Many of us wait our entire lives to retire. The other day I felt nostalgic. I looked up the bald man that kicked me out of high school all those years ago.
His job title on Facebook was “Former Slave at Donney High.” That’s right, after all the lies he told me about getting good grades to go to college, he thought his job was slavery.
4 weeks holiday a year. No life. Marking exam papers round the clock.
I browsed his photos. He bought a camper van at 65 and quit the job he hates. He’s now retired, but due to a lack of good diet and exercise, he can barely walk. His best years are gone.
He can’t even enjoy his precious piece of junk caravan. Now he lives alone in the mountains by himself with no neighbors for miles.
What happened? He fell for the greatest lie we’re ever told: retirement.
Why get wealthy at 80 years old? (Or never)
The typical investment advice is to stay at a job and buy a popular US stock market investment fund.
Get wealthy slowly, they say. Delay present happiness for future happiness, they say. Makes no sense.
If I generate wealth slowly and follow traditional retirement advice I will:
- Be too old to enjoy my family who’ll be all grown up.
- Be so old my energy will have fallen off a cliff.
- Be too late for everything I want to do in life.
At 80 your time is running out. You may not even make it that far. Makes no sense to wait until old age to have enough F-You money to do whatever you want with your time.
The formula we’re told is this…
Work 40 years. Then enjoy 10-20 years of freedom. I can’t believe we fell for this (including me). We must urgently rethink retirement.
The smartest definition of retirement you can find
Naval Ravikant is one of the greatest thinks of the 21 century. I’d kiss his sexy feet if I ever got close enough to them.
Naval says the true definition of retirement is “when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow.” When today feels complete just the way it is, that’s when Naval says you’re truly retired.
There are three effective blueprints for retirement:
- You retire when you have enough money without having to stress about earning more. When your food and shelter are mostly taken care of.
- You retire by becoming a monk.
- You retire by finding work that feels like play.
That last one is killer. Work done to earn money is a giant pain in the ass.
Doing work that feels like play is one of the greatest feelings in the world
I’m extremely lucky to be in this category.
Play to me feels like writing and teaching online. I don’t sit there every day thinking about how much money I’ll make or trying to save money on a $5 latte. This isn’t an accident though.
Early in my 20s I became skeptical about retirement. I knew I wanted to retire early but had no clue how. I spent stupid amounts of time around humans and group chats full of people who had. I knew, like a virus, that exposure to radically new ideas was the only way I’d ever learn.
And I did learn … but bloody slowly.
It took me 9 years to figure out the scam of retirement and replace it with something better.
Retiring doesn’t mean quitting work, it means quitting working for money. (Source)
Careers get spent on the wrong thing
Finance expert Steve Burns says we spend so much of our career focused on the wrong things — job titles, bonuses, keeping bosses happy.
He says the trick is to use all that energy you blow on career BS on learning about how money and investing work. If everyone did, they’d exit from the stupid version of retirement we have right now so much earlier.
Retirement equals free time for play. Investing in real assets is how you use money to buy that time back.
If your “dream job” involves making someone else rich for the next 40+ years, whilst you retire at 65+ with an inadequate pension, it’s time to rethink your dreams— @FiSavvy
An endless vacation isn’t what you’re after
Ask any startup founder who’s sold their business for stacks of cash what endless vacations are like.
I met one young show pony that made tens of millions in their 30s. They went on an around-the-world trip after the money hit their bank. Only a few countries in, they started to get bored out of their mind.
They ended up coming back to Australia and throwing all the Hawaiian shirts in the bin. The thrill of the chase, the joy of building teams, doing work that felt like fun — that’s what he wanted. Not a Mt Everest sized stack of cash.
Here’s how to set yourself free forever
Create a new goal
Most of us work for other people. That means we don’t control the terms or the work we do.
If some dude in a penguin suit throws a task your way you’ve gotta do it or face a brutal performance review.
Make your goal to retire working for other people. Or at least reach the first stage of going rogue — freelancing, contracting consulting (instead of employee).
Follow in Warren Buffet’s steps
I have to say this a second time: learn about financial assets.
Be the person that understands how inflation steals from you. Learn about the “everything bubble.” Understand what price discovery is and how it’s been blown to smithereens the last few years.
Understand what assets to buy. Work out the percentage you need to own of each asset (asset allocation). This stuff isn’t hard but it will require you to read books when you get home from work.
Spend less than you earn
Most people spend every dollar they earn. That’s because technology has got so good at serving you useless notifications to buy stuff you don’t need, that no matter how mentally tough you are, it’s hard to resist.
Solution: throw phone in lake. Joking (not joking).
If there’s no money left after you get paid then there should be huge alarm bells dinging in your head. Red flashing sirens should start to go off with a deep voice saying “warning, warning, warning.”
Sometimes there’s no ability to reduce expenses, I get it. That’s when you downsize your biggest expense: shelter.
Use your time better
When I hear Zoom call the oxygen is sucked out of my tiny lungs. I want to crawl over and die.
Time traps are everywhere. The time you need to learn and grow into the person who can retire from a conventional job and do work that feels like play will need hours to invest in this subtle art.
Saying no is key. Guarding your calendar like you guard your child from kidnappers is crucial too.
Drop status symbols for the real flex
BMWs are big man’s willies aka trash. The real flex isn’t a luxury car with a subwoofer and an exhaust to blow your ears off. Nope.
In this brave new world the real flex is time freedom.
Get rid of status items. Nobody cares what brand of stuff you own. They’re too busy stuck in their head trying to figure out this impossible thing we’ve been given called a human life.
Decide you’ve got enough
Accumulation is what we subconsciously do. The more we accumulate the more addictive it becomes. Before you know it, it’s an unconscious habit.
What if you just stopped? Like you decided you had enough stuff to last a lifetime???
Well then retirement would look easy-peasy-japanesey.
You’ll know you’ve destroyed the traditional retirement nightmare and upgraded to time freedom when Monday feels like Saturday.
Or when work doesn’t feel like an obligation but an opportunity. Or when work feels uplifting instead of exhausting.
Freedom is happiness not retirement. The answer to freedom isn’t retirement, it’s less bullsh*t in life.