Four years ago a couple of braggy, insufferable, know-it-all engineer kids in their late twenties wrote me. They boasted about having accumulated almost $500,000 through hard work, frugality and being smarter than everyone else. Drenched in ego and attitude they derided the plebes around them who aspired to a condo and a mortgage. No humility. No empathy. They were easy to hate.
So, I quoted their letter here.
Following your advice, we’ve resisted pressure from friends & family to buy a house and have instead been renting and quietly socking away money into our down payment fund. Now, six years later, we find ourselves in the surreal situation of sitting on a down payment fund that’s grown to $500,000.
A typical house-horny virgin reaction would be to go blow it all on a house. Here’s what we’re thinking instead: continuing to follow your advice (it’s worked out so far!), we invest the 500K in a dividend-producing portfolio. Then, when we find a good deal, we buy a 500K house on a mortgage. The portfolio’s yielding 6%, and I can find 25Y mortgages @ 3.5% fixed for a 5-year term, so the portfolio pays the interest and then some. We’ve proven we can save 500K in 6 years, so by the time that 5 year term is up, the mortgage will be gone (or mostly gone). And then we’ll be in our 30’s, we’ll have a house, no debt, and the portfolio will still be there generating 30K of (mostly) tax-free income, regardless of market flucuations. That’s enough to cover our living expenses if housing is out of the way. So…I dunno, we retire?
Retire at 31? Seriously?
We met, and they asked me to manage their portfolio (that was a surprise). For four years they saved like crazed beavers, lived on air and threw everything at the portfolio which, fortunately, grew like a demented little weed. So, they got the million. At 31. We did champagne in the office, then they took off on a debauched tour of half the world (the lascivious half), living on portfolio income. I think I wrote about that here.
Time for an update because these two, who now call themselves The Wanderer and FIREcracker (like Prince and Cher) have turned into zealots of a different kind. They never did buy that house, or any hard assets, and have morphed into quintessential anti-Boomers spreading a gospel of up-yours capitalism. They clearly despite the old fart cohort I’m part of, but are equally disparaging of their own generation of whiny, texting twits who just want to grow up to be like Mom.
Their thesis is simple: it ain’t working. Millennials have been talked into a life of over-education plus debilitating debt, then launched into a world where under-employment’s the norm, life-long financial servitude is the outcome, and the parental push into real estate at any cost can turn into a soul-sucking death spiral. Instead, why not rent, invest, worship liquidity and strive not for a $1.4 million cookie-cutter house in a boring hood, but true seven-figure financial independence? Just like them? Cuz they know everything.
This has led to a thing called Millennial Revolution, and here’s FIRECracker to explain:
The two of them have also blogged about you, the pathetic, yapping hounds who nipped at their oversized self-centredness and drove them to become the new Che Gueveras (Google it, kids) of the gen that expects a gold star for showing up. “If we don’t tell people what we did, and teach people how to do it themselves, then our generation will continue to wander aimlessly, while the Boomers will continue to call us greedy, self-absorbed and wasteful little shits,” they say.
Because we are NOT greedy, self-absorbed, or wasteful. We Millennials are educated, socially-,conscious, and environmentally-friendly little shits and don’t you god-damned forget it.
But I would like to say one thing. To any Blog Dogs that are reading this: we are sorry. Three years ago, when you hammered us with questions on how we did what we did, we withdrew and hid. We’re not proud of it, and if we could do it again, we would have done it differently.
So here’s our chance to make amends. Blog Dogs. If you’re reading this, let us have it in the comments. Don’t hold back. It’ll be like old times. Only this time, we won’t shy away. We won’t hide. Quite the opposite, actually. We want to start a movement. Because this is bigger than us.
Ask us anything. This time, on this blog, we will answer every question you throw at us. So let us have it.”
Good idea. The little self-absorbed sh…