You wouldn’t think that the words retirement and daring could be used in the same sentence. It may be counterintuitive, but you have the freedom and opportunity to be daring, especially as you don’t have to worry about whether you are going to cause strife with friends or work colleagues.
We basically have three phases to our lives:
1. Growth: This is where we do our schooling and college training, so that we can have the opportunities and preparation for the next phase of our lives.
2. Accumulation: In this phase we have children, succeed in our jobs, and hopefully have some asset accumulation.
3. Retirement: Traditionally, this has been when we usually slow down and for some unfortunately, it is a period in which they wait for the end. This paradigm is starting to change.
I want to address the retirement phase because not only do you not have to slow down; you can just change the form of what you have been doing. You can have tremendous freedom because you no longer have dependent children nor a specific job to tie you down. So you are free to pick and choose how you want to live your life.
In late 2011 we decided to do something different, what some others considered daring. We decided that we would sell up everything; our house, car and even some furnishings, and travel over the following year without a definitive plan of where we would live. The only thing that we did know was that we would probably be coming back to Perth because of our children and grandchildren. The comments that we typically received were, “You guys are crazy.” “How can you just sell up and go?” “What about your family?” We did think after a while that this was something that people just didn’t do. We were wrong. If you think you are doing something that no one else has done, don’t worry, there is always someone who is doing it and perhaps to a greater degree.
Several weeks ago while we were in America, we came across an article in USA Today about a retired couple who sold everything up; house, cars, furnishings, to permanently travel. Lynne and Tim Martin, 73 and 68 from California have created a “home-free” lifestyle whereby they rent apartments in various countries and even back in the states, so that they can see their family occasionally. They do this all on $70,000 a year, not a fortune, but they can have a comfortable lifestyle by budgeting for the different places that they stay.
You see, Lynne and Tim have decided that for them, seeing the world, sharing time together, having new and exciting experiences is highest in value. While some may consider them crazy, they have a sense of liberation living their life as they do.
I really see retirement as an opportunity to push the boundaries, to experience things you did not have the time or perhaps money to do in your earlier years. Even if you don’t have the money, retirement is the time to be free to just think of new horizons. So go for it and don’t worry about what others think. As a colleague of mine once said, “Better to piss somebody else off, than to piss off yourself”.
What are your plans for retirement? How are you going to live?