This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I returned from Mexico last night to find a tremendous amount of snow had fallen in Ontario in the week that I had been out of the country. It took me half an hour to chip the ice off of my car in the -22 with the windchill weather after leaving 30+ degrees with humidity yesterday. This was not what I would call a super fun task, but thinking about it, I realized I was pretty lucky compared to the few people I had met in Mexico.
It always seems to surprise my wife that I actually talk to people when we are on vacation. I don’t really talk to fellow vacationers but I like to learn at least a little bit about how the people that work at the resort live. I made several acquaintances while at the resort from which I was able to ascertain at least a little bit of the lifestyle that is lived.
Looking at how I live compared to how the employees I talked to live, I noticed the following:
Their lifestyle is much simpler than ours:
…At least the employees of the resort. They do not need to worry about transportation, as they receive free shuttle rides to and from their workplace. Also, employees get to eat and drink whatever the patrons of the resort are offered. The individual’s financial goals also seem significantly simpler than my own (at least the individuals I spoke with). One guy just wanted to have enough money to afford a Blackberry, another was just trying to save up enough money to get a flight to the United Kingdom to move and work with his girlfriend.
To me this is a much easier way of life. All basic needs are looked after and there is some spending money for “wants”. I would not exchange my comparable wealth and the “problems” that go along with it, but the simpler lifestyle does provide a comparison and perhaps ideas to further simplify my own.
There is very little planning for the future:
I’m not too sure how the Mexican Social Security system works, but I don’t think there is much in the way of retirement planning. Average life expectancy is similar to Canada, but there did not appear to be a significant desire to increase their earning capacity or seek a promotion. Compared to Canada, where most people are always striving forward and never really all that happy (or so it seems) with where they’re at it is a significantly different lifestyle.
I feel incredibly lucky to be given the opportunities that I have been given – to have an excellent education, the opportunity to make as much or as little money as I want and all the other benefits of living in Canada. I would however love the weather that I just left, but I guess that’s what vacations are for.