Great News – Early Retirement Doesn’t Mean You’ll Stop Working

“If everybody retired early like those Mustachians”, the lament goes, “there would be nobody left to do the work.”

Given Infinite Money, would my brother Wax Mannequin ever stop rocking? No, he would only rock MORE. (Image credit Tanya Plonka)

Given Infinite Money, would my brother Wax Mannequin ever stop rocking? No, he would only rock MORE.
(Image credit Tanya Plonka)

We need people to do the hard, dirty necessary chores that keep society running. And we need other people to keep the innovation going, since technologies and ideas don’t invent themselves.

And besides, even on an individual level it is a bad idea. What about those studies that show life expectancy drops very quickly for those who retire? What about those of us who love our jobs? What would we do all day if we didn’t have to work?

Luckily for all of us, there is a simple answer to all of this:

I propose that you keep right on working well after your retirement date, and in an ideal world you keep working right up until the last day of your life. Only then and with the satisfaction of countless decades of doing your best, is it really worthwhile to take that final rest.

If this sounds like a prescription for living hell, the problem is not with my proposal. It’s with your definition of what “work” really is. The problem is likely that you are doing work because you need the money, rather than for the joy of getting the most out of each of your days. And there really is a better way.

How “Retired” People Work

These days, I seem to know quite a few financially independent people. They come out of the woodwork once you start writing a blog about the idea, and we end up keeping in touch because we have so much in common. They are fun friends to have, plus it is handy to have someone with whom to share a mountain bike ride on a Monday, or beers on a Wednesday.

According to their own definition, they no longer need to work for money because their investments cover their (usually below average) spending. And yet, at the present moment almost all of them are still doing things that look like working.  A couple of them are still charging away at expanding their companies. Others are still productive at writing books or investing and helping others start companies of their own. Even I get accused of not being retired on the grounds of either carpentry or writing. But there’s a reason behind all of this work-like activity, and it’s not money.

The Rule of Free

For the first few years after retirement, I found myself continuing old money habits without questioning them. Like everyone, I’m way more habit-bound than I like to admit. And besides, if money is good, then more must be better, right?

The problem was that these habits were costing me some freedom. When opportunities came up to earn little chunks of income,  I would tend to go out of my way to accept them. When spending decisions came up, I would stress unnecessarily to optimize each one. I found myself agonizing over whether to add a $14.50 order of delicious Baingan Barta to the order of Indian take-out, when the bill was already approaching $40.

Habits like these are very healthy when you are still earning your independence: it is the double-sided optimization that gets you to financial freedom 30-40 years ahead of everyone else, so the reward on effort is very high. However, once you have enough money, getting even more doesn’t do you much good at all. So once the job was done, I wanted to put the theoretical freedom into practice. I forced myself to adopt two new rules:

I try to make all spending decisions as if the price were $0.00

And I make all work and income decisions as if the wage were $0.00

But doesn’t this lead to infinite consumption and zero work? For the Beginner Consumer, most definitely. But by the time you are truly ready for early retirement, these guidelines should lead to almost exactly the same life that you already have. The key is that both factors become magically self-regulating if you understand what truly makes you happy.

I’ve learned that more stuff does not bring more happiness – as you add belongings, your stuff just starts to own you. Even upgrading to higher quality versions of existing stuff doesn’t help. I could swap my 10-year-old Scion  xA for a new Tesla P85D with just the spare change in my wallet at this point, but this upgrade would probably make me slightly less happy, because I’d have to watch the beautiful machine fading in the hot sun and being shat upon by birds, while I felt guilt over not driving it enough to justify the price.

But buying tools that let you accomplish things can be much more satisfying than buying luxury toys. For me, this means physical power tools, but also tools like a functional office, a nice kitchen, and good shoes. So I don’t skimp on the things that help me get more done every day. An upgraded car doesn’t qualify because it would only help me accomplish more driving, which is not on my bucket list.

 On the work side of the equation, the philosophy is reversed. My best days are the ones where I accomplish something truly difficult, preferably in both mental and physical realms. And my worst days are those that I just spend sitting around. So I’ve learned that work is an incredibly powerful source of happiness. The key is that it must be creative, social and engaging work that brings you towards a purpose you believe in. 

So if a friend asks me to spend a day helping him haul steel beams and welding them into his foundation so he can resume progress on a dream house, I’ll be right over. Although I usually get paid for work like this, I’d also do it for free. But when an advertising company hints at a seven-figure offer to buy this blog, I have no interest at all. After all, would I give Mr. Money Mustache away for free?

When you take money out of the equation, it is much easier to make decisions that really bring you a better life.

So Here’s What Would Really Happen if More People Pursued MMM-Style Early Retirement

I find that when people earn their freedom from money constraints, they usually don’t stop working. Instead they start doing their best work. Looking at many of society’s highest achievers right now, the world leaders and founders of the most productive companies, I see mostly people who have already made it. And yet are still working because it means something to them.

Early retirement, according to this new definition, does not mean quitting work, even while it may well mean quitting your job. It means opting out of the bullshit portion of your work. The commuting, the politics, the production of inferior products just because your boss has found a profitable niche to exploit. When used correctly, a sizeable ‘stash can help you become a more ethical person.

Early-retired Doctors might set up smaller practices which operate without any pressure for profit optimization, and without patience for insurance company shenanigans. They might treat their medical staff better than the larger operations do.

Early-retired Attorneys might refuse all cases that are based on questionable ethics, and do only work that actually helps somebody.

Google engineers who retire early might still work or contract part-time, or feel compelled to create completely new inventions with their newly freed minds. If some of these inventions grow big and end up being acquired right back into Google, it’s just another dividend of early retirement and the cycle will begin anew.

How would you run your own life, with a continuing desire to create but no immediate need to make the next mortgage payment?

Early retirement also leaves much more room for family life, because you lose your fear of falling behind.  Sure, I’m currently far less “productive” in conventional business terms than I would be if wasn’t a full-time Dad. In fact, before beginning this project I granted myself 20 years of slack time, just to make sure work would not take over. But who cares about conventional business productivity?  There will be plenty of time in the second half of my life to embark on bigger things.

And there is no such thing as skills going obsolete: A true Early Retiree expands his or her network of skills and knowledge every day in unforeseen ways. As the years go by, the friendships and business opportunities only multiply, whether you have time to capitalize on them or not.

The net of all this is that you probably have less to fear about post-retirement life than you thought. It also means you’ll probably use less of that war chest you have been amassing, because your energy (and therefore income) will only multiply over time. You have decades to build, accumulate and contribute after you make the jump. So make your plan with a heavy dose of optimism.

There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from getting as many people on this train as possible, including yourself.



  • Shannon April 19, 2015, 11:15 pm

    Please never consider selling your blog!!! It would lose so much of what makes it what it is, you! GRS (Get rich slowly) did it and it was never quite the same afterward.

  • Money Saving April 20, 2015, 6:14 am


    This post really speaks to me. My wife and I are at the point financially where we will be FI in ~3 years. We have the choice to keep going on the treadmill until then, or exit stage left and find work that truly brings us happiness. We’re struggling with the decision, and this article has really brought me peace in that the best thing to do is follow our hearts and put happiness above money. Thank you!

  • Beekeeper Dave April 20, 2015, 11:35 am

    I think this whole article really smacked the nail squarely on the head, but one point really rang true to me, and that was the bit about working as though the wages were zero and buying as though the price were free. The way you spend your time is so much more important than the way you spend your money, and the -value- of the things you choose to buy is so much more important than the monetary cost! In other words, if it’s a waste of time, space, or energy, don’t buy it, no matter how great a bargain! I had an opportunity the other day to sell four chickens and a “chicken tractor” (little mobile chicken coop you move around your yard to optimize the placement of moist avian fertilizer pellets) to a very nice couple for dirt cheap because I didn’t need the money, and I thought that spreading the fun and benefits of backyard chicken rearing was way more valuable than the 6 or 7 hundred bucks these things often sell for, plus I just plain like those people, so I was more than happy to give them the best deal I could manage. It occurred to me during all of this that if I had all the time and money in the world, then I could make sure that every one of my friends and neighbors who wanted a few chickens in their backyard had whatever they needed to make that happen. I could just have them buy the materials, and I could spend a few days with them helping them build their pens, coops, and whatnot, and showing them how to care for their birds. It was just an odd, passing thought, but it did make me think. A week or so of my time could mean that a half a dozen families suddenly have a handy supply of fresh breakfast makin’s right in their backyard. Less driving to the store, less delivery trucks bringing eggs to market, not to mention we’d all have this new hobby in common and end up networking with other urban farmers. But it gets better. Everybody has some odd little skill or resource that they can share. When you figure out how to utilize such an asset to make money, you’re an entrepreneur. When you figure out how to share it around for no other reason than you just want to see more of it, I don’t know what that makes you, but just like entrepreneurialism, it’s pretty awesome. Point is, early retirees are the ones with the time and money to do cool stuff like that. It’s not a job, but it is work. Good, efficient work. The best kind of work. Thanks MMM for writing this article and for indulging my long-winded rant.

    • Blaine April 26, 2015, 8:26 pm

      I think they call that a social entrepeneur.

  • Cristian Stoica April 20, 2015, 3:24 pm

    I have been reading this blog for about a year now. I like all the concepts of it. I can say that I’m retired since I was 25 years old, now 32, I have a couple or rental properties and flipped some houses. Now working for a regular job is ideal. you have the time to do what you like during the day, like I like to go cycling of going to have lunch with some friends(on their lunch break)or spend time with my daughter when she is not in day care. My girlfriend is still working, so when we go on vacations it’s easier to schedule 1 person instead of 2. The thing I find, that everybody of my age are working all the time, and sometime it’s hard to do activities with other people during the day. By myself I can do a lot ( renovations, workout, going to Chapters down town Ottawa, ect…) I seem that most people are not even interested in reading stuff like this, or about science or other interesting things. They rather work all the time, and read gossips or watching sports on tv.

  • The Little Light April 20, 2015, 6:54 pm

    Dear MMM
    I am a neighbor in Denver who had a chance to retire at the age of 39. I like to say 39 because it sounds good, but it was actually 2 weeks before I turned 40. That is still 39, isn’t it? Anyways, in my working life I was a doctor and I realized I need to get out of the crazy loop of working at some point. Having had paid tens of thousands of dollars for a degree was making the decision very hard. Like I had to get every last penny out of that degree before I gave it up. But then I saw an article one day that talked about a woman that had not seen the ocean till she was 70 something because she was too busy working. They had a picture of her leaning on her walker on the beach. It hit me that leaving a degree behind and not using it was not a waste, but my life sure would be a waste spent doing all the things I didn’t want to do from sun up to sun down without having the time to do all the things I wanted to do. A degree not used at the worse case scenario might be a waste of money spent on tuition, but a life wasted, that is the ultimate waste.
    I should mention that I was not born in the U.S.A. I immigrated here when I was 16 without knowing a word of English. Worked 3 jobs to put myself through undergrad and worked all the way through my schooling. Went hungry right here in Denver for years while I paid out of state tuition because of being a foreign student and never becoming a resident to qualify for that discount that residents got, or student loans, or credit cards for that matter. All applications would ask if I was a citizen or not and when the answer was no, I was automatically rejected. I would go on one meal a day and 3 hours of sleep a night for 4 years to get my undergrad. Then more schooling to become a doctor and by then I did qualify for a student loan which I paid off 9 years after I graduated. All this to practice for 13 years and then hang my coat up and live my life the way I want to live it. Never bought a big home or a big car or had any debt. Where I come from everything is bought in cash and I was always afraid of any kind of credit. If I could avoid the student loan also, I would have but that was not possible. I paid off my 30 year mortgage in 8 years, the ten year student loan in 9 years and that was that. No other debt.
    Just like you, retirement for me has not meant sitting in a rocking chair on my porch with a lemonade on the side table. It has meant doing all the things I like to do including publishing a book in my native language and doing a whole lot of other things. To tell you the truth, I don’t even have a porch. I live in a 700 sf condo that I paid off. I have a little Nissan that I bought cash while all of my colleagues used to show up to continuing education classes in their BMW and Mercedes and their shiny Audi’s. Actually I had a Kia for 18 years until I could find no parts for it any more. The last water pump I replaced on it had to come from California and it cost a bit to get it here. So, when it stopped in the middle of the road one day, I called a donation center to come and take it away and got a tax deduction for it and got a little Nissan that I have had for 3 years.
    I told this long story of mine to ask you a question if you don’t mind. I seem to be happy in my own life when I shut the door and do my own thing. I actually had to clean my relationships and friendships along the way since I made a decision to retire and spend more time on me and things that I like. But as soon as I step out of my door, there is always something that gets under my skin. Like crazy drivers that I can tell are not all there and almost run me over, loud people in general, people who are buzzing with caffeine and sugar and they want you to vibrate at their level, loud neighbors, and the list goes on. You get the picture. So, how do you manage to stay calm seeing all this craziness around you? I don’t know may be because I am in Denver and this city is busier than ever I feel this way? Is it better where you are? Is it just city living in general? I have lived in Denver for 26 years and it was never like this, these days I don’t recognize this place any longer. If you can tell me how to close my eyes on the terrible behavior of other people that results from their lack of planning, their lack of time, them being in a hurry all the time to get that next dollar to make the next payment, them being unhappy all day which all results in side effects that spills in to my life a bit just because I live in the same city or community, I would appreciate it (that was a very long sentence, I know). Like my neighbor has a very loud Harley and all summer I have to listen to him at 5 a.m. go to work while I don’t have to be up. Thank goodness for Denver winters which makes the Harley stay in the garage for the next 6 months while he makes payments on it. The other neighbor has a truck which is as loud and can manage Denver winters. This neighbor leaves at 5:30 to get to Boulder for work as I am trying to fall sleep again from the 5 a.m. neighbor’s noises. You see what I mean, I live a managed life which I enjoy, other’s don’t and the side effect of their bad decisions effects me one way or another. How do you manage these things and try to stay happy while seeing other people’s bad decisions effect your life?
    I have been following your blog for a few months now and enjoy it very much. Thanks for sharing your information, I switched to Republic Wireless a couple months ago because of the information you had here and I am very happy with the switch and the savings.
    At the end I like to say if there was a city, or a community that only allowed like minded people to live there, I would go for an interview to see if I could get in that community. I suffer living out here among people who have a hard time managing their lives and the effect of that lack of management and knowledge effects my life as well regardless of how well I try to live.

    • Kathy Abell April 25, 2015, 10:08 pm

      It sounds like your life is perfect …. except for the rudeness and thoughtlessness of others. Here are some things to keep in mind. You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reaction to it. You are living in a different time frame than they are; you have much more time available than they do. They have to rush, rush, rush all the time. You need never rush. Try to have a bit of sympathy for the so called “wage slaves” and “working dead” – the zombies who are still half asleep at 5 am on a Monday morning because they have to go to a job after “relaxing” all weekend long and staying up too late on Sunday night. Since you don’t have to wake up to an alarm clock, wear earplugs to bed. Or, do some early morning reading from 5 am to 6 am, then take a nap later once all the loud morning commuters have left the neighborhood. Maybe you should consider moving to a more rural, more quiet area? You’ve managed to escape the rat race; don’t be a sore winner.

      • The Little Light April 28, 2015, 9:48 pm

        Many thanks for your time in answering my comment. You are right, I am in no hurry and the rest of the community I live in is still in a hurry all day every day. I try to stay in and only leave when the traffic dies down, when everyone is securely chained to their desks and monitors for the next 8 to 10 hours which is right around 9 a.m. This way I I would not get in between them and their punch in card. I do have sympathy for them, I understand them, I was them until a few years ago, but I don’t remember making so much noise, revving my engine for no reason when I had to go to my night shift at the hospital or returning from clinic at odd hours of the night. It seems to me these people are restless in their own skins. They can’t sit still without making noise for 2 seconds. Again you are correct, I need to move to a more quiet area. Earplugs don’t do much in a match with a loud Harley. I have tried them with not much success. I just need a more sleepy and quiet town. That is why at the end of my comment I had said if there was a city or a community that would interview like minded people before letting them live there, I would go for an interview to see if they would let me live there. I would pull my weight, I wouldn’t mind seeing patients at no charge even if that was the price of getting in to such a community. Thanks again for your words, I will try not to be a sore winner.

    • Freeman April 27, 2015, 7:57 am

      Light, I had two of those noisy neighbours. One lived right next door to me; the other across the street. The one that lived next door, had his garage next to the isle of my house where the Masterbedroom was. Every morning, “Homer” would fire up his Harley; and it would ruble away whil his radio blasted. Then when this 47 year old teen ager would get home from work, he would pound on his drums; which were also in his garage. The pinhead lived in his fathers house, and would rev, the rap out of his 68 camero; and do break stands in the driveway. He was also a 47 year old teen ager. While doing burn outs In the driveway the black smoke would cross the street and engulf my home! Things are much better now. I left the city and live on my hobby farm; and have peace and quite; but I’m still close enough to town, 25 minutes away.

      • The Little Light April 28, 2015, 10:03 pm

        Freeman, Are you sure we didn’t live on the same street? Except my neighbor is not in to drums, he is in to video games. He also can’t afford turning his AC on in summer so he leaves his windows open and plays loud video games till 2 a.m. on weekends. I can hear him through my closed windows. The guy with the truck has a faulty muffler and has not fixed it in over a year. What baffles me is that no one else seems to even notice all this. Every now and then I wonder if I may be the problem, that may be I am just too sensitive, see too much, hear too much and pay attention too much. I know I am a light sleeper due to so many years of having to wake up in the middle of the night to see emergencies and so on. The slightest noise and I am up. These people seem like they are numb to everything. Nothing bothers them. They see nothing, hear nothing, and pick up on nothing. As long as they make it through the day without getting fired and they get to their evening beer at happy hour, they are happy. I would love to live on a farm and do my own thing. Grow a few things which I already do in the form of container gardening on a very small patio in my condo. But a farm sounds lovely and the right prescription for my issues in the city. Thanks for the reply, it gave me hope that things could be a bit better with a little planning and possibly a move to outside of the city.

  • Minimum Wage Slave (and loving it) April 21, 2015, 3:48 am

    I retired from a IT&T corporate job a few years back. I moved to a world famous wine region and now work 1 or 2 days a weekend doing wine tastings for tourists for almost minimum wage. I do it because it gets me out of the house and talking to other humans, and because its a way to connect with my community which centers around the wine industry. Its a far cry from the $1000 a day I used to get paid.

    I spend the rest of week immersed in the stock market. I discovered a long time ago that I am actually quite good at it, and my success is the reason I amassed my stash, allowing me to retire 30 years early. I also discovered, that as good as I thought I was, I got even better at it when I had all the time in the world to devote to market study and stock research. Practice really does make perfect.

    I am redecorating the interior of my house and learning to garden. I have discovered that homemade passionfruit syrup goes beautifully with vodka. I trade lemons for free coffee at one of the local cafes. Life is simple, slow, but sweet.

  • freebeer April 21, 2015, 11:39 am

    Folks who “no longer need to work for money because their investments cover their (usually below average) spending” but keep on actively working, perhaps still in the same career that they trained for, and perhaps still for money, are not considered “retired”… what they are is “financially independent” i.e. they have “made it”. And FI folks who decide to shift gears to working less and having more time flexibility, say going from a corporate job to being a consultant in the same field, still aren’t considered “retired”, in fact calling oneself “retired” would be the kiss of death for such consultants as far as marketing their services. The time-honored term is “hanging out one’s own shingle” which doesn’t connote withdrawal as the word “retire” does. I am not a member of the early-retirement police and if MMM wants to call himself “retired” I don’t quibble – he has at least made a major pivot in his “work for money” activities and his “work for money” isn’t full-time. But calling a PR executive who moves from a corporate job to consulting for corporations “retired”… sorry I just don’t buy it as either accurate or helpful.

  • chrisbo April 23, 2015, 2:41 pm

    life is a journey, sitting round the house cooking for the family and fixing stuff to me does not seem particularly enjoyable. IMO, most DIY is superficial and doesn’t require constant maintenance, this lax attitude gives me time to chill out and laze around watching sport and having a few beers whilst i plan a weekend trek.

  • Lisa April 24, 2015, 9:56 am

    Huh, looks like I am the only one that this post stung. I am in year 3 of my early retired life and no, the income is not still rolling in and no, I’ve not contributed anything great to the society since retiring. I am no MMM, and no one has head-hunted me back into my field. I haven’t wrote a book or invented anything. Have I failed? Am I still supposed to be out there ‘achieving something’? Have I missed finding my ‘life-purpose’. I know this is on me experiencing societal pressure yet again, but man, is it OK to stay at home and do what pleases me e.g., grow the veggies, garden, paint, clean the house, volunteer a bit etc? My image is also suffering because my husband still wants to work. Sorry for the downer comment, the post just struck me a bit differently than others and I am trying to puzzle that through.

    • Leslie April 24, 2015, 2:15 pm

      More than o.k. because retirement is about doing what you love without the constraints of needing a paycheck. Growing veggies and taking care of a home is work too. Hopefully you enjoy it.

    • Kathy Abell April 25, 2015, 10:19 pm


      YES! It is OK to stay at home and do what pleases you, whether that is growing vegetables, gardening, painting, housekeeping, and/or volunteering. You have my permission! LOL

      If your husband still wants to work, let him. It will give you some alone time in the garden. ;)

      Don’t be so hard on yourself.

      (Of course, I hope you are at least not driving a huge gas guzzler vehicle; otherwise MMM would really be upset with you.)

      • Lisa April 27, 2015, 4:20 pm

        Thanks for the positive responses Kathy and Leslie! Yes, I am enjoying my simple life – I just need to get out of my own head, and stop letting the societal norms trip me up.

        I’m sure MMM could find a thing or two to face-punch me for, but my vehicle is not one of them :)

    • The Little Light April 29, 2015, 7:12 am

      It is more than OK to stay home and do nothing or do the things that you like to do. That is the whole purpose of early retirement. Not to be on a time schedule and do what you please. I personally wrote a book about my experience as an immigrant to the United States when I retired, but it is not like I am pumping out books left and right all day every day, year and year. I wrote the book because it was something I wanted to do for years and never had a time and then went back to just being home and doing some container gardening during summer and a little traveling, reading, hiking, and some of this and some of that and whatever I woke up and felt like doing. Don’t feel guilty about how you spend your days as long as you are spending it the way that pleases you and gives you joy.

  • Blaine April 26, 2015, 8:23 pm

    I love this post, because it gets at the point that early retirees are some of the most capable people in our society. It takes skill and discipline to make your life really, really efficient, and these skills are also valuable in the marketplace. I also think the liberating effect of not doing bullshit work starts long before early retirement. As I approach bare-bones FI, I’m saying no more often to annoying or unproductive projects, and the extra bandwidth is allowing me to shine in everything else I do. It’s amazing what a little bit of financial independence can do!

  • Emily April 27, 2015, 12:55 am

    BOOM! Every post, read.
    The last 6 weeks have completely changed the way I think, about money but also about the rest of my life. I’m glad I (randomly) found this blog before I got sucked down a path of mindless consuming and complainypants-ing.
    Thanks MMM!

  • Kristian April 27, 2015, 1:55 am

    First of all, congratulations with the amazing blog. It’s a treasure chest of wisdom and knowledge, and it’s so well written too! I firmly believe that many of the problems the world and the average joe is facing today would be solved if people changed their ways to the Mustachian way of life. With the risk of sounding like a complainypants clown, though, I feel like the Mustachian way just isn’t feasible where I live (Norway). Let me explain why.

    Taxes are harsh. The income tax is at 27%, and applies to salary as well as investment profits. The real deal-breaker though, is the wealth tax, which demands 0.85% of a persons net worth above $153k, annually. Couples get to combine their net worth, and are thus taxed from twice the amount, $306k.

    According to my calculation, with a modest family home in the countryside (where housing is cheaper), and living off the $32k per year (living costs are higher in Norway), a Norwegian family must have $1.474 million invested in stocks etc. to be able to live off the investment returns, assuming the 4% rule.

    The mountain is insurmountable. I make $63k annually, working full time in the oil industry as a structural engineer with a Master’s degree. My wife makes significantly less. We’ll never ever be able to retire early, unless the rules change. In stead, the tax system encourages people to take up huge mortgage debt, and spend their lives working until 67. Or, as many people do, fake some sort of disability and live off our generous welfare system. It makes me want to move to the US :)

    • amazed April 28, 2015, 12:21 am

      Move out from norway to gulf coutries or kazakhstan. I never understood why people would like to live in high taxed/dark/cold Norway.

    • Dave April 28, 2015, 2:47 pm

      Wait a minute, I thought you guys had a much better retirement system than we do? Are you sure you are telling all? I don’t think you are.

  • amazed April 27, 2015, 6:26 am

    I had an occasional babysit that was earning 5 eur/hr. She would come 5-6 hours per week. She was a young woman living with her parents. She was the olderst of 4 siblings, none of them working. She said it was too difficult for any of them to find work(which I found very strange). The father was unemployed, the mother a housewife. They were struggling to meet the ends(naturally). She told me that she had a dental treatment with a bill of 1000 eur that they couldn’t pay. The dentist went to bailey collection. her mother fell sick due to that and went to a doctor for nervous breakdown. Eventually the doctor was so touched by the story and donated them that 1000 eur. They were relieved.
    I offered her a full time babysit a job to look after my 2 children. That was going to be an official job through an agency and she would receive 1000-1200 per month after taxes. Guess what? She refused :). Some people just make their decisions as if they have their FI even if they happen to end up in court for unpaid bills. I find that AMAZING.

  • Free to Pursue April 28, 2015, 8:26 am

    I started doing my best work the moment money no longer factored into my decisions in any significant way. Being somewhere doing something by choice (aka you’d do it for free) is the best way toward quantum leaps in creative expression and personal growth. And, like the interest accruing in your investment accounts, it has a compounding effect. Incredibly powerful.

    It’s an unbelievable feeling to live the way I live now and I never want to go back to the way things were when I was “normal”. Ever.

  • Gambit April 28, 2015, 8:31 am

    MMM less than four weeks ago I stumbled upon this goldmine of information. Reading through a few articles, you had me trapped. I have read every single article, most of the comments and have started to impliment some of your lessons into my own lifestyle. Although your blog is more set up for people/couples making $100,000 annually. Unfortunately I have a decent way to go in terms of earning a higher income, currently sitting at $38,900CAD but, hey one has to start somewhere. That being said I am fairly ashamed of how my spending has been the last few months, started this job making the best wage I have ever made and yet I have saved far less than I had thought I would have. I’m super excited to use this information to hopefully get my self to financial independance much sooner than society would like me too.

    Thank you very much for providing fun, statistic driven information to all of us. If only there was another 400 articles to read.

    A fellow Canadian,

  • Dave April 28, 2015, 2:43 pm

    I remember when I was a teenager and people would randomly ask me to help work on their house or even clean out a store for remodelling and I always thought it was great fun and they would pay me a little bit even though I would have done it for free because I knew them. Maybe once I stop having to earn money (soon in a year and a half) then I can do these things again. Or whatever else comes up. I’d like to show people how to do their taxes or fix computer problems, too. I can’t wait to be a free man.

  • Kathy May 11, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Hi MMM,
    I just wanted to say thank you for being a huge inspiration to me. I’m a software engineer that’s taking a 3 month retirement to practice working at my long lost music career. You are so right about not REALLY retiring but rather working at the things you love. I believe I’m about 3-5 years away from that, so I’ll have to go back to working for $ in August. I link to you in one of my posts about a purchase that is definitely not necessary but I hope it helps lead me into my next gig! Thank you again for helping make my life a better place!!!!

  • David M October 21, 2015, 8:50 am

    I love your idea of making all work and income decisions as if the wage were $0.00. When I first retired, I also had a hard time turning down freelance assignments. My solution was to jack up my rate. That way, the company would say “no” and I wouldn’t have to regret turning down work. Problem was, many companies said, “fine, when can you start?” So end result was not only was I forced to take the assignment, I also kicked myself for keeping the freelance rate too low prior to retirement. Your solution is much better.

  • David August 24, 2016, 7:13 pm

    One definition of a ski bum is “Someone who would rather ski than work, so he takes a low paying job at a ski resort to get a free season pass. While he is working for his low waegs he gets to watch people who make a lot of money go skiing.” That described me for a couple years in my early 20s. The winter I worked as a snowmaker was the most fun I ever had at work but it didn’t pay enoughb to feel financially secure. When I recognized my financial independence at age 49 I went to my local ski resort and got hired as a snowmaker. Seven years later I still look forward to those 12 hour overnight shifts from November to February. I couldn’t afford to work for so little money if I didn’t already have enough money to live. Most of the young adults I work with can’t even afford the clothing to be comfortable when the wind chill is -45 or colder. I still like getting a free season pass.
    This job also lets me help a few young people start their own journey to early retirement. Every year several of my coworkers want to know why someone my age is still making snow instead of working at a high paying job. When I tell my financial story one or two of them get on board.

  • Rachel January 21, 2017, 11:56 pm

    At the risk of being a complainypants, I’m jealous of your outgoing nature. I’m about 95% introvert, so it’s amazing to me that you seem so open to meeting and helping others.

  • Nicole Rose November 27, 2017, 10:28 pm

    First of all, your brother is Wax Mannequin?! I’ve seen him play live at least 3 times – an amazing artist!
    I’m new to your blog and in the middle of a binge read. It’s gotten me excited to add some mustachian ways to my life and get on track with being smarter about money. Thanks!

  • Jay McConnell October 21, 2019, 10:25 am

    I’ve been thinking about making a major luxury watch purchase. But, now that I think of the cost as $0.00, I don’t want it anymore… It would be just another shiny thing to worry about. Haha…you tricked me, MMM!

  • Vi October 23, 2019, 5:11 pm

    Hi Mr. MMM. I have been reading your blog for 10 years and have really appreciated your insight. Still working but definitely at FI but have not retired early. I just wanted to let you know that your blog inspired me to start an personal environmental action blog about picking up ocean plastic along the beach. Thanks! I figured there were plenty of personal finance blogs out there but no personal environmental action blogs. It just got started but its brought me a lot of joy and piece, and at least am trying to do something. Thank you for doing all that you do. (Vi)


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