We tell very few people in our real lives about our early retirement dreams. I love talking about it, but most people don’t enjoy talking about money or anything related.
However, we stumbled on the topic a while ago with a neighbor. When we first told him that we were planning to retire soon, he looked at us incredulously. Since then, the topic has come up a couple more times. Each time, he questions us with disbelief. He seems to think we’re a little insane for considering it.
I thought about the conversations with him and finally came up with a way to frame our dreams so that he understands. Next time the topic comes up, I’m going to ask him the following question:
If you won $50,000,000 today, would you continue to work at your job?
I think most people would quit their job. After he tells me that he’d also quit, I’ll explain that my situation isn’t so different from having $50,000,000. I’ll say that while I have nowhere near that much money, my current lifestyle would be the same if I did. I’d drive the same car*, ride the same bicycle and live in the same home. I have Enough to perpetuate the lifestyle that I enjoy and anything more would be diminishing returns.
At this year’s Berkshire meeting, someone asked Buffett why he doesn’t have more stuff. Buffett’s answer was that ‘More stuff would not make me happier. It would actually decrease my happiness.’ Buffett hit the nail on the head with this wise lesson.
Most people don’t know what their Enough is. Or, they adjust their level of Enough with their income. A promotion leads to a fancier car or exotic vacations. Their Enough level is ever increasing.
Figuring out and accepting a reasonable Enough level is a powerful and liberating concept. It’s one of the keys to a happy life. Once you can quash your wants and be happy with where you are, you may not be free yet, but you will be a happier person. I have old cars and an old, fixer upper home, but I’m content with all of it. Some call it a compromise. However, my small footprint will set me free much earlier than most. I don’t have much fancy stuff, but I have more time. You can’t buy any more of that. Ever.
What is your Enough?
*Except for an Acura NSX. I’d have one of those. It would be an old used one though.
Mrs. 1500 here. I would pay someone to finish off the house quickly so I can stop living in a construction zone. But that is my enough level. To just not live in this chaos anymore**.
**Almost there, almost…
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