What Could We Learn About Early Retirement From Tesla Autopilot?

Financial Independence, Random Observations / Monday, May 14th, 2018

There have always been concerns over a self-driving option in Tesla’s vehicles, known as Tesla autopilot, and its readiness for the general public use. As with all new and untested technologies, it carries high risks.

Recent accidents and fatalities are drawing much criticism over Tesla’s implementation. It appears the product does not seem ready to use for the general public. Others question the overall safety of all similar systems and the current status of the technologies.

Somewhat similarly to early retirement; both carries high risk. Although you may know the end goal and milestones you need to hit to make something work, you cannot necessarily anticipate all the bumps along the way. All you can do is try to minimize the risks.

It’s not about speed

Some competitors, not by name because there are several, they’re trying to race to be the first one to show autonomous driving. I’m not so sure what being first gets you,” Jack Hollis, group vice president of U.S. sales for the Toyota brand

It doesn’t matter if you reach the goal first, especially in the case of retirement. You are racing against who? No one. There is no competition except with yourself.

Just as not keeping up with the Jones-es, you also don’t need to race against the Frugalwoods or the GoCurryCrackers. (you probably won’t win)

There is no need to rush to the destination if it will cause you immense suffering or affect your relationships. Even worse, endanger your long-term goal indefinitely. No one will care that you got there before them.

It is as pointless as commenting “FIRST” on Youtube.

Try to understand your status and go at it at your own pace.

It’s about safety

Safety is our top priority always, including in testing autonomous vehicles, and we have an established process to make data-driven decisions,” said Toyota spokesman Alan Hall.

The Toyota spokesperson said something regarding the recent Tesla crashes that resonated with me.

They are not concerned with getting there first – they want to build viability and a large margin of safety.

With retirement, once we pass a certain age, income will be much harder to come by. If we were to get into an “accident” at the later stages, recovery will be much more difficult.

You want to build that fortress of solitude so you can within any harsh economic conditions and have a bigger level of safety. We all know the economy comes in cycles, so we must prepare for the famine and save while times are good.

Being safe is superior to getting there fast.

Build that viability. Make it so you can even survive on a lower safe withdraw rate before you are forced to.

Autopilot is not foolproof

It’s nice to automate things within personal finance, but you still need to look  at where you’re going from time to time. Market conditions change. Health changes. People change.

If it looks as if like you are steering off the path, you need to grab the wheel and take control immediately. You need to trust your own judgment over a computer’s or another person’s.

This is what you have trained for from reading books and blogs, running your numbers and experimenting with your lifestyle. Put that knowledge to use.

Do not allow the direction you are headed end up where you do not want to be. It is important to correct the path right away. The longer you wait, the more you will stray off the path.

Not all things should necessarily be fully automated. The computer doesn’t understand your life – nor does it care.

Tesla car logo

Use new technologies with caution

Many of us use robo-advisers. It’s the new thing and it has low cost. This makes it very appealing.

It operates like a Ronco Rotisserie – “You set it and forget it”. Who doesn’t like that?

However, if you really think about the history of robo-advisers, there isn’t much of it. Their history has only been around for 10 years.

We are the test dummies.

Without long-term information, it hard to say how robo-advisers will react to large spikes, turbulence or extended period of turmoil.

An irrational fear of mine – an error in their trading algorithm! Many will proclaim that their platform is foolproof! Who know?!

With that said, I still personally use robo-advisers to manage some of my money. However, there is no way in heck that I would put all my eggs into that one basket.

No matter how proven, there will always be uncertainty

This is just a fact of life.

You can plan for every instances you can think of, but somehow, the one thing you didn’t think of WILL BE the thing that pops up. We cannot control how the stock market, real estate market or the job market will be in the future.

We predict future results on past history and hope the future will have a similar result. It probably won’t.

Be like water, as Bruce Lee says. Stay flexible and limber to change.

Do not drive yourself mad, because Firecalc only reaches 99.9% certainty of success. Even at 100%, some curve-ball will still  make it into your life somehow.

Things will not be going as planned; accept that life will most definitely go wrong. Murphy’s Law will always find its way into your life somehow.

There will be setbacks.

That doesn’t mean you quit. <insert inspiring speech of your choice>

In fact, setbacks may bring other opportunities.

Fix the issues and learn from the experience. Find improvements and overcome the setback. You may have to go back to the drawing board and think of a new way to resolve your problem.

If you come out of it, you will be stronger and gain more experience to fight the next battle. It’s like a JRPG game.

You are ultimately responsible

The robot advisers, friends, family, whatever… you are still the one in the driver’s seat.

The blame cannot always fall onto someone else, as no system is perfect. Giving up your complete sovereignty is foolish. I am sure most people would agree with me on that.

If you decided to give up control, there will be instances when the imperfect system with limited intelligence decides to drive you into a wall.

The responsibility of your actions fall squarely onto you. You need to depend on your own knowledge and skills which you have built up to steer into the best decisions.

No one will care about your own well-being more than you do. Certainly, not a computer.


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5 Replies to “What Could We Learn About Early Retirement From Tesla Autopilot?”

  1. good article,cal. you gotta own your life. i say the same thing at work, even when i was doing menial jobs. “these are the moves i made and this is the thought process behind them. i own the decision and if it didn’t work the way i thought i’ll correct and do better next time. onward!” hopefully the patient didn’t die or you didn’t squander all your hard earned jack. it’s been good to learn from the hard knocks and make it easier on myself over the years.

    1. It hard to see the long term.

      It’s just human to see the present and complain about it. When you look back on things, it seems much better having gone through it. Of course, experiences may vary.

      Most things people complain about are trivial matters. I am guilty of this myself. Many of us in the US simply have it too easy.

  2. I think too many people today are on autopilot with their finances and there are going to be some serious financial crashes when people try to retire. It’s unfortunate that more people aren’t trying to act like Toyota 🙂

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