I'll let you in on a little secret about me: I will never "retire". However, most financial planners advocate making retirement your number one savings priority. In the financial advising industry, there is much made about how you need to begin saving early in order to have a "comfortable" retirement. Because Baby Boomers - the parents of Generation Y - will more than likely deplete Social Security reserves, many financial planners often quote a very round and a very large number - $1 million or better - that they believe is necessary to live well once you no longer have a steady paycheck from an employer coming in.
When most people think about retirement, if they ever think about it, they think of a time of "unfettered leisure". A time of their life away from corporate culture, and the demands of regimented employment. The word "retirement" also connotes that for thirty or forty years, one does something in exchange for payment that's not altogether pleasurable. And then, and only then does she do something fun and energizing.
Earlier in this post, I told you that I'd never retire. My reasons are twofold. Reason number one is that I don't believe in working hard at something you don't enjoy doing just for a paycheck and delaying engaging your passions until later on in life. Life and work should be intertwined and one should be a manifestation of the other. Although my current job as a paralegal doesn't represent my life and my vision of myself, in short, I will always strive to do work that is invigorating and expressive. My second reason for never retiring is that I truly believe that if you love what you do, you can always do it (no matter how old you are) and there's always a way to transmute that passion into cold hard cash.
Don't get me wrong though. My eschewing of the conventional notions of "retirement" doesn't mean that I am against saving and investing so that you have the option to pursue anything your heart desires. Quite the opposite. You should indeed save and invest as much as possible, but while working on your own terms. Don't sell your labor for a paycheck while putting your dreams on hold until 59 and a half or 60. We all must die one day, and not one of us knows when that day will be. Unfortunately, some of us will not make it these great birthday milestones.
I was inspired to write this post by this particular article on MSN Money:
It talks about how many people are not saving for retirement, but lots in our generation are. The article also speaks of the fact that as a result of not putting anything away and overspending, some will have to "work" until they die. You've heard this mantra before, but it bears repeating. If you love what you do, you will never have to "work" a day in your life. And if you want to actively pursue life until the day you die, that's fine by me because I plan on doing so myself. but you don't want to have to "work" in the conventional sense of the word for the rest of your life. In fact, you should never "work". Finding and doing what you love, in addition to saving and investing aggressively throughout your life will ensure that you can live on your own terms, i.e. not "work" until you die.
Thanks for reading and until next time...