I am an early retiree. I have been living that life for some time. Many years ago (before it became popular) my wife and I chose to live significantly below our means so we could achieved financial independence. I am now living what you are planning, so I think I can provide more of a sense of the big picture.
Here’s the piece you (and a few others in this thread) seem to be missing… Living below your means isn’t about postponing gratification. In other words, it’s not about giving up products and experiences when you’re young so you can have them when you’re old. That’s not it at all.
What it’s really about is freedom. Most people are, in many ways, slaves. I was a slave. Beginning at age five I was forced to get up in the morning and go somewhere I didn’t really want to go, and do things I didn’t really want to do. Elementary school. Then high school. Then college. Then work. And throughout all those years there was an undertone of fear. Fear that you’ll get in trouble with Mom and Dad if your grades suck. Fear that your performance in college won’t result in a decent job. Fear that you’ll lose your job, and that your family will suffer, if you don’t kiss up to the right people, or meet your quotas, or because some asshole above you decides to eliminate your job… always that nagging worry and fear in the background.
"So if I asked you about art you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo? You know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that.
If I asked you about women you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy.
You’re a tough kid. I ask you about war, and you’d probably, uh, throw Shakespeare at me, right? “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watched him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help.
And if I asked you about love you probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone could level you with her eyes. Feeling like! God put an angel on earth just for you…who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel and to have that love for her to be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. You wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting’ up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the term visiting hours don’t apply to you.
You don’t know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.
I look at you; I don’t see an intelligent, confident man; I see a cocky, scared shitless kid.
But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine and you ripped my fuckin’ life apart.
You’re an orphan right? Do you think I’d know the first thing about how hard ! your life has been, how you feel, who you are because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what? I can’t learn anything from you I can’t read in some fuckin’ book.
Unless you wanna talk about you, who you are. And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t wanna do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief."
- Good Will Hunting
Good Guy Greg Jennings attempting to cheer up Mason Crosby after 2 missed field goals