Retirement Planning + Retirement Goals + Retirement Home + RRSP = RIF until you RIP.
No thanks. I have bigger plans for my “golden years.”
My parents made retirement sound like a place similar to Hawaii or Heaven. That’s not the definition of retirement according to my research.
After interviewing many adults and teenagers about the word “retirement”, I’ve found the responses vary greatly.
The teens I meet through Instagram and volunteering with Junior Achievement think like I did:
Retirement is a natural phase of life. It's just what you do - you stop working and just "chill".
When I ask teens why people should save and invest some of their money, they believe one of the top reasons is so they can retire one day. Then I ask them to think about their favourite thing to do. I say,
“Imagine you can make money at your favourite thing to do. For example, imagine you are great at surfing - and you LOVE surfing. You start designing surf boards and manufacturing wake boats. You're making great money, and you have tons of time to surf. Do you still want to retire and just chill?”
One of the definitions of "retire" is to go to bed.
If you hate your job so much that you would rather go to bed than go to work, it may be time to look for a new career path.
As a teenager growing up in Dawson Creek BC, I observed my family members longing for retirement. They couldn’t wait to get off the weekly grind merry-go-round. They weren’t loving their careers.
My first job began at age 13 at the gas station my mom and step-dad owned. My mom and step-dad were always stressed out from teenaged employees ripping them off and customers charging to their accounts and not paying on time, or sometimes at all. The idea of owning a gas station didn’t appeal to me but I loved working at my mom’s gas station.
After a few years, I decided to use my expert gas station attendant skills at the restaurant where my friend waitressed. It wasn’t the work that appealed to me, though. It was the huge tips she earned during Saturday and Sunday breakfast shifts! It turned out I did not have what it takes to be a great waitress. This fact is probably due to my high level of passion for vehicles and my minimal passion for whether or not to hold the onions on a customer’s omelette.
Although I quit waitressing after only six months, that was long enough to see that, just like my parents at the gas station, the husband & wife owners of the restaurant were always arguing about their business. Once again, the idea of owning a business didn’t appeal to me.
Why was I working, anyway? Because I wanted this...
In addition to owning the gas station, Mom had a part-time job working for the provincial government. My dad and step-mom were also government employees. All three had the flexibility to work from home or on the road rather than always being stuck in an office, which seemed great, and each talked about a pension with great enthusiasm.
I had no idea what a pension was.
They encouraged my siblings and i to get government jobs, climb to the top of the government job ladder and stay in the safety of that government job forever, whether or not it was fun, to ensure a nice pension during retirement. I assumed a pension was probably to pay for trips to Hawaii which is the government’s way of thanking its workers once they are too old to be of use to the government anymore. This childish assumption turned out to be somewhat accurate.
My mom and step-dad eventually separated and sold the gas station, but I continued to work there until a week after high school graduation when I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia.
In Vancouver I met people who were passionate about not spending 10 - 20 years working in a career they didn’t love. This was my introduction to the term “financial freedom”. I compared financial freedom to retirement and discovered neither one is defined by trips to Hawaii - financial freedom is the ability to choose whether or not to work whereas retirement is ending your job completely.
Another commonality with my new friends was their desire to change the world for the better. Since they seemed like kind, caring, people, I heeded their advise to read How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. That book changed my life by giving me new perspectives on owning a business, understanding human nature and earning income, which I had never heard before. At age eighteen, I learned the most important lesson of my life:
The more money we make during our lifetime,
the more we can give to those who need it more than we do.
After moving from Vancouver to Grande Prairie, Dale Carnegie’s lessons began transforming me into a successful business owner. After completing my 1400 hour apprenticeship and passing my journeyman hairdresser exam, I began my own mobile beauty company. A few years later, I had a perfect, blue-eyed baby boy. I coasted through my twenties as a self-employed single mom having tons of fun. “Work” kept me busy (it usually didn’t feel like work) and financially, I was doing OK. It felt great to be running my own successful business but after a few years, I realized two things:
- I needed to learn how to save and invest my money.
- My full potential couldn’t be realized if I remained a hairdresser.
After moving from Grande Prairie to Cochrane at age 27, my financial consulting career found me. Around my 30th birthday, I realized WHY I do what I do for money.
Ask yourself this question and write down your top 3 answers:
Why do I do what I do for money?
Congratulations if you are like me and your answers do not include “to retire”. You either know 100% that you are in the right career at the right time, or you are miserable and want a change. (What are you waiting for???)
If your answers to "Why do I do what I do for money?" don’t include "fulfillment" or "changing the world for the better", find a job or start a business doing something you actually want to do right away. There are many fun ways to make money and there will be many more as time goes on. By the way, it is much easier to transition to the career you love if you aren’t tapped out from debt or have a 30 year old son or daughter living for free in your basement. We’ll talk about your debt in another article. For now, why not volunteer to help a cause you are passionate about?
How great would it feel to take your focus off the weekly grind by donating your time and talents to a great cause? Not to mention, I bet you’ll meet people who are links to new career paths. If this sounds fun, but you're not sure which causes to get involved with, I have a few suggestions:
We'd love to have you join our bike team this June in Panorama British Columbia in support of Branch Out Neurological Foundation. Whether you want to help me fund neuroscience research, or you’re facing a money challenge, please send me a message. I'd love to help you! Thanks!