How many people work a typical 40 hour-a-week job for decades of their life, then “retire” to enjoy life? And how many of those same people actually get a chance to enjoy those years? What is stopping you from retiring NOW, and start enjoying life NOW?
This reminds me of the story about the Mexican fisherman…..
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Sadly, this story seems to be a good explanation of “the American dream”, and just like the late comedian George Carlin said: “They call it a ‘dream’, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
Another example is the story about the American native…
Indian Chief “Two Eagles” was asked by a white U.S. Government
official, “You have observed the white man for 90 years . You’ve seen
his wars and his technological advances. You’ve seen his progress, and the
damage he’s done.”
The Chief nodded in agreement.
The official continued, “Considering all these events, in your
opinion, where did the white man go wrong?”
The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then
“When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt,
plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work, Medicine man
free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; All night having sex.’
Then the chief leaned back and smiled “Only white man dumb enough to
think he could improve system like that.”
So is it really possible to STOP exchanging your valuable time (on this planet) for so many things that we seem to think are necessities, yet are not? What exactly is the difference between a necessity and a luxury? Our world (here in America) seems to tell us that we NEED to have all the best things in life, but these are “wants”, and not “necessities”. Why doesn’t the Bill of Rights say that every citizen is entitled to food, water, protection from the elements, love/companionship, and good health? These are the things that truly make for a happy human, no matter what the advertisers might try to convince you otherwise.
Is it possible to live in a country that is centered around capitalism without utilizing any money? Of course it is! Mark Boyle lived without money for 2 years and wrote a book about different ways to live cheap & free. Heidemarie Schwermer lived without money for 16 years, and she said she was never happier. So it is possible, it’s just a matter of changing our own mindset and adjusting the “needs” and “wants” that we allow to control our lives. If we stop thinking we NEED so many extras in life, the way we view the world changes completely.
Is a “minimalist” type of lifestyle reasonable for anyone in the 60-and-above age range? Of course it is! In fact, this lifestyle is reasonable for any age range! By limiting the amount of “stuff” that you allow to clutter up your life, you open up the possibilities to other opportunities. One line from the movie “Fight Club” rings true…. “The things you own end up owning you“.
The amount of income you need to earn is directly proportional to the amount of debt you have. Conversely, if you have a low amount of debt, you don’t NEED to work a full-time job just to cover those debts. And if you’re not working 40 hours per week, you have ample time available to enjoy life. But this simple idea seems completely foreign to soooo many people. If you lose your job, you just HAVE to rush right out and immediately get another job. Right? Or do you….??
If you limit the amount of “stuff” that fills your life, and you limit the amount of personal debit that you carry, you open yourself up to a greater number of possibilities in the world. Possibilities that are not available if you are wrapped up with work, work, work.
Too often “financial advisers” try to convince of us that we need to amass a huge pile of cash in order to carry us through our retired years. Don’t forget that these same advisers get paid whether or not your portfolio increases in value. They honestly don’t have a stake in YOUR financial future. Also don’t forget that there are a variety of variables that can (and will) affect how much money you have in the future, even if you have a retirement account, make smart financial decisions, and have a little bit of luck on your side. It’s a game, plain and simple, and why would any sensible person choose to participate in a ‘game’ when real life is available for the taking to anyone who wants it?