When you tell other humans that you’re going to retire early, you’ll get all sorts of pushback:
- What if you run out of money?
- You’ll be bored!
- Are you nuts?!??
One of the strange arguments that comes up every once in a while is this:
Early retirement is selfish.
I don’t think so…
I’m A Job Creator
By leaving work, you create a job for someone else. Since you had enough money to retire, it would have been selfish for you to stay at your job when you already had enough.
The exception to this argument is if you have some incredible skill that’s going to change the world. This is probably not you. Most of us are easily replaced.
I Pay Less Taxes, But…
Another argument is that I’m not paying my societal fair share. By not working, I’m paying less in income taxes. To this, I say that early retirees already paid their taxes.
If you’re able to retire early, you’re either living in a musty basement eating beans and ramen or you had a good job. I’ve never surveyed the community, but I’d bet that most of us are in the latter category. You don’t accumulate $1,000,000 by the time you’re 40 with a crappy job. You’ve already paid The Tax Man.
Early Retirees Are Generous
Early retirees tend to be a paranoid bunch. We’re all terrified of running out of money, so we question the 4% Rule and overstay our jobs. In many cases, this leads to an excessive amount of savings.
And sometimes, another funny thing happens in retirement; we start making money again (** looking at you blog **). Some of the things we choose to spend our time doing in retirement make money. Other times, the side hustles we started working on before we quit work turn into money machines. Regarding the latter, Mrs.-1500-Mindy got a real estate license back around 2014. The purpose of it was to save money on our personal real estate transactions. (Paying 3% every time you buy or sell a house amounts to big money after a few transactions.) Fast-forward to today when friends regularly ask her to represent them in a deal. She is selective about who she works with and has never spent a dime or minute on promotion, but this year, she’ll close at least 10 deals. We never planned for this.
So, many early retirees find themselves in a position of having more money than they’ll ever need. This is certainly the case with us. We had planned on 1 million in retirement savings and this year, our net worth roared past 3 million. This brings us to the next phase of financial independence, giving back.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what good we’ll do with our wealth. We give money away now, but mostly to the causes of friends and family. We’re still formulating a plan for big giving. Eventually, we’ll start our own Donor-Advised Fund and figure out where our money will go. For now, I’ll highlight the good work that others are doing.
Jenni and Chris over at TicTocLife started a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) where their readers get to choose where the money goes. They have a pretty neat goal:
We’re working to contribute one year of our FIRE budget (about $40K) by the 1st anniversary of TicTocLife (May 2021). We’re about halfway there and on track!
Mr. Money Mustache talks about Effective Altruism and giving away $100,000.
Leif (the Physician On FIRE) gave away $25,000 to COVID -19 relief charities in April. Leif also has a DAF.
The couple from Waffles On Wednesday travel for voluntary medical work.
The Frugalwoods have also set up a DAF. If you want to make a difference now, see Liz’s thread on Twitter:
(1) Still loving that DAF life over here. I’ve continued giving to hyper-local charities and, in light of the pandemic, have focused on: food pantries, winter clothing drives for kids, and domestic violence…— Mrs. Frugalwoods (@FrugalWoods) November 24, 2020
Mr. Crazy Kicks has volunteered at food banks and given money to an organization that builds trails.
Andrew de Holl has a lifetime goal of giving $100,000 to Make-A-Wish.
Last, but certainly not least is Tanja from Our Next Life who also has a DAF and this to say about financial independence and giving:
How will you use your superpower? Not just for your own benefit, but for the benefit of others, and for the greater good. And might it take the form of a charitable mission?
Onward And Upward
Charlie Munger said this about giving his wealth away:
I’m soon going to be departed from all of my money. Why not give more of it away while I get the fun of giving it?
I couldn’t agree more. What satisfaction can there possibly be from laying on your death-bed* knowing that you’re about to buy the farm with $10,000,000 in the bank. It’s so much more rewarding to see your money doing good.
*Side-note:I don’t want to die in bed. I hope that when I croak. Instead of death-bed, <choose one>:
- death wing suit
- death Ferrari
- death stupid bicycle stunt
Let it be fun, just not anytime soon!
I want to die knowing that the world is a better place because I lived. If existence is .000000001% better because of my time here, mission accomplished! I’m not there yet, but it’s fun to think about.
What are your plans to deploy your money for good? Respond with a comment or shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the post.
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