From time to time, we like to break conventions and rattle the cages. This is one of those times. For this blog, let's disturb the general understanding of retirement.
Ah, yes, retirement -- that elusive, long stretch of a goal come your senior years. In terms of our career life, retirement is the time to push up daisies. To depart from your workplace. To cease working. The big break. The big vacation. The check-out counter. The start of a happy reading time. The long Netflix binge...
The mission here is that we should supposedly save our money as early as possible to enjoy our later life.
Ultimately, retirement involves cashing in your chips--that is, hoping that your said chips would last you the remainder of your lifetime.
For financial planners, retirement planning is a must. So much so that following our recommendations for emergency funds, protection, and healthcare, retirement funding comes next inevitably. Oftentimes, financial consultants pitch retirement planning with insufficient motivational push. Instead, they say, you have to do it because it is necessary.
Yet, what is necessary will not automatically trigger the action button. More often than not, it will overwhelm the brain and eventually lead to procrastination.
Retirement planning needs to be more dynamic. It should be anchored to your definition of fulfillment—which is another way of saying that retirement should be about committing yourself to what you are passionate about.
For this reason, I’ve made self-purpose and business projects the focal point of my retirement planning services. I call this Purpose-Driven Financial Planning.
My goal here is to add more motivational factors to retirement planning.
First of all, let's clear the rubble of what retirement means.
Retirement simply means quitting the job you hate or are tired of doing.
As such, quitting the job you hate by the age of 60 can be equated to some sort of an emergency. Because retirement entails losing your income and you have no means of supporting yourself and paying the bills.
Therefore, the situation calls for funding, which the retiree should have come up with during his working years.
The common mistake is that, oftentimes, retirement is understood as a goal. It shouldn't. If anything, retirement is a tragedy. An emergency situation.
In the book titled "The 4-Hour Work Week" by Timothy Ferris, retirement planning is described as no different from life insurance. You buy insurance to give you a hedge against worst-case scenarios.
If you retire because you're tired, or you hate the job, then that, my friend, is tragic. Even if you retire because you've reached the age of retirement, and then after that, you're languishing at home doing nothing. That's a tragedy.
Or, you're not doing the thing that you love by the time you retire... Tragedy.
So from this point on, don't look at retirement in your senior years as a goal or a dream. Do not get sold too much with retirement planning talk.
Because most of the time retirement planning by itself is woefully insufficient.
Funding your retirement planning may just be simple arithmetic. But it's a kind of arithmetic that involves the hardest real math you would ever have to deal with. In retirement years, you are up against the constant rise of inflation and monthly expenses. Either you will need to save as early as you can and work for it, or invest and diversify a ridiculous amount of money to keep up with the high cost of living.
Again, to quote, Timothy Ferriss, "most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hotdogs-for-dinner standard of living".
In a retirement that could span 10, 20, or 30 years, your purchasing power dwindles every year.
Ironically, if you want the math to work for you, you have to be one cold, calculated, hardworking machine focused only on retirement. Nothing else.
In all honesty, if you save too much for your retirement, you would be working too hard just for it. That goes with the saying, you’re not here on this earth to just pay the bills. You’re here to live life to the fullest—that means to live it with fulfillment.
So from this point on, let me just say, straight to your face, the common, run-on-the-mill retirement planning has become obsolete. It isn’t a fantastic idea—if anything, it is masochistic, sadistic, and prone to make you look 50 when you're just 40.
Purpose-Driven Planning is not about changing retirement planning. We're not reinventing the wheel, but we're adding rubber to it. It will urge people to commit to it and feel the traction. Its trajectory is directed towards continued growth, not just for you, but for your kin. And ultimately, to them, you'll leave an impressive legacy, where they'll see you blazing out than fading away.