The springtime Squirrel!

The old ‘financial planning’ model is based on the premise that you dislike your work and one day you will ‘retire’, put your feet up, and live your life by drawing a pension from the nest-egg that you have spent forty odd years building up.
I can tell you one thing for certain – it is far more important to find a way of making a living that you really enjoy than it is to grit your teeth and keep doing something you dislike just so you can ‘live large’ when you turn 60. That, to me, is the height of insanity. In fact, I’d prefer insanity!
If you hate your job, and you somehow make it to retirement age (55-65), and you have (by some miracle) accumulated enough funds to live well for the next twenty or so years – you will most likely celebrate, sit down, put your feet up and relax for a month or so. Then you will start to get itchy feet, you will get bored – and then you will start to wonder if the ‘plan’ was really all that good as it had looked on that shiny whiteboard after all. Then you start to ponder on whether the overweight, overworked and decidedly stressed-looking financial advisor really knew what he was talking about. You decide that it’s not really that bad – your not dead yet – and you might take that holiday you’ve been planning for 40 years. So round the world you go – take lots of pics – come back and celebrate with your retired friends. Another month or two goes by – and once again, you get itchy feet but this time, there’s not enough in the budget to take another holiday, which is exactly what you feel you need. You need to wait another 18 months – and cut down on a few things – and then you’ll be bale to afford a two-week trip to Bali. And time goes by – slowly ….
Here’s an alternative: Do what you love doing – and find a creative way to monetize that passion. If you are successful in doing this – you will no longer need that million dollars in your super fund at retirement – now you will only need half a million or so; because you have found a way to keep an income stream flowing in to top up the shortfall that the financial advisor had used to scare the crap out of you at that first meeting way back when.
We all need money to live the way we want and do the things we want – no doubt about that. But don’t give up the ‘now’ so that you can ‘live the life’ when you turn sixty. Live it all the way – be passionate about what you do – invest in super, be smart, read good books, talk to successful people – but LIVE NOW! Love the whole journey – and never stop. If you are thirty five years old, it’s time to start thinking seriously about putting away ten percent of everything you earn. But it’s also time to start thinking of creative and fun ways to make a living from the things you love in life. That way there will be no retirement date – if all goes well, you will still be making money when you die. Your kids will appreciate it – but more importantly, you will have lived life to the fullest. Forget the squirrel philosophy – don’t make your entire spring about preparing for survival in winter. Spring is for living life to the fullest. The winter may be coming but if you’ve been smart about the choices you have made you may be able to get out and find nuts in the snow after all.


eater said…
Thanks for your thoughts..

I think fear is one aspect of why it I find it hard to escape the daily toiling, but also inertia. Many years invested into a career(however uninspiring) makes it difficult to leave.

It is difficult to decide whether I should throw away years of hardwork to pursue a inner need or to focus my energies towards the career of which I have previously chosen.
JBW said…
Inertia can be a killer - that's for sure. Sure, staying where you are is comfortable and that sense of security you get from being comfortable is real and tangible - and not t be sneezed at. However, it's worth considering the 'lost opportunity' by 'staying where we are'. Most people need some 'dramatic' and life-changing event to shift from their 'comfortable course' - many people who have made huge changes (toward their passion) have a disaster story that goes with that change. Most people also need to set up their next thing, before they leave the first thing - this is so with relationships, work, hobbies, etc. it takes tremendous courage to 'give stuff up' before you have the next thing lined up. Real courage! Best wishes,
Anonymous said…
best things in life are free . you want to live on the top shealf u need lots of cash . when u are easy to please u are rarely disarpointed . dont spend it dont have to earn it . kiss facter , keep it simple stupid . a man who is content is truely rich ..
JBW said…
Absolutely agree - secret to happiness, be content with what you have! True to the core. Although, there is nothing wrong with having options - for yourself, your family and those you choose to share with. As best selling author, Robert Kiyosaki once told me 'it's easier to help people when you drive a mercedes than it is to help them if you are driving a beat up volkswagon.'
i find this to be true. the more options we have - the better life is. A little planning and forward thinking goes a long way - and many passionate people (read martial artists) can be so locked into what they are doing, they tend to neglect the bigger picture. i reckon i apply 5 % of my thinking to creating wealth - and i get a big return on the 'grey matter' investment.
best wishes,
Anonymous said…
Mark Twain said the key to success is making your vocation your vacation.

Martial artists, if they choose to listen and take ownership of thier school, have more than enough information to create a successful school without compromising thier art. I pinch myself every day becuase I can train with my coaches Brian Johnson and Kru Andy Wilson, run around in pajama's (a gi) for a living, earn a really nice living, and be at home enough to see my three daughters grow up.

Retire, I am already retired, from the ratrace.

Unknown said…
You obviously don't understand squirrels--it's incredibly fun and fulfilling, collecting food and eating. It's sort of like a hobby that lasts for a Springtime. A squirrel's life isn't a struggle for survival, but an exciting romp through a vibrant, colorful world.

But your message is spot on: life is for enjoying, not toiling away.

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