Author Topic: How young is too young to retire?  (Read 7326 times)

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How young is too young to retire?
« on: April 03, 2015, 03:21:47 PM »
One of our fellow Forum folk just sent me a personal message asking my opinion on this question.  I think I'll throw it out here for discussion.

How young is too young to retire?

And more to his point...

What if you were so well off that you could see to it that your kids did not have to work at all... that they could "retire" before they ever started working.  What would you do?  Would you bankroll them?

arebelspy

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 03:36:44 PM »
1) I don't think any age is too young, assuming you earned it on your own.  If you're FI by 20 and want to explore new things?  FIRE!  ER is about options and freedom. Exploring what you want, living the way you want, and being happy. Why would one be too young for that?

2) I would not. The biggest takeaway from MND for me was how helping kids financially harms them, makes them dependent.  There's a thread around here that about what about of money will buy FI for your kids at birth (about 70k).  So your question isn't infeasible at all, it'd be fairly easy for most of us. You may want to check out that thread for more discussion around it.
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sol

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2015, 03:41:12 PM »
My parents are furious with me for retiring early, like anyone who doesn't work at least as long as they did is somehow cheating the system or shortchanging humanity.  They think anything before late 50s is irresponsible.

But I think their concerns are about making a significant contribution and having a sense of purpose.  I feel like I've already contributed more to society in just eight years of working than either of them did, and if they really thought working was vital to having purpose in life then why aren't they still working?  I always laugh when retired people get all judgy at me for wanting to retire.

Secretly Saving

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 03:54:13 PM »
I don't think there is a set age that would be too early.  I think if you have other ways to contribute to the world and can FIRE and WANT to FIRE, you should. 

As for bank rolling kids for their life, it's a definite no.  I absolutely want my children to have enough skills, self worth, and autonomy to make it without my help.  Yes, I will absolutely help them at various points, but I do not want to harm them and take away their own value and power by giving everything to them.  I am a teacher and I can tell you that I even see this with kids who are always told that they are smart and the best.  Those kids attribute everything that they have to luck or others instead of to hard work.  That is a difficult road to follow and one that leads to very little in terms of risk.  They aren't willing to even try in some cases.

Villanelle

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 03:59:24 PM »
I don't think any age is too young.  If someone has the means, great.  If that means they are a 17 year old kid who developed the app de jour, so be it, as long as they are careful enough with the finances and understand how much lifestyle their stash can actually buy them.

I don't have kids, but my best guess answer is that I would not want to give them the money to not have to work at all. Perhaps if they wanted to be professional volunteers, I might *consider* bankrolling that if I was ridiculously wealthy, but it would be with the understanding that they had to actually put in the work and have purpose.  If they made a solid case, I could perhaps see giving them a modest income to live on while they did meaningful unpaid work, but it certainly wouldn't be an extravagant amount. I believe in support charitable works and causes, and I think doing that kind of work would mean they weren't just coasting on my wealth.    I certainly wouldn't want to give them the money so that they could do nothing or float around Europe. 

RFAAOATB

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2015, 04:04:36 PM »
What if you were so well off that you could see to it that your kids did not have to work at all... that they could "retire" before they ever started working.  What would you do?  Would you bankroll them?

That's the goal.  When your kids don't have to work, they have the freedom to do whatever they want.  Then you have to influence "whatever they want" to be something worthwhile such as being an Olympic medalist, a politician, Jaden Smith, or WWE champion.  If you're poor the risk of failure is too great.  If you're rich you have a better chance of making it happen.  I hear two competing outcomes of affluent children.  One is that they lack drive and will squander their fortune.  The other is that their collaborative advantages, private education, and other skills such as associative mating will set them up for prosperity.  Either is possible so when you get affluent the challenge is making sure the positive feedback loop for prosperity continues.

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2015, 04:04:58 PM »
i think people misunderstand what the term retired means. its not so definite.  In the past once you were retired, and you didnt have enough money saved, you were screwed because you were beyond your useful life for working. today i consider myself 'retired' but if my passive income dries up, ill just go back to work. 
and trust fund kids always seem to turn out to be the most screwed up.

SMCx3

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2015, 04:12:49 PM »
If you earn enough money to FIRE on your own, age should not be a concern.  If you were one of the lucky ones to receive a silver spoon young in life, I still do not resent the fact he or she might be retired at an early age.  It is not how much money you have, but how you live life which is important.

I want my son to be himself, help others when he can, and find his own path.  If his priorities are in line, I will help him with every last penny in my savings accounts if needed.  If he receives a credit card in the future, spends irratically, falls behind, he will not get help from Dad.  I will provide opportunities any way possible, mistakes are OK, but poor decisions will be his own to handle.

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2015, 04:23:11 PM »
While I've come to MMM later in life after years of frugality and badassity, my son and his wife have more money than I could ever think about (her inheritance). They're pretty much ER and doing what they want. While she's an exceptional person, bargain hunts, shops at thrift stores, I could see how inherited wealth can be a bad thing (while looking at the people she grew up with.)

I think if you earn your money and have financial freedom at 20 or 22 or 25 then grab it and enjoy your life. Most self starters are going to go on and do great things because they're not motivated by earning a pay check.

netskyblue

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2015, 04:23:18 PM »
i think people misunderstand what the term retired means. its not so definite.  In the past once you were retired, and you didnt have enough money saved, you were screwed because you were beyond your useful life for working. today i consider myself 'retired' but if my passive income dries up, ill just go back to work. 
and trust fund kids always seem to turn out to be the most screwed up.

I consider "retired" to mean you no longer work, but you once did, and you are living off earned income (plus interest) and/or pension & social security --both of which are products of having once earned income. 

I'm not sure I'd consider living off passive income (such as rent from real estate you own) as "retired" in the true sense of the word.  I'd consider that being the owner of a business.  I don't know how I'd classify living off of something like royalties. 

I'd also generally not consider the stay-at-home spouse of a still-working person to be retired, so long as they are supported by the income the other spouse is earning.  Which sometimes is the case, sometimes not.  But it's all just semantics anyway.

Living off a trust fund, or other money you did not earn, I would never consider retired. 

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2015, 04:31:36 PM »
What if you were so well off that you could see to it that your kids did not have to work at all... that they could "retire" before they ever started working.  What would you do?  Would you bankroll them?

That's the goal.  When your kids don't have to work, they have the freedom to do whatever they want.  Then you have to influence "whatever they want" to be something worthwhile such as being an Olympic medalist, a politician, Jaden Smith, or WWE champion.  If you're poor the risk of failure is too great.  If you're rich you have a better chance of making it happen.  I hear two competing outcomes of affluent children.  One is that they lack drive and will squander their fortune.  The other is that their collaborative advantages, private education, and other skills such as associative mating will set them up for prosperity.  Either is possible so when you get affluent the challenge is making sure the positive feedback loop for prosperity continues.

The big question is: how do you do that?  Presumably, as a parent you would yourself not have to be at a job and could be there to give the child guidance.  Lead by example.  Get the kid involved in meaningful pursuits.

And, you know, those meaningful pursuits would not necessarily have to be profitable pursuits.  (Right?)  What if the kid wants to write, act, paint, study butterflies, whatever?  That's also OK, right?

arebelspy

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2015, 04:45:04 PM »
And, you know, those meaningful pursuits would not necessarily have to be profitable pursuits.  (Right?)  What if the kid wants to write, act, paint, study butterflies, whatever?  That's also OK, right?

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." - John Adams, Second U.S. President
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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RFAAOATB

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2015, 05:19:33 PM »
And, you know, those meaningful pursuits would not necessarily have to be profitable pursuits.  (Right?)  What if the kid wants to write, act, paint, study butterflies, whatever?  That's also OK, right?
That's why I put Jaden Smith as an example.  Wanting to be an actor/movie star is great.  Having Will Smith put a rocket on your career is even better.  Just like Will Smith, I will smith my kid's future into something awesome.

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2015, 05:48:53 PM »
And, you know, those meaningful pursuits would not necessarily have to be profitable pursuits.  (Right?)  What if the kid wants to write, act, paint, study butterflies, whatever?  That's also OK, right?
That's why I put Jaden Smith as an example.  Wanting to be an actor/movie star is great.  Having Will Smith put a rocket on your career is even better.  Just like Will Smith, I will smith my kid's future into something awesome.

Did you know Jaden Smith is frugal?  I think it's around not being wasteful etc ..

http://www.people.com/article/will-smith-jaden-smith-shoes-interview


deborah

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2015, 05:58:39 PM »
I think you can retire too young. Freda was independently wealthy and married a photographer. From what I understand, he always relied upon her money and although they have always gone on "photography expeditions", I'm not sure that he has ever sold anything. So they were both FIRE without ever really working. They had two children, John and Betty. John studied at school and as far as I know is a fine upstanding working citizen. Betty had her first job, and decided everyone was picking on her (they weren't - from her stories - they were just trying to help and to get her to actually work), so she ceased working. A few years later she decided she was never going to find a bloke, so she had IVF and has three or more children (I have lost contact with the family, but she was planning on more). I do hope the money never runs out, but I wonder whether these children will ever work.

I know several other families who are somewhat younger, whose children I believe will also never work.

As a result, I believe that working for at least five years is essential to character development. My mother continually says that parents need to be working for their children to develop properly - I guess she means responsibility.

MMM is a poor counter-example because he actually goes through the motions and would appear to be working so far as his child is concerned. People who engage in meaningful projects with a conclusion, pitfalls and euphoric moments along the way, having good and bad encounters with others in the process, could retire as early as they feel like it, but people who just become "beach bums" I'm not sure about.

Eric

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2015, 06:02:40 PM »
i think people misunderstand what the term retired means. its not so definite.  In the past once you were retired, and you didnt have enough money saved, you were screwed because you were beyond your useful life for working. today i consider myself 'retired' but if my passive income dries up, ill just go back to work. 
and trust fund kids always seem to turn out to be the most screwed up.

I consider "retired" to mean you no longer work, but you once did, and you are living off earned income (plus interest) and/or pension & social security --both of which are products of having once earned income. 

I'm not sure I'd consider living off passive income (such as rent from real estate you own) as "retired" in the true sense of the word.  I'd consider that being the owner of a business.  I don't know how I'd classify living off of something like royalties. 

I'd also generally not consider the stay-at-home spouse of a still-working person to be retired, so long as they are supported by the income the other spouse is earning.  Which sometimes is the case, sometimes not.  But it's all just semantics anyway.

Living off a trust fund, or other money you did not earn, I would never consider retired.

Careful!  You're dangerously close to signalling the Internet Retirement Police that they're needed in this thread.

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2015, 06:07:48 PM »
I think people misunderstand what the term retired means. its not so definite.  In the past once you were retired, and you didn't have enough money saved, you were screwed because you were beyond your useful life for working. Today I consider myself 'retired' but if my passive income dries up, I'll just go back to work.  And trust fund kids always seem to turn out to be the most screwed up.

I consider "retired" to mean you no longer work, but you once did, and you are living off earned income (plus interest) and/or pension & social security -- both of which are products of having once earned income. 

I'm not sure I'd consider living off passive income (such as rent from real estate you own) as "retired" in the true sense of the word.  I'd consider that being the owner of a business.  I don't know how I'd classify living off of something like royalties. 

I'd also generally not consider the stay-at-home spouse of a still-working person to be retired, so long as they are supported by the income the other spouse is earning.  Which sometimes is the case, sometimes not.  But it's all just semantics anyway.

Living off a trust fund, or other money you did not earn, I would never consider retired.

Once again, the conceptual limitations of the word itself... "retired"... muddy up the waters.  We really need to come up with another word to name what it is we mean.  What we are about.

RFAAOATB

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2015, 06:08:31 PM »
Did you know Jaden Smith is frugal?  I think it's around not being wasteful etc ..

http://www.people.com/article/will-smith-jaden-smith-shoes-interview
I did not know that.  Kid could go from actor to governor to president like Ronald Reagan.

arebelspy

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2015, 06:32:17 PM »
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Krnten

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2015, 07:19:56 PM »


"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." - John Adams, Second U.S. President
[/quote]

Jack Donaghy says it better, I believe: "We are an immigrant nation. The first generation works their fingers to the bone making things. The next generation goes to college and innovates new ideas. The third generation snowboards and takes improv classes."

Bob W

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2015, 07:30:50 PM »
No age is too young to retire.    The most screwed up kids I know are the ones who grew up rich and then their parents threw them to the wolves of capitalism.     It is fine to be a trust fund kid as long as everyone agrees to that.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2015, 02:02:42 AM »
While we will be retired when our kids are fairly small ~8 yrs and 6 yrs, we plan to tell family that my husband is a "consultant" because of the scrutiny that he somehow didn't earn it. Also, I don't want folks to think we are rich. While he may receive an inheritance, I want us to retire prior to that so it can be shown we did it 100% on our own. I would never feel right spending someone else's money like that.

We don't plan on giving our kids anything at this point until they learn the lessons. My goal for my kids is that they meet wonderful spouses/partners that complement them very well and become FIRE very early in life.  Not too much to ask, right?!?   We wouldn't just give them money. We do, however, plan on paying for their undergrad at a minimum. It was done for each of us and we will pass that on.

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2015, 06:32:55 AM »

We don't plan on giving our kids anything at this point until they learn the lessons. My goal for my kids is that they meet wonderful spouses/partners that complement them very well and become FIRE very early in life.  Not too much to ask, right?!?   We wouldn't just give them money. We do, however, plan on paying for their undergrad at a minimum. It was done for each of us and we will pass that on.

What about inheritances?  I've heard of people setting up trust funds -- or other arrangements -- for their children so that those children CANNOT get their hands on a large lump-sum inheritance until they've reached a certain age, at which point presumably they have become mature enough to handle the money.  Some people even set up last will codicils that call for the inheriting child to meet a performance requirement (like getting married) before the child can actually get the money.

Any comments on any of that in the context of the original thread question?

caliq

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2015, 06:44:51 AM »
I think tying an inheritance to getting married is incredibly stupid...what a way to pressure your kids into jumping into a serious/binding relationship that they might not have entered otherwise! 

Villanelle

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2015, 07:49:35 AM »
Quiz: Ancient Chinese Proverb or Jaden Smith Tweet?

http://www.collegehumor.com/post/6978992/quiz-ancient-chinese-proverb-or-jaden-smith-tweet

When I read the first post that mentioned here, I thought, "I'm not sure Jaden Smith is the example I'd cite for a child growing up grounded and responsible even if s/he doesn't have to work."  The Smith kids are... interesting.  I'd say they are supremely out of touch with the way the world works for 99.9999999% of it's population.  Whether that's the money, or the fame (by proxy), or the religion, or whatever, I can't say.  But if my imaginary kid was headed in that direction, I'd consider that a sign I'd done something wrong.

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Re: How young is too young to retire?
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2015, 09:21:38 AM »
I think tying an inheritance to getting married is incredibly stupid...what a way to pressure your kids into jumping into a serious/binding relationship that they might not have entered otherwise!

Oh, I agree with you.  I just put it up because it's a semi-common real life example.