Are you living the “deferred life plan?”

It’s been a hard year for bankers.

The New York Times’ headline: For Many Wall Street Bankers, This Year’s Bonus Season Is a Bust.

Reuters reported that bonuses would be down “40-50%.”

Yes, life at the Panerai store must be hard in 2023.

And while percentages are fun.

What do these numbers mean in actual dollars?

Well according to the Twitter account @litquidity (featured in this week’s New York Post) we have our answers:

(For the untrained eye, All-In means total 2023 compensation.)

Keep in mind that pretty much everyone on this list is under 35 years old. And probably works 80-100 hours a week.

So what goes through the minds of these folks?

Are they jolly? Do they have fun?

They probably don’t worry about money.

Or do they?

Here’s where things get spicy.

My friend Kris has a bunch of these lovable blokes on his incredible newsletter Moontower Meta.

And he recently polled 150 of them.

He asked them about their darkest secrets. Their dreams. And their fears.

One result stood out: they’re living the deferred life plan.

Meet the gang

Let’s meet this motley crew of millionaires.

Half of them work in finance.

50% earn more than $250k.

11% more than $750k.

(For context, the average US salary is $54,000.)

And most of their wealth is outside of their homes. (Only 15% have more than 40% of their wealth in home equity.)

Oh – and 95% of them are men.

Ok, so what’s wrong with these perfect lives

The survey then asks them a series of questions about their inner lives.

First, a whopping 50% “reported shortcomings revolving around some version of low confidence or fear.”

As the table below indicates, the scarcity of money (yup!) and time led the pack at 9% – tied with impostor syndrome and loneliness.

Enter: The deferred life plan

Now you can wonder why rich people are scared of running out of money. Or why they feel isolated and lonely.

But the next question was the real shocker:

If you had no money concerns and purchased all the things you wanted and checked off every place on your travel bucket list (like imagine you won the lotto and several years have elapsed since), what would you do with your time?

Now remember – by most yardsticks – this group has “won” a version of the lottery.

They have high incomes. They own their homes. They have liquidity.

They have their health.

49% said… wait for it… they’d get a hobby.

And more shockingly, only 3% answered “what I’m doing now.”

Now you and I both know this type of ambitious professional.

I was that professional.

Here’s how they think.

There’s a season for hard work (culminating in your 50s).

And there’s a season to reap those rewards.

That latter season is Retirement.

It’s the deferred life plan.

But a lot can happen between today and the day you start living.

Your health will inevitably decline.

Your kids will have their own lives.

Sadly (and also mentioned in Kris’ post), you’ll probably lose a friend or three.

Because we forget:

Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Kris is even more blunt in his condemnation of this behavior.

The only thing I’ll say here is if you say you want to garden when you retire, and you don’t garden now, you are fooling yourself. Your actions reflect priority.

Of course you need money to do things, BUT unless you want to race Formula 1 – hobbies are cheap. Kris continues:

Sure there are some things which money is a prerequisite for, but I’m just [not a believer] of the idea that your current self arrives at some mental projection of your future self where you will do the things you think you like. Look at the first question — half of the responses are fear. Look at the demographics. Most of you are less than 45 years old and by the standards of geography and history — rich.

And by the way, if you look at the desires of retirees they’re remarkably simple:

  • No meetings
  • No commuting
  • The ability to pursue a hobby

Let’s stop deferring our lives until some imaginary tomorrow. And start living. Today.

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