I think I’ve been confused …

LuckyInvestor has been busy building a kind of reference manual / index to our ‘grand experiment’ at 7m7y.com … take a look and let him know what you think (what is he missing? what’s in/out of place? suggestions?) … the only reason why I won’t directly support the site is that I am not sure where it is going and I cannot control if he eventually puts in advertising, which is against my principles for this program (but, he is welcome to) … so, any help that you can / want to give him … check this out: http://luckyinvestormn.blogspot.com/

Now, on with today’s post ….


If you think you’re confused, then you really are confused!

This seems to be Ethel’s dilemma, one that we inadvertently uncovered when she wrote me an e-mail (on Networth IQ) asking for help on transitioning from Making Money 101 to Making Money 201.

After reading my answer to her original problem Ethel left a long – and critically important – comment, saying:

“However, I feel that my audience wants more … they have a ‘big dream’ … they want it now (well, soon’ish) … and it requires fuel – lots of it (money!) – and lots of free time, to boot!”

I think this *is* me, but the issue is that I haven’t defined my dream. It isn’t the standard, “Retire at age X and live like a king” style of dream – I’m happy with a modest lifestyle. But I want to have (a) time to volunteer and (b) money to support others in volunteer and charitable work, and I want to change the world through this work.

I think I’ve been confused by all the focus on retirement (like in your magic number article). Retirement is exceedingly easy for me; I could probably have everything I need in a 401(k) and IRA by the end of a couple of years, let it sit for 30 years, and be done with retirement planning.

What I should have been defining is how I want to change the world BEFORE then, how much time this will take, how much money this will take, how much I can earn mid-dream, when I want to do it, and if I will have time after this to get all the resources for the rest of my life (retirement), or if I will need to start getting ready for retirement now as well.

So . . . when I start thinking this way, I see that most of my dreams are best accomplished in my 30s and 40s, maybe early 50’s. That’s where I’ve been messing up. I should worry less about retirement, which is a low-resource period when I dream about my life. I should worry more about ages 30 to 45, when I want to accomplish my biggest, most time-and-money intensive dreams. I don’t intend to be retired during this time, but I would like to cut back my hours at work so I can give time as well as money, and so I can spend more time with my husband and children.

The trick for us is that we are essentially just starting out. So I need to go from just over $0 to (magic number for my mid-life dreams) in 5 years. This isn’t too scary, since I will be earning during mid-life still – just not as much. But it is still ambitious – and when I reduce hours at my job, I will need either fewer expenses, or a passive income / savings to cover the gap between expenses and job income.

Thanks, you’ve helped a lot by making me question if I should even be trying to get rich(er) quick(er). Yes, I should – but now I know what I need to know to figure out how much money, how fast. My magic number is just going to take a little more work to figure out, since it’s not just “get here and then stop active earning”.

I’m glad that Ethel asked the question on NWiQ and gave me the opportunity to respond here, because she has summarized very neatly in this comment what I have obviously so far failed to make clear on this blog.

And, that is:

Retirement is not some nebulous date in 30 years when society ‘norms’ say that it’s time to stop working …

… it’s when you need to stop preparing to live and actually start living!

You ‘magic number’ is not merely a number ….

… it’s a DATE.

A date when you need to stop working (or, at least stop working as hard) to concentrate on LIVING your Life’s Purpose.

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0 thoughts on “I think I’ve been confused …

  1. Good summary – makes it much more palatable as well – that I am not working the Life’s Purpose now, but that once i finish this part of the journey, then I will be able to focus on that better that I can now (and why it’s in your hip pocket to remind you to keep your focus on where you’re heading, and what my life’s purpose is…for me.)

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