FIRE Station Fun – Time Is The Ultimate Luxury

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As much as anything, “lifestyle inflation” drives many people to forgo the opportunity for early retirement.  In the 1950s, the productivity of the information age promised less work and more leisure.  Yet, people seem to be working the same or MORE hours rather than less.

I expect we could quite easily have a 20-hour work week today – or all retire in our 40s – if we were willing to adopt a 1950s lifestyle.  This would mean a smaller house, one car instead of two (or three), less going out to eat, very little international travel, and no subscriptions to cell phones/internet/cable TV.

Will this trend continue?  Will we continue to value things more than time?  Isn’t time and independence the ultimate luxury?

Image Credit: Pixabay / MrFireStation.com

13 thoughts on “FIRE Station Fun – Time Is The Ultimate Luxury

  1. The answer is no. Companies can’t make money selling you a slower lifestyle with fewer amenities. “More Stuff” is a business model that works. Who is going to advertise – buy less and enjoy life with your family and friends? After all, in America Bigger is Better!

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    • Companies don’t make us buy – ultimately we decide, right? I think that the credit card age that also launched in the 1950s appeals to our desire for “more & better” – but the responsibility for our lives belongs with us.

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  2. It will require a complete mind change for a lot of people. While I think it’s definitely possible, the economy may suffer if everyone starts doing that. I’m on board with this concept though.

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    • Yes – consumer spending is about 70% of our gross domestic product. Businesses count on that number growing a little bit each year, and if it declined even by a few percentage points the economy overall would definitely feel it.

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  3. 100 years ago, John Maynard Keynes predicted the 15-hour workweek would be the norm by 2030. He failed to see how increases in consumption would keep pace with increases in efficiency. Behold the power of marketing!

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    • Having spent my whole career in marketing, I guess I can feel like I did a good job. At the same time, consumers make choices to consume. Of course, I have worked on and launched products that nobody wanted to buy, that’s for sure (Fiber One yogurt, anyone?)!

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  4. If you ever have an opportunity to see how the other half of the world lives (I mean third world countries), you will understand this notion very well. I got the opportunity to live in a third world country after living in Canada my whole life (since I was 5 years old), when I was 17-19 years old. it was the best thing that ever happened to me in terms of appreciating what we have in Canada & really understanding what it means to be content. It also taught me that having more actually makes you want more, not less. I have never seen so many content and happy people in my life then when I lived abroad. Contrast that to people in North America (including myself sometimes) who feel depressed because they didn’t get to take the vacation they wanted to take.
    Some of the most financially poor people of this world are so rich in spirit and heart. We can learn from them.

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    • Big AGREE to that! There is definitely a hedonic treadmill that we all march on and it means that we always want more. I heard someone say once that in order to retire early you have to really understand the relationship between your happiness and the amount of money you have. I think that is profoundly true ands visit to the third world highlights that.

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  5. I really agree with your premise – that many of us could retire much earlier if we were willing to live with less stuff. I wouldn’t worry so much about hurting our economy since most people wouldn’t be willing to do this. One of my favorite bloggers, Mr. Money Mustache, did it and actually lives rather well with his wife and young son. Again, not everyone is willing to make the trade-offs, but it’s doable.

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