Who's The Daddy: Retire as soon as you can and enjoy every minute of life
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You can save and invest all your working life for a comfortable retirement, eat healthily, don’t drink too much and get plenty of fresh air and exercise every day (I’d recommend doing all of these, by the way) but when your time comes, that’s it. Game over.
A day or two later, and probably before you’re in the ground, your nearest and dearest will be round your house, rummaging through your gear for anything of value. And all the stuff you spent your life fretting about, all the crap you bought, around 95 per cent of it will end up on the tip, or maybe stuffed into a charity bag and left on the curb outside the house you spent your life paying for. Photos and anything of sentimental or monetary value, that’s all they’ll keep.
All cheery stuff. But there’s an upside to our impending demise. YouTube is awash with financial advisors and investment experts who all say pretty much the same thing - retire as soon as you can.
One expert calculated that once you hit your late 50s and early 60s, you have fewer than 1,000 weeks of good health left. OK, that’s just a different way of saying around 20 years, but it does bring things into sharp focus.If you’re in your early 20s reading this - hello daughter #1 and daughter #2! - if you remember nothing else today, burn this onto your soul in letters of fire. Save and invest 15 per cent of what you earn every month - on payday - into a low-cost index fund. The S&P 500 has returned a touch over 16 per cent in the last six months, historically it averages around 10 per cent a year. God bless America!
And if you earn the average wage, by the time you get to my age you’ll have just shy of (tappity-tap-taps figures into the compound interest calculator on thecalculatorsite.com) £1.2million. And over 35 years, it’s just north of £2m. Let me ask you a rhetorical question. If you had £2m - that was still growing at 10 per cent a year - would you turn up to work tomorrow?
To put this into perspective, my dad was a slim, healthy guy of 6ft 2in. Kept himself fit by doing loads of gardening - it was pruned to within an inch of perfection for decades - but he died of pancreatic cancer aged 66, a few months after he retired. Diagnosed in the third week in February, died on March 11.
Or my grandad, another six-footer who liked his pipe and a pint, who suffered from angina and died a couple of years after he retired, two months after his 67th birthday.
Some people might say, “Yeah, but when you retire early, what are you going to do all day?” Well how about about anything you like whenever you want? Like the late Terry Hall, who left us aged just 63 said, “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”
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