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?
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.