Zen of Retirement: 3 Simple Steps to Get Started

Photo of Scrabble tiles on money spelling retire

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How are you set for retirement from the rat race?

Are you doing what you love, or just working a job?

The average American has only $79,000 saved towards retirement.

I used to say I was never going to retire because I wouldn’t be able to afford it, despite always maxing out my 401k and non-deductible IRA every year I’ve worked.  But then I attended a Millionaire Mind Intensive seminar and realized I needed to do something differently – not just to change my behavior, but more importantly to change my attitude about retirement.

Enwealthen was born from my desire to educate myself methodically about financial freedom with a long term vision of retiring comfortably, and share that experience with everyone who finds it useful.  You’re here because you’re curious about the same thing.

Ask Yourself The Big Retirement Question

The most important thing to ask yourself is what does retirement mean to you?  Are you traveling, spending time with family, starting that second business you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t have the time, volunteering to help others?  Or perhaps you’re so burned out at work, that you’re blinded by your desire to stop working, just so you can clear your head and determine what you really want to do with your life.

Everyone is different, and everyone has their own idea of retirement.  Perhaps you’re like Leo of Zen Habits – simplifying your life for a better future, today.  Or perhaps you’re like Sam of Financial Samurai – worked hard, saved hard, and sharing his financial experiences for your benefit, including some excellent retirement advice.  Whatever your story, you can reach your retirement goal.  By reading this, you’ve already started.

Zen is about simple, so here are 3 simple things I’ve done, that you can do to get started:

  • Find a time and place to sit and visualize your retirement: make it real – what are you feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting.
  • Save your money: live on 50% of what you make, and you’ve just moved 1 year closer to your retirement, every year you do this.
  • Invest wisely: diversify out of the stock and bond market into real estate, precious metals, small businesses, and peer-to-peer lending, among other things.  Don’t know how to do this?  Educate yourself.

Once per week, spend 20 minutes on one of these steps.  Then do it more frequently – twice per week, 5 times per week.  Until one day you realize you’re doing something every single day that is progress towards your retirement.

Suddenly, you realize you’re there.  Not retired.  But you can see what your retirement looks like, where you are, what you’re doing, and most importantly, the steps you’ve taken, and the ones still remaining, to get you where you need to be.

The fear, driven by the unknown, has faded, and what was that retirement spectre lurking in the back of your mind, is now your retirement cheese, enticing you to do even more to get you where you want to be.

Get ‘er Done!

Now, with me, I find the biggest hurdle in success in any objective is procrastination.  So the real secret to a successful and secure retirement?  Have a bias towards action.  As long as you act, even if it’s in the wrong direction, you’ve started your journey towards the financial freedom required for a comfortable and enjoyable retirement.  Every act gives you the information you need to correct your course.  The alternative?  You can choose to remain paralyzed, a deer in the headlights, staring frozen at your frightening vision of living in a cardboard box eating dogfood.  It’s your choice.  You have to start somewhere.  You have to start sometime, don’t you want to start it here, now?

I’ve started my journey.  Won’t you join me?

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What are you doing to prepare for retirement?  Leave a comment below with problems, questions, or suggestions on how best to prepare.

Photo of Scrabble tiles and money courtesy of 401(K) 2013.


  1. This is an interesting article.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately, probably because I hate my job so much. But anyway, I’d love to be able to retire when I’m older, or even when I’m younger, but haven’t figured it out yet.

    I’m off to start focusing on my retirement and what it means to me. Next step – a budget!

    • Definitely, Mark.

      The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be. As they say in the tech industry: Ready! Fire! Aim!

      Moving in the right direction is more important than doing it perfectly.

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