From the chapter "A Renaissance Lifestyle":
And under sub-topic of "Shelter"The strategy described in this chapter focuses on living inexpensively in a culture dedicated to extravagance, productivity, and material waste. It follows these guidelines:
-Work for the purpose of earning money for no more than five years of your life or five hours a week.
Since I am relatively old, financially frugal, but apparently irredeemably time-thrift (person who has tendency to cash-in free time earned through frugality as quickly as possible),the possibility of working 5 hours/week (or some flexible variation on this formula, maybe 6 months @10 hours/6 months at 0 hours, etc.) for the rest of my life starting RIGHT NOW! is much more appealing than working 0 hours/week for the rest of my life starting after 5 years of full-time employment.I think that a good guideline per person for living arrangements is $200-$350/month/person or about 10-15% of your net salary...As far as I'm concerned, the percentage is absolute. If I want to live in a "nicer place" it simply translates into a smaller place.
Since I did read "YMOYL" and "The Tightwad Gazette" around 25 years ago, I only worked full-time for about 6-8 years, but I basically used that money (not very much since I was primarily employed as manager of large bookstore) to help raise 2 kids to adulthood with frugal version of aspirational class amenities (lovely-in-decay historic home, decent schools, ballet lessons, soccer uniforms, stacks of books, fresh vegetables etc. )
Anyways, although I am in no way considering the metrics above as some sort of safety net stamped with guarantee, I was curious to examine the implications, both generally and in relationship to my specific situation. My own experience leads me to believe that the most critical factors to consider are the difference in expected hourly wage for full-time,locked-down employment vs. part-time, flexible employment and some measure that will equate the risk of a plan that primarily relies on robustness vs. one that primarily relies on resilience. When considering failure of a primarily robust plan, it makes sense to compensate for this risk with something referred to as an EMERGENCY! fund, but when considering failure of a primarily resilient plan, it makes more sense to compensate for this risk with something referred to as stash, roll, pump-prime, or transitional funds.
I think a measure of earned income resilience risk would have to look something like 1/SUM over the number of problems you can solve multiplied by factors of customers/clients/employers needing each particular problem solved multiplied by factors of markets in which trade/contract can be facilitated and average time lag of exchange for each market, multiplied by expected earnings/hour for solving that problem. (perhaps some redundancy here)
Once this problem was solved, you would still have to address the degree of independent risk of expenses increasing, which could also be ameliorated through plan either more robust or more resilient. Since shelter is likely to be the largest expense in most situations, if we accept 5 hours (or less)/week as maximum, which is 20% of 40 hour work week, for which shelter is to be estimated as 12.5% of total, this would result in shelter expense representing approximately 62.5% of budget in 5 hour work week solution. Therefore, it is obviously very important that the solution for shelter be either very robust, very resilient or both.
Okay, so let's examine worst case scenario in which the only problem an individual is capable of solving in exchange for money is the gathering and recycling for deposit of beverage cans dumped roadside. The client/market/transition factors are negligible, because the job is more or less always available, and some market is always open, so perhaps amounting to 1/2 hour of 5 hour work week spent walking to store and depositing cans into machine. The work itself averages 20 cans/hr., so total weekly earnings of 4.5 ($2) = $9 with fairly low risk of not being able to earn this amount. However, this individual is now faced with the challenge of coming up with a robust and/or resilient shelter solution which will only cost approximately $5.62/week. If we set acceptable risk of failure at 5% then this individual must either come up with one shelter solution which is 95% secure (robust) or, perhaps, 4 or 5 shelter solutions each of which is independently 50% secure, available at that price or less in total. Since, as Jacob noted elsewhere in the book, in an affluent society security is one quality that is likely to be over-priced, it seems likely that the resilient solution should be more frugal.
So, if we take an individual such as myself who is reasonably assured of always being able to obtain flexible, part-time earned income solving several different problems at bottom rate of approximately $15/hour with minimal transition time in a variety of markets, this would result in minimum monthly earned income, given maximum average of 5 hour work week, of approximately $325 requiring solution of monthly shelter at price of approximately $203. Most of the solutions I can come up with for this problem involve some level of barter of service. For instance, I could easily trade part-time nanny assets/skills for free accommodations. Some of the solutions I can come up with, such as long-term rough camping in National Forest, would limit access to earned income markets. Can any of you brainstorm some other solutions that would not require de facto barter employment or severely limit solutions to minimum earned income? I am thinking that a set of solution sets that changes with the seasons, like a cool temperate climate wardrobe, will be most ideal.