- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mujica
You need to sell yourself a broken bit of goods(that you will see that dawn) every real morning.
We are quite good at local min-max because there is no global one.
Despite your best efforts you will fail, falter and struggle. And sometimes, without doing anything at all you will win a lot.
The best case scenario for people would be to have the failure stages early in life and success later so that one can have the maturity to handle things, save up and retire with new acquired wisdom from failure. The worst would be to have early success then failure all life.
Regardless you just have to keep trying.
So it's like if one of the Kennedys decided to eschew fancy living and live as an ascetic/hermit on a shack in Martha's Vineyard, is he poor?
Also, Mujica might not be interested in wealth but he's VERY power-hungry... And he left a huge mess after his presidency, and didn't address the issues I was hoping he would address (for instance, homeless people quadrupled). Misguided people with lofty goals can sometimes do more harm than good :(
For example, about a year ago: http://thehill.com/homenews/news/331788-obamas-donating-2m-t...
It is clearly a scam where he donates $X then quietly steals a multiple of it.
I too wish I could set my travel plans then charge the government.
That right there covers his salary "donations" for 8 years.
Now... I don't believe this is what's happening.
The executive branch does not have the power of appropriation, that duty is handled by congress. The president does submit a budget request to congress, and signs or vetoes each distinct appropriation bill that congress passes.
Increases or decreases of a department's budget can not be unilaterally seen as good or bad. What taxpayers should be most concerned about is the impact that the spending is having not the dollar amount spent. (Plato taught Socrates on a rock) You need to look at trends over time and the specifics of the budget to see if increases or decreases in spending are justified. For example the department of education's budget was 73.3 billion dollars in 2010. In 2014 that figure was 40.8 billion. In 2018 it will be 66.9 billion. At the surface those swings seem quite surprising. You have to dig deeper to understand what really happened instead of taking them at face value.
The Washington post has an article exploring Trump's proposed 2019 budget. You can view that article here:
Edit: for anyone who feels this is unjustified, I would love to see links to charitable organizations confirming receipt of donations from the president or the Trump Organization. Direct from the charity, confirmation to reputable news organizations, responses in interviews, anything like that - I don't want things excluded on technicalities.
> It was, in large part, a facade. A months-long investigation by The Washington Post has not been able to verify many of Trump’s boasts about his philanthropy.
> Instead, throughout his life in the spotlight, whether as a businessman, television star or presidential candidate, The Post found that Trump had sought credit for charity he had not given — or had claimed other people’s giving as his own.
> Seventeen organizations listed on the Trump National website said that they could not find any record of a donation from the golf club.
I said “home comes” for way too long.
Politics is a minefield. In general, people are narrow-minded assholes. HN is no different.
“Politics is the art of marshalling hatred” Charlie Munger
Politics is very difficult because people are different and myopic and concerned for themselves, that is true. But that doesn’t mean people are assholes or full of hate, we just have different points of view. We’re physically incapable of not being self-centered, we don’t have a shared consciousness, so that will never change. Politics is the art of navigating many many legitimate and different and opposing points of view. If that turns into meting out hatred, then please please get out of politics.
BTW, here’s one actual study suggesting that people in general prefer optimism in politics. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/08/0...
"Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." - Ambrose Bierce (The Devil's Dictionary, 1911)
No need to look further than the $50m of political spending in 2017 by FAAG  for regulations that would serve their interests like tax reforms, with Google leading the pack with $18m.
The “real” purpose served by politicking? There’s no government at all without politics. Do you want no government, no shared values or resources, no services, no infrastructure, no community? What’s your ideal, and why is your ideal good for anyone other than you? (BTW, any answer to that question is political.)
“Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but often does carry a connotation of dishonest malpractice.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics
I have no doubt you can cherry pick some examples of bad politics. That’s irrelevant and uninteresting. I have no doubt you can find more examples of rich or famous people saying pessimistic things. Also uninteresting. There are plenty of optimistic quotes as well, and plenty of examples of expenditure on things that help people and generally do good. We spend a lot more than $50m on hospitals and roads and libraries and schools, just to name a few.
“We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong.” - Barack Obama
“When you get together in a group, it becomes like a family, with the different personalities and the politics that comes with being in a band. It’s different than bringing something in by yourself.” - Albert Hammond Jr.
“Man is by nature a political animal” - Aristotle
“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is you end up being governed by your inferiors” - Plato
“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics” - Hubert Humphrey
“I like to see myself as a bridge builder, that is me building bridges between people, between races, between cultures, between politics, trying to find common ground.” - T. D. Jakes
That's a pretty loaded statement that I disagree with because it presupposes that man has only being organizing his affairs for centuries when we both know that mankind has existed for thousands of years.
Anyway, there's a real risk of talking past each other, so I'll be upfront by saying that government can be totally independent of politics -- politics is merely a means to an end and that end is governance.
How did mankind manage its affairs prior to politicking and modern-day electoral contests (democracy)?
Monarchies . What I believe you are arguing for via politicking is representative leadership , which only became a thing in the 17th century.
I'm not sure what assumptions you're making here. Governance and politics have both existed for many many millennia, roughly as long as language has existed I'd wager.
> I'll be upfront by saying that government can be totally independent of politics
I disagree completely. The definition of the word politics is activities associated with governance. That was my point above. You're choosing to focus on a narrow and negative interpretation, and not the primary meaning of the word.
the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area
the activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries.
the academic study of government and the state.
> How did mankind manage its affairs prior to politicking?
There is no such thing, and there never was. Politicking is the word for persuading others to join together to achieve things not possible as individuals.
I acknowledge that politicking is sometimes also used to mean grift and power grabbing and other things. But using it that way is a choice, and it doesn't represent all possible politics. In my opinion, it also doesn't represent anything close to a majority of politics either. Most politics that occur are necessary and benign or good, and only a minority are the type you're worried about.
> Just before she retired, Mr. Hyams said he saw the 96-year-old Ms. Bloom trudging out of the subway and headed to work in the middle of a fierce snowstorm. “I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ and she said, ‘Why, where should I be?’” he recalled.
It reminds me of a favorite bit from "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones":
> Hyakujo, the Chinese Zen master, used to labor with his pupils even at the age of eighty, trimming the gardens, cleaning the grounds, and pruning the trees.
> The pupils felt sorry to see the old teacher working so hard, but they knew he would not listen to their advice to stop, so they hid away his tools.
> That day the master did not eat. The next day he did not eat, nor the next. "He may be angry because we have hidden his tools," the pupils surmised. "We had better put them back."
> The day they did, the teacher worked and ate the same as before. In the evening he instructed them: "No work, no food."
As wpietri commented: The point is that the teacher refused to be put on a pedestal.
The teacher was referring to his position within the monastic community, not making a general rule of not feeding the hungry unless they work.
On the contrary, Zen (and Buddhism in general) always emphasized unconditional and selfless compassion.
Even in the same book, there are plenty of other stories that make different but complimentary points. E.g., "The Stingy Artist": http://www.ashidakim.com/zenkoans/47thestingyartist.html
Or the one about the Zen master and a thief who tries to rob him: http://www.ashidakim.com/zenkoans/44thethiefwhobecameadiscip...
This might not be the one you're looking for?
And if you want to use the bible as a justification for not feeding those who don't work... Matthew 6:36? Matthew 25:35? Isaiah 58:10?
Or let's go with the canoncial James 2:14-18, What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
There is context for it, and I don't consider it an indictment of Christianity, but pretending it's not in there doesn't help your credibility.
If you know of an interpretation of this including the context you refer to, I'd appreciate a pointer very much.
Verse 15 hints at how you might want to interpret these verses as compared to the references you cited: "Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers." You see, a Christian has rather different conduct when he is dealing with a believer or a non-believer. If someone is your brother in Christ, it's ok to be a little hard on him. Same way you have the right to be a little harder on your own family members than I would. It's all supposed to be done in love, of course.
Hope that helps.
Awesome old guy on youtube making old school italian pasta sauce.
Isn't this very contrary to the belief that people shouldn't have to work for their basic necessities?
There is also a long-running train of thought that work is essential to the human character and that without it we decay into aimlessness.
We can sort of see it with very rich people. They do stuff even though for many of them their activity adds peanuts to their existing fortune. I'm not talking about the hyper-active, super-ambitious types.
We have enough major world wide problems they could tackle. And I am not just talking about charity - that is just passing the buck at most.
Zen also has a long tradition of mendicants monks. E.g.: https://tricycle.org/magazine/zen-and-art-begging/
The Buddha himself spent time living as a beggar: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha#Renunciation_an...
And of course there's a long tradition of charity and caring in Zen that runs to this day. For example, San Francisco's Zen Hospice: https://www.zenhospice.org/about/our-values
As he got older and was less able to work his ability would diminish and his need would remain static.
So his pupils would need to work to feed him, but he showed willing to do what little he could, thus fulfilling a social contract / fairness need.
Remember that Zen likes to confuse people with logic to achieve better understanding.
(It also attacks defining people by their occupation a few times.)
1. Donate (50) years from now: our investments will grow substantially on a compounded basis, and we'll give much more in dollars, even after adjusting for inflation
2. Donate now: we'll give much less, but -if donated to the right causes- the beneficiaries will see compounded benefits. E.g. this lady helped educate beneficiaries via college scholarships, and these beneficiaries will benefit from that education throughout their lifetime, from today till (50) years from now, with increased pay. (If a college scholarship seems to necessitate only big donations, and you can't imagine fractional scholarships being useful, imagine smaller donations for buying books for poor kids, etc)
I don't know the answer myself, and sincerely could use debate here.
And, considering how expensive that might be, I'm not quite sure you'll have anything left for charity. I know I won't.
Certainly I could not tell a potential beneficiary to their face that I'm saving the money for the unlikely possibility that I need it myself, but it's fine because if it is too late for them by the time I donate I will probably be able to help someone else just as much or more at that time.
Along that same line of thinking: if my siblings desperately needed financial help and I could afford to give it to them, I would surely not keep the money out of a desire to have more later that I could give to my nieces and nephews.
A stunning failure of imagination.
It really is a lot easier to deploy $10M in capital than $100B. $10M means that organizations that do good work and otherwise couldn't exist now can exist. $100B just means that everyone working in an area tangentially related to the benefactor's interests takes home fat salaries.
(My wife manages about $180M for a foundation, which is just about the sweet spot: enough to fund several organizations that wouldn't otherwise exist, but not enough to distort markets or incentivize people towards bureaucracy.)
I think the OP meant that $130B could be given to a lot of good causes in small chunks rather than all 130B to one small org.
$130B is 13,000 $10M chunks. No single person can find, vet, decide upon, and measure progress for 13,000 small organizations. That means you have to hire a staff to manage and give away the money. A staff means that a.) it's not your imagination that matters b.) money is allocated via horse-trading among the people who have been hired to manage the money and c.) suddenly you have a strong incentive for potential recipients to game the system and focus on making things look good for donors rather than providing the services to the ultimate beneficiaries. Organizations that previously were all about the mission become focused on the money, because there's a lot of it available and they're competing with lots of other organizations for it.
As others have pointed out, Bezos has already got one organization which distributes money to relatively poor and needy people called Amazon, just one which happens to be known for its lack of generosity in doing so. It's also a demonstration that a sufficiently motivated Jeff Bezos is very, very good at devising ways to allocate resources amongst huge numbers of competing needs...
Moreover I guess that economies of scale are not so significant after a certain point. I would prefer five different 100B foundations, rather than a 500B one, to encourage diversity in the donation strategy and goals.
He's 54 years old and has gained $104 billion in new paper wealth in the last three years. I'd rather he get his philanthropy right - assuming the wealth sticks around at all, given Amazon's valuation - instead of hurrying and dumping billions into poor decisions that accomplish little. If he perhaps has 30 years to give tens of billions to social charity efforts, then patience and prudence is called for.
First off, how about not maximizing the profit from Amazon for himself and for speculative shareholders and increasing worker salaries instead?
Second, how about keeping prices as low as possible for consumers? They made record profits, and multiple X of what Amazon made like a couple of years ago, and yet they still increased Prime subscription prices, for instance.
But Bezos could also lower his company's commissions and increase commissions for affiliates (which I think were also lowered like a year ago), as another example.
There are so many more ways in which Bezos could "do good", without "having" to make billions of profits himself and his shareholders. So either he really lacks the imagination to do stuff like that, or he's just using that reason as an excuse to seem like there's no other option than for him to make so much money, because in reality he loves making all of that money for himself. But he likes to pretend he doesn't and that he would "do more" if he could.
I really don't believe in this whole thing of "pleasing shareholders at all costs, and bottom-feeding on the poor (both regular workers and consumers) as much as possible to do that." Also, Bezos himself used to believe that pleasing shareholders didn't have to be the company's #1 priority for a decade and a half, even if his reason then wasn't "to do good" but "grow as much as possible first".
I'm not sure what is happening lately, but there is a clear trend of corporations bottomfeeding more and more and squeezing all the money from the bottom up. My guess is it's a combination of increased corruption in Congress and of "buying of politicians" (it has become much easier to do it), a failure of anti-trust laws and enforcement, allowing big companies to grow ever larger and have less competition, as well as increased corruption/greed at the top of these companies (their boards being more and more willing to compensate themselves and the top-level execs more and more every year, to the detriment of workers and consumers).
It would definitely be good for the warehouse workers who are being exploited at the moment. Do you think efficiency goes above all else?
> Why single out Amazon workers and affiliates though?
Because Amazon warehouse workers are being exploited by Amazon?
> What if he gave cash to, I don't know, all optometrists, or something?
Why do you bring up this straw man? Is there any relation between optometrists and Amazon?
> Eventually, it's just giving away money to someone.
No it isn't. He has built his fortune on the hard work of his employees. He could at least address the problems with their working conditions.
And why affiliates? The GP proposed giving money to internet advertisers. They are surely not the most deserving group of people on Earth.
Aren't those people paid close to minimum wage? People on minimum wage don't live in an utopia where they have all the freedom in the world to move around as they wish, unlike Silicon Valley employees being paid 200k per year.
I'd say Bezos has a lot of work to do on the "taking better care of his employees" front.
And regarding space travel at this point it's just an intellectual fetish based on reading/watching SF (and I'm a big fan of SF...). Except for the "single point of failure" thing, which hasn't truly been an issue for the last 65 million years, we should be fine on Earth for the next decades, at least.
Anyway, Musk's strategy in making space travel cheaper is a right one. Throwing more money at it directly is likely to result in inefficient solutions. It requires time and work add much as some money.
Setting up a Bezos space university would be a good start. And figuring out education without (much) bureaucracy and sinecures.
Space travel (especially long range) is interesting in that tackling it rewrites solving a whole lot of ancillary problems. Social, political, educational, biological, agricultural, physical etc.
This is not the case in many areas of the world, and particularly not in poor pockets within developed nations. There, the barriers to development often include things like: poor educational attainment; fucked-up incentive structures; lack of physical safety & security, unenforceable property rights (leading to fucked-up incentive structures); non-existent infrastructure.
Throw money at a bunch of people who know what they need to do better their lives and have the skills to do so, and you get economic development. Throw money at a bunch of people who have either no idea or no incentive to spend the money wisely, and the money trickles right back out again.
(This, BTW, mirrors the startup scene pretty well. Throw a few hundred million at Google, Slack, or GitHub and you get tools that help millions of people. Throw a few hundred million at Juicero, Klinkle, or Theranos and you get a clusterfuck.)
On the one hand I'd say they could create lots of jobs; things that do good but whose intent are not to optimize for profit. Bringing back mom & pop local stores for example.
For his own company, increase wages and working conditions. Of course, in that case it's not up to him, it's up to the shareholders and they do optimize for profit.
Charity wise, it'd have to be very carefully done. I think Bill Gates is on the right path, but he's still one of the richest people in the world so I don't think he's spending much of his personal fortune in charity - yet. Not in such a way that it impacts his personal fortune, in any case.
There's some charities that are bottomless pits though, e.g. aid to Africa as another commenter mentioned. That stuff will only work if you spend so much money, you'd basically buy a country and - forcefully - take over the government. For one, that would cost more money than the richest people in the world have - government scale money, which is still much higher than corporation scale money. Second, that's a pretty dystopian idea, where corporations own countries and armies and such.
Considering this, an investment in a promising technology sounds like a better deal.
Well targeted evidence-based philanthropy does really work. In addition to the challenges that you mentioned, there is also the hubris of imagining what people need rather than asking and working with them directly.
Being multi-planetary is linked to that - not as a plan B but imagine how much it will boost scientific research. Any kind of outside earth research may benefit Earth in the end.
Fighting poverty and hunger is of course noble efforts too (and they have worked). They can perfectly co-exist with space exploration.
For example, I believe memory foam was originally invented by NASA (or at least by researchers funded by NASA). Memory foam has improved the quality of life of many people including myself (I'm sitting on it right now!) but I don't believe that this is a good justification for researching space travel. Our money would be better spent by cutting out the middle man and directly researching things that will solve problems we know about on Earth.
That research will also have unforeseen applications much like research into space travel so we will still get those seemingly random benefits like Viagra being used for erectile dysfunction instead of whatever it was originally invented for.
I am simply not a believer that we should be investing money into things like putting humans on other planets. I don't believe that we need to spread out into the universe in case some kind of cosmic event destroys the Earth. I am perfectly okay with humanity going extinct in that case.
Sending rovers, satellites, and probes seems like a much better usage of money because they're a lot cheaper than trying to keep a human alive on Mars or any other planet. I am also okay with things like asteroid mining to get more resources to be used on Earth. That has a clear benefit.
The argument boils down to the observation that you want to invest things that tend to generate lots of transferable technology. In the history of mankind, the usual "technology generator" was war. But we want to avoid that. Space exploration seems to be a very nice alternative (incidentally, itself spawned by war).
But in my comment, I was trying to argue for two other benefits of space. One is, a lot of money in space sector goes towards "directly researching things that will solve problems we know about on Earth". Satellites are vital tool improving our daily lives at all scales - from GNSS systems like GPS, through emergency response (beacons, satellite phones), to weather prediction, farmland management, climate monitoring, etc. Even the missions looking at other celestial bodies are important for Earth. We got our first concept of global warming problems through studying Venus. Monitoring space weather is important for communications down on Earth. Etc.
The second thing though, is the long-term potential space opens up once we cross the threshold of establishing a functioning economy outside of Earth's atmosphere. More resources, cleaner manufacturing letting us fix up the environmental damage down here. Opening up to practically unlimited livable space. Yes, it's far off, but you can't get from here to there without going through the current space tech phase.
Instead of Yellowstone being a tiny patch of the Earth, expanding into the solar system will enable most of the Earth to be a nature preserve, while humans can be what we want to be.
There aren't even essentially infinite resources in the Universe. In less than 9000 years, at humanity's current growth rate of 1.1%, human bodies will contain all of the particles in the Universe. https://youtu.be/lpj0E0a0mlU?t=397
We absolutely will have to face the trade-off between population and resources at some point in our near (geologically instantaneous) future, whether on Earth, or in the Solar System, or in the Universe.
(Long before that, the speed of light will put a fundamental limit on population growth. Any positive exponential growth rate will cause an increase in the volume of human-occupied space to grow at a rate such that the growth of the diameter of our occupied space would have to grow faster than C. Usually, I was met with skepticism or blank stares.)
Do you mean that we won't face the problem of completely occupying the Universe with our bodies in 9k years? Or the problem of facing a trade-off between reproduction and resources? If it's the latter, we most definitely will, and already are. I mean, the tautological answer that is actually informative is that we are already in the Solar System. We're already playing the reproduction/resource game and demonstrating our competency at it as a species. It's not looking too good, so far.
I don't understand what your comment is meant to accomplish? Is it to say that we shouldn't fix global warming? Is it to say that we should only consider leaving the planet?
If there's pithiness in your brevity, I've missed it.
Obviously, I mean we'll go extinct long before 9k years if we don't move out into the solar system.
> we are already in the Solar System
Do you want a productive discussion or not?
Furthermore, it's not at all demonstrable that we can move a significant fraction of 8 billion people off of the planet in a timely manner, even if we could get them all to volunteer. Using conventional rockets, it's going to be like 10 tons of CO2 per person per trip in fuel, and that's just to lift the passenger's weight, to say nothing of the fraction of the weight of the spacecraft per passenger. And that's just to LEO. A low estimate is handily 4 or 5 years of current CO2 emissions just to move half the population. (Launch guns and the like could possibly reduce this, but there's certainly going to be a CO2 cost to building them if they are possible.) The remaining 4 billion would, presently, need to learn the lessons that neither the 9k-year discussion nor this discussion seem to have landed for you: growth, per se, is unsustainable; and we will have to manage both growth (into territory that oscillates about 0) and efficiency to survive. In reality, we're just boxed in on Earth, waiting for a miracle like fusion.
Whether this discussion turns out to be productive or not, the fact that steady positive exponential growth always overtakes resource availability for any finite set of actually finite resources is germane. In other words, there is no real difference between "in the Solar System" and "on Earth" as far as our ability to live within foreseeable constraints is concerned. If we "move out into the solar system" now and behave as we do now, we will just die a few hundred years later (subject to even being able to meaningfully get there). Sci-fi futures don't arrive just because you're on a rocket. You still have to learn the lessons and build the systems with the political will you can muster. That's the point. Just because you can't or don't want to take in the implications of growth at a rate proportional to the amount present doesn't mean that I'm not making productive points.
I would, however, appreciate more precision from you in the future, please, just by way of striving toward being productive.
What makes you think that x charity would create more value than its space program?
Personally, to live a humble life is not very inspiring or interesting to me. I would spare a part of my fortune for something like the Nobel prize though.
Personally, Blue Origin has not done work that inspires me. Specifically Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft seems to be reaching for the wrong benchmarks. They claim to enter space, and they do, but going straight up and down isn't nearly as valuable as orbital rockets. Blue Origin's timeline for entering orbit puts them years after Nasa's SLS, meaning they will be third to market for US based orbital launches, while competing with a large number of international competitors. New Shepard, Blue Origin's best success story, has less thrust than a North Korean ICBM.
Many charities are doing more impressive and inspiring work than Blue Origin.
It's perfectly okay for a rocket company to blow up a few rockets. I cannot think of a single space program that has a perfect record.
Discounting Orbital ATK and ULA?
Perhaps you should give it some time. Knowing that a private citizen can start a space programs is exciting enough for me. More exciting than donating my wealth before I die.
Good people get employed there for good salaries so if they want to donate to charity they can do so. It looks like a good distribution of wealth regardless if the space program works out or not.
Simply donating to a charity doesn't guarantee good results either. If would be up to me I would invest in biotech but I don't see space tech a waste of money either.
While I agree with the feeling, I should point out that "private citizen" Jeff Bezos is worth more than 130 out of 190 or so countries out there. You and I are not in the same league as Bezos or his kind.
Actually, are you also a billionaire? :)
I interpret SpaceX and Blue Origin as signs that nation states are decreasing in power relative to corporations. Many executives in very large cooperations probably hold more power than the average congressman.
Not to belittle the invaluable work ESA or NASA do but the incredible progress SpaceX has made in just the past 15 years speaks to how little development governmental space agencies have made in the field of rocketry over the past 50 years.
Doing anything in Space is insanely expensive - I for one am extremely glad we have two lunatics (in Musk and Bezos) willing to lose their shirt over it.
The odds are that number six will be a) caused by humans and b) due to the same economic and industrial systems that concentrate wealth among a few individuals.
I never said Bezos was wrong to focus on space travel, just that he lacks imagination for ways he could allocate his capital. Perhaps we should be restructuring our systems to prioritise our planet above the ability of individuals to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Better that than not giving away a penny until you're 75, and then handing it all off to Gates when you're eventually dead.
If you have to wait to help people out with your money until you're dead, you're doing something fundamentally wrong in my view. Why not try and make a meaningful social impact during your lifetime? But hey, to each their own.
If you have a large fortune, you could build the organization to try and invest it for benefits. Many do, and if you have a rare cause... there's good value in it. But the alternative is you could give it to gates, and be pretty well assured it will be leveraged for amazing results.
Doesn't that depends on your rate of return? Imagine two options: (a) give away $1 million now; (b) invest the money and wait until you are 75, then give away $1 billion. Is option (a) necessarily better?
I personally feel like educating young leaders a good choice.
It's far from easy but they propose to give 10% of earnings. A lot of people who intend to give 'once they're rich' end up with lifestyle creep and never end up giving much and ultimately find it very difficult to make large cuts in their spending. Whereas those who grow up with it and only consider 90% of the extra earnings from promotions of their own, do much better.
After retiring, Ms. Bloom agreed to move to a senior residence mainly because “she wanted to find a good bridge game,” said Ms. Bornstein, a retired social worker.
To scout them out, and finally to move into one on the Upper West Side, she insisted on taking the subway, Ms. Bornstein said.
Buy and hold long term; reinvest dividends folks :-).
In addition, tax laws are written to benefit those who earn without working. The first $75k in qualified dividends is tax free. In 2017 he grossed about $120k, $80k in qualified dividends. With deductions, etc... his federal tax bill was $2k. And no social security. With their expenses about $50k, it compounds rather quickly. He's now 86.
Who knows what the future holds.
> The worst 30 year return — using rolling monthly performance — occurred at the height of the market just before the Great Depression and stocks still returned almost 8% per year over the ensuing three decades.
(This number is not adjusted for inflation, but still.)
> The S&P 500 Index, shown in bright red, delivered its worst twenty-year return of 6.4% a year over the twenty years ending in May 1979.
Very few start dates yield poor returns over a 20-year period, and fewer over a 25+ year period. Much less 67 years.
I'm also not sure about the methodology of "including fees and taxes," since the average mutual fund fee has been very high until quite recently, despite Vanguard's start in the 70s, and taxes are highly individual. The article is light on details.
I'm getting my ya-yas out in my youth.
Obviously it's presuming that you're neglecting reasonable gratification in the present, and it's all a spectrum of choices and rewards. But often people talk about financial investment without balancing it with "personal investment". Personal enrichment can pay interest of a sort, too.
> > Especially over a 67 year period! If she saved about $10k (2018 dollars) annually for the first ten years of her working career, got ~4% after inflation, and never saved another penny that would account for ~$1.2 million of the sum by itself.
> > Buy and hold long term; reinvest dividends folks :-).
> What if I'm hit by a bus and killed the day before I retire?
It's just not responsive to the original comment and doesn't really bring up anything novel. It might be slightly more reasonable if included your elaborations, but it doesn't, and even then it's totally silly. Saving $10k/yr is not a hardship for most tech workers and does not preclude gratification in the present! $90-100k annually is still several standard deviations above median income.
I think most young people would rather be, and far better off with, saving that 10k annually you suggest to amassing a down payment on city property or equivalent investment in current quality of life rather than prepping for a lonely future.
No, we (generally) have not failed to consider it. (I'm sure some have and some haven't, but it isn't an argument that holds much water anyway.)
In fact, I think it means more or less the opposite of what you have taken it to mean.
Time value of money calculations implicitly assume return on investment! If your time value of money calculation gives you a higher value for spending some money vs investing it, your valuation of the spending must be above market returns. It's fine if that is the output of your utility function some of the time, and you do have to make a personal decision about how much to spend vs save. But I would assert that most people should value retiring with non-zero savings, and highly paid tech workers have a lot of disposable income that spending provides minimal value.
No one here is suggesting you should eat cat food and live in a cardboard box to save for the future.
> Money today is worth more than money tomorrow is worth a truck load more than money in 67 years.
Time value of money is simply making the inverse of the same slow-and-steady statement: investing the money for 67 years will yield massive returns. Your core assumption is that spending the money today will yield above-market returns. And for your first dollars, I agree! Housing, food, clothing, and (some) entertainment give huge value, far above stock-market gains.
> Combined with the fact that, at least in my opinion, money when I'm young and healthy is also worth multiplicatively more than money post retirement.
"Young and healthy" and "post retirement" are not mutually exclusive, if you save. But they certainly are if you don't — it's hard to be healthy if you can't afford food or housing.
> I think most young people would rather be, and far better off with, saving that 10k annually you suggest
First, let me be clear that the 10k figure was just for illustrative purposes of compounding at average index return rates and is not a suggestion nor rule of thumb. It's a ton for someone making poverty wages and totally insufficient for someone pulling down $500k.
The general guideline is: save at least 15% of your take-home pay for retirement, starting 40 years before you intend to retire. I think this is even a little optimistic about stock market returns and would encourage saving at least a few percent higher than that.
Note that this recommendation still leaves 80-85% of your take home pay for current spending. We're not arguing about the first 30-50% of your spending on necessities (and some luxuries may be necessary to stay sane and happy), but the marginal value of that 85th percentile spending vs saving.
> to amassing a down payment on city property
Property investment is just one kind of investment. A first property certainly has special properties as far as taxes (at least in the US) and long-term expenses, but is not incompatible with "championing the virtues of slow and steady save." I would agree that saving for a down payment on property makes a lot of sense for many people.
> or equivalent investment in current quality of life rather than prepping for a lonely future.
The key word here is "investment." Your comparison is against stock market returns, so the quality of life stuff has to be really valuable to justify the lost income.
Why do you think your future will be lonely? If you really like working, great, but many people only work because they need the current income to fund their necessities. There are other avenues for socializing than work.
Isn't that question backwards? What we should be asking is: What are we going to do if we _aren't_ hit by a bus and killed the day before we retire?
On my side of the pond, your employer deposits an X amount per month / paycheck into your retirement fund. That fund will play with it, invest it to get interest and make sure it keeps its value over time despite inflation.
When you quit your job, that retirement fund will continue to manage your money. When you get a new job, either the fund continues or it's done in another pension fund - you are given the option to either have what's in the old fund paid out, or transferred to your new one.
When you are fired before your retirement, no worries - the retirement fund is yours, not your employer's.
And TBF everyone should fight for that. There's nobody that will hire anyone until they retire anymore. US employment laws are too lax to enforce that. And if your retirement is directly linked to you having a job at age 65 or whatever the age is, you'll get fucked over one way or another.
The US has three major retirement regimes:
- Defined contribution retirement funds, owned by the employee, managed by employer designated group
- Defined benefit retirement funds, which are going away or nearly gone for non-public-employees, and are causing the bankruptcy of various states because governments thought it was clever to offer public employees most of their compensation in the distant future to deceive present taxpayers about the cost of government
- An income distributing safety net for the elderly which is dressed up to pretend it’s a retirement program
Doesn’t sound so different from most European systems I’m familiar with, except for the much better health care (which dominates costs in old age, of course)
Some people might be able to amass a fortune by the time they are 96 unless you die before / your index funds & co tank / you, or somebody close, need expensive treatments.
Not that giving is bad, I'm sure it felt good, but man waiting until you are in your 90s to have that big effect seems like such an unnecessary delay.
I'm not trolling, just a gut reaction here. Anyone else feel that way?
Maybe it's because I'm an American consumer and consumerism is all I know.
I think she enjoyed that money tremendously. It's such a great feeling to give and to have the heart to give so generously, wow, what an amazing woman.
For all we know her husband inherited $10m before he died, and she blew the difference in Vegas one weekend...
My point is that there is a lot of speculation in this article and not much in the way of facts
Assuming an average of 7% annual return:
> x * 1.07 ^ 70 = 8200000
> x = 82000 / 114
> x = 72000
Essentially if you sock away $70k at age 26, that's how much you'll have when you're 96
But obviously that's not what's stopping us from socking away $70k at 7%.
Investing a lump sum is a risk -- you'd cut your fortune nearly in half if you invested in 2008. This isn't an issue for most folks who save over time.
Frankly, the largest thing stopping folks from investing is financial literacy. The second largest thing is probably lack of disposable income.
I'd bet 7% YoY over 20 years is conservative.
How does one gain it? Everywhere I look, there's so many scam artists and so much confusion that I don't know what's true / reasonable anymore.
There is no 30 year period in the history of the s&p 500 that returns less than 7% if I remember correctly.
In any case, if you believe your charitable donations are better off invested in the stock market than being put to charitable work today, then why bother donating? That means you don't believe in the charity. It would be better to find a more effective charity!
As to putting money to charity today I agree that might be a better idea.
[EDIT: Even with dividends this particular time period in Japan yielded terrible returns. Investing in the stock market for long periods doesn't guarantee returns, nothing does, but it's a pretty good probability.]
only in the aggregate. You might hit a particularly bad spell , or some black swan event happens just as you need to liquidate the holdings.
Stock needs management of some kind (even if it's index, you'd still need to decide when to liquidate, and seize the earnings while high rather than keep betting until you require the funds).
FV = PV * (1 + i) ^ t
FV and PV are in dollars, i is a percent, and t is number of years.
We know FV, i and t and can solve for PV.
8,200,000 = PV * (1 + 0.07) ^ 70
PV = 8,200,000 / 1.07 ^ 70
So 72,000 compounded over 70 years at an interest rate of 7% has a future value of 8,200,000.
You’re missing a few zeros, there. Makes the whole thread really confusing, I thought people were talking about this idea that 720 == 72,000, which I found surprising.
Because 96 is really old. I am amazed that she didn't quit earlier. In an era where the retirement age is around 60-65 and most tech workers plan to retire by their 40's. It is truly astounding to see someone work well into their mid 90's.
Props to the lady for that!
Most tech workers who plan to retire by their 40s will be working into their 50s.
Check out the reddit sub FinancialIndependence if you want to discuss or learn.
If your income is high enough (tech workers are commonly several standard deviations above median income) and your cost of living / lifestyle expenses low enough (SFBA makes this harder, but may come with more income), it is definitely possible to retire in your 40s.
The claim I was responding to is andrewprock's statement:
> Most tech workers who plan to retire by their 40s will be working into their 50s.
Which makes a specific claim about the specific subset of tech workers who are planning to retire in their 40s.
Okay, it's not for me either, but I wouldn't mind the ability to choose to work, instead of depend on it. Take some time off from time to time to work on private projects, take long vacations, that kinda thing.
Those of us in our 40’s—who haven’t yet hit the startup lottery—only wish this was a possibility.
If you're interested in discussing or learning more about this topic, the subreddit FinancialIndependence focuses on it.
Sorting people into two cohorts — "would have been rich in any case" and "other" — fails to recognize that people's individual financials fall somewhere on a continuum, and that their actions (i.e., spending) affects how much wealth they can accumulate by their 40s (or phrased alternatively, affects when they can retire).
That wasn't a point I intended to make. What I was trying to get at is that most of us should not be comparing our returns to people who start wealthy / connected or the few outliers who were e.g. early employees at a high-return startup. That can be useful as a dream goal but it's better to have more realistic expectations.
For the main point, personal habits definitely make a big factor but your ability to maintain those high savings rates is subject to a number of things which you have little to no control over. As an example, graduating in a recession has historically correlated with lower lifetime earnings because starting salaries influenced subsequent wages and a long period languishing in a mediocre job market really cuts into your interest compounding time if your baseline is not substantially over a reasonable cost of living. Similarly, in many areas the housing market has had huge fluctuations and that's a huge impact on your savings rate since it affects both the cost of rent and your time to acquire a down payment if it's more cost effective long-term to own. You do have the option of living in a smaller/less-desirable place, etc. but that often still means things like a longer commute and the numerous costs that entails.
The other side of the luck equation is that many people have factors which make it hard to optimize for investment returns. If you have health issues, your savings rate is going to be much lower. If you have kids or a relative who needs help that will impact your housing, job, travel, etc. choices and cuts into both your absolute savings rate and especially your ability to make long-term optimizations. If you're married to someone who needs to move for job reasons (e.g. everyone in academia), your ability to time the local housing market is severely hampered. If your particular field is not continuously in strong demand (this can be out of your control: tons of laid-off web developers were competing for the same jobs circa 2001) there's going to be time transitioning, retraining, etc. and likely digging into those savings temporarily.
None of this is to say that living frugally is a bad idea or that you'd regret having done so, only that saying you can retire in 20 years is unrealistic for most people and it makes the pitch sound a bit like a scam/cult.
> None of this is to say that living frugally is a bad idea or that you'd regret having done so, only that saying you can retire in 20 years is unrealistic for most people and it makes the pitch sound a bit like a scam/cult.
I don't mean to suggest that everyone, or even most people, can retire in 20 years, and I certainly agree that such a claim is not true. Some highly paid tech workers can, and this forum's readership tends to tilt in that direction.
I especially like thinking about the meaning of where your money is going – some people spend money on experiences which they like but a lot of it is keep-up-with-the-Jones stuff where e.g. people are paying crazy amounts for housing zoned for the “right” school when paying less and spending more time with their kids will have a much bigger lifetime impact. Someone in that position probably isn't retiring too early in any case but if they have their spending well planned out they're probably going to say that was an acceptable tradeoff for having kids, while the guy living above even considerable means is having a midlife crisis reconsidering hemorrhaging that kind of cash.
Even with bad market timing, you still have pretty good odds if you are genuinely dedicated to the task. Keep in mind, to succeed in ~20 years in almost all market conditions you would need to save 50-60% of your before-tax income.
Under his assumptions, to retire in 20 years takes a savings rate of around 44%.
MMM ignores a ton of statistically common problems (like 4 bouts of unemployment over 20 years).
I worked through the 2000 and 2008 crashes and I can't think of anyone I worked with in tech who was involuntarily unemployed for more than a few weeks at a time and certainly not for 10% of the total time. (Voluntarily for personal reasons like they decided to stay home with a kid, sure.)
Yes, years or 10%+ of unemployment would derail retirement savings. A few weeks here and there doesn't.
I think you live in a bubble, honestly. Get out of it and realize how most people live.
You’re the one trying to steer the discussion into a general case.
Here's a calculator that's been posted on HN before to give you some numbers .
Also, it's worth noting that 'retiring' doesn't have to mean not working anymore. To me it means the ability to work on whatever I want without having to worry about income. I'd likely still work on side projects, contribute to open source projects, etc.
Though after some reflection I'm reminded that I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing.
I wonder how rough reintegration into society will be.
I wouldn’t know what to do with myself anyway. Will work till I keel over.
(If they're smart and have hustle, it'll be better for them.)
If you're pulling 100k or more, you should be more than capable, if you are living frugally, even after taxes, to save about 30-40% of that (if not way more. Remember that the median single person income is about $35,000, and the median family income, in total, is $75,062 ).
The current wisdom is that if you are withdrawing no more than about 3-4% of your savings, you can expect, due to return on investment, your money to last about 30 years with 90% certainty .
This means that if you are willing to live on, say, $18,000 (fairly doable in many parts of the country where rentals are 600-900 a month), you only need a nest egg of 600k to begin a 30 year retirement in which you never make another dollar from working.
To make this concrete: let's say after taxes and expenses, 30% of $100,000 is all you can reasonably save, due to the Bay Area being pricey and general life expenses. I personally don't think it's a major sacrifice to stash this much away, but let's run with it as an example. That's $30,000 you can sock away a year.
This means to reach that 600k retirement figure, it should only take someone who starts saving for retirement immediately, 20 years to get there.
And I would argue this is a VERY pessimistic assumption set as well, because the 3% number is meant to be a guarantee to survive HARD economic downturns, and the above analysis assumed you never received a bonus, never got a raise, never were awarded stock, never saved more, and never developed any income streams besides your job, despite being a programmer for over 20 years. Some analyses of doable salary increases programmers regularly get show you could pull this off in 8 years with my 30% estimate . If you can, for example, increase your savings rate in my setup to 50%, you can have the above 600k based retirement within 12 years, in your mid 30s.
Families obviously make this analysis more complicated, because of housing and the possibility of new income streams and drains, but assuming a two income family, I still would assert the fundamentals of the above situation haven't changed.
So, in short, it very much is possible to retire in your 40s. You just have to live your lifestyle in a way that actually allows for that.
Locking education for people with a disadvantage in life which is not their own doing is baffling for me. Especially in a developed country... Not everyone can win the parent lottery.
These countries also have universal health care.
But I guess it's more important that your ultra rich stay ultra rich, to ensure a proper social divide between them and those unfortunate enough to be born to the poor. (Debating whether to use a snark mark here, landing on not).
What's your next idea?
Also crappy pork-barrel public works projects: roads to nowhere,insane public spending on rural areas, random bets on large public works projects that don't pan out or do anything useful.
Really, it's not that we can't afford to invest in public healthcare. It's that we would have to cut our our politically connected parasites' purse strings, and nobody wants that.
In all these countries, 10-15% of the population pays the top tax rate.
I'm generally not super opposed to having a rate as high as 60%, but the point that kicks in with Sweeden's system does seem very low...
On the other hand, should I choose to quit my job and look for a new one, the risk is relatively low that I end up on the street or run out of money, even if I didn't build up a buffer of money in my bank account.
People should, IMO, be free to look for a new job if they loose their current one or quit without having to worry about becoming homeless.
There's plenty of money to make it happen, it just has to be taken from the 60% of the total budget currently being spent on the military - military which doesn't help the country itself at the moment.
That's worth an article itself. How many people have managed that?