“Ironically, the less time you’ve got until your expiration date, the more years of financial freedom pile up in the bank.”
It’s hard to find a problem with compound interest, but if there is such a thing, that would be it. I don’t know anyone whose birth certificate has an expiration date on it*. For this reason, it pays to have a good amount of money in investments and savings. In a good economy, a nest egg can grow quite a bit, adding a lot of financial freedom at the end of one’s life.
There’s a saying, “You can’t take it with you.” Some view dying with a lot of money as a tragedy. They say it would have been better to spend it to maximize your enjoyment of life. I can’t argue that view. There’s even a book called, Die With Zero. I haven’t read it, but I’ve read a few reviews, and it seems the idea is that if you die with too much money, you fail. You likely spent too much of your life at work.
Of course, the opposite is worse. You don’t want to reach zero and still have years before your expiration date. Many people have this potential problem. I’m guessing many of you reading this are more likely to die with a lot of wealth.
It stands to reason that there’s some ideal way to manage your life and spending. It’s a delicate balance. I admit that I’m not too good at it. We saved so much for retirement that we’ll likely have more years of financial freedom than life. On the flip side, we live well.
This reminded me of an old arcade game I played as a kid. It was called Lunar Lander. You have to guide a space shuttle onto a flat surface of the moon while landing slowly enough for it to be safe. Success depends on accounting for gravity and using your fuel efficiently.
Click here to give a try. It’s free!
I smashed my shuttle at least the first 20 times I played. I made the mistake of saving fuel and coming in with too much velocity. Other times, I slowed down too early and smashed into the side of the mountain. It takes some practice to guide the shuttle slowly to the safe platform.
I found that if I wanted to land at close to zero speed, I had to use a good amount of fuel early so that I had control of a slow-moving shuttle. When the shuttle was moving too fast, it was tough to adjust.
Retirement is the same way. You have to find the right balance to glide it in. You may find it best to use your fuel along the way rather than trying to save it all until the end.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
* I’m paraphrasing a famous Steven Wright joke.