Most people have a mental image of their ideal retirement.
It usually involves travel, beaches, golf and relaxation. And some people end up living that dream.
But for most people, the image is more like a mirage… the closer they get, the more it seems to fade.
I’d like to talk about that great retirement mirage in this issue of BizWeb eGazette.
When I was in high school (going back decades now) I was taught that the ideal path to financial security looked like this…
1. Go to school and graduate
2. Get a good job and work your way up in the company
3. Invest part of your salary and save for retirement
4. Retire comfortably, travel and enjoy your golden years
After all, it was a plan that worked for generations…
In the 1900’s many people attained financial independence this way. They worked a job for 35 years or so, scrimped and saved along the way and retired around age 65 with a nice nest egg.
Although this was pretty much a universally accepted plan during the 20th century, there was one glaringly obvious problem that most people never discussed.
A little matter called life expectancy.
Even near the end of the 20th century, in the 1980’s, when the world’s average life expectancy soared… people were expected to live only to the ripe old age of 67 years.
I did the math and could clearly see that it left a whopping two years to reap the rewards of all that work and saving.
Yet I entered the workforce anyway.
But when I looked around me, I didn’t see too many people looking forward to retirement. In fact, the parents of two of my friends actually got pink-slips just a few years short of qualifying for a pension.
Others bounced from job to job, barely scraping by.
Even my own folks managed to save little to nothing for retirement.
Fast forward another generation or two, and things have only gotten worse in my opinion.
I read recently that a full 45 percent of working-age households in America have no retirement savings at all. And among people 55 to 64, the average household retirement savings is a mere few thousands dollars.
The real truth is, only 5% of people following that “career” path outlined above, ever achieve a comfortable retirement.
Isn’t that a shocking number?
That leaves a whopping 95% of well-intentioned, hard working people, who work their fingers to the bone, relying on social security, an inadequate pension or help from a family member just to get by.
And the few that do make it to retirement with a nice nest-egg, still have very few years to enjoy the fruits of their labor! Even now, early in the 21st century, with life expectancies finally close to 80, that leaves an average of 15 years to “live it up” in Boca Raton.
OK, now that I have you totally depressed, you need to know that there is a better way…
Unless you are one of the 1 in 180 million people who hits the lottery or inherits a fortune when Uncle Joe checks out, there’s just one way you will ever become financially independent…
You have to do it on your own.
While that may sound like a monumental task, thanks to the Internet, it is possible for the average person.
I never went to college. I didn’t have any connections when I got started.
Yet I carved out a following and a living online writing articles like this.
And anybody can do it, in any niche they want. Sure, it takes time, but you can do it in your spare time, even when you have a full time job. That’s what I did!
But the real beauty of the do-it-yourself plan to retirement, is that it’s like retiring!
You get to set your own schedule. You get to travel when you want. You don’t have a commute. You don’t have a boss. And there is no cap on how much you can earn.
In fact, you never have to retire at all! Why bother…
Personally, I never plan to retire!
Retire from what?
A business that I work a few hours a week, when I want?
Look, I’ve gone down both paths.
I tried the career thing. I went into the Air Force at 18. I got out at 21 and started a career. I worked in the telephone industry for 10 years.
Then I decided I wanted something more than the career path to “maybe” retirement. I decided I wanted to enjoy my entire life, not just weekends and a decade or so before I check out.
So I went to work building something better for myself. And you can too!
Start building a business of your own. If you can build a small following and share your world with them, you may just be able to break free from a life of jobs. Heck, you can help fellow boomers — it’s now a HUGE market!
If you need help getting started, download this cheatsheet for baby boomers. Two of my boomer friends created it for fellow boomers who are considering using the Internet to supplement their income. It will help you decide if this is right for you too.
And if you decide to take the leap, I’m always available, so reach out to me if you ever need help.
I’ve been through every stage and can help you get where you want to go.
I’m happy to offer my advice based on my own experiences.
It’s what I do and I love it!