If Retirement is So Much Fun, Why Do We Wait So Long to Get Started?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Well, the weekend is over and it’s time to get back to work. I hope you enjoyed a couple of days of rest. And if it wasn’t restful, I hope it was exhilarating. We spend five days each week doing the things we have to do, so it’s only fair that we should be able to spend the other two doing the things we want to do. At least part of the time.

Imagine what it would be like to sleep until you feel like getting up, and then take your time getting started each day. As you sit down for your first cup of coffee, instead of dreading the morning commute, you would run through a mental list of things you could do today. You know, fun things. Sure, there would be some errands in the mix. But imagine if your time was truly your own.

For most of us, that time comes much later in life. After we’ve done all the other things we need to do, we’ve worked our mind and body until there’s not much left, and that mental list of things we could be doing each day is interrupted by medical appointments. Once we reach that age, getting in a car to go somewhere is usually not very exciting. It’s just one more chore we have to do.

Yet, for most of us, that’s what we have to look forward to. Work for 40-50 years until you’re too tired to do anything, then cut your pay in half and sit around the house watching 24-hour news. That and sifting through the newspaper to find out if there are any familiar names in the obituaries.

It’s no wonder most young people don’t plan for retirement. Who wants to put all that on paper, and then work for several decades to achieve it? It’s a lot more fun to take those vacations while you’re still young. And why hold off on buying that fancy sports car until you’re too old to drive it? A bigger house? Get it now, before you have to pay somebody to keep it clean.

It’s that mentality that puts a lot of younger people in poor financial shape and leads them into retirement with a fraction of the savings they’ll need to survive. But, like most other things in life, we always count on things somehow getting better by the time we reach that age. The house will be paid off, we won’t have car payments, and old people eat a lot less food. Besides, there’s always the lottery.

On the other hand, I’ve met a lot of young people who decided we’re doing this all wrong, and they’ve managed to squeeze in retirement about the time most of us were just getting started in life. Instead of waiting for somebody else to tell them how much they’re worth, they decided for themselves. And, wouldn’t you know, it’s a good bit more than the rest of us get paid. Go figure.

But it’s not about how much money they make. After all, there’s only a certain quality of steak you can buy, no matter how much you want to spend. And fancy cars spend about as much time in the shop as any other car – they just cost a lot more to fix.

And here’s the thing – it doesn’t take a major windfall or rich parents to put early retirement within reach. It just takes a little extra. When you don’t have enough to pay your bills, $100 might as well be a million. But after the bills are paid, that same $100 gives you peace of mind you didn’t have before. Another $100 raises the comfort level. Double that, and you can take a nice vacation.

Most of the people I know who retired early didn’t start out making a fortune. They found a way to make a little extra, and then applied the same principles to turn that little bit into a little more. They kept doing that until the day came when their side income surpassed what they made on the job, and early retirement became a choice they could make.

Some friends were talking the other night about their doctor, who’s still working at the age of 85. He doesn’t need the money – he works because he wants to. If we’re lucky, we’ll have that option. Maybe our mind and body will still be strong enough to keep going long after others our age have been forced to stop. I sure hope so.

The important part of all this is choice – doing what you choose to do, when you choose to do it. And while that may sound like a bit of a pipe dream, that existence is closer than you may think. All it takes is a little extra. Find a way to do that, and then just keep doing it. The opportunities are there. The life you want is waiting. All you have to do is decide what’s most important.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Your Dreams Don’t Care How You Get There

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I was thinking yesterday about the story of a man who yearned to win the lottery. Oh, the things he’d do and the places he’d go. He even turned to prayer. “Please God, let me win the lottery!” Still nothing. Week after week, his prayers went unanswered. Finally, in desperation he cried out again … “Please God! Why won’t you help me?” A booming voice from the Heavens replied, “Help me out here Jim … buy a ticket!”

We all have things we want, things we’d like to do, goals we’d like to accomplish. And sometimes, the answer is right there in front of our face and it’s so simple we don’t give it a second thought. Or worse yet, we do give it a second thought but it’s not the opportunity we were hoping for. We wanted something a little more exciting or glamorous. So, we keep waiting for the next one to come along.

Make no mistake, if your dreams rely on winning the lottery, you’re almost certainly in for some disappointment. We all know the odds. And sure, for those who win, the reward is instant. All those things they wanted are now there for the taking. And, according to statistics, within 3-5 years it’s all gone and they’re right back where they started, but with an insane amount of debt.

There’s something to be said for earning things the old-fashioned way, through work and dedication. And I think the reason we don’t like hearing that is because we’ve done it for all these years and still haven’t reached our goals. Worse yet, inflation seems to keep those goals about the same distance away with each passing year. Your pay goes up, and so does the price of your dream. Ugh!!!

So, the key is to do something different. Some people go back to school so they can increase their earnings, but most of that increase goes to pay off school loans. There are areas of the country where you can make more money for doing the same thing you do now, but the cost of living in those areas is that much higher. You could take a second job, but how long can you keep up that pace?

Again, sometimes the answer is right there in front of your face. Somebody comes along and shows you how to make a little extra money, maybe even a lot. But it’s not something you ever saw yourself doing. Maybe you’ve had friends who tried the same thing and it didn’t work for them. And how will you hold your head up when people laugh and say, “Really? That’s your plan???”

A lot of people tried to fly for centuries before the Wright Brothers ever lifted off from the dunes of North Carolina. Some of them never got off the ground. Some watched their creations disintegrate on the first take-off attempt. And some, armed with nothing more than faith and a pair of flimsy wings, fell to their demise from a cliff. For anybody with half a brain, there were plenty of reasons not to try.

And then along came two brothers from Dayton, Ohio with no more brains than the others, driven by a simple dream – to climb into a machine of their own creation, and soar with the birds. That was 116 year ago and look at where we are now. Do you think they ever imagined supersonic jets and trips to the moon? They just wanted to fly. And the dream was big enough to drive them to succeed where others had failed.

And here’s the thing – the Wright Flyer wasn’t all that different than many other early designs that never got off the ground. But they knew they were onto something and kept going where others had failed. It was the perfect combination of wingspan, airfoil design, propeller size, and even headwind, that allowed them to make that first flight of 120 feet – less than the wingspan of most airliners.

If there’s something you want, a burning dream that won’t go away, don’t hold back just because others have failed. In 61 years on this planet, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a Rolls Royce driving down the street. But I’ve seen thousands of Ford Pintos. Does that mean only a handful of people want a Rolls? Or does it mean only a handful were willing to get one?

Opportunity knocks, but it doesn’t stand there pounding on the door until you turn off the TV, get out of your recliner, grab a drink, and make your way slowly to the door. It knocks once and then moves on. Meanwhile, you go back to the recliner waiting for a better opportunity to come along. And as you’re getting comfortable, somebody else is that much closer to your dream.

Don’t judge your possibilities by other people’s failures. You can succeed where others simply quit trying. You just have to want it more.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Your Tomorrow Begins Today

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Yes, I’m back. Hope you enjoyed the break. Okay, I hope at least a couple of you missed your morning dose of motivation. I’ve missed my time with you. As I’ve said many times before, sometimes these morning messages are as much for me as anyone. Either way, I’m glad to be back.

We took a nice trip across the country for a weekend business conference in Denver. And we drove, all the way from Ohio … 2,435 miles round-trip. I guess it would have been faster and easier to fly, but there’s something about experiencing the trip that makes it all the more enjoyable. All told, our (almost) new car has been in 18 states over the past two years. I guess we must enjoy it.

It was our first time in that part of the country, and it was nice to be able to spend time with a bunch of old friends and a few hundred others we’ve never met before. As a bonus, I have a cousin who works just a couple of miles from our hotel, so we were able to get together for the first time in at least ten years to share dinner and laugh about old times.

The program itself was motivating. I didn’t go out there hoping to be set on fire – I just wanted the inspiration to re-focus on my goals and come back with the energy to do something constructive. We had at least a dozen different speakers, all very accomplished in their own lives, and the message they shared was focused on one simple premise – your future begins today.

You see, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done to this point in life. We’ve all made some mistakes, and maybe we’ve accomplished some magnificent feats as well. But that’s in the past. Whether we enjoy or languish in the life we’ve built, that’s all in the past. From this day forward, we will build the life we enjoy (or suffer) going forward. It can all change in an instant. And that instant is now.

We met people from all walks of life with stories that, when you boil it all down, sound eerily similar to our own. They worked hard. They had bills. They worried about the future. They fought. They struggled. They wondered how they would ever take care of all the things they needed to do and still have time to plan for tomorrow. Sound familiar?

Some started out wealthy (at least on paper), and some were flat broke. But they all had a dream and the drive to do something about it. That dream may have been material, like a new house or car. It may have been to strengthen their relationship by working together on their dreams. It may have been to pay medical bills, save for college, or simply to have more time to enjoy the life they’d built.

Again, if you took their story and changed the names and a few other details, they could have been talking about any one of us. The difference is they got up and did something about it. They saw an opportunity to build a better life and made the most of it. And, as a result, they enjoy a lifestyle most of us can only dream of. It took time. It took effort. It took persistence. But it was worth it.

No matter what you’ve done in life, good or bad, your future begins today. You can build on the good and make it even better, and you can work past the mistakes to get back on track. It’s all a matter of desire and drive. But you have to believe it can happen – not just that it’s possible, but that if you put in the effort and never let up, it’s inevitable. There’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

If I learned one thing over the weekend, it was that all of those people on the stage don’t have a single thing on me – not one personal characteristic or inner gift that gives them an edge the rest of us don’t have. The only difference is how they put those talents to use. And if any one of them can do it, there’s nothing stopping the rest of us from doing the same thing.

You have dreams. We all do. They may be simple or grand, but to each of us they’re equally important. And all that separates you from your dreams is belief and action. Believe you can achieve, do the things that need to be done, and success is simply a matter of time.

That all begins today. Forget any mistakes you’ve made and look past where you are right now to where you want to be. Then make a plan and get busy. Do the things that need to be done and don’t stop until you reach your goal. It’s there waiting for you. All you have to do is go get it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Okay to Dream – It’s Even Better to Achieve

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Have you ever sat with a group of friends and just talked? Not about the job, and not about anybody else. Those are the default conversations that don’t really count for much of anything other than filling time. You talk about those things when you can’t come up with anything better. And you know what? Nobody is really listening anyway. They’re too busy waiting for their turn to speak.

But have you ever just sat there and really gotten to know one another? As the walls come down and trust begins to build, you can learn a lot about somebody that you would otherwise have never known. Very often you find that you have a lot more in common than you thought. Not just where you live or work, but who you are … the things that excite you and make you get out of bed each day.

Sooner or later, the topic will turn to dreams. Depending on the setting, that could come out right away or it could take a lot of foreplay to build up to sharing that part of ourselves. If you see a complete stranger wearing a tee shirt from your favorite vacation destination, you’d have no problem letting them know that’s on your bucket list. But with friends, we tend to hold back a little. Why?

I think it all comes down to our inner concern for the opinions of others. With strangers on the street, it’s no problem. You may never see them again, so who cares if they think you’re overly optimistic? But when it’s somebody we see every day, we’re not so quick to share our inner desires.

Part of the problem is that, when you’re talking with a complete stranger, they have no idea of your current station in life. You can tell them you’re getting ready to take a trip around the world, and they have no basis for acceptance or doubt. It’s just talk. But the better somebody knows you, the more difficult it is for them to just accept your aspirations on blind faith. They know your limitations.

And then there’s the issue of greed. Let’s just get it out there now. We’re all raised to believe that it’s okay to work for the things you want, but it’s greedy to want something you don’t have. Well, if that’s the case, why bother going to work? Just stay home and enjoy what you’ve got. Or work just enough to pay the bills and stop thinking of anything else. Is that the lesson we were supposed to learn?

Greed isn’t the mindset that wants something more. Greed is when there’s not enough to go around and you knock somebody else out of the way to make sure you get yours first. It’s the very concept of a game most of us played in kindergarten – musical chairs. There are just enough chairs for everybody – except one. And the moment the music stops, everybody races to claim a chair for themselves.

But I can’t think of many things in life where there isn’t room for everybody who really wants to sit at the table. If you buy the fanciest car on the lot, the dealer will just order another one. Buying a bigger house doesn’t mean somebody else can’t have one just like it. And is there a resort destination on your bucket list where you’d have to kick somebody else off the plane to get there?

It’s okay to dream. It’s okay to want something more, and to share those dreams with the people who mean the most to us. You may be surprised to find they have dreams just as big as yours. In fact, they may share a dream that slips into the inner recesses of your mind and works on your subconscious until it becomes your new dream. Who would ever dream of a Rolls Royce if they’d never seen one?

No, I don’t dream of a Rolls Royce. I don’t dream of many extravagant things, but I do dream of having the ability to see a little more of this world and time to enjoy the things I’ve worked so hard to build. I dream of a motorhome simply because it’s the most practical way of traveling across the country and staying in each place long enough to enjoy it. Extravagant? Maybe. But it’s not what I’d call greedy.

When you share your dreams with those closest to you, it validates not only the dream but your right to have it. When you work for a dream, you earn the right to achieve it. And few things feel better than enjoying something you’ve earned. So, dream. Share your dreams. Work for them. It’s okay to want something more. It’s even better when those dreams turn to reality.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Never Too Old to Dream

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

It’s been a busy week for me. Sometimes it works that way. Usually when the boss is out of town, but hey … that’s the way it goes. The bottom line is I get to come home at the end of the day knowing I did something productive. At my age, that’s a lot more important than brownie points.

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line I hit that point where my goals shifted from advancement and recognition to just doing a good job and leaving the place better than I found it. I think we all reach that point sometime in our work and personal life. For some of us, it just happens a lot sooner than others.

I talk to a lot of people who, when you suggest building something that can provide a little better security in retirement, and maybe even let them reach that point a few years earlier than they would have, they shake their head and say, “At my age …” What follows is some variation of “I’m too old to start something new” or “I’m happy with things just the way they are.”

What that means, in so many words, is, “People my age don’t have dreams.” Well, yeah, they do. We all do. We just may not spend much time thinking about them. But the most active retiree still has things they want to do, or places they want to see. And I don’t care how much money they’ve got, they probably wish they had a little more.

We naturally gravitate toward things that bring pleasure. Advertisers know that all too well. That’s why in vacation commercials, you only see families snorkeling over the Great Barrier Reef or enjoying a candle-lit dinner in a mountain lodge. You never see them waiting in line for tickets, enduring a body search at the airport, or crammed into a coach seat for six hours.

Part of the problem is that, when we’re younger, we want all the nice things and we want them right now. Sure, saving a portion of our paycheck would get us there eventually, but the credit card company says we don’t have to wait. We just have to take an even bigger portion of our check to pay the bill long after the fun is over or the new car smells like old cheeseburgers.

I did the same thing, so I won’t lecture anybody on financial responsibility. But, having done it both ways, I have to admit there’s a lot more excitement in saving for something you want than paying for it once you’ve got it. It’s like the difference between building something and then having to repaint it – every month until there’s nothing left to repaint.

As we get older, we realize that all those days of spending on whatever we wanted may have created some fun times along the way, but it may not have been overly responsible. And that’s when it hits – responsibility. The dreaded “R” word. It makes Mom and Dad proud, but to the rest of the world it simply means you’ve grown old.

That’s when we start saying things like, “Why do I need a new car? The old one still runs.” “A bigger house would be nice, but it’s just that much more to clean.” “I’d love to go to Tahiti, but who wants to sit on a plane that long?” Sure, the excuses make sense. But at the end of the day, they’re just validation of the fact that we stopped acting on our dreams.

I think a lot of that is the wisdom of age, realizing that money really doesn’t grow on trees and whatever we spend today won’t be there tomorrow. Part of it is the reality that, at some point in the not-too-distant future, we’ll retire and have to live on whatever we’ve been able to save. And part is just the fact that, as we age, a quiet evening on the porch holds a lot more value than it used to.

But part of it is that, as we get older, we give up our ability to dream. We’re no longer looking at a lifetime to enjoy whatever we begin building today. The appeal of a vacation every month yields to the lure of relaxing by the fireplace. And the excitement of new things turns to the cold, hard calculation of how much it costs and all the other things that money could be used for.

It’s one thing to become responsible, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams. So, what if you’ll only have a few years to enjoy what you’ve built? Doesn’t that beat not enjoying it at all? Dreams represent hope. And the longer you have hope, the longer you truly live. That alone should be worth the time you spend standing in line.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Be Sure You’re Chasing the Right Dreams

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Today marks the beginning of a new month. One in which many of us, especially in the northern climates, will see some change. Leaves will begin to turn brilliant colors and fall to the ground, temperatures will go from warm to brisk (and some days downright cold), and stores will begin to change their inventory from summer and back-to-school to holiday gifts, decorations, and treats.

Those treats get me every time. I’ve been trying to add one feature to our outdoor display each year, but there are three problems with that …. putting it up, taking it down, and storing it until next year. Ladders and I don’t get along so well these days. But treats? Yeah. I pick them up, I put them down, and storage is never a problem. Walking it off next year is another matter entirely.

Along with a new month comes a new chance to set and achieve new goals. If you’ve been following my daily ramblings, you know I’m in the midst of some changing priorities. The goals I had at the beginning of last month have changed, in some ways pretty dramatically. Life has a way of doing that. So, you adapt. You redirect, refocus, and get back in the game. Life goes on.

And that doesn’t mean we have to give up our dreams. They may change a little, and we may find simpler and more effective ways to accomplish the same objective. But the ultimate goal is still there. The journey isn’t over because one road closes. You break out the old map (remember those?) and find an alternate route. And then you listen to the GPS for the next twenty minutes – “Recalculating!”

I’ve often wondered why a GPS doesn’t have an option to initiate a detour. Or even to let you get off the highway to fill the tank and grab a bite to eat without those incessant reminders that you’re not following directions. There’s no “give me a break” button, or even a mute. It’s either on or off, and the whole time it’s focused on one thing – getting you to your destination the fastest way possible.

All too often, we go through life the same way. We’re so focused on that optimal path that we fail to appreciate the scenery along the way. And about the time we hit a roadblock, we just sit there waiting for it to go away. Because this is our path – this is the way we’ve always seen it transpiring, and anything else means taking a step back and admitting some level of defeat.

I imagine the early pioneers knew that feeling all too well. I’ve mentioned before flying across the country and thinking of all those people who crossed those mountains in covered wagons. On a good day with flat terrain, you might put ten miles behind you. But once you hit those mountains, it could take several months to find a way across. I’d hate to guess how many times they had to turn back.

But the goal was there, ever present in their minds. They dreamed of a new life in a new location, and that dream made all the hardships worth it. And I’m sure some of those cities between Oklahoma and California were settled because somebody said, “I’m sick of this wagon! Welcome to your new home!” It happens.

But for those who kept going, the ground went from dusty and rocky to lush and green, full of promise. And, here’s the important part. What separates the barren land of the desert from the greenery of the west coast is one final mountain range. Cross those mountains and everything changes. Stop one day short, and you’ll never even know it’s there.

With each new month comes a new opportunity to re-assess and re-establish our goals. It’s a time to look back at our progress so far and make sure the path we’re on is leading us where we want to go. It’s also a time to ask ourselves why that destination was so important in the first place, and if it’s really the destination we’re after, or simply the journey. Sometimes, getting there is the most fun.

We often find that what we really want isn’t necessarily waiting at the end of the road, but somewhere along the way. Buying an airplane would give me the freedom to go pretty much anyplace I want. But if travel is the ultimate goal, that same money will pay for a lot of plane tickets. Sometimes, what we think we want is simply a means to accomplish an even greater goal.

We all need time to re-assess our goals and make sure we’re chasing the right dream. The beginning of a new month is the perfect time. Make sure what you’re after is what you really want, and that the path you’re on is leading in the right direction. The only thing worse than being 100 miles from your exit is realizing you’ve driven 100 miles past it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Reality Stand in the Way of Your Dreams

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Over the years, my wife and I have talked a lot about moving south. We both grew up in south Florida, and we miss both the climate and proximity to the ocean. In an old Jimmy Buffett song, the lyrics say, “Salt air, it ain’t thin – it’ll stick right to your skin, and makes you feel fine.” Anybody who has ever lived close to the ocean knows exactly how true that is.

It’s also true that we spend most of our lives trying to get back to a place of comfort from our youth. I’m not sure if that’s because we’ve all worked ourselves into a life that looked better than it tastes, or because we’re simply trying to re-capture our youth. But those old days sooner or later come beckoning and it’s easy to focus on the good parts while forgetting why we left in the first place.

But it’s good to dream, even if the dream isn’t quite what we think it’ll be. You see a new restaurant being built and, as soon as you see the name, your imagination kicks in. “That sounds good!” Why? It’s just a name. You’ve never even seen the menu, much driven past and caught a whiff of whatever it is they’re cooking. But you find yourself anticipating opening day like a child waiting for Christmas.

Sometimes it lives up to your expectations, and sometimes it doesn’t. Or you may check out the menu online and realize it’s far too expensive for your budget, so you never do get to find out if it’s any good. Because, as we all know, price has very little to do with food quality. Some of the best tasting food on the planet comes from restaurants you’d drive right past if you didn’t know better.

Or maybe you’re like me, and when the new restaurant opens, you go back to your tried and true choices anyway. We don’t eat out that often, so when we do, I want something familiar that I can enjoy. I’m one of those who rarely even looks at the menu because I already know what I’ll be eating. Sure, I could try something else. But there’s some risk in that, and I don’t want to leave disappointed.

It works that way with a lot of things in life. We want something so bad we can taste it, to the point that it begins to consume our every waking thought. But as we get closer to it, something holds us back. That may be uncertainty, it may be fear, and it may be the realization that we like things just the way they are. As much as we want something better, we don’t want to lose what we’ve got.

Years ago, I interviewed for a job in Alabama. It wasn’t really close to the ocean, but it was a lot closer than I am here in Ohio. The job was right up my alley – it fit perfectly with my experience, and it would have been a nice promotion into a leadership role. As one interview led to another, our excitement began to build. Then one day reality came home to roost.

My grandson had gotten in some trouble at home and my daughter asked me to talk to him. As he sat on the edge of his bed, sobbing but not really talking, he finally blurted out, “I’m doing bad in school, I’m in trouble with Mom, and you’re moving away, and I’ll never get to see you again!” That hit me like a ton of bricks. One thing we learned in car sales is that the last objection is the real objection.

I assured him everything would be okay, then went home and told my wife I can’t do it. The reality of moving away suddenly overpowered the dream and sapped the fun right out of it. I told her if they offered the position, I’d have to turn it down. As it turns out, I never had to make that decision. I was one of the final three candidates, but somebody else got the job.

It’s good to dream. But it’s also good to re-assess those dreams from time to time so we don’t find ourselves chasing something we may not really want. Dreams exist in the imagination – and the imagination can make anything as fun and exciting as we want it to be. But as we get closer and begin to see some of the downside, it may not be as appealing as we thought.

Dreams change. And that’s okay, as long as it’s because you decided to make the change. But never let your dreams go because of external challenges you didn’t ask for in the first place. It’s been said that the only regrets we’ll have in life are the chances we never took. There is no certainty in anything, but there are possibilities in everything. Be sure the choices you make are right for you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved