Perhaps the most influential book that I’ve read in the last two years is called The 4-Hour Workweek. Even though I’m living on a shoestring budget, I deemed it important enough to plunk down the $19.95 to own my own copy.
It was written by a 28-year old guy who offers a different way to prioritize one’s life. Essentially, he posits that we all undervalue time and overvalue money. Everyone probably ‘knows’ that to be true, but so few people ever actually do anything about it. Instead, most people follow the same path of work, work, work, retire….sprinkled with occasional short vacations. We’ve got one crack at this life, and that plan just doesn’t make sense.
From the book…
Retirement is flawed for three solid reasons…
a. It is predicated on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life. This is a nonstarter–nothing can justify that sacrifice.
AKA…If your job is so miserable that you dream of retiring…then get a NEW job.
b. Most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hotdogs-for-dinner standard of living. Even one million is chump change in a world where traditional retirement could span 30 years and inflation lowers you purchasing power 2-4% per year. The math doesn’t work. The golden years become lower-middle-class life revisited. That’s a bittersweet ending.
c. If the math does work, it means that you are one ambitious, hardworking machine. If that’s the case, guess what? One week into retirement, you’ll be so damn bored that you’ll want to stick bicycle spokes in your eyes. You’ll probably opt to look for a new job or start another company. Kinda defeats the purpose of waiting, doesn’t it?
It’s pretty clear. Retirement as the ultimate ‘goal’ makes no sense. It is akin to wasting away the prime years of life for some utopia, that, if lucky enough to reach, is eventually discovered to be less worthwhile than the work beforehand.
The book has many more thoughts on alternatives. But I’ll save those for later.
Think about it though, how many retired folks do you know who are truly happy? The only ones I can point to are people who ended up getting different jobs after retiring from old ones.