There’s a lot of talk in our country about the ability to “retire”. That’s the Holy Grail for a lot of people, isn’t it? The ability to finally stop working…the finish line of a 40-50 year career so that now they can finally sit down and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Right?
It’s a flawed concept from the start. It’s an outdated concept from the early Industrial Revolution when employers told laborers, “Hey, if you’ll work for me for 40 hours a week for 40 years…then you can quit and get a gold watch and a pension.”
That plan hasn’t worked since the 1950’s. It probably didn’t work for your mom and dad and it’s definitely not going to work for you, either.
Here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to. I’m not saying that you have to work ’til you die. I’m saying that the concept of deferring your life’s pleasures until you’re 60+ years old is STUPID.
Consider Timothy Ferriss’ perspective from his wonderful book, “The Four Hour Workweek”:
Retirement as a goal or final redemption is flawed for at least three solid reasons:
1. It assumes that you don’t like what you do and that you’re re going to spend the prime years of your life doing it. [Tony’s comments: It’s already an impossible situation. There is no logical reason in the world why anyone would choose to do something they dislike for 50+ years.)
2. Most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hotdogs-for-dinner standad of living. In a world where “retirement” can last 30 years and where inflation lowers the value of your money by at least 2-4% per year…..even one million dollars is chump change. The math doesn’t work. The golden years become a replay of lower-middle-class. That’s a pretty bittersweet ending, isn’t it?
3. And if the math DOES work, it means you are one ambitious, hardworking machine. If that’s the case, guess what? A week after retiring, you’ll be so bored that you’ll want to stick toothpicks in your eyes. You’ll probably wind up starting a new company. Or taking another job. Kinda defeats the purpose of waiting, doesn’t it?
So, what am I (and Ferriss) saying? That you shouldn’t aspire to have a life where you can relax and do as you please? Not at all!
On the contrary, my point is that you should begin living that life NOW. How much sense does it make to work hard for 40+ years so that — when you’re 60+ years old — you can finally start doing the things you want to do?
Life is not a dress rehearsal. Start living yours today