I have found that your business life comes in 3 stages, and NO, it’s not the good, the bad and the ugly! They are the LEARNING YEARS, the EARNING YEARS and the YEARNING YEARS.
Years ago, when colleges asked incoming freshmen science majors to bring a slide rule, I was given some advice that has helped me prepare for my financial future. The advice was pretty simple, really … first, to recognize and understand the 3 STAGES in a businessperson’s life and second, what to do so you can retire well in stage 3.
STAGE ONE – THE LEARNING YEARS (Age 20-40)
For most of us this is when you are focusing on how to earn a living at something that you are (or want to be) good at, learning all you can so as to increase your future earnings. This stage is sometimes called “The School of Life” and the school colors are black and blue (the color of the bruises you will get along the way! – lol)
STAGE TWO – THE EARNING YEARS (Age 40-60)
During this time you will apply all that you have learned during stage 1 to your professional field and work hard, gradually increasing your earnings. Stage 2 is your reward for those 20 years you spent in the School of Life, those “learning years” that you just pushed through. You are earning more money than you ever dreamed of and now that the kids are out of the nest you can really indulge yourself with all that stuff made in Germany that you have wanted for so many years!
But is that really the best for you? No. Instead LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS during stage 2 … live a comfortable but modest lifestyle in your earning years, saving and investing what you don’t consume in preparation for stage 3 … YOUR RETIREMENT. It’s coming faster than you think!
Stage 2 is the all important foundation for stage 3.
STAGE THREE – THE YEARNING YEARS (Age 60 +)
You’ve been working 40+ years … you’re tired of the daily grind, it’s harder to get up at 5:45 AM 5 days a week, your knees hurt and your mind isn’t so sharp anymore. AH … RETIREMENT AWAITS … but can you afford to quit working and maintain your standard of living?
Yes, you can IF you set aside some of your earnings during your productive EARNING YEARS.
Consider the insect world. The ant works diligently to store up what it will need to make it through the cold winter that will come, but the grasshopper consumes everything it can during the fruitful summer, saving NOTHING for when the season changes … WHICH IT WILL.
Which bug do you want to be?
Be an ant! Discipline yourself during the “earning years” to not let your standard of living rise as fast as your income does. Don’t do what everyone else does … living it up to the MAX when you are pulling in the big bucks! Live a simpler, less indulgent mid-life and the result will be an annual surplus that you can store away to help carry you through the “yearning years”. Without these set-aside funds your standard of living will have to fall during your later days … NOT what you were dreaming of for your retirement!
You can enjoy a good life all thru the years if you have a reasonable wise financial plan and stick to it, to the end … which will be YOUR happy ending!