...oh, and you'll still have the mortgage to pay off. How much money will you need to get by in this scenario without having to turn the kids over to the state? $700,000? $300,000? Less?
Sounds ridiculous, huh? Actually, it sounds like tonight's dinner conversation topic: life insurance.
There seems to be a lot of chat this week about the idea of 'professional minimalism,' which in some ways I prefer to think of as 'extreme minimalism.' While we're all defining our own brand of minimalism, I thought I'd dive in. Sorry folks, no reckoning today.
I've read a lot of books about minimalism to understand life beyond the hoard. There are stacks of books and websites written by minimalists who are true anti-hoarders. They've ditched it all in favor of a bedroll, a rucksack, a passport, and a modest bank account. Look, they say, here is the life you're not living because you're chained to your job!
"Ditch your job and pursue your passions" minimalism would probably also make me very happy. That is, until something went wrong.
In the long-term, how many of us can be extreme minimalists and can realistically afford to quit our day-jobs to pursue what we love? Maybe you can and that's fantastic. But I think you can still be a minimalist and spend 8 hours a day at a job that maybe isn't your calling or your mission in life.
Why? Because minimalists with plain vanilla jobs *are* pursing their passions. Our primary passions are our safety and security instead of travel or writing, or whatever. Once we're safe and secure, we can devote the rest of ourselves to writing, music, travel, etc.
How does a full-time job (pick a job, any job) give me that safety and security?
I need health insurance, which is pricey and hard to get (or pay for) in the US if you're not employed full-time. This insurance pays for the surgeries that have kept my vision intact for the last 15 years and will keep my eyes in good shape hopefully for the next 15. It also pays for the hospital in case I get hit by a car and need tens of thousands of dollars in treatment and rehab.
I need life insurance (courtesy of my paycheck), which will help me pay for the condo in case my husband is killed and I'm too disabled to work and I can't sell the condo quickly.
I need to keep up my job skills to support myself on my own if I have to. I watched a woman very close to me stay in an abusive marriage because she'd let her job skills lapse. Without those skills she couldn't get a job that would support her and all of her kids. Unfortunately, she was too emotionally beaten down to think she could get retrained for a job that would support three people. So she stayed. So did the scars on her kids' bodies and minds.
Do I enjoy my job? Absolutely. Is it my calling? Not exactly. But protecting myself and those I love is a calling for me.
Minimalism espouses the idea that money can't buy happiness. That's true.
But it sure buys you the kind of misery you can live with.
Thanks for reading!