When you drive a car, you accept the risk of running into a traffic jam, a bad driver or freak weather. When you shop with a credit card, you accept the risk of becoming victim to a fraud (even if you only shop at big, reputable retailers like Target).
There’s a risk to everything, but not everything seems risky.
What do you consider risky?
As a traveler, you may have friends who think you’re taking a risk by going to places they consider to be dangerous. In return, you may think they’re facing a more serious danger of not really living life.
If you freelance to fund a nomadic lifestyle, your friends may think you’re crazy for saying no to the security of a stable income. But you may think they’re putting all their eggs in one precarious basket by depending on just one employer.
Over the course of your life, what you consider risky defines who you are and what kind of a life you live.
What do you think are the risks of travel in retirement?
A while back, I wrote about how multiple studies found that many people wouldn’t be able to travel much in retirement, mainly because people don’t do enough to prepare for a life of travel on their retirement savings.
From these studies, I took away the message that I should get my finances in order, so that I could travel as much as I want to when I retire.
I was surprised by the way other people reacted to the story. In the Comments section and on Twitter, they told me that because they might not be able to travel when they retire, they would rather travel now. They also brought up the issue of health — that maybe by the time they retire, their bodies wouldn’t be able to withstand much travel — and how that also meant that they would rather travel now.
These are valid issues, but I didn’t see things from that angle at first. I started to wonder why.
There’s no right or wrong; only the opportunity to learn more about yourself
For a 20-something, I think about retirement a lot. I want to secure my financial future now so I won’t have to worry about money ever. (This is why I work hard to build passive income.)
For me, there are few things more terrifying than the sight of miserable old people struggling on public transport, working minimum-wage jobs and shopping at thrift stores. That’s where I’m coming from; that’s my Big Risk.
I can see how growing old without having had the opportunity to travel can be someone else’s worst nightmare. This might seem weird, coming from a travel blogger, but that is not one of my biggest fears in life. As much as I love travel, not having had the chance to travel is not my Big Risk. That’s why I saw things differently than my commenters.
How Big Risk controls your life
Perhaps more than anything else, your Big Risk steers your way through life and makes decisions for you.
Because my Big Risk is not being able to retire, I design my life in such a way as to make early retirement a priority. To prevent my Big Risk from happening, I’m willing to take on other risks that don’t scare me as much.
I make sacrifices like cutting down on my biggest expenses and recurring bills. I forgo a regular job because I don’t care for the “corporate ladder”. Instead, I put my money and time toward building passive income. I also work on creating a career as a freelancer so I’ll have some enjoyable work to do in semi-retirement. I even put off full-time travel until I’ve built enough financial safety net to fully support a location independent lifestyle.
Any one of the things I do could seem unacceptably risky to someone else.
Not having a regular full-time job, for example, is terrifying for most people. Forgoing frivolous spending, especially as a young adult, could be depressing. And putting a sizeable amount of money into real estate during a crash must seem downright crazy to many people.
But, for me, those are the small risks I’m willing to take in order to avoid my Big Risk of not being able to retire. As a bonus, early retirement also means I’ll be able to avoid my other Big Risk of having no time to spend with my loved ones. Two birds, meet my one stone.
What’s your Big Risk and how does it affect the way you live your life?
Images: 1. Laura Hadden (CC BY 2.0 License); 2. Courtesy of ProQuoter ; 3. Justin De La Ornellas (CC BY 2.0 License).