Peter Diamandis on retirement… and some other stuff
A few months ago, I had an opportunity to hear Peter Diamandis speak at a conference. If you aren’t familiar with him, he has an absurdly long and impressive list of accomplishments, including being the CEO of the X Prize, a multi-million dollar award for teams who generate a real solution to a real problem faced by the world at large. He is, by training, an engineer and medical doctor, and also a serial entrepreneur. The focus of his presentation was on the exponential rate of technological change - positive change - that humankind has created in recent history and will continue to create in the future.
Okay, so now you’re asking “What does Peter Diamandis have to do with retirement and financial independence?” His presentation had a lot of great data and key points, but this one stuck out to me the most:
“Retirement is the number one predictor of death. Life is about constant change and applying learning.”
A study published in 2005 in the British Medical Journal, and one that he also references, found a significant increase in death for early retirees than those retire “on time”. We’re talking about an 89% increase in the chance of death in the first 10 years after retirement for workers who retire at 55 compared to those retiring at 65.
Diamandis’ point was that humans are designed to be active, productive, contributors. Not inactive and consumers only. When most Americans think of traditional retirement, we think of the golf carts and retirement communities - being inactive and consuming. We don’t think of second careers, starting a business, starting a non-profit, learning and applying lots of new skills.
Related post: How to save for retirement in a job-hopping world (I wrote this before my full conversion to thinking about financial independence. Just mentally replace "retirement" with financial independence as you read.)
Putting my nail in the coffin of “retirement”
I know I've fallen somewhat prey to the "early retirement" mantra. I’ve had my fair share of fantasies of white sandy beaches. Spending mornings SUPing and afternoons reading! Having enough free time to actually be bored at times!!
However, as I get further along my path to financial independence, I know that I don't want to sit around and live a life of leisure. As I approach the financial amount at which I can choose to work for pay (or not), I have more ideas as to how I want to spend my time. And most of that time is not spent on a sandy beach.
If - no, when - I achieve financial independence at age 35, am I going to be spending my time doing “traditional” retirement? Heck no. I fully intend to live to at least 100.
Retirement is out, folks. Financial independence is in.
Don’t retire. Don’t even pursue retirement. Pursue financial independence so that you can make a life of learning and change guided more by your passions, interests, and the needs of others rather than the need for a paycheck.
Let’s change this collective mindset for our and future generations!
First of all, I want us to stop saying “retirement”. Will you help me? Feel free to call me out from now on if I say “retirement” instead of “financial independence.”
We also need to know what we are working towards for financial independence. This is the “why” behind the money. What do you dream of doing? Why do you dream of doing those things? I’ve created a free printable resource for you to type out, write down, draw in your dreams and why you have those dreams. Just don’t let it languish in a folder on your hard drive - be sure to print and hang it where you will see it every day.
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