A traditional thirty year retirement will be out of reach for most people. How to live like you are already retired.
In this podcast, you’ll learn:
- What is the average retirement length for a traditional retirement.
- Most individuals don’t plan on a traditional retirement. What options are they considering.
- What exactly is retirement?
- The mental or philisophical aspect of living lke you’re already retired.
- The mechanical or financial aspect of living lke you’re already retired.
- How Mr. Money Moustache can invest 90%+ in stocks without worrying about market crashes.
- How to live the Good Life as described by Aristotle.
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Live Like You’re Already Retired
What does it mean to be retired? Traditionally, it means the period of your life when you have accumulated sufficient assets to quit working for money.
In the U.S., the traditional retirement age is 65, and the average retirement length is twenty years based on life expectancy.
Of course, that is just the average. One-fourth of 65 year-olds can expect to live past age 90 and ten percent past age 95, according to the Social Security Administration.
That means traditional retirement could last thirty years or more.
Most people do not and will not have sufficient savings to last thirty years. Not only that, but it is difficult to even comprehend what it would be like to live thirty years in retirement.
It is doubly difficult for those in their 30s and 40s who make spending and savings decisions today that will impact a potential thirty-year retirement that won’t even begin for 20 to 30 years or more.
Instead of trying to imagine a distant and unknowable future, what if you lived today as if you were already retired.
Isn’t retirement just the freedom to pursue the activities you find most rewarding, that bring you happiness?
Wouldn’t you rather live in a manner today that could be sustained for decades into your seventies and eighties rather than put off your dreams until you’re “retired”?
The key to living like you’re retired is to “seek the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption,” a phrase authored by E.F. Schumacher in Small Is Beautiful.
How To Maximize Well-Being
We maximize well-being by pursuing work and leisure activities that are inherently good for their own sake and not completed primarily to achieve something else.
In other words, activities that bring us happiness and satisfaction, not just income.
Aristotle used the word eudaimonia to identify this state of well-being. He considered it the Supreme Good.
Eudaimonia is often translated as happiness, but other meanings include prosperity, success, fortune, ease and enjoyment.
But it is not financial success or wealth.
Aristotle writes in Politics:
“Some people suppose that it is the function of household management to increase property, and they are continually under the idea that it is their duty to be either safeguarding their substance in money or increasing it to an unlimited amount. The cause of this state of mind is that their interests are set upon life but not upon the good life;
And even those who fix their aim on the good life seek the good life as measured by bodily enjoyments, so that inasmuch as this also seems to be found in the possession of property, all their energies are occupied in the business of getting wealth.”
Despite what the commercial world would have us believe, the good life does not consist of wealth.
The Good Life
There is a phrase in sports called the sweet spot. It is the location on a racket, bat or club that maximizes the distance, power and accuracy of the ball when it makes contact.
That is the technical definition. But to truly understand what hitting the sweet spot means you have to experience it. It is perfect bliss.
If Aristotle had played baseball, he might have said, “Living the good life is like hitting the sweet spot.”
Instead, his term for sweet spot was virtue.
Virtue for Aristotle meant to take actions and have feelings that were not excessive or deficient but hit the mean-the right amount at the right time in the right manner for the right reason.
The mean that Aristotle speaks of is often called the Golden Mean.
Living like you’re retired is living the good life, a life filled with activities that are inherently good for their own sake, activities pursued in accordance with Aristotle’s definition of virtue-the right amount at the right time in the right manner for the right reason-and activities that maximize well-being while minimizing consumption.
The less we consume, the less income we need and the easier it is to live like we are retired today.