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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The One Moment Retirement

In his wonderful article "Prioritizing Retirement Tradeoffs" Mark Miller raises the possibility that keeping one's nose to the grindstone, delaying gratification for 30 years and then completely retiring may not be the best strategy for everyone.  Based on all my study, this "retirement" scenario is also a fairly recent- and  often destructive -fabrication as we've marched lockstep toward ever higher productivity and ever greater commerce in our post-industrial age.  Have we lost sight of the purpose of all this productivity and commerce? Who or what is it really serving?  Or is it killing us, our society and our planet?

Before I elaborate on Miller's article, let me segue you to a brilliant YouTube video (which I highly recommend you view immediately) by Martin Boroson:
called The One Moment Meditation.  I'm serious.  Go to that link right now.
If I may be so bold, my takeaway is this supposition:  What if the number one thing you are working your ass off for, struggling for, hoping for, saving for, (and fearing you'll never achieve), were right here, right now?  If you make a serious attempt to watch and listen to Boroson's short video you may get a glimpse of what I'm talking about:  that sense of calm well-being, satisfaction, wholeness.  Why do we make it so difficult and conditional?  Can you capture in a Moment the same feeling you think a 10,000 square foot mansion will give you?  Please take a Moment to view the video, and then come back here.

I believe that The One Moment Meditation is a microcosmic experience of the scenario Miller describes in his article.  Just like finding moments of peace amongst the chaos, couples who save less in favor of more vacations, working less, and other fulfilling activities are often able to work longer, save longer, and live longer and more happily to boot.  Why wait to enjoy life until you're too unhealthy to enjoy it?  That Protestant work ethic and self denial need moderation, don't they?

The Payton Manning risk management plan

In his March 25 post in MarketWatch, Stan Haithcock describes the "Payton Manning" plan:

"I'm sure that one of Peyton's goals every game is to not take a hit from the defense that is trying to punish him on each offensive play. Typically, he will go an entire game without hitting the ground which is due to a pretty good offensive line along with getting the ball out of his hand as quickly as possible."

Don't get hit.  Be sure you have brilliant investment strategies, and team members like Manning's offensive line, to prevent or absorb the risk of losing money.  Or getting "hit".  Don't get hit.  Easier said than done?  What would you think if I said "easier done than said"?

Before so-called hedge funds became, essentially, bookees they did indeed purport to "hedge" or limit risk to their investors by contrarian strategies, options, etc.  It's ironic that hundreds of such funds went belly up last year.  Unlike any of my clients, I too lost a small fortune betting against the market in 2013.  I should have followed my own advice, which was to expect the best and prepare for the worst.  And your worst case scenario- if properly structured -should be zero return for the year.  Losses should be unacceptable.