In a stunning piece of news, I recently learned that a pillar of our little FIRE community has died. This individual died a tragic death doing what he loved the most… cruising and enjoying a life of financial independence.
Out of respect for the family, this news has been kept very quiet, but I thought the entire FIRE community deserved to know the details as to how and why this unfortunate death occurred…
The Death of Root Of Good
Justin McCurry, (also known as Root Of Good) was recently vacationing on the cruise ship ‘Caribbean Princess’ with his wife Kaisorn. After completing their evening meal, the McCurry’s went for an evening stroll on the ship’s deck to enjoy the sunset.
Reportedly, Justin stopped to take a selfie with the sunset (so he could post yet-another picture to Twitter about how awesome a life of financial independence is) and he tragically fell to his death.
Apparently, Justin decided to climb “a little higher” on the railing to get a better photo, slipped, and fell. It’s likely that a couple of drinks with dinner, combined with a wet railing (from rains earlier in the day) were contributing factors.
Kaisorn, survived just fine… Which makes me wonder, was Justin pushed?
Despite an attempted rescue, the body was never recovered and authorities suspect sharks consumed the corpse.
The Real Risk Of A FIRE Lifestyle
Recently, a famous personal finance author (she who will not be named) has been very critical of the FIRE movement, claiming that members of the FIRE movement will run out of money.
Running out of money was never an issue for the McCurry’s — with annual spending right around $35,000 and a annual income over $71,000 (in 2017). Furthermore, most of the McCurry family’s income was derived independent of stock prices. Dividends from assets, interest, blog income, and a small consulting business made-up the bulk of their $71k income. In total, they had a net worth of over $2 million dollars. You can read all about it on Justin’s blog, but running out of money wasn’t the issue.
While this grandstanding by “you know who” is likely to garner additional media attention (and sell more overpriced books), her ridiculous “running out of money” argument actually ignores the real and higher probability risk of the FIRE movement — Dying because we’re out there doing stuff.
The McCurry’s went on cruises about twice a year and lived an incredibly rich life on a small budget. Justin even wrote a guide for others on low cost cruising for others: Cruise Vacation Overview. He was an incredibly avid cruiser and this adrenaline fueled activity finally did him in.
Even if he hadn’t slipped from the deck of the cruise ship, it’s likely Justin would have eventually succumbed to other major cruising health hazards:
- Gaining 5 to 10 pounds from eating too much of the ridiculously abundant food. (A contributing factor to many serious health problems)
- Contracting norovirus and potentially dying.
- Absorbing too much tropical sunshine and contracting terminal skin cancer.
- Death via cellphone/internet withdrawal. (Cruise ships only have expensive satellite internet)
Justin had a lot of fun in his short life, but this was exactly the problem. Instead of staying safe working in an office all day, Justin was outside doing stuff in The Big Blue Room. The outside world is dangerous, and “doing stuff” can actually kill you.
According to a report by the Cruise Lines International Association, falling off a cruise ship is not an uncommon way to die — around 19 people die every year falling from a cruise ship. (No word on whether they were pushed or not.) With 24 million people going on cruises every year, this means there’s an incredibly high probability you could die going on a cruise.
Clearly, Justin was taking BIG chances by going outside — he should have just kept working. A job in a air conditioned office would have been so much safer!
So keep working people! — Your life isn’t worth the risk!
Living Is A Risk
If you haven’t guessed already, today’s post is very much a joke. A satirical post to poke a little fun in the right places. Root Of Good is alive and well, and he kindly gave me permission to “kill him off” in today’s post.
(Thanks for being a good sport Justin!)
He actually *was* on vacation aboard the cruise ship ‘Caribbean Princess’ for 10 days this October, that part is true. The details and circumstances of his death however, are entirely invented. 🙂
While cruising does have some risk associated with it, the odds of falling off the boat are incredibly small. You’re more likely to die from being struck by lightning. Or, (more commonly) dying in a car accident while commuting to work. The National Safety Council has a great chart that details the probability of dying in many ways (if your curious).
All that to say, life is a risk… Even if you have a job.
Every time we step outside there’s a chance (however small) that something bad might happen. Hiding indoors is not the answer. Neither is staying at a job you dislike for the rest of your life over fear of “running out of money”.
Despite all the recent fear-mongering by “you know who”, running out of money isn’t that big of a deal compared to dying. We can recover from running out of money, but you can’t recover from dying.
Yet we manage the risk of accidental death every time we leave the house. It’s not something we need to cower in fear over. Why can’t money and our finances be managed as fearlessly as walking out the door every morning?
It can. Nobody knows what the future might hold, but risks can be weighed. Insurance can be purchased, and emergency funds can be created.
Yes, worst case — the world could go to complete hell. The financial system could collapse. Hyperinflation and a stock market implosion could render the dollar and all assets completely worthless. Unemployment could rise to 25%.
If that happens, then everyone is in the same boat. Both the employed and the financially independent. Even traditional ‘over 65’ retirees would need to start looking for a job along with the millions of newly unemployed workers. All retirement plans would be rendered completely worthless.
So what’s the likelihood all this doom and gloom actually happens?
You’re more likely to die falling off a cruise ship. That’s a very small risk compared to never having actually lived.