My blog has seemed to morph over time. At the beginning I posted just about my debt with a sprinkling of my ‘knowledge’ as a Director of Financial Planning/Estate Planning Attorney, however, I have become more and more honest and turned it into a true blog – a manifestation of my inner thoughts.  Some of thoughts are about topics that I don’t “get” but other people just seem to accept.  In the past I have shared (often with angry comments back) that I don’t completely understand personal finance blogging, I don’t understand people who refuse to change, I don’t understand why people just accept teacher’s complaints, I don’t get why people just buy term and invest the difference, and I also don’t understand when people proclaim they don’t want to be wealthy.   There are other examples sprinkled through the site.

I have been questioning whether to create this post but then a couple nights ago, I figured why the hell not! I will let you know up front that the post was hard to write for me. It was difficult because my feelings on the subject were hard to express since I really can’t understand the lifestyle. I will say upfront I am not judging, but rather, expressing my complete lack of understanding of the style.  My site is about my goal to reach a net worth of millions upon millions, not spending as little as possible to survive.

Why I Don’t Understand Early Retirement Extreme Movement

I read proclaimed author, Jacob Lund Fisker’s site, Early Retirement Extreme, every day. Why?  Maybe it is because he expresses his lifestyle with such conviction, maybe it is because he is an engaging human being or maybe because he is clearly smarter than I.   However, unlike most of his large readership I only agree with about 22%  of what he says, and of that 22%, I will only act on about 2.5% of it.  Jacob chooses to live of $7,000/yr and I just don’t get it; hell, my honeymoon to Greece cost more than that 2 years ago.

First I want to put my my consumerism wants and habits right up front:

  • I want a nice, and I think to a certain extent I need a nice car
  • I’d love a nice house one day, and when I say nice I mean larger than average
  • The Wife and my Cell phone and internet bills (when combined) about 20% of Jacob’s total yearly budget
  • I love going out to eat
  • I have been known to have a few beers…scotches…vodkas…etc

I don’t want to spend time talking about the above “stuff” because those are personal choices that I am sure most of his readers won’t understand/care about.  There is one specific topic which I really don’t see how could possibly fit into the Extreme Retirement Lifestyle. If Jacob is nice enough maybe I’ll tackle those wants over at his blog.

Children and Early Extreme Retirement

If you choose to have a child you are subjecting them to your life decisions (I am expecting my first child in ~2 months).  I am not questioning the love and morals of the child I am talking about the pure logistics of adding a child to your extreme lifestyle.   For purposes of organization I’ll break the child’s life into a few major timeframes.

I have zero experience with paying for a child so I can’t really discuss it too much, but I do know that yesterday was my future son’s baby shower.  The amount of stuff I received was shocking and it all seemed like it had a purpose.  A couple hundred for a stroller “system”…a lot more than that for the baby furniture…a few pack and plays…lord knows how many “onsies.” Was all the items I received today necessary? Nope, but they sure do seem important.

Then the child goes to grade school and high school.  Having to go to school every day living your extreme styles with children that just won’t understand may put them in an odd social situation. Not only may other children not understand, more importantly your kids may not agree with your decisions. There is that time before he or she starts working but still needs money to socialize.  Then comes college, and helping out a semi-adult.  If you ask most parents a huge goal for them seems to be to provide their children with more opportunities than they had.  But living the ERE lifestyle it seems like you are basically saying, “you are 18…you know my choices you are on your own now.” Not a bad thing, and I am not judging it is just something I don’t understand.

Growing up, my parents provided for me very well and I knew they would sacrifice almost anything for me.  But the extreme retirement lifestyle almost seems to be the opposite.  It seems that parents of this lifestyle are saying I am willing to sacrifice almost anything not to work.

Are you involved in the movement?