The above statement is something that cross my mind recently.
We seem to be on a hedonistic treadmill to
- learn things in school, skill up
- work to fund things and goals our parents have been doing at our age
- work to fund the same retirement goal that our parents have been doing all this while
- reach retirement, enjoy retirement
- wait for medical concerns to set in, struggle and past away
My readers would rebel against this form of living, in their own little way.
They would probably build wealth better than their peers.
They would make better career decisions and purchase decisions than their peers.
However, I do wonder if they do ponder the same thing as I do: What awaits us at the end of the tunnel? Will we really like what awaits us at the end of the tunnel?
Building wealth for security and independence has its benefits, however, I realize that we may fall into the trap of chasing a goal too hard, that we missed out why we chase after something in the first place.
Wealth is a facilitator for something we want, and what is that we want?
Let us not fall into the trap of putting every ounce of our energy to building wealth, and lose focus about what the wealth is there for.
Here are some things to re-calibrate.
Live the Retirement Life without Being Retired
How do you envision retirement? Playing with the kids all day? Remember that by then your kids are adults, and they might not want to play with you all day (the grand children would I suppose)
There must be something that you look forward to do in retirement.
The healthy suggestion is: Can we do it today?
If we can fulfill our retirement goals today, then there is no need to save for retirement.
You save for retirement so that you do not need to go work. However, if most people are bored to tears at home being goalless, and went back to light work, your money isn’t going to run out soon.
It would be better to note down a list of what you will do in retirement that you cannot do now. You realize there might not be many things.
If working so hard impedes our life to do the things we want, the logical solution is to work less.
If you work less, you have more time, and that time will enable you to do the things you want.
There is no free lunch here. You are likely to earn less, but if what you want is a simple life with less stress, then you can have it.
You just need to take care of some other things like:
- simplify a large part of your life that you are not concerned with
- not have too much negative risk areas – monetary debt, emotional debt, wellness debt
- ensure you can fund what you want
Many people I spoke to have ‘simple dreams’. If the dreams are simple, forcing yourself to brainstorm a scenario of working less might create possibilities that things will happen for you.
War Game your Future Goals
You only live one life. For some of you, once you deplete your vitality you cannot get it back.
For the ladies, you have only one window to produce a child.
To reduce the opportunity costs in life, it is better to simulate your future goals in a controlled manner.
Doing Deep Work
A term that I came across but I believe it applies to many of us. We gain satisfaction from doing something well and it becomes very fulfilling. That creates satisfaction and perhaps happiness.
Deep work is not doing things on a superficial level, but developing a deeper understanding on a particular subject, applying and executing the understanding and seeing the fruitful results.
Usually this relates to your job, but it could very well be taking your hobby or fitness to a higher level.
You are not keeping still in your life, and if you do something you excel in, it tends to give you greater interest and enjoyment.
You might not realize it, but you might be living for the moment, or doing something you want to do in retirement, but only doing it now.
Push for Financial Security but not Independence
If you understand the concept of financial security and independence, and how much you require to get there, and can build wealth machines to get there, then the question is do you need so much in the first place.
The gap between financial security, and financial independence is large. You could offset your survival expense of your family with your wealth machine but to get to the stage of independence, it is somewhat closer to the amount you need for retirement.
Based on the points discussed, if you do not stop working, and are living your retirement goals right now, what you need is optionality, security from unforeseen events.
An emergency fund and a wealth machine that is about $200,000 that can provide a yield potential of 7%, could potentially provide you with $14,000/yr or $1166/mth to take care of your basic needs.
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