Current networth (2023) : 160 years worth of annual expenses.

My name is Jacob. My greatest claim to fame and overall impact on the world is probably this blog and the ideas behind ERE. Before that I used to be a nuclear astrophysicist, but in reality I’ve done many other different and (to me) interesting things and my aim is to continue this way of life for the rest of my life. Never getting bored.

ERE is much much more than just “retiring extremely early” by “sacrificing tourism and expensive restaurants”. It is effectively a philosophy of living. Now, you can read a summary on the wiki; a much longer version in the book; or you can try to piece things together from the blog, but the short story is that ERE is a set of values and principles that gives me—as well as you, if so desired—the freedom and opportunity to live an interesting and resilient life.

This quote accurately describes my philosophy of life:

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

— Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

In contrast to this, most people separate their work and their play and refer to it as their work-life balance. They go to work doing their one specialization so that they can afford to be entertained at an expensive restaurant, a ball game, or by traveling to some tourist location and engaging in entertainment activities as a consumer. Concentrating on just one thing, like a specific career, all one’s life and engaging in other activities exclusively at the spectator level would actually bore me somewhat. I don’t think humans obey the law of comparative advantage well. At least I don’t.
Here’s another one of my favorite quotes:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

—Robert A. Heinlein

That’s very different from “A human being should go get a job to get money to buy a house and a car and go out to eat at restaurants and play tourist a couple of weeks each year.”

I engage in almost everything with the aim to get good at it. To me it’s more fun to score a goal by top-shelving the puck in the local hockey league than watching the Blackhawks while eating a hotdog in a rented suite in United Center (I’ve done both). That’s just my preference. I’m not a good spectator. I’m not a good consumer either. I prefer to do and produce stuff rather than buy and watch stuff.

Mastering things is highly “entertaining” to me. I like becoming and being good at things. Sometimes this leads to people being willing to pay me to do something I’d otherwise done for free (psst, don’t tell them, I still like money). Sometimes it doesn’t (but I have enough money not to care). For the first 30 years of my life, I was lucky to have people pay me for doing what I thought was the most interesting thing in the world, researching arcane details about neutron stars. At 30 I became financially independent and therefore I no longer have to resort to luck. Because I’m now financially independent, I don’t have to care what other people are willing to pay for but that doesn’t stop me from trying to get better at what interests me, from doing the right thing or helping people, or even from making money if I can.

On the whole, I have fully internalized the ERE philosophy you read on these pages. I think this way naturally and automatically. I walk the talk. I don’t think of my choices as a sacrifice anymore than a toddler who has learned how to walk think of having sacrificed crawling to get around.

At this point (2018) I have enough saved to continue this lifestyle for the next 102 years and my passive income is thrice+ as large as I need.

You can find out more about income, expenses, net worth, health, health insurance, children, marriage, work, etc. in the Frequently Asked Questions.

To contact me, PLEASE READ THIS FIRST, and realize I don’t have an the energy to respond to everyone. Note, that I no longer accept guest posts and that I’m not interested in having the ERE book translated into other languages. Also, to avoid wasting your time or end up in my spam filter, read the bottom of the About page.

My new address is: erefire (at) brotonmail (dot) zom (change all b to p and all z to c)

Keep in mind that I NEVER give investment advice! If you’re looking for specific advice about your life situation, I would suggest asking in the forums instead. You are likely to get a lot better response from the community than you will from me alone—my response will be something along the lines of “please ask in the forums” anyway. Actually, there’s a greater chance that you will receive a response from me in the forums than you will if you just send me an email.

Social media and contacts:
Facebook: (updates)

I try to reserve my personal facebook page for people I have met in real life or know really well and my linkedIn page for people I have worked with.