I Could Get Used to This

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.

“Don’t give up what you want most, for what you want now”

I couldn’t source this quotation, but found it really applies to my early retirement plan.  What I want most is to be financially independent, to be able to leave the workforce in my early 40’s (if I choose) and do whatever I want to do after that point rather than going to work for much of the year.  Things that I want “now”(or are always in the back of my head) that would get in the way of my plan might be an expensive kitchen renovation, or the latest “cool” gadgets.

The trick for me is to keep the end goal in mind all of the time while telling myself that I don’t really need any of that “stuff” that will do nothing but put me further from my ultimate goal.

I think the problem with me, and perhaps most people is that my end goal is 13 years away – that seems like forever, and constantly saying no to myself (not out loud, although that would be somewhat amusing to see in the store) gets old pretty fast.

What solidifies my plan in my mind is a reminder from time to time of what the freedom of financial independence would mean to me.  My wife and I went to a (relatively) cheap resort ($500 each for 8 days in the sun) in the Dominican Republic last week and really enjoyed ourselves.  Partly it was because of the sun, but also it was because we didn’t have to do anything that day – we got to choose how our day went, rather than having it chosen for us.

We both enjoy our jobs, but what we like more and look forward to is the freedom that not needing a job would present – waking up with no alarm clock, having no expectations put on us for the day.  In our week of vacation, we chose to do almost nothing – we read books, got tanned, learned a new card game, and relaxed.  If there was more time off, say 40 years, I’m sure we may have accomplished something constructive, but if we told the vast majority of people we knew that this is what we wanted to do all of the time, I’m not sure if many would really understand – it just seems so boring, but it’s what we like to do.

The “stuff” that is and will get in my way seems to all be a product of perceived convenience.  I’m wondering what my wants would be if I limited my time on the internet and stopped exposing myself to advertising.*

Are things that you want now getting in the way of things you want most?  How do you balance the two?

* Writing this  paragraph about advertising reminded me of a line in the movie Fight Club “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need” – seems to reflect the message I am trying to get across to myself perfectly.

3 thoughts on “I Could Get Used to This”

  1. Dave, I am with you. Lazy and boring as it sounds to some, the thought of doing nothing scheduled all day sounds like heaven to me. I’m sure I would only lay around having catnaps in the sun for a few weeks or months before I became ambitious about something, but it would be something I chose, and it would be on my schedule, nobody else’s.

    I grew up in a rigidly scheduled home with a mother who was constantly harping, “What have you accomplished today?!” I now work in a highly-scheduled, under-resourced, overly-rushed environment where every stakeholder is constantly harping, “What have you accomplished today? Do more, do more, I’m in a time crunch!! and I have no money for more resources!”

    So as you can imagine, having no expectations on me sounds like a perfect retirement. I only hope I can make it come true, although it won’t be anytime soon (I’m supporting an early-retired spouse with health problems, his parents, and raising a child who all have pretty big expectations.) I think the local looney bin is calling my name!! Except they probably have too much of a schedule too 🙂

  2. I agree. I have this desire to minimize costs so that I am able to live reasonably well on the basic personal amount. While I am not quite as resourceful/austere as some of the people I am getting to know at the ERE forums, I find their ways of thinking very inspirational.

    While in Toronto earlier this week, I felt nearly overwhelmed with all of the potentially wonderful ways to part with my money.

    Instead I stuck with my spending plan and felt pretty smug for defeating those spending urges.

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