Lying to yourself can have a huge upside.
I lied to myself for years and worked in finance. I told myself “this is fun.” This was clearly a lie for a guy who can barely do basic math.
I hate numbers. They make me vomit.
But I lied to myself because finance was all I knew. Anything else made me feel scared. Last year I retired from banking at 35. Now I write online and run an online academy.
A few people have politely pointed out that I may not actually be retired. They’re correct and it’s intentional.
What I’ve done is enter fake retirement. Let me introduce you to this new concept and how it works because it can completely change your life.
The fake retirement pioneer who changed the world
Sam Dogen retired more than 10 years ago from investment banking at the age of 34. Legend.
He found what I discovered: sitting around like a lazy ass gets boring. So he started a blog called Financial Samurai.
This blog made him money so his critics said “you’re not retired you scoundrel, you still earn money.”
That’s when Sam invented the term “fake retirement.” His side hustles took him out of traditional retirement and made him money. But the subtle difference with fake retirement are these things:
- You still work but you don’t work for bosses or other people
- Your calendar is back in your possession. No company, team, or randoms can put stuff in your calendar. A blank calendar is the default.
- You quit working for money and start working for something bigger than money — family, purpose, obsession, passion, etc. Money is such a lame pursuit when you meditate on the idea for long enough.
- Freedom of speech makes a comeback. You can say whatever you want without it having the potential to get you fired.
The best way to summarize fake retirement is you chase freedom above all else.
Traditional retirement doesn’t work anymore
The normal form of retirement is to finish working and go sit on a beach. It’s to do nothing. It’s to become a lazy ass. It’s to take up a cocktail habit and flaunt yourself around town causing all sorts of debauchery in a Lambo.
That form of retirement is driven by ego and the need for status.
Most of us can’t do a real retirement because we crave some form of work. We need to feel like we made a difference before we kick the bucket and get buried in a wooden box. Anything less causes enormous stress.
We typically put retirement off until so late in life that we’re disconnected from the reality that it will be boring as f*ck.
Getting a few weeks off a year to relax and being told what to do for the next 40+ years is the definition of hell.
Once that nightmare becomes obvious to you, the idea of fake retirement becomes real. Took me 10+ years to see the truth and quit my job.
The ultimate fake retirement goal
I still earn money in my fake retirement, although it’s no longer my goal.
The ideal fake retirement is when you work roughly 4 hours a day in a flow state and then spend the rest of the time with your family, having new experiences, and stressing less.
Let me be honest … I’m not quite there. I have hit the fake retirement goal but I still work a lot more than 4 hours a day.
Like any goal, the fairytale never happens exactly as you think. That’s okay. I hope to be closer to 4 hours a day of work next year. By then my daughter will be born and we can play daddy-daughter games all day.
Shhhh … I love drinking tea with dolls.
The downsides of a fake retirement
It’s not all gravy baby. There’s no point pretending everything is rosy and there are zero downsides.
Bizarre feelings of shame
Sam Dogen reported that he felt some shame when he entered his fake retirement. That’s natural.
A fake retirement takes a lot of work. Not everyone will get there. Some will be mad if you reach this goal and they don’t. Nothing you can do about it.
The money needed to survive might increase
A lot of fake retirements are thanks to investing.
A salary won’t make you wealthy but investing can. It certainly helped me get an early retirement earlier than I thought. Sam found that the investment properties funding is fake retirement started to generate less income.
Then he had a kid. Then inflation reached record levels.
This forced him to make a few new investments to generate more passive income. One of his most successful ones was healthcare stocks.
Life is unpredictable. A tsunami can disrupt a fake retirement. That’s why you have to be open to change.
The strange pull of office culture could arise
Dan misses his work colleagues. So do I.
When I was in banking we had so many boys’ trips disguised as conferences and customer meetings. I had the time of my life. Now as a fake retiree I spend most of my time alone at home.
Sure, my wife is around but one day she will go back to work when the bat virus dies down and offices reopen.
Work colleagues can become best friends. Whereas fake retirees miss out on this opportunity so loneliness can be a problem. That’s why I spend forced time each week networking and hanging out with others.
The best strategy I’ve found to enter fake retirement
A fake retirement doesn’t happen overnight — neither does any worthwhile goal. Over the next 5 years it’s possible to do with this strategy.
Embrace permissionless thinking
The old retirement model involved running around like a 5th grader and asking adults for permission…
- Permission from professors to get good college grades that were supposed to lead to jobs.
- Permission from bosses to get promotions and pay rises.
- Permission from hiring managers to shift employers or get out of a toxic workplace that’s bad for one’s mental health.
- Permission from a bank to get a home loan.
- Permission to retire when you’re halfway to becoming a grandpa/grandma.
Permissionless thinking is where you follow curiosity and are proactive with everything you do in life. You don’t wait for life to happen. No.
You make life happen for you.
Invest like a sexy badass
Financial guru Steve Burns says if we spent all that wasted time we piss away advancing our careers, on learning about investing, we could reach a fake retirement much faster.
When I stopped trusting inflation numbers, politicians, central bankers and the CEO clowns that run big business, my life completely changed.
One of the best movies you can watch is “In Time” starring Justin Timberlake.
The movie shows humans living with a stopwatch on their forearms. Instead of money in a wallet all they have is a timer. When they work they earn time. If they don’t earn enough time and their forearm clock goes to zero, they instantly die. This is how life really is.
Inflation and the mythological idea of government-issued currency that can be devalued with zero ramifications steals our time.
Once that idea touches your brain it creates a mind explosion.
The only solution to the currency of time problem is to invest in assets that protect your time.
Bottom line: get a financial education. Real Vision Finance on Youtube is a cheap way to get one.
Piss the critics off and get a side hustle
A fake retirement is a massive pivot.
Doing massive pivots out of nowhere is risky. You want to de-risk your path to a fake retirement with side hustles. Work after hours on a few projects that help you make money online.
Double down on the small bets and experiments that work.
Slowly wind back the hours at your day job. First, by cheating on your boss with a side hustle and stealing time from work. Second, by officially reducing your full-time hours down to 4 days a week.
A $500-$1,000/month side hustle could be the difference between retiring in your 40’s instead of 60+ — WealthDad
Adopt this powerful mindset
Self-learning is where all the opportunity is found.
There’s so much we don’t know. Fake retirement sounds like a unicorn fantasy until you learn about it. Web3 sounds like a scam until you study it and realize it’s the future of the entire online world.
Make learning a habit. Pair it with daily execution.
Bring it all together
Sam Dogen invented the fake retirement.
It’s an idea we can all embrace if we choose. A fake retirement is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s given me the head space to do what matters to me and not get sucked into the lifeless corporate empires that drain our time for profit.
Embrace the idea of a fake retirement to change how you work for the rest of your life. Once you change the meaning of work, it goes from an obligation, to an act of service.
That’s a powerful shift that can change your life.