Recently I wrote a post discussing why I thought it makes much more sense to continue working at one’s career while also being a successful investor. Why would you set a goal to only save one million?
I found a comment by one of my readers to be very interesting. His only comment was the title of this post: “Who wants to work for 45 years and then have $10M?”
That got me thinking – does anyone really want to save $10M, or are most people really trying to earn enough to retire?
I really do think there is a lot of good that can be done by working 45 years and retiring with $10M.
Working for 45 Years
I’ve actually been really impressed recently in seeing several colleagues retire from my company with 45 years of service. It is getting more and more rare for anyone to work at a single company for 20 years, much less 45. Many of these individuals started when they were 18 or 20 years old because 45 years ago many jobs didn’t require a college education. In many cases they ended up going to school at night if they did attend college.
So what is wrong with that? I noticed that most of these employees only had great things to say about their experiences. They had a long and fulfilling career full of great memories and well-known accomplishments. Many of them had made great friendships or even met their spouse at the company.
There seems to be such a negative view of work going around as if no one should ever want to work for 45 years. But I keep wondering, “could that just be a symptom of not being in a fulfilling job?” If you aren’t happy in your job and you want to leave, then it might be time to do just that. Or if you are not giving 100% effort your poor performance could be making you feel less positive towards you position.
$10M… or More
This part is a little more interesting. Yes, 45 years is a long time to work. But the fact is that most people are going to end up working that long or longer. My dad has worked for about 55 years or more. He doesn’t talk much to me about how he wished he had retired at 35 years of age.
I was commenting on one of Michael’s posts over at Financially Alert which is a great blog. Michael worked hard and saved a large portion of his income allowing him to retire early. But I noticed that he is still going strong over there at his blog and that is a lot of work. I think the more appealing goal is becoming financially independent.
When you become financially independent you can obviously have more freedom in your current job. It allows you to have more frank conversations with your supervisor about what your goals are and if you are really willing to put in the level of effort to reach those goals since money is much less of a factor.
It could even involve changing jobs to one that allows more freedom or which allows you to work from home. But I think it still makes sense to be gainfully employed in order to continue investing.
Reaching the age of 65 with a $1 Million net worth is a good result. But it is clearly better to have $10 Million or more in addition to long and successful career. A career where you can look back and say, “I’m proud of what I accomplished, the people I led, and the positive impact I made on society.”
And that impact can simply continue and increase when there is more in the investment account to set up trusts or give to your favorite charities.
The other thing that would concern me is the risk of completely ceasing all work to live off of only $1 Million in savings. You would still be subject to risk of a financial disaster. If you were to somehow lose a large portion of your savings (or all of it) you could be stuck in a very difficult situation. It would be much like a professional athlete who spends all their money and ends up being too old to play anymore.
You don’t want to let your talents and skills rot away so that you have nothing to fall back on. Not to mention, it is very fulfilling to develop one’s talents and realize that through hard work and dedication you are a more developed and talented person than you were 5 years ago.
One Day at a Time
But don’t feel like you have to always think about 45 years at once. That is a bit daunting for anyone. Just take it one day at a time while still wisely and patiently planning for the future. Putting aside a set amount every paycheck and working hard every day is much easier than worrying about having to work 45, 50, or 55 years. But the more you save today the more financially free you will be tomorrow. And that is something to aspire to no matter how long you end up working.
Thanks for the comment! I would love to hear more of your thoughts.