- Paperback: 238 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (September 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 145360121X
- ISBN-13: 978-1453601211
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 302 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence 1st Edition
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About the Author
Jacob Lund Fisker retired at 33 and wrote Early Retirement Extreme to share his systems-theory approach to personal economic efficiency with others. His ideas have been featured in articles in Forbes, CNBC, USA Today, US News & World Report, The Guardian, PBS Next Avenue, The Atlantic, and many others.
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I am not a financial expert, pretty silly about it all actually, but what I think Jacob is suggesting makes perfect sense. In this book, rather than focus on tactics, Jacob focuses on strategy and the underlying principles that guide economic behavior in a consumer-driven society.
What I like about the principles in this book is that they are scaleable. Meaning, you can be as extreme or not as you would like to be.
The idea is that more money invested early, in larger sums, will ultimately equal more interest to live off sooner. Sure, one can invest 10%-15% of their income over the course of a 30 year career, but one could also invest 75% of their income over the course of five years. How does one invest 75% of their income? By extreme living.
There are several conceptual models presented in this book that make a lot of sense. The idea of "tight coupling" resonated with me due to personal financial circumstances. I am a salary man and while I have some "slack" in my coupling, there is not much room between my salary and needs.
A complex system has many points of failure, but is also- or can be- resilient. Consider a person who has several income streams. Yes, one of them could fail, but if it does, the other streams continue.
If you can get through the first half of the book, which does seem strange at times, it all comes home in the end. Ultimately, there is a logic to what Jacob is suggesting in his book and it makes sense when you arrive. What he presents is based on sound mathematics and several graphs are provided to help with the narrative.
Anyway, I do believe this book could be better written with the common man in mind. It's a challenging read and I think one needs a reasonable intelligence to process it. I understand why several of the one star ratings rated the way they did. They did not get it, or, it did not conform to their financial strategy.
Incidentally, I think this book pairs nicely with Your Money or Your Life. YMOYL is a much easier read and in many instances shares similar content.
Succinctly, if you are reasonably sharp, oriented toward extreme living, and think like an engineer, physicist, or mathematician, I think this is a perfect book for you.
Now admittedly if you grew up knowing exactly what you want to do and it involves the typical western career track this book isn't worth your time. In any case it's not an option for wimps. The author admits considerable effort, discipline, and continuous learning are necessary to build the savings and investments to retire. The savings and investments are key - once you have 25 times your annual wage invested you can live off the interest (4%). You won't live in luxury but by the time you succeed you'll have acclimated your self not to. You will have to reject the whole consumerist luxury lifestyle dominating our age. Fancy cars, cable TV, eating out weekly, coffeehouses, retail therapy etc. must be cut to fuel your investments. It's not a sacrifice - a sacrifice is giving up one valuable thing or something of equal or greater value. If you've ever lived in a 3rd world country on its terms or lived rough in the military you know such luxuries are unnecessary. Only according to advertising are they "needs". What you get in return for this effort is freedom. Freedom from corporate cubicles, sociopath bosses, miserable coworkers, commutes, tedious meetings - the whole "Office Space" experience. Indeed, freedom from the very things that often provoke inane consumerist spending. (How many times do you "need" Starbucks lattes? Or "deserve" a big screen TV?)
The only thing I find awkward is the author's writing style because he's an academic and a technocrat. But take that as a heads up not a deal breaker. Read this book. And don't believe the whiny haters - a growing number of people opt for what the author recommends and succeed even if they're imperfect at the exact steps. I believe this book's recommendations may be the panacea for all the corporate consumerist ills plaguing modern life while keeping the good.
It's for those who want to read what is essentially a college textbook on how to use systems thinking in order to maximize your savings and your happiness.
This book is a detailed, well written, well organized, manual. It teaches you how to think like a "renaissance man", meaning someone who has the skills, knowledge, and fortitude to survive and thrive no matter the state of the economy. It was tremendously empowering because it helped me realize that I am not destined to be buffeted about by the winds of the economy, but can take personal control over my life no matter my circumstances.
It takes principles most commonly used in permaculture gardening and applies them toward designing a human life. If you want to eliminate waste, invest more efficiently, and gain new perspectives on everything from diet to home improvement, this is a must read. It really opened my eyes to the idea that with a high enough savings rate, anyone can retire in about 5-10 years, even if they don't earn a lot of money. Tremendously empowering!