Would you like to retire? While many might have this thought as a fleeting whim on a bad day at work, the internet is giving rise to a subculture in which strategies to achieve retirement earlier are shared and refined. Here’s an example:
Unlike many other ERE (early retirement extreme) blogs I’ve included some fairly specific details about my income below. Having read quite a few of these blogs it really isn’t helpful that most of them don’t talk about their incomes because this makes it very difficult to assess how likely it would be for someone else to pursue a similar financial plan. I’ve decided to include my own actual income in order to make it very clear that my early retirement strategy excludes at least the bottom 80% of income earners. So in short, unless you’re a high income earner in the UK already, or are on the path to becoming one, there is no point you reading this! This is what all ERE blogs should say, but don’t.
My grand plan pads out into three stages – 40-48/ 48-60/ 60+. The boundaries are flexible. NB I only stumbled upon and committed to the idea of early-retirement when I was 41 this August 2014 (so slightly oddly I’ve backdated this plan!)
The author in question explicitly links their ambition to the transformation of teaching and their lack of satisfaction under new conditions. In this sense, it’s an obvious question to ask whether the rise of early retirement strategizing has its roots in an occupational crisis within the professions. But there’s clearly a crucial role being played by social media, facilitating the elaboration of a discourse that allows what might otherwise have been vague aims to become precisely formulated plans articulated in a shared vocabulary.
Sometimes it takes a more extreme form than this. Early-retirement extreme can be seen as akin to lifestyle minimalism, an ascetic practice of renouncing consumption motivated by the desire for clarity and focus, except for the sake of retirement at the end of it rather than being an end in itself. It also seems to be a field in which, like lifestyle minimalism, people stake out a claim as gurus and make the secondary income stream (which these blogs say is necessary for early-retirement) by preaching the virtues of early-retirement itself. Presumably though, as in any other field like this, there will be many making no money from such cultural entrepreneurialism for every person who is doing so successfully.
Categories: Digital Sociology