The early retiree, mindful or just a jerk?

Is the average early retiree more mindful then others or just a jerk?

The mindful early retiree

Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being aware of something.

In this sense those searching for early retirement are definitely more mindful. They are acutely aware that their actions impact the future. They are mindful of spending, savings, and overall life choices. By being mindful they may choose to live as a minimalist or at least moderatist. Mindfulness allows for decisions in purchasing including careful assessment of big ticket items such as cars. Through awareness of life, they may choose to live a more present day with less tv time, more exercise, and more activities. It is rare to be like Physcian on Fire and have Early Retirement Choose You.

By nature, I think individuals who want to retire early are more mindful. Some may call them lazy for wanting to get out of the work force, but I call them mindful. By choosing to leave work, they can enjoy their days as they desire. They can pay attention to each activity and fully engage in it. They realize that their day to day job makes them dullards and less present.

Maybe I am romanticizing all this. In fact, maybe those who work towards early retirement or personal finances are just jerks.early retiree

The early retiree jerk

A jerk is a contemptibly obnoxious person.

I could see how people perceive the realm of early retirement as jerks. Heck, they are sitting at home and enjoying life while the rest of the work toils to make a living. That is quite a jerk move. They should be out there working with us.

In fact, some of these early retirees go on social media and discuss their happiness. That is not cool. Stop being jerks. No one wants to hear how you did it, particularly not on the internet and social media.

Just kidding. I love early retirees. Keep up the good work motivating the rest of us.


If you have read anything here before, you will know that I think early retirees are not jerks. Are they all mindful? Probably not. But it does take some foresight and planning to be able to retire in your 30s or 40s. It takes some acute awareness of your current situation and happiness to choose to make a difference. Once that choice has been made, then everyday going forward you have to be mindful of your goal until you have achieved it.

So yes, I think early retirees have to be mindful. In fact, most of them seem to be doing very cool things like making soaps like Mrs. Money Mustache, traveling via RV around the country like Think Save Retire, or coaching tennis like Financial Samurai. These are not tasks that will make you rich, but they may make you happy!

What do you think. Are early retirees masters of mindfulness or just jerks?

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I am a Dad and Doctor trying to find financial freedom by owning my dollars and debts. Helping dads with their finances so they can focus on the family.

15 thoughts on “The early retiree, mindful or just a jerk?

  • April 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Every early retiree and pursuer of early retirement is both mindful about oneself, but then seen as a jerk by others. We either have to just play hush, hush at work and life because everybody thinks we are being jerks talking about how cool it would be to stay at home or talking about the amount of money we are socking away for retirement. We are seen as jerks probably because everybody else is just jealous of the opportunity that we have and that they do not.

    We are mindful for ourselves, in our finances, in our family life, and in most all life because you have to be in order to retire early. It is a family effort with all of us pulling our weight in the pursuit. We are mindful in what we share about this pursuit with others so as not to be seen as jerks in their eyes, but this is definitely a learned skill.

    When you finally commit to the pursuit of financial independence, then most people you talk to about it will see you as self-centered and a jerk.

    We just have to quietly dismiss their comments and move on because we know what will make us happy better than anyone else.

    • April 26, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Very good points. It is amazing the scorn you can get from others for wanting to be free sooner. It is likely jealousy but mainly from the early retirees ability to be free. To break the habit that society has built for us!

      I like your point that it is a family effort. Without everyone pulling their weight, there is no way to retire early.

  • April 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I vote for mix. There are jerks and mindful people in every segment of the economy. But the act of being an early retiree is not synonymous with Jerk. Its what you do with the rest of your time that determines that. For example several early retirees give considerable amounts to charity. Others have side hustles that benefits society. That is fairly mindful. Then again there are also jerks in the community. I’m thinking of the ones in the mainstream selling get rich quick literature for example.

  • April 17, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Another way to describe mindfulness is “situational awareness.” I like that, since it’s a bit more descriptive of what I am trying to do/be.

    • April 17, 2017 at 10:52 am

      I like that idea- situational awareness… it is definitely more descriptive of the moment. Mindfulness sounds like you are trying to be kind instead of focusing on the moment.

  • April 16, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I don’t know how mindful I am, but I promise I’m not a big jerk. I would say I’m fairly observant, and I suppose that’s somewhere on the mindfulness spectrum, if not quite as new agey.


    • April 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      You seem to be observant…at least from your writings. Most anesthesiologists are not jerks but are used to dealing with the occasional jerk.

  • April 15, 2017 at 5:05 am

    I think people who see early retirees as jerks are just jealous. Retiring early is not easy, and people who do so have earned their bragging rights.

    • April 15, 2017 at 6:59 am

      Ha ha. That is true. There must be a lot of people out there who are jealous. They don’t want to work hard to achieve a goal.

      I don’t think they are jerks, but it is funny reading the threads sometimes from the haters.

  • April 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    DDD – I think you are on to something regarding mindfulness/self-awareness. A recent study amongst business leaders found that the number one trait for successful leaders was self-awareness. My experience in the workplace was that the most effective leaders were the self-aware.

    Mindfulness is self-leadership so I totally buy your point.

    As far as the jerks, I haven’t met any yet. 🙂


    • April 14, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Interesting about the study regarding business leaders being successful when mindful. I think the same applies for physicians. The jerks are the less mindful people. They are self important and self assured. That does not lead to empathy with patients.

      I haven’t met any early retiree jerks either. I think the jerks stay in business to maintain their self importance!

  • April 13, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Interesting post today. It seems most early retirees start off as being mindful about money and goals. As they achieve early retirement their mindfulness seems to shift to more profound matters like happiness and a meaningful life.

    There don’t seem to be too many jerks in the FIRE community, but maybe some new blogger can make that their shtick: The Early Retiree Jerk.

    • April 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Ha ha the early retiree jerk. Seems like it would be a good satirical site.

      It does seem like most early retirees find ways to maximize they happiness once they get over the worries of money running out. ESI had a recent nice post on this here.

  • April 13, 2017 at 1:57 am

    I vote for mindful, as it is not easy to go against the grain of society and retire before the age of 65.

    • April 13, 2017 at 6:56 am

      I agree. I think it is against the grain to find a way to retire early. It takes focus and attention to details to make it happen.

      Congrats on the Rockstar Finance shout out yesterday!


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