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In a recent episode of the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert did the segment "The Word" and showed a headline that read that many middle income people say they plan to work until they die. After a bit of research, I found that he was referring to a study by Wells Fargo, entitled: "Middle Class Retirement Study."
Highlights from the study include:
• 59% say their top day-to-day concern is paying the bills
• 42% say both saving and paying the bills is not possible
• 48% are not confident they will be able to save enough for a comfortable retirement
• 34% say they will have to work until they are at least 80 because they have not saved enough.
Thank you Wells Fargo for validating my life philosophy of Early Working Retirement! When I declared my Early Working Retirement it was for the same reasons mentioned above. It became clear that I was having a hard time just paying the bills and that saving was not happening. I realized at an early age that it was time to give in to the fact that I won't be getting a house in Boca when I turn 65.
Its not that I'm not still giving 100% at my work, but that I am enjoying just getting by. So I invite my friends and my fellow middle-classers to join me in declaring an Early Working Retirement so you can enjoy your life as much as I am enjoying mine!
In the business world, we speak in positive terminology. We motivate, we encourage each other to be great and we work together towards a common goal. We use terms like commitment, vision, inspiration, passion and synergy. And even though I am enjoying every minute of my Early Working Retirement, I can't help but explore how these business concepts can apply to my retirement activities.
I am a teacher, but I don't consider teaching to be work because I love what I do. I not only teach computers to pay the bills, but I look for teachable moments in every aspect of my life. I teach footbag to others and as a father, I'm always working with my son so he can improve his skills and bring his expertise forward through life. I am also a student. I learn new things everyday, I seek knowledge like it is a game and I continue doing the things I am passionate about.
Being great at something takes commitment. Not just lip service, but real actionable steps towards constant improvement. With my footbag career, playing everyday won't make a dent in the way the world works, but it shows my commitment to the sport and I hope it inspires others to keep practicing what they are passionate about. Being the best involves an in-depth understanding of the topic, but also a big picture vision for what the future could hold. While I see that the popularity of footbag has ebbed and flowed over time, I see a future where footbag is embraced by schools as a great, inexpensive and fun way to keep kids moving and where it is part of their sports rotation in gym class. Footbag is a no brainer for schools because what other fun and social activity also doubles as exercise? I hope that someday, my passion for footbag will create a synergy that results in a steady income. But if I were in it for the money, I would have been gone a long time ago.
Watch my movie, "Resolutions" and see how exercising with a footbag every day for 2500 days in a row has kept me healthy and young. By being healthy, I can focus on important things like my Early Working Retirement!
Ever since I declared my Early Working Retirement, my goal has been to live in an effortless state of flow. I love what I do for a living, and when I'm at work teaching, I'm in the zone right there in the moment with my client. So getting paid for what I love to do is allowed me to flow through my days effortlessly. My biggest concern is getting to work on time.
In the spirit of having a busy retirement, I have been very productive lately. I've been doing things that I love to do. I've been traveling with my family, I've been continuing to play the sport Footbag every since I turned 40, exactly 2492 days ago today. And when I say I play Hacky-Sack every day, I'm not talking about your fathers Hacky-Sack, advanced footbag freestyle is equivalent to high impact aerobics. Over the past three years or so, I have published over 200 YouTube videos featuring my progress in the sport of footbag over time. Here is my most recent example:
I have acquired new cameras along the way and I love to take pictures and to videotape myself playing footbag. I started into a photography project where I'm getting action still shots of myself from the GoPro Hero3. Here are some random samples from my 5-star group:
In my effortless state of flow, it allows me to be completely in the moment I'm in and not be distracted by what might be coming. Calendars be damned! Stay in the flow of the moment!
Keep up with me here and contact me through this site so I can keep up with you!
The busiest retired person you'll ever meet!
If you dread going to work everyday or if you still haven't found the job you love, then you should stop reading now. This article is about the benefits of declaring an Early Working Retirement. It is about enjoying the time that we have, rather than planning for a future that may or may not be.
I am a teacher. I get to go to work everyday and teach people how to get more out of the investment they made in a new computer. For me, it is a dream job. If they will let me, I'll do this for the rest of my life. That is how I knew this would be a successful Early Working Retirement. I know that I'm never going to be able to stop working and still pay the bills. I have spent the past 28 years working toward my retirement, but I have failed. My inner pragmatist is telling me that in 20 years when I'm 67, that I still won't have that pile of money to 'retire' on. So by declaring an Early Working Retirement, I am facing the reality that I'll be working in some way, to generate income so that I can pay the bills and get by. I plan to work for the rest of my life!
Join me in declaring your Early Working Retirement! Life is great, right here, right now! Retirement is really a mental state. During retirement, we are supposed to really enjoy our life... so why not start now! I haven't stopped achieving my goals, but I've found a way to really enjoy the process. I hope that I'll be around 20 years from now, but for the time being, my goals are to enjoy the company of my mom and dad, my brother, my wife, my son and my friends. At this point, I'd be surprised if twenty years from now I'll have a pile of money. And I'm okay with that!
Join me in declaring your "Early Working Retirement!" Why wait until we're 65 years old to retire? It is not like I'm going to have a pile of money that enable me to stop working and start living! I am living now, and who knows if I'll even make it to 65 years old. Being realistic, I have spent the past 25 years trying to save money for retirement, and I'm still living hand to mouth with no savings to speak of. Based on these results, I have come to the realization that I'm going to be working some kind of a job until the day I die, so I stopped deluding myself into thinking that I'll be able to enjoy my retirement in the way that I was led to believe. I decided to start enjoying my retirement now!
To some people, this may seem like I am giving up, but I am not. I am giving in. Giving in to the reality that I will not be earning enough to save money any time soon. I'm giving in to the reality that I was fed a line about a grand vision of retirement, but that current times prevent that vision from happening. Most people truly believed that we would grow up, have great jobs, save lots of money, and retire at 65 with a yacht and a condo in Florida. I'm giving in to the reality that I will be working some kind of a job to make ends meet until the day I die. And I'm really starting to enjoy every moment of every day in a whole new light.
I hope that discussions on this blog will inspire others my age to declare their retirement and really start living for today. Not all of us are so lucky to have awakened this morning. Live like today is your last!
I started my Early Working Retirement last July at the age of 44. Not as a rich man with the security of a large pile of money stashed away, but as a pragmatist who sees he is not destined to have a utopian retirement. The American Dream as it was described to me in my childhood in the 1970's, was to follow up public school with 4 years of college, get married and reside in a nice house in the suburbs and raise a family and get a dog. The American Dream Retirement involves having enough money saved to live on from age 65 through death. While raising my family, my child is supposed to be fed the same American Dream, and seeing his fathers success, he is supposed to buy into the dream and follow in that path. But what happens when reality doesn't measure up to the dream?
In my case...
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