Much of the old-school, and in that I include the majority of the modern corporate workforce, understand only full-time employment or full-on traditional retirement. You work for ‘the man’ until 65 and then you hope for the best living off whatever assets you’ve managed to accumulate in your corporate pension and your personal savings.
It’s one way of doing things I suppose and there are certainly many examples of people who are successfully living comfortable lives in their later years having followed this path. But, if you read the popular press, not many people have enough stashed away by the time they are put out to pasture to continue with the standard of living they had while earning a full-time salary.
In part I think the system plays on the individuals lack of knowledge, fear and greed. The fact that the future is uncertain and unpredictable fuels this and the common, overiding belief that a person should put their back to the grindstone and suck it up, endeveaouring to earn the max before the inevitable happens.
The major problem with this approach is a parallel, overwhelming dissatisfaction with the status quo. This unhappiness in the job leads to excessive cosumer spending [read debt] and everything in the system is geared to keeping people [consumers] on the treadmill. The compensation for this soulless, drudgery is a new car each 3-4 years and that kills the dream so self-sufficiency.
But, to be honest, I can’t do another 20 years of this. It’s killing me!
So the goal is semi-retirement which, if we’re honest, is the only way to live another 30-40 years of your life after full-time employment/work. Basically the premise is that you have some income generating assets that provide you annual income. Perhaps not 100% of your needs but enough to take the edge off having to work a 40-60hr week for a living. This you then supplement with income from working but work with a difference – this is part-time or flexible work that doesn’t tie you down to a desk, a specific ‘must-do’ routine, a cubicle prison. You are freeing yourself up to not have to work for maximum pay, to not have to take the first assignment that comes along.
Chatting to S and we’re agreed – she has been semi-retired [according to the above definition] for many years now. Her income generating asset has been my income. She works from home, she works damn hard, but she is also free to do as she likes. This is our common goal. No more Jhb treadmill. Here’s looking to a life of more flexibility and time.