When Mr 15HWW first started this blog, he excitedly said to me “Dear, maybe someday you should do a guest post! Some readers could be interested in your views.”
I’ve never been a good writer like Mr 15HWW even though I was once ‘managing’ 3 blogs at my peak (those were the days…). Furthermore, I’m not as humorous and definitely not as knowledgeable as him in personal finance. Frankly speaking, I am really surprised with Mr 15HWW’s determination and effort in maintaining this blog and also by the increase in readership. So, as this blog nears its first birthday, I decided to show Mr 15HWW some support and attempt a post. *Flex my finger muscles*
Many people dream of early retirement and that’s probably the main reason why you are following this blog. However, how often is one willing to make ‘sacrifices’, not to mention asking the spouse to do the same. When Mr 15HWW first mentioned the idea of early semi-retirement to me, I wasn’t exactly receptive to it. I had 2 main concerns:
1. We have to spend even less to achieve an early semi-retirement and wouldn’t that make life painful?
I thought we were already a frugal couple even before all this early semi-retirement talk. And it seems that the only way to save more money would be to buy cheaper stuff and dine out less at restaurants.This really freaked me out as I wasn’t prepared to make this big sacrifice and live a pauper’s lifestyle. =(
But after months of brain-washing teachings, Mr 15HWW made me realise that spending less wasn’t about making this big sacrifice. In fact, from the monthly expenditure updates, you could see that I was still indulging in my girly “sin” of shopping and buying dresses. We are also enjoying our meals at restaurants occasionally and even giving out some treats to friends and relatives.
Just as going on a diet is not about starving ourselves, spending less is about being more selective and aware of our purchases and reducing our general appetite for more stuff.
It’s a conscious decision not to own a car, at least for now. This helps to set aside >$1,000 and we could then use half of these “savings” to dine out. And even when we dine out, we generally don’t order the exorbitantly priced drinks since we get little value for them. The savings could mean that even if we were to stick to a dining budget, we could eat out 5 times instead of just 4 times a month.
We also don’t make a purchase just because it is cheap/on promotion. Our mantra is to buy it only if you need it. Moreover, we don’t just go for the cheapest option available and sacrifice on quality and comfort. For example, Mr 15HWW often discourage me from buying those cute-but-unnecessarily stuff from Daiso, the always $2 store. Yet, he approves the purchase of a dress that costs $70 from the mall, as long as I really love it! =)
2. I love working! What can I do after semi-retirement or even retirement?
My initial definition of retirement = do nothing at home.
I’m sure many people share the same thoughts as me, but Mr 15HWW has a totally different take on this. When he speaks of retirement, he doesn’t mean not working at all. Rather, it gives you the CHOICE not to work for money and spend your time as you wish, when you’re still young, healthy and full of energy.
I didn’t understand why there was a need to have this option until I started climbing up the corporate ladder. To be fair, my bosses aren’t that bad; it’s just that the corporate world is like a big theatre filled with actors and actresses. Everyone has a role to play and the role of the bosses is to irritate/push/nag/scold employees like us. A typical threat I often hear is “If you don’t achieve this sales target this month, you might just lose your job!”
When you are young and still have value in the employment market, you have little fear. There are always takers for you. But if you are like some of my colleagues who are nearing retirement age, have young dependents at home and still choose to lead a lavish lifestyle, you can only silently swallow your pride and work harder. Also, I realised bosses like to ‘bully’ those who seem to have no other options but to work here. Observing this scenario playing out in office, the idea of a 15HWW begins to appeal to me, a whole lot more.
Last but not least, the ultimate push that convinced me to take this route with Mr 15HWW is the cliché 4-letter words – LOVE. My family and loved ones are my priority and an early semi-retirement means that the both of us can spend more time together. Little work-stress, no money-related argument and we can do what we enjoy doing most, isn’t that great?
Living in a materialistic world that is obsessed with consumerism, it’s not easy to convince your other half to take this less-travelled route with you. I suppose Mr 15HWW should be pretty proud that he managed to convince me to be on this journey with him =) We are still working hard and hopefully we will see the fruits of our hard work in a few years’ time.
Afterword from Mr 15HWW: For those who wonder how I manage to convince the Mrs to allow me to do all these unorthodox stuff, there you have it. It wasn’t exactly very hard and the key principle is to set an example and not nag too much at her. Maybe I can talk more about this in another post, especially for those who miss my writing. =p
Hope most of the readers enjoyed this guest post as Mrs 15HWW spent a really long long time to prepare this post.