A while back I heard a story of a coworker who was turning 55 and retiring the same week. At first I thought, "Good for them! Many people can't afford to retire that young and work into their 60's and 70's." But then I caught myself thinking conventionally. Since when is it the norm to give your life to a company for 30 or 40 of your prime years and then retire? Why not build a life, job, or business from which you never feel the need to retire?
My coworkers mentioned that the retiree had this birthday on their radar for roughly 10 years. They made a plan to retire at 55 and stuck to it. I can admire that.
At the same time though, I thought about my life and I know I can't do that to myself. I've worked just over three years in Corporate America and I've always felt constricted. I can't imagine spending another 30 years in a culture based around being told what to do, when you can get promoted, and how much money you are allowed to earn.
Create A Life You Love
To work towards financial independence and freedom from debt I truly believe that you have to enjoy what you do. Please, take a few minutes to read "How to Do What You Love" by Paul Graham. I wish I would have read it when I was in college. My life would be a lot different today.
Am I saying you should quit your job and go live your life moment by moment doing whatever you want? No.
Am I saying you should stop saving for retirement and not worry about pensions, 401k's, Roth IRA's, estate planning, etc.? Hell No.
What I'm saying is that you need to live a life filled with purpose. We all need to stop treading water in the sea of life and start swimming in the direction we desire most. What makes us all different is the direction in which we head.
So I ask you a simple question: Are you living your life for retirement or are you living your life for now?