It’s topics like this that make you realize why this month’s #30DayAfriBlogger is called “a challenge.” Both the topics for today had me stumped. For #30AfriBlogger it is “Are your parents in your retirement plan,” and for #BlogtemberChallenge it is “The future you dream of vs. the reality you see –
The topic on our parents didn’t even make much sense to me because, chances are, the time we retire (60 -65, depending on your country…maybe even 70 by the time our generation is nearing that time), chances are, despite all our prayers and hopes, our parents likely won’t be around. So rather than trying to answer the prompt directly, I decided to give my thoughts and opinions on retirement and what I’m hoping my future – and yours, looks like.
Retirement, as we know it, is dead.
So the traditional sense of “retiring,” assumed that you worked for one company your whole life and then once you reached a certain age, they would start paying you a pension. Most companies typically don’t do that anymore, and most of us don’t stay with one company for the duration of our careers anymore.
If you live in the U.S., you know there is social security that you can start benefitting from (it comes out of your salary in the first place), at a certain age. But the way the economy is looking, we just can’t count on having social security by the time we retire. Some companies offer 401(k) plans in their benefits package, but not all.
Finally, you have the option to just be prudent and save your butt off until retirement. This is all well and good, but let’s be honest, life happens and there might be 101 reasons for you to reach into your retirement savings before you ever get into retirement age.
How to “retire” instead
Instead of waiting til you are 60something to retire, I think we should all try our very best to 1) Live lives that we don’t want to retire from and 2) Retire periodically throughout our lifetime. This second one, was an idea I first heard about a few years ago when I was listening to Stefan Sagmeister’s Ted Talk. He owns a design firm in New York and every 7 years, they close down for a year to “rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook.”
I think this method is such a great idea (see below) and it’s one that we should all try to do if we can. Not all of us might dream of owning our own company, so it will be hard to have that kind of retirement schedule, but we can orchestrate our lives in such a way that we don’t need to ‘retire’ from it.
For example, look at university professors. In a way, their lives are 7 years of teaching, 1 year sabbatical. While the sabbatical isn’t really “retirement” or vacation, because they spend much of it on their research – they clearly get some kind of break because a lot of professor never seem to retire. One can assume they must be doing what they love!
In addition, companies like Google and other innovative companies, encourage their employees to take long relaxing vacations. You can also set yourself up to be working remotely, and Travel Noire has a program that shows you just how to do that. And lastly, you can also just take your vacation days at work more seriously. Don’t let your year end with even ONE vacation day passing you by.
Why you shouldn’t wait to retire
These are the main reasons why you shouldn’t wait until you are 60something to retire:
1. You have less energy at that age
What the fun of finally having time to do all the things you want to do, when you don’t have the energy to do them?
2. You wear yourself out less
Taking serious vacations or long sabbaticals from the daily grind, gives you a chance to refresh your mind and spirit and in the end makes you a more productive person
3. Planning for a future that might not be
The truth is none of us know tomorrow. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do uvw when you have xyz. The things you want to do, and the places you want to see – do and see them now. All that planning for way long tomorrow might come to nothing.
4. You continue doing what you love
The most important thing (that I elaborate on below) is just creating a life you don’t want to retire from. Love what you do, and you won’t work a day in your life.
The future I see for you and me
Personally for me, I want to be my own boss. I have a few disparate interests and rather than forgoing one to ‘concentrate,’ I’d rather build them all up with vigor and dedication. My hope is that in a few years’ time, I’ll have several streams of income. Such that, when I need to just spend time with family or I’ve got the travel bug, I can up and do it. I won’t be ball-and-chained to a desk that decides if I can pay my bills that month.
I don’t think you necessarily have to be “your own boss” to be the boss of your time. Bring enough value to any company you are in, and have other streams of income, and you’ll see that you can be your own boss without having to be a full time business person. I plan to save well, strategize on my income streams and become REALLY good at what I do. This way, I’ll continue to retire throughout my lifetime. And I hope to inspire you all to do the same along the way!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on my adventures & life advice:
Hope you enjoyed my 5th installment of the #30DayAfriBlogger and #BlogtemberChallenge. I’m actually really starting to enjoy these and it’s not as daunting as it first seemed. Anyways, here are my favorites from yesterday’s prompt: “How Not to…” and “Life Lessons”:
- Iyanda talks to us about what NOT to do at a restaurant, unless you want to look like an uncultured fool. I agree with him.
- SheXpress has a beautiful piece on the things she thinks we should never lose sight of no matter where we go or who we meet.
- The Sovereign State has a tongue in cheek post about how to not cause offense on the internet…you already know it’s going to be satirical.
Would love your thoughts on retirement below!