The concept of retirement originated with Otto von Bismarck who introduced the idea into Prussia (now in Germany) in 1881. (He was buying votes, a practice which arose with the birth of democracy in ancient Athens.) We Homo Sapiens have been around for some 200,000 years. Retirement, less than 140. If the Homo Sapiens existence is represented by one hour then retirement as a practice started 2.5 seconds ago. (For a bit of fun, do the math.)
Right up to the late 1800s, over 90% of our population was involved in farming. Farmers don’t talk much about retirement. Today, people obsesses with it (other than the few remaining farmers).
The FIRE Movement Survey recently published by TD Ameritrade deals with the subject comprehensively. Not surprisingly, to succeed at FIRE, one needs to follow the example of the millionaire next door. (From the title of Stanley and Danko’s book The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy) “Frugal, frugal, frugal” is how Stanley and Danko put it.
Upon graduation, “20 years and out” was the objective for one of my classmates. (University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry, 1965) He and his wife moved to a remote, small town where living costs are low, they own one very used car, grow their own vegetables, raise their own chickens and spend less than $10 a year to heat their place. (They use firewood from their own property.) They generally embrace a lifestyle that some find appealing. FIRE before the term entered the language!
Another colleague takes an annual ski trip to Japan for the thrill of skiing on its unmatched snow. He enjoys practising orthodontics — FIRE and the associated modest living are not on his mind.
Of course, there is room for both of these lifestyles and all others in between. For every one, the record shows that managing money and investing the way that the Monday Morning Millionaire Program recommends, is paramount.