Thursday, May 17, 2012
Early Retirement Isn't For Everyone
I don't believe in absolutes. Absolutism is especially unattractive when speaking in context to humanity and the human mind...which is prone to consistent fallacy. Absolutism is prominent in many areas of our society, including broader subjects like religion or politics. I find it disappointing when people truly believe that if you do not follow their religion that you'll suffer some kind of eternal punishment in an afterlife or if you are from a different political affiliation that you are inherently ignorant. This "I'm right and you're wrong" type of thinking is humorous to me. The fact that people actually believe they know who created the universe when they can't name the top 5 ingredients of their morning cereal is troubling to me. If you can't master Corn Flakes, you likely have less of an ability to master the meaning of life. I believe people suffer from egos when it comes to their own intelligence.
Where is all this going?
Well, I also don't believe that I'm any more right in dedicating my life to retiring by 40 years old than someone who wants to work until they are dead. I do not believe in rights or wrongs, only differences. I occasionally get emails questioning my sanity for wanting to quit work so early in life. This article is designed to dispel future emails and questions and make known my opinion on people who don't want to live frugally, invest or stop working at a young age. Honestly, and no sarcasm meant, I think that's a fine choice of living if that's what makes you happy. I believe most in being happy in life. If your current life is perfectly fulfilling and you love going to work for 40 or more hours a week then I say more power to you. It's simply not a life that I desire.
My opinion on common questions regarding retiring at such a young age are as follows:
"Won't you get bored staying at home all day? I would be incredibly bored if I didn't have a regular job to go to."
If your imagination is bound by getting up early to go to work, working for 8 or more hours, driving home from work, eating dinner, relaxing after a long day at work, showering so you're clean after a sweaty day at work and then going to bed so you can be rested up for another grind at work, then you probably would not do well at early retirement. I would advise you to keep working.
"I love my job. I would keep on working even if I had a ton of money stashed away."
That's fantastic. I actually envy someone who loves their job that much a bit. If you really go to work everyday smiling and glad that you have such a wonderful job, then I don't know why you would want to quit. I'd love to get paid to do something I find incredible joy from. I don't find joy from my job. I go because I'm compensated well and it allows me to fund my ticket out of the rat race. If you really, truly love your job and it is making your life and the world a better place then I would say early retirement probably has little to offer you.
"I don't want to live frugally my whole life. I'd rather work than suffer until I'm dead."
I don't find all that much suffering in living frugally, but if it's something you've tried and you despise then you're probably better off working. I'm not here to try and change anyone's mind. Living frugally and saving most of my income works for me. It may not work for you. Living frugally, financial independence, saving, investing and everything else that's involved in trying to retire early isn't a one-size-fits-all life event. If you find that saving a large part of your income is "suffering" and trading away an extremely large portion of your available life energy for money is not suffering then early retirement likely is not your bag.
"What if you run out of money?"
Money can always be made. If I was to quit my job at 38 years old, I'm fairly certain that at some point in the next 30 years I could find some type of paid employment or other means to exchange my time/talent/labor for income. On the other hand, time is finite and it passes by every second. You cannot make up for lost time. Once time is gone, it's gone forever. Every minute, day and month that passes will never come again. I find time a much more valuable commodity than money and I'd be glad indeed to have much more of the former and less of the latter.
Early retirement isn't for everyone.
If everyone was the same, life would be extremely boring. I find the differences in people, cultures and geography stunning and just some of the many things that makes life worth living. If early retirement isn't for you, then that doesn't make you a bad person and it certainly does not make you "wrong" and me "right". There is only happy and unhappy. I find more time comforting. I find "stuff" cumbersome and heavy on my shoulders. I like having less stuff. If you like having a large house, two cars, exotic vacations, lots of furniture, weekends out on the town and you don't mind working to pay for that lifestyle than by all means you should continue down that path. I find peace and happiness in less.
What about you? What do you find comfort in? What brings you peace?
Thanks for reading.
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