This edition of 10 Questions features Carol who writes over at Downsize Your 2080. I first met Carol at a Costco a couple of years back. I was in an aisle with one of my daughters when I heard someone talking to me:
Excuse me, are you Carl?
I turned around and was like:
Ummmm, yeah?!?? Do I know you?
It turned out that Carol had recognized me from my blog. That was kinda strange, but kinda fun too. This was the first, but not the last time I’ve been recognized in public. But this isn’t about me!
Carol has wise words to share. My favorite ones from here answers are these:
…it’s too easy to live unintentionally and let the days, months, and years pass by.
There is a lot of truth there. It’s easy to let the days slip away. And I find that the older I get, the quicker time feels like it slips by. Make it count people!
Finally, please congratulate Carol on leaving work just last week!
1. There are approximately 476,492,292,928 personal finance blogs last time I checked. Why should we read yours?
Because I have interesting stories to share from the other side of 50! Life is good!
I have always enjoyed earning a paycheck and put in the time and effort to earn a degree in chemical engineering, but once my first child was born, the appeal of a cubicle decreased tremendously because I didn’t want to miss so much of her (and our subsequent kids’) childhood. My ongoing effort to combine career fulfillment with parenthood began.
By choice I haven’t worked full-time at a job since my late 20s, and I know I’m not the only parent who wants less of an employer’s agenda and more time with family. Downsize Your 2080 means “work part-time” because 40 hours per week times 52 weeks per year equals 2,080 hours in a professional work year.
My very first post was on the non-monetary reasons you might want to downsize your work year. Another post discussed the reasons why your employer might say “Yes!” to your request to work less than full-time.
My husband has been awesome about being the primary, and sometimes only, breadwinner for our family. I know he and I aren’t the only couple who choose to live intentionally without needing two full-time earners. You can reach financial independence without both parents being chained to the full-time (plus) treadmill.
Finally, you want to check out my blog because I left my part-time job last week, and you want to find out what I’ll be doing next, right?!
2. How old are you and do you have a family?
I’m in my early 50s. My husband and I met in college and dated a few years. I couldn’t wait to marry him and take his last name. We’ll celebrate our 29th anniversary this year.
Back in the day, we were both enjoying our engineering careers so waited a few years to have kids. Once we did, I had absolutely zero interest in returning to work full-time. I switched to a part-time schedule at the end of my maternity leave and have never returned to full-time paid work. Our oldest two kids are in their 20s and both graduated from college debt-free.
After being foster parents for several years and to a few kids, we adopted! We’re back in middle school. Our youngest loves sports and music, and he helps keep us young.
3. What is one post that you’ve written that you wish would have gone viral?
My post titled As Humans, We Need to Dream Big! Bigger! Biggest! How I Did, How I Fell Short has had less than 100 readers. The post includes a link to an inspiring video by J.D. Roth from GetRichSlowly.com, a prompt to start your own brainstorming exercise, and a revealing look at my very own personal list of what I wanted to do with my life.
I wish more people would read it because it’s too easy to live unintentionally and let the days, months, and years pass by. If you do, you may find yourself having NOT achieved some cool things you’d like to do during your stint on earth.
4. What has surprised you about blogging? What is part of your blog that you wish you could do better?
Blogging is more work and more time consuming than I anticipated, but it’s also a lot more fun than I expected. It’s great to meet other bloggers in person. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both Carl and Mindy. (Thank you for letting me answer your 10 questions!)
I wish I could shape my messages faster and post more frequently, as in weekly instead of waiting to get an article “just right.” I really do have a lot to share about trying to combine work and parenthood. I will tackle that this summer since I’m no longer working at a for-pay job.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to promote?
Since I work fewer hours to live a more balanced life, I’m happier and more content with the big picture of my life, right? Full of joy! If you downsize your 2080, you’ll upsize your joy.
One of my first Etsy store products was a t-shirt I’ve been wanting to create for several years and now I’ve finally done it. In my family, when certain people are winning at family game night, we hear smack talk about dominating the evening. Now you can get a reigning game night champion t-shirt to wear to game night. Kids AND adult sizes. Check it out! Better yet, buy one from my Etsy shop! Great idea for a Father’s Day gift (wink wink).
6. Where do you live? Do you love it, hate it or just meh.
Colorado and I love it, mostly because of the mountains, lower humidity, and few, if any, mosquitos. I don’t put bumper stickers on my car but if I did, I’d pick the one that says, “Colorado: Not a native but got here as soon as I could.”
7. How do you stay fit?
I prefer to hike, swim laps, and bicycle. I will also jog if the terrain is relatively flat. Did I tell you that I left my job last week? Since I am taking the summer off, I’m going to bike 500 miles with my youngest son, train for a 5k run, and resume strength training.
8. Evil genies aside, what is your investing strategy? Stocks? Index funds?? Real estate??? Crypto????
We’re putting more and more into index funds, which we also used to save our portion of the kids’ college expenses. I also like to dabble in dividend stocks.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) have been good to us. Some people don’t like investing in their employer while also relying on that employer for a paycheck. “Too many eggs in one basket,” it’s been said, as you’re dependent on the company for the paycheck and the health of the investment. When you resign from an employee-owned company, you’re no longer an employee so can no longer be an employee-owner. Retirement shares can be rolled over to another retirement plan, and any non-retirement shares provide a passive income stream in the form of a buyout/payout plan. Thankfully, our experience with architect-engineering (A/E) consulting firms has been good and the value of the shares increased nicely each year, except for maybe one or two.
We’re close to paying off our house, but the argument of “you can earn more in the stock market than your mortgage’s interest rate” makes a lot of sense, especially in recent years. We put our extra money in both places, but not necessarily the same each month.
9. If your 18-year-old child told you this: “Parents, I want to go to a $250,000 school and study doorknob design,” what would you tell him or her?
We pre-empted this by telling our kids that we’d pay for half of tuition and fees at a state college. They would fund the other half, either by working at summer and part-time jobs or earning scholarships, or any combination of the two. They could go to whichever school they wanted so long as they earned whatever it would cost beyond half the price of a state school. Both graduated without debt. Our daughter is doing great at her job, and our son took off for a faraway land to do a short-term humanitarian engineering internship.
10. What is one thing you believe that most others do not?
I believe you don’t have to make a lot to contribute to organizations you feel passionate about. We committed to giving a certain percentage of our annual gross income more than two decades ago when our household income was much less. As our salaries have grown (or moved up and down, in my case), we continue to prioritize giving that percentage of income into our budget. It has become a joyful habit and we enjoy donating to various local, national, and global non-profit organizations each year.
Thank you Carol! Stop by and show Carol some love over on Downsize Your 2080.
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