Today I am privileged to hit the big 4-0!
Did you know that the average life expectancy in the early 1900’s for people living in the U.S. was just 47 years old?
Fast forward to today and the average life expectancy has jumped all the way to 79 years old. That’s an increase of 32 years or a whopping 68% increase in a relatively short span of time of our human existence!
Good news, Bad news
Here’s the great news. You and I will likely be around for much longer (even after we pass the big 4-0). There will be more opportunity to experience the world, spend time with loved ones, and develop your natural talents that are your gifts to this world.
The bad news is that we’ll all need to prepare financially for even longer.
Even still, I think you’ll agree that the upside is much better than the downside!
My 40 Year Advantage
Today I find myself excited about new possibilities, and full of gratitude.
I’ve made my fair share of mistakes over the past 40 years, but that’s also part of my advantage. I’ve learned what NOT to do in many cases.. like buying a rental property I couldn’t rent out. 🙂 Fail fast, and often!
Having said that, I did get some things right the first time around. Want to know how I did it?
I listened and learned whole-heartedly to people who were older and more experienced (and likely wiser) than I was at the time. I have their wisdom to thank for guiding me to some of my greatest joys in life today.
So, I’d like to pass along a few of these wisdom nuggets to my younger readers (though many are still applicable at all stages of life!).
Travel in Your 20’s (and often!)
I am lucky that I have a lot of cousins in my extended family. The majority of them are older than I am, so of course, I looked up to them. One cousin really drove home the point of traveling while you are young (ideally without kids). The advantage is that you are energy rich in your 20’s without a ton of responsibilities.
Traveling really broadens your understanding of the world when you see it firsthand. It’s both adventurous and humbling to see how other people live around the world.
Some of my favorite destinations to date are France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Austria, and Macau. I still get to explore the greater part of Asia some day.
Of course, you can keep traveling once you have kids, but it may not be the same adventures you can take without the kids along. 😉
Start a Business Early
Starting a business is not for everyone. But, if you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, start while you’re young… preferably before you start a family (though not impossible). Starting young will afford you more time to fail (it’s just part of the process!). And once things start to take off, you’ll have your youth to exert the necessary energy into this endeavor.
Remember to take the time to work “on” the business also and not always “in” it. If you are going to start a business, it should also be a potential investment that can pay you dividends every single month. Read the book E-Myth by Michael Gerber for more insight as to what I’m speaking of.
Start Preparing for Retirement NOW
I can’t stress this one enough. This is a personal finance blog after all!
It really doesn’t matter how much you begin with, but it’s important that you begin as soon as you begin working (if not sooner!).
When I started out with $20/month, it felt like a futile task. However, I was enamored by the power of compounding interest and decided to stay the course. Fast forward a couple of decades later and this is one primary reason why I found financial freedom at an early age.
Preparations can include your emergency savings, 401K or IRA, Roth IRA, real estate investments, etc.
Guard the Door to Your Mind
Why do you think what you think? What do you read? Who influences what you think?
These are critical questions to ask constantly because:
our thoughts >> our beliefs >> our decisions >> our actions >> our destiny
There is so much information these days, it can be hard to figure out what to listen to. My general rule of thumb that I have taken is to trust your heart. Listen to content that aligns with your values and helps you to increase the quality of your life and those around you.
For me, I love content that is empowering and encourages growth… hence my affinity towards Tony Robbins.
Buy Real Estate as an Investment
As you may know, I love real estate. A well-purchased investment property can literally pay you for life! As a tangible asset, it will keep up with inflation, give you a safe way to leverage your money, and even potentially provide tax advantages.
Let’s be real though. Learning how to invest in real estate isn’t as simple as buying a couple of books. But, if you’re willing to push through the learning curve, it’s one of the fastest ways to hit FIRE that I know!
Checkout out some of my FIRE friends who are fantastic examples of this…
Live in Gratitude
Find gratitude in all moments of life… the little and the big! There is so much to be thankful for, even the toughest moments. Always ask yourself, “what could I learn from this experience?”
Experiencing gratitude slows life down and allows you to savor the finer nuances of life. And, having gratitude can be expressed in many ways!
To me, living in gratitude means experiencing:
- Giving back
Not only does it feel good, but it’ll reduce your stress more than any medication! 😉
Pay it Forward
An admission… I wasn’t always the best with this one. I wish I had done more earlier in life, but instead of wallowing in regret, I’ll simply do more in the future!
Paying it forward simply means having an open heart and sharing your gifts with others. Generosity of the heart is something that nurtures us all. It will give you a sense of purpose like you’ve never experienced before.
And… it will make you rich! Seriously, I don’t know why this works other than the law of reciprocity, but I assure you if you practice this enough, your life will be richer than you can imagine.
Consider doing a random act of kindness today. 🙂
Life looks a lot like a series of non-stop choices. Those who live a happy and fulfilled life have decided to choose consciously.
Wisdom can help you to make these choices better. That is my 40 year advantage.
I expect to play the second half of life even better and harder than the first. And, I’m sure as heck gonna have a ton of fun.
Upwards and onwards, my friends!
Readers, what wisdom have you accumulated over the years that you now consider your advantage in life?