The other night after singing Teddy Bear’s Picnic full blast to my daughter so the whole neighborhood could hear, I read an article about retirement:
Can Gen X retire? With traditional sources of income in doubt, this group can redefine the future of retirement.
It was the typical doom and gloom. “Times ain’t what they used to be, I tell ya.” The point of the article was that we’re going to have to work longer.
I read a few responses to this article that gave so much bad advice, I don’t know where to start. Let me start here.
Retirement is doable.
Early retirement is possible too.
The article references a survey that says 46% of Gen X don’t think they have enough money to retire.
Well, of course. We never think we have enough money.
We’d all like a few more Lambos in the driveway if you know what I mean. The author goes on to suggest the answer to a lack of retirement funds is to focus on the cost of living.
This is the worst advice in history.
The solution to money challenges is to make more money. It’s to do these things (in no particular order):
- Cheat on your job with a side hustle
- Apply for a promotion
- Start a side business
- Interview with new employers who pay more
… and to upgrade your skills. Your income is determined by your skills. If you stand still and stop learning — like most people — your income starts to decline and you become irrelevant to the market.
There’s only so much you can reduce your shopping bills or downsize your house. What I do like about the downsize advice is this hidden message:
This is the minimalist way. Most of the stuff we spend money on we do not need. And a lot of purchases are made to show off and seek status rather than because of a genuine problem.
If we all stopped falling for the luxury life lie, we’d have more money for retirement. Don’t worry, I still fall for it too. But I’m getting better.
“Save smarter” …. OMG
Saving is for losers.
Your money loses money when you save thanks to inflation and currency devaluation by central banks and governments. This fact is nothing new. Most of you know that.
So saving is stupid.
The answer isn’t to save but to become an investor. Get a financial education. Learn about index funds. Learn about fixed-income products. Invest in real businesses that make money.
The only way to make money grow is with investing.
If you don’t have dreams and financial goals, then what the hell is the point of living?
The author’s whole conclusion is to downsize your dreams.
Lower your expectations. Don’t think you’ll stumble across an idea that’ll increase your income. Just give up. Assume the worst.
But dreams are what keep us alive.
We have to dream big and expect our future will be better than today if we work at it. Just giving up and saying some version of “retirement is impossible so just forget about it” is a bad idea.
The American Dream is a goalpost to aim for. Maybe you don’t hit it, but you’ll get closer to it if you at least try.
The article also gives the advice to work less.
The answer is actually to work harder. If you just give up caring and decide to work 2 hours a day, then you’ll really be in trouble.
Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean working longer hours, but it does mean you should work smarter. That means embracing deep work that’s done with fewer distractions.
It means turning off all the notifications, so you can focus on money-making tasks and doing the things that create a better career for you.
This is what everybody misses about retirement
Why do you ever need to retire?
I don’t want to retire and you shouldn’t either. The only reason the concept of retirement exists is because most people do work they hate.
They do work they need a holiday from. They do work that makes them live for the weekends and hate Monday mornings.
When you do work you give a damn about the idea of retirement seems ludicrous. I don’t ever want to quit my work. I’ll be writing until I’m 115 years old and can’t take a piss by myself anymore.
The solution to retirement is to find work you never want to retire from. Work you’d continue doing, even on a day off.
It’s even possible to retire early — although the never-able-to-retire folks will hate me for it, and that’s okay.
If you master work you enjoy and get a financial education, then your notion of retirement will change. Life will get easier.
That should be your goal.
Stop following bad advice that says to give up on life, save like a 5 year old with a piggy bank, and expect never to retire. All it does is destroy your dreams, and they’re the very thing you need to stay alive and thrive.
Anything is possible with the right financial mindset.
This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.