“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau
I might have called this discussion category “retiring,” but I question whether interesting people ever retire. If we are able, we merely shift our focus from what we have to do to what we want to do. What gives us that ability is, in most cases, financial independence, which, in retrospect, should have been among our very first goals in adulthood. In my country, the United States, I believe every able-bodied person can and should be financially independent by 50 at the very latest, but most of us are not. I certainly am not, so don’t worry–you won’t get any sanctimony from me.
Today I see a lot of younger people taking the idea of early financial independence very seriously, and I wholeheartedly applaud these ambitions. One of my favorite bloggers on the topic is Mr. Money Mustache. If you are a young person and somehow stumbled upon this old fogey’s site (mine, I mean*), hie thee quickly over to MMM’s site instead. At 20, he set his goal at 30, and he achieved it.**
For most of us, financial independence must be earned, so that is what this section will be about. Earning can include wages, of course, but not exclusively so. A penny saved is…what? Right. You see what I mean. Basically anything we do to exert our own willpower, cunning, and discipline to break our chains is earning. What we earn is our freedom.
So where are you on your journey to independence? Are you there? How did you earn it? Or are you, like me, earning it still? Have you retired from one career but, out of necessity or interest, continued to earn through alternative means?
* According to the Urban Dictionary, “You are officially an old fogey when you reach 50 years of age.”
** Mr. Mustache says he “retired” at 30; I say he refocused his efforts. It takes a lot of work to build a site like his, not to mention the “part-time” work he does in home renovations and whatnot. The difference is, he’s having himself a good ol’ time at it. Bravo.