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Lotteries: A Waste of Hope

Doug S.,

I don't know how to work around the time inconsistency of your preferences, but if you look time consistently at the span of your life with a relatively low discount rate (since you're likely to live many years regardless of what you do now), the best way to minimize the number of years that you will need to work is to accumulate assets in the short run while finding ways to keep your expenses low over both the short and long run.

It's entirely realistic for you to be able to retire after 10 years of work (and perhaps even fewer) if you can keep your expenses to 1/3 of your after-tax salary and get a 7% real return on your savings. I doubt that you're going to be able to work less than that over the long run by delaying work as long as possible -- more likely, you'll enter the work force with debts and have to work many extra years because of them.