Recently we were on Yahoo!. Not once, but twice. That’s Mrs. 1500 and I down there:
This was by far, the biggest exposure this little blog has ever had:
This led to:
- Me freaking out: Seeing your own face on the front page of a major website looking back at you is humbling and uncomfortable.
- The server freaking out: Bluehost was humbled as well. The blog went down in very short order. (This problem was fixed by sending Bluehost some more money.)
- Friends, family and co-workers freaking out: “DUDE, you’re on Yahoo! And it says you have $1,000,000??!!!” (Unlike Bluehost, no one has asked me to send them money.)
- Me freaking out some more: Mrs 1500 was like, “Calm down you nut!”
- Lots of emails: Almost all were nice and polite. People just want to know how I’ve done this or that. And I love the skepticism. You should totally be skeptical of some anonymous dude on the internet.
Anyway, I have a long post coming up where I answer the questions, but I’d like to get one out of the way because I get it frequently. Also, it annoys me. Readers have phrased it many different ways. Here is a small sample:
What will you do if the stock market tanks after you retire?
What if you run out of money?
And Mr. MeanPants had this to say:
Dude, you don’t have enough. Your [sic] going to go broke before you know it. Bye bye house, hello cardboard box!
Mr. MeanPants’ vision of my future:
Risks, risks, risks
Is retiring early a risk? Of course it is! So is everything else:
- I fly on planes, even though they take nose-plants into the earth sometimes.
- I reproduced even though I may fail as a father. One of my girls may get knocked up by a loser at the age of 16 and end up working the ferris wheel at the carnival.
- I occasionally participate in dangerous activities like mountain biking, scampering up rocks and shopping at Walmart.
- And perhaps most terrifying… Wait for it… I am not above the occasional visit to Taco Bell. *shudders*
Why I won’t live in a cardboard box
The Mad Fientist recently wrote about how critical the first 10 years of retirement are to long term success. If you can make it through the first decade, you’ll never have to worry about money again*. But let’s say something does go horribly wrong in the first 10 years:
- The stock market drops 80%, three days after I quit.
- My Taco Bell Diarrhitto diet causes a heath condition that forces me to run up $500,000 in medical bills.
- My kids marry high school dropouts who steal all of my money and then escape to Mexico, never to be found again.
Here is my plan. Ready for it? Brace yourself:
I’ll go back to work.
Was that so difficult? I didn’t think so.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about another risk.
The risk that no one talks about
What if you work too long? What if you find yourself sitting around at 90 in your diaper with $10,000,000 in the bank? What would you do with it? I have no idea. If you’re a dude, maybe you can lure a gold-digger:
Having $10,000,000 isn’t a problem anyone would complain about, but it means that you spent more time than needed behind a desk. This has its own set of problems:
- Did your body or mind suffer as a result of job stress?
- Could your children have benefitted with more of your time? Never forget that kids want (and need) your time more than anything.
- Did you sell your dreams for those millions? If your brain still works when you’re 90, will you regret not writing that novel you had stored up in your head or traveling the planet?
If you absolutely love your job (you’d do it for free) or have no life outside of work, by all means, stay there.
However, if you have dreams that may not be compatible with working until 65 or even 55, perhaps you want to consider exiting early. The big risk of working longer than you have to is nothing less than trading vast amounts of precious time for a cube. On their deathbed, has anyone ever uttered these words?
I wish I spent more time in a cube.
Time is everything. I’d bet this dude would would trade his entire fortune** and even his arm candy to be 40 again:
*Are you still worried about going broke? Michael Kitces, who is freakin’ awesome, had this to say about the 4% Rule and safe withdrawal rates:
In fact, not only do 90%+ of retirees finish with more than their starting principal after 30 years by following the 4% rule (so even if you outlive the time horizon, there’s still funds left over), the “typical” retiree actually finishes with many multiples of their starting wealth with this spending approach! Over 2/3rds of the time the retiree finishes with more-than-double their initial principal left over. And the median wealth at the end of 30 years is almost 2.8X principal!
**Actually, I think this dude is dead, but you get the point.
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.