This article was first posted June 17, 2006.
Passion Saving author Rob Bennett is a self-proclaimed financial advisor and career counselor who famously quit his high-paying job with accounting firm Ernst & Young in August 2000 to retire on a $400,000 nest egg invested entirely in fixed income securities. The fact that Rob was only 43 years of age at the time, lives in the Washington D.C. area, and heads a household with a stay-at-home Mom and two small boys made the decision all the more baffling to those who understand the risks and perils of an early retirement plan that might require funding 50 or 60 years of living expenses.
The last six years haven't been kind to the Bennett household. Their living expenses have increased at a rate far higher than inflation (as measured by the CPI.) In 2005, they had annual expenses of $38,000 which amounted to almost a 10% withdrawal from their $400,000 nest egg -- a clearly unsustainable rate. Indeed, Bennett recently lamented that he lacks the money to take his two small boys to Disney World.
Even more troubling, at ages 4 and 7, the boys have not yet reached their teenage years where spending will undoubtably increase even more. The rapidly depleting nestegg of only $400,000 doesn't appear to offer much hope of funding college expenses either.
Most financial experts believe that it is irresponsible and selfish for a husband and father in his mid-40's to voluntarily quit a job with a six-figure salary and attempt to retire on only $400,000 in savings. Advocates of "tough love" might argue that in an increasingly consumer-driven and materialistic society, it's refreshing to see a father cutting back and exposing his children to a simpler, more "bare-bones" lifestyle -- though it's hard to imagine what the four-year-old could have done to deserve the deprivation.
What do the members of the Financial Freedom community think? We've provided a poll below to gauge the reaction.