I had a couple of crazy days in the past few weeks balancing work, this site and my small trust and estates solo law office.  It was towards one of the end of those crazy days when my 85 year old client blew my mind with something she said.

I knew the day was going to be crazy:

  • I went to work till lunch
  • Left at lunch to head to the County Clerk’s office in the next County for a copy of a deed which was not online (50 miles)
  • Drove back home with my copy (50 miles)
  • Drove with The Wife and Boy to see what is likely to be our new home (11 miles)
  • Drove Home
  • Drove to Client (26 miles)
  • Drove home (26 miles)

It was during my client meeting at 8:30pm or so that the client said:

It was her goal to be retired as long as she spent working

Wow.

Maybe the Early Retirement Movement that Morphed into the Financial Independence Makes Sense?

On one hand I loved the life and spirit my client had.  She was truly 85 years young with a wit and sense of humor that was just fun to be around.  In our first meeting I learned all about her family, her predeceased husband, her career, etc. But, on the other hand, why was it alright that she worked from 25 to 55 just to be “free” from 55 to 85? Why is this the social norm?

Almost exactly two years ago I stated quite matter of fact that the I didn’t Understand the Early Retirement Extreme Movement.  At the time it seemed that the most vocal proponent was Jacob Lusk, who actually responded to a lot of my arguments against the movement in the post. Side Note: Jacob has gone back to work since that post but because he has chosen to not because he needed to.

There seems to be a new blog running as voice of the movement, Mr. Money Mustache.  While both men were “retired” from a job a few decades than what common culture tells us in normal they have very different lives.  Jacob lived with his wife (who did work) in a trailer with no kids, while MMM lives in a 2 bedroom home with his wife (who does not work) with their boy, ‘Jr. Stache.’  MMM also seems to refer to it as Financial Independence rather than Extreme Early Retirement and does not live a life filled with crazy extremes I would never even imagine implementing.

Notwithstanding my clear affinity for one blog over the other (and the name change from Early Retirement to Financial Independence) my client’s statement really bothered me that night and has continued to sit with me since that night.

The uneasy feeling was exacerbated later in the week when I sat down to review two separate clients for my day job one who made $700,000 gross and $1,000,000 gross but neither would be considered high net worth individuals despite their ridiculous incomes.  If these people can’t reach financial independence what shot do I have? It was only when I figured out that they didn’t save/invest a dime outside a maxed out 401(k) that I was able to refocus.

My takeaway: I want to hit that goal, but I certainly do not want to wait till 55 to start the other half of the clock.