Personal finance gurus really push investing. Mostly for the sake of retirement. Long term this, long term that. “Work your butt off and save everything and you’ll be a millionaire when you retire.” That sounds awesome to many people. For a long time, I’ve taken a pass on this. I still have debt and I’m just now beginning to invest ($50 as of the writing of this post). My focus has become setting myself up for success. I believe that I can be happy in the now and the future. This is why I have no intention of ever truly retiring.
I spent most of my twenties working hard in jobs that I hated. I’m good on that. At 18 years old, I had every intention of being dead by thirty. I spent most of my twenties doing everything that I wanted to do before I died. I read books. I wrote books. Gambled money away on poker. Went to college. Slept with way more women than was absolutely necessary. I drank until I couldn’t feel feelings. Did every drug that I ever wanted to try and lived every experience that I thought seemed interesting.
I lived life like there was no tomorrow because I didn’t care if tomorrow ever came and that mindset turned me into kind of a jerk. I didn’t care about anyone/anything else except for me, my squad, and the next good time. The only thing on the list that I didn’t get around to doing was cage fighting. And now that I’m 34 years old, I think that it was probably for the best.
It was fun and fast but by the time I hit thirty, I was over it. And as the Universe would have it, I was still alive.
It still surprises me sometimes. I have days where I wake up and I’m like “Wow. I woke up again. How the hell does this keep happening?”
FIRE – Financial Independence Retiring Early
It’s a movement that many people in the personal finance world are a part of. They sacrifice now, bank as much money as they can, with the hopes of living a life of leisure and chill while they’re still young enough to enjoy it. There are quite a few people who have managed to do this in their thirties and even a few go- getters who’ve pulled it off in their late twenties. Kudos to them.
Personally, I have no interest in retiring early. Here’s why:
1. Men in my family historically only have about a 50/50 shot of making it out of their fifties. Making it out of our sixties is extremely rare with about a 1% chance of hitting the big seven-oh. I don’t and have never considered making sacrifices now so that I can bank towards a retirement that I’m likely not going to live long enough to enjoy. Right now you’re probably thinking, “But you write about frugal living and minimalism.” That’s true. I’m in to living a simple life. A simple life that has nothing to do with retirement. It’s just how I roll.
Right now you’re probably thinking, “But you write about frugal living and minimalism.” That’s true. I’m in to living a simple life. A simple life that has nothing to do with retirement. It’s just how I roll.
I found that simplicity and solitude are the keys to my own personal happiness.
2. I have no family of my own. No wife. No kids. This is by design. The thought of settling down and living the “American dream” has crossed my mind but it didn’t stay there for very long. I love being alone. I don’t need to worry about taking care of anyone or making sure my family is financially stable should I meet an untimely demise. I do what I want, when I want. I don’t set an alarm clock. I eat the food that I decide to make that day. I go to work if I want and call in if I don’t feel like going. Hah. Kidding. I always go to work. I WANT DAT MONEY.
3. Leisure and chill is how I’m already living. If anything, I’m looking to work more/harder. I live in a rural area that’s fairly limited when it comes to entertainment. I get bored. Anything that most urban people have easy access to is going to require hours of travel for me and that’s not how I get down. As much as I would like to go to the occasional hockey game or bad ass restaurant, I’m not driving 2+ hours to do it. I’m not moving to a city, either. I lived in one for a couple of years and while it was fine, I much prefer the easy going lifestyle of a rural southerner. It suits my personality.
4. I enjoy having stuff to do. A lot of folks that want to retire early are burnt out on the corporate rat race. I never did the corporate thing. Never hit Starbucks for an $8 coffee every morning.
Never had to deal with deadlines, douche bag clients who were impossible to make happy, never ending business meetings, or conference calls on my day off. I would much rather work three or four side hustles than spend my life wearing a tie and worrying about my 401k match. So there’s nothing I’m really trying to escape from. I’m far from miserable.
5. Traveling is often a top priority for people who are on FIRE. I don’t particularly like traveling. I hate airports and flying. Every time I think about going to somewhere like New Zealand, I think about that incredibly long flight and I’m like…”Nah”. I Don’t like the beach, either. Love the ocean, hate sand. It gets in places that it doesn’t belong which makes me angry. What right does sand have to invade my most personal of places?
I’m not saying I don’t want to travel ever, I’m saying it’s not going to ever be a frequent occurrence. Furthermore, as someone in the hotel industry, I see a lot of people who travel all willy-nilly. They don’t know where their wallet is. They didn’t call the credit card companies to let them know they would be on the road. They just straight up don’t have any money. They forgot every single toiletry item that they could have forgotten. It annoys me when people try to travel without being properly prepared with money and supplies and I REALLY don’t want to be that guy.
These are the main reasons I’m not stashing money for retirement. While I’ve recently started investing, it’s mostly to satisfy my curiosity. I want to know if it’s as fulfilling as people say. I have some neat ideas that I’m looking forward to trying and sharing here. Passive income is still something that I’m very interested in. Thus far, I’m seeing a few pennies come my way here and there. On my meager salary, that’s pretty neat and I hope to expand into some other ventures very soon. So as cool as retiring sounds to me and everyone else, I just don’t have time.
At 18, I was sure I’d be dead by now. And in some ways, maybe I did.
Hitting 30 was right around the time that I decided I wanted to start changing my life. So maybe the old me died as I started the journey on to a different path. I am not sure where this journey is going as I’ve officially ventured into uncharted territory for me. I will say that so far I’m enjoying it and learning something new on a daily basis. So until next time, thanks for reading.