A Unique Snowflake

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Have you ever met someone who defied classification?

If you have, I bet it’s been a while.

Almost everybody has multiple layers to their personality. And most have diverse interests.

But for the most part it’s pretty easy for each of us to be filed away accurately in discreet little categories.

I am no different.

Sure, I’ve broken the mold by becoming a cardiologist who also plays golf…

But beyond that enigma-wrapped-in-a-riddle-wrapped-in-a-paradox, a quick look at the car I drive, the songs on my iPhone, (and even the fact that I have an iPhone,) and maybe a couple of words of my vernacular, and an intelligent person can pretty much nail down where I’m from, my political leanings, my socioeconomic status, what sorts of hobbies I have, and what I believe (or don’t believe).

Even our search engines do a remarkably good job of this, by the way. (Except for the golf thing. Not even a supercomputer could’ve predicted that.)

Which is one of the things I like about the early retirement game. It’s tough to nail down.

I mean…is early retirement liberal or conservative?

Well on one hand financial independence is pretty counterculture.

Being a mushroom hunting locavore who grows his own organic vegetables and bikes to the public park for slack lining sessions a couple of times a week would go very well indeed with an early retirement lifestyle.

Early retirees can and should be thrilled that Obamacare is decoupling the access to quality healthcare from the requirement to be continuously employed.

Early retirees also will tend to have a lot invested in an excellent public education system, parks system, and library system. After all they still need to educate their children and fill their free time without breaking the bank.

They’re likely to be creative thinkers who question the need for unsustainable economic growth and consumption on both a personal and a global level.

So there’s the answer. Early retirees are quite simply a bunch of tree hugging, socialist, environmentalist, Commies.

tdf07stRESTbc-dudeC’mon man. Join the party. 

Or are they?

Early retirees become early retirees with the most classically conservative of all play books*:
They spend much less than they earn.

And what do they do with the money that they save?

They invest it in capitalism and growth.

And then there’s the taxes…

Any early retiree worth his salt shelters every nickel of his income that he legally can.  This way, more of his dollars can make dollars. And this evasion moves the finish line of financial independence ever closer.

And once he’s retired? His austerity has taught him to live on less. So he can play clever games with his investment income that allow him to avoid paying any income taxes at all for the rest of his life despite a comfortably middle-class income.

(Please read this eye opening and excellent post which describes this clever alchemy.**)

The verdict is in.

The early retiree is a curmudgeonly, buttoned-down, tax evader, who has pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

MI-BQ602_smith_DV_20120812163526And I intend for you to do the same, you Pitiful Leech.

So there you have it. Early retirement is conserveral. (Or is it liberative?)

Either way, do you think you have what it takes to become a paradox?

Why not join me? Why not defy classification?

You can trust me. I’m living it. The water is fine. Come on in.

(After all, I am a cardiologist who plays golf. When’s the last time you’ve even heard of one of those?)


*(Disregard our current crop of tinfoil-hat-wearing, religious extremist, teabagging, supply side cultists- they’re not actually conservative at all, just crazy.)

**Talk about a paradox: by making money passively, not having a real job, and controlling your spending you can become completely exempt from taxation.  Only in America!  )

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