I believe that today's typical worker-consumer in Britain leads an extremely sub-optimal lifestyle. Normal, and by no means extravagant patterns of expenditure, will lock today's average 35 year old into another 33 years of work and a retirement age of 67-8. I believe it is possible to do a lot better than this. By rejecting the norms of consumption and saving around 50% of one's income it is possible for the same 35 year old to retire, or at the very least semi-retire, at 52, or 14 years earlier than the average worker-consumer.
In this book I firstly present an overview of the mainly US Based Extreme Retirement 'Movement', which includes a summary of Jacob Lund Fisker's excellent book Early Retirement Extreme (ERE).
Secondly, I attempt to make the American ERE ideal more applicable to the UK by presenting a statistical critique of the ordinary life of the everyday worker-consumer. This is done by taking the median income and household expenditure drawn from Office for National Statistics data and comparing these figures to a hypothetical construction I call the frugal-consumer who spends as little as possible without completely cutting themselves off from society. I demonstrate that for a 35 year old median income earner, average expenditure levels effectively tie them into working for a further 33 years until the current projected standard retirement age of 67-8, while the 35 year old 'frugal-consumer' will be able to retire when they are 52, or 14 years earlier than the average-consumer on the average wage, assuming they maintain their frugal level of consumption for the remainder of their life.
Thirdly, I present fourteen simple strategies which the average income earner might employ in order to consume less and successfully achieve early retirement, which are broadly organised into three sub categories - (1) reducing consumption (2) saving more and investing sensibly, and (3) finding alternatives to consumerism.
Fourthly, I consider how realistic an early retirement strategy would be for the median income earner. In short, success depends on a number of criteria being met by the age of 35, which simply will not happen in most cases. We may as well be honest – early retirement is possible for an average person, but it is a difficult path to walk!
Finally, I present my own Early Retirement Strategy - I'm currently 42 and on target retire at 48, although my strategy for doing so is possibly somewhat unusual in ERE terms.
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About the Author
I'm developing a Buddhist inspired critique of Western society and values. I know this has been done before, but this is personal. Most of the material on here will be focussed on this. Anyone who finds any of my writings helpful, that's fantastic. Besides sociologising I like to meditate, do Tai Chi, nurture plants on my allotment and local area, and to run/ bike and swim. I'm also working on spending more time cleaning and putting things away immediately after I've used them. That's pretty much me really, except for the occassional session on the real ale.