Famous FIRE Blogger Tragically Dies Falling Off Boat


In a stunning piece of news, I recently learned that a pillar of our little FIRE community has died.  This individual died a tragic death doing what he loved the most… cruising and enjoying a life of financial independence.

Out of respect for the family, this news has been kept very quiet, but I thought the entire FIRE community deserved to know the details as to how and why this unfortunate death occurred…

 

The Death of Root Of Good

Justin McCurry, (also known as Root Of Good) was recently vacationing on the cruise ship ‘Caribbean Princess’ with his wife Kaisorn.  After completing their evening meal, the McCurry’s went for an evening stroll on the ship’s deck to enjoy the sunset.

Reportedly, Justin stopped to take a selfie with the sunset (so he could post yet-another picture to Twitter about how awesome a life of financial independence is) and he tragically fell to his death.

The actual railing where RootOfGood fell.

Apparently, Justin decided to climb “a little higher” on the railing to get a better photo, slipped, and fell.  It’s likely that a couple of drinks with dinner, combined with a wet railing (from rains earlier in the day) were contributing factors.

Kaisorn, survived just fine… Which makes me wonder, was Justin pushed?

criminal mastermind
Criminal mastermind or a distraught widow? Tragically, we’ll never know… but I think that grin is a dead giveaway.

Despite an attempted rescue, the body was never recovered and authorities suspect sharks consumed the corpse.

 

The Real Risk Of A FIRE Lifestyle

Recently, a famous personal finance author (she who will not be named) has been very critical of the FIRE movement, claiming that members of the FIRE movement will run out of money.

Running out of money was never an issue for the McCurry’s — with annual spending right around $35,000 and a annual income over $71,000 (in 2017).  Furthermore, most of the McCurry family’s income was derived independent of stock prices.  Dividends from assets, interest, blog income, and a small consulting business made-up the bulk of their $71k income.  In total, they had a net worth of over $2 million dollars.  You can read all about it on Justin’s blog, but running out of money wasn’t the issue.

While this grandstanding by “you know who” is likely to garner additional media attention (and sell more overpriced books), her ridiculous “running out of money” argument actually ignores the real and higher probability risk of the FIRE movement — Dying because we’re out there doing stuff.

The McCurry’s went on cruises about twice a year and lived an incredibly rich life on a small budget.  Justin even wrote a guide for others on low cost cruising for others: Cruise Vacation Overview.  He was an incredibly avid cruiser and this adrenaline fueled activity finally did him in.

cruise ships
Cruising is so incredibly dangerous. These should just be called “death ships” people!

Even if he hadn’t slipped from the deck of the cruise ship, it’s likely Justin would have eventually succumbed to other major cruising health hazards:

  • Gaining 5 to 10 pounds from eating too much of the ridiculously abundant food. (A contributing factor to many serious health problems)
  • Contracting norovirus and potentially dying.
  • Absorbing too much tropical sunshine and contracting terminal skin cancer.
  • Death via cellphone/internet withdrawal. (Cruise ships only have expensive satellite internet)

Justin had a lot of fun in his short life, but this was exactly the problem.  Instead of staying safe working in an office all day, Justin was outside doing stuff in The Big Blue Room.  The outside world is dangerous, and “doing stuff” can actually kill you.

snack plate
Yet one more danger of cruising — delicious and abundant food.

According to a report by the Cruise Lines International Association, falling off a cruise ship is not an uncommon way to die — around 19 people die every year falling from a cruise ship.  (No word on whether they were pushed or not.)  With 24 million people going on cruises every year, this means there’s an incredibly high probability you could die going on a cruise.

Clearly, Justin was taking BIG chances by going outside — he should have just kept working.  A job in a air conditioned office would have been so much safer!

So keep working people! — Your life isn’t worth the risk!

 

Living Is A Risk

If you haven’t guessed already, today’s post is very much a joke.  A satirical post to poke a little fun in the right places.  Root Of Good is alive and well, and he kindly gave me permission to “kill him off” in today’s post.

(Thanks for being a good sport Justin!)

He actually *was* on vacation aboard the cruise ship ‘Caribbean Princess’ for 10 days this October, that part is true.  The details and circumstances of his death however, are entirely invented. 🙂

While cruising does have some risk associated with it, the odds of falling off the boat are incredibly small.  You’re more likely to die from being struck by lightning.  Or, (more commonly) dying in a car accident while commuting to work.  The National Safety Council has a great chart that details the probability of dying in many ways (if your curious).

All that to say, life is a risk…  Even if you have a job.

Every time we step outside there’s a chance (however small) that something bad might happen.  Hiding indoors is not the answer.  Neither is staying at a job you dislike for the rest of your life over fear of “running out of money”.

Despite all the recent fear-mongering by “you know who”, running out of money isn’t that big of a deal compared to dying.  We can recover from running out of money, but you can’t recover from dying.

Yet we manage the risk of accidental death every time we leave the house.  It’s not something we need to cower in fear over.  Why can’t money and our finances be managed as fearlessly as walking out the door every morning?

It can.  Nobody knows what the future might hold, but risks can be weighed.  Insurance can be purchased, and emergency funds can be created.

Yes, worst case — the world could go to complete hell.  The financial system could collapse.  Hyperinflation and a stock market implosion could render the dollar and all assets completely worthless.  Unemployment could rise to 25%.

If that happens, then everyone is in the same boat.  Both the employed and the financially independent.  Even traditional ‘over 65’ retirees would need to start looking for a job along with the millions of newly unemployed workers.  All retirement plans would be rendered completely worthless.

So what’s the likelihood all this doom and gloom actually happens?

You’re more likely to die falling off a cruise ship.  That’s a very small risk compared to never having actually lived.

 

[Image Credit: Flickr1, Flickr2, RootOfGood blog]

35 thoughts on “Famous FIRE Blogger Tragically Dies Falling Off Boat

    • October 15, 2018 at 3:19 PM
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      Thanks Dave! That might be fun to do a “guest post” sometime!

      Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 4:38 AM
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    The commuting risk is part of why I want to get FI, and work remotely!

    Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 4:44 AM
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    Love this!!!!! Your writing style is enjoyable and informative. Thank you for all you do for the FI and FIRE community.

    Many Blessings,

    Mike

    Reply
    • October 15, 2018 at 3:21 PM
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      A ridiculous exaggeration for comedic effect! 🙂

      Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 5:50 AM
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    Interesting stat on the overboard deaths. I wonder how many people get sick on cruises each year? I thought the answer would be easier to find via Google but I guess not. 🙂

    Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 6:41 AM
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    You caught me here! For a moment I thought that was true! Especially since it’s a bit early for April Fool’s.

    But you are right that death can happen anytime, anywhere.

    At least it’s not a “karoushi”(the Japanese coined term for overworking till death)

    Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 7:05 AM
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    Spot. On.

    I’ve always disliked flying, but I do it because I realize it is a largely irrational fear. I’ve heard tale of a guy who refused to fly and instead drove wherever he went. He was sleeping in his hotel bed one night when a plane landing at the nearby airport crashed into the hotel and killed him.

    It’s time to live. That’s the calling of FIRE. Freedom. Freedom from whatever it is each of us want freedom from. Thank you for putting it in perspective.

    (For the record, my heart sunk in that first paragraph at the thought of RoG’s untimely death. Glad he’s still alive and kicking!)

    Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 7:22 AM
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    The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated

    ~Root of Good

    Reply
    • October 13, 2018 at 9:41 AM
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      Hopefully it was an enjoyable read. Just a spot of fun to keep things interesting! 🙂

      Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 12:15 PM
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    Love the parody but there’s a hidden message as well. Suze was worried about disaster striking, but the risk of falling off a cruise ship shows the real risk of her plan of working until you’re 85 or whatever – everyone who’s died before their time would wish they had taken their foot off the gas a little earlier!

    Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 12:29 PM
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    Wow you had me in the beginning. It was not until you accused the wife mid way down that it registered that this must be a joke (had to check the browser because I thought I was accidentally back on accidental Fire’s website.

    She who must not be named indeed did a great publicity stunt and I’m sure has reaped some financial benefit from it. Those who are immersed in FIRE know better however sadly I am sure that some who were considering it may have been dissuaded now to do so by her

    Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 3:17 PM
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    I really believed he was dead until i read about the wife. but that was like ten minutes after reading he was dead because of a trip to the bathroom. Root of good haven’t postet in a while so that confirmed my “suspicion“ that you where correct. I honestly have to say i did not apreciate the “joke“. But i get where you wanted to go with the blogpost when reading to the end

    Reply
    • October 14, 2018 at 3:39 PM
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      Well, I can’t make everybody happy. Sorry you didn’t like it.

      Reply
    • October 16, 2018 at 7:57 PM
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      I couldn’t post because I was on the cruise! I didn’t want to pay $70 for internet so I took the 10 days off instead and disconnected.

      Sorry for the scare but thank you for the concern. Mr Tako did get approval from me before he posted this, so it’s partly my fault too I guess. But totally my style of comedy.

      Reply
      • October 16, 2018 at 9:55 PM
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        You are both forgiven 🙂 Think i just got a bit shocked. Still a big fan of both blogs

        Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 6:35 PM
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    I kept thinking is this an April Fools joke. But it’s not April. Then, I almost believed you until you showed the picture of the smiling wife “Criminal mastermind or distraught widow.” And the picture of the food…after a death!?! This had to be a joke. But it was well written.

    Glad to see Justin writing in to confirm “That the rumors” of his death “were greatly exaggerated.”

    He’s one of my favorite bloggers!

    Reply
    • October 15, 2018 at 3:27 PM
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      Yep, just kidding around to make a point. A very BIG point. Too bad it was lost on many.

      Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 7:42 PM
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    You all suck. I thought it had to be a joke, but since it’s not April I started to doubt myself. Then, as I read, my blood pressure started to rise and I was starting to think through ways I could offer support to ROG’s family. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • October 14, 2018 at 3:40 PM
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      I guess some forms of humor aren’t for everyone. Oh well. Sorry you didn’t like it.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2018 at 6:54 AM
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    Wow, my heart skipped a beat on this one for the first few paragraphs! Glad this was just a joke for sure!

    Although you brought a lot of people’s blood pressure up, it is a good point. You never know what’s going to happen so it’s important to remember today and not exclusively focus on tomorrow. It’s all about balance.

    — Jim

    Reply
  • October 15, 2018 at 5:46 AM
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    I liked your post Mr. Tako, it took me a few days to get to read it, and was 50/50 that it was a joke. Yes indeed, working too long is something I struggle with, the markets are down and I am further from what I wanted to FIRE, although our income as a whole would support it (including Tigerdad). Taking lots of deep breaths and truly enjoyed the weekend with miracle baby (MB) at the pumpkin farm and fair, and playing with grandparents yesterday afternoon. Time well spent : )

    Reply
    • October 15, 2018 at 9:41 AM
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      Thanks Tigermom! Don’t stress about the market being down — that’s just what markets do.

      Sometimes milk is on sale, sometimes it’s full price. Either way, you still need to buy the milk.

      Reply
  • October 15, 2018 at 8:23 AM
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    Okay, I admit it, I started doubting that it was a joke halfway through. You got me.

    I do agree with the unnamed critic that some FIRE bloggers are underestimating risk, but I don’t agree with the figures she threw out there as being “nothing.” But as someone who contracted health problems very early on (19), I’m too well aware of just how expensive it is to be sick (even with insurance) and just how easily it can happen to anyone.

    That said, there are people who go into FIRE with their eyes as wide open as they can be when they’re healthy. And there’s at least one FIRE blogger I know of who already has health problems, so they probably have the most realistic view of just what it’ll take to stay retired for the next 30 to 40 years.

    All of that being said, I do bristle a little at the notion that if you don’t retire early you’re stuck in a situation of “never having actually lived.” I lead a smaller life than some, but I consider it a good life. And I won’t be retiring early because health issues (which caused earning issues for all of my 20s) and an expensive husband (even more health issues and employment issues) have meant we just couldn’t save for retirement the way I’d have needed to. Such is life — but it *is* a life.

    Reply
    • October 15, 2018 at 9:39 AM
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      Go ahead and bristle away Abigail! We’re all allowed to do things our own way, and have our own unique opinions. Some people love their work and would never leave… and that’s totally OK. For them, a job *is* life.

      I define things a little differently. There’s so much more than punching a clock every day.

      Reply
  • October 15, 2018 at 3:47 PM
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    After just getting back from a cruise with some awesome FIRE bloggers, I was worried that we might have accidentally left one behind at sea. Man, I am glad that we all survived and have lived to tell our tales from aboard the death ships. Phew! That could have been bad ;o)

    Reply
    • October 15, 2018 at 6:14 PM
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      Yeah, you were taking big chance there. Should have just stayed at work and skyped each other instead! 😉

      Reply
  • October 19, 2018 at 10:54 AM
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    You gave me a heart attack.
    And I really loved this post, and your message.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  • October 23, 2018 at 10:26 AM
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    I read this today and half-way through had to go check out Justin’s website to see what the heck happened to him! Then saw this post’s date and a post with a later date by Justin and got my heartbeat back. It’s been a crazy time at work and I am behind on reading my favorite blogs (Mr. Tako’s, Justin’s, Joe, and for good measure a few case studies on MMM’s forum!). Today, however, I am binging! Mr. Tako, you sure gave me a scare!! Although, of course, I wasn’t quite buying it, there were enough nuances to make you doubt it. Still, like other’s said, it wasn’t April 1st! Good one Mr. Tako!
    I did listen to the podcast in question and did read a few responses back at the inteview. I do think one needs to be prepared but not live in fear and never pull the plug or work ‘one more year’. I did have a good friend die on the job and it was very sobbering. My plan is to be done working at 55.

    Reply

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