The relationship between how we save our money and how we spend our money is important, especially right after college. Most of us have a great deal of debt which seems like an unsurmountable obstacle in our lives. I’ll explain what I think we should be spending our money on after college, and how retirement is an old school way of thought.
Effective Life Experiences. This is what we should be spending our money on. What are Effective Life Experiences? Here is my definition: Anything that creates a story to tell.
Look at those things in your life that give you meaning and purpose. When do you feel yourself come alive? I’ll use myself as a guinea pig to illustrate the use of effective life experiences:
I played a golf tournament this weekend which cost $125. While I didn’t play well and didn’t win money back, it was an effective life experience for me to go compete. Over the next month I am taking trips to Mexico and Colorado! While this is going to cost some money, I view it as life experience that I can’t pass up. These things, traveling and competing, bring life to me! These are things that are well worth my time and energy. If they cost some money, so be it.
Decide for yourself what those things are in your life that you think are effective ways to spend your time and money. Obviously what brings energy to me isn’t going to be the same for you. Look at what my friend Clint did for an Effective Life Experience.
So You’re Retiring?
Wikipedia’s definition of retirement goes like this: Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely.
This is true, and a I have a few things I want to add. I would define retirement as the following: When we start doing things (Effective Life Experiences) that we have always wanted to do. In other words, retire today! Or, just take a mini-retirement like I did in March.
For many, retirement means time to travel, time to play more golf, time to play cards and have drinks with friends. All Effective Life Experiences. My question is, why wait until you’re 65 years old to start doing these? I hear people around my parent’s age talk about retirement. They say ” Only 6 more years of this lousy job and I’ll be set.” Set for what?? 6 years in a lousy job is a long time! I would suggest finding something you love doing that produces income, and work another 16, or 26 years!
When you enjoy you’re work and don’t see any reason for retiring, the idea of saving for retirement becomes less of an obstacle as well. Don’t get me wrong, I think having a 401K or IRA is a great idea because the money will multiply so greatly by the time you are able to draw on it without penalty. Just make sure to spend money on Effective Life Experiences throughout your life as well.
What I Learned from Grandpa Chuck about Retirement
I lost my grandfather to cancer 3 years ago. He was 72 years old. For his work, he was a Carpenter. A full time handy man. Even after my Grandpa was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemo, he never stopped working. He kept taking on new projects or building bird nests, picket fences, and painting. This is what gave him energy. Although he wasn’t taking on huge projects like he would have when he was 30 or 40 years old, he was still creating income and helping others around his hometown up until the day he passed away.
This is how I want to be. Doing things that give me meaning and purpose while still creating income, well after most have retired.
Don’t wait until retirement to start having some Effective Life Experiences. Do them now, while you’re young! Life is really too short to not go and experience everything that the world has to offer. Create some stories to one day tell kids, or grandkids.