Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Less Stuff, More Freedom?

Today I had an interesting talk with one of my coworkers, it was one of those post working hour, almost dorm room like conversations of yesteryear and it related to vision and freedom. The ability to do anything you want was the net net, the elusive early retirement. His number was 45, where I feel woefully behind. But he's a young turk. There are two ways of looking at this, one is to make more money which means being lucky or working your ass off and being lucky. Luck is underappreciated part of life, both good and bad but this isn't a karmic discussion.

The other way to early retirement, is to save and live on less. At first glance that seems onerous and a life full of sacrifice. But is it? A lot of why people want to make money is to buy more stuff, larger homes, and we equate that with power. But what if that stuff has power over us? This is the case with the larger homes we bought, as this New York Times article on how some people lose their mobility because they can't sell their homes. In this case, they've been trapped by the moats of their castles. This thought brings back to memory another co-worker of mine who related a camping trip he was on where the slowest backpacker in the group was not while he was on the trail but when he was packing up camp. He had to pack all his gear, and was always worried if had left something behind. The lesson was that sometimes our stuff owns us.

So why do we have all this stuff? Too much to go into this post. But like losing weight, your freedom comes from living below your means. In our current circumstance is less stuff more freedom?


At 2:48 AM , Anonymous Andrea said...

I like this post, because it makes a lot of sense.
Yea spending for the sake of ego or power or to show that 'I have arrived', is silly because you get ladden by uncessary financial burders. Living within your means, comfortably, is better. At least you are worry free and likely, happier.
Happiest to me is living life to the fullest and that does not necessarily come with that shiny benz.

At 9:36 AM , Blogger green said...

People have lost track of what really makes for happiness. More stuff isn't it. A resounding "Yes!" to your question. I'd rather be able to go for long walks or move easily out of my current home than work endless hours to support all my "stuff." Owning stuff versus having experiences...I'm not sure how people got so confused..Oh, right. It was (is) advertising.

At 10:42 AM , Anonymous CindyW said...

Hear hear. I'd much prefer retiring early than owning a large house and a lot of stuff. Cheers to freedom!


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