I do not know if you have had the pleasure of reading The Deliberate Agrarian, proprieter Herrick Kimball, who describes himself as such:
"I (Herrick Kimball) have been blogging here about Faith, Family, & Livin' The Good Life since 2005. Browse down this column and you will find a rich resource of contra-industrial thought, down-to-earth inspiration & useful how-to information."
His story is one that many (I should like) would like to emulate: he left his "good paying" job to move to upstate New York where he farms a small plot of land and has a part-time business in Planet Whizzbang, where he publishes plans of small-scale agricultural helps.
I hope to meet him some day (Here, There, or In The Air, as the saying goes...).
At any rate, he wrote an article yesterday entitled "Truth & Reality in the Midst of Economic Lies" which I would highly recommend you take the 10 minutes or so it takes to read. In abbreviated form, COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) is a statistic of questionable value in that it hides economic displacement is coming for either those that depend on pensions or those that depend on retirement savings (unless you are independently wealthy) and that the wise person prepares for this ahead of time instead of waiting for the train to arrive.
How? I will leave it to you to read Herrick's post but will simple suggest that his idea of "voluntary poverty" is one which should be explored, at least in theoretical form, before being completely dismissed out of hand.
I suppose the post quite resonated with me based on yesterday's column - feeling displaced already, the shackles of "Life As We Have Always Done It" weighs heavily on one. What would voluntary poverty look like in my own life? It was fascinating enough that I actually started asking the question "If I did not have the payments I have now - all of them - what would be the minimum that we would need to survive? If we eliminated all debt - all - how much would it require for us to live where we are now? (Not even theorizing moving in this)" I do not have that number but I fully intend to find out.
One more quote from the post to whet your appetite:
"Think in terms of less consumption and more personal production. Think of it as "voluntary simplicity." Maybe even "voluntary poverty" (which is much nicer than involuntary poverty.)"