I am just a crazy kid….okay crazy thirty-something who thinks that working for a living is for suckers, and that there most be something more to life than shopping malls, TV, professional sports and a job you may not love with people you may barely be able to tolerate, sucking the majority of your energy such that you have nothing left at the end of the day for your personal pursuits.
I had a dream
I started daydreaming about being financially independent only a year or two into my first job. While in high school I worked at fast food restaurant regularly working 25 to 40 hours per week. I’d always been a saver so the majority of my tiny paychecks went into the bank, and soon I got to thinking….what would happen if I saved everything and invested it. I hired a financial advisor and started investing in mutual funds, albeit tentatively. I continued to save the majority of my money in Canadian Savings Bonds and GICs. Soon I was calculating my investment income by month and then by the day. It felt good….really good to know I was on the path to financial abundance. I began wondering what would happen if I didn’t go to university and worked two or maybe three jobs. My parents would likely charge me rent I though. Well what if I lived in my car? If I did this for a few years and saved everything, I’d really be on my way. Then “reality” set in. ‘You’re crazy Jack… Seriously kid, these are some pretty far out thoughts. You best not tell anybody about them’. And so I didn’t. I continued to save, until met my first real girlfriend. I decided to continue my path to university…and well the rest is a blur.
Seeing the light
Fast forward to 2012. I’m still a saver, but I’m no where near financial independence. I’m happily married to Jane and I have a good paying job I find interesting – and second job that I love. Things are going my way….but I still feel like there is something I’m missing. I look around and my life has fit itself nicely into our consumerist culture, I’m on the same road that just about everyone else is on. Commute, work, commute, eat, tv, sleep, repeat. Then after you’ve worked the majority of your life away – you retire and 65, hopefully live for another 10 years (statistically speaking), trying to stay occupied with the few activities that your body can still handle and then you die. Fun.
What about early retirement? What if I retired at 50? What about 45? ‘Oh, now you’re talking crazy Jack. Do you realize how hard it would be to retire at 45? I mean you’re already 34.’ So I start searching for an example….a template for people who want to retire early. And I begin to find them….not one or two….but literally hundreds of people who are on the path to early retirement. Blog after blog of people like me – who think there is so much more to life than just “this”. So I read. And I follow links to other blogs and I read more. ‘Yes, yes…this is exactly what I mean’. These people are doing exactly what I want to do. And then I find it through a link. Early Retirement Extreme. I begin to read and I’m hooked. I immediately decide to read the book – so I read the free trial pages. ‘This is it….this is what I’ve been searching for’.
I ordered the book. It arrived, and I devoured it. My eyes were opened and I’ll never be the same again.
This blog isn’t simply about being frugal, saving money and working towards the goal of early retirement. This site will document the transitioning of my life from the consumerist, socially expected life I’ve been leading to something very different. Something simpler but at the same time holistic and complete. A life of fulfillment, happiness and meaning. I short, this blog will be about truly living. It will be my personal manifesto.
I’ve been at this for a few years now. I can tell you first hand how strongly people reject these ideas as radical, stupid or childish…hence the anonymity I take for this endeavour. In real life, my roles ensure that I’m quite public. I’m expected to be somewhat responsible (read predicable) and conforming to the generally accepted social norms of life. I want to write from the heart and exchange honestly with those who find their way here. Keeping my identity to myself will allow me to do that. I apologize for this barrier between you and I…but trust me, this blog will be the better for it.
What I can tell you about myself is that I’m 35, live in Canada, and am married to a wonderful, beautiful, and creative woman…we’ll call her Jane. We don’t have any children…though I’d love for that to change. I work in management and have extensive personal finance experience having worked for a major financial institution. I love to read and travel (oh how I love to travel) and I’m currently working on a masters degree. We both work (I have two jobs) and we have a couple of rental properties we own and manage as well.
This is me…to learn more, click through the articles on this site. Hope you join me on this adventure.