Saturday, April 21, 2018


A popular topic on reddit and other websites is the concept of FI/RE (Financial Independence/Retire Early).  Basically you get a high paying job as soon as possible, save more than half your income, invest it, and have enough to fully retire on by your mid to late 30s (here's another overview).

It's a great concept--although execution may be a bit difficult--but being able to retire when you want to, on your own terms, is an amazing goal.  I remember some years ago when Mr Money Mustache first become popular, he was one of the first people to preach the gospel of early retirement.  The idea has only grown and spread since then.  The media also loves to pick up on these stories both because being able to retire by 30 is so rare and because nearly everyone would love to do that (examples herehere, here, and here).

I was able to do something similar (I am in no way financially independent as we rely on hubby's pension and social security plus my freelance work) when I stopped working at 43.  On the one hand it was wonderful to be free from the grind of a job, on the other hand I didn't realize how many hours there is to fill in a day when there is absolutely nothing you need to do!

There are several downsides to retiring early, including social isolation (especially if you are 30 years old and everyone you know has a regular work schedule).  And boredom can become a huge factor (I was so bored I wrote a book then decided to keep working on a freelance basis in the field I used to work in).  Plus there is always the fear that your financial plans can somehow be torpedoed, whether by an unstable financial market or a pension suddenly just shutting off (!).

I think everyone should aim for the basics of FI/RE which include becoming debt free, paying off your house, saving a lot of your income, living below your means, and investing your money.  Whether people actually quit working all together is a separate question.  Many people love their jobs, many people have no other way to fill all of the hours of their day and don't want to live like an elderly retiree when they are still quite young, and others may enjoy working and thus try out a bunch of different jobs which is easier to do--and to quit if you hate it--than if you depend on the job in question to eat and pay your bills.

Now I am not so much into the early retirement part (I am really looking forward to working my annual six week job at the WSOP) as I am into the financially independent part (which I am working diligently on as I speak!).

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