It’s sort of amusing to me that when ever I mention my plans to retire by my early forties that the average person assumes I’m trying to be rich. When in fact, that never was part of my goal at all.
Why? Being rich in my mind always means more than I already have. Rich conjures images of exotic vacations, buying whatever you want and fulling my even whim. Which in theory I could reach if I kept saving and worked until I was like 65 at the same rate of savings I could manage to have over $4 million dollars saved. So I could be rich if I wanted, yet I don’t want it.
What I really want in my retirement is to be comfortable and perhaps the odd little luxury beyond that. Why? Because that is all I really need to be happy in life. I’ve never spent $100,000/year so even if I had it I won’t know how to spend it, expect on things that really don’t matter much to me. So what is the point of being rich and having everything if that won’t really give me what I truly want in life: time.
I want time to write, to read, to go for walks, to help others, garden, visit friends and family. I want to live my life not chained to a job. I want time to nap when I feel like it, cook, research a new interest, build things with my hands, watch movies, play with my kids, go for a run or anything else that comes into my head.
To me that level of freedom is worth giving up being rich. We often mistake money for freedom, because we are sold the idea we can buy ourselves out of any problem. Yet in reality, there are often many other solutions we fail to realize exist. For example, we often complain how we have no time now to do things, but rarely do people consider part time employment. I know I’ve previously done by 80% and 90% time and I have to say both were eye opening experiences.
For example, 90% time gives you an extra 26 days a year off (or equal to over five weeks of unpaid vacation). In my case I took every second Friday off and it was wonderful. You could do errands on that day and then actually leave your weekend free to relax and enjoy the time with your family. Why wait to be rich when I could enjoy more time now?
So in the end, I’ll keep my modest lifestyle and my dream of more time. It seems to work for me. How about you? Are you ever tempted to be rich?