avatarAldric Chen


At 37, Mark is Desperate to Retire. What He Did [Next] Killed All His Chances.

Please, please, please don’t be like him.

It is no fun watching your retirement account burn down to a crisp. Photo by Francisco Perez Carrasco on Unsplash

Unlike others I speak to, Mark is in a hurry.

Literally and figuratively.

He is in a hurry to retire. Mark is quietly desperate to make The Big R happen. Why so?

These are the reasons he shared.

  • He wants to exit the employment workforce for good,
  • He wants to have control over his time and effort,
  • He no longer wants to work for pennies.

Mark said more than that, but let’s stick to these 3. These are his strongest driving force, pushing him to do all sorts of things before, during, and after working hours.

It was amazing.

The 1st Thing He Did Was to ‘Invest’

Honestly, I was unimpressed.

It sounded like deja vu to me.

Many people I know ‘invest’ to accelerate their journey towards financial freedom and early retirement. Those in a hurry to do so [as I know] failed miserably.

Here’s why.

They are too desperate.

And they make unsound decisions.

Mark is an extreme case. He used to ‘invest’ in cryptocurrencies. The biggest holding in his coin portfolio is Bitcoin.

He bought them at $60,000 per coin.

The market shot up to $64,000 per coin. Mark was silently happy.

And then it crashed to $30,000. Everyone told him to wait. He did not. He sold.

Mark was worried that he would lose it all.

Now? He is happy with all the good news surrounding Bitcoin ETFs. He told me he had started buying in these ETFs, believing that the bear market in cryptocurrencies is behind us.

Mark wants to recoup his losses, make a killing, and retire.

Now, now. Take a chill pill, readers. I am not dissing your choice of assets here. That is your choice. Here, I am sharing Mark’s unfortunate brush with cryptos.

I asked him this question.

“How do you know it will go up this time?”

Mark responded without [even] thinking.

“Markets come down. Markets go up. But they always go up. I just happened to catch it at the wrong time. I believe so.”


I did not extend this conversation. I heard it too many times.

I wish him all the best in his investing journey.

And Then, Mark Started Trading the Markets.

He admitted to this readily.

“I need to make wins from multiple bets to amass cash returns fast. Dividends are too slow. I want to juice it. It may help me quit my job earlier by 5 years.”

I wholeheartedly endorse this line of thinking.


… Not at his level of desperation.

Mark will get killed trading the markets with emotions.

And he did not deny that it has happened [to him] many, many times.

“Everyone told me that Nvidia cannot sustain their earnings growth rates and that they would short the stock. I followed. I followed 3 times. And each time… I get killed. My losses were in the thousands.”

I got intrigued.

And frustrated.

I [really] hate it when people lose money for no reason. I mean, come on. Our money is hard-earned.

“Mark, why did you just follow? Are these people your peers in an online trading academy? Do you folks exchange ways to manage market risks?”

His answer bewildered me.

“I wanted to join a trading academy, but they are all so expensive! So, I decided to learn the ropes of market trading myself. I found like-minded people and got them into one chat group. We learn from one another.”

This is the perfect recipe for losing his shirt while trading the markets. Mark’s level of unfounded confidence amazes me.

I told him that he was paying a hefty fee for ignorance.

Mark says he will keep trying until he succeeds.

“My retirement account has dwindled by 55% because of the trading losses. I don’t think I should take money to attend a trading academy. They are so expensive. I will learn on my own.”

By then, I was utterly speechless.

He Tried to Build a Business Too…


That he did not.

Mark’s idea of building a business has nothing to do with,

  • Running it
  • Taking it to the next level,
  • Understanding the customers,
  • Developing products,
  • Growing it long-term.

He took his money and passed it to his brother-in-law as seeding capital for the venture. What the venture did, Mark did not know. He wasn’t interested in it also.

“I am a silent partner. I like it this way. Just give me the money. I will be happy.”


The opposite happened.

His brother-in-law focused too much on the digital marketing aspects of the business. In short, he was spending more money than earning it back.

He kept asking for more money from Mark.

And the quantum of investment got larger each time.

“What if you get cheated, Mark? You keep sinking your retirement money into this. Shouldn’t you be concerned?”

To which he said…

“I am running out of money anyway. I won’t be injecting more funds. I need the venture to start paying me a dividend.”

I remember thinking, there and then, just how unbelievably clueless he is.

The venture is not making money. Where would the dividend come from?

But well.

We live for hope and dreams, right?


The Close

I finally mustered the courage to ask Mark one question.

It is one that I have been dying to get an answer for.

“Mark, if you can be honest… why are you doing so many things concurrently? What is driving you?”

He paused, put his phone down, and stared at me.

Mark finally spoke.

“I am desperate to retire. Really. My career is going nowhere, my boss hates me and promotes others, and I don’t know when AI will automate me away. I am desperate to leave the sh!thole and retire by 40.”

I’ve heard this too many times.

So, I followed up with this question.

“How near are you to your goal? Hitting it soon?”

I know the answer is no.

But Mark gave me more colorful details.

“No, not anywhere near, and not anytime soon. I have lost 75% of my money from my retirement account for the past 3 years. I may need to work more years to return to where it was and then grow it again.”

I said nothing this time.

I gave him a smile of encouragement.

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