How to Win When You Lose

I find it sort of amusing when people bring up the issue of me failing to retire by the time I turn 45, because even if that did happen I would still win.  How?  Even in my worst case projection I still think I will retire by the time I turn 50.  So even by losing, I can still retie earlier than most people.

Not to mention all the side benefits of trying for financial independence.  I don’t worry about money at night and it has never kept me awake.  How?  I’ve got over $130,000 in investments right now and my house is almost paid off.  The words ‘lay off’ or ‘being fired’ are annoyances now and not really serious threats to my family’s well being.

In a sense going after early retirement gives you freedom to choose what others can’t consider.  I don’t have any credit card debt, so I don’t ‘have to’ keep working at a job I hate.  I don’t have a huge mortgage, so I can look at buying a second property as an investment.  The longer I’m on this path the more choices keep opening up.

Perhaps the one choice that mind boggles a lot of people is the ability to earn less.  I don’t have to work full time to look after my family.  I haven’t had a full time day job in 15 months now and I really don’t see the need to ever go back to full time if I chose to.  Actually after the mortgage being paid off next year our income requirements to live are so low that I live with a $10/hour part time job if I want.

Perhaps that is the point of how to win even when things go wrong, my needs are very minor and I know what those cost.  So I don’t bitch as much about losing on anything and always try to find the positive about it.  Why? I can afford to make that choice.

So how do you win when you lose?

4 thoughts on “How to Win When You Lose”

  1. I agree, it sure is nice when you have that cushion so you don’t have to worry about what happens.

    I’ve been without a full-time paying job since May and being on the small one income of my wife has been just fine for us.

    I’ve taken the opportunity to work on side projects and get involved in a startup company that is paying me in equity instead of salary. Interesting opportunities indeed.

  2. Love your site, love your book (reading it on my Kindle in Mexico)… that said, I’ve kept track of your progress and have always thought that 45 might be a tough retirement target for you, I just thought it a bit rude to mention it. Like you said, retirement at 50 is still a BIG win.

    I’m still shooting for 45, but it is by no means a slam dunk. Saving and investing like mad these days.

  3. I think my first taste of financial independence was when
    I had accumulated enough money so that not every little hiccup caused a financial crisis in my life.
    I wasn’t quite retirement at that point,but I knew I wanted more of that kind of stability.

  4. Your reference to working part-time causes me to slightly change your definition of “win when you lose” this way: I felt I “won” when I decided to purposely “lose” much of my pay by switching from working full-time to working part-time back in 2001. The “win” was regaining my personal life and a lot of my personal freedom. Its cost of nearly half of my salary was well worth the expenditure.

    I still earned more than I needed to cover my expenses which was what counted, while seeing the value of my company stock soar after 2001.

    I liked that “loss” so much that I did it again in 2007, forgoing even more of my pay to “win” some more personal freedom and remove some of the misery of working even part-time, moving a big step closer to my eventual ER in 2008 at age 45.

    This week marks the beginning of my 4th year of ER, my biggest win.

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