Why I Like The Idea Of Early Retirement Extreme

When I was searching for tips and ideas to retire early, to retire in less than 10 years, I found a growing community who embrace the idea of early retirement extreme. A guy called Jacob founded this idea. He uses his Renaissance Man concept to live for a year by spending only USD 7,000. To me, his life style is simply amazing and I admired his skill to produce some much for his daily use.

I took some numbers from his site, earlyretirementextreme.com to show his spending in year 2011 compare to mine:




Rent + utilities

USD 270

USD 200

Health insurance

USD 95

USD 10

Accident Insurance


USD 10

Life insurance




USD 100

USD 350

Martial art

USD 95



USD 50

USD 100 (Bus, MRT)


USD 50



USD 20

USD 35

Student loan


USD 83



USD 180 (Books, movie, eat out)

Product installment plan


USD 150



USD 100



USD 180


USD 680

USD 1,400


This is why I am a fan of the early retirement extreme. I have always considered myself as a frugal person and know how to use my money wisely most of the time. But seeing the table above, Jacob easily surpass me in supporting his life style (my typical spending is more than two fold of his).

So, next come the doubts where how can a person surviving on this amount of money without going through a lot of hardship? I have the same doubts initially and I decided to find out from his blog and his books what is his life like post retirement.

It turns his life was not as hard as I initially thought it would be. He still owns things, meet friend, entertain him himself through some hobbies and having a healthy body. How can it be, you may ask. It is through the idea of Renaissance man. Instead of spend money on buying solution to the problems he encountered in daily life, he spend time learning that skill to solve the problem himself and free himself from dependence on other people if the problems occurs again in future.

His extremely low food cost sometimes bring concern from people whether can they obtain delicious and nutritional food with such a low budget. Also, with such a low budget, people think that they will miss out a lot of delicious food from the restaurant. I forgot the exact words he uses in his book, but the idea here instead of spend so much money to buy the solution (delicious food in this case) from the restaurant, why don’t we just learn the cooking skill that enable us to cook that delicious food we like?

Needs vs Wants
He also talks about the ideas of needs and want in his book. In his view, there is no needs or want; there is only people value. For example, let’s talk about food here. There are many choices (in ascending order according to price) exists to fill up our stomach:

  1. Dumpster diving.
  2. Heavily processed food.
  3. Home cooked food from pre-packed ingredient.
  4. Home cooked food from fresh ingredient.
  5. Food from hawker center.
  6. Food from food court.
  7. Gourmet meal from restaurant.
  8. Fine dining

It could be argued that eating from dumps will be too extreme and too dangerous (I agree with that too) for a life style. But I think there will be less argument that home cooked food from fresh ingredient under a good chef (hopefully is you) can provides a delicious and nutritional meal with a much lower cost compare to items 5,6,7,8.

In summary, early retirement extreme is achievable if you are willing to make the necessary life style choice and constantly improve yourself by learning more life skill.

Data Source: Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence


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2 Responses to Why I Like The Idea Of Early Retirement Extreme

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  2. Pingback: Why It Is Important To Define Your Enough | Let's Retire!

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