real person; I followed the projected thoughts of a real person. Even if you read the most transparent of us bloggers,You still get a polished version of reality. The fact that we choose what we write confirms that we are creating something that is not 100% real.
Does Divorce Discredit Someone's Counsel?
Place,no. While I was initially surprised to hear that the king of life optimization was divorced, that doesn't mean his money advice is any less valid.
Mr. Money Mustache talks about many other things besides money on his blog, but I've never visited his site to look for relationship advice. I read his posts to be inspired by the art of thrift because he takeslive frugallyto the next level.
I can't say I found anything on Mr. Money Mustache's website that I would consider bad money advice. If you want to befinancially independantAt a young age, the path of Mustachianism is one of the quickest ways to get rich I've ever heard of.
Should happiness be our aim in life?
I have great respect for the writings of Mr. Money Mustache and think he is a great person to follow when it comes to money advice. However, I find myself turning away from him when it comes to life goals. I'm afraid I have to disagree with him when he says that luck should benumber one in life.
Jordan Petersonmakes a pretty strong argument against happiness as a goal in life:
"It's all well and good to think the meaning of life is happiness, but what happens when you're unhappy? Luck is a great side effect. When it comes, accept it gratefully. But it's fleeting and unpredictable. It's not something to aim for - because it's not a goal. And if happiness is the meaning of life, what happens when you're unhappy? Then you are a failure. And maybe a suicidal failure. Happiness is like cotton candy. It just won't work.” – Jordan Peterson
This is a much more articulate argument than I could have come up with on my own, but I lean more towards Peterson's idea than Mr. Money Mustache. Happiness just doesn't seem like a permanent thing, so why should we make it our mission to achieve it?
I'm certainly not a divorce or marriage expert, and for all I know, I might get divorced myself one day. Any couple can. Sometimes divorce is probably the right option.
It seems to me that there is a high correlation between divorced people and people who aim for happiness as their number one goal. When luck goes, so does the relationship.
But what about the meaning?
Happiness can come and go, but you can always find meaning in your life. When meaning is your drive, you still have something to focus on when happiness is lacking. And the best part about having purpose as your primary pursuit is that happiness can always come back when you don't have it.
When love puts someone else's happiness above your own, and happiness is a selfish pursuit, happiness doesn't seem like the best marriage goal.
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Nathan has been a Personal Finance Writer since early 2018. He and his wife made a fortune of 100,000 by the age of 25 and are on their way to financial independence. His preferred way of making money is selling things on eBay, and his eBay business has grown to a five-figure turnover from part-time sales. He loves to share his finance insights and any eBay tips he comes across. If you're interested in becoming an eBay seller, check out hisReseller Facebook Group.