Monday, November 2, 2020

Why Retirement is Easier for Writers

P.T. Phronk
A post by P.T. Phronk,
of Forest City Pulp fame
Hey, do you like money? Cool, cool, yeah, me too. I've been thinking about money a lot lately, maybe because I'm at the stage in my life when I've managed to pay off most of my debts to other people, and now have to start thinking about debts to my future self. Someday, I'd like to have enough money to "retire."

Why do I put retire in quotes? Because I think retirement means something different for writers than it does for people with normal brains. Some people picture the end goal as sitting on the beach drinking Cobra Kais or whatever (sorry, more of a whisky guy), or at least contributing to the statistics that portray retirement homes as endless orgies. Other people can't fathom not working. "What would I do with my time?" these people ask.

For writers, the answer is easy: we'll write! 
If you're not familiar with the life of a writer, here's a secret. Writing is almost never a full-time job. Even the writers you've heard of, and even the writers at the top of the Amazon charts, probably have a day job. But they wish they could write full time! So that's what retirement is for many writers. Retirement is having time to write.

That solves the "what will I do?" problem with retirement. Writers have another advantage when it comes to getting out of the rat race: we are used to living frugally. Our needs are simple, because we're generally pretty happy as long we have a laptop, an Internet connection, and a towering pile of unread books—all things we already have. So maybe more than other people, we only need enough money in retirement to pay the bills and not die.
Devil on your shoulder illustration from Die Muskete, 1916
Aaand another thing: most writers have this little voice on their shoulder that says "if only I could write full time, instead of during the exhausted scraps of time between other jobs, I could really do something great, and maybe even make a few bucks from it." That little voice is probably spewing fantasy, probably not healthy to have there, but it's there, and … maybe it's right sometimes?

I'm making some big assumptions here, like that young people today will ever be able to retire, that the world will be inhabitable by humans by the time retirement age hits, and that issues like healthcare won't keep everyone chained to a crappy job (I'm lucky enough to be Canadian so that's less of a worry, but if you're in the U.S., hey, remember to vote tomorrow). But we might as well try, right? Save a bit of money here, make a few investments there, and maybe we'll reach financial independence someday. I like to read early retirement and finance blogs for inspiration—there are lots out there, but I'll recommend Of Dollars and Data, which provides some nice numbers-driven advice.

Do you think it's a bit easier for writers to get to retirement, or am I out to lunch here?

No comments:

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs