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What does retirement look like for me?

Retirement, wow. It feels so far off why should I even bother thinking about it?

To give you some context why I’m asking myself this, I work in the superannuation industry (the Aussie retirement savings scheme) and the leadership team has asked people to reflect on retirement. I’m 31 and I don’t think I’ll ever “formally” retire. Let me explain to you why I think that.

If you asked a 21 year old me

Myself at 21 was seeing the 2008 financial crises impact the world. If you had asked me then about my thoughts on superannuation, I would have told you, “what even is the point?”. I believed:

In my lifetime we are bound to have another market crash or some other global catastrophe and it would render all of our money useless.

Money is imaginary

If we humans didn’t exist, would the universe still have money? No, money is a human made idea to help us make sense of the world. Once I understood that money is a social construct it became easier for me to think about my retirement savings.

Understanding Money, part 1.

It didn’t matter if there was a chance of all of that money disappearing because there’s also a chance that I’ll actually get that old and it will all count for something.

If it’s all imaginary why not put extra into super now? I don’t need that money today and the worse thing that can happen is it doesn’t exist when I do need it.

I found the book debt, the first 5000 years on Audible a good but hard read to get through. It helped me understand money better too. Basically debt existed long before money did.

The climate crisis is my main concern

We’ve really screwed up this planet we are on. I would say climate change is my biggest concern when thinking about retirement. Here in Australia we had a terrible bushfire season last year. When I’m older I don’t want every year to be like that.

I use to think I’d buy some land in Tasmania and build a little self sustainable hobby farm to ride out most of the bad impending climate change crisis. But new studies showing Tasmania is even more prone to climate change than Australia (because temperate rainforests take hundreds of years to develop but seconds to burn down) are really concerning.

Buying land is still a worthy goal but it might not be the retirement safe haven that I want it to be.

I don’t think I’ll stop working

Even as a 75 year old I’ll probably figure out a way to do business consulting or teaching. I might even consider doing a PhD and tutoring. I’ve never sat still, why would my retirement be any different?

Warren Buffett is currently the oldest CEO at 87, what do you think retirement looks like for him? Bernie Sanders, Trump and Biden are all 70+, I don’t think they got to the magic age of 65 and decided to “retire” either.

2 replies on “What does retirement look like for me?”

I’m much closer to retirement than you are, and I’ve already had a conversation with my employers about the possibility that I may well be available for some consultancy work in a few years’ time. At the same time, I have a number of projects lined up for my retirement – books to write, for example. But then again, life has a habit of throwing us curve balls…

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