In case you haven’t already figured it, ‘Find Your Beach’ is actually a metaphor for finding whatever you consider your slice of paradise (happiness, life-meaning, fulfilment) once you retire. However, in “The Green Swan”, ‘Work Harder, Work Smarter and Retire Early’ does mean exactly that.
It’s not often that a new book on financial independence and retiring early comes along. That’s probably because there can’t be too many new ways to engineer and create this lifestyle, and “The Green Swan” is no exception.
JW Brooks’ book is not intended as a comprehensive instruction manual on how to maintain a life of scrimping, saving and living a frugal lifestyle on the path to early retirement. It’s a guide based on his and wife Lucy’s own strategies and experiences.
In saying that, “The Green Swan” does give the reader a proven template to follow should the lure of retiring from full-time work aged 40 be attractive. And who wouldn’t want to consider that for at least a moment?
JW’s book has appeal to anyone, young or not so young, who is seeking financial independence. It uses not only real life examples from JW and Lucy’s life, but also a couple of real life case studies that demonstrate the key principles of The Green Swan and how you can adapt them to your own life.
So who is JW? Growing up in a small town in the U.S. Midwest, JW describes his upbringing as fairly typical middle-class.
His hardworking parents (dad, a banker, and mom, a nurse) were conscious of how money was spent but JW and his siblings got what was needed to fund their sports and education as well as annual family vacations which were often taken by car and occasionally flying further afield. As JW describes their lifestyle, “Not necessarily frugal but not spoiled.”
Through the lessons of his parents, JW learned early that to get ahead in life you have to work for it. Nothing was handed to him on a silver platter which he is thankful for. Although his parents helped put him through college by paying half, he was happy to work through high school and college to pay for the other half, as well as any ‘fun money’ that was required.
As a result, on completing college, neither JW or any of his siblings graduated with any student debt.
JW credits wife Lucy with much of their financial success and the drive to continue this path to financial independence. With a similar background and hard work ethic, Lucy has been instrumental in achieving their current level of net worth and lifestyle.
So what is the secret to creating your own Green Swan lifestyle? If you’re not familiar with the Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) way of living, what do you have to do to allow yourself to reach your own goal? What do you need to do to reach financial freedom at age 35 and then choose to stop working at 40?
It’s not really any secret. JW hasn’t discovered any new, revolutionary path to instant wealth. Yes, the usual ways still exist. Winning the lottery or inheriting a fortune are still great ways to reach financial independence but for pretty well most of us they are not viable options. One of the fundamentals of reaching these goals is that it’s going to take time and it’s going to take some effort.
Work hard, make money, track and budget expenses, invest……
That’s all there is to it. The four key principals to being able to give up work forever while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.
Nothing new there, so how does “The Green Swan” work?
If you’re familiar with the online FIRE community, you’ll probably be familiar with JW’s regular blog site, coincidentally called The Green Swan.
Like many FIRE bloggers (Get FIRE’d asap included) JW has been sharing his insights and experiences on the journey to financial freedom with a loyal following of readers.
“The Green Swan” (the book) is a consolidation of the ideas and strategies that have allowed not only JW and Lucy to be where they are today, financially, but will be very familiar to many others on the same pathway, myself included.
So who should read “The Green Swan”? If you’re currently on the FIRE bandwagon the book may offer some new strategies to help you reach your goal quicker. At the very least, it’ll reaffirm that what you are doing is extremely worthwhile and that the goal of not having to work ever again is really not that far in front of you.
However, if you are in lucky enough to be finishing high school or college, or have just joined the workforce, or you are a parent of kids at this stage in their lives, then “The Green Swan” deserves to be one of those books you give them. Along with all of the other valuable advice well-meaning parents offer.
If you’re like me and a little further along in life, it’s not too late either. In fact, it’s almost never too late to begin the financial independence journey and JW includes an example of how this can be achieved if you are at a later stage of your working life. However, that said, the earlier you start, the sooner you can reach your goal.
As previously mentioned, it’s not a comprehensive, ‘how to’ manual, nor is it heavy on detail but provides a proven, practical guide for anyone who wants to live a more balanced, financially prudent, less stressful lifestyle that isn’t dictated to by the need for a regular paycheck.
And if you’re currently happy with the way your life is now, happy with the career you’ve taken and plan to work until the normal retirement age or no longer can work, keep going and enjoy it. However, that feeling may not be the same in 5 or 10 or 15 years. So read “The Green Swan” anyway. That way you’ll know that there is actually a worthwhile alternative.
Perhaps, now is the time to find your beach.
The Green Swan eBook is over 30,000 words, 82 pages on normal 8.5 x 11 paper, and over a year in the making to help you get on the path toward financial independence! To find out more, visit The Green Swan eBook page.