FI at 28 & ER at 31

I recently updated my about page. It formerly said that I was a 26 year old looking to retire by 34. I’ve now updated my age to 27 and my retirement to 31.

Happily, the way my rental house, stock investments and school are going, I ought to be financially independent before I’m 28 (late next fall). That’s with living expenses hovering around $15k/year and counting land-lording income. I suppose I could just ‘retire’ at 28 and not work. But having spent eight years in school and having a bit of an itch to work in our court system, I still may have a go at a 2 year stint in either a clerkship or as a low-paid, public servant, criminal attorney after graduation. They are jobs that are fun for someone with the right interests and, fortunately, since they don’t tend to pay all that well, it means they aren’t overly difficult to find since so many law students are only even in school at all because they have dollar signs in their eyes.

I’d hate to be watching some crime drama in 20 years and thinking wistfully about how I passed up my chance to be in the thick of it for a while. – Protecting constitutional rights, doling out justice, policing the police, cracking inside jokes with the bailiffs. I spent last summer working at a prosecutor’s office and enjoyed the bulk of it.

When exactly to say I’ve ‘retired’ will be hard to nail down. It won’t be when I’ve reached financial independence because I might keep working full-time for a bit after that. And even after I am done a potential 2 year working stint, I still plan to act as a landlord for a while.

Whether or not part-time land-lording can be considered retirement, I don’t know and don’t much care. But I’ll be 31, my investments will be making money much faster than I can spend it, and my only work will be a few hours a week managing investments at my convenience, what do you call that?

I guess us young, financially independent types really need a new word. Since to be retired really kind of requires being retired from something. I don’t think you can exactly call seven years of school or two years playing Perry Mason in the local court house a grueling experience that needs retiring from. ‘Financially independent’ works somewhat, but it still doesn’t capture the non-working aspect of it. i.e. I could be financially independent but still be working forty hour weeks. Perhaps “Part-Time Capitalist” captures it. Since the work is definitely part-time and capitalist is certainly an accurate description of the role one is playing in the economy as an investor. It’s a bit of a mouthful though. Or perhaps ‘retired’ is the best we can do.

I’m afraid we’re such a rare breed that language simply doesn’t have the need to come up with a term for us. On the rare moments when we have to explain ourselves society will just have to expend a few extra brain cycles in order understand what we can only communicate to them in multiple words rather than a pithy title.

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