Save. Spend. Splurge.

Retiring early is a privileged choice that only the top 10% could really make

Tim (a great Canadian blogger friend), wrote a very thoughtful, wonderful post on whether or not Early Retirement is Elitist. He has peppered the post with facts about median incomes and so on for the average Canadian, so take the time to peruse through it.


Even thinking about retiring early is elitist.

Most people resign themselves to working until 65, or even “until they die” at a job that they hate because they can’t even imagine they would have a million (or whatever amount) saved enough to actually retire.

There are at least 75% of people I know at work who are unable to even retire at 65 (they are all dreading it, saying they don’t have enough saved), and/or people who are around my age / slightly older who HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED INVESTING OR SAVING FOR IT.

If you even mention the idea of retiring early, they ALL groan and say: OH THAT WOULD BE NICE.

I just keep quiet.

People are not as fortunate as I am with my income, but they aren’t earning $16,000 a year either. These folks I work with, earn at least $90,000 – $300,000 a year alone, with their spouses perhaps double that or at least $150,000 as an average household income. If they can’t make it work on that or have not thought about it, it is not something I bring up.

I do however, see that people who are like-minded as I am, tend to perk up when I start talking about basic investing, and they are INTERESTED, so then we chat and trade ideas or strategies on what to do. I love these conversations.


It boggles my mind. They spend all of this money on other things but haven’t even LOOKED into taking that money out of savings and putting it to sit in the stock market to grow for the next 30-ish years.

They can spend HOURS researching the next best phone or television or whatever, but they can’t spend time researching and learning about how to invest and budget their finances to eliminate fat & debt to the point where you can spend money and not be worried about overdraft?

It really makes me surprised, and I start eagerly chatting about how to invest and where to put your money. They look overwhelmed, but then I just tell them: Don’t wait. Today is already too late. Time is on your side now but it won’t be when you’re 50 and freaking out.

I think this is highly surprising for many people at the office (mostly guys). They can’t imagine someone who wears this as a typical outfit to work:

…has any clue about money, investing, savings and so on.

It looks like I spend all my money on designer heels (yes those are Manolo Blahniks), but these heels were bought secondhand at $60 not $600. Not only that, they are stereotyping / biased if they think someone like me would just fritter away money based on how I look. *shrug*

They ask me how I know all of this stuff about money and my answer is:

It’s because I love my money. MY money. I care about it, A LOT.

…they sort of give me this look like: Are you for real?

One guy said: NO! I love money! All my friends and I do.

I retorted: If you did, you’d all have your money invested and maxed out in retirement accounts based on your incomes. You don’t right? You aren’t saving enough for that.

..and he had to concede to my point. He doesn’t save OR know what he spent last month.

You love SPENDING money. You don’t take care of it, though. It isn’t the same thing.

But I am for real.

And I am very open and willing to give them help IF they ask for it (I don’t force it down their throats), and I even offer to help school them on investing and retirement (rough basics) to cut through the BS.

NO ONE, thus far, has taken me up on this offer. Can you believe this?

Free money advice from someone who cares about it and can help you cut through it, willing to help spend time on it, and you are still sitting around with your money in a 1% savings account at best.

*shrug* It’s their money, not mine. I just smile and offer to help. I am like Mohammed waiting for the mountain to come to him.


I know, if I hustled, stopped spending unnecessary money, cut back on beauty, skincare, little treats I give myself like deep tissue massages or spa treatments like bi-monthly pedicures, I could retire in 10 years (IF of course, I kept working full-time and nothing else changed).

I am a THOUSAND PERCENT ELITIST in this regard.

My partner makes as much as I do, and together pulling in half a million a year with only one child, with a fully paid off condo and two cars…..

We are not in the realm of most Canadians and we know this.

We are definitely in the 5% (1% I think is a level we haven’t reached net-worth wise, we hit it salary-wise but this is not our annual salary that is steady as we are freelancers) and as hard as it was for me to realize this, I am not middle-class.

We certainly don’t brag about it (why do you think this blog is anonymous?)… and we don’t talk about it, flaunt it, or even mention it to anyone even to family members.

We just live normally, most people probably think that I am in debt like most other girls, especially with the way I dress and the car I drive, but I have a warm little secret inside that doesn’t give AF about all of that.

I know that I will be a personal millionaire by next year in net worth (as long as I keep this contract), and I am in a very good position financially, while enjoying my life, that no one can take away from me.

I just smile, and don’t say a word unless someone asks.


My house and car are both paid. So… I just can’t / won’t upgrade until I die. Is this realistic? Who knows. This is make believe, y’all.

I also spend about $30,000 on the household budget between the two of us. Remember…. I would need at least that amount of money WITHOUT the shopping and all that other unnecessary, luxurious fun stuff I do, including any extravagant vacations (we budgeted for a small vacation each year in that $30,000).

I’d save about two million in 10 years, and would need that money to see me through 40 years of not working, assuming that I live until 90.

Two million over 40 years, gives me about $50,000 a year. Then there are taxes on top of that, and I’d be at $0 (assuming) by the time I hit 90.

$50,000 is a decent income per year to aim for in your retirement years, assuming that there will be other factors like inflation, and taxes to eat away at that amount. Could whittle it down to about $40,000 let’s say after all is said and done, which pretty much would cover the $30,000 per year estimate I have for yearly spending today, along with $10,000 for extra stuff.


But I would have to cut back drastically everywhere. Like EVERYWHERE. Maybe even start selling stuff.

This is not interesting for me. Why would it be? I don’t want to live like some scared austere monk just because I don’t want to work any more.

That isn’t even true — I love working. I like going to the office, chatting, having my brain stimulated.. this is all fun for me, and the money is a very nice bonus. If I stopped working I’d end up blogging more, starting another business, taking on a part-time job just to fill up the hours.

I know that Tim has been talking about what it’s like being retired — he has lots to do to fill his day — but I am someone who just simply cannot imagine NOT working. We have a different mindset and way of looking at things, and that’s okay too. I’m a bit of a workaholic, and it helps that I love what I do (he did not like his job).


The thing is that I am young. That means if I live long, I need to save more money than my partner or anyone who is older these days to account for inflation and future expenses / costs.

Every year I decide I want to retire earlier, I need to save for an EXTRA year of retirement. You feel me?

This is why I think I will just keep working until I don’t want to any more (love my job), and I have averaged out that in the next 30 years I have left of working (assuming a regular 65 year old retirement age), I will work about half of that or 15 years.

I would basically get my retirement early on. I would be working 15 out of the 30 years instead of 30 years straight, and that is the break that I would have normally been working for in retirement.

I think it’s the perfect situation to work part-time, and be “semi-retired”. I don’t work and take time off, travel, hang out, and when I need the money or get a contract, I hop back on and hustle.

I can do this until at least 50, if not 65. Or never retire. Who knows?

Life is already perfect as-is. I have a good work-life balance, I come home early, I spend a TON of time with Little Bun and I don’t really feel a lot of stress working 40-ish hours a week on average, because unless they put me on 3 projects at once (which they did earlier this year), there is no pressure that I can’t handle mentally.

So, early retirement. YAY? NAY?


  • Tim

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply post. I enjoyed reading it. I think you hit it on the head part time work or semi-retirement is an ideal place to be. Heck, I’m partly there myself.

    While I’m ‘retired’ I actually still do stuff that might bring in some income like writing a book (which given the hours in and profit out is a very piss poor way to make money) and I even recent said I would be willing to help out a local brewery on a casual basis. The point is I can work on things because I like them and the pay becomes secondary.

    Honestly, I don’t think people do well with a full retirement of ‘nothing’. We all need something to do that we find meaningful and often that includes some work. So find your happy balance point and go for it.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I feel like I am there, but then again, my partner said: YOU ARE YOUNG…. lots of energy left to work!…. and he is not so keen any longer to do this. I guess I may change as I get older, but my personality is such that my brain needs to do a lot at the same time. I have a full-time blog, full-time job, am a full-time parent, and it seems like just enough at times but overwhelming if one area (job) gets out of control.

  • ArianaAuburn

    I would go for early retirement, not because of the enchanting appeal of it, but because of health issues. Since I am entering a stressful career in the STEM field, I don’t count on working pass age 65. Believe it or not, even as a student I have managed to save and invest for the future (not much though). Once I start working (I already accepted a well-paying job offer), I will ramp up the saving/investing cycle more.

    Do not let your workmates baffle you with their money habits. Your ability to see things differently is allowing you to provide for yourself and your family. I have yet to meet a SINGLE HUMAN BEING at a workplace who would not be overwhelmed when I start talking about investing. Even my friends look at me as if I am speaking gibberish. Just sit back, eat some popcorn and watch your workmates stumble and fall 🙂

  • liteadventurer

    I think working part time is a good compromise for most people with the ability to obtain financial independence early in life. Depending on market returns, I’ll probably hit my super-safe number in my early to mid 40s – the same as you – but I still enjoy parts of my job and having the steady income is nice. About a year ago I cut back my hours and stopped doing procedures that I didn’t enjoy (I refer all of those out now), and life has been much more pleasant since the change.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I love that you can pick and choose your procedures. For me, it is a bit the same, but I am contractual, so once I am at a client it is not like I can refuse parts of work there unless I want to seem like a terrible team player. HAH.

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