Retirement Should be Your Worst Case Scenario Insurance | Briefing v14 — MoneyRedPill
What kind of quality of life is ‘work like a dog during your best years, so you can race to reach X-dollar retirement target, and hopefully not have to work when you’re old, tired, and sick’? Rather than slowly chipping away at a mountainous net worth figure, year after year for decades, we advocate a completely different and more optimistic perspective that lets you live your best life now and sleep well knowing your older years are accounted for and will be comfortable.
Retirement planning, as we see it, is life insurance for the worst possible case scenario. That’s not to say one shouldn’t utilize retirement accounts. In fact, we are strong advocates of maximizing one’s Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and 401k, and starting the process as early as possible. However, this is where the tangible efforts towards planning for retirement end. Why?
If you loathe your job/career/profession (even worse, are bad at it), and working towards retirement is simply a means to an end, you’re probably living a miserable existence. In this scenario, the underlying reason why you spend the majority of your existence doing something you don’t like, is to simply stop doing something you don’t like, many, many years from now. Not to mention, the opportunity cost of spending your most mentally and physically capable years is colossal and eternally regrettable. Don’t accept a life like this.
What if you’re good at your job/career/profession, are well-compensated, or at the very least enjoy your occupation? Great, you’re one step ahead of the miserable individual. But if you’re not well-compensated, how long do you anticipate having to sustain your current workload and time commitment to maintain the same quality of life, especially over time and adjusting for inflation? If you’re not great in your field and/or don’t enjoy it, what’s your quality of life going to be as you continue to log long hours, year after year, in pursuit of retirement?
Low Quality of Life in Retirement.
You slaved at work for 40 years (maybe more) and hit your magic ‘retirement’ number, you hand in your two weeks, and the day finally arrives at age 62 (being generous here). Now you’ve got nothing to do, money in the bank (but far from bottomless), low energy, back pain, and increasing health issues and medical bills. You’ve still got financial obligations, and your retirement fund probably didn’t budget for annual month-long yacht trips around the world or 5-star hotels in Singapore like you’ve always dreamed of. Was it worth sacrificing all your best years to live your less capable years still in a state of financial limitation?
For the ambitious, conscientiousness, self-employed,independent, motivated entrepreneur with a deep-seated fire to learn, grow, and create things, retirement will fundamentally be unfulfilling and boring. Though not everyone is this type of person, there are many out there, and they cannot nor will not derive any satisfaction from abruptly transitioning from challenging and gainful work, to total idleness. For these people, the process, workflow, challenges, and achievements are innately rewarding, even more so than reaching the ‘finish line.’ Sure, everyone has hobbies, but what if your work encompasses your hobby(ies)? In your best life, it probably does, so you have no desire to formally ‘retire.’
The Timing is Never Right.
For most important things, the stars will never align in your favor. The important things need to get done, like it or not, regardless if today’s a bad day or not. After all, it’s the important things that are usually the ones that make the biggest impact on our lives, usually for good, but most people are so fearful of potential failures and rejections that we find a way to conjure up any reason to procrastinate. Procrastinating is a deadly addiction, and before you know it, years will pass and you still haven’t done what you know you need to do. Accept that the timing will never be right and get started today.
Money Isn’t the Solution.
Money is the easiest scapegoat to blame for your lack of focus, crippling inaction, and lack of commitment. Most often, it’s a misdirected excuse for laziness and lack of discipline. For most people, should one come into a significant windfall of money, the majority would still find a way to wastefully misappropriate it, or simply claim ‘it’s not enough’ to pander to continuing a miserable existence. The solution, rather, is implementing a passive strategic plan to secure your older days’ finances while pragmatically and actively fulfilling things today you want to enjoy now.
This is why we advocate setting automatic monthly contributions, enabling automatic dividend-reinvestments, and forgetting about the process while it silently works in life’s background. Once this has been checked off, invest remaining time, money, and efforts into higher-ROI pursuits. This thought process holds that most people are afraid, unwilling, uncommitted, or incapable of starting, following through, and succeeding in building their own business, venture, income stream, etc. This inherently gives higher margins of success and profit compared to the guaranteed work hours, limited freedom and lower income ceiling of working as an employee at a 9 to 5. If one starts pursuing higher-ROI businesses by 30 or even 35, chances are, eventually, one will find a niche, pass the break-even point, rival or surpass a former employee wage, and voila; goal reached! Even if absolutely all of one’s higher-ROI pursuits fail (unlikely), the retirement fallback is already in place, passively compounding wealth behind closed doors, requiring no effort or attention whatsoever, waiting to start cashing in at as early as 59 ½ years.
How to Get Started.
Entrepreneur: First and foremost, this means honing your skills (or developing a new one), starting a business, acquiring clients or building a customer base, scaling upwards over time, and outsourcing the most time-consuming, lower value tasks and labor (remember the 80/20 rule) to employees and contractors who work for a fraction of your bottom line. This leaves work on the remaining more-rewarding and higher-ROI 20% duties, which are typically more fun, challenging, and require substantially less time than the 80% grunt work. Less overall time now spent solely on more rewarding tasks means greater free time to allot at your discretion; e.g. Traveling, resting, learning new skills, studying in classes, caring for loved ones, etc.
Employee: The alternative that fits this approach is transitioning from full-time on-location employee to ‘full-time’ remote employee, who is only obliged to be in-office one to two days per week maximum; even that might be too much. With the mainstream workplace adoption of remote work and the majority of modern work necessities being a computer with an internet connection and a smartphone, this is a realistic lifestyle for most white-collar professionals. Figure out a gradual ‘escape plan’ to increase remote days and provide equal or greater efficacy while working from home/abroad/a tropical beach, etc. It is critical to comfort your superior by first demonstrating how your physical presence is not necessary to perform your job at a continued high level as you gradually spend more time working remotely.
Aim for Periods of Rest.
Recognize that working nonstop, long hours upon long days upon long weeks, is simply unsustainable. Periods of absolute focus and a headphones on, phone off work-sprint may be necessary every once in a while (especially while bootstrapping early in launching a new venture), but this should be far from a regular occurrence. Everyone has a breaking point, and weekends, holidays, sick days, and vacations are absolutely essential to maintain optimal health and productivity levels in workers. Ironically, it’s becoming more common for companies to offer “unlimited PTO;” however, in reality, this is far from what’s accepted. Studies show the average worker only takes vacation days per year. Shocker: This simply isn’t enough. In order to truly obtain a higher quality of life and ensure optimal mental and physical health, one should allocate regular periods of rest (no, weekends are not sufficient). This could mean a few weeks off the grid in a hunting lodge during the colder months, a few weeks on a tropical beach in the Spring, and a month-long backpacking trip across Europe during the Summer. The primary objective here is near-absolute detachment from work and related responsibilities to genuinely enjoy your life on your terms while your financial stability remains sustainably intact during your temporary albeit frequent absences.
If this lifestyle of financial independence, lifestyle design, and personal liberation piques your interest, check out Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week, which breaks down in extremely specific detail the most effective strategies, services, models, examples, websites, recommendations, and more for you to design a self-sustainable lifestyle that enables you to truly live your best life on your own terms. After all, that’s what we’re all about it. Hats off, Tim.
Originally published at https://www.moneyredpill.com on February 18, 2020.