One of the things Jammie and I decided to do nine months ago was to try to create a life where we experienced the benefits of retirement right now. Most people, ourselves included, put world travel, high-quality time with those you love and pursuing hobbies, in a “things to do in retirement” bucket. Here’s why we decided that was a bad idea:
1) Retirement is fool’s gold.
Thinking that retirement is a good reason to neglect your family and your health for 40 years is just a very terrible way to live. In fact, if you follow most of corporate America and live this way there won’t be much family or health left to enjoy by the time you get that $35 pen engraved with a swirly font, thanking you for your “years of service”. Don’t buy into the “fool’s gold” of retirement that tells people that it is good to put off the best in life until the end. This is fundamentally bankrupt. Reject it now while you have the time.
2) Retirement is too far away.
I think there is a lot to be said for delayed gratification, being content in life and learning to wait. It is good to be patient. That said, you can definitely make decisions NOW that set you up to taste some of the things that are typically associated with retirement (long-term travel, freedom from a cubicle and living in a way where you call your own shots) in far less time. CultureMutt is about finding solutions for what we call savvy, global do-gooding. In our posts we want to give you the inspiration and the tools to plan for and make the jump into a more exciting, fulfilling life of service SOON rather than in some distant retirement.
3). Who knows how you’ll feel when you retire.
I was talking to a retired attorney friend this week via Skype. He has been a mentor of mine for years. “I’m so happy you decided to travel now instead of waiting for retirement when you may not have the energy. That took a lot of foresight!” he said.
I thanked him for the encouragement but on a deeper level I thank the writers and bloggers that convinced me by their ideas and their personal lives, that this kind of life is possible in the here and now.
I’ve had too many friends and family members fall into ill health around retirement age to buy into those posters of smiley seniors frolicking in the sun. I hope that will be me at 70 but just in case I’m playing dominos at a care facility instead, I’m traveling now.
4). You could die
OK, we’re not going to spend a bunch of time on this very depressing thought. But who cares if you reach the top of the totem pole in some corporate hell hole if the first day of retirement results in a heart attack? The stats about retired executives that die within five years or retirement are alarming. Don’t be that statistic.
5). Ditching the rat race could be your best financial decision so far.
At the risk of repeating everything I said a couple posts ago about the very healthy financial realities that could be yours if you quit an unfulfilling job to travel and/or follow your passion, let me just state again, with all my heart, that I am SO glad I did not let fear of financial ruin stop me from leaving the office worker life. The long-term risk of failure in life if you stay in a crap job are FAR greater than the possible temporary financial setbacks of letting passion sculpt your future career. Nobody is saying it won’t be hard work to create your ideal life. At first, at least, this kind of independent work is harder than the traditional 9-5 life. But the hard work that you put into doing something your are passionate about and love, is so much more meaningful, exciting and fulfilling than being a slave to a broken system.
Retirement is NOT the answer. More than ever, we have choices and we can opt to live our ideal lives now. Keep reading CultureMutt and we will do our best to keep inspiring you and showing you practical tips on how to take the leap, follow your passion and serve the world around you.