Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

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Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Alex Frakt » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:17 am

Since I drafted the forum policies shortly after the forum went live, we've had a requirement that threads be actionable, which we usually describe as "You must be able to do something specific with the replies that will make a difference in your situation." This requirement was drafted both for the practical reason that a much larger percentage of non-actionable (versus actionable) threads required moderator intervention and for the philosophical reason that such threads were detracting from our mission of providing useful information with a civil tone.

My question has to do with financial status or milestone threads that include no obvious questions or requests for advice. The most common example of these are most of the "2 comma club" threads, but there are variants. Here's some examples (I'm not trying to pick on anyone in particular, these are either recent or came up on top of my search): Disappointed in Missing a Long Term Financial Goal, 2 Comma Club and Other Goals Reached!, and milestone post.

There is no clear actionable content in these types of threads, which makes them technically off-topic. And many of our members clearly feel they are off-topic as these threads are invariably flagged for moderator review. However, they rarely (if ever) cause the kinds of problems that were the reason the rule was instituted, so the moderators have generally been allowing them. But it bothers me to have to make an ad hoc exception to our policies, I'd rather change the policy to match our actions.

So, finally, here are my questions. Should we allow these posts? If so, should we simply deem them to have an actionable component such as an implicit request for a hug, high five or reassurance? Going a bit deeper: Why do people make these posts? Is this an Age of Social Media thing, an outlet for those who would normally post to InstaFace, but don't want to share their net worth with people who are able to hit them up for a loan?

Speaking of social media, I should note that my secondary goal for this site has always been building a community, a comfortable place for people to pass some time and, if they desire, interact with peers. Or I should say, continuing and expanding on the community originally built over on Morningstar by folks like Mel Lindauer and Taylor Larimore and defined in the early days by the kind and even-tempered responses of Taylor. Perhaps community building is the answer. If so, this suggests that such posts belong in Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community. I see that there is at least one such post there now DD just got married !. I'd like your feedback on whether this is something you'd like to see encouraged.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Thesaints » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:31 am

Although I personally find the sort of posts mentioned not too interesting in my opinion they should be allowed.
In fact, I'm struggling to give a formal definition of what is actionable and what is not. Maybe moderators taking care of threads concerning topics completely extraneous to the forum, but allowing those which concern personal finance, economy, taxes, etc., even when they discuss abstruse aspects, would be preferable.
After all, taking action without really understanding the issue is never a good practice and intimate understanding always requires at least a modicum of theoretical analysis.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by sandramjet » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:33 am

Personally, I've often wondered that as well. I usually skip them (I haven't read any of the ones you mentioned). When I do see them, I assume they are some type of "humble brag". But apparently others feel they are at least interesting, so maybe the idea of just grouping them together as you suggest may be the thing to do.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:40 am

Aloha,

First, as a relatively active "newbie", I'd like to commend everyone that made this forum possible, and continues to do so. I had followed the threads on Morningstar for many years and only when retired decided to "register" as I had more time to learn and input. Mahalo.

That said, it is the comfortable interaction with peers that encourages actionable exchange of information. As the community shares its common goals, it is inevitable that the "cordialities" of daily life should "thread" into the post topics, albeit with a more informal tone. I believe that this careful balance lends an atmosphere of comfortable sharing at a professional and perhaps a more personal level than the original forum guidelines projected as you've pointed out.

Note that there are occasional posts where one would request a portfolio review, or other query, with the "caution" . . . "to be gentle", etc. Or, long time readers (lurkers) finally decide to post, though tentatively. It is also important for posters to feel welcome and comfortable posting topics within forum guidelines . . . to feel the sense of community.

While, I personally, am glad that the degree of professional camaraderie and level of moderation keeps the forum on target, unlike some social media sites, I feel that efforts to build and strengthen the forum as a "community" will make it more effective and attract a wider audience.
Actionably. . . perhaps an added "subforum" for community building. Where milestones are shared and encouraged. Where those struggling or questioning "Bogle" financial concepts can see proof that it works. Often the best lessons learned are through example.

Thank you so much for your efforts and allowing input on this. I hope I've conveyed my thoughts accurately without rambling.

Mahalo Nui Loa
A Hui Hou A Kokua
J :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:56 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am

IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by bampf » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:53 am

MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
I agree with this ^. I kind of developed my own way of doing things over the years, and they were moderately successful. I wish I had discovered this method 20 years ago, I would have more than reached my goals by now. These posts affirm the strategy. Yes, they are probably humble bragging in some sense. So what? They are actionable in that it helps reaffirm the approach. Sometimes the best action is to do nothing. Keep on keeping on and all that. My 2 cents, invested for you in an index portfolio.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by oldzey » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:57 am

Maybe an "Off-Topic" section could be created/designated for such "Instaface alternative" posts (and as an area to move such posts).

I'd also wonder how many of those posts are contributing to the board's record number of posts in a day.
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by JoMoney » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:58 am

I like them, but they should be in an appropriate 'community building' sub-forum.
It is an accomplishment that people should be able to share and receive a pat on the back, but it's not the sort of thing people feel comfortable sharing in other less anonymous social settings.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by KT785 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:00 am

bampf wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:53 am
MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
I agree with this ^. I kind of developed my own way of doing things over the years, and they were moderately successful. I wish I had discovered this method 20 years ago, I would have more than reached my goals by now. These posts affirm the strategy. Yes, they are probably humble bragging in some sense. So what? They are actionable in that it helps reaffirm the approach. Sometimes the best action is to do nothing. Keep on keeping on and all that. My 2 cents, invested for you in an index portfolio.
+1

I view the posts as "testimonials" to the BH methodology espoused by the forum and its members. Ideally, such posts would contain an actionable element--asset allocation changes when you've "won the game", etc.--but even without such readily actionable content, such posts (when done with the proper intent) may be useful to other members or those just skimming the forum for the first time.

While I don't view those posts much myself, I think the "testimonial" posts, progress reports, etc. are likely useful for others who may inevitably adopt or model the plans expressed by those who are discussing their success.

Perhaps a "testimonial" sub-forum could be added . . . though the term seems a bit hokie :D

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by WpgGuy » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:13 am

MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
+1 as long as they aren't "braggy" or demeaning/discouraging to others.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by 2comma » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:49 am

KT785 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:00 am
bampf wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:53 am
MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
I agree with this ^. I kind of developed my own way of doing things over the years, and they were moderately successful. I wish I had discovered this method 20 years ago, I would have more than reached my goals by now. These posts affirm the strategy. Yes, they are probably humble bragging in some sense. So what? They are actionable in that it helps reaffirm the approach. Sometimes the best action is to do nothing. Keep on keeping on and all that. My 2 cents, invested for you in an index portfolio.
+1

I view the posts as "testimonials" to the BH methodology espoused by the forum and its members. Ideally, such posts would contain an actionable element--asset allocation changes when you've "won the game", etc.--but even without such readily actionable content, such posts (when done with the proper intent) may be useful to other members or those just skimming the forum for the first time.

While I don't view those posts much myself, I think the "testimonial" posts, progress reports, etc. are likely useful for others who may inevitably adopt or model the plans expressed by those who are discussing their success.

Perhaps a "testimonial" sub-forum could be added . . . though the term seems a bit hokie :D
+2 But consider my screen name...

I was just proud of an accomplishment that was due to the advice I got from the Bogleheads and I wouldn't mention to friends or family and I wondered if it would be seen as a brag. I think milestone posters probably have similar feelings. If anyone thinks it's boastful let me know, I'll change it like I did when someone mentioned it might not be a good idea to use your real name.
If I am stupid I will pay.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by mariezzz » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:27 am

These threads usually often serve as "thank you" threads - to thank BH'ers for the support, advice, etc., that allowed people to achieve their goal. Aren't "thank you" threads (and others of that nature) off-topic as well - yet they're allowed, too.

They also serve as evidence that people's financial goals can be met by following the basic principals espoused here (as well as having a bit of luck along the way- no personal disasters), and thus provide support & encouragement to at least some of us.

I guess instead people could make announcements such as "achieved 2 comma club today ... need advice: what should I be thinking of next" if they want to make them 'actionable'.

Seems to me "personal investing" is the forum they belong in.

That being said, I generally don't read those threads. But I'm not opposed to them.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:25 am

Alex Frakt wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:17 am
Speaking of social media, I should note that my secondary goal for this site has always been building a community [...]
Many people find contributing to an online community intimidating. And that intimidation goes through the roof when they are being asked to contribute something that someone else might call "wrong". So if people are limited to "actionable" topics, then there is a lot of pressure to have smart, researched, academic, data-driven type replies. All of which works against having people join. I mean....why bother posting when Nisiprius is just going to give a better reply than you? :D

Having non-actionable things makes it easier for people to contribute. You're just saying "good job!" so you're less likely to have someone say you're an idiot. It is a low barrier of entry -- you're probably not going to feel the pressure to write a six paragraph nedsaid essay ;)

So I think they play a role in giving an option for people to begin making contributions to Bogleheads and eventually (hopefully) become even more active contributors.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by sambb » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:46 am

will similar posts be allowed - like "I just bought a porsche"
the net worth thread is another one that is active, but an old net worth survey was banned.
hard to be consistent
if not actionable, then delete - or merge into a combined thread
the dd got married is a good example

what if i started a thread that i elected to shop at costco instead of target and thanked bh? too much inconsistency

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by amitb00 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:22 am

These threads have value. They give examples of BH methods working and may motivate others. You may want to change policy to allow them.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Silverado » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:24 am

sambb wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:46 am
will similar posts be allowed - like "I just bought a porsche"
the net worth thread is another one that is active, but an old net worth survey was banned.
hard to be consistent
if not actionable, then delete - or merge into a combined thread
the dd got married is a good example

what if i started a thread that i elected to shop at costco instead of target and thanked bh? too much inconsistency
Yeah, there is a slippery slope component that needs to be considered.

I read most of those 2 comma posts, but only the OP in order to get a brief summary of how they did it. Sometimes they have an interesting path, sometimes interesting accounting.

Good luck reaching a decision that won't have some number of members upset.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by dcabler » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:58 am

I am completely comfortable with those threads. All I would ask is that the title be sufficiently descriptive such that one could easily choose to ignore them if one desired.

I felt the same way about polls, by the way, and for the same reason wish they hadn't disappeared.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:23 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:25 am
Alex Frakt wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:17 am
Speaking of social media, I should note that my secondary goal for this site has always been building a community [...]
Many people find contributing to an online community intimidating. And that intimidation goes through the roof when they are being asked to contribute something that someone else might call "wrong".
I consider myself a financially rational and somewhat intelligent person :shock: yet I find this very true.

Someone here said networth and numbers are boring. Interestingly, once you spend a couple of months here, read all the wiki and the suggested reading list, and decide your own Plan/AA, the pure theoretical stuff become boring. They can be searched most of the time and like Alohajoe said, hard to top.

What keep me coming back are the personal anecdotes. Not everyone is 100% pure boglehead from the start. Many of us stumble here at different point in our journey. I find all of it interesting. After all, once you figure out your plan, “investing is boring”. The threads that talk about the results, the struggle to stay the course (despite wanting to buy the porsche/rolex lol), the actual behavioral mistake (even though we know what NOT to do in theory) etc. are what make this place awesome.

Like any big group, we will have different personalities and some will dislike some aspects of this forum no matter what. I have neighbors like that. Nothing you can do to stop that.

I hope you take that into consideration.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by djpeteski » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:26 am

In my mind a thread is not only for the person initiating the thread, but also for subsequent people looking for information on the same topic.

Lets assume that a person ask a question that is relatively easy to action, but will not do so for whatever reason. Is this thread wasted? Did the people answering waste their time? IMHO, "no". Many people might come along, search for the same question, and take appropriate action.

This is the case with milestone reports. Those aspiring to reach those milestones may glean information, encouragement, and perseverance from those announcing their achievement. In that case they are very useful. In my own thread, I was asked "how did I do it in that amount of time". I was able to explain, hopefully give new ideas to others and mostly encourage others. When I read others, I certainly was encouraged.

So yea, I find them very useful.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by LiveSimple » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:42 am

These threads should be allowed, here are the reasons.

These threads are motivational, for the young generations.
I typically show these threads to my kids who are in college, and will start earning, in a year or so. I have shown them the excel spreadsheet the “power of compounding” and agument with real examples how people become a two comma club, by age 40 or,

Hearing from a parent. How to study, well, earn well, spend less and invest regularly may or may not go into the kids ears. But when augmented with real cases, of other people is motivational builder and actionable for the young who read.

The action also items in financial terms are to reach this goal, two comma club, so why block this achievement.

In corporate and in life, we come to learn, that we do need to celebrate small sucess often, to keep the company and family motivated and progress toward sucess. Same here, there threads are celebrating sucess.

Alex, and other moderators, kudos for all the hard you do.

By allowing these threads, you show twenty something young adults, that they can achieve financial sucess as well.

Also young colleagues at work ask me for suggestion in investing, I coach them, then gift them some of the books we mention here and write in it “Invite us, for dinner, when you become a two comma club member”

Always they ask what is a two comma club, when I explain, it Is a millionaire status, I see their eyes gleam. Then I will ask them to google at bogleheads for the two comma club and read all the threads. So it is actionable for the newbies.

Also personal I come to read, these types of personal sucess stories, anyways we are fine with our financial portfolio, nothing is going to change for me in two decades 🤑
Last edited by LiveSimple on Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:59 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:45 am

My fear would be that if you change policy these humble-brag threads will start to dominate the active threads and dilute the usefulness of this forum. We already have a problem whereby people don't search recent prior threads before asking questions (e.g. credit freeze versus lock is one of today's examples) causing unnecessary redundant threads. Finding out another person hit the two comma club or retired earlier may motivate some but is also demotivating to others (who are of lessor income/means). If you change the policy we will be inundandated with such threads (and where will it stop? Statements of buying New dream houses, new cars, new watches, large charitable estate donations, dream vacations, finding a long lost lover - will all these be allowed?).
I might be in the minority but I find the actionable policy to be one of the main reasons I participate in this forum far more often than any others I have visited.
If you do change policy and allow these threads - perhaps create a new sub forum for them (if you don't want to name it "humble-brags" perhaps call it "success stories").

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:46 am

Put me in the camp that either likes them or at a minimum tolerates them. I believe those, like the Net Worth thread, serve as mini case examples of the BH way. Each one usually provides an insight into the person’s background, financial situation, demographic information etc that I believe is actionable for many in that it provides another working example.

I’ll give a comparable example. I used to read Money magazine. I would pick it up when I travel. But really I found most of it nonsensical or even non actionable. The part that I loved is they would do two to three case scenarios of real people’s situations and then get expert advice. THAT was relatable and actionable.

I feel like the humblebrag threads, net worth threads and more importantly the “help me figure this out” threads all provide that type of real world situational analysis that makes me a better investor, saver, etc.

If they went away, I wouldn’t be hurt, but I think they offer more benefit than harm in most cases.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by exigent » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:55 am

KT785 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:00 am
Perhaps a "testimonial" sub-forum could be added . . . though the term seems a bit hokie :D
Create a new sub forum called: Testimonials and Humblebrags.

I’m partly joking, but that would actually solve the problem while giving some people a place to (harmlessly) attention-seek and others a place to go for reassurance that the BH mindset works.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by saveinvestbecomefree » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:02 am

2comma wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:49 am
KT785 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:00 am
bampf wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:53 am
MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
I agree with this ^. I kind of developed my own way of doing things over the years, and they were moderately successful. I wish I had discovered this method 20 years ago, I would have more than reached my goals by now. These posts affirm the strategy. Yes, they are probably humble bragging in some sense. So what? They are actionable in that it helps reaffirm the approach. Sometimes the best action is to do nothing. Keep on keeping on and all that. My 2 cents, invested for you in an index portfolio.
+1

I view the posts as "testimonials" to the BH methodology espoused by the forum and its members. Ideally, such posts would contain an actionable element--asset allocation changes when you've "won the game", etc.--but even without such readily actionable content, such posts (when done with the proper intent) may be useful to other members or those just skimming the forum for the first time.

While I don't view those posts much myself, I think the "testimonial" posts, progress reports, etc. are likely useful for others who may inevitably adopt or model the plans expressed by those who are discussing their success.

Perhaps a "testimonial" sub-forum could be added . . . though the term seems a bit hokie :D
+2 But consider my screen name...

I was just proud of an accomplishment that was due to the advice I got from the Bogleheads and I wouldn't mention to friends or family and I wondered if it would be seen as a brag. I think milestone posters probably have similar feelings. If anyone thinks it's boastful let me know, I'll change it like I did when someone mentioned it might not be a good idea to use your real name.
+3 These types of posts help demonstrate that the BH methods work. Interestingly, usually our best "actionable" advice is to DO NOTHING and stay the course. So it's a bit strange we have a rule to ensure an action.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by bigred77 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:03 am

I hope they will be allowed to continue. I think they are motivating to others (in a “testimonial” sort of way). I also think it’s probably pretty cathartic to be able to share some exciting news like that in what I think is an appropriate forum when most other avenues would consider such news taboo or in poor taste (at best!)


Edit: May I suggest policy language along the lines of “Non-actionable posts celebrating financial milestones will be permitted as long as posts meet all other board requirements”

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by capsaicinguy » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:21 am

My small .02 on this topic is that I understand where people could gain a sense of community though them, but it honestly seems like a little bit of the MMM forums is creeping in here with their "race from x$ to xx$!" threads. Community building happens all over with the local boglehead chapter meetings IMO. To me the only actionable part of the humble brag threads is simply "be a boglehead" which is very non-specific. I really appreciate the forum rules and the work the moderators do around here to make this forum what it is, filled to the brim with useful information. That's why it's my homepage. :sharebeer

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:37 am

Some inconclusive rambling, don't look for a point here.

OK, here's the closest thing to a coherent point. In my opinion,
  • If the principle is to try to suppress non-actionable topics, then personal wealth accumulation threads should be deprecated.
  • If the principle is to keep the forum focussed on "financial literacy education" in order to maintain 501(c) IRS status, they should be deprecated.
  • If the principle is that anything people enjoy, that hasn't been demonstrated frequently go off the rails into anger and bad feeling so quickly that moderators can't nip it in the bud (i.e. "sex, politics, and religion," although only one of those is a problem here), then they should be tacitly allowed.
Most phpBB forums have some kind of "community" section, like this one (bikeforums.net)

Image

And it was a design principle of early Internet forums to maintain unmoderated groups to act as a safety valve--wetlands to absorb floods as it were--because moderation creates bad feelings when peoples' postings are simply suppressed. So the idea was something like don't censor, categorize; maintain free speech zones, like the Speaker's Corner of Hyde Park.

The Community section of Bogleheads--unfortunately, in my opinion--had to be eliminated, it was said because of IRS comments at the time when the Bogleheads were seeking tax-exempt 501(c) status.

I don't personally like the "two comma clubs" and "show your net worth" threads. As it is, I think there are lurkers who feel the forum is not for them because they haven't even reached "mass affluent" status. It's almost the flip side of threads celebrating frugality, which, again in my personal opinion, is not closely related to "Investing Advice Inspired by John Bogle" (although he is reputedly frugal, and although many frugality threads are actionable).

The legendary "good $5,000 watch" thread was a lot of fun. I honestly don't know if I'd file that under "frugality" or "humblebrag!"
Last edited by nisiprius on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:02 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:39 am

MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
This.

Part bragging. Good part showing that the methods work. I needed the confirmation". And based on confirmation I am now totally DIY.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:42 am

I'm not particularly interested in these threads other than the original post, but I'm glad they have been "tolerated" and I hope that will continue.

Thanks, Alex, for asking. :happy

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Keepcalm » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:47 am

I agree it is a confirmation the BH method is effective. I enjoy reading through those threads especially when the OP or those who have replied to the post share specific unique strategies that have worked for them.
Last edited by Keepcalm on Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Tamalak » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:48 am

I certainly prefer "unactionable" "I finally reached a million and I want to share the excitement, it's too dangerous to tell family and friends so let me share it with you Bogleheads!" threads vs "actionable" "I am 14 years old and have 5 million dollars, am I doing ok? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)"

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:50 am

Keepcalm wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:47 am
I agree it is a confirmation the BH method is effective. I enjoy reading through those threads especially when the OP or those who have replied to the post share specific unique strategies that have worked for them.
Some of the threads confirm BH method today but if the policy changes I would expect this to change with the floodgates opening to all sorts of stories. Imagine threads such as:
"How I made 3 million in 6 months with bitcoin - BH are chumps"
"How I made 4 million with just 3 stocks in 1 year"
"I finally bought my dream sailboat - my measure of success - check it out!"

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Soul.in.Progress » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:55 am

I believe these threads have value as encouragement, and proof that wealth achievement through principles is possible. It’s also an accomplishment for most (windfall recipients who hadn’t earned or saved any money on their own would be an exception). This accomplishment is positive but can’t be shared in real life without some possible negative risks or consequences.

I agree with the sentiment that the value is encouragement for others and community building.
Start by doing what is necessary; | then do what is possible; | and suddenly you are doing the impossible. | -- Francis of Assisi

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:58 am

Another, separate issue is that it might be considered imprudent to exhibit your wealth in an open Internet forum, particularly if--as is often the case--the screen name looks as if it might be recognizable as somebody's real name.

It's hard to know the boundary between prudence and paranoia.

In a clubby atmosphere in which it seems "normal" to have a seven-figure net worth, it is easy to overlook how it might appear to others. In this regard, I remember being stunned by the thread Did you tell anyone you paid off your mortgage? in which the general consensus was that it was seriously unwise to let such a thing be known.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by saltycaper » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:00 am

I find these types of threads generally useless, as the actionable information is often found elsewhere on the forum in a more digestible format. It does seem to be a natural human tendency to want to compare oneself to others and seek praise and validation, so they certainly perform a function, though there are many other human tendencies that are moderated away, so perhaps that should not be relevant.

It is curious that some people are sensitive enough to what is going on in other people's lives that they are actually motivated by reading these threads. I suppose if one never left their house and knew nothing of the outside world except for Bogleheads that this sort of motivation may be necessary, but the community here appears to be a pretty experienced group. I also doubt that a handful of anecdotes are proof that the Boglehead way works, as it is not hard to derive a multitude of ways someone may reach a target net worth given certain earning, investing, and return parameters, and that would be true even if Bogleheads.org did not exist.

I do think the threads can be entertaining, but are you not entertained enough already?
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by J295 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:01 am

While I can appreciate and support the excitement of these posters, I discount their value as motivators.

Other than giving context to a specific financial question, someone sharing their milestone or year to date returns is outside my zone of good etiquette. I would eliminate them. As a sidenote, for bogleheads in a more mature financial stage of life, achieving good returns in dollar amounts and percentages over the last number of years has been like shooting fish in a barrel.


I am concerned that the milestone posts may be discouraging for some members for whom the milestones returns may be or may seem out of reach. Those members are valuable parts of our community that we don’t want anyone to feel like an outsider or lose their engagement.
Last edited by J295 on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by TimeRunner » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:02 am

I enjoy reading them sometimes, but would be fine if they went away. If they stay, they need to be inflation-adjusted. :twisted:
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by lostdog » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:13 am

The LBYM concept is completely foreign to most of the middle class. Those who follow the BH ideals are a rare breed. When a BH hits a milestone, like the two comma club, there is no upside to telling anyone in your inner circle of friends and family because of resentment and free loaders. Discussions of financial status are taboo in this culture.

The BH forum is a good place to inform your fellow peers the BH ideals work. Your peers "get it". I am in the camp of allowing goal setting threads. They prove the method works.
Hear the clock ticking? That’s your life flying by while you listen to market pundits and watch stock prices fluctuate. -Humble Dollar

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by GoldenFinch » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:17 am

MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
I agree with MiddleOfTheRoad. Plus I am always happy to say congrats or cheers to someone who feels like their efforts paid off.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by jfn111 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:22 am

My 2 cents is I like those threads. It's a long slog through years of savings for most of us to get there. 99% of all the financial questions have been answered 50 times and if you want to take Moderation to the ultimate end you could have a Bot that responds to almost every question with "Read the Wiki" or "Stay The Course".

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:30 am

MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
This!

In fact this is a partial quote found in my congratulatory post concerning a milestone reached:

I love these type posts, as they constantly remind all of us what is possible, and shows many of us our own success wasn't just a stroke of luck. Those just starting out can relate to these activities, and perhaps be inspired to set upon a better path for their own financial matters.


Broken Man 1999
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Tamarind » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:35 am

I enjoy them somewhat for the personal BH narratives and as community building. The best ones are less humble brag and more about how someone used BH methods to turn their financial life around. The annual reports are also helpful for the same reason, in that they show how theory meets real life with all its accidents and give us multi-year windows into how one can respond financially to challenges. For example, I seek out the ones from folks in their 40s to get snapshots of the kinds of issues I might have a decade from now. This is a valid part of financial literacy education.

There are actually several other sorts of strictly non-actionable posts that I feel contribute to the sense of community. The most notable of them is the "didactic" post, IMO most of the best stuff in the theory section falls into this category. We have plenty of subject matter experts who will post analysis or interesting tidbits in their field of expertise. Are those folks usually expecting to learn something from the replies? No, on the contrary they are hoping to teach. Non-actionable to the OP, but full of value to the rest of us.

Perhaps the guidelines could be shifted to say that a post must either ask a question or show a solution. So the simple "2-commas yay" would be non-actionable, but a more detailed post saying how they got there would be accepted. Or perhaps we might have a stories subforum to corral them.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by staythecourse » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:36 am

Personally, I think all nonactionable threads are a waste of time UNLESS there is discussion that may make it actionable to others. I am sure that is quite difficult for the mods. My suggestion would be to give it a short leash to see if the discussion becomes actionable for another poster.

For example, as 2 comma club is useless if it is just self congratulatory. Now if the discussion going in the direction of HOW one did it then it is useful for someone else and thus becomes actionable. No?

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by soupcxan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:37 am

[deleted]
Last edited by soupcxan on Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by student » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:39 am

I also found them interesting. Given the fact that there were many replies in the "2 comma club" thread, I think this indicates that there are enough interests. I agree with
MiddleOfTheRoad wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:47 am
IMHO, those threads are confirmations that the BH methods work, regardless of income levels. Encouragements to stay the course when markets tank. They are examples of people who make it via BH method despite 1987, 2000, 2008 so I will stick to my AA when the next one hit. The actionable benefits of those threads will be my inaction during the next crash.
and
jfn111 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:22 am
My 2 cents is I like those threads. It's a long slog through years of savings for most of us to get there. 99% of all the financial questions have been answered 50 times and if you want to take Moderation to the ultimate end you could have a Bot that responds to almost every question with "Read the Wiki" or "Stay The Course".

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:41 am

I think they should be allowed as long as the content of the post is of decent quality. For example the OP should give a little bit of history or context to why this is a significant event for them or what decisions they had to make to along the way and why they made those decisions.

"After todays RGD, the wife and I made it into the 2 comma club at the age of 36" would not be a quality post.

Also some people are rule nannies who will report anything that technically breaks a rule even if its valuable content.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Rrolack » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:42 am

I agree that keys to these posts being helpful is:

- The milestone is reachable by a large portion of the community, and is inspirational as a result.
- The describes how the milestone was reached, and is educational as a result.


On the other hand, posts like these would not fit the bill:

- I just reached the 10M club or the 50M club. I got there by earning more money than 99.9% of the population.
- I bought lots of cryptocurrency, and am really rich now.

These posts have less inspiration/education and more pure brag.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Lynette » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:47 am

retiredjg wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:42 am
I'm not particularly interested in these threads other than the original post, but I'm glad they have been "tolerated" and I hope that will continue.

Thanks, Alex, for asking. :happy
I agree that it is difficult to draw a line. Some of the threads that supposedly ask for advice can also be intimidating to others - e.g. "I have Flagship status at Vanguard", Where do I invest five million?"

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Keepcalm » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:55 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:50 am
Keepcalm wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:47 am
I agree it is a confirmation the BH method is effective. I enjoy reading through those threads especially when the OP or those who have replied to the post share specific unique strategies that have worked for them.
Some of the threads confirm BH method today but if the policy changes I would expect this to change with the floodgates opening to all sorts of stories. Imagine threads such as:
"How I made 3 million in 6 months with bitcoin - BH are chumps"
"How I made 4 million with just 3 stocks in 1 year"
"I finally bought my dream sailboat - my measure of success - check it out!"
I don't see that happening presently while these threads have been left alone by the moderators thus far. There is a difference between dropping the actionable policy all together versus modifying it to allow comma milestones.

Plus...bitcoin? HAH!

Whatever comes of it I will support, to this point the forums have remained an awesome resource and that is for two reasons. The members, and the efforts of the moderators.
Last edited by Keepcalm on Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:56 am

Please correct me if I am wrong.

I don’t see how someone should be intimidated by knowing others are successful. We come here to learn and to pass on what we learn. I rarely see anyone talking down to people starting out with less. And if you are starting out with less, don’t you want to seek out advice of those who are successful? Isn’t that how we seek out mentors in real life?

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