You could retire tomorrow if you wanted to.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have right now, whether you’re in debt or not, or even how many possessions you have.
If you really wanted to, you could walk out of your job and retire no matter your situation. You’d even be able to sustain this for the rest of your life.
Sounds pretty nice, right!?
You may be thinking, “That’s impossible! There’s no way I could do that without going on government assistance, winning the lottery or stumbling upon some unknown massive inheritance.”
However, I assure you that it is, in fact, possible for anyone.
And I have proof.
Meet Daniel Suelo
You may have seen this story a long time ago. This is the man who lives on no money.
Yep, you heard that right. Nothing, zip, zilch.
Daniel Suelo lives completely money free.
Back in 2000, sick of living in the modern consumer driven, money focused world, he simply got out of it.
He put the last money he had in a phone booth, walked away, and has lived money free, for the most part*, ever since.
Daniel lives in caves and camps in the wilderness in Utah, where he forages and scavenges for his food every day.
He has very few possessions and lives a simple life of solitude, away from civilization.
In his own words,
“I don’t use or accept money or conscious barter – don’t take food stamps or other government dole. My philosophy is to use only what is freely given or discarded and what is already present and already running, whether or not I existed”
This man is no hermit or hobo. He is college educated with a good upbringing. He simply wants nothing to do with money.
The only public assistance he utilizes is the occasional trip to the public library which he uses to read and update his blog to spread to word. Hardly a taxpayer’s burden.
He doesn’t plan to reverse course, and will live this way the rest of his life.
Not a Traditional Retirement
I know what you’re thinking.
“That’s not retirement. He still has to find himself food every day for the rest of his life.”
While this is true, is that really considered work?
In the traditional sense, he walked away from his job and never went back. That’s what people do when they retire!
After all, there are many people who become Financially Independent and leave their job who consider themselves retired, even though they still work.
They simply are doing what they want, instead of working because they have to. Is this not what Daniel is doing?
According to Mr. Money Mustache’s post, if you save 100% of your income you could retire right now.
Daniel makes no money and he spends no money.
While technically an undefined savings rate, he lives for free and has maintained living for free.
Fight it all you want, but this is retirement.
An extreme method of retirement? Absolutely. This is taking frugality to the highest level there is.
To the average American, Daniel is probably seen as a crazy person. No one in their right mind would ever voluntarily choose this.
To those seeking Financial Independence though?
Extreme, to be sure, but believe it or not he shares many qualities that people striving for Financial Independence exhibit.
Uber frugal living?
Small ecological footprint?
Dumpster diving? (For some)
Blog? (For those that blog about it).
Aside from the whole “disliking money” aspect, he sure sounds like he would be on board with the Financial Independence movement.
Would you retire now?
So what does this mean for your future retirement plans?
For a vast majority of people there are too many drawbacks to this lifestyle. People have simply become too accustomed to at least having the basic luxuries in life (housing, food, running water, etc) to even think about doing so.
As for people with families, it would be virtually impossible to do this (though Daniel suggests communal living as a way around this on his blog).
It is interesting to think about though.
The principles he lives by are some that we all can take and implement into our daily lives:
- Limit your contributions to the wastefulness of our society (Consume less)
- Give to others and don’t expect anything in return
- Don’t let money control you, control money (and leave it behind if you want)
- Live peaceful and happy, try not to get consumed with the stress of the modern age
These are things that we all can do more of, regardless of whether we choose this lifestyle or not.
Personally, I like the current plan I have and am going to stick to it for the time being. But it is good to know that there is a tried and tested backup plan if things don’t work out!
How about you, could you retire tomorrow and live like this?
Let me know in the comments!
*Daniel had to rejoin civilization in 2015 to care for his elderly, dying parents. He still rejects money and actually set up camp at a nearby river instead of living in his mother’s house.