Life Expectancy and Our Retirement

A big issue that is gaining a great deal of attention is the life expectancy of an average human being and how it has been slowly increasing in today’s age. With modern health practices, medicine and the latest in technological developments, the average adult life leading towards the ripe old age of 100 is becoming quite possible.

While this is great news, it can be quite worrisome when you throw retirement into the mix. 65 is the age most people aim to retire and many more are planning to retire at 60 and earlier. I for one am aiming to retire somewhere in my early 50’s and hopefully even leave the workforce much sooner if I can get a viable business up and running whatever it may be. One thing I am cautious about is the possibility of living 40+ years without an income from a job. It seems that us future retirees will have to be more strategic in the coming years!

If you, like me, are interested in receiving a calculated estimate on how long you will be alive, I would suggest you visit the Living to 100 life expectancy calculator. The questionnaire takes roughly 10 minutes to complete and it is free.

As our life expectancy continues to increase, I do not want to spend more of my time in the workforce then I have to. I value my time and I am looking forward to becoming financially independent while still being relatively young. I believe that sound investing at an early age is a great way to be prepared for life after work as well as being content with what you already have. Also, take advantage of employee matching to your retirement fund while you are employed as this is free money. Free money is always a good thing! If you consider your self in being far from financially savvy, I would suggest an investment in index funds. Index funds are a low cost alternative in investing and almost always out preform mutual funds. A great article from Financial Self Starter on index funds and can be found here.

While it is a smart idea to prepare living for the long haul and have as much saved as possible to enjoy your life, try not to stress too much about it. Besides, stress decreases our lifespan!

10 Ways to a Fulfilling Life

Life can take us in many directions and for the most part, we have the choice of where we want our lives to be headed. Some people take the right choice and some do not. Sometimes, life gives us choices which are not as black and white. These grey choices are more geared towards our personal preferences and are unique to each and every one of us.

Aside from my regular goals, I have composed a list for myself expressing my 10 ways to a more fulfilling life. I tried to make this list as generic as possible so it can be used by others but a few of the points are unique to me. Every one of us on Earth is unique in some way, shape or form and no 2 lists should look exactly the same. I decided to post my 10 points on my blog so others can view and hopefully, inspire people to make there own unique list.

10 Ways to a Fulfilling Life

1.       Think Positive: I try to think positive as much as I can. Whenever a problem comes up in my life, I feel that it is important to embrace the challenge and not say such things as: “Why did this happen to me?” Or “I can’t handle a problem like this in my life.” Being positive through your mind and words helps keep you at ease and deal with the situation head on.

2.       Live a Healthy/ Active Lifestyle: Being active not only keeps you looking and feeling great. It also helps you stay young and is linked to happiness. Enjoy playing your favourite sports; be active with your friends, kids and loved ones. If others are not willing to join you, why not join a recreational sports league or go it alone with a nice run!

3.       Keep Your Free Time Free: Free time should be for things that you enjoy. Personally, I love reading a good book or playing a video game as it helps me escape the daily stress of life. I like the feeling of getting into a story and feel like I am in a different world altogether. The important thing to remember is that free time should never involve work.

4.       Appreciate What You Have:  Having the most expensive clothes or car is not really important in the long run. If these things really are important to you, make sure you save for them and pay in cash. The amount of time needed to save will eliminate impulse buying and who knows; maybe once you have enough to purchase one of these items you may realise you would rather do something else with the money. I try to appreciate what I already have while planning for future purchases. When I have the itch to purchase a new car for example, the first thing I do is take my car to a car wash and clean it inside and out. This decreases the itch and makes me feel proud of the car I already have.

5.       Have Goals: Goals are really important and I extremely recommend that everyone have a list of there own to follow and aim to achieve. Achieving your goals is one of the most fulfilling things imaginable. Make sure you take your time and really pick goals that are meaningful to you.

6.       Always Learn Something New: I find this to be somewhat fun as it helps me grow as an individual and it keeps my mind active and alert which is known to fight off mental illnesses. Pick a topic that interests you and try to learn something about it everyday if possible. Another popular method is trying to learn a new word in the dictionary everyday.

7.       Follow Your Strengths: The hard part is to discover what your strength is in life. Most people give up at this stage but I try everyday to bring out the strengths in myself. Once discovered, try your best to embrace it and use it to your advantage. You could even use your personal gifts to make a business somehow and that is something extremely fulfilling!

8.       Give to Others in Need:  Nothing feels as good as helping others who really need it. This can be done by donating to various charities or helping out a close friend or family member. Sure, personal gain is important but helping others along the way gives you a feeling that is hard to duplicate in any other way. I would suggest trying this out even if the gift or donation is small.

9.       Live less like an adult: Being an adult sure has its advantages, such as being able to drive, making your own decisions, and being fully independent. Adults also tend to live rather unhappy and unfulfilling lifestyles. Sometimes, I try to live less like an adult and still like to dream as if I was a kid. Children see the world as something beautiful and worthy of exploring while adults see the world as a cruel, harsh place. The child has the better view of Earth in my opinion.

10.   Enjoy Your Life:  The ability to enjoy our life seems difficult with so many obstacles. Things in our lives such as work, bills and the cost of living tend to eat up all of our thoughts and free time. This should never be the case. Life goes by really fast and we must make the most of it. Many years from now, I want to personally look back at my life with happiness and with minimal regrets. I plan to do as much enjoyable activities while I can and for as long as I can!

I hope you enjoyed this list and were somewhat inspired to make one of your own. If that is the case, please share with me!

Review – Journey to the Edge of the Universe

Last night, I was having a difficult time trying to sleep. I was feeling restless and would not stop tossing and turning for the life of me. I decided to turn on the television to ease my mind. As I will flipping through the channels, I came upon this special presentation titled “Journey to the Edge of the Universe” on the Discovery Channel(although it is a National Geographic special).

I was lucky enough to catch the show from the beginning and was pleasantly surprised at the journey that was unfolding before my eyes! This animated story is simple: a  journey to the end of the universe from a first person perspective, with wonderful shots of our solar system, our galaxy, black holes and into inter galactic space.

The sense of wonder created from watching this program was worth the 2 hours of viewing time alone.  Journey to the Edge of the Universe really does a great job of showing the beauty, mystery and awesome power of the universe while hinting throughout how insignificant us humans, as a race really are. This film is not meant to leave you in despair, actually, it is quite the opposite. After watching, I immediately wanted to begin learning more about our universe and try to uncover some of its vast assortment of mysteries. I am even concidering  stargazing as a potential new hobby.

Take the Journey!

If you are feeling down and are finding your life unbearable from anything that is causing you worry, or  love adventure and mystery and have a keen interest in outer space, then I strongly suggest you go watch this movie. I believe this movie will leave you in awe as you will realize there is so much to life that we don’t know. We take Earth for granted daily in our lives and after watching this movie, I now know how beautiful our planet really is. If humans as a whole keep taking from the Earth without trying to nurture and preserve it, we will come to realize that the options in our solar system and beyond for human residency is harsh indeed.

Even if you find that after watching this movie, your interest into the world around you hasn’t changed, you will at least think that this was a good animated movie worth watching.

As a child, I always had a keen interest in our solar system and space in general. As I slowly creeped into adulthood, I sadly lost interest striving to live my busy lifestyle from work and chasing money. The Journey to the Edge of the Universe, has rekindled my interest.

For more informtion on this movie, Please click here

Freedom! – My Second Job is No More

pic_financial_freedom_girl

The last couple of days have been pretty hectic for me as 2 major events just took place in my life.

Yesterday, I finally paid off the remaining debt on my car loan which I am extremely proud of. Today, I gave notice to my part time job that I am leaving in 2 weeks. I was debating with myself when would be the proper time for me to once again, live on a single income. I like to move fast and see results, so I decided to pull the plug on the second job very quickly.

I must admit, it is going to be tough to adapt to living on the income only generated from my day job. Even though I was only working 2 jobs for a short amount of time, I really have grown accustomed to that extra $450 I got on a monthly basis. I am usually a creature of habit and like things to be pretty normal during my life.

I had somewhat of a plan before my dreams of quitting my second job became a reality. Paying off the car was the first step as it costed me nearly $300 a month. I am going to mentally think that the $300 not spent on my car will act as a supplement to the income I lose from quitting my second job. The way I look at it, I am only down $150 a month and  that is something I believe I can adapt to quickly.

My next step is going to be to figure out other means to generate income minus the slavery from working at a job. I am hoping to somehow earn some passive income or, work at something I really enjoy in which money earned would be a bonus. In the meantime, I am going to continue saving as much as possible while trying to enjoy life.

Time

One thing I am looking forward to is the extra time that I will be having once I am only at my day job. I am so used to working all through the night and day with barely anytime to sleep. Free time for me was just a memory.

That is not the case anymore! I am going to take full advantage of this free time by:

Trying to learn as much as possible  – I really like to learn by reading books and articles about subjects that are of interest to me. I fully expect to begin reading more books by borrowing them from the library and the occasional purchase at Amazon or the local bookstore.

Spend more time with family and fiance – Before my second job,  I always felt like I never had any free time on my hands. I now know the value of time and will try not to waste it doing meaningless activities all the time. More time spend with my immediate family and my fiance is something that I am planning on doing.

Spend time with nature – Sometimes, walking alone in a park surrounded by trees and hearing the trickle of a flowing creek creates inner peace and lets your imagination and thoughts come alive. Spending time and becoming one with nature is something that I plan to do more of.

Fun things!– I am a big believer in keeping some of your childhood with you as it gives you a greater appreciation of life and sort of calms the daily pressures and stress of adulthood. Playing video games, watching and playing sports, and just hanging out are all things I like to do and am not ashamed to admit it. One of our main weaknesses, in my opinion is losing our childhood as we grow older. How many of you think back to your childhood as the good old days? I sure do on some occasions.

I am really looking forward to the day when I will be financially free and will not need any income from a job. The thought of having that kind of freedom alone gives me the strength to carry on.

Posted in Life, Work. 5 Comments »

Winning the Lottery – What Would You Do?

lotteryImagine waking up in the morning, rubbing your eyes before getting out of bed, turning on the television and up pops the news. You turned on the TV at the perfect time, they are just about to reveal last nights lottery numbers. You  hurry over to grab your ticket, still half asleep and routinely look from your ticket in your hand to the television set.

The numbers match, you have just won the lottery!

I know this story is too good to be true for most of us, but I for one can’t help but wonder what it would be like to win the lottery and what I would do with such a large sum. For fun, let’s say I won 5 million dollars at this weeks lottery ( I can only wish).  I am well aware of the stories of past lottery winners going broke within 2 years. Let’s face it, there are a great number of people in this world who are not good at managing money. Some, are downright awful.

If I won 5 million dollars, I would put the following moves into action.

  • $1,000,000 For Family and Friends– Yes, you read this correctly, I would give 1 million dollars to the people I care most about. Making others happy around me is a very rewarding experience in life and it makes the good deed more fulfilling. 80% would go to family and the remaining 20% would go to friends.
  • $1,000,000 in High Dividend Paying Stocks – This might be considered risky but I am a buy and hold type of guy when it comes to investments. Setting up a DRIP plan will mean I will constantly gain wealth as all dividends will be reinvested which means the purchase of more stocks. Over time, I will hopefully be able to live off the passive income earned from the dividends alone without touching any of the initial investment.
  • $500,000 For a New House – I would be really happy if I could get a house with a purchase value of $500,000. Especially since it would be mortgage free. I am not looking for something extra fancy just a pretty nice home, in a nice neighbourhood.
  • $1,500,000 in Liquid Assets– This could be either a high interest savings account or something similar. The reason for this is for safety purposes. If I could get a savings account with interest earning 3.00%, I would be earning $30,000 in interest annually! Another reason I want to keep this amount in a high interest savings account is to give me options for investments in the future. The downside to this is the enormous taxes I would have to pay on an annual basis with so much of my money not in tax sheltered investments.
  • $300,000 For Business Opportunities – This could be starting up my own business or become a stakeholder in smaller companies. I might also consider investing in real estate if the markets are decent and such an opportunity exists. I would also probably keep this in a relatively safe investment vehicle for quick and easy access.
  • Remaining Money for my Goals and Passions– This will be donating to charities on a consistent basis, traveling with my fiance and maybe even starting my own charity organization. The point with this money would be to enjoy myself and feel good about life.

I am in no way a financial adviser or planner but I feel pretty good about where my money would be going. I would suggest that you try as much as possible to secure your winnings that you have not decided to give away to family friends and charities but to also enjoy your life and celebrate your rare victory.

I can only imagine what it would feel like to win the lottery and enjoy the pleasure of not having to work and be able to enjoy the fine things life has to offer. I think it is time for me to go buy a ticket.

Posted in Life, Money. 1 Comment »

Goals

Creating goals are pretty simple. You sit down, think of what you would like to accomplish and voila! A goal is made.

Not so fast.

Creating goals for yourself shouldn’t be something that you can think of right away from the top of your head. It is crucial that you take the time and actually think what you would like to accomplish in your life both short and long term.

When I set goals for myself, I get a piece of paper and jot down notes on where I see myself next year, 5 years from now and finally 10 years and beyond. When creating goals, I like to go over what I call: The 5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals.

  1. Write down your interests and passions in life. When generating this list try to ask yourself questions such as, would I feel good about myself doing this? or Would this be something I would do for free? Questions like these will help you sort your list from good ideas to not so good ideas.
  2. Once you finish brainstorming, write down your formal list on a piece of paper or type it up to give it a clean finished look. Anything is ok. Post this anywhere you like. On your bedroom wall, on the fridge for example. Someplace where you can view and reflect. Try to make short and long term goals.
  3. Create an action plan on how you are going to achieve your goals. Is there a financial barrier stopping you? Create a savings plan to erase this barrier.
  4. Pursue your goals with a relentless fury! You are your own master! Anything can be accomplished if you are passionate enough and want it enough.
  5. The best step! Achieving your goals! Congratulate yourself, and pat yourself on the back. You achieved something most people strive for there entire lives.

Make sure to make your goals specific. You also must be passionate about what you are trying to accomplish for much greater odds of success. Goals can be changed every now and then, so if you feel hesitant in making a change to your list, don’t be! Achieving your goals is a great feeling and should be felt by all. You will soon realize that goal setting is fun and will want to quickly add more to your own special list.

Posted in Life. 2 Comments »

The Truth Behind Time Management

During the last 3-4 weeks, I have been working harder and longer than usual at my 2 jobs. I have little room for sleep and most of my free time has been hectic.

Most of my interests and hobbies have been put on hold while I was consumed on eliminating the remaining debt I have. This has had a big impact on my fiancee, who misses the free time we had together on some week nights and most weekends. She has also not been shy about letting me know that I am wasting my life at work and not enjoying life with her and with whatever else I could use my time for.

I brushed this off, I thought that I just wasn’t properly managing my free time and I could find ways to better the situation. Over time, I realized that this isn’t possible because of one simple fact.

You cannot manage time.

Time is not something that can be managed. We cannot control when it is night time or any other time of day and we can’t experience a time in the past that we enjoyed again in the exact same way. Time does not listen to us, it was here long before us and will exist long after we pass from this Earth.

What we can manage is ourselves. We should all view time as a lesson. Think back a day, a month or a year from now and you will find lots of time wasted in pursuit of materialistic goals and days wasted working and doing things that we really did not want to do.

Sure, paying off debt is a great thing and everyone should be debt free in most circumstances. Is working 2 jobs worth it? I am really questioning my time spent and might return to a single job lifestyle sooner then I have planned.

Money can be gained or lost, but lost time is gone forever.