Wouldn’t you like to work less and retire earlier? Have you ever thought of a way to make that happen? Most of us (myself included, back in the day) just go through life getting up in the morning, putting in our 8-10 hours a day (or more) and coming home to watch television for 4 hours. Repeating this for 40+ years is supposed to allow you to retire and live the comfortable life you see retirees living on that TV you watch all night. But what if you don’t want to wait 40 years?
Although you might have a hard time convincing your friends and family about your plans, there is a way to make your life a little less stressful while you work towards your goal….by using a system of Voluntary Simplicity. The first thing that probably comes to your mind is the idea that you would have to “go without” to live this kind of life, but that is far from the truth. The idea is only to “go without” those things that you don’t need but have been forced or coerced into thinking that you do. How many things in the past 5 years have you bought that you did not actually need? Take a minute and really think about it…I am talking about anything that you only “wanted” but did not need. Was it $250 worth of stuff? $1,000? $5,000? How much money do you spend on non-essential things to make your life comfortable and meaningful?
I am not talking about going to live in a hut made of tree branches in the middle of the forest. I am not talking about giving up your car, your city, your weekly night out for dinner with your spouse. I am talking about living more simply…really thinking about what you spend your money on, and how much time you spend away from your family/friends/hobbies just to help you pay for them!
Naysayers will always say “Well, I might die tomorrow so might as well live it up!” but I say bullsh*t. Sure, any of us could go tomorrow, or next week, or whenever. But what if you don’t? Do you want to be the guy working at the company at 85 years old because he still carries a mortgage and has no health insurance or savings? Or would you rather be the woman playing golf at 2 pm on a Wednesday…at 59 years old.
Voluntary Simplicity is the act of living simply, not simply living. The two are often confused. There is absolutely no reason that you cannot live a simple but fulfilling life while at the same time maintain a good standard of living and comfort, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. For me, I would rather save my money now, spend it now and then on the important things, but have the ability later in life to say “You know what? I don’t need to work anymore. See ya.” Imagining this somewhere down the line keeps me away from the BMW’s, the new i-Phones, the 52 inch plasma TV’s and the $600,000 mortgages. I live comfortably now…but because of what I choose to do with my money and time, I plan on living even better when I am a little older! 🙂