Why Retirement is Similar to Marriage

Within the financial independence community, there is a lot of talk about the date when you retire. Many people talk about having e.g. 4 years of work left before they save up enough money to retire.

However, I have heard of many people who retire who end up disliking retirement. Perhaps they realize that they don’t have enough money to to live the life they want to live. Perhaps they realize they are bored without a job.

The entire idea of having a fixed date at which you retire sounds very final and drastic seems very similar to marriage. When you marry someone, you bind yourself to being with someone for the rest of your life under threat of legal and accounting costs. The same applies to retirement. You bind yourself to not working under threat of having to apply for a job again.

What is the alternative to retirement?

Instead of retiring at a fixed point, a more flexible option is to experiment. It reminds me of a famous saying by Deng Xiaoping: “Cross the river by feeling the stones.” Rather than plunging into a raging river, it is better to cautiously and carefully feel for the stones as you cross. Deng used this principle to build modern China. It is always wise to try something at a small scale to see if it works before scaling it up.

An alternative retirement, in my opinion, is simply semi-retirement. Rather than quit your job, simply take a few months off to see how you fare during retirement. Another option is to reduce your hours and work part-time and to pursue projects that interest you rather than force yourself to do work you hate in order to get a promotion.

All this depends on how easily you feel you can find another job. If you have skills that are in demend and feel you can easily find a job again if you change your mind about retirement, quitting your job may not be a big deal. Nevertheless, when you are older, there is a degree of ageism in the workforce, so it always wise to exercise caution. Cross the river by feeling the stones.

 

The “Real Man” Trap

I was speaking to a woman the other day. She was asking me why I wasn’t married. I told her I didn’t want to marry because I didn’t see the point of it. How was it going to benefit me?

She then spoke about how “real men dominate women and marry them.” This is something I hear many women say. Make no mistake, most women I meet are not feminists. Most women (or perhaps all) want a dominant strong and wealthy man who will protect them and shower them with cash. I don’t blame them. Why not? Who wouldn’t want to have a bodyguard and millions of dollars to spend as you please?

I then challenged this woman on her assertion. She was suggesting that I wasn’t a real man, but anatomically I have the Y chromosome. I am a man. I could get a doctor to certify it. She then spoke about how I didn’t act like a man. I asked her who decides what constituted masculine behaviour.

Anyway, long story cut short, I learned an important lessons, which is that when people say that a “real man” does this or that, they are simply trying to push their values on you. This woman clearly values marriage, and she tried to push marriage on me by telling me that I am not a real man unless I get married.

When someone says “be a man” then they are not really telling you to be a man because anatomically you already are. What they really mean is “do what I say” or “be my slave.”

This is the “real man” trap, and it seems to be used often because men are very insecure about not being manly enough, so anyone who is trying to push an agenda on you or is trying to sell something will likely appeal to these insecurities.

The next time someone tells you to be a man, you must resist. Tell them that you don’t simply conform to other people’s definitions of what masculinity is. You do what you want to do.

It is important that you don’t try to act masculine just to please women, other men, or society. Just be you.

Rational Misanthropy

It’s a Saturday morning now. I woke up at nine, drank a protein shake, and prepared a cup of tea. I’m writing this now on my laptop in a small room at the back of the house (see Why I Still Live with My Mother). I feel comfortable now but mainly because I am by myself. I’ve learned over time that not only am I an introvert who has difficulty being with other people but I am also a misanthrope who dislikes humanity. Google defines a misanthrope as “a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.”

Especially since I’ve gone mostly vegan I’ve just noticed that people are really cruel and evil, and this applies to just about everyone, even family members and friends. I pretty much limit my human interaction to the minimum nowadays. Rather than try to get along with others and improve my interpersonal skills, I’ve simply given up on people.

I know these are extreme thoughts, but I’ve had these thoughts for a long time. I keep thinking about this too often, and there’s nothing I can do about it. One option is to conform to society, that is, I can just be “normal,” be like everyone else and eat meat, get married, go into debt to buy a luxury car, and so forth, but this cannot be the answer. If I do what other people want me to do, I’m not doing what I want, and I can never be happy following the path other people have laid for me. The only solution then is to do the opposite. Rather than conform and go into society, I become a nonconformist and get out of the society.

I have recently purchased a book on Kindle called Gorilla Mindset, which I hope can help me with how I think about things in my life. Rather than be filled with negativity, I can replace negative thoughts with better thoughts, but I don’t want to replace negative thoughts with wildly optimistic thoughts either because this can be harmful. Rather, I should simply have factual thoughts.

I currently live off dividends, so strictly speaking I don’t need to work, so I don’t need to go to work and be exposed to annoying people. But my dividends are not that high, and I feel like I should be able to earn an online income before I go off and become a digital nomad.

When I’m a digital nomad, I imagine I will be a freelancer. I will base myself in Australia and I will be an Australian for tax purposes, but I will fly to other places for long periods of time, say, three months. This means I don’t need to worry too much about applying for long-term visas. My aim is pretty much to get away from people and do my own thing, and I think travelling achieves this. I can stay at home with my mother, but if she annoys me or if my friends or relatives here keep bothering me, I can just try off to Chiang Mai where I can be by myself.

When I am a digital nomad, I will pretty much be semi-retired. I will have enough dividends to support myself and live a luxurious lifestyle, but I will keep myself busy I will do freelance work via, say, Upwork. I am not too picky about what kind of remote work I do so long as it is remote and allows me to work by myself. Freelance work requires you to deal with clients, so of course that might be difficult, but at least I get to pick the clients I work with. If there is a skill I don’t have, I can easily learn it online.

I have no idea what the pay will be like. It might be lower, but it won’t matter that much because I will already have dividend income I can live off. This is just something I can do to keep myself busy.

The digital nomad dream within me has been strong at times, and there are times when the dream dies. For example, when I went to Bali by myself a few months ago I realized how uncomfortable and lonely it was being there. I have also felt more comfortable in my job lately because I have changed teams and I am working among better coworkers. But there are times when I am around very difficult people at work and it bothers me so much that the digital nomad dream is rekindled.

A few days ago, I met up with some old colleagues who now work in a different areas in the organisation. I mostly don’t see them much, but every now and then when I’m in the lifts, I bump into them, so I meet up with them every few months. I cannot be rude to these people because they technically work in the same organisation as me, but they are often rude to me, so I am thinking of deliberately being rude to them so they start to hate me and get away from me. This is what I hate about work. You have to be so fake. You cannot offend the wrong person and you cannot burn bridges with people, even those people you really don’t like.

I am also tired of friends and relatives who try to get me to marry. I am a male in my early thirties now. Everyone tells me to get married. They will me that a man in his early thirties should not be single and that they are happy to “set me up.” Many people say that this is how Asian culture is so I should just go along with it to appease my parents. But I feel like I should not do that! I should do what I want to do. I am quite tired of tolerating this nonsense. I feel like I need to rebel now. I need to muster enough courage to go on massive MGTOW rants at weddings so that people will get the message and leave me in peace.

Something else I hate about work is how everyone always brags about how important they are. There is so much namedropping and humblebrags. Then there’s all the gossip. Everyone gossips as if they’re in high school. Often when I go have lunch with people or go on a coffee run with them, they’re gossiping about this person or that person. I just find it annoying. I hate the 9 to 5 but I endure it because I need to increase my dividend income. 

I Hate Weddings

I think weddings are boring, especially wedding receptions. Wedding ceremonies are not as bad because they are short and tolerable. I can just show up, sit down, take a few photos, and leave. But the wedding reception is horrible. It goes on forever. There is too much music and too much dancing.

Some people may argue that I should develop my social skills (and I am doing that at work). But my belief now is that I should not try to do something I don’t want to do. If I don’t want to do something, I won’t do it, and if I want to do something, I will do it. I will defend my way of life, even if I die defending it.

I’ve read a few articles on the internet about how to decline wedding invitations, and they all suggest that I do so in a polite way. I think that given I am an aspiring alpha male, I should just be frank and honest and state that I hate wedding receptions and therefore I will not go. There will be no more avoidance from me. I will just put it out there. Rather than seek to avoid offending people, I will just not care if I offend others. I will seek confrontation.

I think it is important that I follow these two principles: (1) defend to the death your way of life and (2) seek confrontation.

In the past, in my beta male days, I was following other people’s way of life. Other people naturally were trying to lead me along the high-debt high-commitment lifestyle, also known as the Triple Ms: marriage, mortgage, and midgets. I have decided early on in the my life that I want freedom. I want to stay out of debt and build passive income so that I can live off passive income and not have to work if I don’t want to. In order to achieve this, I’ve had to sacrifice the marriage, mortgage, and midgets. Some would say it’s not worth it to sacrifice things so sacred and beautiful, but it is not too much of a sacrifice for me given that I have no appetite for marriage or children. There is something about marriage and children that I intrinsically hate. Maybe it’s the obligations and the enslavement. I think of myself as a commitment phobe by choice. I do not see much of a difference between commitment phobia and debt phobia.

I should be upfront about my way of life, and I should advocate it as better for me. Maybe it is not better for others. Maybe other people love children so much that they are willing to go into massive debt. That’s fine. What others do is their choice. I don’t care. But don’t drag me into it. I need to be upfront about this way of life. I need to tell people that indeed I do focus on work, going to the gym, improving my health, saving money, and building passive income. This is what I do in my spare time. It is important. If you want me to waste my time going to your wedding, I will reject it because I am doing more important things. Instead of being afraid that my way of life will offend others, I need to practice advocating my way of life, and to give me practice in not caring about offending others, I need to seek out confrontation.