A recent article in Money Magazine pointed out that many Millennials are obsessed with retiring early. In fact, this growing movement of those in the 21 to 37 years of age are convinced they can do it now, and quietly disdain those who wait until Social Security. With dozens of FIRE (financial-independence/retire-early) links exploding on the web and on Reddit.com, this idea is drawing in fans like flies. Yet, even though I applaud their desire to get out of the rat race and free themselves from debt, I find myself questioning why so many are convinced that retirement is the ultimate solution. From my perspective, we don’t need to retire or be completely financially independent in order to live our best life now—but it’s essential we take the time to Rightsize. [Read more…]
A big topic in my age group is retirement. About half of my friends are looking forward to it while the other half are already there. As for Thom and I, we see ourselves standing with a foot on both sides. We aren’t retired, but neither are we chained to our work. What makes us different from others hoping to retire soon is that we’ve embraced what I call rightsizing. Rightsizing is a process that any of us can do to come into greater alignment with our most cherished values and goals. On a practical level, rightsizing points to actions we can make at any age that will help before, and especially after, a person retires.
In case you are wondering, I am not a financial advisor. Most retirement “planning” comes from people who would like to manage your finances. That approach tends to put the focus on how much money you make, how much money saved, and how much you need in the future to maintain your current lifestyle. Rightsizing, on the other end, downplays money and instead puts the focus on what is most rewarding in your life.
A good friend named Mark recently bought a new truck. To call it a pickup is grossly inadequate. Mark arrived one day in this shiny enormous vehicle with four doors, cushy soft leather seats, a fully digital dashboard with onboard space-like technology, a moonroof that spanned the entire length of both the front and back seats, and automatic retractable step-bars that lower and raise as you open the doors. I’ll admit I was a bit envious as I looked at my aging twelve-year-old Nissan Murano sitting next to it. But after hearing the “great deal” Mark got by paying only $50,000 for a $65,000 priced truck, all envy evaporated. My Murano is free and clear, still looks decent, and reliably gets me everywhere I want to go. Meanwhile, our family savings sits safely secure in investments that generate automatic cash flow. Instead of envy, I now have pride—pride in the benefits of a frugal and rightsized life. [Read more…]
The young couple who live across the street from me are selling their home. I’ll be sad to see them go because they’ve become friends and we’ve watched their son Timmy grow from a toddler to a boy. Where are they going? They’ve decided it’s time for a bigger house in a more affluent neighborhood. Of course, it’s hard to sit in judgment after doing something similar years ago. Still, I hope they never find themselves so pressed for time that they forget what gives life meaning, and instead becoming slaves to a big mortgage and extravagant home expenses. In other words, I hope they never find themselves house-broke and unable to do anything about it. [Read more…]
No matter what your age, most people occasionally talk about retirement. A big concern is whether Social Security will be available when you finally qualify. Even more troublesome is when the conversation leans toward savings accounts, or the lack of them, among Baby Boomers. Of primary concern are the many people in middle age and beyond who are not financially prepared for getting older. Only a handful will have the luxury of never giving money a thought. What is seldom discussed is that there is something that most people can do right now to prepare for a more carefree and secure retirement. That something is the decision to rightsize their life. [Read more…]
I am very pleased to announce that my latest book is now published and available in either print or as an ebook on Amazon. Titled Rightsizing * A SMART Living Guide to Reinventing Retirement, this book is the second in what I hope will continue to be a series. What is Rightsizing? Simply put, rightsizing is the conscious choice to create a life and a lifestyle that more sustainably aligns with your unique Self in the best possible way at every stage. This small volume compiles the best of what I’ve written on the subject here on SMART Living 365 along with some bonus ideas that presents them in a way I think most readers will appreciate. The good thing about rightsizing your life is that it doesn’t matter what your age or situation. Although many reach retirement before finally making it happen, rightsizing can benefit everyone and leads to more happiness, fulfillment and peace of mind than ever before regardless of circumstances. Of course, just like most things that are desirable, it comes at a price. Here is a list of the most common obstacles that keep many of us from choosing a rightsized life. [Read more…]
One of the stories I can vividly remember my father telling me years back was related to his pride at managing his money in retirement. At the time, both my father and mother lived on their social security and some modest savings held in a 401k. Dad frequently bragged that he lived better, traveled more, and seemed to have more fun than many of his friends who retired with big homes and generous pensions. From my perspective, at least at the time, their lifestyle seemed more humble and restricted than I felt necessary. Yet now, less than 20 years later, I recognize that their simple and minimal lifestyle afforded them tremendous benefits that millions of other “hope-to-be-retirees” could learn from—including myself. [Read more…]
A week ago I turned 60. And while the number sounds much older than I feel, I am also extremely aware of how great my life is at the same time. In fact, thinking back I am hyperaware of how much my life has improved during the last 30 years. But how can that be? In a culture obsessed with youth, is it possible that we’ve all been mislead about what happens as we age? Or maybe those of us who have lived to midlife and beyond stay too silent about the benefits? Either way, now is a good time to let those who follow know that not only can we get better as we age, but life itself can be more sweet, meaningful and SMART as it goes along.
A friend of mine is currently in the midst of selling her long-time family home and moving. Yet while I believe she “gets” the many benefits of rightsizing, I can tell after talking with her that several issues keep popping up that make her hesitant. That’s completely normal, because in many ways, rightsizing is contrary to what most of us have been taught. The good news is that once you know what to keep in mind, rightsizing not only becomes the easiest choice, it is also the one that leads to the greatest benefits.
What do we need to remember when it’s time to make a move? [Read more…]
Okay I’ll admit it—Thom and I enjoy tales of the supernatural. For years we watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer on television. Together we’ve seen all sorts of movies and shows about werewolves, vampires, aliens and all sorts of bizarre characters doing all sorts of strange things. Most of them are pure entertainment. However, one of the more sinister creatures is called a succubus. While never fully fleshed out in most episodes, it needs little description. Simply put, a succubus is something that sucks out the very essence and joy of a person in all sorts of horrifying and painful ways. When you think about it, oppressive debt feels exactly the same. The good news is that just like how Buffy knew ways to slay vampires, there are at least five ways any of us can rise above even the worst sort of debt succubus on the way to a happy life. [Read more…]