Kramer: (over excited) Hey
Kramer: (still over excited) Who wants to have some fun!
Jerry: I do.
George: I do.
Kramer: (once again, over excited) Are you just sayin' you want to have fun
or do you really want to have fun?!
Jerry: I really wanna have some fun.
George: I'm just sayin' I wanna have some fun.
The above segment from Seinfeld stays on my front burner of bits I remember from the show, Kramer was so excited to hit golf balls into the ocean. One of my frequent sayings is that if you make enough to pay the bills, set some aside for the future with a little bit leftover for some fun, then you're doing pretty well, I'd say that is successful. The mission statement I created for the fire department (I am the Chief of the all-volunteer department where I live) many years ago is Be Safe, Serve The Community, Have Fun, Learn.
For all the working, saving, planning, helping family and anything else you do, I believe including fun in the mix is crucial to a well rounded life. This link from Marketwatch has a couple of relevant nuggets. " 'Gee, I wish I had spent more time in the office,' said no one on their death bed, ever." That same link includes median 401k balances for various age cohorts. For people in their 40's it is $36,900 and for people in their 50's it is $62,700. The numbers would appear to be discouraging but many people have much of their retirement savings in other vehicles. I just started an individual 401k in January so I am way below the median for my cohort. So had I been interviewed for that survey, I would have skewed the data. While I doubt the median retirement savings is $500,000 for my age group I hope it is better than $62,700. The average balance for my cohort is $179,100 which might mask how many people have little to no savings and that is where I think the story is.
Here is another link from Marketwatch with the 10 Commandments Of Retirement and while it is a good read, the best part might be the secondary title which says Forget everyone else’s problems — this is about you. Naval Ravikant Tweeted "to whatever extent possible, don’t keep a schedule." This is a common theme with a lot of folks I follow as well as how I've tried to build my life. Time equals wealth. To the extent you can live below your means and save for your future while fulfilling all of your other obligations, you are building a path to owning more of your time but this is a problem for people to solve for themselves. Just like no one will care about your retirement more than (hat tip Joe Moglia), no one will care about you owning more of your time more than you.
Part of owning your time is the pursuit of a happier or more fulfilling life which I equate to having fun. Quartz posted Having Fun Is A Virtue, Not A Guilty Pleasure. It says that too many of us are workaholics and we either don't know how to have fun or feel guilty for doing so. The article finishes with what I think is advice about how to have more fun. Again, this is something we need to solve for ourselves.
The investing implication here is not letting your portfolio impede your pursuit of fun, like worrying unnecessarily about declines in the market. Learning how to live below your means, have fun and control your emotions where market volatility and anything else is just that, they are learned skills/attributes.If they are missing from your life or not prominent enough, the solution lies with you and your effort. One way to think about this is to stay curious which is a way to always move forward with what you're already doing or have but also to learn about and do new things. None of this requires a ton of money, it requires being merely comfortable and making good decisions. How realistic is that? You can decide for yourself but the bogey is nowhere as big as needing to be truly wealthy.
For fun this weekend I drove over to Primm, NV to check out the Mint 400, that is the header picture for this post. Included on the drive is Nevada Highway 164, aka the Joshua Tree Highway where I got this other picture.