|*from CubaGallery at Flickr Creative Commons|
I figure with how little the average worker even thinks about retirement, let alone actually saves for it, these outlier stories have value. They show another way to approach retirement, to approach work, money, life...all of it.
The thing that drives me a little crazy is the ignorant vitriol in the comments section. Why bother to spew negativity if you're not going to spend even a little time reading up on these people you're criticizing?
Even if you think a million is nowhere near enough to retire on (and for the average commenter with debt up to his eyelids and a bloated budget, I'm sure it's not), isn't there still a lot of value in learning how to quickly build up a million dollar nest egg?
Even if you're not enamored with the idea of living frugally, isn't there still value in learning to cut waste out of your budget so you can spend on the things that matter?
Even if you don't think these guys are truly retired because they're getting side income from their blogs, wouldn't it be nice to learn how some average guys learned to make significant side income just from writing on the internet?
I just don't get it. Then again, I'm a frustrated idealist. There are lot of things in this world I don't get.
Despite all the advice from other bloggers telling us not to bother reading them, I still wade through the stream of shit in the comments. I can't help it: I feel like I need to understand how the average person views this strange group of financial independence and early retirement bloggers.
For every positive comment, there are five negative ones. The canned response is either:
- These people are liars: they are not telling the truth about how they got the nest egg, or what their real expenses are.
- These people are naive: they will run out of money, and soon.
- These people are just lucky: nothing bad ever happened to them, they got a head start in life, they hit the lottery with high paying jobs, so of course they're able to do this. But I can't do the same because [insert self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophesy here].
And maybe I'm just bitter today, but I feel like I'm done with these people: the people who know so little about money, and somehow have it all figured out, too. The people who see someone trying to pull himself up, and respond by trying to pull him back down into the muck.
I'm giving up. You win, you teeming masses of the mediocre. You've worn me down and convinced me.
You are right: you won't be able to retire early. You'll have to work until you're sixty, if you're lucky, or even into your seventies if things don't go as planned. You are going to give forty or fifty hours a week, for your whole life, to a job you don't even like that much. But don't worry, you're not alone. Just peek over the cubicle if you need a friend to commiserate with.
You are right: the only people who can manage to acquire wealth this early in life were just born lucky. Or worse, they're liars and cheats who are hiding something, like big inheritances. You can't live as frugally as these jokers are saying, and you can't get a million dollars that quickly, either. For real people, good, honest and upright people, there is no shortcut. The only way you'll get millions of dollars is after many decades of steady, excruciatingly slow progress.
You are right: it's really expensive to live in America. With the car payments, the credit card bills, the mortgage, a nice vacation every year for the family, there just isn't enough money left to invest, unless you're one of those one percenters. And even if you could cut costs, why would you want to? You could die at any point, and wouldn't it be embarrassing to die with a pile of money when you could have bought more cars or jewelry? Don't you want to spend your money, and live life to the fullest?
But most importantly, even if you are wrong about these weird, anonymous bloggers, even if they happened to be telling the truth about these strange frugal lives they lead, it's not like you're ever going to follow suit. You're living your own life. You're doing okay. You don't need some jerk telling you how to manage your finances.
You've got it figured out.
This financial independence, early retirement thing isn't for you. And that's okay. Your life probably isn't for me, either.