WHEN I first considered writing this book I chose as a title "How to Retire at Age 21" but on consideration realized that this might drive away anyone above this age when actually the book is meant to be of value to a reader of fifty as well as one just reaching his majority.
Had I used my first title I am sure there would have been some who would have gone no further than the title itself. "Retire at the age of 21?" they would have said. "Nonsense! The average American is lucky to retire at 65—if ever." But while I could agree with them that the average American is lucky if he ever retires at all, I still contend, in fact, I insist, that it is quite possible to retire at just about any age given no more than the usual basic education and an average American intelligence.
Why am I so sure of this? Partly because I have met hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans who have done so both in our own country and abroad. But mostly because I myself called it quits with the rat-race when in my early twenties and have led the good life ever since.
Possibly the word retirement means different things to different individuals. If you mean by retirement a life of complete withdrawal from the world and no activity beyond a 24-hour day loafing, then you need read no further because I can't help you. The only manner in which to achieve this, so far as I know, is to inherit a sizable fortune and I doubt that the average reader of this book has done so. I might mention that such persons, who have retired in this manner, are seldom happy. I have met them all over the world, and they are seldom happy.
Retirement, to me, means escape from the rut in which most find themselves today not only in our own country but in the civilized world as a whole.