Will I Ever Retire?

by Kevin on July 25, 2013

What do you think your retirement will actually look like?

That’s an impossible question for most. We don’t know what our lives will be like 5 years from now or even just 12 months from now. How can we know what an event 20, 25, 30 years (or more!) from now will look like?

Not to mention planning for inflation, minimizing taxes paid on your investment gains, and staying on course for the next 30 years isn’t exactly going to be a cakewalk.

It makes me wonder: do I even want to retire?

What Does Your Retirement Look Like?

I like golf just fine, but when I play I’m either borrowing or renting clubs. I wouldn’t want to buy the dream vacation home on the 17th hole with the ability to play golf on the same exact course every single day for the rest of my time on this world.

I like vacations and travel, too, but do I want to be some wandering vagabond for the rest of my days?

These are the types of mental images that many people think of when you ask them to dream of what their retirement will look like. Eating out, grandchildren, travel, and sitting in a golf cart are typical responses.

Those things sound great… for a little while.

Isn’t there more to life than striving for the giant home on the golf course?

I Never Want to Retire

I’d love to “retire” but I never truly want to hang it up to go enjoy my back porch.

Life is far too interesting. There are too many problems that need smart thinkers and hard workers plugging away on them. I want to stay engaged with the world, not disconnected. I want to keep my brain working and sharp rather than relegating myself to waiting for the end.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to travel a lot more and to stress a lot less. Those things are definitely true. I just don’t want to completely disconnect from the world.

What’s the Income Stream?

“Retirement” doesn’t have to mean the typical things you see in the brochures and in the fancy webinars. You can — and should! — carve your own path.

However, no matter what path you take or carve out for yourself there’s still the problem of money. You might get a pittance from Social Security, but I wouldn’t bet my retirement on it.

You still need an income stream. There are many similarities between “retiring” your own way and the typical retirement of buying that beachfront house with golf course access.

So how can you get there? (Aside from winning the lottery…)

Investing

The path a majority of us will take us simply investing money today toward a future goal.

The longer you leave money invested the more it will grow to. You put compounding on your side when you start early which means you also don’t have to put as much money in to reach the same goal. Low cost index funds will keep  your expenses in check while guaranteeing you get the average return of the market. Accept the beauty of being average, pour as much money in as you can, and let it brew for a couple of decades.

Build a Business

Others will carve a different path and start a business. A lot of times when you read “start a business” you think big buildings, lots of employees, and 60 hour work weeks. You think slaving away on an idea. You think a vast majority of all businesses fail within the first five years.

It doesn’t have to be that way. As long as your income stream covers your expenses you’re doing just fine. A side business that slowly grows over time could be your path to retirement. You do your side business thing for 10 or 20 hours per week and spend the rest of the time enjoying life.

What do you want your retirement to look like? Are you going to play golf all day or do something else?

{ 1 comment }

Michelle July 25, 2013 at 7:20 am

I want to be financially independent so that I can work when I want and if I want to, but I don’t ever see myself completely not working.

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