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Author: Derek George

Derek is a marketing specialist at Ubiquity Retirement + Savings. A passionate champion for small business, she can be found demystifying the financial industry, advocating for the underdog, and making playlists you did not ask for.

Our book club is currently reading Daniel H. Pink’s To Sell Is Human, and this week’s reading surfaced an interesting tidbit of information: we find it hard to relate to future versions of ourselves.

“To those estranged from their future selves, saving is like a choice between spending money today or giving it to a stranger years from now.” – HERSHFIELD et al.

Is this why so many of us live for today, unknowingly aligning ourselves with the philosophy of Epicurus, which states that pleasure is the greatest good?

We can’t escape the rules of cause-and-effect; what we do today has downstream consequences.

The donuts, the late night ice cream sneaks, the stubborn adherence to a strict policy of no exercise. These choices that I made years ago are affecting me today.

I have proof. I’m sure others can relate.

What, then, can be done to save our future self? Are we doomed to forgo sacrifice instead of pleasure, planning instead of impulse?


“Light Strokes, Fell great Oaks.” – Benjamin Franklin

Just as my impulsive behavior years ago is the bane of my waist-line today, the Krispy Cremes, baby back ribs and el grande pork burritos I eat or do not eat today could harangue my figure a year from now.

If I make small modifications and compromises, like eating light meals two or three times a week, forgoing a $4.50 mocha, maybe not eating out as much, and possibly using the extra money I save to invest in my 401(k) plan, and maybe, just maybe running around the block a few times a week and doing push-ups before going to sleep, I might be in better shape a decade from now had I not made these small adjustments.

What do you think? If you can take a small series of actions that lead to a great payoff, would you do it?

Will you?

Is your company a learning organization? Does it strive to review, analyze and incorporate new thinking? At Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, we strive to create an inclusive culture of learning that everyone can participate in. That’s why we started our book club back in 2013, to strengthen our community, and encourage new ways of thinking. 

“A learning organization is the term given to a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself.” – Mike Pelder

In a previous article, I had interviewed Professor Michael Finnegan of Quantum Camp, who agreed that critical thinking is not a common skill these days.

As a company, we want to change that.

Jim Collins’ “Good to Great”, Jonah Berger’s “Contagious”, Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup” – these are just a sampling of the books we have chosen to read together. We believe that a learning organization goes beyond just having classes. Learning is built into the culture of our company.

Everyone here is invited to participate in the book club and anyone who participates is expected to read a book and examine the ideas its puts forth and bring his or her observations and insights to the table when we meet.

We carefully see what makes sense for our clients, our company, our goals and choose what we take with us into the future and what we leave behind.

This fosters another set of our values, community and participation.

Each person lending her or his voice to the chorus, sustaining the song, this is OUR way.

I don’t know if a Stanford torus will be available when I retire, but I’m hoping our society and technology have something awesome and unequivocally desirable awaiting me and my generation.

Equal to that hope is my desire to be financially able to take advantage of such opportunities. To me, that means I need to keep saving up and investing today.

This brings to mind another metaphor or parable, if you will, about “talents” or sums of money that were given to investors.

The first two investors were able to double the investment of money; they used their time and their client’s time wisely.

The last investor was only able to return the initial deposit; he was cursed by his client.

Ultimately, as I see it, the last investor had two faults: fear and lack of perspective. In his fear, he took no risks; in taking no risks, he wrought no rewards. The last investor’s lack of perspective was in regards to time, both his and his clients. Time is the most precious commodity for us. The first two investors could have easily lost that money and indeed risk does not guarantee reward. However, in the limited time we have is it not better to try?

As someone once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

A Vocation and Avocations

Derek George / 26 Feb 2013 / Ubiquity Insights

Nathan Bolt is a friendly, helpful, burgeoning young professional with whom I’m speaking about vocations and avocations, passion and happiness, the future, and now.

Victor: Some people have this idea that if they work hard, they get to play hard. On the other side of that there are people who scrounge and scrounge.

Nathan: I think it’s prevalent in our society to kind of live this deferred life plan model, where you work most of your life and maybe take one or two vacations a year with your family, that when you’re 65 or when you retire, that’s really when you get to enjoy yourself. I don’t think that’s for me, because when I’m 65, I don’t think I’ll enjoy the things I would have enjoyed when I’m 25 or 35. While I’m young and active and able to do more things because I’m healthier, that’s when I want to enjoy myself.

But at the same time, you have to think about the future. I think it’s a balance.

Right when I turned 18, I started a Roth IRA.

I can make my budget and contribute my maximum and really make sure that my investments grow over time so that by the time I’m thinking about retiring I’ll be set.

V: Have you ever heard of an avocation? An avocation is something you can be a specialist at that isn’t necessarily a money-maker but something that gives you a work/life balance. For some people, it’s what makes their life worth living. Do you have anything that you’re passionate about?

N: Music, specifically electronic music. Recently I’ve got some DJ equipment, and I started messing around with that.

With my free time, I will be learning how to DJ as a hobby.

When I’m passionate about that I’m just happier in general with my life and that translate into all aspects of it including my vocation.

Happiness goes beyond passion and Nathan understands this, “I’m always the type of person who when in a situation that is hands-on, dealing with people, I’m happy.”

It’s hard for me to say that I’ve met anyone more well-rounded than this confident gentleman.

I meet with the convivial Michael Finnegan, Ph.D., Scientist, Teacher, Author, and Entrepreneur and throw him the ice-breaker, “Can gratitude prepare you for the future?” To which he jovially replies, “Yes it can.”

We exchange some ideas about gratitude and mutually agree that gratitude is a shift in perspective that considers a bigger picture, which leads me to ask him why he co-founded www.quantumcamp.com with Ryan Nurmela.

M: The school was started out of some responses I had to previous jobs in teaching where I saw what was going on with the children and the lack of teaching. I had this new job in a pretty rough public school in West Oakland. I saw all the things that pundits say is wrong with education in America. It was no longer an abstract idea. I was in the classroom.

V: I know you have a unique philosophy, which is the DNA of Quantum Camp, a school that teaches advanced concepts to people you wouldn’t expect to receive those concepts – children!

M. The foundational idea is all grand ideas that define science and math today, that define society, at some point were not known. There’s a moment where an idea was discovered and entered into the consciousness of humanity.

The pedagogy or teaching practice of Quantum Camp asks, “what were the series of events that led up to that discovery?” Usually the answer is decades or centuries of experiments, with their failures and successes. We have the children/students redo those experiments. Lo and behold, in the final few days of any course what dawns on them are these grand ideas which they rediscover and now own for themselves. They can sort of go forth with this quiet confidence.

V. Do you find that children’s ability to critically think becomes awakened after taking your courses?

M. Most students are trained to say, “Is this the right answer? Am I doing this right?” The teachers at Quantum Camp will respond, “You tell me. Your data probably has the right answers. Look at your data.” When you force them to look at their own work, that’s when critical thinking starts to happen. They are not looking for the answers elsewhere, from a teacher or smart person or authority that somehow magically knows.

V. You’ve been in the workforce for long time: you know that thinking critically is not a skill a lot of people have. I think that’s really affected our society, our nation. There seems to be a connection between education and the national well-being.

M. Yes. The greatest source of wealth, if you want to relate it to economics, is human capital. If you want to improve the economy of any society, you invest in your people.

My name is Victor Rose and I love stories and conversations with generations; I created this blog with the intention of listening to different people of disparate ages tell me their timeless truths. I wanted to hear what someone from the upcoming generation, the Millennials, might have to say about retirement and the future. Born after 1981, they represent a youth that has experienced so much cultural, political, technological and economic change. They were born into interesting times.

Ellie Ridge is not your typical 16-year-old. I met her at a Philz Coffee in North Berkeley, CA. At 16, she was working 2 jobs, in addition to attending community college full-time. She also just came back from a self-funded European summer adventure.

Victor: So Ellie what is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word “Retirement”?

Ellie: Not having to work. Living a comfortable life. I guess I would hope that when I retire, I would be able to live the same life that I lived when I was still working.

Victor: When do you think you’re going to retire?

Ellie: I want to retire when I’m 65 but I know that people have to retire a lot later now.

V: What types of behavior do you think could help you in that goal?

E: Putting money away and making investments, like buying a home. Not having to pay a mortgage when I’m older.

V: I’m very impressed that you know that!

E: I just want to have everything settled so that the only money I have to be spending is on maintenance.

Where did Ellie get all her wisdom? Who taught her about saving?

“Nobody taught me.”

Ellie described that she’d witnessed people around her make poor financial choices. Those choices created hard-felt consequences.

“I never want to be like that when I grow up. I don’t, on the one hand, want the value of my life placed on money. I don’t think your value is in your money or money will bring you happiness, but I know that money brings you ease and comfort.”


If Ellie represents the next generation if the next generation can learn from others’ mistakes and misfortunes, if they can think ahead and plan and act now, then we have a bright future ahead of us.


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Privacy Policy
Do not sell my info
44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3060
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Support: 855.401.4357

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