Last summer I got to meet one of the most influential people on my life so far. I felt like I was meeting my favourite celebrity. I was more excited to meet him then I would have been to meet any of my childhood hockey heroes. Or even my favourite Hollywood actors. He’s just a simple guy who did something pretty simple in hindsight and wrote about it. I discovered Mr. Money Mustache almost 3 years ago (April 2015) and the trajectory of my life took a huge turn. For the best.
Our first child had just turned 1 and we were living a pretty regular Canadian consumer life. We had 2 steady incomes and lived in a brand new 2000+ square foot house. We had one financed vehicle and we were considering buying a second financed vehicle because we were a family and that’s what families did… We were relatively good with our money (relative to the crazy world out there). We were saving every month and comfortably on track to beat our peers to retirement by 55. We didn’t hate our jobs but hated the fact that we had to go to work every day and pay a daycare centre to watch our child (2 children eventually).
I’ve always read a lot. I read the news every day and on one April night I stumbled upon this Globe and Mail article. It wasn’t in the top news section. It was at the bottom of the page in one of the small sub section. It wasn’t the first early retirement article or story I’d read but for some reason the story resonated with me and I had to check out this guy’s blog to see if it was for real. I often get excited about ideas or concepts and read a bit about it and then quickly forget. This time, I spent the next 2 months reading every article on the blog. I mean EVERYTHING… I think there was over 300 articles at the time.
I have a hard time explaining this story to people sometimes. Because they get the impression I “drank some sort of cool-aid” or I fell for some cult leader’s crazy ideology. When you think of how the next 3 years went down, they might be right. But it was some good cool-aid and I think the whole world should drink it too.
We made some big, life changing financial decisions after this light bulb moment. The scale of the choices and decisions we made would be similar to that of people joining actual dangerous cults. But everything we did made us happier and reduced our dependence on money. Now I look back and I feel like the whole world is living in a cult and MMM just awakened us and convinced us to leave the cult and live our lives.
I think about this turning point a lot lately and can’t help but wonder how much of the changes are due to MMM. I truly believe that the changes we adopted are a better reflection of who we are so in a way MMM didn’t change us at all. I imagine we would have had this lightbulb moment at some point in our life. But without MMM, would it have been in our 30s, 40s or even 50s??
Pete (MMM’s real name) always seems pretty modest in his writing and even in person. When I met him I couldn’t help but tell him that his blog changed my life. I imagine he gets that a lot. But he just brushed it off exactly as I’m describing it. He just helped us see the light.
I also often wonder if I would have discovered another similar blog, would it have had the same impact. My guess is no… I have yet to find a blog that I enjoy reading and that I trust to the extent of MMM’s. There are some great blogs out there but no one does it quite like MMM. I mean, he makes over $300,000/year on the blog and has zero issues telling the whole world. Some people would think that because he makes so much money that he can’t be 100% genuine and some of his writings could be somewhat motivated by money. But the fact that he shares that he made this much money, establishes a sense of trust. He could easily say that the blog makes a modest income or not discuss the finances at all.
MMM could probably write about any topic and I would find it interesting and would probably find value in it. He could discuss the meaning and symbolism of all european flags and I would tune in and read all 1500 words of it…
MMM’s blog is now huge and has such a wide ranging audience. And the uniqueness about this blog is that almost all the MMM followers that I have met have felt the same impact from him. I can’t imagine the sheer number of people’s lives that this blog has changed. I would guess that we could measure the MMM impact on the North American GDP. Pete if you ever find yourself reading this, that would be a good article idea. Survey the readers to find out how much their overall spending went down since discovering you. Think over a million followers reducing annual spending by thousands or tens of thousands. We would easily reach the billions. The environmental impact could also be an interesting analysis.
MMM is just a regular guy and he always says that he just types stuff in a computer. He probably thinks he gets too much credit but I am certain he definitely doesn’t get enough. We only get a short time on earth and an even shorter time with our children (before they grow up and leave the house). MMM has helped me design a life that will allow me to live the way I want to live. Not the way I’m supposed to want to live.