I’m happy I’m no longer the only one

When discussing the concepts of extreme early retirement, an often heard objection is that “it’s impossible”—followed by the runner-up “Yes, maybe I could do it but my spouse/children…” or the more generic “Yes, but that’s because you’re special/different/….”

[I got a bit carried away in the comments section of this post.]

These objections are not based on the lack of external freedom (see discussion of freedom) but rather a constraint on internal freedom: “I can’t understand it, therefore it’s impossible” or “I won’t do it, therefore it’s unrealistic”. (Not true, it’s really only a question of priorities.)

This is why I’m grateful I’m no longer the only current or what feels the like only current public figure to have turned towards a more deliberate a more efficient form of spending in order to create more financial freedom. Now there are several people who have reduced their expenses by 33-50% within the span of a few months simply by choosing to do so and taking action.

Looking at those expense curves in the journals is quite impressive. They drop like a rock.

This takes a load of my shoulders. I no longer feel like I have to go and find a $500 dollar apartment in an area where the apartment catalog shows regional apartments starting at $1100 just to show it can be done when I’m told it’s unrealistic. I no longer have to jump through this or that hoop just to prove a case in point. Being the local poster boy is somewhat demanding from time to time. It may be that I’m attaching too much importance to my function/position, but it seems that many are looking for or need a personal example to be convinced.

This problem is that extreme early retirement is a difference in kind rather than a difference in degree. We’re not looking to “reduce”. We’re looking to change. Thus it’s hard to understand how someone can live in another class altogether.

I get a kick out of this book [title] about how America’s cheapest family cuts their grocery bill in half considering that ERE cuts the grocery bill in half twice over to a quarter. Maybe we’re not being cheap as much as we’re being different. We don’t eat less. We’re not looking for 50% off. We eat differently.

Not just food, money-handling too.

I have spent the last threesix years building up the “theory” of financial independence. Not that it requires a theory per se; many manage things just fine without having a theory about it. I just find theories, as in mental constructs, helpful to think about things. And thinking is helpful to writing.

I find, however, that it’s not enough to have a theory when it comes to convincing someone else. The problem is that finance is often more about belief and faith than fact and reason. This is a human problem. It requires superhuman effort not to use reason to justify one’s faith/belief rather than the other way around (having beliefs based on reason).

Essentially I have the problem of me->theory->belief->other person, where everything breaks down in the translation. You can’t reason with anyone whose beliefs aren’t based on reason. You need another method. This is where the “living example” comes in. With reason, you only need one example (which used to be me) to make a convincing point but for non-reasoning, more examples make a better point. To wit, “something becomes more true the more it’s repeated”.

This is why I’m happy I’m no longer the only one.

Much thanks to BH for the donation.

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Originally posted 2010-12-02 18:00:51.