If you started out as an engineer making seventy thousand dollars, and if your salary had more than doubled since then, and if you put eighty percent of your salary into low-risk bonds every single month, living in a rent-controlled apartment and buying your clothes at Ross and eating broccoli, beans and noodles every night, it only took nine years to save a million dollars.
The plan had always been: when Ben saved a million dollars, he would quit his job.
So you’re gonna travel? asked basically everyone.
He shook his head. Travel could eat up a million dollars in a few years, easy. Anyway he wasn’t interested in going anywhere.
You’re gonna write a book?
No, definitely not. That was the opposite of what he wanted to do. If he was going to write a book, he might as well just stay at work.
So, what, exactly…?
They never seemed to want to finish the question, maybe because they already had a guess at the answer, and something about it made them uncomfortable.
“Nothing,” he said. I’m not going to do anything.”
And he really wasn’t. All he wanted to do was sit in his apartment, stare at the walls, walk around the block. He used to love to walk around the block. He hadn’t done it in years.
You’re gonna get bored, they said. And/or, You’ll be back in a few months. A wink.
He couldn’t know, of course. They might be right. But he didn’t think so. What he thought was that once he left this job, he’d never have a job again.