Posts Tagged With: retirement

retirement – yeah right


I have for the better part of my working life tried to understand the concept of retirement.  I have heard it being preached to me at primary school,  high school, university, the church and mostly in the media on a day to day basis.

My understanding thus far (keeping in mind that I am not a financial genius) is that you are required to work for and extended period of time,  what you do is irrelevant.  In that period of time you have to save a lot of ka-ching so that when you are old you can do all the things you have always wanted to do and obviously not do meaningless work to keep the cash boat afloat.

We have been taught to work dead end jobs so we may retire one day.  We have learned a lingo that helps us communicate what we do and the importance of who we are in the “job” market.  We have conditioned ourselves to think that some one is worth doing business with/associating with depending on the car they drive or the clothes they wear.  We have associated wealth with success…We have become the Jones’s.

What is the alternative to retirement and retirement planning?  In short,  probably doing what you really desire while you are able to.  I say all of this as if it comes easy to me,  as if I have arrived at the magic place in time where all makes sense and I live with fairies and gnomes.  That would be very far from the truth,  but I am living a slightly different lifestyle for better or for worse (we will find out when I retire;)  This life style might be to my detriment,  but there are millions of people that live unchosen lives for decades only to realise that they can not retire anyway.  My body will not wait for my financial retirement to do the things I want it to do.  While I can,  I want to experience what my life could be and make mistakes of what my life is not supposed to be.

The only way to know if something is worthwhile is to experiment.  We have experimented with “work” and yes we have succeeded in achieving what seems a sustainable plan for living and living with a few luxuries.  We have seen that 12 hour days gives us money,  but because we spend the majority of our time working we also feel the need to reward ourselves with purchases because this is all we have time for.  The more money we make the more stuff we purchase.  We only have time for immediate gratification that can be bought.

Why not experiment with your own life.  Failure is most probably the best way to move forward.  It sounds like a cliche but true non the less.  I would rather “invest” my time and money for myself.  I value my time and my money infinitely more than my financial broker.  Money is a dying commodity,  information is power and if you do not have time,  getting information becomes more and more tricky.  I am not referring to information that gives you power to accumulate wealth,  I am referring to information that opens an alternative world of living.  How this living works is still an experiment,  but I will keep you posted.

Working for retirement will cause you to be very good at your job,  you will be an absolute expert after 40 years no doubt.  But at what cost are you going to be an expert.  How much is the TV,  car and house really costing you?  I am writing this blog while being an aspiring writer,surfer, furniture maker,  beer brewer and entrepreneur.  I am in the same financial dilemma than most other people if not worse.  I have probably just made better peace with the fact that life will happen and that at the end of my life I will not miss reality shows,  soaps and the endless sport on television.

Below are the things YOU AND I WILL most probably regret when faced with death.  The regrets below is not my imagination,  but interviews with thousands of people that where terminally ill and on their death beds…

1:  You worked too hard

2:  I wish I’d have had the courage to live a life TRUE TO MYSELF, instead of living the life that others expected of me.

3:  I wish I would have had the courage to express my feelings honestly instead of thinking they didn’t matter or they weren’t popular.

4:   I wish I would’ve stayed in touch with my friends.

5:   I wish that I would’ve allowed myself to be happier, smiling more and complaining less.

6:  I wish I would’ve gotten to know God better. I’m realizing now, just HOW MUCH He’s always been there.

7:  (Women) I wish I had just let the dust sit a little longer, and gone out to play with my children when they pleaded.  (Men) I wish I had just let the phone ring, and chosen to stay home with my family more, or gone to that ballgame or that play.

8:  I wish I would’ve known NOT to sweat the small stuff.  It wasn’t all that important in the end when you are looking at the ‘big picture’.  I wouldn’t have even had to be on so much medicine.

9:  I wish I would’ve had the attitude of celebrating life instead of enduring it.

10:  I wish I would’ve taken a class or two to learn some of the things I gave up when I got married and had a family.

Categories: Fighting for Zen | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The secret of the “The Secret”

I have always been a fan of books that either directly inspired me to be more,  or fictional books that had the same effect.  I love to be inspired,  it drives me and motivates me to do things I would usually not be keen to do(sales cold calling is an example:) or do things completely new (brewing beer and making furniture).  It might sound a bit plastic and corny,  but without motivation I am nothing.  It sounds harsh and I can already hear people say that it would be virtually impossible to exist if you had to wait to be inspired before you act on anything.  In the real world you would hardly get anything done,  but I try not to live in the world that often:)

Back to my secret.  Me and my business partner had a chat some time ago about the fact that we have lost a bit of motivation for our current business and we could not figure out why we somehow lost motivation to aggressively pursue this venture.  It is a good business with great possibilities both from a financial and green perspective.

It is then that I realised that I reached every goal I have set out to achieve,  literally.  Everything that I put down a paper as a goal was achieved except one ,  but we will get back to this.  The fact that I did not realise this,  was I think now the reason for my lack of motivation.

I have always (sometimes more than others) written down what I want out of life.  Initially when I was working as a programmer 11 years ago my dream was to go for an early morning run and not have to go to an office and work for a boss doing something that I did not really enjoy end to be honest something I was horrible at.  Not long after,  I quit my job and was working for myself.  This is my first instance where I saw “My Secret” in action,  but as with all things I did not realise it.

I purchased 2 properties in the same manner.  And it is worth a mention that I did not really earn a solid income when doing this.  Both properties were not in the market at the point when I first saw them.  But the more I saw them the more it became a reality in my mind that I wanted those properties.  Not long after my mental process started they went on the market and I bought them.  For the sake of mere mortals like myself it is important that you understand that I do not at the moment own any property and that I am very far from being financially ‘rich’.  As a matter of fact,  it would be very difficult for me to even attempt to purchase a property with finance from a banking institution (maybe this is a good thing).

Shortly after getting married to the only person that could possibly endure my type of living in 2007 I was again stuck in a job that I did not like.  The one constant thing was that I still wrote down my so-called “dreams” every morning while having coffee.  I still have some of these little “dream books”.  In 2007 I wanted to move to the coast.  I wanted to be involved in a youth organisation.  I wanted to surf.  I wanted to have time to do different things and experience a slower life.  In 2008 the first step in this dream was realised,  I got retrenched:)

Present Day:  I live in a small town at the coast.  I am involved in a Gap Year program in Hermanus (  I have started surfing.  I am brewing my own beer (why not I say),  I have also started making furniture which I enjoy tremendously! I have started SCUBA diving and I have time to experience new things….and this includes spending time with awe-some people including my soul mate.

My First project with Louis Day

My First project with Louis Day

The point of this whole story is that I absolutely believe that you can have in this life what ever you want.  But there is a catch.  What I have not mentioned this far is that I have always had money on my list,  and as of yet I have never really had a fortune or anything close to it.

A “secret” sweet spot is what I call it.  There are a multitude of things that we think of when we imagine a better life,  or a life that we want.  Some of these things resonate more than others.  Money,  I think will never be the goal,  but money might very well be a result of a better life imagined.  I do want certain things that will obviously cost money,  one of these are a house that I own and can call home permanently (will let you know how this goes).  I have no way to buy this at the moment,  but a house that me and my wife can call home is something that resonates deeply in me and because of that I have all the confidence in the world that this is attainable.  I can obviously dream up a $5m mansion,  but it is not something that stirs me or gets me going or for that matter excites me.

After realising that I can attain the life I want,  I started thinking deeply about what I want after watching “What would you do if money was no object”.  I realised an old dream I had many years ago and this has not changed at all.  It was a mission statement of sorts that suddenly has new meaning again.  I want to inspire and motivate people to live an extraordinary life by living an extraordinary life myself.  What this practically means I do not know,  but I will keep you updated.

The life saving season has officially started today,  so for now I have to hit the beach and look like The Hoff!

Clothing Ceremony for the Life Guards for the season

Clothing Ceremony for the Life Guards for the season

Categories: Fighting for Zen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rat Race Retirement

We all dream about the day  we can happily retire in a coastal village.  Greeting everyone as you pass them by,  because they are not just people but “your people” now,  and you know all of their stories because this is small town living.  Your days consists of   waking up without an alarm clock,  going for an early run or walk on the beach (conditions depending,  even a surf).  Going for a coffee at your local coffee shop,  greeting all the locals and chatting away about all that happened in the last 24 hours.  You sit back,  sip your coffee and switch on your laptop….as always looking at the weather / surf reports first to organise your day.

Being “retired” you will also suddenly have time to spend on starting,  or managing a small business (something you have always dreamt of doing).  Most probably a business that will make the world a better place because you are not chasing the illusive golden goose anymore.

I read a book a couple of years ago by Tim Ferris entitled the 4 hour work week.  This book set in motion what is now large aspects of my life.  I have always believed that living and enjoying life was possible,  and not only when we reach the age of 60 (probably more like 75 these days).

Reading motivational books (other people’s success stories) is usually something that inspires immediately,  wears of in 30 minutes and pretty soon you are back to thinking that some are just so damn lucky to live the way they do.  My “lucky break” came when I was retrenched:)  Nothing says ‘howzit’ (South African slang for an emphasized hello) better than a 100% pay cut.

Was the retrenchment my big shift…who knows.  What I do know 4 years later is that

1:  Life is shorter than we think.

2:  To much worry will kill you.

3:  Have faith in the “universe”,  others and yourself.

4:  Interact with nature.

5:  If your gut tells you to be good to others,  act on it! (Smiling counts)

I have to this day not made millions (I am not saying I won’t:)  But I wake up almost every morning without an alarm clock.  I go for a run / or a surf most mornings.  I go to my favorite coffee shop most days and greet locals I have not seen for 24 hours.  I sit back,  take my first sip of coffee and turn on my laptop.  I open my mail client,  but before I scan my inbox and sneak a peek at the weather charts,  I close my eyes and with the smell of coffee and the promise of a great day I quote Jerry,  “I love my wife and I love my life”.

I wish you my kind of happiness (most days).

One of my “office” locations

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