I had a friend that I’ll call “Jason.” Out of college, Jason hitched his boat to the right startup. He was an early employee and the company eventually become very successful and went public. Jason is probably the wealthiest person I’ve met. He’s younger than me but has a very healthy 8 figure net worth north.
I was talking to Jason a couple of years ago when he mentioned he doesn’t love his job. I asked him why he still works and his answer was something like this:
I want my child to see me working. I’m wondering how she’ll grow up if she sees me not having a job.
This topic also came up again on the blog in the comment section:
Do you ever worry about what the children might think when you aren’t working ?
No, not at all.
Time Is EVERYTHING
I’ll come right out and say it, I think that my old friend Jason is a little right, but mostly wrong. When I worked, my job was similar to Jason’s in that I sat behind a screen all day. So I ask you, which has more value:
Option #1: Having my children know that I’m doing something on the computer in the basement. Because I’m working, they aren’t allowed to interact with me. I have enough, so any additional dollars represent diminishing returns. More money is nothing to complain about, but it’s not improving my life either, therefore I shouldn’t trade my time for it.
Option #2: Spending time with my children every day. We go for hikes, play games, ride bikes, go swimming, practice Spanish, build stuff in the yard, move rocks (they would rather I had a job when it comes to this), and work in the garden.
A couple of weeks ago, the temperatures were going to be hot, so we jumped in the car and headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Here we are hiking to Estes Cone:
Jason has a bit of a point though. My kids need to know that my life didn’t just magically show up as-is. To that, my arguments are these:
They Know My Life Is Abnormal
Most of their friends have parents that both work. They see and know that I’m different. I don’t think they appreciate it as much as they should, but that’s what any old crotchety person (me) would say.
I Remind Them Daily
I tell my kids that I’m thankful that the formal work part of my life is done. I tell them how hard I had to work to get to this point. I show them pictures of the homes we remodeled and tell them about the long hours I spent in an office.
My Kids Know Our Net Worth, But…
I also tell my kids that mom and dad’s money is ours, not theirs. We will help, but they will have to make their own way.
They’re In School
Most of the year, my girls are in school full-time. If I chose to continue working, they wouldn’t see it anyway.
And I Still Work Very Hard
The Internet Retirement Police (IRP) like to call out us bloggers for continuing to work. Today, I’m happy to announce that I’ve created a new division of the internet police called the Internet Couch Police (ICP). The job of the ICP is to yell at anyone who retires only to sit around all day. Why? Work gives our life meaning and purpose. It keeps us mentally and physically healthy. I spend more hours working on stuff than I ever did at a job. I work on Spanish for at least two hours a day. I play the piano. I build stuff in the yard. I love the work I do now.
More To Life
This one is from Mr. Tako: Not working shows your kids there’s more to life than just a “career”. A job or series of jobs doesn’t define them as a person.
I Want To Inspire
I’ve saved the most important bit for last. I want my kids to see how I’ve designed my life, understand the work that went into it, see how good it is, and pursue the same. I hope that when they get their first job, they’ll think back to the time they spent with me and realize just how valuable the time was. I hope this inspires them to work hard and save their money so they have the same options I do.
Life is a journey and I have much learning to do. However, I’m fairly certain that my children are better off with me around than not.
More 1500 Days!!!
You can also find me (and the dinosaurs) at:
Mile High FI podcast:
- EconoMe: Hey look, I’m speaking at EconoMe later this year!
- Facebook: Facebook group and page
- YouTube: My channel is mostly devoted to home improvement, but I have some other material coming up soon too.
- Instagram: Pretty pictures of dinosaurs, sunsets, and nail guns!
- Twitter: Spontaneous, often insane, ramblings
- Coworking space: On the surface, MMM HQ is a coworking space. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that we’re really building community. The members of MMM HQ are some of the finest people I know.
Other resources I like:
- Camp FIs are amazingly fun! I hope to attend Rocky Mountain and Joshua Tree this year. See you there?
- Need to learn how to invest? The Simple Path to Wealth is all you need.
- New to FIRE? Need some FIREy guidance? Check out Fiology and the accompanying workbook!
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