obsolescence

How to escape imminent Obsolescence

Charles
Charles

Obsolescence and old age

On obsolescence.

I remember a quote I came across years ago that went something along the lines of “one day you will wake up and realize you’re ten years older than you once were”. I always thought it an interesting concept. Would age all of a sudden hit you out of nowhere? And what would the feeling of coming to terms with that be like?

Rapidly approaching 30, I’ve already had a few of those moments when I spotted my first grey hair on my head a few years ago and then subsequently when I found my beard now grows spots of grey. The final nail in the coffin has been the white chest hair. Expect funeral arrangements coming shortly.

I’ll state I’m not afraid of aging what so ever and I feel each year gets better and better. I’m honestly excited to be 40, 50 and beyond. Life can age like wine or avocados, up to you and your decisions.

Speaking of life decisions; what this article is about, is just that. Thankfully, not body hair.

Investing in the stock market to escape obsolescence

I was recently taking in an article about how investors should pursue active and passive investment strategies in different points of their life. A 23 year old with 5 grand to invest is much better suited to investing passively in an index fund whereas someone in the 30’s or 40’s with 500k might be better suited to do some active investing. Yes, we could argue the benefits of active investing at an early age to take advantage of risk tolerance at a young age with a large investing career vs. the dangers of active investment at a later stage in life. That’s besides the point.

Honestly, what stood out to me about the article was one section and this graph.

obsolescence

Link to full article from The Woke Salaryman HERE

The premise is that you should start doing more active investment once you become more – essentially – obsolete in the work force.

Now I read this article yesterday, but today I’m thinking about it again after a few trains of thought lead me back to it. And honestly this scares me more than grey hair.



obsolescence. Redundancy, Uselessness, Unwanted.

Some sad words, and an even sadder concept. I’ve come to terms that one day my body won’t function anymore and I will die. But that’s hella far down the line in my mind. Now I’ve got to worry again about coming to terms with being unable to be useful.

This is coming sooner than most of us realize.

This hits home personally for me as an English teacher in China. Sure in this part of the world it’s a useful skill – being born looking a certain way, in a certain place is more of a lottery ticket win than skills. Sure I’ve learned some transferable soft skills from this experience, and grown in a positive direction that will help me succeed in my next endeavor.



What should I do with my life?

Let’s say I was to make a career transition in the next year or two. I’m aware and prepared that such a career switch would start me back at square one. In my early 30’s. Not undoable, but it’ll be an uphill battle I believe. Now what if someone had to do this in their 40’s. What about 50’s. They say you’re never too old to learn new things, but your energy levels and body aren’t what they are at 50 vs. 20 or even 30.

Let’s say I decide to go back to school for technology; software development or web development. They are literally teaching programming in primary school now. I’m going to be competing with people who’ve grown up with this more than I have and are starting ten years my junior.

This is not even to mention the robots.


   

How to avoid obsolescence and make it an non issue.

The reality is, even if you stay relevant and continue learning new things you’re going to get redundant at some point. Hopefully it’s not til you plan to retire. But how can we stay relevant and in a position to learn new things or, constantly be sharpening the blade? Glad you asked.

Maintain your health.

I know I said above how you’re not the same at 50 as you were when 20, well I’m sure there are plenty of 50 year olds in better shape than 20 year olds. Stay active, eat consciously and from quality sources. Don’t be afraid to use the money you’ve built of the years to keep your youthful looks and energy levels.

Invest early

Spend less than you make, invest in assets, grow your income, etc etc. It’s all been said. Quit reading about it – see mental masturbation – and start doing it. The idea in the article above is by the time you become obsolete, you’ve got enough assets to be happy to pass the torch of usefulness to the next generation. Or the robots, let them pay their dues.

Invest in future friendly skills

Robots are coming, the next generation is coming, and thanks to globalization China took the assembly jobs, next Indian dudes will be taking the information jobs. Invest in skills that can’t be easily outsourced. High level consultancy jobs in technology, accounting, sales and project management in niche fields . Health care jobs. And creative jobs.

When will obsolescence affect me?

To be honest you probably knew the robots are coming for your jobs. If you’re a baby boomer you may have already had your job cut for someone in Asia doing it at 1/4 of the cost. I don’t have tik tok, I wouldn’t know how to navigate the app and I already feel like how my dad must of felt when I was talking about MySpace years ago.

Time moves fast. And it’s not slowing down. So be prepared for the future, the unknown, and don’t rely on the government or some other odd entity to and hold your hand through your entire life like a feeble child. Only you have the power to save yourself from..

dun dun, dun..

Obsolescence.

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Charles
  • Currently located in China, teaching English and working towards Financial Freedom. I write about money, travel, personal development and more!

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2 Comments

  • WTK

    Hi Charles,

    I think that we already have the solution. Build an investment portfolio (mainly stocks) which will generate dividends on a continuous basis. The dividends will cover the expenses of one who live a simple life.

    The investment portfolio are built up from the income from the full-time employment. One will have no fear of retrenchment when the investment portfolio is well equipped to generate the dividend. There will not be fear by one who can afford to take calculated risks by focusing on the things of his/her interest.

    WTK

    • Charles

      You got it! Thats definitely my plan and seems like the simplest one. Best of luck on your path to financial freedom!

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