Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Risk of Building a Slave

Bill Vallicella muses on how one can be an independent scholar and "put food on the table," although he what he probably means "live comfortably and independently," because for somebody with a doctorate it shouldn't be too hard to get a job somewhere.

One of his ideas is to "build a slave":
You work hard from say ages 20 to 40 at some high-paying job. You live like a monk and save and invest most of what you make. Being married to a high-earner can't hurt. When your 'slave' is good and healthy, you live the life of otium liberale from his return. Few will have the discipline for this approach. And postponing your 'real life' until later is obviously risky. But where there is a will there is a way.
Ben adds commentary of the risk involved in this strategy. This is an important trade-off that each of us must answer at some point in our lives. It is the sort of "big picture" question whose answer is easily defaulted into if you do not devote sufficient time to pondering it. Yet another reason why you should stop sweating the small stuff!