Weekend Edition: Retire in your Mind even if you Love your Job
Happy Weekend to all! The Weekend Edition feature of Mr. Money Mustache is designed to be read while wearing pajamas and/or slippers, and sipping casual weekend drinks. It will feature a selection of lifestyle and philosophical articles, since the weekend is a place where we take a break from the intense hammering of our day jobs. As a bonus, Mrs. Money Mustache herself has a writing or two on the go which she plans to publish in a future Weekend Edition.
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From the stream of interesting comments and the reader statistics, it seems we already have a broad and varied family of people reading together here at MMM. Some are looking to solve a problem of pressing debts and stress. Others are planning a full escape from the rat race. But a third category is the Satisfied Working Advanced Mustachian Individual (Swami).
Swamis have seen through the tricks of our consumer society for years, and as a result they live relatively efficient lives, and thus have no shortage of money. But they also are good at their jobs, and they enjoy them. Because of their financial independence, they have no fear of losing their jobs, and this actually makes them more valuable workers.
As advanced as it may sound, this effect has been noted for many generations. There’s an old financial musing that circulates on the Internet called “A Man With Savings” (it was apparently written in the era before men realized that women could have savings too). Here’s an excerpt:
“A man with savings can afford to resign from his job if his principles so dictate. And for this reason he’ll never need to do so. A man who can afford to quit is much more useful to his company, and therefore more readily promoted. He can afford to give his company the benefit of his most candid judgments.”
And, in contemporary language, you might have noticed the comment at the bottom of the “Yeah Mr. Money Mustache..” article right on this blog, where a wise reader writes:
“My experience is that work becomes a lot more fun when you don’t need the paycheck. Like you I’m an engineer and I love solving the puzzles that appear in our product development lab. But I hate sitting in long meetings, making powerpoints, and taking on boring busywork– so I don’t. I’m good enough at the parts I like (perhaps only just) that I get away with it, while my colleagues who took on the commitments of a high-maintenance lifestyle basically have to eat what management dishes out.”
Looking back to my own engineering career, I remember meeting other Swamis just like this fellow. They were an inspiration to me, when they would patiently hold their ground even in the face of senior management. “I’m sorry, I’ve got a family, so I’m not available to take that 5-day business trip to San Jose to give powerpoint presentations to the other department. But I’d be happy to work with them from my desk right here during regular business hours”.
These guys knew how to have fun at work, and just as the ancient text predicts, it was usually the more nervous and whiny people who worried openly about layoffs, who disappeared when layoffs came.
The message is that even if you’re not looking to actually retire from your job, your working life will improve quite magically as you grow your money mustache and start needing the job less and less.
I think that shooting for achieving Swami status is an ideal thing for EVERYONE who is still working – whether your goal is complete early retirement or just continued elevation along the levels of the Swami scale (note that most CEOs and celebrity types are in fact Swamis themselves – they absolutely do not need the money from working but they continue out of a sense of purpose).
In fact, I am finding that most people who are currently stuck under a load of debt can not even imagine the possibility of early retirement. It is too much of a leap for them, perhaps because they have only experienced the tippy back end of the financial conveyor belt. They can’t quite see the exponential change that happens in your cashflow as you move from big debt, to neutral, to big savings. For these people, it’s perfectly safe to start by envisioning a life of being slightly less beholden to their employers.
Do you think you can do it? What is standing in your way at this point? As both I and all of the other non-mustachioed financial gurus have been chanting for years, we’re not just making this shit up! Mr. Money Mustache may seem like a mystical and impossible role model, but his only superpower is his ability to not buy things. Way, way easier than becoming a sports hero or a registered nurse.
In the upcoming week I’m planning more posts with novel cost-cutting techniques including one called Insurance: a tax on people who are bad at math. I also hope to get some bidirectional heckling going on as the results of the $100 Challenge* come in.
*If you haven’t read that post or started doing the challenge yourself, get your lazy ass moving! It’s fun! I don’t care if you already have a money mustache so long that you constantly trip over it, or are still staring in the mirror hoping for the first bits of stubble to appear. Everyone can save an extra $100. We’re doing the challenge here at MMM headquarters, and surprisingly, even though I thought we were already operating at a low-fat level, we’ve already cut the week’s spending by more than $100 just by having this challenge hovering over our heads. A good practice exercise indeed.
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