I have a friend that knows the exact amount of time before he can retire--down to the number of days. He looks forward to his retirement date every single day, and has a countdown like a child waiting for Christmas to arrive in the month of December.
That's a hard notion for me to comprehend.
I mean, why wouldn't someone who seemingly despised their job so much, just change careers?
Apparently it's not that straightforward.
My wife grew up in a household where both of her parents worked. Both had great jobs, working for the same company for nearly their entire career. They saved, invested, paid off debt and ultimately retired early.
From what I understand, they both enjoyed their jobs. They liked the company they worked for and the people they worked with.
They now enjoy their hobbies, Grandchildren and spending winters in the South.
I would venture to guess that MOST people's professional path is similar to one of the scenarios above.
I'm not one of them.
Much to my wife's dismay, the thought of staying at the same company for 25 years with a predictable income, socking a bit of each check away for retirement and callin' it quits at 65, sounds terrifying to me. In fact, it sounds miserable.
That doesn't mean that the people that fit the scenarios I mentioned above are miserable or that their way of life it wrong.
In the case of my in-laws, they had wonderful careers and were/are perfectly happy.
The difference is the mindset of an entrepreneur.
Work isn't an obligation and path to a better life. For an entrepreneur, work is a passion and IS the better life.
Retirement isn't a planned event, nor is something being invested in. Retirement savings is the sale of a company, the future IPO or the liquidity that comes from your companies success.
Dream cars, homes, vacations aren't just fantasies to entrepreneurs, they're realities. If they don't get it this year, they try again the following year. And, the year after that. There is no end in sight and no point of giving up.
Entrepreneurs don't retire simply because they don't want to. Entrepreneurs are defined by what they do and their business-life is a part of their legacy.
This lack of retirement planning can be hard though--especially on those that think differently.
My wife, the saint she is, has had to come to terms with the fact that our future is highly unpredictable. Given the way she was raised, security to her is defined by a stable income and a growing retirement account.
There are often times, like right now, where I have very little to no income coming in. This means that whatever we have saved, goes to support the present, not the future.
As an entrepreneur, that's stressful, but not in the same way it is for someone who thinks like my wife. As an entrepreneur, you possess the conviction to believe that it's short-term and have the ability see the big picture. Others often look to the present to predict the future.
While entrepreneurs don't retire, we have to be mindful that others in our life wish that we did.