Minneapolis peeps (Minneapolans?)! Are you around this Thursday? I’ll be at some meetups in your lovely city:
- The Minnesota State Fair: I’ll be hanging out here most of the day. At happy hour, I’m meeting up with my buddy, the Physician on FIRE at the Ball Park Cafe, a block east of the giant yellow slide.
- Minnehaha Falls: I’ll be here around 6:30, hanging out with my friend Tanja from Our Next Life and Becky/Noah from Money Metagame.
- Brit’s Pub: If I still have any energy, I’ll be here at 8:30 with the rest of the bloggers already mentioned.
To find me, look for the awkward dude with the flying corn trucker cap. Hopefully, I’m not being chased by zombies like in this picture:
I met up with Erin from Broke Millennial earlier this summer. She was in town for a speaking engagement and a group of FI-minded folks got together at a local watering hole for drinks and conversation. It was neat to chat with Erin because she was one of the first bloggers I connected with way back in 2013, the year I started my blog. Five years is eons in internet time.
Erin and I talked about the RE (retire early) part of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). We agreed that no one talks enough about what happens after you reach financial independence. Our conversation got me thinking about the ways retirement has changed my life, not necessarily for the better. More on that in a moment. First, we must get to the question from last week when I asked you about your perfect work.
Your Perfect Work
A job is different from work. Work is performing a specific task like coding or wiring a house. A job is work and all of the stuff that goes with it including a boss, schedule and mandatory hours. I no longer have a job, but I work harder than ever. I write, build, and consider new businesses every single day. At this time, I have two new blogs I hope to launch before end of year.
Here is what you had to say about your perfect work:
I’m multifaceted, and really prefer a mix of mental and physical work. My ideal work is periodically consulting on interesting projects, like I have the past year, but I am trying to figure out a new real estate remodeling project.
Ryan at RoseRelish (I would really enjoy this too) :
My ideal work would be managing money. I was an analyst in charge of helping pick stocks for a mutual fund during my career. The “job” part of it was aiding in fundraising, consultant ratings (think Morningstar ratings), white papers, and all of the corporate mumbo-jumbo like semi-annual reviews training. I’d have no desire to raise money or get ratings. I’d want a team of 3-5 and our only goal would be to provide a good risk/reward to investors.
Mr. PoP from Planting our Pennies:
I’ve always wanted to build a small business of some kind, and being a writer always seemed like a great time….but may have read too much Hemingway as a kid.
MarciaB from BaggyPop, what are you doing next weekend? 🙂
Work that I totally love is helping people set up their books for their small businesses (QuickBooks is my happy place). And then working with them to understand their numbers and financial statements. I do this at no charge for folks who ask and wish I had more takers!
Finally, Road2Euedemonia took a while to find his ideal work, but it sounds like he’s making the world a better place now. How great is that?
I just recently found enjoyable work after 28 years! I was somewhat thrust into a situation but because we are FI I was able to make a choice that suited me! I still do my core accounting and operations work. It just happens to be for a non-profit agency dedicated to helping at-risk youth. Yeah, even here there is some BS, however, all I have to do is walk down the hall and talk and mentor kids and it all works out. Having purpose and choice is my key!
Is FIRE Good For Your Marriage?
I love the book 1984. It’s about an oppressive government that controls its people through a variety of unsettling methods. In the story, the enemy of the state is Emmanuel Goldstein and the government reminds the people of the threat posed by him daily. The interesting plot point is that Goldstein is nothing more than a fabrication of the evil government. He was created to be a diversion. His purpose was to unite the people behind a common cause and divert attention. Without Emmanuel Goldstein to worry about, perhaps the people would question the evil government a bit more.
I think of 1984 and Emmanuel Goldstein when I consider my own life. Our trajectory went like this:
- Mr. and Mrs. 1500 meet, fall in love and get married.
- We both work really hard at our jobs.
- Five years after marriage, kid #1 shows up. Mrs. 1500 leaves her job to be a stay home mom while I continue to work.
- In 2016 both kids are in school full-time. Mrs. 1500 gets her dream job, mostly working from home.
- In 2017, I finally summon the courage to leave my job. I am now the stay at home parent.
You’re probably thinking this now:
What the hell does 1984, Emmanuel Goldstein and your life have to do with each other?
Emmanuel Goldstein diverted the people’s attention away from the oppressive government. In the same vein, work was a diversion for Mrs. 1500 and I. When we both worked full-time jobs and had kids, I felt like we went days without deep conversation (it doesn’t help that our Younger Daughter’s natural state is nonstop talking). Then, all of a sudden, I don’t have to work 40 hours per week and Mrs. 1500 is working from home. BOOM! We’re around each other much more than we’ve ever been. And for the first time in a long time, I have free time.
This Is A Test
In many ways, a FIREd life is a good test of just how healthy your life’s routine and relationships are. Once you don’t have a job that consumes much of your life, you’re free to live truer to the real you, for better or worse. Queue the ominous music!
Remove the concern of money from your life and you just may reveal something else. And it may not be good.
If your marriage has issues, maybe FIRE makes them better because you have more time to work on them. But it could easily go the other way too; maybe the issues are exacerbated because you have more time to annoy each other.
A Period Of Adjustment
Spilling my guts to the keyboard is therapeutic. Why pay a psychiatrist $125/hour when I have my computer and y’all to listen? So, I’ll reveal thoughts now that at least on the surface, conflict:
Mrs. 1500 and I have a better life because I don’t have a job. Two jobs and two kids was chaos. Now that I don’t work, our life is much more stable. We aren’t running around like mad people shuttling kids around and getting dinner ready. Now that I don’t have a job, I have taken over most of the domestic duties.
But, we’ve had more rough spots. Not having a job has also allowed me to focus on parts of life that I just didn’t have time to consider before. I won’t get too personal, but sometimes, the Mrs. and I aren’t on the same page. And I wouldn’t have been reading that page in the first place if I had the time constraints of a job.
So yeah, I’m saying the FIRE has made our relationship worse in some ways.
Our (my?) issues have been forced into the open and now and we must confront them. And this is a good thing. Suppressing problems don’t make them go away; it just makes them worse. We’re now forced to work through it and in the long run, we’ll be better for it.
And while there are a few things we aren’t on the same page about, we are on the same “let’s fix these issues” page. Relationship issues pop up in every relationship; it’s how you handle them that separates those that fail from those that succeed. This seems a bit dark (don’t worry, I showed Mrs. 1500 before I posted it) but if I’m going to share my story with you, I’ve got to share the whole story. Life isn’t fantastic all of the time.
I spent time with other FIREy couples including Becky and Noah from Money Metagame, Steve and Courtney from ThinkSaveRetire and the Penny Planters couple. In each case, I asked them how their relationship post-FIRE was coming along. More on them on Wednesday.
In the meantime, let me know what you think:
Could FIRE cause issues for your marriage or do you see it as purely positive?
Could FIRE cause issues in other parts of your life?
I can still hear you when you drown,
You’ve traveled very far,
Just to see if I’ll come around,
When I’m down,
Coming down. –Drown, Smashing Pumpkins
Things are better if I stay,
So long and goodnight,
So long not goodnight. –Helena, My Chemical Romance
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