ERE, the ladder of options

Right now I’m wearing a pair of pink woman’s Crocs. I wear them when I clean the house. My wife bought them, for her, when she was pregnant. They do their job very well.

Each time we wear clothes, buy food, or check Twitter we’re hiring something to do some job. Twitter entertains and educations. Food nourishes. Crocs provide comfort.

In Early Retirement Extreme, this job-to-be-done mindset exists, but with a twist. “There are no such things as needs and wants.” We obviously need _some_ things but Fisker points out those are very small. Consider people who live in an RV, sleep in a boat, and homestead in the woods. Not only are those acceptable forms of shelter, but for some they’re ideal.

The biggest influence that shifts needs towards wants is social, yet it’s all subjective and tilted towards wants. It’s easy to see a neighbor’s boat. It’s difficult to see a neighbor’s emergency fund.

Last week examined how education illustrates the difference between needs and wants. With Fisker’s help we can add a few more rungs to the ladder of options. One option is the classic option, attending four years of college. You need to go to college to get ahead today, some say. Well, maybe. But what are the other options?

Someone could apprentice, especially if they wanted to enter a trade like plumbing or pulling electric conduit. These jobs are predicted to survive the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace. Add to that, they pay well now.

Someone could join the military, get educated on Uncle Sam’s dime, and see the world. The military provides an excellent structure for personal growth, fulfillment, and a very clear sequence of steps for someone looking for a challenge.

Someone could travel overseas and teach. There, they’d get a a chance to explore another world, meet new people, and learn things they’d never learn in a classroom—ever.

Someone could, while in high school, find a credit matching program at a local community college, “double dip”, and graduate half-way to a degree. They could rip through two more years and start a job.

The ladder is only limited by our imagination, which is why I’m wearing pink Crocs. Thy do their job well. They provide great value for the (sunk) cost. I’ve no one to impress, and no one will ever know.