The engineering triangle is a constraint model that says that for any project you wish to design, you can pick any two of the following but only two: cheap, fast, good.

It is widely applicable.

This means, that if you want cheap and fast, it’s not going to be good. If you want cheap and good, it’s going to take a long time. And if you want fast and good, it’s going to cost you.

The engineering triangle provides a nice perspective on what separates ERE from other lifestyle designs.

ERE is fast and good. With ERE you will reach a position of robust financial stability within 5-10 years. But this does not come cheap, where by cheap means “easy”. You have to pay the price in a serious development of personal skills. You have to grow as a person. If you’re looking for a bunch of easy tips and an investment plan that will guarantee you 10% and be done with it, you can forget about ERE. Starting a business is similar. It’s a fast way to wealth, but it’s far from easy.

The normal way of life is cheap and good. If you save 10% per year and simply do what everybody else does, namely get a career, you will reach the same robust position of financial stability. However, it’s not going to be fast. It will take you 30-50 years, but slow is the cost of cheap and easy. Pick your poison.

Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of fast and cheap or as they’re more likely known: “quick and easy” or “get rich quick”-schemes. These are called schemes because they aren’t good. Think about it, if something is quick and easy, why would it be better than what any fool can get? Secrets don’t stay secret for very long, so whenever someone promises that some financial plan is fast and cheap, it’s very likely that it’s not very robust.

Originally posted 2014-04-01 16:53:33.