A lot of the people I mentor want to become investors because they don't want to work in their 9-5 job anymore. (Actually, it's more like an 8-5:30 job now, isn't it?)
They want the freedom to do what they want, when they want, and no longer want to be tied to a desk or put up with a boss. In my opinion, that's retirement: When you earn enough income that you no longer HAVE to work but instead you have the freedom to do whatever you want.
Retirement is not an age or pension plan... Retirement is a state of mind. It's a shift from doing what you HAVE to do, to doing what you LOVE to do.
When I played football, there were times when we did something called "2-a-days". This is where we had to do 2 workout sessions in 1 day. It was CRAZY hard. Some people would look at that and shudder but I loved the challenge (plus I loved playing football) so it didn't feel like work.
As you can see, retirement isn't about doing NOTHING... it's about having the freedom to do whatever you love to do.
Unfortunately, most people put aside money into a retirement fund and they tolerate their jobs for 40 or 50 years until they finally have enough money to quit and do what they love.
That is no way to live!
Who wants to "tolerate" something for 40 to 50 years so they have freedom decades from now?!? Not me. Hopefully not you. Unfortunately, many people don't understand what it means to retire and how they'll afford it. Well I'm here to change that. In this blog post, I'm talking about what it means to retire. In the next blog post, I'm talking about how to afford it.
Imagine how much better life would be if you jumped out of bed every morning because you LOVED what you do and couldn't wait to do it, and because you found it so motivating and fulfilling that it didn't feel like work. Many people dream of doing that "in their retirement" (i.e. after they've saved enough from 40 or 50 years of the corporate grind)... wouldn't it be great to do that now?
I know woman who worked in an office for 23 years. She worked hard, and she enjoyed getting out of the house after her kids got older started going to school. But after several years, things changed at the office. It was no longer about "getting out of the house". Her work just wasn't an enjoyable place to go and she dreaded going to work. In fact, she would feel physically ill getting up in the morning. So she evaluated what she loved to do and then she "retired". Today, she works at her church for free to take what she knows so well and help the church to flourish and impact more lives. To her, it's not a job because she's doing something she enjoys and she gets up eagerly every day to help her church.
With that definition of retirement – quitting what you don't love and adopting the lifestyle that you do love – you might say that I retired on December 31st, 2005 at the ripe old age of 27.
Before December 31st, 2005, I was working hard but feeling like I was spinning my wheels. I was successful but felt tied down; not living the kind of life I wanted to live. I was working because I felt like I needed to work for a time in the future when I didn't have to work anymore and I could finally do whatever I wanted to do. I just doing what I thought I was supposed to do because the people around me had set this image upon me.
That changed for me when I decided to stop working at what I DIDN'T want to do and instead to do what I loved to do. I identified the aspects of my life that I loved and the aspects of my life that I didn't love. For example, I always loved what I did but I didn't like the way I was doing it.
So the things I love to do are...
- Travel the world (I love to visit new places, meet new people, try local food and drink, see the architecture, soak in the history!)
- Make deals (I love Deal Making – no matter what type of deal it is: if I’m doing it for charity, making a buck, or making lots of bucks... I really enjoy this part of the biz).
(If you've read my blog before, these two things shouldn't come as a surprise to you!)
When you do the things you love, it doesn't feel like work. It's relaxing and enjoyable to spend your time doing those things... it's the definition of retirement!
So, in a way, The DM "retired"... At least, I retired from the conventional mindset of being tied down and doing something I don't love until someday I've earned enough money to do it.
Is this The DM's retirement cruise?
But have I really retired?
If you ask anyone who knows me (and you can probably tell, just by reading this blog), I work hard. I'm always in a Deal Making zone.
But the difference is: It doesn't FEEL like work. Even when I'm deal making and working hard in the Deal Making zone, I feel like it's a vacation because it's so fun.
Here's why this matters to you
In an upcoming blog post, I'm going to talk about how you can retire sooner than you think. I'm going to give actual numbers and a nice step-by-step method for you to do some retirement calculations.
But before I do that, I need you to think about what retirement means for you.
Let's start by thinking about this:
- If money were no object, what would you do? Would you travel? Would you spend more time with your kids? Would you finally build the house of your dreams? Would take your spouse on month-long cruise every year?
- What do you LOVE to do and wish you could spend more time doing? What would you be willing to do even if you never got paid for it? (That's always a good gauge of what you truly love to spend your time on). Maybe do more charity work, start a business to give local folks a job, to name a few.
- Now think about what you want to give up. What forces you to get out of bed every day (which you wish you could skip)? For most people, it's the 9-5 drudgery of a job or the reliance on annual pay raises that don't even keep up with the cost of living.
Please take some time to think about this because in an upcoming blog post, I'm going to talk about how YOU can retire sooner than you thought possible.
Your never-will-retire friend and mentor
Mark Evans DM, DN