Over the years I’ve come to a conclusion. I’m the most happy when I’m being me. Fighting to be something I’m not isn’t helping me or anyone else. So when I took a recent training course at work I got to do a personality test: The Life Styles Inventory which produced some fairly interesting results.
To go after an early retirement goal does require certain personality traits to do it well. So to demonstrate this I’ll show you my particular results. There are 12 categories the inventory ranks you on and the rank is percentile of the population. In my case my most dominant trait is Achievement at the 80 percentile which is all about enjoying a challenge, thinking ahead and setting goals. Sort of obviously useful trait for an early retiree want to be. My secondary dominant trait is Humanistic-Encouraging at 68 percentile, which means I like to encourage others and I’m willing to take time for others (not surprising I’m writing a blog to help you retire too, eh?).
What I also found interesting was how low some of my scores were, such as Approval (the need to get approval from others, 7%), Conventional (following established methods, 5%), Dependent (on other people, 8%), Competitive (10%) and my personal favorite Power (the need to control or manipulate others, 5%). Keep in mind these are percentiles so for example 95% of the population is more conventional than me. Or if you prefer you can invert these to say: I don’t care what other people think, I’m unconventional, independent, a team player and I believe power should be wielded for the common good and not your own interests. While not all of these are required for an early retiree, I would suggest lower scores in Approval, Conventional, and Dependent are a good idea. Early retirement by definition is a unconventional act and being able to be your own person regardless of approval of others is highly useful. Also being independent is useful since you often have to learn new skills with little guidance. (As a side note I wish I had these results years ago to realize why I had a short career as a politician…I did what was in people’s best interest because I cared not because I give a damn about being re-elected).
I also had some scores with a moderate rating like Affiliate (ability to have social bonds, 37%) which is fairly important to get along with others. My Perfectionistic score was 15%, so I like things to be good, but I don’t panic about perfect (I would caution not having too high of a score here otherwise you will never get past your financial model for your retirement). Then my Oppositional score was 33%, so I’ll argue with you to ensure you are on the right track, but I don’t pick fights and I’m not overly defensive.
Am I the perfect early retiree?…NO! I just have certain traits that support that goal. I, like just about everyone else on the world, do try to be a better person. My one target area of growth was my Self-Actualization score at 60%, which is about letting go and accepting things for what they are (not what you want them to be). I try to do better at this, but I fully admit I dwell too long on things. I have to practice being a cork on the sea and moving where the tides take me a bit better.
Which personality traits do you thing makes a good retiree? Which one would you like to be better at?