It’s Time to Rethink Retirement

retirement

Here’s what the structure of modern life looks like for most. In the early years of a child, the focus is on learning and playing.

Once the playing is done, a teen starts their educational career. Then start a career. And save up for retirement. Those are the three main stages of life as we know it: Study, work, then retire.

It might look like these stages are natural to human life, but that’s a wrong assumption. These stages are, like most things in modern-life, made up.

This structure was created in the 19th century, when the Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck implemented the first national old-age social insurance plan in 1889.

At the time, the world was going through the industrial revolution, and sending your kids off to school was just starting to become the norm. Bismarck’s government was trying to give more jobs to the unemployed youth by retiring workers aged 70 and above.

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“Nothing Will Last” Forecasting Technique: Anticipate the Future

predict-the-future

I enjoy reading books that forecast the future and give you insights. One of the best books I’ve read on this topic is The Sovereign Individual by Davidson and Reese-Mogg.

The book is from 1999 and is about how we can adapt and prepare for the information age. Their forecast of what the future of our economy would look like was highly accurate.

They analyzed exciting trends and combined them with their vision of the future to make their forecast. They assumed that individuals would have more freedom and control over their financial situation.

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Preparation: The Antidote to Fear of Failure

fear-of-failure

Some people are apparently more afraid of starting their own business than jumping out of a plane. That’s how powerful the fear of failure can be.

We’d rather do something that could get us killed than do something new. Researchers found that about a third of Americans are more afraid of starting their own company than sky diving.1Source: USA Today

Even if many of them hate their jobs and want to quit. Why are we so afraid of doing something new?

  • Moving to a different city, state, or country
  • Going to activities by ourselves
  • Starting a business
  • Switching careers

I can go on like that for a while, but you get the point. Doing something new or different that you’re doing right now is scary. You have to step out of your existing (and often safe) routines.

You have to step into uncertainty. You don’t know what will happen when you start something new. Maybe you’ll fail! And that fear of failure is scary. 

But we all know we can’t let that feeling stop us. Here’s a strategy for conquering your fear. 

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What Would You Do if You Were Rich?

if-you-were-rich

Let’s do a thought experiment. I did this several years ago and it changed my idea of being rich and the overall pursuit of wealth.

I got it from an old post by the blogger, Mr. Money Mustache. In the article, he says he would do “absolutely nothing differently,” if he had more money. When I read that for the first time, I thought, “yeah right.”

Back then, I was out of grad school for a year, was in debt, had recently started a business, paid myself about $15,000 in salary, and did not have any savings like Mustache. I was desperately trying to earn more money so I could have more freedom… But to do what with that money and freedom?

That was something I didn’t figure out for years. But I’m glad I kept thinking about this concept of “what would you do if you had more money?” It helped me to avoid chasing money too much. 

As I started to build my career and began to earn more, I realized that you don’t have to make a mistake to learn a lesson. You don’t always need to learn things “the hard way.” You can think things through. 

Take a concept like this one. How many of us assume we need to have more money to be happy? And the one important habit I learned over time is to question everything.

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