The great thing about a blog is that I get to write about whatever I want. Back when I started I had a whole list of topics to write about. However, very few of these will ever see an article. This is mostly due to the fact that it’s much easier to write an article about something that spurs my interest right now. Also, and much more amusing, is the fact that so much great material just falls in my lap. I can’t make this stuff up. In full disclosure this article will turn into a bit of a rant. Why? I think this will explain it.
The other day someone asked my parents if I was psychologically ok. Who retires at 37 they asked? Something must be wrong.
Well, thanks for asking. Of course I’m not sane. I think this will prove that.
My/Our sanity check:
Melissa and I got married at 20, during college, yet still finished with degree’s (and no she wasn’t pregnant)
We have always kept a balanced budget, even when we made $14,000 a year those first couple years (although we got a lot of laundry help -thanks Mom and grandma)
I decided we should add a full master bathroom to our old house and do it all ourselves (this was before youtube was huge)
We have taken two separate one month trips with young kids (amazing and insane at the same time)
We agreed to ride our bikes up Pikes Peak with my dad (most people worry about doing this in a car)
We like to exercise (enough said)
We consider Debt to be the worst four letter word (well, let’s call it a strong second)
I think this list proves quite nicely that Melissa and I do not do think or act like ‘normal’ people. We never have. So that makes me ask, why on earth would we do retirement like ‘normal’ people? Work till 65, pull social security (lets be honest 62), and retire. Since everyone does it that way it must be the correct choice. What other way could there be?
Let’s look at this another way. If I want to learn something new how do I go about it? Maybe I want to master the art of coffee making, yet I myself have never made even a single cup. With a little research I find out that most people in the U.S. use a drip coffee machine. This must be the best method for brewing coffee so I go buy one. Then I find out that Folgers sells more coffee in stores nationwide than anyone else. America has voted, so I buy some Folgers. Finally, with my vacuum sealed ground coffee in hand, I am ready to brew. The instructions tell me how much coffee to use, but it seems like too much. After checking some online forums I decide to half the recommended amount. A few minutes later it’s time for me to enjoy what could possibly be the ‘worlds best cup of coffee.’
If you don’t see the irony in this story you must not drink coffee. When I am learning something new I try to copy and emulate the best. Who on earth thinks that what the ‘average American’ does is the best choice. Even then, aiming for average is some bar to set. In reality I think this question about my sanity is actually a cover for two separate questions. First of which is, “I don’t understand this at all. Retiring in your 30’s is so far outside my realm of understanding that I just can’t relate.” Second, and the one they really want to ask but won’t is, “You must be loaded? Did you inherit money? Win the lottery? Claim disability?” *
To the first I understand, sort of. I guess to some people finance is like a foreign language. You can talk about it all you want, but you lost them at buenos dias. Conventional retirement wisdom says work and earn as much as possible, save 10-15% of your income, and work until you are at least 65. To the second, I would say we got our money the old fashioned way. We saved it. Never spend more than you make. Period. Save the rest (or pay off debt). Are we loaded? To lot of people, yes. So many people have a negative net worth that it would seem that way. However, I compare myself to people who have reached 100% Financial Independence. So I certainly don’t call myself ‘loaded.’
That’s it. My little rant about ‘sanity.’ Yes Melissa and I are different. Yes I am retired (although I still work and make money). Yes I value my time more than money. Yes my money works for me. And yes, I think doing things different from the ‘herd’ is a great way to get ahead in life.
Enjoy the ride,
*To be clear I am by no means bashing the U.S. I fully believe that we live in the best country on earth. I am bashing how the ‘average’ person handles their finances (and possibly their coffee making).