Monday, January 4, 2016

Retire at 30?

Sure, why not?

I found a great article at Vox/com by Pete Adeney, AKA Mr. Money Mustache, about how to retire at age 30. Of course, his case was different from many people's, since I think being a software engineer might give one a better chance of earning and saving up enough money to retire after 10 years in that career.

He says it's simple, though not easy: "...just spend much less than you earn and pour the difference into efficient index funds. When your collection of investments reaches 25 times your annual spending, you're done."

Yeah. Right.

Yet his advice in this column is interesting and, I think, generally good. So I went to his own blog and read some more, and I was even more impressed.

I especially liked reading his thoughts about why we, people in general, work. What do we get out of it? And, by the way, why is money so important to us? Check out this post, "Get Rich With the Position of Strength." It's fascinating, and I guess I like it so much because it fits in with my own thoughts on all these issues.

Turns out it's not the money itself, but the ability that money gives us to have some power or control over our own lives, the strength it gives us. Makes sense, right? And that's why, Mr. Money Mustache says,  it's so valuable to retire early---or not actually retire, because who really wants to spend their waning years plopped in front of a TV set or playing golf with a bunch of geezers? No, retirement in that old sense is out, am I right? The way to retire is to use your freed-up time, your power, to do some good for people. So, if you're LDS, you might go on a mission. (Or not. Your choice. Don't let some visiting authority or local leader tell you that's what you need to do!) 

But what I really liked about this post were the ideas about strength. For instance:
  • Giving is a form of strength. When you say, “I have more than I need, and thus my desire to take should fade away as my desire to help out grows”.
  • Taking is therefore a form of weakness. On the playground, Luxury maintains just a little more desire to take,  which competes with his desire to give. Meanwhile, Mr. Abundance is always working on needing less. The “taking” weakness continues to shrink, allowing him to invest more in his “giving” strength.
  • Health is a form of strength. With health comes a clearer mind, more energy, a greater range of options and comfort zones, and a longer time alive to enjoy the offerings and mysteries of this planet. Life can dish you a blow, and you can get up and get back to work.
  • Physical Strength is the part of health that is mostly ignored in the United States, yet it is the most useful and efficient component. Sure, aerobics and bicycling can keep the worst effects of early decay at bay, but lifting heavy old-fashioned barbells and dumbells is a much faster and more thorough way to keep all of your systems in working order and create a foundation for the rest of your life’s strength.
  • Skills are a form of strength....
And so on.

Here's another blog post by Mr. Money Mustache, about nutrition and weight-loss. It's full of good, true, useful information. What do you eat for breakfast most days? Because if it's a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal, no wonder you're hungry an hour or two later! Which we all know, right? Just need to remind ourselves sometimes of these fact.  (And stop paying attention to Dr. Oz and all those idiotic women's magazine headlines.)

Anyone who follows these links, please let me know what you think.


Jeff Wynn said...

Retirement these days is very different from the old days (the geezers playing golf, etc.). My Dad retired abruptly from a position of Executive Vice President of Crocker Bank when he was 72. It caught me by surprise, and I asked why? He said, simply, "I realized that I was no longer enjoying this, and that my retirement pay would equal my working pay."

Deal done. For the next 10 years he got seriously into long bike rides (he had calf muscles at 75 like piano legs) and writing. Anytime I would show up for a visit, he would have walked up to Chinatown and found the fortune cookie bakery that is hidden in an alley without any English signs, and bring back two bags of fortune cookie DISCS. This is a MUCH more efficient and compact way to transport and eat fortune cookies.

Interestingly, while his sister lived to within 2 weeks of her 100th birthday (and his brother, who was a POW after being captured at the Battle of the Bulge, is now 95, my Dad died of lung cancer at age 82. The proximal cause was NOT cigarettes, but asbestosis. the pipes in the basement of his building where he stored his bike in a steel cage... were all insulated by blown-on asbestos. His lungs were full of clinochrysotile, one of the forms of asbestos.

Louise is right: No one who wants to be happy ever retires. They just change jobs, and start doing something else that they really love doing. If it doesn't involve helping family or other people, then it won't be very fulfilling.

At some point in the near to intermediate future, Louise and I plan to start having more FUN. But first, I want to see published a 250-page potash assessment of Central Asia that I first-authored, and which has been in "review" for 5 years. AND see my three patents commercialized. AND see several other papers published. AND spend time on an Alaska wilderness island again...

Gringo said...

25 times what you spend in a year still means you have to spend less in the next 25 years than what you were spending previously in order to keep putting money into index funds and not run out - while staying ahead of inflation. Or did I miss something?

Jeff Wynn said...

One way to figure it out is to use the actuarial tables of the US government Thrift Savings Plan. THEY calculate that I will live to 96, and apportion out my TSP fund according to that schedule.