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How to Be Semi-Retired: Step Four: Integration

Posted by kdadmin on August 29th, 2015.

How to Be Semi-Retired: Step Four: Integration

Enough with the darn Market Crash. I think I’ve covered it well enough. Let’s let the rest of the market pundits sort it out. We’re in cash. Let’s get back to more pressing matters, like How to Be Semi-Retired …

So far, the steps are:

  1. Figure out your something; your ONE THING that you love to do more than anything else on the planet.
  2. Figure out what impedes your ability to do your one thing. Make a plan to eliminate these things.
  3. Identify the five people you most want / hope with propel you towards your one thing.

Step Four is …

Write your Plan A. This is the ideal result. The best case scenario of the steps above coming to life. So, let’s get it down on paper. Now that you have your one things, have identified the issues that could thwart your access to it, and know with whom you hope to share the process, paint the picture in your head of accomplishing it. Include things like:

  • Where would you be?
  • Which season is ideal?
  • When and how could your five people interact with you?
  • What would it feel like? Look like?
  • What would be GREAT? Horrible? Or, meh?
  • Whydo you find this so compelling?

Let’s be clear, Plan A’s almost never work. But they represent the ideal. Something to which you can aspire. Something so compelling that it will motivate you to get off your butt and do it, even when you’re sick, whiny, or grouchy. Plan A’s need to be the sort of ideals that are nearly impossible, pie in the sky, if the stars aligned, all your enemies were vanquished, and the world bowed before you.

Now, I can count on one hand the number of times that a Plan A came to fruition in the last five years. But, MAN was I proud of myself! And BOY did I celebrate. This is essential. Because it keeps the Plan A’s lofty. This simple fact will push you beyond what you think is reasonable. It will force you to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the world. Which is why you will be able to semi-retire.

Example. Aside from my wife, I love three things most of all: investment advice, traveling the world, and kiteboarding. I’m not kidding about investment advice. If you know me, you know I love it. Ask me anything about it and I’ve either studied it, preached it, or derided it; often all three, and usually in print. Traveling allows me to explore the broader world up close. Kiteboarding thrills me, and humbles me in awe of the sea. I tell you this because it offers a background story for my Plan A.

Painting a picture of my Plan A goes like this:

  1. Where: On a large body of water. It could be the ocean surrounding the Florida Keys, the French Mediterranean Sea, Lake Superior, the Scottish North Atlantic, or even the Columbia River.
  2. Season: Summer. After 37 Minnesota winters, I’m over it.
  3. Five People: Most of my five people live in one of these locations. Or, they have the technical savvy to communicate with me over Skype.
  4. Feel & Look: Look at that photo above. There I was kiteboarding on the Mediterranean Sea, in Provence France, after having just identified my exit point in the high yield bond market. It was freezing (57 degree water, 53 degree air), incredibly windy (40-50mph), and very French. Further, after a decade long search, I had just found the best wine on the planet and it was waiting for me back at the villa Even better, my wife would be arriving in two days. The stars had aligned…
  5. Great: Kiteboarding in France. Horrible: starting to get hypothermic after 43 minutes in the water even with a 7mm wetsuit. Meh: the safety standards of the kiting organization.
  6. Why? I always wanted to kite in Europe, I love France, that weather was thrilling and humbling, my search for the best wine had ended successfully, and, after 8 years of preparation, I had finally proven that I could successfully provide investment advice, get new clients, and manage existing ones from across the globe.

Plan B (C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, LMNOP …) As I mentioned, Plan A’s rarely work. As such, you must have a Plan B, C, D, E. for each of the aspects of your plan that you think may fail. This is why Plan A’s are so great. They define the ideal. Would it have been nice to have it be 75 degrees when I was kiting in France? Yes. Call that plan A+. My point is that things WILL go wrong. You have to be prepared. If you follow through my example above, what could have gone wrong? Lots of things, including injury, full blown hypothermia, lost at sea, failed internet connections, auto accident, no wind, crappy wine, etc. The list goes on. And for each contingency, I had an alternate plan. I knew where the hospital was. I had a spotter. I had someone to check in with when I was done, otherwise the search party would go out, I knew who to call if I had an accident, I had two backup internet providers, I could drink cognac instead of wine. The only thing I couldn’t plan for was the wind …

How to Create a Plan B.

  1. Start with your Plan A.
  2. Imagine everything that could go wrong. I mean EVERYTHING.
  3. Make contingency plans for every single one.
  4. If you can’t overcome a contingency (no wind), plan to do something else. (There was a formula 1 racing test track near the kiteboarding location in France.)
  5. Create a hierarchy for your plans, by how much you want to do each of them.
  6. Make no more than five contingency plans to start.
  7. Take the first step of your Plan A.

Money Preview. In Step Five, I’ll show you how to setup your finances to hit your Plan A’s.

Critical Integration. Well constructed, and executed, Plan A’s are critical because they integrate all the passions in your life. Instead of the work, play, family, spiritual, and philanthropic aspects your life pulling you in opposite directions, they all coalesce around your Plan A. By following your passions, you can actually enjoy them all at once. It’s a sublime and validating experience. Which is the key to being able to Live the Life You Love.


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