Finance

Are You Missing The Point?

The guy I work with buys lottery tickets.  He says it’s just fun to think about what he would buy with the money if he ever won.  This lead to a conversation about retirement, specifically, how much money you need to retire on.  I mentioned that I followed a few bloggers that were able to retire in their early 30’s by sometimes spending only 5,000 a year.

My coworker’s response was: “yeah, but you would have to live like that for the rest of your life.”

I will agree that living off $5,000 a year is an extreme case.  I’m sure most of the extreme early retirees are living off a lot more than $5,000 a year, but that wasn’t the point.

The more I talked about how these bloggers lived to reach early retirement the more I could see him checking out of the conversation.  It’s like a wall went up.  I could see that it wasn’t in his reality that people could actually be happy, and even prefer, living below their means.

I feel that most people share my co worker’s thinking went it comes to early retirement.  Why retire early if that life has to be one of deprivation.

My thinking tends to be why spend my entire life working for money to buy things I know aren’t really going to make me happy.

Does one live a life of deprivation if they ride a bike instead off a gas guzzling SUV? Does one live a life of deprivation if they cook every night instead of eating out at fancy restaurants?  Does one live a life of deprivation if they use a burner phone instead of the newest iPhone?  I don’t feel deprived.

Saving money with the motivation to consume more is missing the point.  FIER is not about amassing wealth so one day in the future you can spend it recklessly.  FIER is about gaining control over one’s time (the most valuable commodity), avoiding conspicuous consumption, and becoming less dependent on the financial system in general.

Do you fantasize about what you would buy with the money you save?  Or do you fantasize about how you will spend your time when you no longer have to worry about money?

If you fantasize about the latter you’re approaching FIER from the right place.   

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