I wonder how many of you are familiar with the Biblical story of Jacob and Laban? As a child, hearing this story, I always had some serious questions for Jacob about his behaviour. I really thought he was stupid. The story, in a nutshell, was that Jacob wanted to marry his uncle Laban’s daughter Rachel. The agreement was that he would work for Laban for seven years before he could get her hand in marriage. After seven years, on the wedding night, Laban switched Rachel with Leah (the ugly older sister) without Jacob noticing until the morning after consummation. His love for Rachel was so great that he worked another seven years to get Rachel. Continue reading “Jacob and Laban”
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/