Mr. Money Mustache vs. the Internet Retirement Police

All_Bottles“He’s not really Retired.”

“It says right in the blog that he does construction work. Also he manages his own rental houses. And has a blog. That doesn’t sound like retirement to me.”

“That Brief History of the ‘Stash stuff doesn’t add up to me. I think he’s making it all up.”

“Yes, he has a nice nest egg. But I suspect he’ll be working for a good part of the year.”

“Who the fuck”, you may ask, “are these people?”

That’s what I asked more than a year ago, when first alerted to the presence of a large number of people who I’ve never met, who were carefully and yet completely inaccurately speculating about the life and times of Mr. Money Mustache.

Lucky for me, the answer came immediately, in this brilliant poem/comment that Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme posted on this blog:

The “internet retirement police” (IRP), which you’ll meet in various online forums, have established five main directives:

In principle you can only participate in certain pre-approved retirement activities such as beach-sitting, staring out the window, and receiving visits from your grandchildren.

Traveling is also okay, as is eating “delicious food”, just make sure you don’t cook it yourself, see below. Think twice before doing anything that’s not on this list! The IRP is watching you.

The IRP does grant one exemption should you become bored with the activities above. You can work for a nonprofit organization.

Make sure you’re not getting paid though even if you have to plead your case with the CEO to put in special exemptions. Accepting money obviously means you didn’t do your retirement-math and that you ran out of money a couple of years after retiring. After all, what other obvious explanation could there be? (Besides the obvious ones)

If you can’t find a way to work without pay, it’s best to head back to the beach towel and sit on that.

Just to be clear: You’re most definitely NOT allowed to be a kayak-instructor in your retirement. While it may sound like a fun job that you picked yourself even if you didn’t have to, the keyword is J-O-B.

You can, however, spend a Saturday morning dressed up as an elephant handing out fliers and free lemonade at the entrance. And if you really must instruct in kayaking, please avoid doing something more engaging than blogging about kayaks (and if you do blog, try not to make the blog popular… because … then the blog would be a job!)

Next, I feel like I should warn MMM readers lest they stumble into the retirement pitfall of saving money by living frugally. You can’t do that!

According to the IRP saving money IS a full time job and—try to follow this— since you can’t have a job and be retired, you are not allowed to save money in retirement.

You see, if you save money by doing your own cooking, you’re now WORKING as a cook, thus no longer retired.

The IRP would like you to take this to its extreme logical conclusions, e.g. you’re working as a money manager if you handle your own investments, you’re working as a gardener if you mow your own lawn, you’re working as a chauffeur if you don’t hire a driver, you’re a pro-blogger if you have a blog, and so on.

Disclaimer: All examples are taken from real world cases as presented to me by the IRP. They’re not kidding!

Jacob wrote that comment hastily in the discussion section of First Retire, Then Get Rich, but I immediately Tweeted out a link to it, sending a warning shot across the bow of the Early Retirement Police Boat.

And now, at long last, we are going to sink it for good.

At issue right now, is the definition of “Retirement”.

“You’re not retired – you admit to doing an awful lot of carpentry”
 If I can somehow suppress my urge to build things and sit inside, THEN will I be retired? What about if I work only on my own house? Retired, or no?

“You’re not retired if you have a rental house”
  If the tenants never call me for any reason (as has been the case for the past two years), THEN am I retired?”.. or if I sell my rental house and transfer the money to a REIT which offers equal yield, can I be retired then? What if this is less fun?  What if I subsequently do a bunch of research on REIT funds and allocate my investment across several, rebalancing occasionally?

“You’re not retired if you have a blog that makes money – even if it’s about early retirement”
 If I take down the remaining ads, THEN can I be retired? Or is the work involved the issue? Would I be retired if I had a robot that wrote the blog for me, but I collected the revenue?

Or what if I still did the writing, but I did it only while sitting on the beach while being fed intravenously? Would I be more retired than if I wrote it from my couch at home as I do now?

“It’s a shame we don’t have a better name for all this stuff we’re doing as Mustachians. Retirement doesn’t sound right. Financial independence comes closer. Can we invent a new word for it? How about Removed?”

News Flash: the perfect word has already been invented. Are you ready to hear it? Here it is:


It’s perfect just as it is. It’s just like “Financially Independent”, but it sounds more amazing and it uses 75% fewer syllables.

“Retired” means you no longer have to work for money, and you are aware of this fact. You can then proceed to do whatever you want, as long as you do it consciously and of your own accord. If you meet this condition, and you feel retired, congratulations, you are.

Retired probably does not mean you sit at home watching TV, venturing out only for medication or a motorized-cart-aided round of golf.  This is a subset of retirement, but only a very special case of it, for those with very advanced age or limited mobility.

Retired means different things to different people. But one of the rules of Mustachianism is that if someone tells you they are retired, you do not question them. You congratulate them.

Retirement may or may not include any of the following lifestyle attributes:

  •  The complete abandonment of alarm clocks, and a soft chuckle specially developed for anyone who tries to make you be somewhere before 9AM.
  •  A general lack of awareness of what day of the week it is
  •  A work ethic that ebbs and flows with your natural human cycle. There may be times of extreme productivity and late nights, and other times of  dormancy.
  •  Work and areas of interest that change over the years, some of which might earn you money, and some of which might be neutral or even involve spending instead of earning money.

Or it can be completely different. The only rule is that you theoretically must have sufficient savings (or other assets) that you could live indefinitely off the passive income they provide, and these savings must give you the freedom to realize that any work you do is totally optional.

You don’t actually have to live off the income, it just has to be there.

So there it is – the official definition of Retirement, of which Early Retirement is just a special case.

Why does Mr. Money Mustache get to define it?
Because I have the biggest Early Retirement blog. If the Internet Retirement Police would like to supersede my definition, they will have to start their own blog, calling it something like www. mrmoneymustacheisnotreallyretired.com, build it up to be more widely read than this one, and then propose their own definition.

Only at this point would the torch be passed and the definition of Retired be up for discussion.

Thousands of the Mustachians who read this blog are already Retired. Most of them still do some sort of “work”. And all of them have fists brandished in case the Internet Retirement Police dare to show their faces around the Internet again.

Further Reading: Jacob @ Early Retirement Extreme responded to this article a few days after publication.

  • Erica February 13, 2013, 11:06 pm

    Retired: the ability to tell assholes to go fuck themselves and not worry about getting evicted because you do.

    Actually, I think this post unintentionally touches on something larger, which is the American obsession with “what you DO” equating to “what you get PAID for.” So, you are getting harangued because you get paid for your hobbies, essentially, while other people get all sheepish because they “Don’t DO ANYTHING” even thought they manage the entire volunteer system at a hospital, raise 7 kids and tutor at the homeless teen center on the weekends. But they don’t “Really Do Anything” because they don’t get paid for it.

    Our national psyche would be far better if we could get over this idea that what you DO and what you get PAID for are always one and the same.

    • Emmers February 14, 2013, 3:28 pm

      Someone (can’t remember if it was MMM or a different blogger) calls it “fuck you money.” It’s not that you *don’t* work — it’s that you don’t *have* to work, so you don’t have to put up with as much BS from your job/boss/coworkers/whatever.

      The “what you DO” vs. “what you get PAID FOR” dichotomy matters a great deal prior to financial independence — but much less afterwards!

      • Chucks February 14, 2013, 6:36 pm

        “fuck you money” is a term that’s been around for a while.

        • Dragline February 14, 2013, 9:57 pm

          Yeah, that’s what N. Taleb calls it.

      • marven February 15, 2013, 12:28 am

        J Collins calls it that and he guest posted here on MMM awhile back with that in his post.

        • jlcollinsnh February 15, 2013, 12:29 pm

          thanks for the nod in my direction, Marven.

          I picked up the term from an old James Clavell novel a couple of decades back.

          Oh, and another +1 to Erica from me!

  • Mortgage Mutilator February 13, 2013, 11:10 pm

    Haha that domain name is going to be registered faster than I can post this comment!

    • Matt February 14, 2013, 3:13 am

      Nope, it’s still available, but I’m sorely tempted, for a laugh!!

  • fierguy February 13, 2013, 11:31 pm

    haha, great post.I agree with Erica.

    Domain still available, I give it an hour!

  • Joe February 13, 2013, 11:40 pm

    Yeah, I get quite a bit of that myself although my site is not quite as popular as MMM. Here are some of the usual comments I get from the IRP.
    – You wife still works so you can’t be retired.
    – You are a stay a home dad so you’re not retired.
    – Your passive income/online income isn’t enough to pay the whole monthly expense.
    – Why waste 15+ years of experience as an engineer and retire? It’s the peak earning years.
    Anyway, I usually just ignore most of them, but perhaps I’ll brandish a fist of fury to the next IRP who shows up my way. :) Well, maybe not. I’m way too mellow for that.

    • Marcia February 14, 2013, 11:44 am

      I think it’s really that people want an excuse for why they haven’t retired.

      Rather than admit that they don’t want to do it, or aren’t willing to make the changes required to do it – they prefer to say “it’s not possible” or “it’s not retirement” because then they don’t have to really look at their own lives.

    • Dan February 15, 2013, 7:56 am

      I have to be honest with you retire by 40, I strive for early retirement but I really don’t think we are there yet because my wife stays at home and we aren’t yet able to live without my income, completely forever, though we could for a long while. So it’s hard for most people to call one spouse staying at home retirement, when that has been going on like normal for decades. Our mother’s both stayed at home with us, and interview these women and they would tell you it’s not retirement as you don’t have freedom to get away from your work when your spouse is at a job all day.

  • mike February 14, 2013, 12:10 am

    I’m with Erica on this one.

    It seemed like Jacob had a problem with so many complainypants talking about it. Really, let these assholes go fuck themselves.

  • Ozstache February 14, 2013, 12:26 am

    Reminds me of when I gave up drinking for six months. The hardest bit was justifying to people why you weren’t drinking, not the actual no drinking bit itself.

    When I “retire”, I can switch my job to part time and I only need to do one day a year to keep it active, which I will likely do. So to anyone that asks, I have just switched to part time work. Saves any third degree inquiries.

  • Early Retirement Journey February 14, 2013, 12:29 am

    I am retired, but feel free to substitute Financially Independent instead if you prefer. Either way it’s pretty darn great for us.

    I cook 95% of our meals from scratch, and go out to eat the other 5% of the time, because cooking from scratch is fun, satisfying, healthy, cheap and leaves us plenty of food money to play with as a result.

    We wake up daily to an alarm clock at 5:45 AM, because getting our workouts in before we start our busy days is of paramount importance. While many of our friends are beginning to experience declining health due to poor habits, we are not. I would assume there is a correlation between our eating and exercise habits and our good health!

    We attend lifelong learning classes at a nearby university 24 weeks of the year, because continuing to grow our minds is also a priority. I’m madly looking for a way to give back to the university, but the people we attend classes with are almost all smarter than me, so it’s been a challenge. Currently they are looking for mentors for “real” college students, some of whom I may be smarter than, so that might fit well with my Marketing background.

    We travel on the cheap because it’s fun, and allows us to be on the road the remaining 28 weeks of the year we are not attending classes. I couldn’t care less if people look down their noses at us because we are frugal when we travel. They are most likely returning to a job when their vacation is over, while we are not.

    Because we are Financially Independent, we can choose to work or not. Right now we choose “not” but that might change in the future. We’re exploring the idea of becoming teachers for a portion of the year in a developing country. I would imagine we would draw some sort of modest salary, but that would be the last thing on our list of concerns.

    Because We Are Financially Independent.

    And most of the naysayers are not. :-)

  • bayrider February 14, 2013, 12:49 am

    There is no end to naysaying jackasses on this particular subject. I retired at 54 and am unusually young looking, people act like it’s some kind of tragic mistake. Prior to that I took intermittent periods of 6-12 months off from work whenever I had the opportunity, the resentment that engendered was unbelievable. Then I spent the last 8 years of my newspaper career telecommuting from a country home, 200 miles from the office in SF which I no longer visited, ever. That was actually a perfect gig with full benefits and a big city salary yet it felt totally retired! I hated to let that go but alas got laid off. At any rate after adjusting to that lifestyle there ain’t no way I’m gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.

    • Mrs. Pop February 14, 2013, 4:33 am

      We haven’t retired yet, but we live in an area with many many retirees and snowbirds, and I’d be willing to speculate that the attitude is a little different towards the definition of what it means to be “retired” in places where there are more retirees.

      So many folks who are retired around here have side businesses of varying sizes that they run for all sorts of reasons, but the big ones seem to be to stay happy, healthy, and mentally challenged. So what if they throw off a few dollars into your pocket in the meantime?

      On a side note, for our hopeful early retirement, I’ve taken to calling it “freedom of choice”. Since I want to get us to the point where the path we choose is out of want not necessity.

  • Neo February 14, 2013, 2:00 am

    Those that say “it can’t be done” should stop interrupting those that are already doing it.

    The naysayers and complainers don’t want to stop and look in the mirror and realise they worked all those years and have nothing to show for it except a big mortgage a 4wd the bank owns and a lot of stainless steel appliances they saw on masterchef, its all on them while we sail off into the sunset…

    I got a lot of yeah but but but and what if and its not possible , everyone works , you have to work !! you’ll be back… when I unplugged from the matrix… :)

    I’d advise keeping a low profile with what you’re up to with the co workers , you won’t get many shit well done and good lucks. The lifers don’t like to see another prisoner escaping…

    • Chris February 14, 2013, 11:41 am

      Shack. It is like “unplugging from the Matrix” and the Matrix is mostly what people see on TV. It blows most peoples’ minds to even consider the fact that there “is another way.”

  • Osprey February 14, 2013, 2:05 am

    People can be so resentful and close-minded. I think that’s all it boils down to. On a slight tangent: I am nowhere near retirement but even taking a few months off from “Work” (because I want to and can afford it) has garnered much eye rolling, snorts of disapproval and “nobody will take you seriously after this.”

  • rootmeansquared February 14, 2013, 3:18 am

    You are independent and doing what you want to do. What could be better than that?

    • Eschewing Debt February 22, 2013, 1:50 pm

      I agree- who cares what others think? Take the eye rolls and laugh!

  • Hendriks February 14, 2013, 3:34 am

    I guess people’s reaction is a mix of resentment and genuinely not believing it’s possible (through corporate-world brainwashing and bad examples all around). I was like this before I found the MMM blog, now I’m saving 70% of my income (instead of 30% before, luckily I always stayed far away from any kind of debt). I want to believe now (actually, I’m quite convinced by the facts presented in this blog)!

    MMM: you’re still building your stash with your hobbies. Is that because you’re still feeling like “you never know what might happen in the future”, or is it just a happy coincidence?

  • My Financial Independence Journey February 14, 2013, 3:35 am

    I prefer “financially independent” over retired. It simply states that you no longer need to work to pay the bills. And carries no connotation about what you’re actually doing post FI. I can keep working at my corporate job or be a beach bum. Since I haven’t worked out what exactly I’m going to do after FI, I figure it’s a more appropriate term for me.

    Sadly, financially independent has far more syllables than retired, and doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

    • Mr,1500 February 14, 2013, 9:28 am

      Agreed. FI has much different connotations. When people think “retired,” I think the mind conjures up seniors in Florida driving gold carts.

      As you said, FI means that you don’t have to work, but you still may choose to. The key word is choose. You’re doing it because you want to, not because you have to.

      Maybe we need a new word altogether?

      • Mr,1500 February 14, 2013, 9:35 am

        “Maybe we need a new word altogether?”

        This is bugging me now. I do think we need a new term. I’m the least creative person on earth though, so don’t ask me to come up with it.

        MMM contest similar to the the logo?

        • Austin Y. February 14, 2013, 12:35 pm

          I think the main point of MMM’s post was that we don’t need a new word. ‘Retired’ is just fine. It’s the internet retirement police (and other skeptics) that are using it wrong.

        • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 12:48 pm

          Yeah, Mr. 1500 – are you deliberately trying to piss off Mr. Money Mustache or is your Reading Comprehension just not up to the level of the article?!

          We already have the word.

          It’s “RETIRED”.

          • Jamie February 14, 2013, 4:49 pm

            Instead of RETIRED, call it RE-TRIED…

          • Mr 1500 February 15, 2013, 6:42 am

            Nope, not trying to piss anyone off and my reading comprehension isn’t lacking.

            I just disagree with the word “retired.” Its an old word with old connotations. I think the early retirement (i know, there’s that word again) movement deserves something better.

            • Brad February 15, 2013, 7:07 am

              I tell people I do Security (my own, but I don’t need to tell them that).

            • Michael February 15, 2013, 5:20 pm

              This is a valid point.

              It’s as plain as day that Jacob and MMM use the word “retired” to mean something significantly different than the general population.

              I’m not trying to be hostile here, and I definitely support this project. Just neutrally observing that to most people, simply saying that “Jacob is retired” does not fully convey the situation. People get the wrong impression because of how the word is typically used.

            • Da55id February 16, 2013, 8:04 am

              This is my impression as well. I admire your measured and refined reply.

            • Da55id February 16, 2013, 8:17 am

              The origin of the word is interesting and perhaps useful – from OED:

              retirement (n.)
              1590s, “act of retreating,” also “act of withdrawing into seclusion,” from French retirement (1570s); see retire + -ment. Meaning “privacy” is from c.1600; that of “withdrawal from occupation or business” is from 1640s.

              Retirement was an awful thing meaning “worn out and thrown away” up until Wall Street circa 1985 repurposed the word in order to build the 401k into the cash cow it has become for the finance industry. I am 60. I do not tell people I’m retired because that word now means too many things in opposition. I tell them “I am independent and try to do good”. This intrigues them and opens a positive conversation without inducing memetic bends.

          • Diane February 17, 2013, 5:41 pm

            I have a word. I call it “DONE”. As in “I’m done doing anything that anyone else says I “have” to do”. I can pretty much do whatever I want. Sucks to be those IRP people, doesn’t it?
            Done. Done. Done.

  • Mr. Frugal Toque February 14, 2013, 4:55 am

    Part of the issue we’re having with the word “retired” has to do with the image it personally conjures up for the various people using the term.
    True, because of my frequent associations with this blog, the CBC coming to my house, my brief mid-life, lay-off induced retirement last summer, and various other interactions, I have begun to think of “retired” as meaning “young people spending time with their kids, running every morning and building giant playground fortresses in the afternoon.”
    However, historically, the word “retired” still makes me think of my grandparents, sitting on the porch, walking to the corner store for lottery tickets, or puttering around the garden. Good for them? Of course. An excellent source of Kit Kat and Coffee Crisp during my youth? Absolutely!
    But exciting and worthy of being assigned as a life goal?
    “No!” my insides cry out. “I’m not old enough to be ‘retired’ yet!”
    But those associations change over time, and as the world begins to see young, energetic people mountain-biking, rock-climbing and raising their own children under the general banner of “retirement”, we’ll slowly win the battle and take control of the term in the minds of the general populace.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 12:52 pm


      I also happens that we just completely and permanently redefined the word in this article,

      So “Retired” no longer conjures up images of unfortunate physiques and astro-turf front porches.

      It just means you’ve graduated from money slavery and started Adult Living. Almost everybody will be retired in the MMM utopian future.

      • Edward February 14, 2013, 1:41 pm

        Why would anyone invent a new word for something that’s completely fine to them because they’re *scared* it might bring up wrong images for other people? Think of the word “weightlifting” and it automatically conjures images of oiled up, no-neck, hulks. But when you lift weights, that’s what you’re doing–even if you’re a tiny high school girl. Most people think of the word “Paris” and it conjures up the Eiffel Tower, mimes, berets, bread and cheese but there’s a helluva lot more to that city than that. What do I care what it might conjure for others? I know what it *really* is. (I don’t think I even saw a mime while I was there.)

        What I mean is, retired is retired. To me “financially independent” has always sort of a ring like: “I currently support myself financially, don’t get help from others or go into debt, therefore I’m financially independent”. Doesn’t mean you don’t get a paycheck. “Retired” to me means “Boo, yeah–I’ll do what I want with my time ’cause I have enough money to do what I want with my time forever.”

        MMM -> Had no idea there were haters out there! Means you must be onto something. That Reddit line: “I have questions about his accounting skills if not his ethics and motivations.” …”Ethics”?!! Really?

        Great blog post!! And now I’m off to my favourite travel web site where people heatedly argue the difference between “tourist” and “traveller”.

      • RetiredAndHappy February 14, 2013, 2:31 pm

        Right on, MMM! I retired early, and have heard the gamut of comments from people: Everything from “I wish I could do that” to “i’ll never be able to retire” to “Why?”. While I feel for the people who *think* they’ll never be able to retire, I really feel sorry for the folks who ask “Why?”. As if their job/work is the only thing that defines them. If that were true, I’d be afraid to retire too, because, OMG, what would one do? What a sad state of affairs that is! I love that I can *choose* what to do, when I want to do it, and not have to care whether it pays me a cent. I Am Retired!

      • Amicable Skeptic February 17, 2013, 8:30 am

        I’ve been thinking about this sort of future for the last few months. With advances in robotics we really could enter a future where the majority of humans could truly spend most of their time in leisure activities. I think this level of automation is almost inescapable in our lifetimes (assuming society doesn’t collapse) and the big questions are:

        1. Will this benefit extend to all or will it just be for a few wealthy people with the rest are left in destitute poverty?

        2. How will people use their newly abundant leisure time? Will they make amazing art and try and take us to Mars or lay about on beaches and eat fatty foods?

  • Tony February 14, 2013, 5:12 am

    I agree. How about: Retirement is the state of being where, if you decided to stop working completely at any moment…you can. Something like that. Retirement for me will be when I ONLY work on my non-profit (so funny you mention it), but hold on…are the IRP saying I can’t take pay? Not cool.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, didn’t Jacob from ERE go back to work? If he doesn’t need to work and he just wants to…is he retired? This is getting complicated.

    Finally, what is most classic to me is that you, Mr. MM, got to your blissful state of retirement by not giving a shit what ANYONE thought about you (and taught us all so much in the process). The IRP could have broken you down a while ago, but thanks for addressing it once more.

    I still think we need a new word…

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 12:54 pm

      Yup, Jacob is definitely RETIRED.

      He’s currently doing a fun project in the financial industry, and getting paid for it, but he still just as Retired as Mr. Money Mustache, the very person who DEFINED the word, less than 24 hours ago.

  • Patrick February 14, 2013, 5:24 am

    I wouldn’t get too upset with the IRP, MMM. Their actions were fodder for another great post!!

  • Gloria February 14, 2013, 5:33 am

    I don’ know… we have such an insistence on constant busyness in our culture. You have to be doing something. As a retired person at 51, financially independent, whatever it is I am, I have to say that no one but no one seems to feel it’s acceptable for me to relax and sit on the beach. I am perpetually being asked what I am doing and if I don’t have a ready answer the disapproval is overwhelming.

    I wonder if those who have the inclination to build houses, write a blog, etc. are really on the receiving end of the true wrath of our fellow Americans. Just for the experience, why not try out saying that you are happy relaxing on a beach, reading a book, walking your dog, etc. and see what you are up against.

    • Mr. Frugal Toque February 14, 2013, 11:34 am

      If this is true, then maybe the Internet Retirement Police aren’t a real thing, but are instead just one facet of the immune system response of a pervasive financial irrationality.

      You’re retired and I’m not.
      Damn, there must be something wrong.
      Quickly, release the antibodies! Protect the irrationality!
      “Ah, I’ve got it! You’re NOT REALLY RETIRED.”
      Oh, wait.
      You sit on a beach all day? Then …
      There, phew.
      Contagion averted.
      My 9-5 grind is acceptable once again.
      No need for self-examination – just keep on grinding.

      People don’t like to find out that their lives are arbitrary and ridiculous.
      They’ve been taught that working from 20 to 65 is the only way to go and can’t imagine another route. There’s a lot of emotional investment there.
      Instead of saying “Holy Shit!” when they see a care free, retired 30 year old, their minds rebel and demand a quick path to rejection.
      It’s much easier to look at the early retirement gurus and wave them off with some simple objection than conduct a thorough analysis of what the guy’s done and how that differs from their own choices.

      • Marcia February 14, 2013, 11:53 am

        Yes. And maybe it’s how much we value the “other”.

        First up, I’m not retired. I WOH, so does my spouse, I like it that way.

        But I could quit tomorrow (we aren’t FI, but we don’t need my income). I could fill my days, literally, with the baby, the 1st grader, cooking meals, gardening, laundry, cleaning, mending clothing, making quilts, learning to knit, fixing the house, building furniture (ok, I’d have to learn that), changing the oil in the cars, washing the cars, volunteering at the school. But nobody would consider that “retirement”, they’d consider it “being a SAHP”.

        I expect I’d only get credit for being “retired” when child #2 hits college. And I’ll be 60 then, so it would be acceptable.

        Now if we BOTH weren’t working, maybe then we’d be “retired”.

      • Sylvie from Montreal March 22, 2017, 9:48 am

        I love how you put it, Mr Toque.
        Where I work ( not a glamorous job, in principle), most people will not even aknowledge the fact that yes, they are thinking about their retirement. They fear that others will perceive them as not quite motivated enough. Yet, believe me, they truly think about it too, and will admit it if you confess your “sin” first – but only in private. Baffling to me, but then, I am not known for my office politics skills!

    • meagain February 18, 2013, 1:51 pm

      I’m reading Bertrand Russell’s In Praise of Idleness. I think so far it’s a poignant read for all the Mustachians on here. I agree that “we have such an insistence on constant busyness in our culture” that is unhealthy.

  • Simple Economist February 14, 2013, 5:43 am

    Awesome. This is one of those great post that is great to share with other people. I was just talking to a few friends and coworkers the other day about how it was looking like I’ll be able to retire about three or four years after I finish school and they were utterly confused at how it was possible. I think my favorite part was the repeated questioning of the fact “what job lets you retired that young?” With my response being a job that pays more than I spend.

    The ironic thing is that I’ll probably do much of the same stuff I do now when I retire. I suppose the biggest differences is not being committed on time. I think once productive people retire, it’s almoat hard not to still accumulate because there are lots of pretty fun and entertaining ways to make more than the basic levels of spending (~25,000). As much as I missed the post while you were in Hawaii, that was the perfect example of what a retired blogger can do that many others can’t.

    • Raechelle February 17, 2013, 9:45 am

      Great response! We’re spending lots of time teaching our kids NOT to get into debt and how to grow wealth, so they can choose their own lives. Thank you for posting this – “I’ll retire soon after high school…” Can’t wait until my own kids start talking like this! We have been playing with compound interest calculators and my kids are having a blast.

      • Simple Economist February 19, 2013, 10:48 am

        I wish I could say that I am only coming out of high school. I wish I was that wise then! I was actually referring to when I come out of graduate school. I was fortunate enough to have some intelligent people in my life help be get through my undergrad and masters without debt or credit. It’s pretty cool too how if you live inexpensively you can afford to save up and pay cash for a house in the area where I live in just a year or two. I’ll probably stay in school for the rest of my life because I enjoy it. I might even teach here or overseas after I retire.

        • Gerard February 20, 2013, 8:46 am

          SE, that line about “a job that pays more than I spend” is the best thing I’ve read today. Thanks!

  • BeatTheSeasons February 14, 2013, 5:52 am

    I’m pretty sure Jacob also wrote that calling his blog Early ‘Retirement’ Extreme was the biggest blogging mistake he ever made.

    Dictionary definitions of ‘retired’ read like this: “Withdrawn from one’s occupation, business, or office; having finished one’s active working life” – and so I’d say the IRP have a decent argument. You might have a big blog but you don’t write the dictionaries!

    The concept of Mustachianism seems to get round all of this quite neatly – which leaves me wondering why it’s necessary to have an argument about retirement at all.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 1:02 pm

      Yeah, but Jacob is not as bossy as Mr. Money Mustache.

      The IRP might have had a decent argument based on that dictionary definition.

      But note that I just updated the definition – see article.

      Obviously the dictionary can be forgiven for having an out-of-date explanation – it was written before the MMM blog even began publishing in April 2010!

      To those who would complain that the Mustachians can’t subtly update the definition of an existing dictionary word, consider this:

      Does society consult the dictionary and work to conform to its definitions? Or does the dictionary look at society and attempt to document our common understanding of the meanings of words?

      And if it’s the latter, consider the often-stated purpose of this blog:
      Is it to provide guidance on conforming to the conventions of existing society?
      Or is it to CHANGE the whole fucking society for the better?

      • Teresa February 14, 2013, 1:42 pm

        Hahaha @ the dictionary comment. Thanks for telling the IRP to go pound salt!

  • TicoHombre February 14, 2013, 5:54 am


    Just curious. How would you define “Semi-retired”?

    That’s an oft used expression that deserves a definition.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 1:03 pm

      Semi-retired means your investments are covering part of your living expenses. So you can afford to work a lighter schedule, and still cover the bills.

      • Mark February 14, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Wouldn’t that include anyone with a positive net worth? Or, more precisely, anyone whose assets have a greater cash flow and/or return than the negative cash flow/return of their debts?

        Not necessarily questioning, just seeing if I understand.

        • Ms. Must-stash February 15, 2013, 10:43 am

          Nope. We have a positive net worth and positive cash flow from our assets, but definitely don’t work a lighter schedule because of it. Therefore we are not yet semi-retired.

      • M February 15, 2013, 12:44 pm

        That’s the term my husband used when he left the corporate world at 46. I assumed he’d get his fair share of “haters” but almost everyone was supportive, even envious. I continue to work VERY part-time, we have rental property as income. My husband returned to his first love–cars. He now custom builds (not restores; like from the frame to the upholstery) kit cars. He’s happy, having a blast and his 500hp supercar will appear in a MGM movie in 2014. Retirement is sweet :)

  • Ross February 14, 2013, 6:01 am

    55% fewer syllables. – that’s pure gold. Thanks for not taking shit from nobody mmm!

  • Darrow February 14, 2013, 6:12 am

    Bravo. Retirement is an imperfect word, but it’s the best we’ve got. I define it as a level of financial independence that lets you choose the work you want to do, without regard to income. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, very few fit, mentally active people will choose to do NO work in “retirement.” I’ve been queried about my assets, accused of not being retired because my wife worked, and even heckled for not working (writing on my blog) enough! Some sad personalities will find fault with anything instead of taking the good and applying it to their own lives. MMM is such a positive model of frugality, creativity, and industry. The readership numbers speak for themselves. Call it what you want, there is something remarkable going on here.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 1:05 pm

      Thanks Darrow.. just a quick correction: “Retirement” is not an imperfect word for what we’re doing here, it’s a perfect one. See article. ;-)

  • UK Money Motivator February 14, 2013, 6:13 am

    I am currently coping with a parent who retired at the usual age, then promptly became ill and can no longer do ANYTHING he planned on doing once retired.

    But he never considered retiring early, because he strove to ‘keep up with the Jones’ by getting a better house/car/holiday destination, and was never content with investing for an early retirement – he considered anyone who did to be ‘lazy and lacking focus’.

    All we can do with people like him is to learn from their mistakes, which I really REALLY hope I am doing. It is a struggle to explain to him that I want to retire early, and that this doesn’t mean I want to sit at home all day and watch day time TV. But that it means I want to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, which is a bonus if that involves being paid at the same time :)

    I can think of nothing better than waking up to a day where I can choose to work as hard or as little as I like, for either my own gain or for the gain of those people I love and cherish, and to direct a smug (inner!) smile at those who just can’t break out of the victorian work ethic of : Work till you die!

    My ‘stache is getting slowly bigger, and I am working on all the open minded people around me, to encourage them to become more mustachian and bad-ass like Mr and Mrs MM. If I can persuade two people to become more sensible with their money, and they persuade two others, and they persuade two others… etc… etc… then I will ‘retire’ a happy guy :)

  • aspiringyogini February 14, 2013, 6:23 am

    I’ve been financially independent for 11 1/2 years now and I don’t think one is my position should fee the need to explain anything about their financial situation. Since people will never really understand ones philosophy until they really spend time with the person; it’s better to answer questions vaguely with people you just meet and then explain in more detail later on if the relationship gets more personal. What surprises me here is the anger people feel and that they must explain themselves to people who don’t “get” the principles of frugality, early retirement, working part-time or whatever. Would a parent or teacher get mad at a child or a student who didn’t understand something? Should one take the time to explain something if resistance is felt to what is being explained? Like teaching a student, you give them what they need at the time and when you feel resistance, you know that the student isn’t ready for the next lesson. However, being angry because they aren’t ready doesn’t serve anybody.

    • Jimbo February 14, 2013, 6:52 am

      Holy cow that was well put!

      I tip my hat to your patience, my kind sir.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 9:01 am

      Very wise words, Aspiring Yogini. And when dealing with a real-life student, you’re right: being angry at slow learning progress is usually counterproductive.

      But here on Mr. Money Mustache, we use the unyielding stance and the flying fist as literary devices. It is a direct response to the touchy-feely “well, every situation is different” wussypants attitude that allows people to slide into a lifetime of Consuma’ Suckadom. When there are chinks in the armor, marketers slip in their crowbars and pry it off, and before you know it you’re right back at the GM dealership signing the 1.9% financing papers on the Escalade.

      By making the issues properly black-and-white, you shock people out of their trance and get them to start thinking differently. Does it work? Fuck yeah! Do you think a gentle approach would be more effective? Go register http://www.mrmoneymustacheshouldbemoregentleandunderstanding.com and see if it ends up more effective than this site.

      • Marcia February 14, 2013, 11:59 am

        I tend to the more “shades of gray” only because I think some people need that gentle touch to get started.

        I am not personally like that (I tend to jump in head first to new things). But I know people who are.

        Example: weight loss. When I lost weight in ’02 and again after the first baby in 07, I just sat down, worked out my plan, and did it. I will do it again when I stop nursing this last baby.

        But I have a friend who lost 30 pounds in 2 years by just slowing decreasing the amount of rice he ate with lunch from 3 cups to 1 cup. Incremental changes work for some people. The disadvantage to them is that they go in the other direction. Money, like food…it’s easy to slowly get back those bad habits, whether it’s spending or eating.

      • aspiringyogini February 14, 2013, 12:43 pm

        MMM, I do appreciate your sarcasm and humor. But I feel the anger coming out as well, and I am not one of those people who *gasp* buys new cars or falls prey to marketers and yet, you’re angry!!! I agree with how nice it is, not having to “work a job” to earn a living! I just don’t understand the anger at someone who hasn’t gotten the message yet!

        Also, since there are always new people coming to the site, I think you are going to have to restate your message and yes, each of them may need it in terms that they can apply to their unique situation(s). Because they haven’t conceived of it yet, they don’t know or believe it possible, so you might have to show them because not everyone is able to learn unassisted!

        • Edward February 14, 2013, 2:07 pm

          Wow. I get accused of being angry all over the Internet myself. Yet I’m never angry. Maybe it’s the way I put my words together after watching a lifetime of Clint Eastwood movies? I have a lot of dry wit that might sound angry written but wouldn’t when spoken? Because the Sweat Hogs were my role models growing up?

          Umm.. Also wondering who died and made you the Anger Police? …Just sayin’. :/

        • Emmers February 14, 2013, 3:31 pm

          “since there are always new people coming to the site”

          MMM’s readership is now suffering from Eternal September? :-D

        • JJ February 14, 2013, 5:20 pm

          Anger and appearance of anger are two different things. Like yelling at your dog or kid when they are about to run in front of a car – you appear angry but are actually concerned for their welfare.

      • Neo February 14, 2013, 5:16 pm

        Way of the flying fist beats hamster (I love it on the treadmill) style?

    • Amanda February 14, 2013, 9:12 am

      While I agree that anger is a non-productive reaction, I think the point is that the IRP are the angry ones. Angry that MMM isn’t following the “rules” as they see them or worse, lying about all of it.

      Basically, they started it.

  • nicoleandmaggie February 14, 2013, 6:25 am

    Retired does not have a standard definition in economics. If you write a paper with “retired” as your outcome variable in a paper, the referee will ask you what you mean by that, and if you mean “not in the labor force” or “not working” (these are different– not working includes unemployment) then you should use those variables instead.

    Self-defined retirement is tricky. It also means different things to different people. Wives, for example, define “retired” based on what their husbands are doing and if their kids are still in school, not just on their own work situation. There’s a nice sociology literature covering self-defined retirement.

    I will say that I did recently pull the “but his wife worked until just recently and he’s working as a carpenter now” when another blogger made the argument that only male bloggers are badass enough to be early retired. But only because she was arguing that specific women’s husbands still work (even if they don’t have to) and they’re still doing part-time stuff like blogs too. I wasn’t saying you weren’t retired, just that they were just as much so, only they call it something different.. I like the term financial independence because it means you don’t *have* to work.

  • NewlyRETIRED February 14, 2013, 6:29 am

    Amen brother

    I just retired from the race on January the 1st, and discovered your blog at the same time. So good to learn there are like-minded folks out there. Being retired at 43 after 20 years in the high tech game seemed, well – peculiar. I did not know how to describe this new state, but you’ve settled it for me – I am RETIRED — WWWOOOO!!!

    • Carolina on My Mind February 14, 2013, 8:15 am

      Wow, good job! I’m also 43 and expect to join you in about three years. :)

      • Tara February 14, 2013, 10:15 am

        High five! I am 46 and I am pulling the plug on my high tech career in 4 months to RETIRE! I will probably do some type of part time work or volunteering in the future just because I tend to get bored and depressed when I don’t have something meaningful to do but I appreciate this blog post because it confirms the fact that WE get to decide what retirement looks like for us, not the IRP.

        • Rob aka Captain and Mrs Slow February 18, 2013, 1:43 pm

          I, or more correctly, my wife, sadly won’t be pulling the plug till 65 or so but at least unlike most people we’ll be well prepared for it. I now put my energy into talking to young couples about how to avoid our mistakes and our baby boomers friends on the importance of planning. Actually got my sister in law to understand with some hard work she could not only retire at 65 but spend their winters in Florida. Before that she was planning on working killer hours till well it killed her. Extra step less is more, one can live very comfortably on 40 hours as easily as 70

          Yes it’s not early retirement but it’s also not poverty in retirement either.

  • Ishmael February 14, 2013, 6:39 am

    MMM’s great message can essentially be boiled down to that avoiding being a consumer sukka gives you more freedom and choice in life. The more you can avoid, the more freedom you can have.

    I find it very frustrating when people attempt to nitpick details and don’t try to comprehend the foundation of an idea first. The linked discussion was silly; they should have just read the layers of backup post.

    Who gives a flying rats’ ass what it’s called? How about ‘Stashed’, or ‘Free’, or ‘Financially Enlightened’ or ‘Blue’. It’s not an absolute state. The point is, there are massive opportunities for people to be living the life THEY want to live instead of the life Corporate America wants you to live, but it requires focus.

    And you can make the world a better place by doing it.

    MMM’s writings have inspired me to plan my freedom date for 5 years from now (43!) instead of the default 20. And my plan is to still work some, and try some business ideas… but with complete freedom to choose!

  • Johnny Moneyseed February 14, 2013, 6:47 am

    People tell me all the time that there’s no way I can retire by the time I’m 35. And they REALLY don’t understand when I talk about what kind of work we’re planning on doing in retirement. This is such a foreign concept to most people!

    • Doug February 14, 2013, 11:09 am

      They’ve obviously never heard of Derek Foster who retired at age 34. Who’s he you ask? Have a look at http://www.stopworking.ca . And now for the punch line. He has a wife and kids, putting to rest once and for all the myth that you can’t retire with the expenses of a family.

  • Mr 1500 February 14, 2013, 6:53 am

    I have a solution to shut the complainers up: Mr. Money Mustache TV!. It would be a reality show following the life of MMM. If folks saw you getting up at 9AM, spending weeks in tropical locales, going on bike rides with MMM Jr. and whatever else fills up your life, they would quickly shut up.

    Of course, they’d probably also change the channel quickly. A stable, stress free/drama free, sleeping until 9, life wouldn’t make for good TV.

    • Erica / Northwest Edible Life February 14, 2013, 10:21 am

      MMM does not deserve what would come of his life being made into a reality show to entertain the masses. Personally, I hope he does some pretty remarkable feats of time-management and mental walling-off to prevent even this blog from creeping into a position where it takes up more of his life than he wishes.

      • Mr 1500 February 14, 2013, 11:28 am

        Ahh, sarcasm and silliness often don’t convey well over the Internet…

        Please reread though. I shot it down myself in the same post, stating that no-one would watch it because MMM leads a good life. No stress, fights, conflict = boring.

        • Erica / Northwest Edible Life February 16, 2013, 5:57 pm

          Yeah, sorry about that. I hope that didn’t come across as critical towards you. If it did I apologize. I’ve been dealing with my own internet vortex of stupidity and hate and that may have influenced my tone. :) We ALL wish MMM Fam the best, I know. Didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

          • Mr 1500 February 18, 2013, 7:06 pm

            Ah no, its all good!

            “I’ve been dealing with my own internet vortex of stupidity and hate and that may have influenced my tone.”

            This just goes to show how ridiculous people are. Your blog is covers the most non-controversial topics on earth and is well written. Imagine the shit that bloggers who write about stuff like politics must get.

  • Mr. Frugal Toque February 14, 2013, 7:06 am

    I’m going to have to call you out on your math though:
    Fi-nan-shu-lee In-dee-pen-dent = 8 syllables
    Re – tired = 2 syllables
    2/8 = 25%
    “Retired” uses 75% less syllables, which is a far cry from the 55% quoted in this article.
    And, since we’re typing, what really matters is character count:
    Financially Independent = 23 characters (counting the space)
    Retired = 7
    A savings of almost 70%.

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2013, 7:20 am

      Good point, Mr. FT, thanks for catching that glaring typo. Good thing I’m not really doing this for a living!

      • lurker February 14, 2013, 10:20 am

        there is always a favorite:


    • Lorin February 16, 2013, 1:15 am

      Retired has 3 syllables, at least the way I say it.

  • Bella February 14, 2013, 7:14 am

    I think most people have touched on teh different social issues with early retirement. But I think it’s a little more interesting to dive into why Financially Independant is so hard to accept. And I’ll give you a hint – it has nothing to do with the extra syllables.
    when you refer to someone who is retired – the person conjured up is someone who worked hard, earned their money themselves and is now reaping the rewards of that hard work. An *average* person. (This is why early retirees cling to this word – because they feel it best represents their situation)
    when you refer to someone who is Financially Independant – the image conjured up is of someone who most likely had some sort of windfall, or inheritance. Or lucked into the right boom cycle of the market. But the fundamental expectation is that they had some sort of external factors that are completely unavailable to majority of the populace. A *privilaged* person (which is why early retirees who have worked hard, and saved dislike this term).

    • Cee February 14, 2013, 7:19 am

      Ah, but then every once in a while he could do a lifestyle “intervention” and give people figurative punches in the face, or perhaps literal punches if they sign the waiver ;)

  • Delphine February 14, 2013, 7:20 am

    The other day at work (a medical institution), I happened to glance at a patient’s demographic sheet. This said the patient was 23, “retired”, and for insurance it had “medicaid”. I thought back to this blog and chuckled to myself. It seems there should be some limits to the use of “retired”, such as needing state aid to survive. *shrug*.

  • Tim February 14, 2013, 7:24 am

    I don’t think the IRP realize that sitting on a beach day after day and staring out windows will break down physical and mental health far faster than staying active and “working” at your convenience and pleasure! It’s as if they’re just sitting around waiting for their time to come….

  • rjack February 14, 2013, 7:25 am

    By your definition, I’m retired.

    I’m 53, so people generally don’t look at me too oddly when I tell them I’m retired, but if they do I have a few other phrases that I sometimes use:

    1) I’m no longer a wage slave. I use this one when I’m trying to shock someone into seeing his role in society differently.

    2) I’m semi-retired. I use this one when I discuss working on software that I may sell.

    3) I’m a free man. I use this one when I want to emphasize that I do whatever the f*ck I want to do.

    4) I’m financially independent. I use this one when someone thinks that I’m really looking for work due to a layoff, but I’m too embarrassed to admit it.

  • Nords (The-Military-Guide.com) February 14, 2013, 7:29 am

    I’d say it’s pretty clear that the Internet Retirement Police do not surf.

    I know what would resolve the issue: a certification. I have one from the Department of the Navy assuring the world that I’m legitimately retired. I even had to go through retirement training before I could get the certificate.

    Of course I also have a certificate from Congress certifying that I’m a gentleman. My spouse has one of those too.

    • Self-Employed-Swami February 14, 2013, 8:24 am

      You’re wife has a certificate, deeming her a gentleman? (I think I’ve previously heard you refer to a ‘her’ but that might be someone else I’m thinking of).

      And I’m curious what ‘retirement training’ envolved.

      • Nords (The-Military-Guide.com) February 14, 2013, 9:28 am

        Apologies for my snarky insider military humor…

        The joke among U.S. military is that officers are given a commission by Congress declaring them “an officer and a gentleman”. (In other words, I guess it takes an act of Congress to make officers into gentlemen.) My (female) spouse and I are both retired (Navy) officers, and our daughter is a Navy ROTC midshipman. My spouse is USNA ’83, the fourth year that women graduated from service academies, and even today some parts of the military bureaucracy are still working the bugs out of the gender-integration paperwork. It’ll be interesting to read the wording of our daughter’s commission next year.

        Before servicemembers separate from the U.S. military, we’re required to attend the Transition Assistance Program (which is getting a new acronym, Transition GPS, for “Goals Plans Success”). It’s designed to make sure you’re briefed on your various benefits. Its main purpose is to discharge DoD’s legal obligation to help veterans start their bridge careers, and there’s no discussion of the actual retirement lifestyle. During my TAP (for my 2002 retirement) I was the subject of some facilitator finger-wagging admonishments that I’d better take their advice more seriously– especially the resume-writing sessions, interview tips, and “dress for success” talks on corporate fashion.

        • Self-Employed-Swami February 14, 2013, 10:19 am

          Ahh. Dress for success, and polish your resume, because there is no way you are going to be able to live off our benefits! What a nice boot out the door, eh?

          And I should have put a :) at the end of my first question.

        • Marcia February 14, 2013, 12:07 pm

          Ah, I remember TAP…

          • Nords (The-Military-Guide.com) February 14, 2013, 7:43 pm

            @Marcia, @Swami, my clearest memory of TAP was when the seminar leader explained how the first retirement check might be delayed a week or two by processing. This was after he’d mentioned that the pension is paid monthly in arrears.

            A horrified murmur swept through the attendees when they realized that they might have to go as long as six weeks between their last paycheck and their first pension check. They were really motivated listeners during the resume & attire talks.

            • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple February 15, 2013, 10:46 am

              That’s funny. I was only in for 5 years, so natch, no retirement checks for me.

              The thing that stood out the most was the really senior folks asking (by “really senior”, I mean “getting a pension”) “How do you respond to a company’s job offer when they tell you that they are going to pay you less because they know you are getting a pension.”

              The response was “don’t take that job”.

            • Nords (The-Military-Guide.com) February 15, 2013, 11:09 am

              Followed by “… and you wouldn’t want to work for a company like that anyway!”

              This is why DoD wants to make Tricare a second-pay policy for military retirees entitled to health insurance at their civilian bridge career.

        • Kenoryn February 14, 2013, 2:34 pm

          Ahh, so that’s what that movie title references!

  • Kraig @ Young Cheap Living February 14, 2013, 7:39 am

    You tell ’em, MMM. I’m behind you. I’ve had people comment on my blog saying I was in the wrong in chasing retirement because work is good. Of course work is good, but is being forced to do work you don’t enjoy good?

    Yes, you can work in retirement. Who ever dared to think you couldn’t? These people are nuts. And why couldn’t you earn money for your efforts? I tell ya.

    Jealousy is the problem here. They just don’t have enough drive to accomplish it so they want to bring everyone who’s achieved it down. How sad.

    • Ishmael February 14, 2013, 12:50 pm

      Work isn’t good at all – the vast majority of jobs out there either are completely pointless in the grand scheme of things (e.g. advertising, taxes, phone sanitizers, etc.) or have had all the satisfaction sucked out of them by the structure of our economy.

      “If you want to hate something you love to do, try doing it for a living.”

      OTOH, there are lots of awesome things to do in life in general that are incredibly fun and/or satisfying… and that’s why retiring is such an awesome goal! Or at least becoming ABLE to retire, because then you can make your job fit you.

      • Cee February 14, 2013, 1:52 pm

        As an epidemiologist, I have to disagree about the phone sanitizers…at least until we do away with public telephones – those things are filthy.

  • rod February 14, 2013, 7:47 am

    Well, no body will read my point, but mmm, you seem to care what they think and maybe they are jealous. To me its measured in freedom, monetarily and time wise. You had a awesome vacation, helped a pals family, loan money to folks, take care of your family and friends, and share that with the world. I’m sure you’ll slow down, but for now you have energy to go like hell. No clock to punch, you are in charge! Maybe that’s true retirement, unchained from others plans for you and the spreadsheet of the money they will make off you. Reminds me of the song low spark of high heeled boys by traffic. I still punch the clock, but I use your blog to remind myself of a long term plan. I also work for myself but once my debts are settled, I won’t punch the clock. You are just proof it can be done, by choice and determination. I’m 43 and go like hell too, hopefully I will even after retirement. I’m sure I can enjoy the bingo halls anytime, just not today. I love to play bingo, its not just for retired people!! And the bbq isn’t bad there, good company too! Gotta go finish my bathrom construction, that you started me on! Take care mmm family!

    • Patti February 18, 2013, 6:38 pm

      I agree with you, Rod! People are jealous of those of us who can and will RETIRE early! I get it a work all the time. Retirement is the word!!

  • Amanda February 14, 2013, 8:19 am

    A friend of mine once took an extended time off (a year or two) in order to write a novel. During that time she used the term “pretired” which I really liked. Its certainly not the same thing as retired or FI, but it worked in her case.

  • Self-Employed-Swami February 14, 2013, 8:30 am

    I once took a month of unpaid medical leave from my sucka office job, before I became self-employed (I get 2-4 months off now). Upon my return, one of my co-workers quizzed me on my ability to take time off, and still pay my mortgage, with two whole missing paycheques. I told her I had savings, and she just couldn’t comprehend. She also had just bought a new house, and had filled it with top of the line TVs, gadgets, and fancy kitchen appliances. She just couldn’t connect the dots between her situation, and the fact that we willing bought a used car, and I brought my lunch every day.

    I can only imagine what she’d think, and the questions she would ask, if I ran into her 5 years from now, when I’ll likely be a stay at home parent.

    • Sarah February 14, 2013, 11:32 am

      We need a “like” button for stories like yours SES!

      • Self-Employed-Swami February 15, 2013, 12:29 pm

        Awe. Thanks :)

  • Brandy February 14, 2013, 8:39 am

    Glad to see your feisty pants are back on. I have missed posts like these.

    • Mr. Frugal Toque February 14, 2013, 11:18 am

      I’m not sure how you pictured FeistyPants, but when I saw the words, I capitalized them and pictured somebody in hip waders. I went looking for an image of some kind of waist or chest high rubber pants with suspenders, and then I found this guy.
      Clearly, these are his FeistyPants:

  • Rich Uncle EL February 14, 2013, 8:52 am

    I guess some people are just so bitter that they can’t accept being retired as a way of life. I have been inspired by your retirement status and I’m sure we positive, accepting individuals outnumber the crappy IRP people. Keep doing what you do, and let them stay working forever. Like the corny people who always tell me, I work hard for my money, when I tell them to invest more. HA HA.

  • Pauline February 14, 2013, 9:03 am

    Great post MMM. I have a little IRP policeman deep inside me that says I am not retired because I want to turn my house into a guest house, own some cattle and am a landlady managing my properties. Really, not needing to work or set foot in an office ever again doesn’t mean you have to sit on the beach all day. I made my calculations to leave a small something behind and anything earned “in retirement” will actually inflate that nest egg or allow me do give to charities, help family members… If you enjoy fixing houses but can stop at any point and do nothing, you are retired.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina February 14, 2013, 9:04 am

    They are just expressing their jealousy in a bad manner! No worries :)

  • ketchup February 14, 2013, 9:31 am

    Looks like it’s the week of people defending themselves. Mark Sisson posted this yesterday: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/5-things-people-assume-about-mark-sisson-that-are-wrong/

  • MAMIL February 14, 2013, 9:41 am

    I don’t understand why we need to reinvent words.

    Here is a quote from Merriam-Webster dictionary:

    “retirement: withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life”

    So, unless you’ve withdrawn from active working life, you are not retired.

    I don’t understand why such a great entrepreneur as MMM would like to be called “retired”. “Retired” brings an image of an old guy in a white chair on a porch.

    • Amanda February 14, 2013, 9:46 am

      I disagree. The definition uses the word “or,” not “and.” So if someone has withdrawn from their position or occupation, they qualify.

      • MAMIL February 14, 2013, 9:54 am

        Are you saying that it should be more complicated like:
        – retired from office work @ Company A … to work at company B.
        – retired from being a kayaker …. to become a rock climber


        • Amanda February 14, 2013, 10:21 am

          Yes, it should be more complicated. Language is complicated. There isn’t a 1:1 ratio of word to meaning. If someone said they were a biker, you don’t really know if they are a cyclist or riding a Harley.

    • TLV February 14, 2013, 10:11 am

      But MMM *has* withdrawn from his occupation as a full-time engineer. The definition says “or,” not “and.”

      Edit – Ninja’d.

    • Tory February 14, 2013, 10:22 am

      We reinvent words (and invent new ones) for good reason-because culture and society changes. Our language also evolves as we do. And rightly so in many cases.

      That being said, as someone with English degrees and an author, I believe we need to avoid the misuse of language, which is very different.

      According to its actual definition, as was partially quoted, if you actively work for pay full-time, you are not fully retired. The type/degree, however, of retirement is variable (ie; semi-retired, etc). Receiving money from investment and passive income (financial indepen) is not the same thing as actively working for pay, or not.

      People getting upset over a perceived misuse of language is not them being internet police officers, imo. That’s just some people getting upset when people are incorrectly using their own definitions for words instead of the actual definition. And people do that-get upset over that kind of stuff-whether others think they’re entitled to or not. But that’s not really what happened here.

      Anyway. Can you argue that the word’s meaning is evolving and you think it fits your situation and you’re using the term retired anyway? Sure. Can you argue they’re wrong for saying you’re not fully retired? I’d probably say no, not technically. You’re not strictly fully retired according to definition, Mr. M.

      But what I ACTUALLY find offensive is when people decide to argue back about it at all. My own personal opinion is someone who’s right doesn’t need to argue back and defend themselves. It makes you look wrong, usually because you are wrong and they hit a sore spot (in this case I suspect you’re not pissed they think you’re using a word incorrectly, you’re pissed they’re essentially calling you a liar, right?) and you are not actually addressing that, and puts you on the same level as those accusing you.

      But I digress. The words fully retired. You’re also a writer. Words are also your tools. Just as you wouldn’t use a wrench to pry off trim, you should use the sharpest, most correct tools for each sentence you draft. I’m not sure I would say the words fully retired are the correct tools for you in this case.

      But, again, if someone wants to use a wrench to pry off trim, that’s their right. Doesn’t make them right, it’s just their right.

      • Rupert November 6, 2014, 1:30 pm

        “That being said, as someone with English degrees and an author, I believe we need to avoid the misuse of language…”

        What’s your author’s name? Where can I get an author of my own?

        • jlcollinsnh November 6, 2014, 2:24 pm

          Now that’s roll-on-the-floor-laugh-out-loud funny, Rupert.

          At least it had me on the floor. Heh.

          (Gee. I sure hope my three lines above are grammatically correct. And these three.)

  • Hermi February 14, 2013, 10:03 am

    Resentfulness combined with lack of imagination and initiative.
    Jealously The IRP attack the lifestyle they would love to have.
    Not that they will ever admit it.

  • lurker February 14, 2013, 10:22 am


  • lurker February 14, 2013, 10:25 am

    free agent

    yes whim-rider…not retired just surfing my choices and not a boss’s…

  • Joanna February 14, 2013, 10:25 am

    You MUST sit in a recliner all day and watch TV Land. And no hobbies allowed. Capiche??! Blegh, that’d be miserable. I hope to spend my retirement the same as you. I loved this post… you should feel good knowing that there are people out there who take the time to hate on you. That means you must be doing something right. :)

  • No Name Guy February 14, 2013, 10:46 am

    Way to tell it like it is there MMM.

    And Erica – love it when gals say “tell assholes to go fuck themselves”.

    When I get there, I think I’m going to use the term “Independently wealthy”. Let the ignorant fuck-tards think I’m a trust fund baby….fuck ’em. I’ll know that I earned and saved every dime to build up the ‘stache so that what ever I happen to be doing, it’s by choice.

    List of shit to do once I’m IW / FI / ER, in no particular order:
    1) Hike the PCT again. Do the CDT after that. Head east and knock off the AT to complete the Triple Crown.
    2) Kayak from Seattle to Alaska via the Inside Passage
    3) Bike tour from the left coast to New England to visit family. Bike back when done.
    4) Spend a LOT of time doing volunteer work on trails.
    5) Related to 4, build my traditional skill sets – learn how to file / sharpen old school cross cut saws, learn how to masonry work for trails – how to shape stones to build trail structures (there is some amazing stone work from the 30’s in the High Sierra on the JMT / PCT – would LOVE to build shit like that), learn grip hoist / rigging, bridge building. Become a saw instructor for both cross cut and chain saw (already started on this one).

    And note how none of those activities cost squat: One has to eat no matter what….living in a tent while hiking, kayaking, on trail crew is free. All are physical, outdoors and have great scenery. Yup…..the plan is there. I just have to grunt it out for a few more years until the ‘stache is big enough to finance it. And the beauty of the above, is I could turn those activities into part time income should I desire – guide, guidebook author (more so on the IP than the trails), summer / seasonal paid trail crew, paid classes on the traditional skills, should I get to a high enough level.

    • Marcia February 14, 2013, 12:10 pm

      CDT = ?? Continental divide?

      My niece did the AT when she was in her 20’s. She sent a few updates from the trail, my sister sent them to me. It was really cool. at the same time I found a blog of a guy who was doing the PCT. He finished the same day she did.

      I’d never personally want to do that, but I love reading about other people’s adventures.

    • Mike Long February 14, 2013, 12:11 pm

      Wow NNG….will be my new best friend? Your list of activities looks exactly like the list of things I would want to do with my free time.

      I’m serious. No sarcasm here. That list looks awesome. :-)

    • GayleRN February 14, 2013, 2:26 pm

      Extra credit challenge kayak the Great Lakes.

    • Erica/Northwest Edible Life February 17, 2013, 2:25 am

      Thanks NNG. I believe in using all the words. ;) your plan sounds amazing, a life lived in adventure. Good for you. You know what reading your list makes me think? People with big goals and big idea for themselves seem open to big plans and goals in others. Like I bet I could tell you some gardening goal I had and even if you don’t give a shit about gardening you would like that I was jazzed to do something big, right? Maybe really this IRP stuff is all just a dust up between big goal people and not big goal people.


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