The Great Retirement “Mirage”… 

 July 22, 2021

By  Jim Daniels

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.

Like me.

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!

Meet Roy

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.

You can download my online business blueprint, I can build a blog for you, and I can offer you my research and affiliate marketing promos, and well, whatever you need!

It’s what I do and I love it!

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About Jim

I gave up a life of jobs in 1996. Since then I've been earning a living online.

I write books, create software, license info-products, affiliate marketing, build membership sites, design websites and more.

I prefer this over my old lifestyle of getting up early, commuting to work, coming home to have a few hours for my family and living for the weekends. Now every day is a weekend. I work when I want and answer to no boss.

  • Hey Jim,
    I agree the outlook for most of us baby boomers does not look so rosy in retirement.
    I recently retired from my job with the intention of travel and enjoying all this free time i was about to have.
    Guess what?
    I am back at work for 2 days a week and now trying to build an online business and am having a ball.
    We do need a reason to wake up every morning to something that excites us.
    Great post to help people open their eyes and realise what their future is all about.

    • Yep, ya gotta stay busy doing something Bryan. And it can’t be all play. As much as I love golf, I’d be bored to death playing it every day. 2-3 work days a week is just right if you can pull it off financially!

  • Jim,
    Your post resonates with me because I could be a perfect ‘poster child’ for this article. Made very good money initially, got laid off as company reorganized; too ‘old’ or overqualified for other positions; lived on my savings for a few years and now in my 60’s I am a contractor overseas. There’s got to be a better way.


    • Well, at least you were able to find a contractor job Tad, too many folks in their 60’s have trouble getting work. That’s why a part time business online is a great option to have. Something that gives you peace of mind and a nice side income. Maybe you could write about how you were able to get that overseas job — there are a lot of people searching for inside info on that subject!

  • Hi Jim-
    I’ve been a follower of yours for a while and have purchased a couple of your products. I’m in my 60’s just like Tad and also have lost my job and have health issues which make it difficult to work 40-50 hours/week like I used to. Building an-online business would seem to be a good way to solve all these problems at once.
    Wish me luck.

  • Jim,

    Your article is spot on. I have been making the transition from the “good” job to creating the lifestyle I desire for about a year now. It has been a great journey and I learn more everyday. It was a friend that referred your stuff to me and I am thankful he did. It’s good to know that I am not alone in building something for my family and I. That I am not “crazy”, even though most people think I am. Those that state this, just tell me I am not surrounding myself with the right type of friends. The writing is on the wall and those that are 50 or younger need to wake-up to the fact that “retirement” is an dinosaur. Very few in the X-Generation or Millennial generation will get to retire in the old school thinking. Thanks for sharing this article. I look forward to reading more of your work.


  • Jim

    I’ve been retired for 10 years now – and its been a pretty good life. Luckily I got a pension from the company I worked for 40 years and that’s made all the difference. I have messed about with IM during that time with very little success, and have decided to put my mind to it and try and build up a small business to supplement my pension. I’m starting off with an Amazon affiliate site and hope to made a success of it, and build from there.
    All the best

  • Hi Jim,

    This is so right, and becoming a bigger problem as the population ages. My Dad worked for two employers in his working life and got a comfortable pension when he retired. I’m with my 9th company and can’t be sure that the pension pot I’ll have when I retire will be big enough to keep me in a lifestyle which I’d like. As for my son, I reckon he’ll probably be a freelancer from day 1 and will only be able to retire when he’s saved enough to do so.

    I’m certainly working in my spare time to establish a second income stream from Internet Marketing with the thought that I’ll need additional income in a few years when the next round of corporate streamlining catches up with me.

    Thanks for the article.


  • Cindy Jameson says:

    Hi Jim
    I bought your physical book on online marketing back in 2001. Glad to see you’re still online and doing well.

    I retired last year and instead of sitting around the house I decided to travel around the United States.

    I saw too many friends lose their money when stocks went down, to health problems and sadly their spouses passing.

    I bought a truck and trailer and hit the road August 13th, 2016 with my two cats for a year. Traveling alone at 62 was kind of scared but so is life at times.

    I’m planning on using the internet to sell some pictures, write some stories or maybe even a book on my journey.

    An internet business works pretty much everywhere. I recommend it to everyone as well as traveling!

    Thanks for the great information you provide.

    Happy Trails

  • Jeff Walters says:

    This article reflects my own thinking. At 60, I have at most 5 more years in formal employment – but I would love to leave it much sooner.

    Not to play tennis or golf – but to get back into my own business. Just a screw up with my business partner pushed me back into a corporate job to recover.

    Had some ups & downs in part-time online marketing over the past few years – but time now to start getting really serious about creating a sustainable business.

    Robotics / automation / 3D printing – lots of things coming that could make many people redundant – even before retirement age.

    Given that people can remain healthy to close to 100, people that only know how to pitch up for a job are going to run out of money before they run out of years …

    And there’s also only so much reality tv you can watch before you lose your mind …:)

    Lots of prospects for your to pitch to, Jim.

  • Love your dog. Your website over the years has always been spot on. We’ve made good choices, but I want more and will take advantage of your “cheat sheets”. Thank you for caring and sharing with others.

    • Thanks Trish, I’m happy to hear that you’ve found my site and info helpful. 🙂

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