Breaking Financial Myths is a series of blog posts written by top Personal Finance bloggers that aim to challenge the oft repeated yet seldom understood personal finance concepts. So, come on over, join the conversation, and let us know how you are a newer person because of it.
This time around, it’s my turn, so hear me out, lovely people!
Yeah, you read the title of this post perfectly correct.
Oh, do I see eyebrows knotting? Don’t worry, for I will help walk you through it, and by the end of the post, you will be wide eyed.
You might say, it’s rather odd for a personal finance blog to rebuke retirement, but here’s the thing. We humans like to exist in tribes, follow the rules and live a life which has been, in a way, vetted by others. Simple, right? I mean you get to reap the benefits of a tried and tested methodology.
But, here’s the catch.
You start living the life based on pre-set methodologies/assumptions/beliefs, and soon enough you don’t know what to do when faced with a unique situation, especially on how to deal with an unexpected financial scenario (good or bad).
Which is why this post is the most important personal finance blogpost you will ever read.
What is retirement?
Retirement is a stage in one’s life when they technically get out of the workforce. They actively live their life without working for someone, and have accumulated enough wealth to generate an income to live however they choose to. Usually, in the definition of retirement, there is reference to old age, which in my opinion can make things look a bit morbid. I mean, what’s the point of saving money, when your bones cannot support the fun you can have?!!
Additional definition here.
So, how should one prepare for it?
Instead of words, I’d like to draw your attention to this sequence
work –> work—> work —> 401k+ Brokerage + Savings —> work —> work —->work—>acquire physical appreciating assets, such as, real estate + 401k +more Brokerage + more Savings —-> work —>work —>work—->work—>work—->
Congratulations, you are 100 years old. You made it!
Something is awfully wrong with this sequence, and it doesn’t even smell good either.
So, when it is so obviously unhealthy to think and talk and breathe the word retirement, why do people talk about it anyway? Heck, why do we have a rose gold tinted view of this distant “horizon” when life will become meaningful yet today is maligned with pain and hard work and dark circles. Seriously, what is the catch here because I just don’t get it?
Spoiler alert – there is no catch. We are being made to beat to the drum of the society, which as I mentioned before, has already set the rules for us to live our life with.
…as in no non-sense.
Retirement is great. Early retirement, even better. But, here is a million dollar question: Imagine a society where everyone has reached retirement/early retirement – so tell me, what does that look like? What does it mean?
Here’s what it means:
- Resources being expunged to the max
- Very laid back economy with no growth opportunities
- One sided flow of consumption with outsourced production (hey, everyone is retired)
All in all a fairly grim picture.
So, the best thing to do is just take a break from all these talks of retirement and saving for retirement. Your life is right now, not 50 years down the road. Your opportunity to make wealth, and generate income for a life of your dreams is now, not 50 years down the road.
It is one thing to constantly think about a future state that is constantly pushing forward (remember, the life expectancy is going up), and another thing to be financially savvy. Create a lifestyle today that supports your dreams and desires because nothing is stopping you from achieving this. All that is missing is a pre-existing testimonial from the society and a proof that this works, but that shouldn’t bother you for you can blaze your own glorious trail, sister.
Stop the retirement rhetoric. Chances are you will never stop working, and actually, it is a good thing that you keep your mind and body active as you grow older, so why the constant badgering of the
- max your contributions
- get your social security ducks in a row
- roth or roth ira or 401K – oh my
THE WRAP UP
Don’t live for retirement. Live for a healthy, prosperous and prepared today. Make your current lifestyle insync with your financial ideals instead of hopping on this bandwagon with arthritis a million years from now.
Top three things you can do to make your current financial situation brighter so it shines on for a healthy few years (not decades, people, not decades because this is what yesterday’s retirees did) until you find more relevant things to do to match the stage of life you are in then:
- Invest in a start up (check out SeedInvest)
- Become a lender (check out Kiva)
- Lead a syndicate of investors (check out Angel.Co)
Now that you have heard me opine on why retirement and I are on a break, tell me, do you feel the same way too? Have I convinced you to make that little transition? If yes, a) woohoo b) bear hugs c) share your story.