I’m Not Saving for Retirement

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The following post is by MPFJ staff writer Travis. Travis is a customer blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services, and also appears weekly at Enemy of Debt.  Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off $109,000 of credit card debt and the tips he’s learned along the way. As a father and husband, he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family.

If you would close your eyes, and envision retirement, what do you see?  Do does it include  starting each day sipping a Pina Colada on a beach?  Do you imagine world travel?  Do you imagine waking up every day, with the world at your feet, no commitments to fulfill, and nobody to answer to?
With all due respect, No. Thank. You. If that’s retirement, it would bore me to death.
People work throughout their adult years, stashing money into Roth IRAs, 401K, and other financial products so when they reach retirement age, enough funds have been saved to allow them to transition into blissful retirement for the remainder of their days.  Some even express a desire to be so smart with their money in hopes to amass enough wealth to make that transition early.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never retire.  At least not in the traditional sense.

I Love My Job

If the only thing that gets you motivated enough to go to work is to save another dollar towards retirement,  then you’ve picked the wrong profession. I’m a software engineer, and I absolutely love it.  I love working with cutting edge technology, and I love solving difficult problems.   Merriam-Webster defines retirement as: “withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.” 
Why would I want to withdraw from something I love to do?

My Brain Needs To Be Active

The traditional description of retirement sounds to me a lot like a permanent vacation.  When I go on vacation, my brain shuts down, and goes into major comatose battery recharging mode.  After about 4 days, it powers back up and needs to do something.  I always say that my brain needs to “move.”  From that point on, I’m no longer on vacation, I’m simply putting in time until I get to go home and back to work.
The traditional description of retirement sounds like a permanent vacation to me.   I would become restless,  and want to be doing something productive within a week at the most.

Why I’m Still Saving

Even though I don’t have any plans to ever retire, I am still utilizing retirement financial products to stash away money for later in life for the following reasons:
·           Medical Expenses:  As people age, they tend to have more medical expenses.  It’s imperative to be prepared for it.
·           Reduced Income:  Although my goal is to stay active and productive, chances are I will not be a software engineer forever.  At some point, I will most likely hang up my keyboard for something else that will likely pay less.
·           Freedom!:  This is the real reason I’m building my nest egg.   I want to build wealth not for the day I throw in the towel of being a productive member of society, but for freedom. I may plan to have a career for the rest of my life, but I also have other aspirations.  I would like to run marathons all over the world.  BBQ is a hobby and passion of mine, and I would love to learn more about it as well as visit places known for great BBQ.  My wife and I also love tropical places and would love to travel and enjoy vacations together.  Having money stashed away will make accomplishing those goals possible.

What I’m Doing

·           Pension:  When I started my career, my employer had a pension plan.  Since that time, they have moved to a 401K based retirement plan.  However, I have a sizable amount of money in my pension account that will grow until I am eligible to collect from it.
·           401K:  For the first thirteen years of our marriage, even though we were racking up credit card debt, we were also taking advantage of matching funds by my employer.  When we enrolled in our debt management plan we had to stop contributing our own funds to our 401K.  The good news is my employer contributes a percentage of my salary regardless of whether I add any of my own money or not.  Therefore our 401K has continued to grow.
·           Future:  In 13 months, we will complete our debt management plan and we will have more funds available.  Some of those extra monthly funds will be allocated towards retirement.  We will certainly increase our 401K contribution to again take advantage of my employers matching funds, but we will likely look at diversifying by looking at other financial products such as Roth IRAs.
Everybody has their own view of what they want to do with their life as they reach retirement age.  Personally, I want to continue being active, and earning paycheck.  But, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be preparing for that time in my life.
How about you, readers?  What do you want to do with your life as you enter your golden years?  Are you preparing for it adequately?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Photo courtesy of of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    1. I love the approach! I don't think I'll ever really retire in the traditional sense either. It's not in me to not be working on something that churns out some kind of positive outcome whether that's monetarily or causally. I think I am saving for pretty much the big three that you mentioned up there. Not because I plan on having that be the “be all, end all” for me but to make transitioning lifestyles more comfortable and to keep me motivated to keep on working 🙂
      My recent post Work Smarter Not Harder – Friday Edition

      • I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks this way….I like your statement “it's not in me to not be working on something that churns out some kind of positive outcome.” I agree – if I'm not being productive, then I life would lose meaning for me. Gotta keep that brain moving!
        My recent post I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 3/7

    2. myfijourney says:

      Retirement, in the true sense of the word not the career-shift definition that is currently being promoted, is always in the back of my mind. If my passive income ever gets high enough and if my job ceases to become enjoyable one day I may just walk off and devote myself to pursuing lots of mentally stimulating but otherwise economically unproductive activities. I have an ever growing bucket list of places I'd like to travel, skills I'd like to develop, books I'd like to read etc.
      My recent post Identifying the Core Psychological Aspects of Your Life

    3. Canadianbudgetbinder says:

      I'm not sure when I will retire as I've just started my new career and moved country and I'm in my 30's. I love my job but know there will be a point where I want to enjoy my days travelling and experiencing all facets of life that I can't do while working. I wish I could predict the future but I can't so for now, day by day, just living life, loving it, and enjoying what I'm doing.
      My recent post The Saturday Weekend Review #10-Daylight Savings 2013, Door To Door Sales Begins!

      • I think we're in similar life phases, Canadianbudgetbinder – I'm enjoying life so much right now that I just can't imagine not doing the things I'm doing right now. 🙂
        My recent post I Love You Like a Blogger Roundup – 3/7

    4. mbhunter says:

      It looks like you didn't really mean that you weren't saving for retirement. You're planning not to retire, but you are still saving for your later years.
      My recent post Earn gift certificates with Swagbucks and get cheap education

    5. That's right, John….see how I'm tricky with the title? 🙂

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