And What About Retirement?

We’ve all heard this kind of story before and many of us know someone something like this has happened to:

(Wo)man works all their lives, slaving away for a paycheck with the dream of one day being able to retire and finally live their dreams.  Six weeks after retirement they drop dead from a heart attack.

Everyone around them laments over the pity of it all.  These were supposed to be the golden years and they were cut short.  Some people will be greatly affected by the tragedy.  Some may even make changes in their lives.  Most will go back to work on Monday, and the Monday after that, in a job they hate, saving for retirement.

This scenario scares me, I know people it has happened to and its something I think about often.

I try to live me life for the moment instead of for the future.  One of the questions I ask myself is:

“If I die tomorrow, will I be happy with the  life I lived?”

And I think it is important to remind ourselves that there is only one thing that is certain in this life and its death.  I don’t remind myself this to be morbid, or worried, or scared, but to remember to live.

Each day is a gift that should not be squandered.

Now, I am not saying we should not plan for our future.   I am a planner by nature and retirement is a reality in my goal setting.  Now that we have kids, and we are mid-life, we do think more about financial security.  And while it is important, it is no where near the top of our list. We will not spend all of our lives with the vision that we will only be able to follow our dreams “some day”.

We choose to follow our dreams now and always.

We choose to live extraordinary lives.

Because you never know when your time will be up in this amazing experiment.

I feel very strongly that we need to live our best lives. Working the daily grind all your life, following the status quo of building up your empire of material possessions, and putting aside your nest egg so that one day you may have the freedom to follow your dreams…..Is this really living?

We never know when our health will fail us, or some accident will claim our lives, and our children are only children for a short time. For us, living the life we dream of now is our highest priority.

What’s your dream? And are you willing to make it your reality?

Every man dies, not every man really lives. — William Wallace

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  1. Rebeca says:

    Well said. It makes me so sad to think of saving and planning for “some day” at the cost of today. We want to explore the world, and share that experience with our kids.
    I also think it’s sad that adult children often have such broken relationships with their parents that they don’t want to take on any care for them. While I don’t want to be a burden on my grown children, I hope that any of them would be happy to help care for us in our old age, just as my siblings and I would do for our parents. I do think that sowing the seeds of togetherness and love now will reap good fruit in the future too!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Rebeca, that is one of the reasons I am so glad we chose to homeschool our boys, I want to have a very strong relationship with them, and for them to have a good relationship with each other as well. In so many cultures the children do look after their parents in old age and I think that is a beautiful thing.

  2. Amy @livinontheroad says:

    Well said, Amy. I want to live my life now — it’s way too short to wait for retirement till I start living.

  3. Justin says:

    What a great idea for a post Amy!

    Anyway, why retire? That’s my question. If you love what you do, just keep working. I knew an Irish lady in China who was working there at the age of 89. Retire now and do what you love!

    Retirement for me is 1 of 2 things:

    Travel or Illness. Your going to travel, and if you get sick, oh well. At least you didn’t save your whole life just for someone to take care of you. I couldn’t agree more. Not to say you we shouldn’t work hard, but we should work for today, not tomorrow.

    Great post and great to see people living for the day instead of whatever lies ahead.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      I think it is so wonderful when people find a calling that they love that they can also make money at, although I think it is rare. Most people end up doing something that they are not passionate about because it pays the bills. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

  4. Mack Reynolds says:

    i’m young, and it’s really a shame that people my age are living in such a way that lends itself to death shortly after retirement. i just graduated with an mba, and me and a million other people are trying our hardest to get out and get a piece for ourselves. there’s nothing wrong with it, but somehow i feel that, yes, there really is something wrong with it. i’d like to not be a part of this rat race and search for millions, but the fact (in my mind) is that without enough cash to to pay your bills, you really can’t do anything. I, on the other hand, am trying to get up out of my dad’s house, and am having trouble enough as it is.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Of course we all need money, we all need to pay our bills but it is our choice on what bills to have. Do we really need a new car, or two cars, or the boat, or the huge house? Do we need to have cable, new furniture, all the latest gadgets? It is about making the choice on what you want to work towards and eliminating everything that is unnecessary so that you can follow your dreams. Even when I was in my 20s I always had a goal. My goal was travel because that is my passion but everyone will have a different passion. My husband and I lived well below our means and saved like mad. If we were on track we were saving $1500 per month to go towards our next trip. It is all about what your priorities are, and choosing the life you want to live. Good luck to you Mack.

  5. Mack Reynolds says:

    you’re absolutely right. much appreciated. and good luck to you. you’re doing the damn thing. i applaud you. i’m still working things out in my head. thanks!

  6. Liane says:

    Choices and balance is key, right? More and more I am finding we need less and less. It may be cliche but life really is short and every day is a gift. It is so easy to lose sight of that and be distracted by things that do not matter.

    Our friends over at NoVacationRequired.com shared a story about their recent adventure in Glacier National Park. While on a hike they witnessed a rescue of a man who had just fallen while hiking on the same path. He did not make it. One minute he is hiking and living life fully and then he is gone.

    Yes we need to have a certain level of preparedness…with a heavy dose of living life joyfully!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Yes! So many people take their lives for granted but when you ponder death you realize that our lives are so short.

  7. Chris G says:

    Back in the mid 80’s, I read this biography on Steve Jobs. Great book, but it was the title that stuck with me the most. “The Journey is the Reward”. Great credo. The destination? Why does that matter so much? Adventure isn’t a destination. Education isn’t a destination. Friendship isn’t a destination. Music, culture and art are not destinations. Why is everyone so hung up on doing everything they can to ensure their final chapter turns out to be so predictable?

    But I’ve also learned that bring this up opens a nasty can of worms. Over the years, I have worked as a consultant at a few government organizations. The majority of them have their retirement down to the year, month and day. For a short period, I used to straight-up question their lives if all they were doing was waiting for a pension plan to kick in. Then I learned you can’t really do that with most people. It’s almost like questioning their religion. How dare your holier-than-thou attitude completely call into question my existence!

    When I mention my idea of selling it all and traveling the world for a year, two or maybe forever, I can almost always anticipate the reaction. Normally they respond with the dull stare of the dairy cow. They cannot fathom at any level why I would do such a thing. It completely goes against their life’s purpose. To them it’s all about paying off the house, saving for retirement, going on the odd 1 or 2 week vacations to all-inclusives, not worrying too much about their kids’ futures because ‘the system’ is taking care of them, etc.

    Neither of us have it wrong. We are both driven to do what we do simply because of our influences in life. Growing up in a small town, marrying your high school sweetheart, getting a local job, buying a house a block down from your parents, having a few kids, putting your time in at work, retiring. That isn’t wrong – it’s the backbone of our country.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      And certainly some people would be happy with that life but what I think is most important is that you follow your passions. It doesn’t have to mean traveling the world. Everyone has different dreams and passions but we should not put them off until the tail end of our lives.

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