I had gone to Lucknow ( capital of the state of UP in India) last week for celebrating the Golden Anniversary of one of my in-laws. In their house they have a decent size lawn and also a lot of pots and trees in the garden.
While sitting in the garden, having my coffee I noticed an old man mowing the lawn with a manual lawn mower. Since you don’t get to see a manual lawn mower too often these days I got talking with my in-laws about it.
That’s when my in-laws mentioned that the gardener was in his 90s and peddled down on a bicycle about 17 km everyday to come to their house and do the gardening. He does gardening in about 5 lawns in the vicinity and spends an hour at each location. He earns about 5000-7000 INR every month- about USD 900 /annum.
The positives from the interaction were that he was so healthy and fit even at 90. He was able to move large pots around even though I would never be able to lift those plots. I felt extremely happy to see a 90 year old, so healthy and independent. I did not get an opportunity to talk to him because I got caught up in some other engagements there.
However it got me thinking, would he want to do this activity if he had the financial freedom. Was he working because he had to earn his daily bread or what were his circumstances at home which pushed him to travel 365 days on a bicycle to earn such a meagre amount.
When I visited Canada in 2017 in one of the department store I saw ladies at the cash counters who in my opinion were more than 70 years working on the basic minimum wage only because they did not have any savings to last them their remaining life. Yesterday I met one of my old colleagues who is now settled in the USA and he mentioned that the official retirement age in the US is now 67.5 years. So as countries are ageing they are trying to increase the official working age. But for countries like India where the population is still very young, the increase in retirement age from 58-60 in most cases is still afar cry.
Globally the average age of the people is increasing with better nutrition and medical support. If Dr. Peter Diamandis is to be believed in the next decade the breakthroughs in science will help people live well over a hundred years. However the working life of an individual is only about 30-40 years while they will have to support themselves without an active income for the next 30 odd years.
Just with pure saving instruments its not feasible to beat inflation and grow your money. You need to be investing money on a regular basis from a very young age so that the you can get the benefits of compounding. If you will notice Warren Buffet’s dramatic growth in wealth has been after he crossed the age of 60 because the compounding equation is an exponential equation and as the number of years goes up the impact on your investment is dramatic. He started investing in his early teens, so close to 70 years of compounding has made one of the richest men on the planet. At around the same age our gardener is still trying to earn USD 900/- per annum because he did not make investments.
Compounding is such a simple equation that grade 7 students are taught in school mathematics. However our teachers are not able to show the implications of that equation because what is simple is not always easy to comprehend and most people inspite of knowing it don’t apply it ever.
I would strongly recommend everyone to read the book “The Compoound Effect” by Darren Hardy to see the benefits of compounding in all walks of life.
Use this simple equation to make your life easy for the long run and be secure to live well beyond 90 years.