If you think early retirement is for folks who hate their jobs and want out in their 30s, so that they can spend the rest of their lives lazing around… then its time you take stock of what’s happening today that’s reshaping the traditional concept of retirement.
Carl Siedman, an award-winning speaker — who runs a coaching and consulting business that helps companies grow effectively — explains how early retirement is actually a diversification strategy in today’s fast-changing world. If you wouldn’t put all your life savings into one single investment, then why would you rely on your day job as your sole source of income?
The problem with living longer is that it doesn’t extend youth. Our bodies are still going to age the way we’re genetically supposed to. Its just that medical science will keep us breathing for much longer. It doesn’t solve the uncertainty of whether you’ll still be able to work those extra years, that now seem to slowly become the norm.
The sedentary lifestyle that comes with most 9-5 work doesn’t help the body age gracefully. On the other hand, if your sole source of income requires you to be physically capable, then it doesn’t make your job a safe investment either.
At the end of the day, having a single source of failure is definitely not a good idea, especially when we’re looking at a longer performance horizon.
We’re not even talking about technologies trying to steal your jobs yet.
Robots are slowly but surely replacing many jobs. Just look to your nearest MacDonald’s.
There goes those jobs at the ordering counter. Once robot waiters are in place, say goodbye to job hunting at restaurants.
Autonomous self-driving cars pave the way for driver-less taxis. That taxi-driver backup plan for when the job market goes bad? May need to be scrapped in a few years. While you’re at it, you can throw out that bus driver alternative as well. Our MRTs are already driver-less for a number of years, so that’s out of the question. Drones will be replacing delivery couriers — just in case your mind is wandering towards that. Anyway, the service industry isn’t the only ones affected.
Working in audit? Blockchain is coming your way for fully automated audits. It’s still gonna take a while before the whole thing can be reliable enough to be put into place as the accepted norm. Rest assured, it’s coming and not just for audit industry, here are some others in the line up:
- Real estate
- Supply chain management
- Online music
- And many other industries dealing with transactions or data… which is pretty much everything
Today, employment is just a means to an end — to buy time while companies figure out the technologies to put an end to costly employee benefits, HR, pension and payroll management and most of all, to get rid of unreliable human labor.
The point is, the world is changing too rapidly to bank on a long-term fixed career. You could consider moving up the value chain and go into software and robotics maintenance, but mid-career switches come at hefty pay-cuts to consider as well.
You can say the entire job market is undergoing a major disruption.
So what are you going to do about it?
Your only defence is money.
There’s only one physical you and if you dedicate it fully to 9-5 work, then there’s no opportunity to explore your alternatives. The F.I.R.E movement is a result of people realising that all that money they’re earning during the prime of their lives, are meant not so much for material gains, but as a safeguard for the imminent future.
All those automation technologies need funding to be realized. When the world goes fully automated, those who are invested will reap the rewards — and you can’t be invested if you do not have money.
Having multiple sources of income safeguards you against losing your job. Put the excess money you’re earning now to work for you while start exploring things that can generate additional income streams alongside your primary employment.
No matter what picture early retirement paints for you, the financial independence it provides lays down options before you. Options that are going to dwindle in the not-so-distant future for those who still cling onto the traditional views of retirement.