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Retirement is a Scam

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I’m just going to go right out and say it, I mean, it’s right there in the title anyway: Retirement is a scam. 

I feel like retirement is this elusive prize that is, for the general population, dangled in front of them at a great length.

Retirement is a reward. This is the time you’ll finally get to do all those things you wanted.

In New Zealand, the retirement age is thought to be around 65, when you’re eligible for pensions. I’m 26 years old and if I wasn’t actively working towards an earlier retirement, I could expect another 39 years of hard work before I’ll get to do all those things that I really want to do.

But what will life be like when I’m 65? I don’t want to be morbid, but who’s to say I’ll make it that long? Odds are stacked in my favour, but should I really spend the next 39 years of my life working towards the golden years that I might not even reach? Even if I do make it to 65, what will my quality of life be like? I probably wont have the energy or motivation to enjoy things I can do as a young, fit 26 year old without many responsibilities. I’m trading the best years of my life, to get some freedom when I’m too old to enjoy it properly. Even in the West, Obama care is shaping up nicely, giving the retirement community a “health-oriented crutch” to lean on

That sounds like a pretty bad deal to me. 

I want to enjoy life now, consistently, and I want to do all those things I want to do… now.

That’s part of the reason we’re leaving. I want to spend the next few years of my life exploring new places and revisiting the old favourites, I want to watch my partner surf, I want to try new things, properly learn Spanish, see Machu Picchu, the pyramids, spend more time volunteering in Cambodia.

A few years ago, one of my friends told me that I needed to stop traveling, that life wasn’t a playground.

Well, why not? Now I make a pretty good living, I can work anywhere in the world, I’m expanding my business and have a few interesting projects in the pipelines.

I’m not anywhere near retirement, but I’m getting things started. I’ve already mentioned on this blog how much the book, The Four Hour Work Week, has shaped my thought patterns. I’m currently trying to outsource my position, i.e. have a few different employees that do all the work for me. Of course, I’ll keep writing on this blog, but there are lots of things I could be getting someone else to do to make my life more efficient and to free up my time.

Yes, I’d probably save money if I did it myself, but what about my time? My time is my most valuable asset.

If you were given the option between a million dollars and dying in a month, or living a hundred more years without the money, what would you take? It’s probably obvious! So why do we trade large volumes of our time for small amounts of money? 

I think retirement is a scam. I think it’s a Western concept that’s been created to ensure you spend the best years of your life making a company more profitable. I can’t retire early, but I’m going to find a balance between living my dream life, earning a great salary and of course, outsourcing my work as much as possible.

What do you think of retirement in the traditional sense of retiring when you’re in your mid sixties? Do you have a retirement plan in place?