Today's lengthy Treasury Committee Report on bonuses (more on which will be coming soon), contains an interesting statement from Mervyn King, who aged 61 is still working very hard as the Governor of the Bank of England.
Having spoken to various bankers, King makes the following observation -
One of the things I found somewhat distressing about the lives of many people who worked in the City was that so many of them thought that the purpose of a bonus and compensation was to give them a chance to leave the City, to do something they really wanted to do, having built up enough money to give them the financial independence to do it. I think that is rather sad.
Is this really so sad though? King's been at the Bank of England for 18 years and shows little sign of retiring. He's therefore not the best person to empathise with the aim of working hard until your mid-40s in order to escape the shackles of a mortgages, school fees, and pension payments.
The bigger issue in pursuing a life of leisure may be that it's not as appealing as it seems when you're putting in 12 hour days. Last summer, Geraint Anderson, the former Dresdner researcher turned Cityboy complained that hanging out in London parks in the rain wasn't very exciting after all.
If you aspire to retire young, Maslow's hierarchy of needs may signpost your route to fulfillment. It is not to be found in Hyde Park.
After catering for physiological and security requirements, Maslow implies that former bankers should set about repairing damaged relationships, seeking the respect of others, and ultimately 'actualizing' themselves by fulfilling all their capabilities whilst being philsophical and pleasant in the process.
Having made an undisclosed amount of money writing about his indulgences at Dresdner, Anderson now appears to be going down this route. He writes -
"I [am] determined after 12 years of 'sinning' as a stockbroker that I now needed to engage in 12 years of 'repentance',
Unfortunately, this also makes retiring early from the City sound a bit pointless. 'Repentance' has unappealing overtones. It's better, surely, to spend 24 years earning money for something you enjoy, and then be done with it.