Essential Reads – The Four Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferriss

Ian King, Thursday November 14, 2013

The New York Times bestseller of 2007 (republished and updated in 2011) is one of the most iconic “how to” guides to twenty-first century living.

First things first though, don’t be misled by the title.  Yes, the tools and strategies found within Ferriss’ book can be used to significantly reduce the time that you spend working, possibly even down to the suggested four hours per week.  However, the real focus of the book is to take far greater control of your time and financial resources and use them to your ultimate advantage.

Techniques

By using the techniques in the book you should free up your time but what you choose to do with this extra time is up to you, the reader.

One key argument that is covered early on in the book is the need to take a different view of the retirement model that we currently use in the western world. In simple terms, the present mainstream model is to work hard from your school days until your intended retirement date and trying to accumulate retirement benefits and savings along the way. We then expect to be able to enjoy retirement in our ‘old age’ after working hard all of your life.

Cost of retirement

Think about the following examples;

          • Has the cost of retirement saving increased? Significantly reduced state and employer provisions, increasing longevity, record low interest rates and diminishing investment returns highlight that it now costs substantially more in terms of personal savings (read forgone expenditure) to produce the same level of retirement income than it would have done twenty to thirty years ago.
        • If you do decide to forego such a large degree of potential expenditure during your working life, does it make sense to bet that you will be a) alive at the point you retire or b) in sufficient health to enjoy the retirement you dreamed of?
        • We all imagine that retirement will be bliss free from all of the stress and strains of work. The truth is that many people who retire, even those in good health and with ample financial resources, are unfulfilled and yearn for much of the structure that their work previously gave them. Is it realistic to work for forty or more years then expect to suddenly accept a slower, unstructured pace of life?

Tools within the book

Ferris suggests that by using the tools within the book to free up much of your time during your working life you can take ‘mini retirements’ on a regular basis now, rather than waiting for the unknown time when you expect to have fulfilled your dreams. As a result of making these changes you can significantly reduce the physical and emotional toll of work, significantly reducing the need to even retire fully. Retirement savings would just be insurance were you to become unable to work, for example, due to ill health.

Strategies and concepts

The strategies and concepts found within the book are far too numerous to review here but I encourage you all to take a look at Ferris’ book.  Further insight can also be found from the accompanying blog.

As always, please leave any comments you may have below.

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Essential Reads – The Four Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferriss

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