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

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

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

I think there is a need for people to humble-brag their net worth since it really is a significant achievement, and can inspire others that you can succeed without picking the next hot stock. But cultural norms prohibit net worth from being discussed with friends and most family, so the Bogleheads forum looks like a safe place to do it. I hit a net worth milestone recently that I couldn't share with anyone in real life. I didn't want to start a new thread to just receive a few congrats, so I tacked my humble-brag on to one of the current net-worth threads.

I find the frequent two-comma club and net-worth threads mildly entertaining but they clutter the front page when there are many of them in play simultaneously. Perhaps create "The official 2 comma club membership thread" to let people humble-brag their net worth milestones in one place, and the moderators can merge individual threads into it (putting more work on the mods, unfortunately, until those threads stop popping up).

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

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

I had to give this a bit of thought. Alex is correct that these threads are not actionable, however I do enjoy reading them.

There is some irony here: If you are a strict adherent to the Boglehead philosophy, then not much is actually actionable. "Stay the Course" is not a call to action, but rather a call to inaction.

For me, this forum is a source of information. No one piece is actionable for me, but put together, the vast majority of posts serve to confirm for me that I am on the right track. I think that the milestone threads fit in because, as many have said above, they are success stories to confirm that the Boglehead philosophy works. It's hard to look at a process (passive investing) without seeing evidence of the outcomes (building wealth).

On the flip side, I also find that reading threads about how people lost money (thinking of Market Timer) to be quite useful. Not actionable per se, but still a warning to many.

I vote to keep them, but in the Personal Finance sub-forum.
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by caffeperfavore » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:57 am

J295 wrote:
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.
I respectfully disagree. For someone that is still in the trenches and working towards my financial goals these posts are very helpful and motivating. I love to be able to see others' journeys plotted by year. It gives me hope that I'll eventually turn the corner and things will start to get easier.

Sometimes people post things that aren't relevant to me (e.g., $600k/yr salary and gaining $1M net worth per year... at age 19, etc.), but that's not discouraging in the least. I just discard that information and focus on the ones that are more similar to me.

I'm happy to cheer on others and I hope they'll cheer me on as well when I finally hit some noteworthy milestones.

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

Post by nick evets » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:01 am

Lynette wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:47 am
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?"
I agree with that. I think a fair percentage of posts are simply leveraging the subject matter of investments as an opportunity to brag, "...so I'm wondering about the 4.8M in taxable, given my young age of 32...." where in most other environments a disclosure of personal wealth would be considered rude.

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

Post by JamesSFO » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:06 am

Rrolack wrote:
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.
I generally find these threads interesting particularly if they are more like Rrolack's first points than the second set of examples. More generally, if 2comma threads are banned what about year X check ins which are also often humble brags effectively and only minimally actionable?

I would say on these types of threads heavier consolidation into omnibus threads might be useful and/or a weekly "success thread" or similar.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:09 am

The forum would be pretty boring if everyone followed all the rules...only actionable threads, no duplicate posts, read the wiki before asking questions...

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

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:16 am

What I find more inappropriate is when some member denigrates the choice (or even the actual question) of others.

Someone asking about getting a good price for, say, a diamond engagement ring is looking for just that... help with pricing.

Responding in an uncharitable way about how stupid such a ring is? Not really helpful.
Offering an alternate suggestion in a respectful way is quite different, but still might not be responsive unless OP asked about "or other alternatives/thought" or such.

Ditto someone asking about choosing between two fancy/expensive cars?
It's probably not helpful to point out how a Yugo would also get them from A to B. Worse, to phrase that in negative terms about the folly of their entire life strategy :annoyed

There have definitely been respectful comments suggesting that perhaps other aspects of someone's finances may need more attention, based upon information provided.
And there have also definitely been such comments quite lacking in any sense of being respectful.

These ARE "actionable" threads, but they really interfere with the sense of community, and also can discourage some from asking questions or offering suggestions.

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

Post by sc9182 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:28 am

These are actionable in sense:

How to stay the course
Are OPs on-track to retire - with or without additional income sources (SS, pensions, oft-maligned annuities, CDs, TIPs etc)
How/why to possibly purchase Umbrella policy upon achieving certain networth (especially outside of tax-deferred accts)
Is self-insure sufficient or still purchase/maintain term life
How to plan for early/timely retirement, or convert to part-time
How to maintain AGI levels to manage Medical coverage galore/minefield.

Many other related but necessary actionable topics in planning continuuam. But how do OP know what next steps to act if he/she is not made aware, or brought to attention without such thread/ensuing-discussion.

thx

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

Post by LarryAllen » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:36 am

I find threads without something "actionable" still may have lots of nuggets of valuable information in them. It seems it's pretty easy for people to move on to the next thread if they don't like the content of one!?

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

Post by dziuniek » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:38 am

Alex Frakt wrote:
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.
MOTIVATION.

Seeing others reach their goals keeps me on track.

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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 10:40 am

2comma wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:49 am
. . . . . 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.
RE: username. It could be construed as a "goal" rather than a "brag". In another forum it may be read as a brag. I doubt that it crosses anyone's mind here. Congratulations if it is indeed an achievement.
Find a cool avatar to go with it.
j
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by bradshaw1965 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:41 am

Social support about topics where the poster feels like they would not be understood in other contexts is valuable in my opinion. Not sure how that would look from a forum terms perspective, a special subforum seems reasonable but depending on the entry point users may be unlikely to see subforum groupings.

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

Post by Alex Frakt » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:53 am

soupcxan wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:37 am
Keep these threads in the Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community please.
After reading the responses so far, this is what I'm leaning towards. That subforum could use some more content anyway. I put it in there because we need an easy way to find local chapter meetings and we also use it for occasional announcements that don't really fit elsewhere, but it really is underutilized.

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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 10:55 am

Keepcalm wrote:
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.
I don't believe they have necessarily been left alone by the moderators thus far. I occasionally see posts that suddenly disappear from my view - not sure how many such posts are being hidden/removed today that are out in left field.
I will also support whatever the owners/moderators decided - I just see more harm than good coming from changing the policy. I personally get little information from the current "Hey - can someone congratulate me on my achievement" threads. I believe there are enough boglehead success stories in the wiki, books, reference material, as well as in the answers to the legitimate questions.

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

Post by Alex Frakt » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:56 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:09 am
The forum would be pretty boring if everyone followed all the rules...only actionable threads, no duplicate posts, read the wiki before asking questions...
Only one of those is an actual rule.

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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 10:57 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". 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.
+1
Well said, "A.J." (I'm glad you didn't mention my long winded inputs) :shock:
There are different levels of engagement. Swimming with the big fish is not always fun for fear of getting "nipped", even if one's motivation is to learn. Alternate, less "cerebral" posts/threads invite contributions without the pressure to engage further, or have one's logic questioned. . . or dissected. The "community: includes the entire realm between portfolio analysis and theoretical investment finance discussion to motivational posts.
Mahalo.
j :D

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

Post by ERISA Stone » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:00 am

I already think the "actionable" component of the website is arbitrary and frankly infuriating. I can't tell you how many times I've been chugging along a thread that is relevant to me only to have moderators cut it off. Then I see about 20% of the titles in the thread list and know that they can't be actionable so I try to understand how one is left open while others aren't.

So my vote is posts like the 2 comma posts should remain even though I find them less valuable than "should I buy my dream Porsche" or "find me a watch for under $5k" because I think they might have value to other posters even though they don't to me.

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

Post by Alex Frakt » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:07 am

Tamarind wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:35 am
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.
I'd like to note that we consider all investing theory threads as actionable by definition. Someone should be able to use the information presented either in an initial post or the ensuing discussion. That's also why there is no requirement that posts in that subforum be personal.

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

Post by bobcat2 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:10 am

I believe such posts belong in the Bogleheads Community forum.

More importantly, I believe the Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community forum should be split into two separate forums. If someone wants to see when their local group is meeting and what's on the agenda, they shouldn't have to sort thru posts such as DD just get married, Livesoft at 58,000 posts!, Roll Call for the Retirement Class of blah!, Happy Holidays Bogleheads, Where is YDNAL?, To Avatar or Not?, blah blah blah.

The Local Chapters forum shouldn't be the dumping ground for posts the moderators don't know where to put!

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

Post by David Jay » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:18 am

djpeteski wrote:
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.
I like this language: "Milestone Reports". If you want to make them a separate forum, so be it. These posts are usually very positive and reassuring...
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Savio » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:19 am

Please allow these threads. They are fun and enjoyable.

I am young and an early investor and I enjoy reading success stories. It motivates me.

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

Post by srmach05 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:19 am

Living in a culture that celebrates getting rich quick, flashy spending, excess, etc., I think there is real value in celebrating/recognizing those who did it the "boring" way -- years and years of hard work, sacrificing some "wants", and staying the course. I may not have time to read all of the milestone threads, but each time one pops up it's a confirmation and encouragement that the Boglehead philosophy works.

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

Post by Will do good » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:23 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:09 am
The forum would be pretty boring if everyone followed all the rules...only actionable threads, no duplicate posts, read the wiki before asking questions...
+1

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

Post by randomizer » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:28 am

I totally understand why people want to make these posts but at the same time I could happily live without them. The fact that the signal-to-noise ratio is so high here makes it truly outstanding and uniquely useful compared to other sites. If you want motivational exchange of milestones, just go post on the Mr Money Mustache forum: it is overflowing with them.
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Atgard » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:31 am

In short, they don't bother me at all and I think they do some good for both the poster (as many have mentioned, people need a place to celebrate their long-time hard work & dedication, and it is safer to do so here), and possibly for others as inspiration, especially if the person tells a bit of their story & journey.

While perhaps not strictly "actionable," I have always found that requirement a bit hard to quantify, and I've found many interesting theory-related threads that were arguably not "actionable," or were even shut down while I was enjoying them. And why couldn't at least some of them be actionable if a person says "this is what I earned for how long and how much I saved and what I invested in and here's what happened" -- why couldn't someone take action by trying to replicate some or all of that?

True, after being here a while, I generally don't read those types of threads anymore, but it's easy enough to skip over them. I certainly don't begrudge those celebrating or get angry over having to scroll one more link down. :)

I fully understand shutting down threads that make more work for the moderators, you guys/gals are saints and we thank you for your tireless efforts. But if, as you say, these types of threads rarely cause problems requiring mod intervention, I don't see the harm. And I also agree that community-building is important, having places were newcomers can safely dip their toe in and say "Cool, congrats!" If people prefer them in a separate sub-forum (so those who dislike them can more easily avoid seeing them?) I think that's a fine solution too.

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

Post by Da5id » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:32 am

I don't find the "2 comma club" threads very useful myself, but as long as they don't devolve into messes that put a burden on the mods, sounds good. How much "international percentage", "what is the right SWR", "100% stocks", and "do dividends matter" threads can we handle without some occasional relief in between :)

That said, I'd personally be hesitant to post in a non-anonymous way my net worth, so I do wonder if everyone posting in those threads has thought it through. And handles or not, we aren't all that anonymous here.

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

Post by bligh » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:39 am

I am assuming these threads are getting flagged for moderator review because they are being perceived as bragging. Unfortunately bragging, in my opinion, is deeply a part of human nature. From the first tribal chieftain who put the skull of a tiger/bear/whatever he had killed on his head... the first woman who put a gemstone or a piece of jewelry around her neck. People do it to establish themselves in the socio economic hierarchy. That is what InstaFace is so successful. :) We are animals after all. I admit that it takes active effort on my part to identify and stop when I am about to say something for the purpose of impressing others.

Anyway, I have 3 points that I'd like the founders and moderators of this forum to consider:

1 - Is there a way you could actually eliminate bragging? As previous posters have mentioned, you could easily rephrase your 2 comma milestone thread with a "26 year, just entered the 2 comma club, are there any adjustments I should make? Should I get umbrella insurance to protect my $5 million taxable investments? Should I increase my bond allocation now that I am FI at 40? etc." Put a question at the end of the statement and you can still communicate your success. I think it is better to let people just get to the point and share their happy moment. It is impossible to know the motive of the poster but I do think the vast majority of them truly want to share a happy moment (anonymously) that they cannot share with their normal social circle. They also want to thank the Bogleheads community that they feel helped them in their journey. (I know I can actually can track the $ difference this community has made to my financial life).

2 - I would argue that the 2 comma club posts on a forum like this aren't about trying to impress. Consider the audience. A disproportionately large percentage of the forum members are already deep in the 2 comma club and plenty are penta millionaires and I suspect deca millionaires. I think they are about sharing a happy financial milestone with the people that helped them achieve it.

3 - These threads are indeed off topic, but they aren't wildly off topic. Such posts tend to share details about the authors journey to this significant milestone. Usually these posts include a story of how the individual made it there. Those stories are often interesting to read, I admit to enjoying reading them. I also feel happy for the posters and like sharing a little bit in their joy. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to put them in a separate forum section "Milestones and Financial Stories".

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

Post by JPH » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:40 am

I think they should be allowed. It is actionable in the sense that members can give a pat on the back and perhaps encourage others to persevere. I also would extend the privilege to 3 comma club members!
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by The Wizard » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:42 am

Most of the Milestone threads, whether having achieved $1,000,000 or a similar round number, are basically progress reports.
They can be actionable/inspirational to others with a bit of history on how the OP got to that's point: starting employment X years ago, finally maxing out tax deferred last year, etc.

And those OPs can also elaborate on actions they plan for the next 5-10 years to build on their achievement.

I don't see how we can force more details to appear initially in the first post, but the regulars can bug them nicely to elaborate the omitted details on how long it took and what happens next...
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by JPH » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:54 am

The Wizard wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:42 am

I don't see how we can force more details to appear initially in the first post, but the regulars can bug them nicely to elaborate the omitted details on how long it took and what happens next...
Good point. I will try to do that.
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:55 am

Alex Frakt wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:56 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:09 am
The forum would be pretty boring if everyone followed all the rules...only actionable threads, no duplicate posts, read the wiki before asking questions...
Only one of those is an actual rule.
Understood but many replies to threads are “maybe if you would search” or “if you read up in the wiki”. Those are less useful than “hey we did XYZ and look where we are now”.

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

Post by davidsorensen32 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:58 am

THANK YOU FOR FNALLY ADDRESSING ALEX. These type of bragging posts serve only 1 purpose - TO SHOW OFF. They are EXTREMELY ANNOYING and greatly dilute the quality of the forum. Lots of us are struggling through hand to mouth existence and these people have no shame showing of their millions. I would outright BAN these posters and their bragging posts permanently . Keep your original forum policy intact. It’s solid.

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

Post by czeckers » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:04 pm

bobcat2 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:10 am
I believe such posts belong in the Bogleheads Community forum.

More importantly, I believe the Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community forum should be split into two separate forums. If someone wants to see when their local group is meeting and what's on the agenda, they shouldn't have to sort thru posts such as DD just get married, Livesoft at 58,000 posts!, Roll Call for the Retirement Class of blah!, Happy Holidays Bogleheads, Where is YDNAL?, To Avatar or Not?, blah blah blah.

The Local Chapters forum shouldn't be the dumping ground for posts the moderators don't know where to put!

BobK :? :annoyed
I think this is a great idea!
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Re: Help me understand question-less financial status (e.g. "2 comma club") threads.

Post by MrDrinkingWater » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:12 pm

This thread has been a very good read.

I like the idea of the new "Milestone Reports" category for these actionable, semi-actionable, and non-actionable posts. I agree that many posts are inspirational toward getting on course as well as "Staying the Course".

I am okay with these posts being placed wherever Alex would like to do it, and allowing these kinds of posts to stay, even the obvious humble-brag ones that lack a formal request for suggestions or improvements to a portfolio.

Posts that describe an achieved milestone sometimes include a request for information on to live better but with lower expenses. Those posts should definitely remain so that advice on how one might be able to achieve financial independence sooner may be shared.

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

Post by an_asker » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:14 pm

TimeRunner wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:02 am
[...]If they stay, they need to be inflation-adjusted. :twisted:
+1! Once everyone starts making two commas per year, being in "the 2 comma club" would be a default situation (for a Boglehead at least!).

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

Post by 22twain » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:15 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
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.
I agree. This would be entirely in keeping with the educational mission of this forum. As has been noted, there's no general-discussion "lounge" type forum because it would raise a red flag with respect to the site's tax status. Requiring some educational content in such posts would presumably satisfy such objections.

Someone else has suggested a separate forum named "Milestone Reports." Other possibilities might be "Financial Milestones" or "Financial Progress Reports."
My investing princiPLEs do not include absolutely preserving princiPAL.

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

Post by an_asker » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:16 pm

czeckers wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:04 pm
bobcat2 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:10 am
I believe such posts belong in the Bogleheads Community forum.

More importantly, I believe the Local Chapters and Bogleheads Community forum should be split into two separate forums. If someone wants to see when their local group is meeting and what's on the agenda, they shouldn't have to sort thru posts such as DD just get married, Livesoft at 58,000 posts!, Roll Call for the Retirement Class of blah!, Happy Holidays Bogleheads, Where is YDNAL?, To Avatar or Not?, blah blah blah.

The Local Chapters forum shouldn't be the dumping ground for posts the moderators don't know where to put!

BobK :? :annoyed
I think this is a great idea!
"To Avatar or Not?" might even be classified under actionable! :oops:

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

Post by HueyLD » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:22 pm

davidsorensen32 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:58 am
THANK YOU FOR FNALLY ADDRESSING ALEX. These type of bragging posts serve only 1 purpose - TO SHOW OFF. They are EXTREMELY ANNOYING and greatly dilute the quality of the forum. Lots of us are struggling through hand to mouth existence and these people have no shame showing of their millions. I would outright BAN these posters and their bragging posts permanently . Keep your original forum policy intact. It’s solid.
+1000! Couldn't have said it better myself.

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

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:32 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
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.
- this is a forum focused on investing, and once one learns the Boglehead principles, success is likely to follow.
- furthermore this forum attracts people interested in money, and often with a talent for making or saving money.
- the corollary of these two points is that Bogleheads start to accumulate large sums of money.
- in our personal lives, no one wants to hear how successful we are with money. That should be obvious.
- because of the community aspect you cite, people want to share their successes with like-minded folks, meaning fellow Bogleheads. THIS IS NOT BRAGGING.
- i hope you will allow this to continue, and not allow the notions of some socially hapless members or their insistence that we just focus on the numbers (to the exclusion of community) to sway you.

Frankly, were we to adopt a more rigid interpretation of the actionable clause, half the threads here would be gone; as would 90% of the community.
Last edited by letsgobobby on Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:34 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 snackdog » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:32 pm

I didn't see anyone here reply regarding the apparent reason for most of the net worth and poll topics - people are competitive and want to see where they are in the race. They may be winning the race against the average American, but they are interested in how they are doing versus the rest of the Bogleheads. Competitive spirit as a human motivator can not be over-stated - it is huge. Wanting to compare your standing to others is natural and does not imply bragging so much as curiosity as to where others stand. I see a lot of value in sharing enough details in the net worth threads for others to compare to their own standing, consider how it could relate to their forecast, and come to a better understanding of their financial picture (are they earning enough, saving enough, allocating optimally, etc). This type of information is not available elsewhere - one does not compare annual savings rates or net worth improvements with family, friends or co-workers.

I say keep it and find ways to improve it.

As an aside, I find the thread-based net worth entries far more valuable than a poll since each entry is tied to a user name and includes discussion. The poll google sheets are anonymous and potentially full of made up data and multiple entries by imposters.

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

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:37 pm

And - I have to add this - if these threads are seen as “bragging”, and people are not allowed to discuss their million or ten million dollars for fear of being accused of such, is it any wonder people with $5 million or $50 million questions would hesitate to participate in these forums, post their honest questions, seek feedback about their situations? Too often the response to those posts is, “You can retire now on 1% SWR, what are you worried about?” Some help that is. I’d rather see a firmer stance taken on envious responses than so-called bragging posts.

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

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:45 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:37 am

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).
Consider the flipside: the posters who have ‘reached a certain point’ who no longer feel comfortable sharing their information or asking questions because of the heat they might get for ‘humblebragging’, or - my pet peeve - the “you can retire now on 1% SWR, what are you worried about?” responses.

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

Post by triceratop » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:01 pm

I deleted some off-topic comments.

Please remember the Forum rules on complaining about moderation even while feedback is solicited on Forum policies. The two are different.
Forum rules wrote: Notifying the Advisory Board via PM or e-mail is the only acceptable outlet for complaints regarding Moderator action. Members do not have the right to take their appeal to the rest of the forum or to complain publicly about Moderator actions. Follow-up topics complaining of alleged ill-treatment by Moderators by the original poster, or any other member, will be deleted and may result in further administrative action. If you see such a post, please do not respond. Even if you support the Moderator's action, your post will be deleted with the rest.
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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 1:02 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:32 pm

- because of the community aspect you cite, people want to share their successes with like-minded folks, meaning fellow Bogleheads. THIS IS NOT BRAGGING.
What you're missing is that just because a group of people can perform basic mathematical calculations and would prefer not to leave their future selves destitute doesn't necessarily mean they are "like-minded" in any meaningful way.
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:37 pm

...is it any wonder people with $5 million or $50 million questions would hesitate to participate in these forums, post their honest questions, seek feedback about their situations?
Is it any wonder people with five-digit portfolios would hesitate to participate in these forums, post their honest questions, and seek feedback about their situations? Would you like to see the group of people I refer to? I'll show you mine if you show me yours.
Quod vitae sectabor iter?

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

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:09 pm

saltycaper wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:02 pm
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:32 pm

- because of the community aspect you cite, people want to share their successes with like-minded folks, meaning fellow Bogleheads. THIS IS NOT BRAGGING.
What you're missing is that just because a group of people can perform basic mathematical calculations and would prefer not to leave their future selves destitute doesn't necessarily mean they are "like-minded" in any meaningful way.
Of course they’re like-minded. The characteristics you describe place them in a minority among American adults; and furthermore, they’ve gone so far as to read a financial forum which probably places them in a miniority of around 1% (0.1%? 5%?) of American adults. If they’ve posted in a financial forum we’re probably talking about 0.1% or fewere. The fact that they may be different in myriad ways doesn’t take away their like-mindedness around this particular subject. Since the question is about sharing financial information on a financial/investment forum, it’s pretty clear the like-mindedness is relevant. You may like water skiing and I might like basket weaving but on finances - we are in an elite group.

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

Post by Eric » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:13 pm

tuningfork wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:56 am
Perhaps create "The official 2 comma club membership thread" to let people humble-brag their net worth milestones in one place, and the moderators can merge individual threads into it (putting more work on the mods, unfortunately, until those threads stop popping up).
This seems like a good compromise. It takes the concept of confining to a subforum a step further -- confining the posts to one mega-thread. For those who find these threads inspirational, it furthers that purpose. (Readers can absorb a lot of inspiration from multiple sources in one place. ;-) ) And for those who don't like clutter, it minimizes that too.

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

Post by Da5id » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:15 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:22 pm
davidsorensen32 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:58 am
THANK YOU FOR FNALLY ADDRESSING ALEX. These type of bragging posts serve only 1 purpose - TO SHOW OFF. They are EXTREMELY ANNOYING and greatly dilute the quality of the forum. Lots of us are struggling through hand to mouth existence and these people have no shame showing of their millions. I would outright BAN these posters and their bragging posts permanently . Keep your original forum policy intact. It’s solid.
+1000! Couldn't have said it better myself.
If your issue is "showing off", would you now, for example, ban discussion of benefits of Vanguard Flagship status (an indirect way of saying you have "two commas")? Discussion of umbrella insurance (also in many cases indicates a good chunk of assets worth protecting)? Statements about what to do after you max out 401k/HSA/Roth and don't know what to do with the leftover (indication of pretty decent earnings)? Discussion of bonuses for transferring large amounts of money to another brokerage? Discussion of largish inheritances? All of these may make someone feel like they don't have "enough". But also note that people have issues that need discussing with vastly different amounts of money. And a healthy proportion of people with lots more money are likely just in a different life stage (perhaps 50+ years old) than those with less (maybe 30?). Rather than assume people posting are bragging to strangers, maybe it is well to be more charitable. And a suggestion of a ban is remarkable...

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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 1:16 pm

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 suspect this would not be much of a problem is some sort of minimum quality requirement were to be put in place. It won't be possible to define what the minimum quality is but a few example links in the rules should be good enough. If anyone is on the line the mods can ask them to add more detail or have it locked. Anyone who isn't trying to create problems will happily go back and make edits.

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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 1:17 pm

davidsorensen32 wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:58 am
THANK YOU FOR FNALLY ADDRESSING ALEX. These type of bragging posts serve only 1 purpose - TO SHOW OFF. They are EXTREMELY ANNOYING and greatly dilute the quality of the forum. Lots of us are struggling through hand to mouth existence and these people have no shame showing of their millions. I would outright BAN these posters and their bragging posts permanently . Keep your original forum policy intact. It’s solid.
davidsorensen32 wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:29 am
Here’s to $2M —> $3M :sharebeer . Come back and post once you hit $3M
bubbadog wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:44 pm
I realize this post might be perceived as a humblebrag so please accept my apologies in advance. Financial milestones are not something I can really celebrate/share with family or friends.

I am 51 years old and it took me until age 47 to accumulate over 1 million in my investment accounts. It only took an additional 46 months to top 2 million in my accounts which I did today. I have always heard the saying about how the 2nd million is a lot easier. I would have never guessed it would happen so quickly. Obviously the last four years have been great and things can change very quickly for the worse.

I wanted to share with the Boglehead Community, especially those a lot younger and just starting out, that once things get going, compounding really does work its magic!

I have a simple 3 fund portfolio (65/35 stocks/bonds)
Maybe 30-35% of the second million was contributions to my accounts.

I have learned a great deal from this community and really appreciate all of the advice I have been given in the past. :sharebeer

I hate to call you out on this. I understand your intent was one of encouragement. Despite one’s feeling about this issue, it is hard to to talk investing and money without the numbers sometimes.
:sharebeer

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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 1:32 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:09 pm

Of course they’re like-minded. The characteristics you describe place them in a minority among American adults; and furthermore, they’ve gone so far as to read a financial forum which probably places them in a miniority of around 1% (0.1%? 5%?) of American adults. If they’ve posted in a financial forum we’re probably talking about 0.1% or fewere. The fact that they may be different in myriad ways doesn’t take away their like-mindedness around this particular subject. Since the question is about sharing financial information on a financial/investment forum, it’s pretty clear the like-mindedness is relevant. You may like water skiing and I might like basket weaving but on finances - we are in an elite group.
Since finance touches on so many other aspects of life, I think that even if people agree on a few personal finance principles, there's plenty of opportunity for differences to overwhelm. Disagreements, some passionate, on how to handle the subject of this thread are illustrative.
Quod vitae sectabor iter?

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