If you haven’t had a chance to read why I think retirement should be a four letter word, it may help you to understand where I’m coming from with today’s topic. I’m not a fan of the word “retirement.” At least not a fan in the way it appears that the financial services industry spins it to us. Retirement seems to be this type of “ending” that we’re supposed to strive for. It’s a place you are supposed to reach when you’ve put away enough money, stop working entirely, and pursue a leisurely lifestyle filled with traveling and enjoying the best life has to offer. And with this ideal place in life you are supposed to reach comes a slew of investing advice, calculators, and actual amounts of money you’re supposed to have at particular ages and stages in your life. But what if we didn’t have to retire?
Wait, what did he just say? I’ll say it again. What if we never had to retire? What if you liked your job and wanted to do it for the rest of your life? What if there were no such thing as retirement? What if your goal in life financially were to simply be financially free? Wouldn’t that be less stressful and a much more “fun” goal to reach? You see, this is how I envision my life. I never envisioned retirement. I never thought of “stopping” a part of my life that I value and take great pride in. That’s why I’ll never, ever retire. Do I have a financial goal? Absolutely! It’s to not have to worry about money. I’d much rather have that in my life than to completely transition into a new life that frankly I may or may not enjoy. But having the money, means, and mentality to explore all of these options is what’s attractive to me.
So why will I never retire in the conventional way that society wants me to? You know, like in the picture up there? (Why can’t I just go there at any age and for any amount of time!!! Oh right, I can). There are three main reasons and they are pretty simple:
1. Life is more fun when you’re reaching towards something
We’ve all heard the phrase, “life is about the journey, not the destination.” Don’t you always find that the beginning of a great idea and working towards that final goal is often times more exciting than when the goal is reached? That’s because when the goal is reached there’s nothing left to do and you’re left bored and stagnant. So instead of planning a set “stop” date, why ever stop? Why stop dreaming and achieving? It’s the dreaming and achieving that make life more exciting and worth living in the first place. There’s absolutely no reason to stop doing that just because I’ve hit a certain age or reached a certain amount of savings. The day I die I hope I have a million incomplete projects that I’m working on because I can guarantee you the working on these projects will be what keeps me going, not the idea of stopping.
2. It would be way too boring
I’m 40 years old, a husband, and a father of two. Granted I work from home and I rarely need to spend more than 6 hours a day working, so my life isn’t as conventional as most employed people in the world, but I still find that life gets extremely boring. I have two boys aged 6 and 2 and I still find that I get bored all the time. There’s only so much Paw Patrol I can watch, video games I can play, and frustration I can get in teaching my son sports or even trying to get him to go outside at all instead of playing with gadgets. If you take away my 6 hours of work I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself. When my children go to college someday and eventually leave the house thereafter I’m pretty sure my wife and I are going to have nervous breakdowns because of how bored we will become. So what am I saying here? In some way, shape, or form, I gotta have stuff to do. And that stuff doesn’t have to be travel. It doesn’t have to be playing Bingo or Boggle. Why can’t it be something challenging like taking on a new business? Something like building something, anything? It most certainly can be and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.
3. My health would deteriorate
You don’t need to ask me. There have been countless studies that show when people retire their health can and will deteriorate unless they stick to doing things that will keep their minds and bodies active. One of those things? Work! I’m not saying stressful work. I’m saying challenging and rewarding work will keep your brain young. You don’t just have to do crossword puzzles and watch TV. You can do way more. Imagine how crappy you would feel just sitting around all day. Trust me I’ve done it and after about a day I get antsy.
Retirement is a dangerous word, period. Don’t ever stop. Continue to challenge yourself. Continue to do the things that make you happy and vibrant. If one of those things is working, then by all means keep doing it! Don’t get wrapped up in setting some plan to stop it all. Get wrapped up in enjoying what life has to offer, whether that means sitting on the couch or cliff diving. Honestly it’s up to you but don’t let anyone influence your decision to work or not work.