Why I think taking early retirement can help to change the world!

Recently I have been getting loads of comments on my blog from someone called theFIREstarter and a couple of days ago I started having a good read through his blog. In my opinion it was time well spent and I recommend you all go and have a read! In his first blog post which can you read here he introduces himself and his ‘crazy, hair brained scheme to retire from …[his]… corporate job in 5 years, starting from a Net Worth of practically zero’. That was back in July 2013 so he still has a little way to go with his challenge.
When I have heard stories about people retiring early in the past, I always assumed they were really rich and that they were going to spend the rest of their days living in luxury. TheFIREstarter’s case is a bit different. He isn’t really rich, although by the sounds of it he has a good job and has always been pretty careful with his money.  He wants financial independence so that he can live a better life than the one he is living now.  One where he can live his life a way he feels really comfortable with and not the way his employers want him to. An example of that is his idea of a perfect work day (read more here), which doesn’t match his current one at all. He doesn’t think he will be bored in his ‘retirement’ as he has a few ideas of how he will fill his time here.

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There are so many things I want to say at this point here, that I am going to have to bullet point them as otherwise we would be here all day!

  • I love the link he has put in one of his posts as to why it is really important to have f – you money. When I quit my job of 10 years, back in November 2012, I had my own f- you moment (without the swearing, I was very polite).  I decided to get out by cutting my expenditure and by creating passive income streams to replace my salary and so far luckily for me it has been a success. My husband still works though and we still have a mortgage. (You can read my original job quitting post here)
  • I can totally relate to the not liking the work day scenario – I really struggled to sit still and concentrate in my office all day.  You may think I am slightly strange but I used to go to the toilet at regular intervals and jump up and down or do yoga poses that I learned when I was pregnant.  I don’t think it is healthy, natural or good for anyone to be forced to sit still in an office all day.
  • I can say I am now at the point when I am really lucky and I can choose to spend my days how I like them.  I choose to spend a good chunk of my time writing this blog, for pretty much zero money, because I enjoy doing it. Equally if I wanted to I could decide to stop writing it altogether (don’t panic, I have no intention of doing that for the foreseeable future).
  • When I was growing up I really got it into my head that I should have my own career and my own money and I should never be reliant on a man for money.  Over the years I heard stories about women who stayed in bad relationships with men because they couldn’t afford to leave them.  I wish people had warned me that I also shouldn’t be financially dependent on a job for money as people can get stuck in equally ‘bad relationships’ with their jobs because they don’t think they can afford to leave them. 
  • TheFIREstarter had an interesting incident with his boss where she said something along the lines of not wanting ‘workers improving their skills as then they’ll realise they are being underpaid and jump ship as soon as possible’ which you can read more about here. This made me think about several things, but in particular something I read in the Moneyless Manifesto about slavery being abolished at the time of the industrial revolution  and that ‘the monetary, wage economy is just a more subtle form of slavery’ (read more here).
  • I had vaguely heard the term ‘wage slave’ before, but now I fully understand and appreciate it.  So many people feel enslaved by their wages and I applaud anyone who decides to remove themselves from that type of situation.

I started out where theFIREstarter is now.  I wanted to quit my job and simultaneously quit being a wage slave.  I didn’t just want another job – I wanted to be my own boss and I can say I am definitely not bored in my ‘retirement’.  Now I can see so many more huge benefits to not being a wage slave. In particular environmental benefits.  If we all had more time to do what we wanted to do, we would have a great opportunity to be more efficient, to put our heart and soul into the things we did do, to have much much more time to think, to care about our impact on the environment, to seriously question the validity of the status quo and to give to others. If we decided to do these things (and not just pursue a life of luxurious living fuelled by lots of spare cash) I’m pretty sure we would all be a whole lot happier as well – I know I am!  

Not only that, every time someone stops working for a large corporation hell bent on making more money at all costs, that person stops fuelling that corporation.  If everyone achieved financial independence, those corporations would have to close down and there would have to be a major, radical reform of the system  – possibly one in which money is no longer worth anything.  If you are wondering what this would leave the world looking like I recommend having a read of the Moneyless Manifesto.

I really hope theFIREstarter is successful with his challenge and I will be following it with interest!  
I am currently undertaking a Year of Eco Challenges . If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring me with an action on my DoNation page. Also if you liked this post please click like on Facebook and follow on Twitter – thanks so much!


  1. Well what can I say? Great post!

    But not just because a lot of it is about me… ha ha.

    You've summed up a hell of a lot of my views on life, work and the rest of it in one lovely little blog post and better than I could have written it to boot! I haven't used the term wage slave (I don't think) but I think it is a very accurate term for what most people are experiencing right now.
    Hopefully I will be able to free of the shackles soon(ish)!

    Thank you so much for writing this, and for linking to my blog Zoe!

  2. Zoe

    Really glad you liked my blog post theFIREstarter (I was a bit worried that I should have checked with you before I published it..). I don't think you have used the term wage slave, but it came to mind…

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