I’m really glad you like it, Nate. I’ve actually gotten very little feedback on this post, so it was a delight to read this comment.
I was talking to a friend about this, and I realise that the core idea behind this post (and how I came up with a default frame for careers) is simply that one should just respect the base rate — if most careers are about 40 years long, then you should probably assume that your career would be, too.
The peak earning years thing was also useful — if most people hit peak earnings at 45-55, then it’s probably a good idea to assume that yours would as well. The key, then, is to simulate both forwards and backwards in time to figure out how it would feel. I’ve found that a useful exercise, as a way of anchoring my expectations.
I like the saying that goes ‘the days are long but the years are short’. There’s probably some of that here.