The life of minimalism is great.
I wake up every day around 10-11AM. I run or work out. Have my cup of coffee at the local pub (maybe something stronger). Have breakfast at home. Do a little typity-type here on teh interwebz. Work on various hobbies or projects I have. Play some video games. Then go out at night with my friends and simply repeat the process till I'm dead.
I pay little, if anything, in taxes because I make so little. I also contribute nothing to a retirement program. While this means no asset accumulations, that also means I have no assets I have to worry about being confiscated or seized. Plus, with little income and no assets, we have the added bonus of all those caring, compassionate Minnesota liberals that have voted in a plethora of tax breaks and benefits to people like me who are deemed "poor" (most of which I have yet to inquire about because I just haven't had the time to see if I qualify for "food stamps" or whatever other socialist malarkey they've voted in).
It is a life of maximum freedom I'm still getting used to and still have yet to fully comprehend, but in the few feet I've burrowed down this rabbit hole further I have come up with an interesting realization.
Despite your best efforts to be a minimalist and make as little as possible, you're arguably the most likely candidate to be filthy rich.
Allow me to explain why.
Nobody really makes it "rich" by "working hard" and "being loyal" to their employer. ALL employers have the goal of profit maximization which aligns their interests completely against yours. They are looking to not just keep your salary low, but eliminate you if at all possible. This leads to not only wage stagnation, but job insecurity. This would seem a bad deal that nobody would participate in, however if you saddle yourself with liabilities like a house, children and a spouse, then you really have no choice. You must abide by the terms of "traditional" employment, pursue it, play their games, suffer the politics, constantly be "leanring new skills" to keep up with CPE, in the hopes they don't lay you off in the next round of lay offs. You never invent anything. You never create anything. You MUST obey your employer. Check your individuality and ideas at the door, you're our newest valuable member to "Team Corporate Bitch."
In short, you are the furthest thing from an entreprenuer. You are a corporate slave. You need to play the game and endure the pettiness of corporate politics because you have liabilities and responsibilities to pay for, namely a wife, children and a mortgage. You never get to pursue what YOU want as you are too busy doing what other people tell you.
Contrast that now to your "loser" minimalist counterpart living in the basement of a buddy's, sleeping on a couch. This individual only has to work enough to support him/herself. A true minimalist will realize this only takes about maybe 10 hours of work per week, especially if they keep their expenses low. But (and here's the kicker) what does that person do with the other 30 hours per week of leisure while all their married-with-children-counterparts are busy at work, unable to play?
Well, if you're like any regular guy, you're inevitably going to be driven insane loafing around with nobody to talk to and inevitably you're going to start getting creative. Something, ANYTHING to occupy your mind. And that's when you'll start becoming really innovative.
And innovation is the most direct route to riches.
It may not be a book. It may not be a new piece of code. It may not be a new and revolutionary idea. But it will be SOMETHING that the loafing minimalists will come up with that their fully-engaged-and-enslaved corporate bitch counterparts never have the time to come up with themselves. In other words, the minimalist and the corporate slave may have the same intellectual capacity for creation and innovation. It's just that the minimalist actually has the time to actually pursue and implement these ideas.
A perfect example is the gal who wrote the Harry Potter books.
Shoot, you pay me a government check for being a single mom and I'll write books.
But what of her otherwise employed mom counterpart? The one who works all those extra hours at the local law office or social services department. When that counterpart is done with her 8-10 hour day with an extra 1-2 hour commute, and another hour of picking up her children form the Child-Outsource-Department...err...I mean..."daycare." Do you think she has the intellectual and creative energy to start writing fantasy books at the end of the day?
Of course not. Which brings about the dichotomy.
Though you, I and others may be minimalists, realize one of (if not "the") biggest advantages we have is that we have the option of working "smarter." We get to create and innovate. And not just create and innovate, but pursue. AND that is without some aging, old fart yutz dismissing our ideas and getting in our way. And though we may make peanuts now compared to our counterparts, if we ever pursue an idea and any one of those ideas actually take off, it is we who will be the genuine self-made millionaires vs the "$400,000 McMansion senior project manager with a $450,000 mortgage, SUV, and no time for ourselves" type people.
ie- there is only an upshot for being a minimalist.
At MINIMUM you have the majority of your time and life to yourself. You're not slaving away, you're not working for somebody else. You're not suffering the psychological torture of mismanaged and dysfunctional employers. You get to live your life.
However, at the same time, in getting to live your life, you are in a supremely better position to actually make riches as it is ideas and creations that make money, not "getting an MBA and putting in those extra hours after 4 billion hours of additional CPE certifications and kissing Bob's ass in the HR department."
So don't just think outside the box ladies and gentlemen. Actually get outside the box and make things happen....except for those of you with children, spouses, mortgages, SUV's, credit card bills and other things you can't afford. You need to stay in the box and be a team player. ;)
Enjoy the decline!