Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Retirement Plan Reset

"The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake."

- Mesiter Eckhart
So the first thing I need to do is to stop procrastinating about small things that can be started now and don't need to wait for retirement.  This includes more exercise and travel.

Second, I need to change the order in which I'm pursuing things.  I was never such as fool as to want to sit on the beach all day after I retired.  I always knew I would do something productive and something much better than my current job.  I was never simply running away from my career.  I was always running toward something else.

But the problem was that I didn't know what that something was, and I thought I didn't have time to figure that out until after I accumulated enough money to stop working.  Hence, the order of the plan was:

1. Save enough money to stop working.
2. Figure out what I really want to do.
3. Do that.

Any first year management student can tell you that schedule is not optimized.  Why wait until step 1 is completed to work on step 2?  Steps 1 and 2 can be done at the same time!  At the very least, I could be figuring out what I eventually want to do so that by the time the money has been accumulated, I could get right to it.  And it's also possible that I might be able to get started with it before the money accumulation is finished.

You are probably way ahead of me by now.  Yes, the supreme irony here is that if step 3 also produces money, then step 1 was perhaps partially or wholly unnecessary.  Wow.  Let that sink in a little.

It's still a good idea to have financial discipline and save lots of money.  The financial concepts I've always espoused in this blog are sound and I intend to keep following them.  What I'm questioning is the idea of waiting, waiting, waiting for your retirement magic number to be hit before proceeding with your post retirement plans.  There's not going to be a deus ex machina that comes along and solves the plot to the rest of my life for me.  I'm transparent enough to admit this was a huge mistake on my part, and I'm excited to start planning properly during 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Hi S.B. - love your blog, thanks for these clear and well-written thoughts!

    I recently had a (sort of) similar insight to this one, thanks to a TED talk called "the happy secret to better work". The insight for me was that we should NOT work harder so we can become happy. Instead, we should first become happy, so we can work harder.

    I know this also from experience -- my work is richer and more meaningful when I've got a full tank of gas (i.e. relationships, healthy living, faith, etc.). And there is no amount of work I can ever do that will be as meaninful and rich as having those things first.


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