What Do You Want Your Tombstone to Say? // Defining Our Purpose

happy dr. martin luther king jr. day to our american friends. we’re taking some time today to reflect on the lessons of the civil rights movement, to appreciate how far we’ve come as a society, and to recognize how much we still have left to do!

we’re close to a year into this blog (blogiversary post coming next week!), and from the beginning of writing here, as well as the beginning of even thinking about early retirement, we knew that we didn’t just want to retire early to escape our jobs. we didn’t want to stop working just because we’re fundamentally incompatible with modern work, though we suspect we might be. and we didn’t want to reach financial independence just to say we did it, though we will say it here when the time comes. rather, we always felt, deep down, that we wanted to create a life with a different purpose than the traditional path allowed us to have. we wouldn’t say the purpose we have in mind is better or higher than any other purpose, just different. more in line with what we want to get out of life. what we want our tombstones to say.

we have felt for years that, if something tragic happened and we died unexpectedly, we wouldn’t have a whole lot to show for our lives, or at least not the things that we’d want to be remembered for. we’ve seen some countries, but we haven’t seen the world. we’ve climbed some mountains, but we haven’t really tested ourselves. we’ve written some things, but never created our life’s work. we’ve done some good in our community and the world, but not nearly enough. have we gotten plenty of promotions, and achieved career success? sure, but that would be just about the worst epitaph ever:

spent too much time working, not enough time living

What Do You Want Your Tombstone to Say? How to Define or Map Out Your Life's Purpose // Our Next Life -- early retirement, financial independence, meaning, values

actively defining our purpose

rather than lament whether or not our accomplishments match our aspirations at this point in our lives, we decided to be the empowered authors of our own purpose, asking ourselves:

  • what do we want to look back on and be happy we did?
  • what would we want to be remembered for?
  • what do we want to contribute to the world?

we decided to make a game out of it, a type of mapping exercise that we might do at work with some of our clients when trying to define their project or organizational goals. and in an exercise like that, rather than start with the big question of purpose, we might start small, with the easier questions. for us, those could be: what do we want to do or accomplish when we have more time on our hands, post-retirement? what will make us excited to get out of bed every day? what do we think would make us happy? and not pie in the sky ideas — like what would we do if we won the powerball? — but what would we do tomorrow if we didn’t have to work, or what would we rather be doing right this second? the exercise begins… (hint: you can do this too!)

exercise 1: what do we want to do, be or accomplish in life?


(some clues for the ones that aren’t obvious to anyone but us: “local experts” means really getting to know our local mountains, trails and streams, so we know them like the back of our hands. “endless winter” means that we chase the snow for at least one full year, all around the planet, racking up as many ski days as possible. “coaching nonprofits” means putting our work skills to use, for free or cheap, for the benefit of local nonprofits that otherwise couldn’t afford those types of consultants.)

at first, the things we mapped out seemed a little random, a collection of everyday activities and long-term goals. and we’re actually happy about that. we never want to be single-minded in our interests or focus, and it was validating to remind ourselves that there’s a lot we want to do and accomplish in retirement. we won’t be bored! and even better that this list is realistic, because these are things we would be doing right this second if we could. these aren’t things that depend on us becoming different people or having a vastly greater level of wealth. every single thing on this list is something we’ve at least dabbled in.

but, just having a scattershot list doesn’t get us far enough. to get from the answers to the small questions to the answers to the big questions, we need to go deeper, and find the common threads.

exercise 2: group answers thematically


for us, three very clear clusters emerged immediately, though we’re guessing that there’s no magic about the number three. we could just as easily have had two clusters, or five. rather, the magic comes in when we identify what those three clusters represent, in the next step.

exercise 3: identify themes


as soon as we had those themes mapped out, it felt instantly true, instantly right. ven_diagram_purpose
of course our purpose in life is: adventure, creativity and service. those are the themes we care most about (outside of family and friends, which are baked into all of this), they’re what we want to spend our time focusing on, and they’re what we would want to be remembered for. we talk most about adventure here, but we feel just as strongly about helping those in need and contributing positivity to the world, and we are always inclined toward creative projects, from blogging and photography, to home renovation and visual art projects.

what’s amazing about this exercise is both how obvious the answers seem once they’re written there so clearly, and how powerful it is to see them mapped out like that. having our purpose identified provides a lens or a litmus test for making decisions about how to spend our time and money and how to shape what we send out into the world.

the best part of identifying our purpose this way — based on expanding upon what we already do with our time and money, instead of coming up with something purely aspirational — is that it’s authentic to us, and not something we’ll have to change our ways to achieve. this is how we’re already wired, and it was just a matter of translating that wiring into words, that predisposition into purpose.

just for fun, we decided to add one more exercise to the game, to map the activities and goals on top of the big purpose themes, to get a sense of overlaps.

exercise 4: map goals onto purpose


with only a few exceptions in the adventure category, almost every one of our goals truly spans across multiple themes, whether it’s using creativity to serve local nonprofits well, or taking inspiration from our adventures in our visual art projects or writing, to shaping our travels around service and volunteering opportunities. looking at it this way, it’s clear what activities we want to prioritize: those that tap into multiple themes within our greater purpose, ideally those that feed all three. (reminds us of our triple bottom line.)

now, when people ask us what we plan to do with ourselves in retirement, we’ll have a range of answers at the ready:

  • we want to live out our life’s purpose of adventure, creativity and serving others.
  • we’re excited to have more time for adventure, creative pursuits and service to make the world a better place.
  • our retirement will be all about combining our passions: adventure, creativity and service.

as for our tombstones, we think it’s way too soon to know what they might say, but we’re hoping that our epitaph writer has a lot of material to work with, all of it non-work-related! :-)

what do you see as your life’s purpose? have you ever actively mapped it out, like we did here? or do you think all this purpose talk is overrated, and we should just relish the privilege of enjoying ourselves in early retirement? we’d love to know what you guys think!

Don't miss a thing! Sign up for the eNewsletter.

Subscribe to get extra content 3 or 4 times a year, with tons of behind-the-scenes info that never appears on the blog.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe any time. Powered by ConvertKit

99 replies »

  1. I think it’s very cool that you’re thinking about this so systematically. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t relax a little in early retirement :) But a lot of your goals and ideas require planning and forethought (especially documentary making!) — they are not just going to happen one day while you hang out on the couch :) I think you’ll really enjoy all these things and they will make you feel like you are really living your life, not just having it happen to you.

    • There will be plenty of relaxation — not to worry! I think we are a good mix of naturally lazy and naturally super motivated (within each of us, not one is one way, the other the opposite), and I have always been way more interested in my own projects then in whatever I had to do for school or work. I hope that’s a quality that will serve me well in early retirement. :-)

  2. I didn’t realize your blog wasn’t yet one year old. Great work!
    We are big proponents of clarifying our purpose. Goals are good but just don’t cut it without a purpose, in my opinion. Our purpose revolves around our faith, service, and raising our children in line with those two. We also love adventure!

  3. That’s a great exercise! Mrs. SSC and I have been having this same discussion for a bit now, and this is a great way to get those “post-required work” ideas focus. Yesterday we went to a State park about 10 minutes from the house and both remarked how a job working at a place like that would be perfect in a few years. Community outreach, educational, outdoors’ish lol.

    we’ll have to work through this exercise in depth and figure out where we line up, but I’m excited with all the prospects Mrs. SSC has been finding in her numerous and widespread job searches. Things we weren’t even thinking about 1-2 years ago are now “doable” because of the position we put ourselves in. It’s exciting watching the work and focus start to manifest into something.

    • We would love to work a state park job in early retirement (or maybe later retirement, after we get the “real” outdoorsy stuff out of our systems). ;-) And so awesome that you’re seeing more possibilities and prospects in Mrs. SSC’s job searching. I think of you guys whenever I hear about gas prices falling.

      • I did a similar exercise a couple weeks ago – kind of like what they suggest in “What Color is your Parachute?” I came up with general themes of education and nature and creating. Very similar to yours – of course, I’m a geologist who dreams of teaching, and likes to dabble in the arts – so no shocker. If we ever live in the right place (touristy) and I am feeling entrepreneurial – I have a plan of starting a part time business taking people on educational photography hikes/tours. Outdoors – teaching – creative –> my trifecta!

  4. Wow that’s a great exercise, and I have to admit that life looks pretty great! Even though I’ve always had ideas in my head what I want to do, it’s good to have a visual roadmap as well.

    • Thanks, Tonya! We think that life looks pretty great, too! :-) Fingers crossed that it happens the way we envision (or something like it anyway, since we’ve been around long enough to know that things never go exactly as planned). I highly recommend doing a little roadmap, and the great thing is you don’t even have to answer the big questions. That becomes apparent on its own when you answer the little questions.

  5. Your exercise is definitely NOT overrated. I like seeing things on paper (on screen). I think you have inspired me to do the same. Our broad goal is replacing our The Man income with passive rental income. I’d also love to spend a bunch of time volunteering at my daughter’s school. Aside from that, we have a few other ideas but nothing concrete. Thanks for giving us something to think about!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • I hope you will do the exercise and report back, or write your own post on it! The exercise helped us go from a list of things we don’t to do to an actual *purpose* and that feels more meaningful than just checking off a bunch of boxes.

  6. This is absolutely amazing! I’m not going to lie, my mind is a little blown away right now! When I first saw all the colors/categories on your tweet yesterday, I never knew you filtered it down into 3 categories – YES! I’d say you definitely have your vision nailed down for your journey in early retirement. :) My life’s purpose was actually developed when I was really young. Whenever teachers, parents, adults, etc. would ask “What do you want to do when you’re older?” My answer was always “To find my true happiness and what that means to me.” It’s a trial & error learning process, but with that overarching theme, a lot of my categories/passions filter into that (I love how you say that you friends and family are already baked into all of that!). I definitely need to try this exercise, thanks for sharing ONL!

    • Thanks, Alyssa! I’m not surprised at all to know that you were focused on happiness from a young age — so wise! Of course it took us much longer to figure out that that is the secret to everything. I was always after those gold stars, and Mr. ONL was after those sports trophies, not realizing until well into adulthood that those things don’t count for a whole lot, and what we *actually* wanted out of life is much different. But we’re glad to have figured it out. If you do the exercise, please report back, or better yet, write a post about it! :-)

    • I don’t think I’ve ever told you this, but I feel like you and I are on completely the same wavelength. I’ll have some idea for a post and then, lo and behold, you’ll write that post that day. Or I’ll have some idea and then you’ll write something that helps me crystalize my idea into something concrete. Anyway, long way of saying — I’m not surprised that your list would look a lot like ours. But even better if you want to actually map yours out and post about it! :-)

  7. I could probably benefit from a similar exercise. Staying focused on your priorities can be such a huge motivator, so it’s important to identify them. One of my most-important purposes is being a mom and spending more time together as a family. It is a driving force behind our goal of financial semi-independence, but also something to keep in mind for the present. We still have six years we (hopefully) semi-retire, so we can’t just put being a family on hold until then.

    • I’d definitely recommend doing the exercise. It can be a mix of things to do now and things to do in the future, but it helps you figure out the broad themes, which was very powerful for us!

  8. We’ve never engaged in this systematic of a process to nail down our post-retirement purpose, but we have definitely talked a lot about it. There is no doubt that people need purpose – a reason to get up in the morning. Without purpose, you drive yourself insane and start to question why you’re even alive. Bad road to take.

    For my wife and I, we have very similar circles as yours, but our circles aren’t the same size. For us, the travel/adventure part is by far the largest circle. After all, you can’t downsize full time into an RV without prioritizing your adventure time! :)

    For me, photography will encompass the majority of my creative pursuits, and for Courtney, it’s knitting and learning the guitar. We also plan on doing a lot of volunteer work around the country, especially with animal shelters. We’ve already picked one out in New Mexico that we might spend a few months at.

    I think a lot of this will become mapped out for us as we start to approach this new lifestyle more fully, and especially after we get into it.

    • Haha — Yeah, you guys are going all in on the adventure, so I’d say that’s clearly your biggest circle! :-) It’s cool to hear about your service plans while traveling, and especially that you want to stay put near some animal shelters for a while. We are huge animal lovers and shelter volunteers, so that perked up my ears right away. It would be cool if you’d post about those plans, since I think it would help counter the myth that we early retirees (or aspiring early retirees) are just selfish money hoarders. :-)

  9. Another great post, as always! As a recovering consultant, I love the application of these kinds of tools to our own lives. I did a big visualization exercise like this for myself a couple years ago, and it was helpful for defining my big goals and vision for post-FIRE life. The travel/adventure section was so big that I ended up making two separate diagrams: one for near-term travel life and one for more long-term settled-in-one-place life. Perhaps I’ll clean them up and share them at some point.

    • Thanks, Matt! I would LOVE if you’d post about your visualization, or any other consultantese things you’ve applied to your real life. :-) In truth, our “adventure” circle should be two separate ones — the outdoorsy pursuits, and the world travel pursuits. They will overlap some, but it’s a very different style of travel, and a different set of “accomplishments,” but it was easier for the sake of this post to group them. You understand, though. :-)

  10. excellent exercise… Do you offer that as a service tyo other bloggers? Seriously, it helps to get your priorities right.
    My wife and I started this as well. It is written down on an pice of paper in a book. We do not seem to get further with it. Maybe I should suggest here to do a post it exercise on it.

  11. I thought you’ve been blogging for more longer than a year. Seems that you’ve accomplished a lot in less than a year. WTG. You’re right, this is a good question to ask yourself. For me, I want to know that I’ve made a difference to people around me.

    • Thanks, Tawcan! We’ve written a lot more this year, and connected with a lot more people, than we would have thought possible. So it certainly FEELS like more than a year! And love that you have a big part of your purpose figured out!

  12. Just capped up a day of service working on invasive plant removal, and I’m relaxing at home with tea wondering what to do. I’m totally gonna try this (although I suspect I’m a bit too young to know what I want out of life :) ). Really powerful stuff though. I like that you have some focus in terms of specific volunteer work – like coaching non-profits. So often we talk about “just volunteer!!!” but to me that’s kinda empty/ you won’t get any fulfillment if it doesn’t align with your interests and purpose.

    • I hope you do try the exercise! And you’re never too young to know what you want out of life — I sometimes think getting older clouds our truth and makes it easier to forget what’s actually important to us. Plus, you have such a firm grasp on what’s important to you! And the good thing is, you go into the exercise with no answers to the big questions — those things reveal themselves based on your little answers.

      And yeah, someone long ago made the point that most nonprofits don’t need the “entry level volunteers.” They either need money, or they need expertise. (And, sure, they might need manpower for a special event or something, or our local animal shelter needs daily dog walkers, and we’re always game for that kind of thing.) We both consult to nonprofits now, and have a good sense of their needs, but we also work for the big ones that can afford our companies. Can’t wait until we can help the little ones who really need the help but can’t afford consultants at all!

  13. Oh hey, this is so cool! Very pretty diagrams. :) Man, the term “endless winter” is something I would never, ever write down on any list of dreams or hopes or plans or purpose (more like “escape from winter”), but then again I do hear you on the skiing part.

    On a sort of tangential note, it’s been such a strange experience the past few weeks, being unemployed and noticing how I spend my time. It’s not *exactly* the same as being retired, especially since there’s a lot of pressure for me to find a job, but I do wonder if it offers a glimpse. I will say that I’m a little disappointed in the amount of time that I’ve spent faffing around on the Internet. But it’s also hard to judge because I’ve been sick for the past week (and also went through a pretty difficult personal experience a few days after the New Year), so maybe I should cut myself some slack. But anyway, I guess my point is that I would love to say “oh yeah, I’ve totally been using my free time this month in a way that matches my values and goals and purpose in life!” whereas in fact this has only been true some of the time.

    So I think what I mean to say is, I think it’s super smart of you to organize your hopes and goals and plans for retirement in this way, so that you can actually use your time in a way that helps you follow your purpose. (Not that I think you would spend your time faffing around on the Internet, honestly! I just think making a plan is smart for anyone.) :)

    • Cut yourself some slack on the internet faffing. There’s something quite odd about looking for a job. It’s an unknown period of time filled with a big to do (Find a job!). I did what I needed to to find a job, but Wow! There was a lot of wasted time. Procrastination, I guess. It’s also difficult because you don’t want to commit to something else because that means you aren’t doing what you are supposed to be doing.

    • Thanks, Sarah! We love our Powerpoint smart art. :-) Haha — I hear you on endless winter. We stole it from the endless summer that is the pinnacle of surfing. But I can rarely bring myself to get into the ocean, so I don’t think that’s gonna happen anytime soon. Do love skiing, though. :-) That’s all that cold is good for, in my opinion!

      I think the stage you’re in is a little too much like purgatory to limbo to judge yourself for it. If you somehow were doing things to match your values and purpose, you would be superhuman. BUT, I think your larger point is a good one, and a HUGE part of our motivation to map so much of this out. We know that our days will pass just as quickly once we’re no longer working, and we don’t want to fritter them away, and we see how we could so easily fall into a pattern of doing that! So yeah, this is trying to give our planning and visioning some structure, focusing on what we know is truly important to us, and helping us avoid the temptation to spend too much time on the couch. :-)

  14. We talk about “what we want to be” when we retire from our current jobs but this is a really cool concept to give it some structure when figuring things out.

    • Same for us. We still hope to find out what we want to do when we grow up. But we also know ourselves and what’s important, and found this exercise so helpful for clarifying what we should focus on. Highly recommend trying it!

  15. I love your diagrams! We’re with Steve–two circles outweigh the other. When we put together our action verbs, we focused on travel and service. I think the creativity piece will be served in the course of the other themes, but it’s not immediately apparent today. :)

    • Haha — Everyone’s circles should be different. No pressure to adhere to ours! Though we do think that adventure and service are pretty great ones! :-)

  16. I love how well you know yourselves. Purpose talk is incredibly powerful but it takes a lot of guts to pull back the BS and get to the good stuff.

    I have no idea on a lot of this. I’ve internalized a lot of what other people hoped for me, instead of hoping for myself. It’s taken a while to separate what they want from what I want. I’ve gotten far enough to figure out what I don’t want. Now I have to use what’s left to figure out what I do want. Thankfully, I’m good where I am right now, so I’ve got time to sort through my thoughts.

    • I suppose we do know ourselves well, but I don’t think that’s anything special. Honestly, just thinking about how our goals and the things we talk about doing in the future cluster together made all of this abundantly clear without a lot of introspection needed. :-) The stuff I DO know that isn’t reflected here is that I’m a totally type A overachiever, but I’ve also realized that gold stars and promotions aren’t what we’re taught to believe. So I still want to contribute something and have meaning in life after working, and occasionally worry that we’ll fritter away our retirement years being lazy and doing nothing. So this came out of that fear, and a desire to map something out that would keep us on the road to meaning.

      I hear you on separating what you want vs what people want from you. You have to clear that hurdle to consider ER, since it’s easy to see retiring early as letting people down and not living up to your potential. But it’s a worthwhile question to keep exploring! And all the better that you can do it from a good place, so there’s no urgency. :-)

  17. That’s a really cool idea – we’ll have to try that and see what we come up with… though I know mine won’t involve snow in the least! After living my whole life around it, I’m done with snow and the cold! :)

    I often think about “the end” – but not in a bad way. I try to periodically question the path I’m taking on things and think about if I’d look back when an old man, would I regret choices I’ve made. It actually helps me keep things in perspective.

    I’m always a little uneasy about striking that balance between work and play. There are always some things that get pushed back to the “days of retirement.” But what if you get hit by a bus (or snowplow!) today and don’t get the chance to do them?

    As a side note, exciting news you’re hitting the one year mark – nice job!!

    — Jim

    • Haha — We fully understand those who never want to see another winter. If we weren’t skiers, we would agree! :-) And we’re totally with you on not putting everything off until retirement! We love that mapping out our purpose like this gives us a way to prioritize things not just in the future, but also NOW!

      And re: timing, we HOPE a year is doable but suspect we will still need to work two more, especially if the markets don’t bounce back from whatever they’re doing right now. Whatever amount we were ahead of pace on our goals is currently erased, and then some! But hey, at least it’s happening while we’re still working and have the ability to save more! :-)

  18. What a great exercise and thank you for sharing this. We are now 14 months away from financial independence and ‘retirement’ and have been discussing options for volunteering recently and travelling. We’ve done this using a random scattergun approach as things have come in to our head. Now I’ve seen your post I can’t wait to get home and get the sheets of paper out and see what we come up with using a more structured approach; this might help us identify better options. Thinking about Jim /Route to Retire’s post … we always try and strike that balance between enjoying the present and getting out and doing things we enjoy and saving for retirement, I’m sure you do this too. One thing none of us want on that tombstone is, ‘they were planning to do some great things’.

    • You’re most welcome! Wow — you guys are so close! I do hope you’ll do the exercise and report back. What we love about identifying our big purpose themes is that they apply both to the present and to the future, which is great now — so we don’t waste our lives while planning for FIRE — and great for the future, for thinking about both long and short term goals.

  19. What an excellent exercise. I need to do this! MY wife and I were just talking about this very topic over dinner Sat night. She was asking me what made me feel truly alive. We both know it’s not the day job. Thanks for sharing.

  20. This post really hits home for me. Over the last few months, I’ve probably written a half dozen drafts about finding my purpose. I can clearly identify parts of it, but I feel like I’m missing something or that something just isn’t right.

    In all honesty, I think part of my reason for seeking financial independence is to allow myself the flexibility to really discover my purpose without the added pressure of needing to work to support a family. It’s almost like I need to get lost somewhere to emerge with the clarity I’ve been looking for.

    Maybe going through this exercise will help me find my way.

    • I almost wonder if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to figure it out. But I’m for sure glad that you’re allowing yourself some space in retirement to figure it out!

      I definitely recommend trying the exercise, though. It’s highly unlikely that the themes that emerge will be a total surprise to you, especially if you think about it in terms of what you’d do today if you could, instead of what you would do if you magically turned into the idealized version of yourself. I hope you’ll report back!

  21. As someone who likes charts and diagrams and lists, I have to say, this is sexy! I’m borrowing this idea and I’ll start drafting my own life map. You guys are awesome, thanks for coming up with this and for sharing it with all of us.

    Also, my mind went blank after reading this entry’s title. It’s only either I’m over thinking the answer (because I want it to be poetic) or that I sincerely don’t know what I want it to say.

  22. This is great!

    I really need to look at my life a little more systematically like this! I know for me it can be a little scary because when you write about some of my goals down it makes it that much more real for me, and sometimes I just don’t know where to start! It’s probably best to at least start somewhere! I know on my tombstone I don’t want it to read – “He watched Netflix. A lot. The end.” Haha.

    • Thanks, Vic! This exercise is definitely great if you don’t know where to start… just start listing things you like to do and want to do more of. The rest follows magically behind. :-) And yeah, hear ya on the tombstone — right now ours would probably say, “Had heated debates about which is better: Netflix or Hulu.” ;-)

  23. Hey! This is a great exercise to give yourself some perspective and prioritize your life. I’ve always been good at coming up with my big themes, but the details always feel a little overwhelming, and I don’t always know where to start. I may do this exercise in reverse! It’s a great way to look at short-term and long-term goals. (I also love visuals and Venn diagrams, so…)

    I’d love to adapt this for my students, too. As a teacher, I feel somewhat responsible for helping younger generations find/identify their passions. Unfortunately, their current passions appear to be gluing their phones to their faces… It reminds me of this: https://youtu.be/is5W6GxAI3c A little off-topic, but a good view.

    Thanks for your post! Looking forward to more.

    • Thanks, Audrey! I love the idea of doing the exercise in reverse, too — basically it’s just figuring out how your interests correlate, or — if you know the big themes — maybe using it to generate ideas. :-) And the world thanks you for teaching our young people and getting them to put their phones down even once in a while. :-)

  24. What a great exercise… reading these old posts has been fun in that I get a little more of the back story and your why, to which I can relate. I might have to do this… off the top of my head, I have a slightly different slant but in a broad sense i have a similar rationale for seeking a less trodden path.

  25. Excellent exercise! Love it! My wife and I already spent a good bit of time on our purpose, but we may go through this, too, just to see the mutual overlaps and such. It’s a great way to be purposeful about your future! (That’s what my blog is actually about, and what I intend to explore more and more going forward.) Love that you guys are already living it!

    • I definitely think this exercise is worthwhile, and we were just discussing maybe re-doing it for ourselves to see if it still feels right (my hunch is that it does, but no harm in doing a check-in!). So glad you’re focused on purpose — I seriously think that is the most important thing in life, in money, and in everything.

      • Thank you! I agree :) It’s what motivates me to do what I do – I know that much.

  26. I absolutely love this! Can’t wait to sit down and figure out what our venn diagram might be ;) I’ll definitely be doing a post about this! Thanks for the fantastic inspiration.

  27. You know, this is a great exercise and it’s admirable to see people take initiative to improve their lives (and as a result, ultimately, society at large) — thank you!

    But overall, thls whole conversation sounds really a bit privileged, entitled, and alienating to those of us just trying to feed a family and make ends meet with a low-paying job that clearly has no future. Many people would love to be able to sick a lot of money away for early retirement — but many people can’t.

    I enjoy your blog — but I’d love to see you address issues that truly are relevant to the majority of people who are just hard-working, low-paid hamsters on the wheel of life. Got any suggestions for us?