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.
Even though I’m around a decade and a half from being completely financially independent (hopefully), over the past year or so my mindset has changed. The mundane parts of work that you can read about on a Dilbert comic strip irritate me considerably more than they did previously. All of this annoyance seems to stem from the fact that I basically don’t need the job that I have right now.
I still need “a” job, but I think I could work part-time for minimum wage and cover all of my expenses every month. Working a minimum wage job would definitely put early retirement out of reach, but it is pretty freeing to know that I could do this – one of quite a few benefits of having a small debt-load and living a frugal lifestyle.
I think that most people go to work fearing they will lose their job. Losing a “good” job and being unemployed could possibly decimate some people financially. With this fear, people tend to put their heads down and tolerate a lot of stuff that they don’t have to in order to keep their bosses happy and the paycheque rolling in. I wouldn’t say that I’m a rebel or a s*&t disturber (I don’t pick unnecessary battles with management) I think I am a much better employee now than I used to be because I go to work looking to help out my company and make it better. I used to just show up and tried to stay out of people’s way instead of trying to make a difference for my company.
In general, I feel considerably less stress these days over money than I did a few years ago. Having a financial plan and a minimal requirement for money every month allows me to sleep much better at night. I am by nature a worrier, and knowing that it would be reasonably easy to replace my income gives me peace of mind, which to me is a reasonable tradeoff to what could be perceived as a somewhat spartan lifestyle.
Having the flexibility to be able to shift careers is comforting as well – I don’t feel stuck where I am. If at some point in the future the Dilbert-like lifestyle that I am currently experiencing becomes unbearable, I can leave and find something else to do that would bring in enough money to support my lifestyle. This action would probably be something of a last-resort, but I like to know that it is always there, if my current employer starts acting crazy, I don’t have to stick with them, I can leave rather than staying needing to stay for the money and being miserable.
I don’t fit in because I can (to a certain extent) choose to work right now. For someone in their early 30’s, I think that this is a different kind of mindset to have. I don’t live in fear of job-loss and because of this, I feel somewhat empowered. I credit this feeling to being essentially debt-free and living a frugal lifestyle.
Do you feel stuck in your job? Have you considered leaving recently?