I was reading through the January/February 2011 edition of AARP Magazine* which featured an interview with George W. Bush. Regardless of how you feel about his Presidency, one comment he made that rang true: retirement is an “old-fashioned” term.
You never retire.
More people are beginning to recognize that retirement – the notion that one day, despite your good health, you withdraw from work – is an outdated idea. As long as you’re in good health, you are going to stay active and engaged. The question is: will your efforts center on working, or will your efforts center on some other pursuit, such as gardening, skiing, mountain biking, or heck, even running for Congress?
It’s as simple as this: You’re either working or you’re not. If you’re not, it’s because you’re either involuntarily unemployed — which stinks — or it’s because you’ve achieved financial freedom.
If you are working, it’s because you either HAVE to work — which stinks — or it’s because you WANT to work, despite the fact that you don’t need the money.
The Afford-Anything Goal is to reach Financial Freedom, that magical moment when you realize you don’t need to earn another penny and you’ll still have enough to carry you through the rest of your life. (This is the Afford Anything definition of “wealth,” and this blog believes everyone can achieve it.)
This is what “retirement” was supposed to be: the declaration that yes, from this moment on, I am financially free. I can support myself and my family for the rest of my life without working again; therefore, I will retire.
But “retirement” is not guaranteed to everyone. In fact, most people will never achieve it – and yet others will achieve it in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s.
Which group will you fall into?
* (Yes, I’m 27 years old and regularly read AARP magazine – and I recommend you do, too. Here’s the surprising reason why.