Why Saving For Retirement Is Dangerous Advice For Millennials [And What You Should Do Instead]

*article by CIO & Co-Founder, Finn Kelly

As a millennial, retirement probably isn’t top of your mind! After all, you have your entire ‘work’ life ahead of you – and hopefully a host of adventures to enjoy along the way. That said, you will be encouraged to save for retirement and make provision for it. You’ll also be advised to make decisions in the now that promise to make your future life more secure and comfortable. 

You may even be guided to push off your desires and turn your back on your dreams – because there’s a chance these choices may risk your future. 

So if you’re feeling torn about what you should do with your life, rest assured you’re NOT alone! 

Times are changing and countless paradigms [including the one about retirement] are yet to catch up. 

It’s why your thoughts about work, life, and retirement may be in conflict with the older generations who want to advise you. Including your parents! 

This era is NOT like your parents’ era

This tech age has transformed the world in a ridiculously short space of time. Thanks to e-commerce, social media, and digital information, we have the ability to live, work, and think in ways that were unheard of even a decade ago. 

For your parents, the job for life was an attractive and realistic goal. Home ownership was a status symbol and saving for retirement was the ‘done’ and ‘sensible’ thing. 

But if you pull away the layers and examine this mindset more closely, you’ll see there’s a sinister undertone that just won’t work for millennials. 

In the past, industry needed workers who could follow instructions and carry out repetitive jobs. In short, industry needed people to sit obediently on a production line for 40 hours a week – from the age of 16 to 65. 

With so many repetitive jobs it’s no surprise there was a clear separation between work and play. People were prepared to slog it out during the week if they could have fun at the weekends. And so the cycle started… dread Monday mornings, spend all the week willing the weekend to come, then do it all over again! 

But more than that… keep on this treadmill until you retire and you’ll finally pick up that big reward. A ‘secure’ pension – and your life back. 

Enter the Retirement Hoax. The myth that wants you to believe that your current dreams are worth compromising because the best years of your life are yet to come.

But there are three big problems with this mindset…

  1. Lots of people never even make it to retirement. 30% of people will be dead or in a wheelchair by retirement age. What’s more, the retirement age is increasing year after year [effectively stealing even more of your life].
  2. Skimping on your pennies now isn’t just for your benefit. When you put money into a pension fund, you help make Wall Street rich. Plus, there are no guarantees you’ll get a pension that will meet your needs or fund the kind of retirement you dream about. 
  3. And if that’s not bad enough, research suggests that most retirees live frugally and never get around to doing the things they want anyway because they don’t spend the money they’ve saved!  

The regrets of the dying

This third point is supported by Australian palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware. 

Ware spent years caring for people in the last 12 weeks of their life. She discovered that what these people have to say about dying can teach us so much about living. 

In her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Ware reports how terminally ill people experience incredible levels of clarity in their dying days. Certain death seemed to remove inhibitions which meant Ware was able to have many frank and raw conversations. 

And in all those conversations, she noticed regrets kept coming up. She noticed five in particular that showed up again and again. These included working too much [which was at number 2], but top of the list was a wish to have lived a life true to themselves – not the life others had expected of them.

The key problem with the Retirement Hoax is it has you believe that you’ll always have time to live the life that’s true to you. 

It convinces you that retirement is a certainty – it even has you believe that you deserve this time because of all the sacrifices and hard work it takes to get here. And when time feels abundant, it’s easy to convince yourself to settle or to wait until you’re older to do the things you really want. 

But the harsh reality is the only time which is certain is this moment. 

 

THE NOW. 

 

The present. 

 

You may not even make it to retirement – and if you do, you may not be in a position to do the things you really want. 

Can you imagine getting to the end of your life with a bucket list of things untouched? Can you imagine the pain of all those missed opportunities and experiences – knowing you could have done so much more if only you’ve followed your heart.

The harsh truth is that this is the reality a lot of us will face – unless we’re willing to make different decisions now. 

Fortunately, there is another way…

And as a millennial you have a HUGE advantage – because your age is on your side. 

Live in the NOW

The Retirement Hoax may feel like an unsolvable dilemma… 

Right now, you have the time and the energy – but maybe not the money. But if you wait until you do have the money, you may not have the time or the energy. 

So what should you do instead? 

The simple answer is to live in the now. In other words, stop putting your happiness into the future by attaching it to goals or milestones that you hope you’ll hit later. 

When we believe life is waiting for us to catch it, we miss out on the life that is happening right now. 

The truth is you don’t have to wait until you can travel to be adventurous. You don’t have to secure that huge promotion to feel abundant, and you don’t have to pay off your mortgage to feel free. 

The reality is you don’t want the ‘things’. Instead, you want to experience the feelings attached to those achievements. And here’s the really cool thing…

There are much simpler ways to feel the emotions you want. For example: 

  • You can experience adventure by being a tourist in your own city
  • You can feel abundant by practising gratitude for all the things you have already
  • You can feel free by going skinny dipping in the ocean

There’s an endless list of ways to live your values – without spending a penny! 

Don’t misunderstand me here…

This intentional way of living isn’t about settling for less. It’s not about turning your back on your big goals. You can [and should] go after all of those things – and more. 

The difference is you’re not waiting until retirement to feel the way you want. Instead, you’re making decisions and living your life in a way that makes you feel happy, abundant, and free TODAY. 

And save for the future 

While you’re living in the now, you can also plan for the future. 

Having a robust and sustainable financial strategy is a smart move for all millennial women. It’s what we do here at Wealth Enhancers. 

We’re here to help you get wealthy – but not in the traditional way. 

The old paradigm of investing is about accumulating wealth to accumulate wealth. It’s about getting a richer bank balance rather than a richer life. 

We think differently…

It’s our mission to guide millennial women into an intentional relationship with their money – so you can fund the things that will make you feel happy, abundant, and free… NOW and in the future. 

 

It’s a game-changer. 

 

To discover how to align your finances so you can live in the now and fund a life that’s true to you, sign up for a 45-minute Intentional Life Strategy Call with one of our coaches.