I couldn’t have said it better myself: How much of your life are you selling off?

A few days ago, The DJ was doing some stealth proselytizing and asked me for a good introductory article on the topic of financial independence and early retirement. She meant something a bit more substantial than this post inspired by underpants gnomes.

This led me to re-reading How much of your life are you selling off?

MC taking in the view at the Grand Canyon

Moments like this are one of the many reasons you don’t want to sell off too much of your time. Photo Credit: The DJ

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that it turns out he was also a Canadian kid in the 80s, who vaguely remembers “Freedom 55”. What is it with all these Canadians..?

I recommend checking out the article in it’s entirety, and some of the other great material on the site. I’ve highlighted the parts that resonated the most with me:

I pictured the typical career-fueled life as settling out into three distinct phases: pre-work, work, and post-work.

Pre-work lasts about 16-23 years, while you live off of your parents, student loans, or both.

Work, the longest phase, lasts about 40 years. During this time you earn an increasing amount, and so as you soldier on through these four decades, you can afford an increasingly rewarding lifestyle.

For most people, the post-work phase marks the first time they can do what they like with their days without the approval of a parent or an employer. The post-work phase is typically shorter than the work phase. If average life span is a little shy of 80, the typical post-work phase is less than twenty years, and by the time it begins, the worker’s body can’t do what it used to do.

I suppose I had never thought much about the “typical career”, but I think this is a succinct way of describing how one might think life has to be lived. Contrast this with the idea of Retiring at 35: ~5 years of college, ~5 years of of grad school, ~5 years of work; a little bit of everything and your done. He continues:

I had no idea what was possible for people willing to deviate from the norm.

If the “very good” benchmark is 55, then 50 is truly fantastic, and 45 must be bordering on impossible….

Yet normal people with middle-class salaries are retiring at 45, or 40, or even 30.

Basically, the main difference between the ER (early retirement) crowd and regular working people is that they strive to be rational with their money, in terms of what it actually does for their quality of life.

This last point nails it on the head: being rational with your money, and evaluating every purchase in terms of whether it will improve your quality of life or not. These are only a few small snippets of a great article, so if you haven’t before, I recommend you go over and read the whole thing.

I can’t think of a better article that you could send to someone who expressed a casual interest in financial independence or early retirement, well except perhaps one that features underpants gnomes, but I’m biased.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Early retirement isn’t in the picture for us. Too many health problems that cause constant expenses, and an older house that needs a lot of upkeep.

    Not to mention that I spent most of my 20s on disability, and now that I’m working, my husband is on disability. So I’m pleased to be bringing in a paycheck, especially because I have an awesome boss. Retirement will be a long ways off, even if it’s not financially necessary.

    • The DJ says:

      Hi Abigail, thanks for visiting. Health problems and repeating large expenses could certainly put a damper on our plans as well. We’ve been lucky enough not run into any (yet). Glad to hear that you are now in a situation you enjoy with an awesome boss to boot!

  2. So happy to find your blog, thanks to Twitter. Agree with all of this, especially the rationality. We’re planning to live on a little over $100 per day in early retirement, so that’s become our new benchmark. “Is that $50 thing worth half a day of our lives? Is that $200 thing worth two days?” It’s been helpful when we get those little spending temptations!

    • The MC says:

      This might be my fondness for round numbers speaking, but I like that benchmark. It’s a good way to remind you of the trade-offs.
      We don’t quite know yet what our ER spending will be like, but we imagine in will be in between $30k-$40k . $100 a day would put us right in that range, and give us that convenient benchmark.

%d bloggers like this: