What would your life look like?
What would you start doing and what would you stop doing?
What excites you about retirement?
Where do you start dreaming and planning for a far -off date because you feel you can’t afford it today?
Seems like a worthy objective, but what if it blinds us to our best life today and costs us far more money, time, and enjoyment than it could ever provide?
What does retirement cost us today?
What if we looked at retirement contributions to IRAs, 401ks, RRSPs, and the like, as an expense? I know it is framed as an investment, but what if it is never enjoyed, utilized, and creates stress with its volatility, how do you benefit?
I’d call that an expense.
I’m sure you have heard to allocate 10 percent.
Is 10 percent really a good amount?
That’s 10k a year for someone making 100k.
Pretty big expense considering that 95 percent of Americans aren’t financially independent at age 65.
Where else would you risk something failing more than 9 out of 10 times?
Maybe when we were kids and learned to walk. When the stakes weren’t that high. Falling on our diapers or our parents caught us.
But what happens when there is more consequence?
When you don’t get a second chance?
I wouldn’t drive a car with that track record and definitely wouldn’t board a flight with that level of risk.
Yet people keep putting their faith, their life, in a faulty narrative and shitty lie.
95 percent failure.
And asking someone to take 10 percent of their income to get there.
Go fuck yourself Wall Street.
Where else would we fund something with such a huge failure rate?
So why isn’t it working?
What are the problems?
Even during the bull market of the 90s and more recently, it still isn’t working- I think Kendrick Lamar would say DAMN!
To name a few reasons it fails:
- Financial surprises where we invade what is saved
- Overpayment of tax, interest, investment fees, and insurance costs
- A lack of understanding of risk and therefore minimal mitigation of risk (confiscating time and money)
- Lack of asset protection (financial predators confiscate wealth)
- Over-reliance on a volatile stock market
- Lack of buoyancy or contingencies on distribution (disinvesting – AKA no distribution plan or income smoothing)
- Inflation (it is a moving target)
- Lack of cash flow management and cash flow creation along the way (leaving us ill-prepared)
- Propensity to consumer (a luxury once enjoyed becomes a necessity)
- Assets Under Management Fee -Based Advisors (morale hazard with advisors, they get paid regardless of performance and don’t control (and can’t predict) the economy or market)
- Advisors managing money, not focusing enough on people
- Lack of coordination (financial leaks)
You get the point.
This is direct, but it is time for a reality check and a better solution.
And as I said in Killing Sacred Cows, if you believed something to be true, but was false, when would you want to know?
So yeah, this is frustrating (obviously).
Especially considering the bull shit that we are fed along the way.
- You are in it for the long haul
- High risk equals high return
- It takes money to make money
Yet the people saying this play by totally different rules.
- Cash flow first.
- You take the risk, they get the return.
- It doesn’t take their money, it takes your money.
- They get paid even when you lose.
So much information about money is marketing and misleading. It is designed to give a false sense of accomplishment, security, and the biggest enemies of the system is knowledge and accountability.
A lack of accountability has led to shit results.
Watch for the faulty tenants that get people to follow terrible retirement advice (with a horrible track record):
- “everyone else is doing it”
- Retirement is a dream or “heaven on earth”
- The market goes up and down, but always goes up
- The market is on sale
- Dollar cost average
- A penny saved is a penny earned
Ask yourself: do the nice offices, meals, golfing, and fancy suits (of the Asset Under Management Fee Base Advisors) make up for these limitations?
How much money would you actually have if you removed those fees?
(I expose this in Killing Sacred Cows- GarrettGunderson.com/KSC)
And what really fires me up, these brokers make people feel bad when they ask for their own money back- really? It is your money, why should it stress you out to cash it out or want to move it? How did they pull off making you feel bad for moving your funds or cashing out?
Or more like evil genius.
“Hey, this won’t do what you want, but if you want it back, you are giving up”.
And this entire philosophy, and process, is for something that may not even be a valid idea… anymore. Retirement.
I mean, for the majority of the 1900s, retirement was a good idea, or at least an OK idea.
But, it is a relic of the past.
Invented during a time when people worked themselves to death, doing the mundane and even dangerous jobs in industry.
That was a time of hard labor.
And there are still jobs that are physically demanding that it would make sense to retire from before breaking down your body, of course.
I get it.
My dad was a coal miner.
He is a total bad ass.
Still scaling the mountains at age 70 while he bow hunts elk or hiking in Peru.
See, he actually earned the day off for Labor Day (resting his black lung and broken mining Skelton- kidding).
But kids today don’t labor.
Being on a zoom meeting, living in their parent’s basement, tinkering with a startup, or watching YouTube videos.
That’s not labor.
Labor is reserved as term for having babies, for construction workers, sanitation people, or Al Roker’s personal trainer – HARD LABOR! (Al’s looking good, so it is working, but it is work – ha).
What we might really want to retire is this type of tiring, grinding, labor and embrace robots, AI, or any technology can take over hard labor and turn our focus to the rarest commodity in the world – vision.
Instead of the mundane – invent, innovate, and be creative.
Instead of holding on to the past, create a new future. One where you win, enjoy life, and add the most value.
That may be easier said than done, I get it, it takes work. It takes valuing yourself. It takes giving up excuses and stories and to believe in new possibility.
One of the greatest costs to humanity is holding onto jobs that no longer serve us.
It happens when we don’t feel we have a bright future or we are addicted to the paycheck and stopped investing in ourselves and growing.
People drop development of skills and delay enjoyment for a broken promise of a better, brighter future.
At the expense of our life.
Missing out on memories along the way.
Justifying the things we hate in hopes we can eventually enjoy life.
Yet, you can never get back the memories you never have.
Let that sink in.
Yeah, you have been lied to.
Because people want your money.
That money you give represents your energy, represents part of your life.
Stop giving up your life for people without your best interest at heart.
Know your value.
Know your win.
Feel your worth and ask and create what you want.
Our philosophy determines our perspective and our actions.
Delay becomes habit…
Sacrifice becomes philosophy…
And someday is never today.
Retirement leaves people in fear and bondage to interest fluctuations, tax hikes, and inflation.
That means, once you retire from value creation in the world of business, you will have less influence on the outcome of your income. Lowered interest rates or stock market declines are a barometer for the way retirees feel about life.
Want to have your eyes opened? Read Permission to Spend by Tom Wall. The impact of volatility on accounts where people take distributions can be destructive. Yet, it is rarely talked about by these so-called advisors.
Retirement is at odds with three key longevity factors beyond health:
- Money (control)
When there is less control over income, people cancel plans and this limits interactions with those they love, disconnecting them to fulfillment and the original promise of freedom that was supposed to be found in retirement. Scarcity destroys enjoyment and occupies the mind.
An unexpected, but detrimental, problem is a loss of purpose in retirement. For those that felt there was an impact with their work, they lose a sense of self and joy.
So, the cost is much greater than the 10 percent saved.
Knowing all these costs I’ve pointed out, let me ask you a question: If retirement didn’t exist, would you value your IRA or 401k?
What about rather than sending money somewhere you don’t know enough about (contributing), it was contributing to your life and lifestyle through cash flow?
See, your expense is the cash flow for companies separating you from your money. It is called a contribution, but it contributes fees and commissions to them and is only enjoyed when you redeem it at a later date. Hoping taxes don’t confiscate it or downturns, or that you might outlive it just keeps it in the institution’s hands longer.
We are taught to lock it away in Qualified Plans that are inadequate. They don’t create enough cash flow in the future for a few reasons
- They don’t train us on cash flow, so we are out of practice, never forming the habit.
- There isn’t enough money to provide for the retirement dream we were promised.
- They get us to believe this is the only option, the easy button, but we find out it doesn’t work when it is too late.
The way to fix this broken system?
Simplicity and empowerment.
You investing in yourself or opting out of the retirement trap and instead creating a life you don’t want to retire from.
Here are some potential suggestions/instructions on how:
- Retire from the things you hate (delegate, chose a new career, start a business, invest in what you know)
- Create a life you don’t want to retire from (enjoy life along the way, create space for recreation, rejuvenation, and relaxation)
- Build a life you love (be intentional)
- Enjoy the process along the way (the win is in the right work)
- Find meaningful work (yes, something you can enjoy for years to come)
- Create your vision (one that compels and moves you forward with excitement and energy)
It is time to select a new philosophy. To move beyond survival and into the world of value creation. Face your fears and create a winning game.
Retire retirement and embrace life.