This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I follow a blog that a guy writes as he travels all over the US in his camper van. I’m moderately jealous of the freedom he has, as a freelance musician touring various small towns and boondocking in some really nice settings, whether it’s the Sierra Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and a myriad of small towns all over the place. He is currently living in a 90 square foot space, which includes a shower, a 3-burner stove, a full size bed, and a fridge with a freezer. In the past couple of weeks, he raised quite a ruckus on his blog by announcing that he was going to be getting rid of his “massive” van and downsize to a much smaller Volkswagon van, which cuts his square footage by a third, loses his shower and reduces storage area available.
Where his blog normally gets about 15 to 25 comments per day, the day he talked about changing his rig around, there were 80+ people who chimed in yeah or neigh over his decision. The general consensus was that the idea was a little nutty, but people wished him the best and are interested to see how it goes.
I found it amusing that the response the van guy got was very similar to the reaction I received a few years ago when I announced my financial intentions. Whether friends or family, we mainly just got an eyeroll as a response. When I started writing for this blog a few years ago, I gave the link to pretty much everyone I knew – I think that maybe 2 read on a regular basis (maybe they’re like my wife, and were sick of listening to my arguments on random topics and awkwardly “funny” wisecracks).
As we move closer to our financial goals (at this point paying off our mortgage), we get more excited about the possibility of financial independence. The closer we get though, the less we tend to share our financial achievements with our families, as it seems to be getting more plausible that our plan may actually allow us to achieve early financial independence – we either get a “that seems pretty risky” from one of our families or a “must be nice to be that rich” from the other side – hence the reason we leave this part of our life silent…..plus nobody likes a braggart.
Personally, I like to challenge the “normal” and appreciate guys like the van-blogger who is pushing the envelope. When I initially read Jacob’s Early Retirement Extreme it was more of an “ah ha” moment than anything, and lead me to find blogs like this one and finally to set out my own plan to attain financial independence.
So, I continue to raise my own private ruckus, in virtual anonymity.
If you are on a path to early retirement, do you tell your family and friends? What kind of response do you get?