Sunday, 30 October 2011

India Early Retirement and Formula F1 Racing

Formula F1 Racing debuts in India for the very first time today, at the 875 acre Buddh International Circuit.  The high octane world of car racing is as alien to me as bob-sledding is to Jamaicans (obscure reference to the movie Cool Runnings)  It takes some patience and extreme passion to enjoy watching several futuristic looking cars, that all look pretty much the same to me, hurtling around an odd shaped track of 5.14Km (about 2.34Miles) over 60 times.  The fastest drivers can complete one circuit in as little as 1.5mins, setting an average speed of over 200Kmph.  Still there is a lot of interest in this fast growing sport in India, and we expect the popularity of car racing to grow exponentially in coming years.
So why are we talking about Formula F1 Racing on a early retirement blog? Well that's because I believe there is an enormous similarity between  F1 racing and Early Retirement, that is just too glaring to ignore.  Stumped? Well you wont be, once you have read through the remainder of this article. 

Even though F1 racing has this reputation of being an exotic sport, which attracts the attention of only a very small percentage of sports fans, there is one critical function that it performs in the world of automobiles.  Formula F1 Racing is relentlessly pushing the envelope on what is possible in the world of automobiles and transportation.  Both technology and human endurance are pushed to the limits in this sport.  But the naive reader may ask, What does that have to do with me? The answer is simple, and it has everything to do with you as long as you own a car, or use any form of automobile based transport.  Formula F1 has been for years pioneering cutting edge advancements in technology that eventually filter their way down into stock road cars that you and I can buy out of a showroom or dealership.  Advancements in engine technology (horsepower, lighter engine blocks, turbo, internal engine coatings etc), brakes (Anti-lock Brake Systems or ABS, disc brakes, carbon composite brakes etc) fuel injection systems, car body and chassis (streamlined carbon fibres, exotic composites, safety glass etc) and virtually every component of car design, have been pioneered on F1 cars, before making their way into productized road cars.  This has helped improve the safety, reliability, comfort, and cost of the road worthy car models that you and I can buy off the dealership.  This is one of the key reasons that several car manufacturers and car component manufacturers, own or sponsor F1 racing teams, since it gives them an excellent platform to showcase their latest technology and also test it under extreme conditions before implementing it on the thousands of cars that they manufacture and sell. 

Now here comes the punchline:  I propose that early retirement enthusiasts, such as yours truly, are the F1 cars of the retirement and personal finance industry.  We are the ones that come up with the exotic plans, asset allocation strategies, frugal living methods, safe withdrawal rate computations, risk-reward analyses, long range retirement planning, innovative use of financial products, early adopters of new products, market influencers to develop new products, you name it, that relentlessly pushes the envelope on personal finance and retirement planning.  As the myriad of wealth management firms, banks, insurance companies, Asset management organizations, Financial Planners, etc continue to come up with advancements, methods and strategies, we are the ones who are most likely testing them out in the real world, in our extreme early retirement scenarios, to make sure that they are "road-worthy" for the average traditional personal finance and retirement aspirant.  The purpose of this blog is to share the results of this "F1 road testing" of my personal retirement plan with you, so you can incorporate pre-tested, sure-shot, aspects that are relevant to you, in your financial planning.

By the way it looks like Sebastian Vettel of team RedBull is the winner of the inaugural Indian F1 Grand Prix.  I hope to emulate him in the world of personal finance and retirement.

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