Introducing… EarlyRetirementSg!

One of the main reasons behind starting this blog was that I couldn’t find anything that was similar to ERE/MMM/Raptitude in the local context. And so, I thought why not create one myself? (I am definitely not saying I am as good as them, but I am not denying that I am trying?)

There’s no doubting that there are many established local personal finance bloggers out there. For most of them, the primary aim is to accumulate wealth to the tune of close to $1 million before declaring themselves financially independent. Worthy goals indeed.

But then, this is also pretty different (in my humble opinion) compared to my ultimate goal of accumulating $500k after 10 years of full-time work. With the dividends, Mrs 15HWW and I would then be able to semi-retire and reduce the length of our work week, which is also considered pretty unorthodox even in this financial blogosphere.

However, interestingly, it seems that this sort of idea is starting to catch on after i saw this latest post from a “buddy” blogger. (Not sure how much influence I have had on him. =p) This also helped to add on to my excitement after I stumbled onto this blog last week: earlyretirementsg.weebly.com

Upon reading through some of his posts, I thought I had found a kindred spirit who was a few years older than me but way ahead on a similar “early retirement” journey in Singapore. However, since he had only started blogging for about a month, I immediately thought of inviting him to guest post on this blog so that he could reach a wider audience.

Thankfully he didn’t find my approach preposterous (afterall, I am also quite new) and even suggested a few possible topics to me. But then I figured that there’s an easier way out. So here I am, posting my favourite post (thus far) from his new blog.

And well… good stuff are meant to be shared so I hope you enjoy his article below.

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A Utopian World Where No One Needs To Work (18/12/2013)

I’ve always wondered if humans get together, we could come up with a world where everyone would have food to eat and a roof over our heads and medical would be free. People could volunteer to work for companies providing necessities like farming, medical, construction. Machines would do bulk of the work. These volunteers would get a first selection of the necessities which are produced.

There are so many people in this world. So many folks doing (in my view) “non-productive” work. For example, a bunch of marketers, production of LV, Prada, the finance industry. If we closed down all these sectors and put more resources to necessities, humans could produce more necessities, (I’m tired of listing necessities, But lets define necessities as doctors, farmers, fishing, food producers, construction, transport, education, research, technology. Non-necessities, I’m defining as the luxury industry, complex finance, gambling, tobacco, abusive drugs, etc)
We could all either not work or work for maybe 1-2 hours per day and everyone would have enough to eat, a food over their heads, free medical. As mentioned, volunteers who want to work would get the first selection of the produce. The products would be disbursed by the government on a monthly basis to all families in a country. Those are the basic needs of humans.

After which, humans can choose to spend their time doing other useful things like being doctors, researchers, etc.
So we’d have a bunch of volunteers working as producers who get slightly more than others, and the rest could bum around and get the base necessities of housing, food and medical and do whatever they would like with their lives.

Essentially money is just an illusion to fulfill human’s unlimited wants, its to gain financial security. If it is possible for a just and fair government to come up with a system to fulfill an individual’s base needs for his whole life, he would have security for life, then he could put his efforts to doing other things to contribute to society and he won’t be stashing cash and working for non-necessities in life and chasing the non essentials.

Isn’t that what we developed technology for? To work less? However, as people’s wants increase, they work even more. If everytime you were offered a raise, you asked for the same salary but with the increment as a deduction of the work done instead. How many hours would you be working now? (I’m talking about folks who are earning sufficient and not just above the poverty line.) So if the boss offers you a 5% increment, you counter that you would keep the same pay but with 5% less work hours. Well, you lived well enough with that pay already. It’s now time to work less. After 10 years you’d work about 50% less. Ok assuming compounding, you’d actually compound more pay if you increase 5% per ann for 10 years. But I’m just talking about this conceptually. That humans initially created technology to improve their lives to work less. But ended up finding other things to do to fill up their time again and keep themselves busy. Constant improvement to processes are fine but some desires are just pointless, like SGD2000 handbags. There’s a whole industry for these products worth billions. If the money were used to help the poor countries develop and end up in the same situation, no one would starve or be left in the streets or be unable to afford healthcare. The gambling industry is also another industry of pure waste. I’m appalled that people find that they have no other way to be happy or get a thrill besides to spend money.

What is GDP? It’s another number for countries to compare against each other. And we keep wanting to increase GDP/productivity. If GDP falls, we are in a recession. Like who cares about a recession if everyone has enough to eat, a place a stay and free medical? So we end up continuously pushing for more products, goods which really don’t do very much for the human race.

Personally, I think the current system is a silly system and maybe some folks may think my idea might be bordering on communism, I’m not in favour of communism. Humans have a tendency to be selfish and greedy so a single person holding power is a bad idea. I’d prefer to believe in a more socialistic society where everyone gets a fair amount of basic necessities and is allowed to do whatever they want without fear of going hungry. That would be the true life everyone should live. If you want to be a doctor, then do so for interest and include your services in society rather than believing that you should be compensated more just cos you can save someone else’s life. If you want to build buildings, then do it cos you have interest in building big structures rather than wanting to make millions.

Do you think such a society would work? Is this familiar with your thinking? Are there already countries successfully pulling this structure off?

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Do visit earlyretirementsg.weebly.com to check out some of his other great articles!

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7 thoughts on “Introducing… EarlyRetirementSg!

  1. SG Young Investment

    In economics, we say that humans have unlimited wants but there are only limited resources. This is the concept of scarcity.

    The way he described the utopian world sounds like a third world agriculture world to me. I’ve been in it before and I can boldly say people are more happy living in this kind of simple world.

    The world we live in now is too complex for many individuals. The temptation to buy all the non necessities like branded goods, luxurious items etc. Does it make a person happy? I don’t think so. Its just to show off to other people. Face, pride and ego is killing our society today. Why do people need to have new clothes every now and then? Why do people need to drive a big car? Why do we need to look better than others? There’re so many things to compare and this kind of society makes people unhappy. You just need more and more to be better than others.

    The way to true happiness is be contented with what you have. Yes we need money but do not fall in love with money. We can have a lot of money to generate passive income so that we dont have to work so hard. We can be rich but we don’t need all these non necessity stuff. Warren buffet is a perfect example. He’s so rich but still lives in his humble home and drives a second hand car. He’ll be more happy this way than most people who live in luxurious condominiums and drive luxurious cars carrying luxurious bags.

    If everyone is contented and not greedy, the society would not have to work so hard and be so unhappy anymore. Don’t need for all those unnecessary stuff.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi SGYI,

      Instead of having more stuff that is supposed to make me “happier”, I prefer a strategy to eliminate those stuff that makes me “unhappy”. So I would gladly trade more income if I could work less =p

  2. B

    Hi HWW

    Another good idea is instead of asking for an increment every year, we request for a lesser working time every year. Employees can do this too by reducing their working time by working part-time perhaps. Maybe as it goes by we are working 4 days/week, then 3 days/week, then…. A very similar concept to your 15 Hour Work Per Week 😉

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi B,

      Too bad this kinda arrangement is still largely frowned upon. But we can still hope for the best. =)

  3. earlyretirementsg

    Hi 15HWW,

    So nice of you to introduce me on your website.
    My office has shorter work weeks but as you rightly mentioned, they are frowned upon. If I asked that from my bosses, they would think this chap is lazy.And yes, although I try not to live by what others think of me, these things still do affect me. Maybe when I’m older I’ll request for such an arrangement. =)

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi,

      No problem. More people will get to read something good. =)

      If full early retirement is too seismic a shift, might be better to slowly reduce the hours spent in the office.

  4. Gerald

    Money is only a means to an end. Working can help to keep us active and nourish our mind. Of course in life, everything has to have a balance. Too much work can make you overloaded and takes the kick out of working. Too less work makes you feel less motivated to strive.

    Anyway, an interesting article that provides much food for thought. Keep it up. Check out my blog, SG Wealth Builder for career management tips as well! Thanks dude!

    Regards,
    Gerald
    http://www.sgwealthbuilder.com
    SG Wealth Builder