Many people, maybe particularly young people, have grown up with an intense focus on earning money and all the things and activities that are related to earning money: Degrees with earnings potential, interview skills intended to get jobs, networking skills intended to keep jobs. Some say they love their jobs and good for them if they do; employers like passion(*). Others hate their jobs—it does not take much, maybe a stupid project or a crazy manager, to turn strong love into equally strong hate—so show me someone that hates their job and I’ll show you someone who at one time thought their job was awesome…back when they had a choice. Yet others are stoic professionals doing their job and earning money. The majority thinks their jobs are acceptable/not-bad/okay but they would rather stay at home if they didn’t earn any money from showing up. On the other hand, most would, in fact, rather go to work and earn money than take several weeks of vacation if they had the choice(**).
(*) Passion increases job demand which lowers the salary. Ask any passionate employee.
(**) Not many do, it would seem.
However, for some the primary focus in life is not to earn money. It is not even to make mortgage payments for 30 years. Or fly to Hawaii every other year. For some, their life purpose is doing something that, perhaps, does not make money at all. In that case, they work not to make money but merely just enough to support themselves while spending as much time doing something else than making money. Quite outrageous. Weirdos.
But they do exist.
Those people have part time jobs which are actually quite hard to come by given that employers prefer people who want to spend all their time making money—I would too. But these jobs do exist and I bet anyone spending as much time looking for part-time jobs as they do looking for real jobs would be able to find one just as easily.
This is an early retirement blog, but it would perhaps be more accurate to say that it is a “part-time capitalist” blog. I have a part time job as a capitalist. I got it by working to earn money and instead of spending it on booze and interest payments, I saved it to use as capital. Being a capitalist does not require a degree (unless you want to work for someone else and share the profits of your work) and learning how to be a capitalist is no more difficult than learning any other field of study. It is an easy job that does not require much work. Whether you make $1000/year or $10000/year depends more on your amount of capital than on your skill.
Obviously, not everybody want to be a capitalist just like not everybody wants to be blogger. I
amwas also a part-time editor, which is a specialized job that pays well enough to allow me to work only a few hours a week if I wasn’t a part time capitalist as mentioned above. As this requires no capital and no educational degree, one could jump right into it, if earning a lot of money was not a primary life-goal.
If earning money is the primary objective, it can easily be the hammer with the whole world being the nail. If I only think of money as the solution for every problem, clearly I need a lot of it, especially since some problems are not easily solved with money (health care and education comes to mind). If money comprises my entire arsenal, I also need a lot of it if I can not work. I must save it diligently using the favorite method of my culture, whether that be real estate, bonds, or stocks, so I can keep up my income when I am no longer working. And when I am no longer working, what am I to do but spend it on the normal ways of recreating: travel, watching TV, and buying stuff.
Yet, as I said, there are some for whom money is just part of their solution-arsenal. I would rather buy toilet paper than having to make it myself, etc. but for many things, I do not need to spend large amounts of money. Hence, a little money is required, but not a lot and so making money the primary or even secondary objective (as measured by waking hours) objective of my entire life seems crazy.
A few become part time capitalists, but it seems more common to find intermittent jobs and be good at that or work as a specialized consultants. This is all possible because the focus has been turned from spending money on everything because there is no time to merely spending money on a few things.
For those who feel money-trapped, the first step is to realize that money is not the only solution, and the second step is, then, to spend less of it. This is not technically difficult. Personal finance is easy and anyone can learn it in a couple of months. The hard part is changing one’s perceptions that there is more to life than making money.
Originally posted 2009-11-04 00:17:29.