A brief introduction before we begin: Mr. Money Mustache is arguably one of the biggest names in the FIRE sphere. He retired at the age of 33 and has been writing his blog for the last 6 years. You can find him at www.mrmoneymustache.com.
Mr. Money Mustache, or as I and many others know him, Pete, is in the top 5 of most influential people in my life. Right up there with my favorite teachers, Girl Scout leaders and camp counselors, and former managers.
I first found Pete's blog sometime around my junior year of college (2011-2012 ish). To say it immediately blew my mind is a very mild understatement.
He literally changed the course of my entire life for the better.
If I hadn't found his site, chances are I wouldn't have stumbled across this financial independence world until much later. Who knows how many dumb mistakes I would've made before that!
I met Pete in the very-tanned-flesh for the first time at my first Chautauqua. You can read the linked post above for a quick over view of why the trip was so amazing, and get a small inkling of the reasons I'm eagerly awaiting this year's Chautauqua!
He was a big part of why I enjoyed the trip so much. Everyone who goes on the trip gets a one-on-one with one of the “Big Bloggers/Speakers”. Mine was with Pete. We went over all my financials, talked about future plans and what I should do in a few different scenarios, and then spent the rest of the time gossiping like little old ladies about various things in life.
I was a little over 2 years into my FI life at that point. Having someone, let alone Mr. Money Mustache himself, review my finances and help me plan for the future was HUGE. It was all the validation I needed and more to keep going with this crazy financial independence idea.
He has impacted so many different aspects of my life that I'm not sure I can list them all [but of course I'm going to give it a shot anyways]. Note that these all fall under the blanket of things I'm doing to work towards early retirement.
I was heavily influenced to live close to work to lessen the costs of gas, maintenance, and wear and tear on the car. I have picked out housing for 4 different locations now, and none of them were further than 3 miles away from the office, with the exception of my current place but we'll cover that later. Why would I live so close to work? So I can bike there!
I have a beautiful Cannondale Quick bicycle. Her name is Jacqueline, or Jack for short since you know, Jack be nimble, Jack be Quick! Hah puns are the best. I rode my bike to the gym, to work, and even over to the nearby state park to run instead of driving over there. I probably wouldn't have done so without his guidance and examples that it can actually be done.
That whole “ride my bike to the state park” thing was another way I was influenced. Why pay for a gym membership to run on a treadmill when I have a thickly wooded, rolling 208 acre tract of land to run around for free? Now that I no longer live there, I instead bike up to the nearby outdoor fitness set at the park and work out there.
Seeing his posts on all the work he's done to his house, other people's houses, and his backyard studio inspires me to do my own handiwork. With my house being old, there's a lot of work to be done on it! Unfortunately it's not in the best shape, so I'm paying other people to get it back into good shape and then I will maintain it from there. This one might actually be more of a wash at this point.
My practical self bought my 2005 Pontiac Vibe even before I knew it was listed on Pete's Top 10 Cars List. It goes to show you, though, how Pete's philosophy on life enhances my view on life. If I hadn't found his site chances are high I would've bought a new car 1 or 2 years after graduation, instead of keeping my trusty car for as long as is practical. I've also done a lot of DIY maintenance on the car whereas before I would've just left it at a shop and paid someone else to do it. YouTube is a wonderful thing!
I think that about concludes the list of things I've changed in my life because of his influence.
Pete's unique take on FI is known as Mustachianism. It goes from people who use it in some areas, like me, to people who live and breathe everything he says. Those on the latter end of the scale can be more than a bit fanatical. (Some people- including Pete- joke he's created a cult). The vast majority of Mustachians I've met in real life have been very cool, very interesting, and very laid back.
Not so much in the comments of his articles.
Good thing I was ready for it!
It became readily apparent after reading his latest article Houston Attorney Thrives on Doing the Impossible – Daily that there are still some things I disagree on.
I am a huge fan of AC. Stepping inside a cool NOT COLD house is the best feeling on a day that is 98 degrees with 90 percent humidity for a heat index well into the hundreds. Fun random fact, the dew point in the Midwest gets pushed up several degrees by all the corn drying out later in the summer. I learned that a few years ago and it totally made sense.
Anyways, my point is, it's gets gross around here. I literally cannot sleep sometimes without AC. I'm not a Stoic by any means. I appreciate being able to continue my life in cool comfort during the apex of the summer.
Same goes for AC in the car, minus the sleeping thing. Having your window down on the interstate at 70+ mph is a sure way to go deaf.
“Wait wasn't this further up?” Yep.
Funny how you can agree and disagree on a point. One of Pete's catch phrases is “clown cars”. He does not like it when people drive.
My response? Too damn bad.
I live approximately 12 miles from work. I can get there in roughly 20 minutes driving my air conditioned car. The route to bike to work is roughly 14 miles long, covers nearly 300 feet of elevation drops AND gains, and would take well over an hour.
Part of the bike route is on a bike path….. but that's if it's not flooded or closed due to a major road construction project happening over it.
My job is also something that prevents me from biking. I go where my users are, and that means if they're doing something offsite, chances are I am too. Which means traveling from one location to another. Not something they're willing to let me take so much time for, and not something I want to do attired in professional clothing in weather that could range from -10 plus windchill to 100+ degrees.
Mr. Money Mustache lives in a temperate area of Colorado. It's usually very dry, sunny, and doesn't get too cold in the winter despite having a mountain range in his figurative backyard. If they do get snow, it's gone a few short days later.
Us sorry schmucks that live in the Midwest often have snow linger around the entire winter. We can go an entire week without seeing the sun due to snow/rain/general gloom.
“Gwen why don't you just move closer to work so you can ride your bike?”
I live and work in two different states. One of the states is a financial mess with high taxes. I save more by living in the other state and driving in every day than I could if I lived close and biked in.
“So….. where does this leave you now?”
It leaves me unashamedly driving to work everyday.
When I finish up this chapter of my life, I will be sure to move to a walkable area with better weather.
Until then, I'll continue to be a “complainy-pants, ‘soggy' Millennial”!
To those of you who reached out after seeing the comment section of MMM's article, I really appreciate the words of support! It's nice to know I'm not alone in this arena! 🙂
Are you a bad Mustachian? Let me know in the comments!
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