“What do you want to do when you grow up?” We’ve all heard this question, or perhaps even asked it numerous times, but have you ever considered what the question is asking? Typically, the question is really asking, “What do you want to do for a job?” A large portion of our society automatically assumes that you should pick something you want to do, go to college to learn how to do what you’ve picked, then go get a job in your chosen field.
To question this wisdom is near heresy, but that’s what I’m doing to do. Why? Because the results from the “go to school, get good grades, get a safe, secure job” advice are in, and they don’t look good.
Before I dive into the meat of the post, here’s a quick disclaimer: I am not against employment. There are many important roles. My reason for posting this post is to (hopefully) put a crack in the conventional wisdom that, whether consciously or unconsciously, seeks to push our youth into college and employment. This post is aimed at those that DO NOT have a passion for their job, which seems to be the vast majority of people.
An Employee’s Lifestyle
Since most people don’t think that there is any alternative to working until retirement/death, they never even question how much of their life that they are spending to make a buck. The reality is that most people spend a tremendous amount of their life doing something that they really don’t have a passion for just to make some money.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the average employed American spends just over nine hours a day working and commuting, followed by sleeping at just under eight hours. Check out the graphic below to see how the average employed American’s spends their time.
The normal retirement age in the U.S. is 67. To be conservative, let’s assume that the normal person starts working full-time at 22 years of age. That’s 45 years! Based on the above time study, that means that the average employee will, assuming a 5 day work week, spend 107,640 hours working, 125,651 hours sleeping, and 96,725 hours doing essential things like grooming, cleaning, eating, grocery shopping, etc, which leaves just 64,184 hours of leisure (or time with your kids/family) left. Here’s how it breaks down:
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to work the best hours of the best years of my life for a paycheck, especially when the paycheck is rather weak.
The BLS also publishes median incomes by age. What you’ll see here is that for all that work, the effort does not pay off at the end.
Graphs like that make me wonder why retirement was ever called the golden years. It looks to me like they’re the tin-foil years at best.
Seeing information like this really just confirms the feeling of hopelessness that most of the working populous feels; the feeling of not being able to get ahead.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your reality. There are many ways out. The principles to follow that will get you onto the correct path are as simple as asking the question I started this post with in a different manner. Instead of picking our ‘Do’ first, we need to define the lifestyle that we want to have. How much of that leisure/family time do you want? How would you like your income to be at 35? 55? 75? Ask yourself, “What do I want my lifestyle to be like?” The next part is to find someone that has the lifestyle that you’d like. This step is perhaps the hardest, but is worth the effort. The last step is simply to ‘do’ what the person from the previous step coaches you to do. The best thing I’ve found to help people through all three steps is LIFE.
You will most likely find that to get results that are far different than the picture painted above, the coaching you’ll receive will have a foundation in three very important principles of wealth creation:
- Delayed Gratification
- Long Term Vision
- Utilization of the power of compounding
If you follow those principles, find the right mentors and do the work required, you will live a life that most will never experience. You DO NOT have to work for someone else the rest of your life. You DO NOT have to work until you die to make ends meet. Freedom is yours for the taking.
You have the power to define your lifestyle, so start today!