I wanted to call this post “on living well”, but that would cast the philosophical net a bit too wide. What is the one thing you would say you need to live well? Money, food, a house, family? Yes, we might need all those things, but the one thing that would make all the difference for me is self-sufficiency. When I say self-sufficiency I do not mean cutting myself off from civilization and starting a hippy co-op where I grow my own food (although the idea is not too distasteful), but rather being able to choose what I do with my time without the need to worry about money, food, a house etc.
Ooh, I can already hear the questions and recriminations. “But we have to work to eat”, “You are just lazy”, “What will you do with your time?”. Really? I was recently asked by a rich man, who just basically manages his money, what I would do with my time if I did not work. He stated that he would not be able to function if he did not ‘work’. If only the 1% understood the tedious, mind numbing, scull crushing work of a windowless 9-5. It is not really the work as such that is the problem, it is the loss of self direction that causes the most pain. The fact is that I can do my ‘job’ in about 5 hours a week, yet I have to sit at my desk, breathing recycled air, 5 days a week, 7.5 hours a day, because I cannot be trusted to rule myself. This is the sad reality of the modern working life. So no Mr. Rich man, I don’t want to sit at home and sip soy latte’s all day, I just want to work without the need to work (managing my ‘portfolio’ would be wonderful). I want to enjoy one job and do it well – not work my fingers to the bone for thankless corporations at two jobs just to cover basic living expenses. I don’t want to be in a situation where I cannot decide that I want to do something different because I cannot afford to lose my job. So maybe the word retire is the wrong word. I don’t want to sit back and rest from 50 years of work. I just want to have an alternative income which covers my basics. That way I can focus on meaningful work, and live well. Donations are welcome.
For those interested in early retirement the hard way, here is a useful calculator to help you plan: http://www.firecalc.com/