Extreme Early Retirement? I call it Extreme Early Findependence!

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Savings Thermometer Measuring Money Nestegg IncreaseBy Jonathan Chevreau

MoneySense.ca today is running my column on Extreme Early Retirement from the November issue. It looks at the phenomenon championed by super-frugal savers like Mr. Money Moustache and Jacob Lund Fisker of so-called Extreme Early Retirement.

The idea is to be self-sufficient, do without, live in a small home, eliminate frivolous purchases like cars or furniture and save like crazy for five or ten years: and we’re not talking the typical savings rates of 10 or 15% of a paycheque: more like 50% or more.

Frugality to a Fault?

I call this frugality to a fault, although as I say in the column, philosophically, I think this is the correct approach to financial independence. I prefer “voluntary simplicity” to “conspicuous consumption,” especially at this time of year, when the spending insanity culminates in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But if it’s all about  early Financial Independence and getting off the “slave, save, retire” treadmill, why not call it Early Findependence? If ever the word “retirement” is being misapplied, it’s here.

I’ve long argued that it’s hardly “retirement” when you leave salaried employment in your 30s. Sixty years is a long time to go without a paycheque but of course these extreme savers are hardly doing nothing when they “retire.” If nothing else, they’re still “working” by writing books about how they did it, running web sites that bring in revenue in various ways, and perhaps hitting the speech circuit. From where I sit, that’s not “retirement,” that’s a career change.

That’s why I think the phenomenon is better described as “Extreme Early Findependence.” But then again, like these author-gurus, I too have books and a website to sell!

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