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52 Comments

  1. Lila

    There was a minimalist interviewed on the news once but he spent most of his time couch surfing. I don’t respect and I don’t respect this hermit either and I would never read his book.

    Moocher is what comes to mind. I want to tell him, “Go to work like most of the world has to! What? Like it is hard? Get over it!!!”

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I hear you, Lila. It crossed my mind frequently that the hermit could have pulled this off without stealing. He was very resourceful. He could have learned to hunt and fish and sustained himself without resorting to taking from others. No excuses but I think he just didn’t develop enough maturity or social skills to think it through properly.

  2. I read about the hermit in the woods a few months back – fascinating story!

    Thanks for the great reminder – it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the logistics of our finances that we do have a tendency to forget what it’s all for.

    I always try to remind myself – the money (net worth, income, all of it) is a *tool* to help get me to my goals. It’s not a goal on its own.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I found it fascinating, too! It felt like a movie — and in fact, a documentary was made about it called “The Hermit.”

      I think many of us forget to enjoy our money because we’re either too worried — or too excited by paying down debt and growing our net worth.

      Thanks for your comment, Chris. Much appreciated.

  3. Sunshine

    Nice….always struggling to balance my financial focus, my family and my self. While it is imperative to me to educate myself and take action so my family and I can be financially free and have passive income that increases my time and ability to just enjoy them and life…….I realize it is important that I enjoy them, me and life right now as well. I cannot get any of today’s moments back tommorrow……so while I plan for tommorrow, I remind myself to laugh, live and love today :)…….

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I walk the line between being goal-oriented/driven and wanting to enjoy the moment. I also need to remind myself to “laugh, live and love today” and not take myself too seriously. Thanks for the comment and for sharing your thoughts, Sunshine.

  4. Steve from Arkansas

    What a great inspiring song and thoughtful post! How many people miss the joy of the journey by being fixed only on the destination? Well, all of us probably do at times. We can’t be reminded enough of the things that really matter, and good on you for reminding me and all of us today that it isn’t being financially independent that makes us happy but for me it is my sweet spouse for 39 years, my grown kids, my friends and the opportunity to help other people that matters. The financial means are just a tool for living to that end.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you, Steve! I really appreciate your kind comments and your generous attitude. Congrats on 39 years of marriage!

      I was motivated to write this post because so many of us who concentrate on our finances are on a hamster wheel. As you said, many of us miss the joy of the journey — and not having your finances in order shouldn’t be a total joy-breaker.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I wouldn’t answer ‘yes’ to four or more, but maybe three. 😉

    Just got two ‘new’ (used from Amazon) books this week but I think I’ll add the one you’ve mentioned to my list and read it when I have time. It sounds interesting. I have occasional thoughts of how cool it would be to through-hike the Appalachian Trail. I wonder if this would scare me off from it.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I actually got the book from the library. I had it in my hands when I saw Miss Mazuma mention it on another blog (I believe it was Ms. Montana’s). She said she couldn’t put it down so I knew I was on to something.

      I suppose you read Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” about hiking the Appalachian Trail? We’ve been on parts of it. One time we got turned around while hiking and needed some directions back to where we started and parked our car. A hiker doing the entire trail pointed us in the right direction. Mr. G asked if he wanted a lift into town and he said he didn’t want to get in our car because he stank. Mr. G was trying to talk him into coming with us and I’m standing behind the guy waiving furiously NO, NO at Mr. G. All I could think of was the experiment on Myth Busters about trying to get the odor of a dead pig out of a car. I know I sound terrible, but the guy smelled that bad.

      This hiker in the book, Christopher Knight, actually had a very peaceful existence in the park. For the entire AT you just need to be prepared. And there are plenty of spots to get on and off and grab a meal, supplies, etc.

      • Yep, my wife and I have read Walk in the Woods. She and I have also done a few week-long point-to-point treks on a couple of stretches. She’s actually done week-long treks in 5 different states over the years. Used to backpack a lot – not as much anymore, but I miss it. I did 25 miles with my men’s group last fall in the Pisgah Forest and it was a blast.

  6. Wow – this book sounds fascinating!! We definitely lived as financial hermits for years. We were afraid of everything. In the last couple of years we’ve moved to the rockstar column, knowing that we are – and can continue – improving our situation.

    It’s SO important to recognize the difference: great post, my friend.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you, MY friend!

      You and Rick put in the work to become rockstars. I’m so happy for you that you have peaceful feelings toward money.

  7. So uh, uh, I got like 10 of the 12 in the first bullet set (10.5 if you give half points to Gordon Ramsey) and 4 of the 6 in the second set of bullets.

    No no, it’s OK…no one feel for me…I know where my rock is (sob). What’s the bullet list for financial rockstars?

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Here’s my off the cuff bullet list for rockstars, taken from our experience.
      * Your don’t panic when you’re hit with an unexpected household expense.
      * You pay off your credit cards every month.
      * Do not talk ad nauseam about money, debt, and financial independence.
      * You keep the temperature in your home at 76 in the summer and 72 in the winter.
      * You check your net worth once a month.
      * You stop belittling yourself when you realize you spent a few bucks more for something you could have found cheaper elsewhere.

  8. Very sane words! I spend a lot of time writing about money and thinking about money and, truth be told, complaining about money. But I just can’t get obsessive to the point of insanity. I can’t be perfect or close to it really. Will my goals take me a little longer, sure. But if ordering Chinese food at the end of a crazy week (and then immediately regretting it) is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      With all the responsibilities you carry, I’m surprised that money is not on your mind all the time. You’re doing fantastic!

      I don’t know what’s worse. Regretting the money spent, or the salt and calories from Chinese food. I can hardly eat out without beating myself up for either. But I’m getting better.

      Last night we finally went out for the celebratory dinner we’ve been talking about since April. We went to a small plate restaurant that serves farm to table food. They’re famous for their milk bread, which tastes a bit like challah bread, except they use more cream than egg. (I asked as I could tell there was egg in it). Speaking of which, I’m jealous because you live in the challah capital of the world!!!! When my brother visits he brings both egg bagels and challah rolls for me.

  9. Haha- I definitely have a few checks in the “Financial Hermit” quality boxes, but I think overall, my husband and I are able to keep our financial life as a piece of our whole life. Plus, I find that when I take a break from my financial thinking/analysis, I end up accidentally more frugal because I am taking the time to go for a walk, hang out with my family/friends, cook a meal, etc. Great post!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      That’s interesting, Mrs. AR, that when you take a break from your finances you end up being more frugal. I’m going to start paying attention to see if that holds true for me, too.

      Sounds like you’ve got everything under control! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. The ones I did do happened several years ago when we were just trying to get control of our finances. I do a couple of the things on the list occasionally, but not constantly, so I declare myself not-a-hermit. Life is too damn short to be a hermit, in my opinion.

  11. Oh man I’m pushing the hermit boundaries…I’m such a financial nut that I pretty much live eat and breath finance (and personal finances) every day! I’ve been loosening up though over the years, life is good 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Life is most certainly good in Swan Lake! I just left a comment on Lucy’s new post, LOL. It was great seeing you both and the kiddos. Maybe we caught you on a good day but you were not overflowing with financial conversation. So, yeah, you must have loosened up!

  12. Love the correlation…and, yes, I am a financial hermit!! I feel like I have moments of taking the stage as a rockstar but then shrivel in front of the spotlight. There is something about the start of this journey, when you are finally awakened to the idea of FI, that makes you go a bit insane. After a couple years buckling down tight you start to loosen up and enjoy it more. Last year was way harder than this one so thank god I am coming out of the fog!

    I love love love Christophers story. Such a complicated character…humble yet arrogant, kind yet deceiving, and sweet yet salty. I give him all the credit in the world for taking off at such a young age and knowing what he needed to make himself happy. Unfortunately, in order to accomplish his survival, he stole the idea of peace and safety from those around him. Financial hermiting has the potential to steal joy from your life or those around you so it is a tricky balance but one that hopefully comes in the end.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Ha! I think all of us on this journey are a bit insane! I’m glad to hear this year is easier for you than last year.

      Christopher is so unfiltered. Even when he’s arrogant it’s hard to be angry with him because he never learned socialization skills. I tried not to judge him as I was reading and just follow along. But I can also empathize with those who felt victimized by him. Luckily, they seem to be in the minority and most people the author interviewed had a lot of compassion, and ever respect for Christopher.

      What did you think of all the other hermits mentioned in the book? There’s quite a bit of good material to follow up on. I might check some of it out.

      • I agree! I was fascinated buy the story of the millennials in Japan (?) that are protesting life as they know it by staying in their bedrooms and only eating what their parents provide. What?! Also, my new life’s goal is to infiltrate the hermit website just to know what goes on in the chat room!!

          • Mrs. Groovy

            Yeah, I vomited a little when I read about those millennial hermits. I blame the parents. STARVE THEM!!! They’ll have to come out eventually.

            I recall Finkel saying he was able to read everything on the hermit message boards. He just couldn’t post anything without joining and that’s when they check you out.

  13. Sounds like an interesting read. I’m not sure how someone could just walk off the grid like that. Our finances are just part or who we are, but by your definition, I guess I am part financial hermit. I think I’d consider myself a financial rockstar too. Sharing our past mistakes to try and help others.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      He had survival skills. But in some ways he was very ill-prepared when he walked off the grid. That’s one of the strangest aspects of the story.

      You’re more rockstar than hermit, IMO, Brian.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Agreed — surrounding yourself with good people makes all the difference. Thanks for stopping by, Martin!

  14. Used to be a financial hermit. Counting pennies and dollars; but not anymore. I think my wife helped me moderate, and vice versa. We’ve brought each other more closer to the middle. As a household though, big picture stuff we’re still fairly frugal; but we’re spending a little more on the little stuff and not OCD’ing with every little thing. Getting to a point where we’re so financially stable has definitely helped us (mostly me), moderate my extremely frugal nature.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      It sounds like you and your wife are perfect for each other, Tim! I agree with you on the financial stability. It sure makes it easier to stop sweating the smaller stuff.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Julie! I needed the reminder myself, like a good kick in the pants. You have a great week too!

  15. I heard about the North Pond Hermit on public radio. Pretty interesting story and I hope he’s adjusting better. The story said he had a tough time coming back to civilization. Probably better to go back to live in the woods.
    I’m obsessed about finance, but I’m not quite a financial hermit. I don’t worry about every penny anymore. I’d probably think about money less if I don’t have a blog. 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I did a little searching to see if Christopher Knight is still alive. He made some veiled threats to the author about possibly killing himself, but I haven’t found an obituary.

      The problem with going back to the woods would be that he’d need to rely on help from others since he could no longer steal. But he’s not the type to accept help. He didn’t even want leniency for his crimes.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I like the idea of modifying the FIRE plan!

      There aren’t too many things in life where there’s only one path or one decision. Most everything is revocable. Modify the goal if it no longer suits your purpose.

  16. Nice post! I’d say I’m a moderate hermit, except that I also socialize and don’t let it take over my life. I got into some PF burnout last November and I’m still pulling out of that. It’s easy to let that stuff take over your life.

    On the other hand, I talk finance, savings, investing, and more to most people at work if they’re interested. That’s the key, if they’re interested. 🙂

    I heard someone go thru their life sob story to another person and their response was pretty classic. She looked at her, gave a knowing nod and said, “We’ve all got a story…” I did a spit take with my drink it caught me so off guard, but it’s true. Whether it’s good, bad, or ugly, it sounds like life to me.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I can relate to the burnout. What keeps me in balance is knowing that I can love this all to the heights one day, and just up and quit the next day if I don’t want to do it anymore. I’ve learned somehow not to feel too attached to anything.

      Oh, I would have loved to hear that response and do a spit take with you! That story reminds me of my mother. When she no longer wanted to be bothered with anyone’s problems her signature phrase was, “Everybody’s got something.” And she’d tune you out.

  17. RocDoc

    Good points in this post. Frugalism and monitoring one’s financial net worth can go too far and take over a person’s life. We should also strive to do something of value and not just accumulate financial value. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Exactly, RocDoc! Strive to be of value and not just accumulate value. And find joy. It SOUNDS easy but we humans tend to over-complicate things.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Oh god, im a borderline hermit. Good thing my son actively keeps us doing things. He does love to play at the park and then go get ice cream 😀

    Now that I started my blog I am obsessing about my own finances less and more motivated to reflect on how I got here so u can share the story with others.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      That’s one thing we haven’t experienced — kids. But according to y’all who have them, they sure keep you focused on what’s important.

      Sharing with others so that they can learn from your path is a great way to keep from obsessing. Thanks for commenting!

  19. Oh Mrs. G I love this! Your last paragraph sums it up so well! Your financial story is just a part of your entire story but it doesn’t define us. It’s just a part of being human – Sounds like life!

    Thanks for sharing the book and the song.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Amy! I shared this as a reminder to myself as well. Our personal stories are constantly twisting and turning.

  20. How interesting! I want to check out this book now for sure, sounds like quite a character. I’m not quiiiiiite a financial hermit, but definitely am a part-time hermit. I do obsess over purchases and prioritize planning/cooking for the future more than I probably need to. It’s easy to go overboard with this stuff once you get addicted to the feeling of accomplishment.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I admire your cooking and prepping acumen, Mrs. PP!

      There’s probably a little part-time financial hermit in all of us. I obsess over the stupid stuff, like spending a buck on a soda in McDonald’s once in a while. The larger purchases don’t bother me as much. Weird, huh?