“Employ they time well, if thou meanest to get leisure.”

— Benjamin Franklin

Most people are, by nature, lazy. It is human nature to expend the least amount of effort as possible to get through the day, the week, the month… even our lives. We have to make a conscious effort to discipline ourselves to overcome this natural tendency of laziness. I know a few individuals who seem to have boundless energy, who can wear you out just by having a conversation with them. But these people are the rare exception. I fall into the category of the majority… lazy by nature. But I haven’t let my natural laziness keep me from achieving my goals; and you shouldn’t either.

To give you an idea of how lazy I am, I determined at an early age that I did not want to work for the rest of my life. I accepted the fact that I would have to work part of my life to put a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes on my back. But I didn’t want to have to work for money all of my life. At some point I wanted my money to work for me… and the sooner the better.

So I did the math. One option was to get a good job with good benefits and a good retirement plan and hope that by the time I turned 65 my retirement savings and Social Security would carry me through the rest of my life. However, there was too much evidence that this plan doesn’t work out for most people; that most people my age will most likely need to continue working beyond the traditional retirement age.

The other option was to take control of my financial future and learn to discipline myself to save and invest my money so that I could be financially secure and retire at 55. My strategy included keeping myself in good health so that I could be active and have fun when I retired. I was willing to trade some leisure time along the way to get a lot of leisure time at the end, because I really did not want to work for the rest of my life. The math showed that making this trade would result in much fewer years of work with this strategy. So, to get out of the extra years of work, I decided to put in a few extra hours a week to build my own businesses and learn how to manage my own investments. A friend of mine puts it this way: “You have to peddle before you can coast.”

This year I turned 51 and I am ahead of schedule. I could retire now, but since I had 55 set in my mind I’m going to keep working. I love what I do, which is helping others achieve the lifestyle that I enjoy. I have also managed to keep myself in relatively good health as well, so 55 doesn’t seem as old as it once did. I’m shooting for 100 so 45 years of “leisure” will probably be plenty. I say this tongue in cheek as I know I will never have a life of leisure. I enjoy projects and I enjoy reading and learning.

Published in: on June 2, 2009 at 10:41 AM  Leave a Comment  

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