Gratitude, purpose, and retirement

Two of the purposes of this blog were to support sustainable personal finance and ethical capitalism. There are far too many people that are excluded from the current financial system, unable to achieve their goals, unable to reach their potential. They are held back, accidentally or on purpose. A concentrated few are concerned about only the greed of the next dollar, and no concern for who gets hurt along the way, no concern for the lasting consequences, to communities, states, nations, even the world we live in.

I saw a piece on Acorns Grow. The link was called “I saved 30%-50% of my income and became a millionaire in my 30s: Here’s my best advice“. The advice is good and I urge you to read it. She became a millionaire in her 30’s, which is terrific, and retired, doing what she wanted to do. I ask you to subscribe to her blog Save My Cents or give it a read, which might seem odd, but I really do want all of you to follow the best advice you can get. The last part of her post is what struck me.

“I started replacing phrases like ‘I have to go to work’ with ‘I get to go to work,’ and took the time to acknowledge the privileges I had.”

Shang of Save My Cents, on Acorns Grow

What a powerful way to show gratitude. I am sure Shang’s spirit of humbleness and gratitude helped her on her journey to save and reach her goals. It feels like I don’t show enough gratitude in my life, and I’m going to list a few here.

  • I get to write for all of you.
  • I get to positively influence the 61 people that follow this blog.
  • I get to share what I know.
  • I get to help others and avoid the financial mistakes we have made.
  • I get to write about something I am passionate about.
  • I get to set an example for my family that pursuing your dreams is worthwhile.

Why the focus on retirement on this blog? How does that have anything to do with gratitude and purpose? It seems to me that as a whole, humanity is underperforming it’s potential. I personally feel I am using 0.5% of my full potential. That’s up from earlier in my life, my potential felt negative, as if every thing I was doing was subtracting from the world, rather than adding any value. I was lost, unsure of who I could help or how I made a difference. Over time, I have learned. Now, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to write, to work, to love, to take risks, learn, fail, and grow. I feel, if more people get to retirement at an earlier age, that more of the hidden talents we have can emerge, we can do more of the things we want to do, and we can realize more of our potential. Call it selfish if you like, or altruistic.

I feel, if more people get to retirement at an earlier age, that more of the hidden talents we have can emerge, we can do more of the things we want to do, and we can realize more of our potential.

~ smilingDAD ~

That’s one purpose I have for writing. The other purpose is personal. I want my family to enjoy more of life, not have to worry about bills, not have to worry about student loans or credit card debt, not care about their credit, not worry if they have to work when circumstances are bad, to have the freedom to live on their own terms and values, not someone else’s. The more I share, the more I help others, the closer my family has freedom, in a world very much opposed to it. That’s a powerful motivation for me. If this blog can inspire others to seek freedom to do what they want, when they want, whether that is by volunteering, learning something new, traveling, teaching, coaching, mentoring, working, experimenting or discovering, the whole world will be better off.

We are all made from star stuff. Take a look up at the sky once in a while. The universe is vast. Our time here is short. Life is a gift. Why not make the most of it?

Dr. Viktor Frankl, Auschwitz concentration camp survivor, wondered about purpose and meaning. Why did so many lose the will to live and what was different for those that had the will to survive in the worst of circumstances? I am reading his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and in the foreword, there is a powerful sentence, in a book full of powerful sentences.

“Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: in work (doing something significant, in love (caring for another person), and in courage during difficult times.”

Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, foreword to Man’s Search for Meaning

I leave all of you with this final gem from the 1992 preface to the book. It’s something I have learned, that sometimes what you most vigorously pursue, is not how you achieve your goal. Sometimes it’s a by product of doing your best, and not caring about the results.

“Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.

Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say! — success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.” Page XV of Man’s Search for Meaning.

Here are two resources to help you find your unique talents and your unique purpose. I have found both incredibly useful on who I am and what I am best at doing. Surprisingly, writing was on the list.

Link: Free personality test, type descriptions, relationship and career advice | 16Personalities The descriptions here are eerily accurate for each personality type.

Link: StrengthsFinder 2.0 | EN – Gallup CliftonStrengths Explains How You Are Uniquely Powerful

Thanks for sharing this journey with me. If you find this blog interesting or useful, please subscribe! That way you won’t miss anything we write.

Warmest regards,


Published by smilingdad

My story is one of tragedy and redemption. We've made many mistakes along the way regarding our money. Our goal here is to show you how to take care of your money life long, and as much as we can, help the Earth along the way. I call it sustainable personal finance and ethical capitalism. Currently, I am a part time writer for Cleantechnica and part-time licensed financial professional, along with being a full-time dad.

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