Thoughts on Your Independence
“What is the essence of America? Fighting and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom to and freedom from.”
Good Morning Relaxing Retirement Subscriber,
I found this brilliant quote by Marilyn Savant several years back. It really captures what we’re all about so I thought I would share it with you as we begin another celebration of American Independence together!
I would even expand on the quote a bit and say the freedom to pursue your own rational self-interest, while enjoying the freedom from anyone using any form of force or fraud against you in your pursuit of it, including government.
This is essentially what drove everyone to America in the first place, and hopefully what still drives them here today.
Every once in a while, we all need to take a giant step back and think long and hard about how fortunate we are to be living in this day and age. And, most importantly, right here in the United States.
Because we all lead such busy lives, most of us never take the time to appreciate what we have, not to mention what we’re capable of experiencing.
When I read and listen to all the complaining about everything that is wrong and how “someone” needs to fix it, especially now as we kick off another presidential election season, I can’t help but think that a lot of people need a little contrast and a history lesson to gain some perspective.
If you’re a history buff like me, then you know that up until the 20th century, the world was quite a barbaric place. With everything we now have at our disposal, it’s easy to forget that.
Prior to the 20th century, unless you were in the elite ruling class, you were subservient to some form of a dictatorship, or governing monarchy empowered with the right to control every aspect of your life.
You had absolutely no control of your life. None!
Dream, plan, and work for a better life for you and your family? Forget it.
There was no upward mobility and no opportunity to change your lot in life without using brute force to get your way.
Contrast that with today here in America. And, with what our Independence Day celebration is all about: our ability to exercise our own judgment.
Our ability to use our minds to choose what we believe to be best for our own wellbeing (as long as we don’t use force or fraud to deny anyone else the right to pursue the same for themselves).
This basic and profound right did not exist prior to the creation of America.
Stop and think about how incredible that is, and the life it allows you to live if you choose.
How Independent Are You?
So, the question is: are you taking full advantage of this freedom to choose?
On Independence Day 2019, take a moment to grade yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on your level of independence (at this stage in your life) defined as doing:
- What you want
- When you want
- Where you want
- With whomever you choose
Seriously! Go ahead and grade yourself.
Where do you stack up?
Are you a 10?
Most would acknowledge that they’re not even close. Even those who are retired.
And, the reason is not a lack of possibility. The problem I’ve witnessed over the last 30 years coaching hundreds of individuals and couples across The Employment Dependency Threshold™ into Phase II of their financial lives is most are just not financially confident enough at this stage in their lives.
And, that lack of confidence translates into a lack of freedom and independence.
There’s a direct link between the two. You can’t experience high levels of one without the other.
If you really stop and think about it, all of those years of diligently saving money for the future are of absolutely no value to you unless you have the confidence to spend and enjoy the fruits of it without the constant fear that you’re going to run out some day.
Where to Derive Your Confidence
For me, confidence comes from “knowing”. Whenever my confidence gets tested in any area of my life, I immediately go into “information acquisition and quantification mode!”
Now there’s a mouthful! What exactly do I mean?
Well, I can’t stand ambiguity or haziness, so as quickly as I can, I study up on whatever is making me uncertain, and quantify what it means to me personally.
For you, the recipe for financial confidence is knowing your numbers cold, (i.e. what it costs you to live exactly the way you want, how dependent you are on your Retirement Bucket™, and what real rate of return you need to earn on your investments above inflation in order to keep your Retirement Bucket™ from running dry.)
Be as specific as you possibly can. Some rule of thumb touted in a popular magazine, or someone’s opinion will not bring about confidence.
For example, there’s absolutely no power in knowing what “the market” did today, or this month, or this year.
The power is in knowing how your Retirement Bucket™ is positioned to capture market returns, and more importantly, where that now puts you in relation to your long-term financial independence goals.
Are you still on track? Do you need to earn a better real rate of return going forward? Or, are you right on target because of the discipline you’ve exercised up until now?
Knowing your numbers allows you to make accurate, calm decisions, separating fact from fiction, and fact from opinion.
In contrast to the overwhelming majority of Americans at your stage in life who react emotionally to every drop of news, and have very little confidence as a result, it allows your actions to be solidly based on truth instead of your own or someone else’s opinions.
That’s where your confidence will come from, and, in turn, your increased level of independence.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take full advantage of it!
Committed To Your Relaxing Retirement,
The Retirement Coach
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I appreciate the trust you place in us. Thank you!
(The content of this letter does not constitute a tax opinion. Always consult with a competent tax professional service provider for advice on tax matters specific to your situation.)