The Investment Scientist

A Fretless Life

Posted on: March 31, 2011

[Guest Post by Tom Warburton of Tulsa, OK] So…a life-long buddy walks into my office.  We exchange pleasantries until the inevitable ‘philosophizing’ begins.  We normally begin with complex issues like ‘what’s the meaning of life’ and as the afternoon progresses we wallow in less mundane initiatives such as ‘why does my wife think I’m crazy’

At a rare quiet moment my buddy states “he is living a fretless life”.

A Fretless Life!

What a nice thought…this sounds ideal.

We agreed that his financial resources were such that he could quit anytime he wanted.  He made the comment that “he knew he could quit anytime he wants – but – he likes what he does and doesn’t see any reason to quit”.


Man – does this sound terrific or what?

·       Your Financials Stand On Bed Rock

·       You Continue To Accumulate Wealth While Enjoying Your Work

So…my buddy is ‘fretless’.  He didn’t have to worry about money or how to spend his time.  He had ‘enough’ money and ‘he liked to work’.

This is where the rubber meets the road for many of my friends.

·       Now that I have enough money…

·       What am I supposed to do with my time?

Now that I can do whatever I want…what do I want to do?  Continue work as an avocation?  Abandon my workplace Cold Turkey?

We observe transitions (Both ‘the slow wind-down’ and ‘the cold turkey’) from professional life to private life as very satisfying for the vast majority of our clients.  I think that part of this satisfied mindset is derived because ‘as more and more folks join the retired folks in retirement…everybody thinks it’s normal – And “OK” – to be retired’.

Many of us get to a point where – no matter how passionate we were about our work – we’re ready to relax.

We also observe that many of our clients in their 70’s advise us that they hate vacations and their ideal activity is ‘Puttering Around The House’.

We are all just humans!  We exhibit remarkably similar behavior at specific stages of our lives!  Is this where we are all headed?  A world where our ideal activity is ‘Puttering Around the House’?

Permit me to speculate = Probably!  And That’s Just Fine!  If all we want to do is ‘putter’ and we are able to ‘putter’ – Do It!

Between now and then…how should we behave?

Maybe you are still grinding hard.  Your goals have not been fulfilled or, perhaps, you still ‘need’ to ‘push rocks up the hill’.

Whichever is the case.  Let’s resolve to achieve ‘fretless’ status before we decide to putter.  Let’s resolve to at some point in the future be like my buddy = Living A Fretless Life.

How do we do that?

Well, we talk with folks about money all the time and this is pretty much what we’ve observed as An Action Plan For A Fretless Life:

Save Money Systematically

  • Set-Up An Automated Saving Plan
  • The More You Can Save The Better

Borrow Money Strategically…If At All:

  • GOOD Debt:
    • Education
    • Buy A Business
    • Buy A Home
  • BAD Debt:
    • Anything Else (Absent Extremely Attractive Terms)

Live Within Your Means

  • Save before you Consume

It’s really that simple.  The above outline guarantees that no matter how much you make you will save something and your wealth accumulation will not be impaired by debt for lifestyle.

My fretless buddy incorporated many of the above principals.  Now, as long as he continues to know what he likes to do with his time…or he acquires an affinity for puttering… his life will be perfect!

Live Well Always.

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2 Responses to "A Fretless Life"

It really is easy when the basic principles are followed. Nice post.

Isn’t that great there are still some advisors out there who are promoting these simple ideas?

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.


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