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Old 12-16-2007, 11:52 AM   #101
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Kinda looks like Bongo walked on the crowded beach wearing caulked boots and found some sensitivities. I know i will wrestle with sense of purpose after retiring. Looks like a revisit to the old "why am i here" question. You know: is man's purpose to procreate and die? To attempt to discover God? To aid his fellow travelers? To make as much money as possible? To have the finest tan, surf the perfect wave, hit the perfect golf shot, play the perfect piano piece?...
Retirement looks to me like a point at which it is natural to say "is that all there is? Am i accepting that i'm no longer a vital young buck willing to test my antlers against all comers?" Was my work of any value, did i have any purpose? If so isn't it hard to walk away from that (mmm, Rich?)? If my work was of no value have i wasted half my life - and was it the best half?
Retirement is scary: the background noise of earning a living is largely gone, children are mostly adults (except for some of you E types like CFB). I applaud those of you who have said "enough - this is the work i offer and the reward i accept. I shall go and work no more forever." I know that i have trouble balancing my idle nature against my sense of self worth - suspect that that is not foreign to all of us.

When i was a young teen a favorite Aunt ran across some self-indulgent things i had written and returned them to me with a George Santanaya quote that has stayed with me:
That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.
I offer that up to Bongo and suggest that starting there might change his perspective.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:02 PM   #102
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I've just enjoyed several slices of the alton brown fruitcake I made several weeks ago and have lovingly spritzed with fine cognac several times per day while it...umm...fermented.

Yummy. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

Now after enjoying the fruits of excess spare time...I'm torn between whether to feel crushed with selfishness or suffer embarrassment at my role as a househusband.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:46 PM   #103
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:15 PM   #104
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So bongo told us in this 2003 post about himself... sounds like he's under 40 years, and had a stay at home wife and young kids to take care of. He's probably right that ER doesn't make much sense anytime in the near future, and that forcing his family to do without to save may not be an appropriate decision in his case.

By taking on the responsibility for a wife and kids, he may have in fact made it unfeasible to retire early. I'm about the same age as bongo but single and child free. If I had a wife and kids to support I wouldn't be able to be FIREd as I am now.

Previous discussions have concluded that not everyone can achieve FIREhood (in fact not everyone can achieve retirement at all!). The existence of people like bongo for whom FIREhood might be unethical does not mean all FIREd are unethical.
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:40 PM   #105
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Kinda looks like Bongo walked on the crowded beach wearing caulked boots and found some sensitivities. I know i will wrestle with sense of purpose after retiring. Looks like a revisit to the old "why am i here" question. You know: is man's purpose to procreate and die? To attempt to discover God? To aid his fellow travelers? To make as much money as possible? To have the finest tan, surf the perfect wave, hit the perfect golf shot, play the perfect piano piece?...
Retirement looks to me like a point at which it is natural to say "is that all there is? Am i accepting that i'm no longer a vital young buck willing to test my antlers against all comers?" Was my work of any value, did i have any purpose? If so isn't it hard to walk away from that (mmm, Rich?)? If my work was of no value have i wasted half my life - and was it the best half?
Retirement is scary: the background noise of earning a living is largely gone, children are mostly adults (except for some of you E types like CFB). I applaud those of you who have said "enough - this is the work i offer and the reward i accept. I shall go and work no more forever." I know that i have trouble balancing my idle nature against my sense of self worth - suspect that that is not foreign to all of us.

When i was a young teen a favorite Aunt ran across some self-indulgent things i had written and returned them to me with a George Santanaya quote that has stayed with me:
That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.
I offer that up to Bongo and suggest that starting there might change his perspective.
Lovely post, calmloki. I especially like this straightforward sentiment: enough - this is the work i offer and the reward i accept


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Old 12-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #106
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Now after enjoying the fruits of excess spare time...I'm torn between whether to feel crushed with selfishness or suffer embarrassment at my role as a househusband.
I think you're going to have to engage in further cognac cognition.
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Old 12-16-2007, 07:39 PM   #107
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Entirely plausible. I sifted through all of the cabinets looking for some pineapple or pineapple juice to go with the canned coconut milk I have and the rest of the rum I macerated the dried fruit that went into the fruitcake with...but no joy.

I briefly considered inventing something with coconut milk, the sweetened juice from several cans of Gabes mandarin oranges and the rum, but felt both far too selfish and beyond my station at that juncture.

Hmm...but my Dad bought us a case of Piper Sonoma for xmas...
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Old 12-16-2007, 07:40 PM   #108
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Do note that Rich elected to opt from this thread and go to the booze one, while I made the extra effort and made THIS thread into a booze one.

My gift to you all. Happy holidays!
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:47 PM   #109
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Cheers Cute Fuzzy Bunny! Thanks for turning this thread into something positive and useful!!
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Old 12-17-2007, 07:57 AM   #110
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Do note that Rich elected to opt from this thread and go to the booze one, while I made the extra effort and made THIS thread into a booze one.
Burp...........
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:03 AM   #111
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Sorry I wasn’t able to visit this weekend. Perhaps I make a better punching bag than a sparring partner anyway. Again, far too much to respond to individually, so I’ll try and respond to as much of the substantive comments, and as few of the “yah well yer mom’s ugly” comments, as I can.

I don’t get in a lot of internet debates so it’s interesting how easy it is to take personally some anonymous comment by someone who doesn’t know me at all. It’s also interesting how things can be taken in a way so far from what I intended. For example, I did not say that I had obligations to suggest that I am better than anyone else, but precisely to explain why I may be more conflicted on this subject than most here. There is no “gotcha” there. I also want to thank the couple people that are sticking up for me. Especially Tick Tock – after all this is your fault!

I’m a little saddened by this, because I have a feeling all my future posts will be colored by this exchange. If history is any guide CFB will have to make a snide comment on this no matter how off of the topic my post in another thread may be. Hopefully I won’t be chased out of here like some others who’ve expressed this idea.

I can see how after reading my post from 2003 I might seem rather bitter about the whole early retirement thing. At the time there were a lot of posts along the lines of “I’m 30. I used to have a lot of CC debt, but now I’m getting down to business.” This is why the “young dreamers” thread was started, and my post was in that vein. I’m sure by now you’ve all read the 300 intervening posts, so you can see the whole story is rather different (just kidding of course). I appreciate all your concern, but don’t worry about me. My financial situation has improved in the last four years.

Still, am I just saying these things to make up for my own bad choices in life, or other inadequacies? To be sure, I wouldn’t be human if my personal philosophy didn’t contain a healthy dose of self justification! It’s interesting to note that the objectivists here are quick to admit that ER is selfish. Since they don’t have any aversion to the title they readily see that it applies. There is a pretty well-developed theory that lots of beliefs such as “hard work is good for you” or “kids are fulfilling” are memes – self-replicating falsehoods. Have I just gullibly fallen for this? But there is another side of the theory – why the memes are able to replicate. They exist because, while they make life more difficult for the individual, they are good for society. It’s part of what I’m saying here. See Daniel Gilbert's book “stumbling on happiness” for a more detailed description.

Russell’s praise of idleness is interesting. I read it before I started this thread – probably found it on the same google search you did. I’m a little curious what you intended to show with it, or if you read it beyond the title. It’s clear that the time in which Russell was writing (the depression) strongly colored his arguments. For example, he is talking almost entirely about physical labor, argues that investment is wrong and spending (even on “drink or gambling”) is superior, and appears quite sympathetic to Russia. Still, he is a great thinker and shouldn’t be ignored. The thing is, Russell’s argument is largely compatible with mine. He is arguing against a system where “half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked.” He hopes that with leisure men will “not demand only such amusement as are passive and vapid [but will] devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance.” I don’t claim that Russell’s “idleness” is exactly the same as what I’m saying – but it isn’t as far off as you might think. Russell also claims that if only one percent of idleness is spent in important pursuits then that will more than make up for all the lost “moving of earth.” I can see why he’d think that in 1932, but I doubt he would feel the same way today.

Gotta go to an “important” meeting. More later.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:49 AM   #112
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I want to clear up a couple things that I obviously didn’t say very well. My point with firefighters was not that their early retirement is accepted because their work is so important, but rather that their early retirement is accepted because their work is so demanding. The assumption is that firefighting is not a job for old men.

Someone objected to my comment on “dropping out of society,” and I suppose I should have said “dropping out of productive society.”

A couple others asked, why pick on ER? Aren’t there a lot of worse / more selfish things out there to talk about? Yup. I’ll concede this one. One of many reasons why this thread was a mistake!

“That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.” Great quote. That has been framed and on my wall for many years.

So, do all my posts just boil down to “important” activities are good, and “frivolous” activities are bad? Is there no connection between importance and paid v unpaid? I tried to explain this in post #52, and I’ll try again. The beauty of capitalism is that it (very roughly) aligns our selfish desires with the needs of society through the free market system. By spending money you align your desires with others’, by working you align others’ desires with yours. This is clearly imperfect. It is difficult to imagine, for example, that CFB ever did anything worthwhile to deserve his millions. But, like Churchill said about democracy, it is the worst system out there – with the exception of all the others.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:55 AM   #113
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One of many reasons why this thread was a mistake!
At last, something we agree on!
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:05 AM   #114
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It is difficult to imagine, for example, that CFB ever did anything worthwhile to deserve his millions.
It seems your imagination isnt the only thing suffering from a lack of depth.

I do have to say that its been mildly interesting to watch a faux intellectual try to state a series of opinions and conclusions based on poor information and analysis. Very much like some meetings I used to be in.

I hope that qualifies for acceptance in the 'snide comment' category, since I'll be putting you on 'ignore' now.

Do note that you really didnt deserve all this attention, but you basically walked into a room and did the equivalent of proclaiming everyone anti-semitic. Its a ludicrous claim with no basis, but it generally deserves a response if for no other reason than to clarify whether the person making the statement is a complete moron or that perhaps the statement wasnt well made or understood.

I for one have my answer.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:31 AM   #115
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Thanks CFB. Back on topic. . .

The idea that giving up your job is good because it allows someone else to take it is surprisingly pernicious. Russell has a nice treatment of it in the “praise” above. Perhaps if you think of this it will become clearer: there are many many more jobs now than there were the day you retired.

A good point has been raised several times: does the benefit of savings offset the self-interest of retirement? Since ER might be the motivation for capital investments and hard work earlier in life, does that make up for it? Can we save up enough “chits” during working years so that when we retire we “deserve it?” Are ERs totally different from “free-loaders” who have never contributed? Yes, I agree that ERs are different. From a PR perspective it’s a delicate sell because you are basically insulting people who aren’t in that position. Also, current sloth is a lot more tangible than past industry to others, so I would be very interested in a way to make it more saleable.

Still, I don’t think that it completely removes the problem. As an example, I love the work of Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes). I appreciate all that he has done in the past, but I hate the fact that he has stopped writing. He has contributed more to society than I ever will, so he deserves to do whatever he likes with his time. I’m not going to track him down or harass him. But, should I ever run into him in my life, I will let him know that I love his work, and am saddened that I don’t get to see more of it.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:37 AM   #116
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I’m a little saddened by this, because I have a feeling all my future posts will be colored by this exchange.
Is there some reason they shouldn't be?

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If history is any guide CFB will have to make a snide comment on this no matter how off of the topic my post in another thread may be.
You want us to forget that we are immoral slackers?

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Hopefully I won’t be chased out of here like some others who’ve expressed this idea.
Why would you want to associate with such a degenerate bunch?
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:43 AM   #117
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As I mentioned before it’s interesting how quickly we degenerate into personal attacks. I’m illogical and uninformed. I’m simultaneously a communist, a religious nut, and a money grubber. I’m picking fights in order to . . . well, something I’m sure.

Some continue to ask what I’m doing here. There was a great example Saturday night of the type of thing that I read this forum for. I was at an event with my neighbors and one couple said that their relatives in Norway had recently left for a six month vacation around the world. The couple was shocked that such a thing could be affordable. I said, well, if they planned and prepared, then maybe someone could handle and expense like that. “But, they aren’t getting paid for six months!” I let it go there. I may stick my neck out on the internet, but I have to live next to these people. I find the stories of financial independence here an inspiring counterbalance to this sort of dead-end thinking that comes up too often in regular life. Also, it is here I found ample evidence that people would be insulted by the mere suggestion of FI, and that I should tread lightly on the subject.

I know that it is incredibly gauche to come on to an early retirement forum and say that ER is selfish. I don’t normally run around insulting people, and I’ve tried to be as polite as I can. Here’s a rationalization of my posts on this thread (and I should apologize to Ha Ha who offered me an early “out”). If you are insulted by what I’m saying, then try and take it as practice for anyone who might react this way in your real life when they discover you are retiring early. I’m glad that some people get a warm reception from their friends and family, but, as we see many times around this forum, many people do not. Better to get the message (right or wrong) from some schmoe on this forum than your sister or neighbor. Consider this practice for something that will come up in your life. You can practice personal attacks, feeling superior, and attributing it all to envy; you can think about why you disagree with the argument presented (and I’d like to hear more of that part); or you can agree that ER is a little selfish – and make peace with that.

My apologies to all.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:52 AM   #118
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What was the purpose of this thread? Do you really think you were going to talk everyone into agreeing with you and as a result, go back to work?

We are all happy with the choice we made. If you feel as though you must work the rest of your life to feel worthy, by all means do so. Good luck with whatever your looking for.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:57 AM   #119
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I know that it is incredibly gauche to come on to an early retirement forum and say that ER is selfish.
No #$%^ ?

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I don’t normally run around insulting people,
How did we get to win the lottery?

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and I’ve tried to be as polite as I can.
As long as the insults are polite...

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Here’s a rationalization of my posts on this thread (and I should apologize to Ha Ha who offered me an early “out”).
This should be good.

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If you are insulted by what I’m saying, then try and take it as practice for anyone who might react this way in your real life when they discover you are retiring early.
I don't come here to practice being insulted.

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I’m glad that some people get a warm reception from their friends and family, but, as we see many times around this forum, many people do not. Better to get the message (right or wrong) from some schmoe on this forum than your sister or neighbor.
What are you trying to say? That being insulted by family and friends isn't enough? That complete strangers should also insult us? And that this is somehow to our benefit?

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Consider this practice for something that will come up in your life.
Gee, thanks.

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You can practice personal attacks, feeling superior, and attributing it all to envy;
People object to being insulted? Who would have imagined it?


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you can think about why you disagree with the argument presented
Because it's a figment of your disappointment?


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(and I’d like to hear more of that part);
Why?

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or you can agree that ER is a little selfish – and make peace with that.
Some dork crawls out of the woodwork and insults everyone at the party, acts all hurt when they tell him to take concern trolling and crawl away, and then assumes that the negative reaction proves he is right. It's one of the oldest shticks on the internet.

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My apologies to all.
It's called a 'notpology'.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:19 PM   #120
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I just found it amusing that someone would judgmentally insult an entire body of people that he doesnt know very much about, and then simper about being personally attacked for his efforts.
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