howdy, friends. coming to you from the rainy pacific northwest for all of five seconds en route to the east coast. then three more destinations next week. i travel plenty for work, but usually not to five destinations in two weeks! fortunately, we are taking two weeks off for christmas and new year’s, so we’ll get a solid break from it all soon enough. wohoo!
i was recently reading a non-pf book (we mostly read non-pf), mindy kaling’s new memoir why not me? (not an affiliate link, but we recommend getting it from the library). in the final chapter of the book, she recounts the story of when, during a public talk, a young girl asked her where she gets her confidence. and she answers, in essence, that her confidence comes from entitlement (in essence, why not me?) — but probably not the entitlement that your mind immediately jumped to, if your mind is anything like mine. rather, a good kind of entitlement, the entitlement of knowing that you’ve worked hard and will continue working hard, and that you know your stuff and therefore deserve something. that whole notion of entitlement sometimes being good was kinda mind-blowing to me, i’ll admit. it has such negative connotations, and is oft-cited in reference to millennials and their supposedly demanding, un-dues-paying ways. well i’ll confess that i’m gen x (barely, as mr. onl would remind me), and maybe i was just ahead of the curve, but i’ve certainly traipsed through life with a fair dose of entitlement, and while i would say that i’ve come by it honestly through hard work and dedication and generally deserving things, i would also be the first to say that it’s a bad quality that i am trying to get better about. because even though i believe i have earned certain things, i definitely wouldn’t say that i’ve earned them more than others have, or that i deserve something more. (mr. onl would never say that he deserves anything, for the record. he’s more humble like that.)
all of this got me thinking about entitlement, and the ways in which being entitled is actually good when planning for early retirement, and the ways in which it can be detrimental. please add your thoughts in the comments! we’re using this exercise as a way to examine some of our own thought patterns and habits, to make sure they’re serving us well as we inch closer and closer to the finish line, and encourage you to join us!
// the bad of entitlement and early retirement //
fewer gold stars in retirement — if you’re a gold star seeker, like me, you could end up feeling like you’re missing something in retirement, once you no longer get glowing feedback, promotions or bonuses at work. focus on building up that intrinsic motivation instead of seeking out external validation.
incompatibility with status symbols — early retirement forces most of us to cut our spending, maybe dramatically, and then to live on that frugal budget forever. if you feel entitled to show off how smart or successful you are through material wealth, early retirement might be a challenging fit, since you’ll blow through your stash buying cars, gadgets and bling.
the markets don’t owe you anything — fundamentally, entitlement means feeling like the world owes you something. and as any seasoned investor knows, the market owes you nothing. though unlikely, all of your invested assets could disappear tomorrow. if you feel like you deserve certain returns, instead of just hoping for those returns, you may find yourself frustrated a lot of the time.
bad vibes at work — we’ve all worked with someone who just exudes entitlement, and let’s be honest: we don’t want to promote that person, or give that person more money. we just want that person to leave. so don’t be that person. it will only hold you back.
// the good of entitlement and early retirement //
knowing that you are allowed to be on this path — there is something a little subversive about early retirement, and you have to be one who strays from the herd. it’s easy to wonder if you’re allowed to do something so rare and so different, but a healthy sense of entitlement will tell you that you’re allowed to go your own way.
courage to ask for more compensation at work — the more we earn, the faster we can save for retirement. if you can’t say to yourself why not me?, you’re unlikely to ask for a raise or a bigger bonus or other compensation that can get you to the finish line faster. if you’ve worked hard and earned it, then don’t be afraid to ask for more.
perspective to disregard bad advice — there’s loads of bad advice out there, like when our otherwise beloved bank usaa told us that we need, like, $4 million in life insurance (um, sorry, why? i promise that seven times our income is way less than $4 million). knowing that you can disregard that bad advice, and trusting yourself to know the different, is a very good thing.
confidence to tell people what you’re doing — i’m sure i speak for lots of other bloggers when i say that starting to blog about our fire journey has been one of the best decisions we’ve made. we feel supported and inspired, and have accelerated our saving this year as a result. none of that would have happened if we’d stayed mum about what we’re doing, and i’m convinced that speaking up came from having the confidence to know that what we’re doing is pretty awesome. ;-) whether you blog or not, having a few good secret-keepers in your life who you can discuss your plans with is a great way to build up a support structure for yourself.
what would you add to the list? do you think of yourself as entitled like me or more humble like mr. onl (who, by the way, earns more than me by a good margin — so maybe humility is underrated). ;-) share, share away!