Cash Flow over Retirement
Many people start their life with a blue print from their parents. This blue print looks the same for most people. Go to school, get good grades, go to college, and then get a good paying job. While that’s certainly a path you could take, and most do, it has one major flaw in my opinion. That plan only get’s you to your early to mid twenties, and then you’re left working for an employer until retirement.
Now I know our parents didn’t intentionally give us bad advice. It’s just what they knew at that time. Now days there are no pension plans to supplement your retirement. The average lifespan is constantly increasing, which extends your retirement years. Unfortunately, retirement isn’t what it used to be.
That leads the next point. I want to take a minute and talk about the concept of retirement. Retirement has never quite made sense to me. In this context, I’m referring to retirement as working until you are 65+, while saving money in a retirement account such as a 401k, IRA, or even in a shoe box. Retirement is deciding you have enough money to live the rest of your life on. So is the goal to die before your money runs out? What if you outlast your money? Is that good or bad? Well you’re alive, but don’t have any money to live on.
Our actions around retirement are even a bit strange. Here’s a quote by R.C. Sherriff that says.
“When a man retires and time is no longer a matter of urgent importance, his colleagues generally present him with a watch.”
The whole idea has never made much sense to me, and I never realized it until I made it to the final chapter in my blueprint.
So I set out to redesign my blueprint. I don’t want to wait until I’m 65+ to retire. That’s not to say I don’t want to work. In fact, I like working. I just don’t want to be forced to work for someone else on terms other than my own. Rather than focusing on saving money for retirement, I have turned my efforts towards building multiple streams of passive income that will last well beyond my lifetime, through real estate investing.
Through this route, you could become financially free (or retire, in theory) as soon as you had enough cash flow to support your basic needs (this is your freedom number). Say for example you need $4,000/month to pay for your housing, transportation, food, clothing, utilities, etc. That is your freedom number. Now those are only your basic needs – not the extras, such as vacations, gifts, donations, entertainment, etc. By calculating your freedom number, you can determine how much passive income you’ll need to be financially free.
With real estate investments, you can achieve financial freedom much sooner that you could by saving a large nest egg to last the rest of your life. The earlier you want to retire, the larger your nest egg has to be to support your longer retirement. This lease less time to build that retirement nest egg.
So what does your blueprint look like? Become financially free through passive income? Or work for the rest of your life and defer income and life experiences until your later years? Or something else? I would be interested in hearing your ideas. I know those aren’t the only two routes in this life, and there are many blueprints out there.
I want you to live a life of fulfillment you deserve. Life is short. Make the most of it!