Hard work in exchange for a life filled with love, adventure, and a wealth of great memories is my idea of a great profit.
For me, the most interesting and desirable returns come from money, energy, and time invested so that I will be around my loved ones more, explore my own interests and help those I care about to do the same. No one knows exactly what the future holds, and I don’t want to invest my life in something I am not passionate about on the chance that I can fulfill my desire for adventure tomorrow… or the next day… or sometime down the road…
We all know someone who has seen their “retirement security” disappear overnight.
It took all of my life until recently to realize the best thing I could ever invest in is myself. My life. Instantly I eliminated so many variables that make traditional investments so confusing and unstable.
I would prefer to use cash for a little land and a heritage seed catalog. A couple of dairy cattle and some meat birds. Irrigation pumps and tools. Travel. Adventure. Creating memories that cannot be taken away with a dip in the market.
My Wife and I have been fortunate in our real estate investments. But I will not deny there is a bit of luck involved while casting about the seas of such endeavors.
We have made predictions based on past and current market trends, and bet on our abilities and our own labor to try to guarantee a return.
I question the current model of working for someone else – investing my life – so that others might profit, in order to pay for a roof over my head that I may or may not even call my own in 30 years… And then take into account the interest I have given to the banks… Pffft.
Do you owe more than you make? Do you consume more than you create? Do you work to maintain the status quo? I have certainly felt at times that I was working just so that I could afford to continue working. Many Americans of my generation do – to a staggering degree.
I want to live fully and with little regret. Bonnie Ware writes in the eye-opening piece Regrets of the Dying that “By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do.
And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.”
Chris Martenson’s article on Peak Prosperity, notes that the old view of ever-expanding return on financial investments no longer holds relevance for many – and a new dawn is at hand.
“It is only the very recent generations that have been afforded the reality of this thing called ‘retirement,’ which is the idea that you can live off of one’s prior savings and investments for a decade or three, consuming and not producing the whole time. Not so coincidentally (to me, at any rate), retirement and the exploitation of fossil fuels came along at roughly the same time.
… Perhaps we’ll squander the last bits of good energy on bad wars that end up destroying infrastructure that could only be built when there was enough surplus to go around. Or maybe we’ll get it right and choose a future that we can strive for and use our remaining resources wisely to achieve those dreams.”
The only sensible solution in my mind is to invest in myself and family – transcending a paycheck to reap the rewards of my own production.
What’s working for us: honing our homestead skills to find our farm. Working hard in order to live free with the land and of our own making. I find this concept just as exciting and adventurous as our travels!
I also invest in education. Not necessarily in the structure of typical higher education –although I did that, and anyone who has had student loans knows that often the bills outlast the skills — but rather, I invest in learning specific skills that I might otherwise pay someone else to do. Self-sufficiency skills. Farm school made me realize all those years “invested” in listening to teachers, counselors, parents and experts tell me to go to college, get a career, stocks and retirement plan didn’t do anything to help me grow a crop or fix a diesel engine.
Investments in adventure have an immediate return for me because I enjoy stepping out my comfort zone to become more self-sufficient and experience life as fully as I can, hands-on — I also believe that the security of always being able to pay cash to have things done for you is as big of an illusion as the concept of tomorrow…