My 40 Year Advantage is Now Yours

MichaelBeliefs, Education, FIRE, Habits, Misc, Personal Development34 Comments

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my 40 year advantage

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?

40 year advantage

Life expectancy at birth in the U.S., 1900-2009 (source: Centers for Disease Control)

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…

Not sure where to get started?  Try one of these… The Millionaire Real Estate Investor or Building Wealth One House at a Time.

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:

  • Joy
  • Wonder
  • Amazement
  • Laughter
  • Appreciation
  • Giving back
  • Etc.

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. 🙂

Final Thoughts

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?

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Hi, I have been blessed to take an early retirement in my mid-30's so I can focus on becoming a better father, blogger, and investor.

My goal is to help you find your personal path to financial freedom, and to enjoy the entire journey.

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34 Comments on “My 40 Year Advantage is Now Yours”

  1. Happy birthday Michael!

    Love the Tony Robbins quote! That’s why I’m looking to read more in 2017. I’m through 16 books so far… 🙂

    Buying real estate early and starting a business are crucial elements. Even if you are bringing in an extra $100 a month, that adds up! In addition, over time, that $100 should grow if you are nurturing it.

    Thanks for the post and again, happy birthday.

    P.S. hate to burst your bubble but your author about section needs updating 😉

    1. Haha, you’re awesome, Erik!! Way to call me out on my about section my first day into 40… man, I was gonna ride that one as an oversight for as long as I could. 😉

    1. David, I’m sure you will be wiser when you turn 40! You’ve got access to so much good info online these days. Wishing you fun to FIRE and beyond! 🙂

  2. Happy 40th birthday! Man, mine is coming up in June really quickly. We definitely got to make the most of our time remaining on earth.

    I just got back from coaching a high school varsity tennis match, and we pulled it out 5 to 2. It was so awesome to see the joy on the kids faces, and especially the kid who want 10-8 in the tiebreaker.

    To be the parent there to witness your son or daughter overcome a difficult moment is just priceless. Only about four parents were there out of potentially 35 parents because everybody had to work.

    It’s all about FIRE!

    1. Thanks, my friend! It’s not too bad here on the other side. But milk the rest of your 30’s while you can! 😉

      It’s so cool that you’re coaching that high school varsity team! You must have been jumping up and down inside during the tiebreaker, but all calm and composed on the outside.

      Let’s keep spreading FIRE everywhere so more parents can watch their kids’ matches.

  3. Happy birthday Michael!

    So good to read advice coming from someone successful. Great reminders, although I must say I have already made my fair share of mistakes.
    They should teach a course on “How to Win at Life” in last year of High School or something 🙂

  4. Happy birthday, Michael! The big 4-0!

    Great advice. I particularly like the point about guarding the door to your mind. I never heard of it like this before but I like it. I know for me there where a number of choices I was making in my adolescence after listening to the wrong crowd that could have completely changed the direction of my life. Definitely lessons I want to pass onto my kiddos.

  5. This is some fantastic advice for young people (and even those of us that have hit the 40-year mark). When I think back to my younger days, I wish I had a better plan in place. I had a lot of fun, but I didn’t really “wake up” until my mid to late 20’s.

    I’m hoping to guide my daughter with some good guidance out of the gate and I’ll definitely be using some of your nuggets of wisdom as part of that guidance.

    Happy birthday!!

    — Jim

    1. Thank you, Jim! Yeah, I think we all wake up at different points in our lives… and sometimes more than once! 😉

      Your daughter is so lucky to have your guidance!

  6. Hey, congrats on the big 4-0! Thanks for all of the advice. I just hit 25 myself and I’m getting my life in order. At least it sort of feels that way. 😉 I do want to travel quite a lot more. I traveled a lot as a kid and as a teen and I think it’s crucial to developing a more well-rounded, worldly point of view.

    Here’s to another wonderful 40 years!

    1. Thanks, MPP! That’s fantastic that you’ve had the opportunity to travel when you were younger. Where’d you go? Where would you like to go next? 🙂

    1. Thanks, MCK! I agree. It’s a lot less painful to learn from other people’s mistakes (though I haven’t shied away from making my own too…heh).

  7. Congratulations on hitting the big 40! Great advice for us all. I especially like the guarding the door to your mind concept. It’s a variation of the “you are the average of the 5 people you hang around most” which is pretty darn good advice.

  8. Happy Birthday! The Big 4-0! I’m always looking learning from those older and wiser than me. The idea about starting a business and traveling before kids is a good one…a little too late for me though =) Life definitely changes when you have little ones and time is much more limited. I am starting to get into real estate though…

    1. Thanks, Andrew. Yes, the little ones are game changers! 🙂

      What kind of real estate are you looking into? Any areas you are targeting?

  9. Happy birthday Michael! Congrats on hitting that big 40 milestone and celebrating it with open arms. Great advice on guarding the door to your mind. It’s easy to let people and ideas in that don’t resonate with your values if you aren’t consciously monitoring it.

    1. Thanks OB! I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if I’d be welcoming 40 with open arms, but here we are! 🙂 Guess we get to choose whatever we experience. Might as well make it good!

  10. Happy Birthday, Michael! Thanks for including me in the real estate section.

    This was an excellent article. I know it was intended for those just starting, but I think your advice is wise for those of us at any age.

    As a FIRE blogger I of course resonate with the financial advice. But I think the most important tips were guarding your mind, practicing gratitude, and paying it forward. I think if you build a foundation as a PERSON with those virtues, the rest comes much easier AND you will be a lot happier no matter what.

    I read and listened to Tony Robbin’s stuff right out if college. So glad I did. Set the stage for a lot of progress later.

    1. Thank you, Chad! I love your story and journey, so I’m happy to share it with others looking to FIRE. Can’t say that I’m surprised that you’re a Tony fan too! 🙂

  11. Happy Birthday Michael!!! I love the wisdom that you’re doling out especially living in gratitude. This is definitely something that I have to constantly remind myself about in order to stay in the moment. Definitely not easy to always remember 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!

  12. Lots of valuable advice here, Michael! I particularly like ‘Live in Gratitude’ – I think the more grateful we are, the less stress we experience and the more we’re able to appreciate everything we have already been blessed with in life. Thanks for the insights 🙂

    1. Thanks, Zach! I think you hit the nail on the head… more gratitude = less stress. When’s the last time you heard some ask for more stress? 🙂

  13. Happy belated b-day! I love the thoughts about practicing gratitude and paying it forward. We are all so lucky to be in the situations we are that allow us to pursue the paths of our own choosing. I’ve also done some traveling around the world. When you see the conditions some people grow up in less developed countries you can’t help but feel lucky. One of my primary motivators for FIRE is to spend more time giving back to others. I can think of few things that can provide a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

    1. Thanks, HBFI! Yes, I love traveling for the same reasons. You really have an opportunity to appreciate the unbelievable blessings we have compared to most people. Being able to pay it forward just brings it full circle and is a win-win for all.

  14. Happy Belated Birthday fellow pisces!

    I love: ‘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.’

    My favorite: ‘pay it forward’

    I have my grandma to thank for all of this. My personal tip is ‘Stressing yourself to achieve anything, be it money, grades, or popularity isn’t worth it. The most important thing is your health and your family.’

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    1. HBD too, Tracy! Your grandma sounds like a wide woman.

      Health and family are where’s it is all at. Without those, money doesn’t matter much. Great advice!

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