I’ve stumbled across many articles over the years about regret – you likely have as well. I can’t say that I’ve ever had an “epiphany” from reading these pieces, but I can say that each article I’ve read has further solidified my resolve to want to retire early.
Because almost every article talks about people over the age of 70 who regret not enjoying life more when they were younger. Almost every article talks about how they regretted working so much. And almost every article discusses the stress and anxiety these folks felt working day-in and day-out to support a lifestyle that they can’t take with them when they go.
As much as the thought of retiring can be exciting, it can also be terrifying. Relying on income from investments and putting hundreds of thousands of dollars somewhere else can be a scary thought (especially when we’re constantly being spoon fed that the market is crashing on this day or that a reliable stock is going down the toilet on some other day). So we watch the market, make strategic moves, and ultimately just hope for the best – for those who have a hard time relinquishing control, even just mentioning that “hope” is in someone’s retirement plan is enough to make you cringe. But if you spend all your time trying to sculpt the perfect retirement plan, you may end up working forever – there’s just no way to know when the “perfect moment” is.
“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.”
— Mark Victor Hansen
In 10 years, will you regret…
Still not convinced? Let’s try this very old exercise. In 10 years, will you regret how you’re living right now? If you said “no,” fantastic! You can skip this part. However, if you said “yes,” it might be time to reevaluate.
Taking this a step outside of retirement, let’s focus on regret in general. Are there actions you’re doing right now that could be harming your future? This doesn’t have to be just financially – think about everything going on right now, because ultimately every action you make and take right now will shape your retirement. If you’re obsessing over something you shouldn’t be, dwelling on something that you should just forget, or worrying over something that is outside of your control or hasn’t happened & may never happen, then you’re taking your happiness away not just in this moment but also in future moments. Are these actions harming your happiness? Are these actions harming your relationships? Are these actions harming your health? Ask yourself – will you regret these actions when you’re retired?
Stop the cycle of regret…
When we’re to a point where we’ll look back on today, will you be able to say that you don’t regret today? Make it happen! It’s still early enough in the day to make a change. Start now! Live today so you don’t regret it in 5/10/15 years.
The article mentioned above is by author Bronnie Ware. You can find her book here: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing (affiliate link).