We talk a lot here about money. But for most people, money is just a means to an end: And that end is time. Time to do whatever it is that we want… with enough money to use time, our most valuable resource, however we please.
I thought I had that figured out when I kind of retired when I was 32 years old. I was wrong.
I say “kind of” retired because I left work with no plans… I didn’t anticipate sitting in a rocker and playing golf. But it was “retired” in the sense that there was no end date in mind – and I didn’t have to do anything if I didn’t want to do it. If I’d been twice my age at the time, it might have been similar to what a real retirement feels like.
I had worked in banking in Russia for a number of years, and was able to save (and made some investments like this one)… so I figured I had enough money. I was swapping that for time.
Just to clarify… there’s money, and there’s MONEY. I wasn’t looking at mansions, Maseratis and caviar for my retirement at 32… rather, it was a house in the suburbs, Honda Accord and pesto kind of retirement.
Not this kind of “retirement”
Source: Maserati Forum
It helped that the wife – who supported my plan – allowed it to happen by continuing to work.
And the amount of money you need to coast for a (long) time when you don’t have kids is very different from the money you need to coast by for a while with kids. (At the time, I didn’t have any kids.)
There were just two problems with my “retirement”…
Citizens of THIS bizarre little country have received their retirement income – through good times and bad – since 1907. Now, you can too.
Crazy thing is, this STRANGE country also has some STRANGE laws.
And one of them lets citizens of other countries collect income too.
Problem #1: Type A, not B
Some people are fine with not doing much all day… sleep late, walk the dog, watch some TV, go out for coffee… rinse and repeat. Let’s call them type B.
Other people… not so much. They thrive on projects, ideas, objectives and striving for a common goal with a group of like-minded people. They like being part of a team where they’re looked to for insight, guidance and ideas. Without that, they’re lost. Let’s call these folks type A.
As I mentioned, I had been working at a bank in Moscow for a number of years. I helped oversee a team of 15 research analysts, and was responsible for getting our market-leading research insight in the hands of a highly demanding audience in a timely manner. (Which has some similarities with what I do now.)
Every day there were new twists, new demands, new requirements. The cast of characters included crabby salespeople, arrogant bankers, spoiled senior analysts and misguided management… I was in the thick of the fight every day. It was exciting, compelling and frustrating. Sometimes I hated it, but most of the time I loved it.
But over time I had grown weary of it. Russia’s markets were a mess (though, in hindsight, a great investment opportunity). And my wife had the opportunity to take a job in an exciting new country, after spending a few months in the U.S. I didn’t want to be a Russia person forever, and this was a way out.
So we laid the groundwork months in advance, and I explained to my employer what I was doing when the time was right.
And then it happened. I went from a bustling office with big personalities, money, pressure and demands to… something a lot like the below.
Our car wasn’t vintage 1982, but otherwise, this was it.
What I learned was that I had more of type A in me than I’d anticipated. And that was a big shock… First, that I hadn’t realised that about myself. And second, that suddenly the A in me faced the crickets of suburbia every day.
In an unprecedented move, Washington fast-tracked a radical new technology bill to ensure that a new technology breakthrough breaks through…
It’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to government-approved 8,000% growth!
Problem #2: No plan
Some people are fine with no plan. Or rather: Their plan is to hang out, do some gardening, go to the gym, and that’s about it.
Me, though, I need a plan. I need lots of projects, ideas and programs. I need to have targets and objectives. I may abandon some, or most of them… they may compete with each other… but invariably, the Darwinian nature of time – there’s only so much of it and on average, you wind up doing what you most want and need to do – determines what you end up doing. The most demanding/rewarding/essential plan wins out.
But I didn’t have a plan. I had a plan to make a plan, but otherwise, no plan. And no roadmap to make a plan. I was used to work, where other people – and the workplace – define the parameters of your plans. Suddenly, I didn’t have that.
I felt like I was in the cereal aisle of an American grocery store: There are so many possibilities that you don’t know where to start.
But, in time, you gravitate towards your favorite cereal.
What happened next
I went back to work. I did some freelance work. I took another job, and eventually found my way back to Moscow, doing the same thing that I’d been doing before.
In time, I found my way to Singapore. What I’m doing now – helping deliver investment insight to tens of thousands of readers in Asia and around the world – is work… but it’s so much fun that it often doesn’t feel like it. And that’s much better than retiring, in my experience.
So before you retire, make sure you know what it means and know yourself first. It sounds obvious, but it wasn’t to me.
Publisher, Stansberry Pacific Research
P.S. As I mentioned, we focus mostly on money at Stansberry Pacific Research. And investing in underpriced stocks with enormous potential is an important part of that. Recently, my friend and colleague Brian Tycangco found an incredible opportunity that could make you hundreds of percent gains. You can learn more here.