Dear Money & Crisis Reader,
We are staring down the barrel of a full-blown, multi-generational retirement crisis.
According to the latest data, the next wave of retirees is on track to be the poorest generation of seniors in decades.
91% of workers in their 50s have no pension. While almost half haven’t any retirement savings to speak of.
No 401k. No savings. Nothing.
We’re talking about 20 million seniors who will depend 100% on their Social Security for survival.
Which is a big ole problem.
Social Security ain’t designed to be your sole source of income in retirement.
If you want to maintain your quality of life, you’re expected to supplement this income with savings, investments, and side hustles.
Best-case scenario, your SS should keep you above the poverty line. But even that’s no longer certain in today’s economy.
If you retired today, and took the average Social Security, you’re looking at an annual income about $17,532 a year.
Now, this figure is technically above the federal poverty line. But the federal poverty line is no longer a realistic representation of a living wage.
Think about it. Could you live comfortably off $17,000 a year? And that’s just the average. Some folks are living off much less.
Meanwhile, economists estimate that a single person living on less than $24,000 in today’s economy will be living in poverty-like conditions.
It’s no wonder that thousands of Americans take their checks and flee to low-cost regions in Asia and South America (more on that in a future issue).
Right now, everyone’s happy to ignore this oncoming freight train. But pretty soon, 40% of middle-class Americans will slip into poverty as they exit the workplace.
And there’s no plan to get them out.
In today’s issue of Money & Crisis, 50-year-old millionaire James Altucher sits down with the Head of Hospitality for Airbnb and talks about a strategy for a new type of retirement.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis
P.S. Need a low-stress side hustle to supplement your retirement?
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Find Your Calling at Age 50 (Or Older)
People always ask “What number do I need to retire?”
Which really means “Do I have enough?” “Will I have enough?” “Can I survive?” “Will I be happy?”
But people aren’t retiring as much as they used to.
People are reinventing. They’re working longer. Or starting something new. They’re getting a second wind.
But that hasn’t stopped anyone from asking the retirement question. So I wanted to break it down.
See, when someone asks “What number do I need to retire?” they’re really asking, “What is financial security?”
And “Can I have it?”
I say “yes.”
Except, first I have to change the equation.
It’s not x amount of dollars = happiness for the rest of your life.
Its x dollars + virtual net worth = financial security.
Here’s how I broke it down on my podcast. I was talking to Chip Conley. He’s the Head of Hospitality for Airbnb and second time “James Altucher Show” guest.
He first came on my podcast a couple years ago. (When I was living in Airbnbs.)
I got a call from my host. “Hey, the Head of Hospitality for Airbnb is staying in the apartment right below you. Do you want to meet him?”
He came upstairs with a bottle of wine. (Classic hospitable move.) I opened my computer and recorded our conversation.
Now Chip has a new book out called Wisdom at Work. So I invited him to the studio.
He’s 58 and he’s not retired. He said he found a new “calling.”
People with jobs and careers want to retire.
People with callings don’t.
So one way to “retire” is to find your calling. That’s one option. There’s another option, which I’ll get back to.
First, I asked Chip how he found his calling. Here’s what I found out:
1. Mine Your Mastery
“I spent 26 years being a boutique hotel entrepreneur. In 2013, the three young founders of Airbnb approached me. They said, ‘We want to democratize hospitality, will you join us?'”
He said “yes.”
Now, I should say, of course, this opportunity was rare. It’s not every day or in every lifetime that some future billionaires will approach you and ask for your help.
Chip already built up his skillset.
He had spent the majority of his career disrupting the standard hotel industry.
Boutique hotels were unheard of when he first got started.
His foundation matched their future.
But let’s say you’re reading this and thinking, “No one’s going to approach me.”
That’s fine. Make a list. Write down all of your skills (the things you got really good at over the last 5, 10, 20 years). Then cross out all the ones you don’t enjoy doing.
2. Make a list of things you’re curious about
Now draw lines between this list and your list of skills.
Where can you see yourself?
Listen to your gut.
“There are lots of physical effects that can happen in our life that sort of tell you you’re on the right path,” Chip said.
3. Forget Who You Think You Are
Chip thought he was going to be CEO, Brian Chesky’s mentor. He was wrong.
“Within the first couple weeks, I realized… I’m the intern.
“I was twice the age of the average employee. I didn’t understand the language being spoken in the hallways. I didn’t have an Uber or Lyft app on my phone at that time. I had never heard of the sharing the economy.
“I had gone from being the pioneer as a boutique hotel entrepreneur in my mid 20’s to being the establishment by 52.”
He could’ve quit.
He had all the excuses. “I’m too old.” “I don’t belong.” “I thought I was going to be the mentor.” etc.
“I decided the only way I’d survive here is to be as much of a curious learner as I am the wise sage.”
He combined what he knew with what he didn’t know.
“And that’s what a modern elder is,” he said. “A modern elder is not the traditional elder that passed and is regarded with reverence. The modern elder is all about relevance.”
“OK, how do you become relevant?”
“By taking that timeless wisdom and applying it to modern problems.
For example: when Chip was building boutique hotels, he already faced the skepticism and mistrust since it didn’t have “Hilton” on the name. So he had to battle that.
With Airbnb, he could help meet skepticism head-on.
So he saw they had this “superhost program.”
Which did two things: it reassured you that the host is good at what they do. And it incentivized the hosts to step it up.
When Chip started working at Airbnb, there were only 200 superhosts in the world. And Airbnb hadn’t added any new ones for over a year. They were even thinking about getting rid of the program.
Then Chip stepped in.
He knew this could help fight skepticism and encourage people traveling to trust their host and trust Airbnb.
And it worked.
Now, there are 700,000 superhosts around the world.
But if Chip held on to this idea of “No, I can’t be the intern. I have to be the mentor” he would’ve left. And he would’ve lost his chance to be the modern elder.
OK, back to retirement.
The second option: build your virtual net worth.
I’m 50. And I’ve gone broke more than once.
People tell me, “You don’t seem 50.”
And then I’m supposed to say, “Thank you.”
But I don’t. And I won’t.
Because I’m actually proud to be 50.
It’s part of my virtual net worth.
Let’s just say you need $10 million to retire. (This is not a real example). I’m just giving easy numbers.
With $10 million you’ll make 4% a year after taxes, conservatively. So you can live a great life with $400K a year.
But here’s the flip side: if you love what you’re doing and you don’t have $10 million but you’re making $400K a year through multiple streams of income, it’s as if, virtually, you have $10 million.
And instead of retiring, you have your calling.
And you’re not worrying every morning at 6 am “Do I have enough?” “Will I have enough?” “Can I survive?” “Will I be happy?”
Because you already are.
P.S. Achieving financial security… and living the life of your dreams…
Can be easy as writing a single simple sentence.