From the moment we start our careers, a countdown begins. We start counting down the years, months, weeks, and days until we can enjoy a carefree life we like to call retirement. We calculate how much we need to save each year, where we can cut back, and what kind of house we can afford just so that one day far off the future we can leave our jobs, retire, and then….do what exactly?
For many people, the answer to that question is still pretty vague.
Retirement usually includes one or more of these activities: moving somewhere sunny and warm year round (Florida is a popular place), spending more time with the kids, going on a cruise every year, and picking up some new hobbies. Sure, it sounds great for a little while. But let’s be honest, is it really all that exciting? Can you imagine yourself doing that for the rest of your life? I can’t.
The idea of retirement is outdated.
Don’t get me wrong. You need to think about the future, what you’re going to do when you retire and how you’re going to fund the years when you can no longer work. But I feel like as a society, we’re a little too obsessed over it. We have a mindset that we need to work 40 hours a week for 65-ish years in a stable job and then all of a sudden, stop working and start enjoying the latter years of life. To me, that’s kind of the problem though. Can’t we strive to find out how we can live the life we want right now, in our prime, instead of waiting for ‘retirement’?
Find your passion now
There’s this famous saying by Confucius that goes ‘Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’. It’s very cliche and I use to hate it because it’s essentially the epitome of easier said than done. But for my purposes today, I think it’s perfect. Explore your interests now. Find out what you’re passionate about. Take those passions and make something more substantial out of it. You don’t have to make it your career but just a awesome hobby or side job is a great start. I always hear people say I’ll wait until I’m retired to do this or go here. But why not do it now?
Strive for financial freedom
I think many people use the idea of retirement as an excuse or a means to an end:
I can’t wait to retire because I hate my job.
I can’t wait to have more time.
I’m stuck in this job because I need money for retirement
Let’s stop making excuses. Instead of counting down the days until retirement, strive for financial freedom instead. Yes, sometimes you might have to do a job you hate but do it with purpose. What is your goal? And how is this going to get you closer to it?
For me personally, I don’t think I’ll ever fully retire. I always feel the need to do something and as long as I can, I think I will. I’m definitely thinking about the future though and financially planning for it. But I’m more focused on the present and how I can make myself happier now.
How do you view retirement?