Following this post, I got this interesting question from “The Executioner” (slightly rephrased)

“You still have a full-time job, right? How can you call your blog โ€œEarly Retirement Extremeโ€ if youโ€™re still on someoneโ€™s payroll as a full-time employee?”

Yes, I have a full-time job, a part time job, I write this blog, I’m working on a book, I’m on the board of a non-profit organization full-time job again but in another field. I only live so long and there is so much to do, so I doubt that I will ever be able to sit still viz. “retire”. I am busy 14 hours a day (including weekends). I have always considered my work more of a “mission” than a job. It is essentially an expression of who I am. This is how it should be given how much time I spend doing it.

The thought of wasting my (finite) time is appalling to me. The drive for financial independence based on a simple life has very much been driven by my dislike of trading my time for superfluous possessions and being told to do things that do not interest me (such as playing career and award games and dealing with corporate bureaucracy).

I try to live a balanced life. Hence it is doubtful that I will ever be “traditionally retired” in the sense of dropping out of without contributing anything productive anymore because I need to compensate for not having done what I wanted so far. I can see how dropping out would work for someone who has worked for 30+ years at a tolerable job spending time and energy trying to climb the ladder/pyramid and never had the time to do anything but think about work, earn money, pay bills, eat, and sleep. Retiring after such an ordeal, I can fully understand why they would want to do the things they have not yet had the chance to do. Many people decide to travel, probably because they have never been anywhere and they want to see the world before it is too late. And so they set out to do lots of traveling perhaps overcompensating a bit and after a few years of that they have had enough and so they settle down. I have lived in three different countries and been to 14 so far. Let me tell you, traveling quickly gets old and I have reached a stage where I hate traveling. I know several other “jetsetters” that feel the same way. The next hobby seems to be playing golf. For someone who hasn’t done any sport since leaving high school, a desire for physical/competitive activity is also understandable. Golf can be enjoyed at almost any age and so at age 65 it is one of the few things left to do for the untrained individual.

Yet why delay activities until age 65 at which time you can only play golf when you can play hockey with the occasional body-check (hey, it was an accident, I swear ๐Ÿ˜€ ) when you are 30, 40, 50, or even 60 and older (if you kept in shape). In general I am curious as to the choice of postponing enjoyment so far into the future that the options for enjoyment become limited due to age, health, and lack of time to develop the sophistication to enjoy things even more. Not that I don’t understand it. People are too busy trying to make money to pay for all their stuff. I think that is a shame.

I was actually talking with DW the other day of what exactly defines retirement. Normally it means “removed from all activity”. Yet if I were to spend all my time working on improving my golf game, would that not be work? What if I was working full time but not getting paid. Is that retirement? I think the definition is rather blurred. What it comes down to is whether you do things by choice or because you need to.

I still work, but I don’t work because I have to. You could get technical and call it semi-retirement or financial independence, but then again “” or “” sound somewhat silly ๐Ÿ˜€ . This is one of the main reasons that the blog is named as it is. I wanted to have something catchy.

Besides, this blog is not just about me. If anyone gets inspired and adopts some of the methods and decides to drop out and play golf or move around, I’m fine with that. I am giving you the means.

This post is part of the Carnival of Financial Resources~โ€Weโ€™ve Got Snow!โ€ Edition. Check it out!

Originally posted 2008-11-02 07:44:50.