Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chasing the Sun

We live by objectives. Get good grades, excel in sports, get a good job, get the promotion, make more money … most of our lives are spend chasing something. Retirement is another one of these illusions we chase.

I used to be intrigued by these How much will I need to retire? calculators you find on most financial websites. I punched in the variables - made assumptions about kids, education, retirement expenses, medical expenses and life expectancy. And I was rewarded with pretty graphs and different forecasts.

As I was exploring these options – what started to surface was a realization that retirement is not an objective but a way of life. And that way of life does not have to wait for some imaginary milestone to be achieved. Instead of chasing a dream – start living your dream.

To delve a little deeper – I explored what I wanted to do when I retired. The answers like travel, do charitable work, do something I enjoy doing etc. started to surface. So why I am not indulging in these ventures now – albeit a little slowly or tentatively.

Living a retired lifestyle is not about not doing anything – it’s about doing things you want to do. So instead of chasing a fictitious number based on assumptions which I have no control over – I am more focused on adding retirement components to my life today.

Today I am not financially independent and cannot skip my day job to pursue my around-the-world trip – but that does not preclude me from planning a round-the-world trip spread over a few years to help manage my expenses and vacation time.

There are options to explore today instead of putting you current life on hold – waiting for the magic moment of retirement to arrive. Move beyond the retirement objective and live the life objective. I other words – stop chasing the sun – enjoy the sunshine!

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