Book Review – What Retiree’s Want

This book review is a great one. “Start with the end in mind” is a great piece of advice so what better way to build a great life than by studying the people at the end of their lives!

“Our research confirms that people are happier, more content, having more fun, and feeling a greater overall sense of well-being after the age of 65 than at any stage of their lives. Many retirees enter what we’ve named the “freedom zone.” Nearly all retirees (92%) say they enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a less structured life in retirement. They tell us that they have freedom from old constraints, starting with most of the daily pressures of juggling work and family responsibilities. And they have more freedom to do what they want and on their own terms — sleep in or get up and exercise, take a drive or read a book, volunteer or learn a skill, hang out with the grandchildren or fall in love. More freedom translates into more opportunities to have fun.

Keyword – FREEDOM. Retirees have the freedom to do what they want.

As I continue to learn, freedom is an incredibly important value modern humans have. We’ve come so far as a species. If previous generations needed food, they didn’t have the freedom to order from DoorDash. They had to go hunt and gather. Then the next generation had to go farm. But today we push a few buttons on our smartphones then bam – food at our doorstep. What a time!

Freedom is one of my core values. This is why I’m heavily focused on growing my rental real estate portfolio to serve as my primary vehicle in achieving early retirement (financial freedom).

I can invest far less into real estate versus stocks to earn this freedom. Stocks still have an important place in my portfolio since compounding is the 8th wonder of the world – so long as you start investing in stocks early.

Many people are late to the investing game in life which means the magic of compounding isn’t on their side. Plus, these same people mainly focus on 401K contributions over real estate which means they’re going to need to save a lot more money in those stock funds for their financial freedom.

“We become more of ourselves as we get older. We just let stuff that seems frivolous and not really authentic to who we are fall away. I think that’s true of friendships, and true of activities that we may have taken part in but that no longer really interest us or meet our needs.”

In general as we age we start to give less fucks. Through ongoing lived experiences we start to better understand what we care about and opt to do more of those things while spending less time dealing with Karens or stressful responsibilities.

A note of caution is warranted here. Not all older people are healthy, happy, or having fun. Many are miserable, some of whom have been miserable their whole lives. Yet, in study after study, the majority — not all, but most — of retirees are turning out to be living their best years. Not only are they enjoying themselves, but they’ve circled the sun enough times to be appreciative of what they have and less driven by unrealistic expectations or FOMO (fear of missing out).

This gleams light to the inherent complexities of modern life. We’re emotional creatures. When we overlap important life topics like health, relationships, family, and career with emotions, we start to notice people are quite different from one another and value different categories of life more-so than what I, for example, would value.

If you have to work any job in your golden years just to make ends meet, that would be big time stressful. There’s no time or energy left to invest in your health or close relationships.

I believe in order to avoid being unhappy in old age, one must dial in their health, finances, and relationships early on in life. Then continue to invest your resources in these buckets. This allows compounding to work in your advantage for years and years.

Based on this research, choosing to work in retirement when you don’t need the money, jives with what I believe encompasses a useful, meaningful, fulfilled life.

Working in retirement is becoming the new normal. Today’s retirees are working in record numbers. Seven in ten Baby Boomers workers expect to work past age 65, are already doing so, or do not plan to retire. If “retirement” used to mean the end of work, now we’re at a tipping point: a majority of people will be continuing to work for a while after they retire, and it will become increasingly unusual for retirees not to work. However, retirees want to work differently — part time, in less stressful and more engaging roles, often in new occupations, often for themselves, and for a few years or as long as they like.

Work has many non-monetary benefits like: social, activity, mental challenge, purpose, etc. This statement holds true to the retirees who don’t have to work but choose to work. I believe work is a critical aspect to every human’s life. Some people love to work all the time. Others, less so. But the point is both types of people still work.

A hyper competitive person can work 18 hour days and like it. I’ve worked 12 hour days early in my career as I built my book of business at the agency. I did enjoy this work because I was growing so much professionally and financially. However, in the back of my mind I knew this was unsustainable, which is OK and great to realize.

If I am the type of person who is content working a few hours a day or 8 hours I need to accept the fact other people who put in more hours are going to be wealthier than me – and I’m OK with that.

I don’t want to be the richest person in the graveyard. In 3 generations I will be completely forgotten so it won’t matter if I had 1M, 10M, or 100M – nobody is going to care. How refreshing!

I do know I want more time and location freedom – which is exactly what retirees enjoy most. Thus by reverse engineering these goals, I know I need to have multiple streams of income (rentals/stocks/career/websites/etc), net positive cash flow (success rental business), and low expenses (frugality).

Let me know what you think in the comment section!

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