Out of the mainstream
Extreme early retirement strikes a chord with people now more than in the past,
says MSN personal finance columnist and author Liz Pulliam Weston. While going
against the fearsome icon of the "company man" used to be part of the '60s counterculture,
Weston says she's seeing a resurgence of the attitude among 20-somethings who
are rejecting the consumerism that began in the 1980s.
want more than to be chained to their desks," she says, and they have more desire
to redesign their career to have more personal meaning. Sometimes that means working
until 65, but often shifting to careers that suit their changing mind-set.
Whether today's employees are enchanted with the idea of dropping
out early or not, it's still a small group of people who can make it happen, says
"You have to be out of the mainstream to do this,"
she says, adding that in her experience, the successful extreme early retirees
are "laser-like, and don't seem to care what people think."
from an unwavering focus on their goal and an indifferent attitude toward amassing
all the latest stuff, extreme early retirees can't be lumped into the same category.
They run the gamut from young parents to singles and dual-income couples without
children. Weston has talked to couples with as many as four children who are living
in expensive areas of the country, as well as those who have no family ties and
a cabin in the woods.
They share an excitement about their
lives, a desire to spend time in pursuits that are meaningful to them, and often,
an environmental conscience.
All three traits apply to Aldridge and Lugenbehl, who retired
more than a dozen years ago to an eight-acre parcel in Cottage Grove, Ore., with
a starting nest egg of $135,000 each. They each contributed $50,000 to buy the
land where they built their home, and the remainder is in CDs. They live on $400
a month and have a health insurance policy with a deductible of $7,500.
money has remained conservatively invested in CDs.
to sleep at night, so it's more important to us to know what's coming in, rather
than to maximize the possible income," says Aldridge. "We've seen too many folks
lose money rather than make money from their so-called investments."
and Lugenbehl, who retired at ages 48 and 47, don't have a television and rarely
eat out. Yet they don't feel like their life is lacking, says Aldridge.
are fortunate to have found what is enough for us. I feel so totally blessed with
how much we have that I can't imagine wanting more. At this point, I'd have to
say it's more than enough to meet our needs and our wants."
|Tips for extreme early retirement 'wannabes'|
and Akaisha Kaderli, the "grandparents" of the extreme early retirement movement
for baby boomers, share their mantra for those seeking to follow the same path:
Work hard, spend little, save a lot and invest wisely. Their additional tips include:|
spending and investment priorities now for the future. |
100 percent out of debt, except for a mortgage.|
in stocks through index and mutual funds.|
the compounding effect of time by investing early.|
a partner with the same financial values.|| ||
and Akaisha Kaderli at Kata Beach, Thailand|