Hi! 👋 I’m Jessa.

I blog daily about life, work, and the future.


“This book is not anti-work.”

This book is all about “reclaiming your life from our nonstop work culture so that you decide what role work will play in your life, instead of society deciding for you.”

“This is about living our dreams. Making the very most of our limited time here. Seizing an opportunity that most people through history have never dreamed of. This is about living lives of purpose, entirely on our own terms.”

Quotes from the book

Work today is a far cry from work of the not-so-distant past. In the seemingly endless race to boost productivity and profits, companies expect their employees to work more and more hours for less and less pay, and to be connected even when we’re not working.

Entrepreneurs and freelancers are told they need to “hustle” around the clock to be successful. Sometimes it all feels just as pointless as collecting virtual coins in a video game as we chase new jobs, promotions, or opportunities that may or may not actually help us get ahead or make us happier, all the while drowning in never-ending email loops and power dynamics.

We work for that paycheck, live for the weekend, and spend our money trying to soothe the stress of it all.

This book is not anti-work. Work is a good and noble thing, something nearly every person ever born has had to do in some form, whether or not they were formally employed. As humans we are wired to be productive, and work provides an outlet for that need. Work can give us a sense of purpose, a sense of contributing to society, and a sense of usefulness. The problem isn’t work itself, but our current societal work culture. The work in which too many of us wear our busyness and the bags under our eyes as status symbols. The culture that says you must hustle around the clock to be worthy. The culture that says our employers or clients own not just our work hours but every waking moment. We aren’t wired to handle that.

The money part of early retirement is deceptively simple in principle: Spend less than you earn, invest the difference until it generates enough money to support you forever, and then wave goodbye to mandatory work.

The more expensive your life is, the harder it is to save money.

Mindful spending is spending you plan for and consider thoroughly before handing over your hard-earned cash, spending where you make sure you really need that thing or at least that you’ll use it often enough to justify the cost.

Reorient your thinking about money to see it as a repository of the time you spent earning it and a tool to buy that time back, instead of as a means of rewarding yourself for your work.

Anyone can save a high percentage of their income if they spend nothing. But a life in which you spend nothing or pinch every penny to spend as little as humanly possible is not likely to be a life that feels worth all the effort you put in at work.

Two partners may have the same values and priorities, but money is such a personal, emotional thing that each of us may have very different spending triggers and emotional responses to money.

Cutting down on housing expenses is one of the fastest, most effective ways to save money, so you might choose to downsize your living arrangements now, well in advance of achieving your work-optional life, to speed your progress.

The housing arrangement that suits you now may not work especially well if your circumstance change.

Money comes loaded with a whole slew of emotions that differ for each of us, and making the choice to save large amounts of it may trigger feelings of scarcity (I won’t have enough left over to enjoy life), hopelessness (I could never save that much), or self-doubt (I don’t have the willpower to stick to a plan like this).

Optimal is only optimal if it truly works for you, and there’s no shame in creating your own systems that suit who you are.

There are two sides to that saving equation that affect how quickly you can save: how much you earn and how much you spend. And while most of us can reduce what we spend, perhaps by a lot, the potential reduction there is finite. There’s a baseline amount that you require to live comfortably. You can’t always cut more from your spending, but you can always earn more.

You can’t always cut more from your spending, but you can always earn more.

Just because you started working in one field doesn’t mean you’re stuck there forever, and if the current path you’re on doesn’t have good potential to increase your earnings, get creative in looking around at what else you might do and the training you need to do it.

…retirement itself isn’t about never contributing to society again. It isn’t even about whether you work or not. It’s about having the freedom to control your own time and to decide for yourself how to spend your focus and attention.

Early retirement itself will not magically make healthy choices for you, reverse your bad habits, or get you off the couch. You still have to make the conscious choice and effort to live the life you dream of. The best thing you can do to make sure that happens is to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.