The Life Portfolio

In my Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice study, I learned much about life insurance and life annutities last week. Included in a section on retirement benefits was a description of the importance of building up a ‘Life Portfolio.’ I was surprised and delighted to find this in an actuary textbook!

The Life Portfolio is a portfolio of passions, hobbies, and activities that will keep you engaged, active, and happy in retirement. Sadly, many people do not build this portfolio up over their lifetime. While working, many let work be the center point of their lives and simply spend the downtime in front of the television. Without building up a life portfolio over time, retirement often can lead to depression.

Mr. Mercedes, a television show based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, has a retired detective character named Bill Hodges that portrays a perfect example of this on the first several episodes. That is, until, the mass murderer he couldn’t catch while still active starts sending him messages. This in turn, gives him something to do.

But we cannot bank on external forces pushing us back into some sort of contributive roll of society once we retire. We need to be proactive, and fill up our life portfolio of hobbies and interests now.

Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that is all you need to do. “Once I retire, I’ll start this” is not a plan that will succeed. If you cannot start something now, what makes you think you’ll have the interest to start something then?

There have been many things throughout my life that I have started, believing I would be very interested in them. Then, I don’t keep them up, and my interest wains. However, through dedicated pursuit of my passions, I have landed on several that I have kept up. I even have several that I’ve had to give up or put aside because of time or monetary constraints.

This feels like a pretty good place. I know now that when I retire I not only have the passions and interests that keep me going currently, but I have a portfolio of other passions I have tried and tested and know I can get back to!

Portfolio Diversification

What types of things should be in your Life Portfolio? This wasn’t in the actuarial textbook. Instead, I will draw on my minimalist and stoic philisophical tenets.

Passions have already been mentioned. These need to be included, obviously. However, it is much easier said than done. After all, many of us struggle to find what our passions are. Methods and suggestions for finding those are not included in this post.

What are you going to include in your Life Portfolio that will help you continue

  • contributing to society,
  • a healthy lifestyle,
  • fostering great relationships,
  • and growing in wisdom?

If you’re like me, some of my passions include these items. I have passions for jiu jitsu, cycling, and hiking, which help me maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some of these passions also help foster great relationships within each of the respective communities. Some of you may plan never to fully retire and to work part time doing something so that you can continue to contribute in some way.

It is worth the effort in thinking about developing and diversifying your Life Portfolio. Your future self will thank you for it.

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