TL;DR: Once you reach Ramen Retirement, you’ve got the basics covered. More money at this point won’t materially impact your day to day life. With that realization, you need to figure out the bigger game that you want to play (beyond that simple ‘money’ game). Ultimately, I believe it comes back to discovering and sharing your gift with the world.
I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars, there’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom, that comes with that. But once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger.
– Bill Gates
As I was looking into the daily rituals and routines of a few silicon valley icons, I realized how similar my life is to theirs. They might have a slightly nicer place to live, marginally better view and more expensive car, but beyond that our lives look pretty similar. We ate at the same places, had similar daily rituals, enjoyed similar pastimes, and made the most of the many activities afforded by living in the Bay Area. Pretty standard stuff.
Even in the realm of work, we were doing similar things – planning business and product strategy, helping with the design and development of new ideas, executing on initiatives to move our company forward. Perhaps the only substantial difference is the level of impact and exposure they have on the world as a function of the role they play at their respective companies. They’re higher up, have control of more resources and ultimately make a bigger dent in the universe, but their day to day life looked shockingly similar to mine. Their existence was just a larger fractal of what I’m already doing.
In effect, I’m living a life similar to the billionaires of my time. Zuckerberg, Mayer, Brin, Dorsey etc.
With this realization, it helps to crystallize what’s important in life. If I’ve already got more than I need (through Ramen Retirement) and I’m living as well as people with way more than they need, then I probably shouldn’t be focused exclusively on the accumulation of more money. Instead the focus should be on expanding my ability, connections and impact to make a bigger dent in the universe – if that’s the ‘game’ I want to play. In silicon valley, the true currency is power and potential impact on the world. That’s what people care about. After the first few million, the money doesn’t matter as much, it’s more about what assets and ideas you control and how you wield that to make a dent in the universe.
Pretty cool stuff, and a great realization to have at this relatively early juncture in life. Reaching Ramen retirement puts you roughly on the same footing as these other icons of our generation. Once you have that level of freedom, what will you do with it?
Whatever you do, remember to enjoy the journey!