Close your eyes. No, don’t do that. You won’t be able to read this.
Let’s start over. Picture yourself enjoying your ideal retirement. What are you imagining?
- Perhaps you’re standing knee-deep in a Montana river, fishing for trout.
- Or strolling through the cobbled streets of Prague, browsing art galleries.
- Or reading Faulkner on the back porch, listening to the sounds of your grandchildren playing in the yard.
How does that feel?
Pretty good, huh? But chances are your actual retirement will be quite different. For one thing, you may not be able to afford to travel in Prague. It may be Orlando instead. And those kids playing in your yard? They will likely to be your great-grandchildren. Why? Because you’re probably going to retire a lot later than you think.
Baby boomers are much poorer today than they were 10 years ago. Most retirement accounts are half what they were back then, despite the recent stock market run up.
Even if you have a million dollars in the bank, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to spend your mornings sipping coffee and your afternoons on the golf course. A million dollars today generates about 20 grand a year in interest. What kind of retirement can you buy with that?
I won’t depress you by talking about our bankrupt government and the illusion that it can meet its Social Security or Medicaid promises. If you are counting on that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
Most people my age understand this. A Vanguard survey released a few years ago found that more than 60 percent of Americans aged 40 to 69 acknowledge that they will have to keep working into their 70s. A study by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, had similar findings. A more recent study reported by CBS News puts the number of Americans who know they will have to keep working even higher — at over 80 percent.
Yes, we are coming to terms with reality. But that doesn’t mean we don’t still long to live the ideal retirement lifestyle — waking up when we want, doing what we want, enjoying our friends and families and hobbies.
Today’s essay is about how to retire into a happy, leisurely, and productive lifestyle — despite the economic disappointments of our times.
Anyone And I believe anyone can make this miraculous transformation — and make it fast. Much faster than the dummies who write personal finance books tell you. In fact, you can make it happen by this time next year.
In a different sort of world — the kind of world that used to exist — retirement didn’t involve work.
You were part of an extended family. When you got old and wanted to stop working, you could do so. Your children would be running the family business. You would be consulted from time to time when important decisions had to be made. Your wisdom would be appreciated. Your instincts revered. You would be surrounded by your loved ones, enjoying the fruits of your combined labor.
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The world we live in today is different. For one thing, you need money to retire well. Lots of money. That’s why so many baby boomers will be “forced” to delay their retirement or, more likely, work until they are fired. And then live a life of deprivation and fear.
But even if you can sock away five million bucks (and generate a hundred grand a year to live on), I’m going to argue that you should banish the old-fashioned concept of living off a fixed income.
I know dozens of guys my age and older who gave up working to pursue their retirement dreams. With few exceptions, they all feel they made a mistake. As one of them said to me yesterday, “There are only so many games of golf or bridge you can play before you feel a little dead inside.”
We have been duped into thinking that idleness is happiness by a myth that was spread after World War II. That’s when many American men came back from fighting and went to work for large businesses that offered a devil’s deal. “Give me 40 years of the most productive years of your life, and we will give you a pension you can retire on.”
A good number of my dad’s friends bought into this bargain. And some of them — maybe half — got the pensions they were promised. But it all started coming apart in the 1980s, and has all but disintegrated now.
Our government is broke. So are most of our major corporations. Little companies — the heart and soul of American wealth production — don’t offer much in the way of retirement plans because they know they can’t afford them.
But none of this matters. Because the real hoax was not the promise of retirement income itself. It was the idea that we would be happy if we had nothing to do but wile away our time.
That’s not the way happiness works.
I am going to suggest an alternative retirement — one that can give you all the financial comfort you think you need plus something much more important: a feeling of self-satisfaction and worth that you will never get by doing nothing.
But to benefit from what I’m about to say, you have to understand the point I just made: Happiness in life comes not from idleness. It comes from working. Not working a job you hate. Not working for a boss you hate. Not working hours you hate. But doing something you love to do. And getting paid for it.
Think about that for a minute.
What sort of work would you really like to do? What sort of career would you choose if you had all the money in the world but wanted to work for the fun of it?
Maybe you’d want to be a writer. Maybe your secret passion is cooking gourmet food. Maybe you’ve always wanted to get back into astronomy or archeology or gardening.
Somewhere in your past is a neglected passion — a once-hoped-for career that you long ago gave up on.
What if you could reprise that dream?
I know a man whose dream was to be a professional pilot. After working 30 years in the wallpaper business, he took my advice and got himself a job flying part-time for a small airline. A few years later, he became a part owner. He’s making more money now doing what he loves than he ever made selling wallpaper. And he only “works” 20 hours a week.
My dad gave up a promising career in show business to become a teacher. Fifty years later, he went back into the acting business and became a professional actor. He acted in all kinds of commercials and soap operas, had small speaking roles in some big movies, and did some spots in off-Broadway plays. He did that for 10 years, made some money, and had a great time.
The Internet has opened up a world of possibilities for “retirees.” I met a guy who trades vintage cigarette lighters online. I know another guy who makes his living selling old cameras on eBay. Both of these men had wanted to do these “jobs” after they retired. But when they recognized the potential of the Internet, they “retired” early and started making money while having fun.
There are plenty of other examples. You can become an Internet copywriter, an Internet editor, an Internet travel agent, or an Internet teacher. You can make money giving marriage or dating advice on the Internet, or even selling underwear. You can use the Internet to make a living based on your interest in wild roses, say, or your up-until-now useless knowledge about 19th-century swords.
Someone out there decided she wanted to make money by selling a device she invented for practicing fast-pitch softball. Have you seen that commercial on TV? It’s all over the place, no doubt making millions. This can’t be a full-time job for her. It’s a retirement dream … and she’s living it.
You, too, can live your retirement dream.
One of my clients works for a successful Internet publishing company, one that teaches people how to start businesses successfully. She loves the job. But she works 65 hours a week and wants more time to enjoy herself and be with her family.
Two weeks ago, she dropped by my office. When she walked in the door, I knew she wanted to tell me something important. I could see the excitement on her face. She told me that, based on everything I had taught her over the years, she had decided to quit her job and start her own Internet marketing business. Her plan was to cater to women who have the same goals and challenges she has.
I knew right away that she would be successful. I offered to invest in her company, but she refused. “I want to do this the way you’ve been teaching,” she said. “I want to begin with a $10,000 investment and build from there.”
She knows that she is going to have to work hard for a year or so. But she also knows that this business will give her an opportunity to be enjoying a retirement lifestyle before she reaches the age of 50.
The potential of the Internet is so great it cannot be exaggerated. Each year, tens of millions of new people come online. They’re eager to learn new things, buy new products, and develop relationships with people who have similar dreams.
And all of these people are potential customers for you.
So think back to your childhood and rediscover the buried dream you once had. Then put a date on your calendar: today’s date next year.
If you start now and take advantage of the practical, hands-on advice we’ve been giving you in ETR through the years, there is no reason why you can’t be the proud owner of a profitable Internet business by then.[Ed. Note: To fast-track your “retirement” dream, come to Early to Rise’s Info-Marketing Bootcamp this November.]
|MaryEllen Just Met the Man of Your Dreams – He’s got dark hair, piercing eyes, and he brings in sales of $5 million in sales per month. He’s gone “beyond Google” with a homegrown strategy for powerhouse marketing that 99.9% of Internet marketers out there have never even seen before. Read more…|
More from Masterson…
France and Germany Have Been Saved! Hallelujah!
A recession is defined as two straight quarters of negative economic growth.
By that measure France and Germany are out of recession! Each had GDP growth of 0.3 percent in the second quarter. Good news, right?
Some say government action deserves the credit. The “cash for clunkers” in both countries have been successful in stimulating demand for autos. But just as in the U.S., the government is simply shifting future demand to the present. In the process of course, legions of potential car buyers have been taken out of the market for years to come. Germany won’t extend its program to 2010, so new car sales will fall. France is expected to extend their program for fear its end could curtail growth.
What growth? It’s a government version of payday loans. As the ads for these services exclaim “Why wait for payday? Get cash today!” we all know how these programs work out long-term for the borrower. Guess who the borrower is in government stimulus programs? Go to the head of the class if you answered “the taxpayer.”
As Investor’s Daily Edge Investment Director Bob Irish notes, government programs don’t create wealth. They simply redistribute it, says Bob.
Bailouts and stimulus programs simply transfer wealth from the public sector to the private. The debt and inflated currency is passed on to future generations. All this in return for “prosperity” today. The trade off, says Bob, is dishonest at best and immoral at worst.
|Fire Your Cell Phone Company – A recent study has found that Americans pay, on average, $500 more per year on cell phone service than most Europeans. We pay more – and deal with old technology and shoddy service. But with Ka-Ching editor Matthew Adams’ help you could save as much as $1,500 a year by switching providers – no signing up for a new plan, no contracts, and no extra fees. Read more…|
Why “Well Done” Could Kill You
If you like your steak well done or charred on the outside, you may be risking cancer.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that grilling meats at high temperatures forms compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These byproducts are highly carcinogenic and have been associated with colon, breast and pancreatic cancer.
ETR contributor, Kelley Herring, has covered this in detail in her health transformation program, Your Plate, Your Fate. She tells me that the amount of these cancer-causing compounds can triple when you cook something well done. Eating beef rare or medium rare is much healthier. That makes sense to me. I like it that way.
And here’s another bit of advice that is music to my ears. She also says the study showed that using red wine as a marinade can reduce the formation of HCAs by 88 percent!
So enjoy your wine-marinated, grass-fed steak rare… and have it with a glass of Bordeaux. Red wine is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants.[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]