Can Network Marketing Save Your Retirement?
We’ve all heard the story, if you just tell six friends about this business, and they tell six friends, who in turn tell another six friends, you’ll be on your way to financial freedom and never have to work again, right?
Let’s face it, whether you call it multi-level marketing, direct sales, or network marketing, the entire industry gets a bad rap. It’s often labeled as a pyramid scheme or get rich quick scam, and frankly, there is ample evidence to approach it with caution. However, as I have studied trends in this business model, I have come to a very different conclusion. One that actually suggests that network marketing can play a crucial role in how well baby boomers and others transition into retirement.
For full disclosure, I want to point out that I am not affiliated with any multi-level marketing or direct sales companies, and that I don’t receive any compensation from the industry for my opinion on it. I’m sharing this with you because after I wrote what is considered the most widely read, copied, and quoted MLM article in the history of the industry, I was accused of writing it to promote my own MLM business or the industry in general, which is not the case.
The interesting thing that most people miss about the major connection between retirement and network marketing is that once you strip out the financial aspects, you get a very different picture. Since the creation of Social Security back in 1935, people have been brainwashed to think that retirement is all about money. That a successful transition from work-life to home-life requires the right dollar amount, asset allocation, and spending plan. But that’s just not the case. There are plenty of people with substantial amounts of money saved for retirement that are completely miserable.
In other words, they built their nest egg in a dead or dying tree. They may not get along with their spouse any longer, don’t have a life or friends outside of work, have broken relationships with their children, or have let their health go in hopes of getting it back later. They essentially sacrificed some of the things that are most important to them for the benefit of trying to buy them back in retirement. As a result, when they get there, they can feel lost, out-of-sorts, and struggle with their transition.
Specifically, they struggle to jump start their health goals, to connect with new people, to learn new things, and yearn to be a part of a community. What I am telling you is that the average retiree is at least 25 pounds overweight, feels tired for some part of the day, may be moderately depressed about something, has low self-esteem in one or two areas of life, acknowledges they only kind of have a best friend, and overall lead pretty plain lives.
In a nut shell, retirement creates several non-financial gaps for both individuals and couples that need to be addressed. If they are not, it can lead to the dark side of retirement which can include feeling unfulfilled, bored, and irrelevant.
In a similar fashion, when you eliminate money from the network marketing industry, a new perspective emerges. Personally speaking, I love talking with people who are in this industry because they are always reading, posting, and sharing something inspirational. They have goals, a dream board, and are generally using the products that they are selling to improve the way they look and feel.
That not only fosters a positive attitude and atmosphere, but also a lot of structure and activity. Many network marketing companies offer weekly calls, local meetings, and an annual conference. All of which get members out of the house, building knowledge and developing new skills, while offering them the opportunity to meet new people and deepen existing connections.
Wellness based MLM’s in particular are well positioned to help people retire with greater ease and success for two reasons. First, they create positive momentum. When people start to lose weight, have more energy, or receive compliments on the way the look, it builds momentum. They see, feel, and hear the benefits of their work paying off which encourages them to stick with the changes they are making. Second, there is a group effect. Many people struggle to develop and stick with a new health, diet, and exercise program on their own. But when they do it in a supportive community with others, it’s much easier to get through the tough days and stay on track. Furthermore, by taking better care of yourself, you are in a position to leave a better legacy than money could ever provide.
This group effect also plays into the vital role that a person’s social network can have on their retirement. Studies show that being around negative, pessimistic or sarcastic people can actually be detrimental to your health. And many people can get stuck in a rut when it comes to who they hang around and associate with. Which means successful aging includes hanging around upbeat, positive people.
Now this is not to say, network marketing can solve all your problems and that every company in the industry is worth joining. What I am telling you is that the network marketing model is a low cost, widely available way to replace some of the psychological gaps you can lose, and may not be able to develop on your own.
It’s also important to note that while I expect there to be significant growth in the ranks of many MLM companies, there will also be substantial growth in businesses that adopt this model and its many benefits. In fact, it’s one reason I developed the Certified Professional Retirement Coach certification in conjunction with the Retirement Coaches Association.
The formula of future business growth is based on the idea that people don’t just want to retire in a traditional format. They crave knowledge and want to feel relevant. They want to improve their own transition and feel compelled to help others avoid the pain and pitfalls they have experienced. They desire a supportive community where their opinion counts and they can openly ask personal, business or other questions. They’re interested in hearing and exploring new ideas and need ways to make new connections through face-to-face interactions.
Whether its network marketing or a new industry, the way to save your retirement is to remove the concept of money. By doing so, retirees can focus on gaining new skills and knowledge, helping themselves as well as others, building community through supportive relationships, or feeling good about the new identity and purpose in retirement!
Retirement today is more about you than your money