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34 Year Old With Inheritance Trying to Figure Things Out
Old 06-28-2013, 09:50 AM   #1
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34 Year Old With Inheritance Trying to Figure Things Out

Hi, I am a single 34 year old accountant living in Nashville. My mother passed away when I was 23 years old, and I received a sizable inheritance.

My net worth is a little over $2 million with most of it tied up in rental property, and less taxes and other expenses, I gross about $64,000 per year in rental income.

I have to admit, though, my life feels just completely without purpose. I have been an accountant for about 8-9 years now, and I completely hate it. Unfortunately, every time I try to think of something else to do with my life, I can't think of anything that jumps out at me that I would enjoy, and you're not supposed to quit your job without knowing what you want to do with yourself (or so everybody tells me anyway).

I'm also scared of quitting my job because I just wouldn't have any purpose. I've had a long stretch of unemployment before, and I was depressingly bored after 8-9 months of it. Without being able to think of anything better to do with myself, I went straight back into accounting. Mostly I am doing this job not so much for the paycheck, but for health benefits, retirement account, etc. and quite frankly not to sit around at home all by myself.

But there is so much more I want to do with myself. I want to spend my time doing things I enjoy, I want to volunteer more, see some of the world, put my mind towards solving some real problems in the world, etc.

I guess I just wonder if there's anyone out there who got an inheritance at a young age like that and what you did to find purpose with yourself. Thanks.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:32 AM   #2
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I didn't get an inheritance at a young age, in fact none yet.

I was an accountant too and while I enjoyed my work and the rewards it brought with it, at times I admit it lacked social purpose and I often felt like I was just helping the rich get richer.

While you didn't indicate what you spend, with your inheritance you are probably FI. Perhaps you should consider taking a full or part-time job with a non-profit whose mission you believe in, in financial management. It could provide the benefits you desire and some pay to help defray your living expenses. In the extreme you could always donate your net pay back to the organization and keep the benefits.

If you browse the forum you'll see that some of us frequently talk about retiring to something rather than away from work. You have the same challenge.

Best of luck.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:45 AM   #3
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Thanks pb4uski. And yeah, I do feel I'm without a lot of social purpose over here. I feel like I could be contributing a lot more to the world instead of compiling boring accounting schedules and reports every month, for example.

Being single and fairly conservative with my spending, I can be FI without working, although if I got married and had kids, I probably wouldn't be living all that fabulously if I wasn't working.

I really appreciate the response, and like you say, hopefully I can figure out how to retire or at least move "to something" over here.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:50 AM   #4
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....although if I got married and had kids, I probably wouldn't be living all that fabulously if I wasn't working.....
You just need to marry right - my DW did!
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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Thanks pb4uski. And yeah, I do feel I'm without a lot of social purpose over here. I feel like I could be contributing a lot more to the world instead of compiling boring accounting schedules and reports every month, for example.

Being single and fairly conservative with my spending, I can be FI without working, although if I got married and had kids, I probably wouldn't be living all that fabulously if I wasn't working.

I really appreciate the response, and like you say, hopefully I can figure out how to retire or at least move "to something" over here.

Marriage can be a big expense... I married a lady with two kids... expenses went up 4X... yep, four times what I was spending when single... it has delayed retirement at least 5 years.... but, I still would make the same decision knowing what I know....


However, it would have been nice to know that it was going to be 4 times as expensive.... I was thinking 2X.... so there were many heated discussions on spending etc... but a good number of the expenses are mandatory... my insurance costs went up a lot more than 4X... there are education costs that were zero and now being paid... also music lessons, soccer, swimming etc. etc. etc...

But do not make all decisions based on money alone...
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:30 AM   #6
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No gf/bf? Kids?

I echo the comments above. Marry right, have kids, and your life will definitely have purpose; and your days will be full.

Any hobbies? Volunteer work?
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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Hi GoCubs23, welcome to the forums.

You say that there is so much you want to do with yourself and yet, when given the opportunity, it seems like you get "depressingly bored". Why do you think that is?

I stopped working 3 years ago, at age 36. I am perfectly happy with my life even though I would be hard pressed to tell you what my "purpose" is. Perhaps you're trying too hard.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:04 PM   #8
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Hey OP, I'm also 34 and an accountant. I'm married with 2 kids. Have sizable nest egg but no where near yours.

I've been thinking about lack of passion and what I really want to do as well. Don't think kids can fill that void completely. Traveling/volunteering is not my thing, I like cooking/computer games but don't want to make my hobby to be a job, thought about teaching but can't stand explaining things to dumb people, etc etc. Answer so far is getting a challenging job within accounting or do consulting to be in different environment. Was thinking about public accounting audit days and it was long hours/stressful but I enjoyed my job. Or it might just be contentment.

It's a tough question and something you really need to think/pray about. Do some heavy soul searching. Get some books on this subject. Keep on searching for the answer and let me know what you find.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:17 PM   #9
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Hey OP, I'm also 34 and an accountant. I'm married with 2 kids. Have sizable nest egg but no where near yours.

I've been thinking about lack of passion and what I really want to do as well. Don't think kids can fill that void completely. Traveling/volunteering is not my thing, I like cooking/computer games but don't want to make my hobby to be a job, thought about teaching but can't stand explaining things to dumb people, etc etc.
I can't stop laughing about your teaching comment. I don't know why, but there is something incredibly humorous about that statement! I've often wondered if all teachers feel that way!
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:18 PM   #10
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Many organizations that I am aware of or associated with seem to have a large problem with attracting younger volunteers. This seems to be a cultural thing. (I think there was a thread here a week or two ago on club membership that touched on similar issues).

As such I believe that there would be no shortage of groups that would love to have your participation -- you might want to watch to make sure that you don't get over committed however. Good chance to meet lots of people also when you participate in an organization and actually give something back to them (ie volunteering).

For me, I am a member of a local chapter of an international organization. The local chapter hosts an annual weekend conference/party where everyone in the larger group is invited. I finally signed up to run registration for this event and have been doing it for 2 years now.

One of the things that I learned is that there may be different types of volunteering (think blue collar/hourly vs managerial/salaried analogy). I have heard of people volunteering with animal shelters and such where they go in x hours per week and do what they are told - play with animals etc. When they go home from their shift they are done. My position in running registration and being on the management committee that plans the yearly event is more of a managerial/salaried type of role -- ie lots of chance for original thought, directing others, working & worrying about stuff while not at committee meetings. Not saying that one is better than the other, but the fact that both types of roles are available to people, regardless of their prior professional duties (to a point), is refreshing.

-gauss
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:59 PM   #11
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I've never read it, but I've head of the book "What Color is your Parachute" as something that can help you find your career interests. Maybe that or some other self-help books could help you define something.

Or maybe there's a community college nearby that you could look at classes? I finally took a drawing class a few years ago, and was really surprised at how decent I did in it.

I also realized in the last few years that I tend to change interests every few years. I'll get into a new hobby, try it out, have fun for a while, then move on. I'm much more careful about spending money on hobbies after learning that, but I also realize it makes me much more well rounded.

I also think you could quit your job if you have plans to figure out what you want to do with your life, even if you don't know what that is. Maybe you need to quit your job, pack up your car, and see the US for a a few months and find something you're interested in.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:10 PM   #12
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I can't stop laughing about your teaching comment. I don't know why, but there is something incredibly humorous about that statement! I've often wondered if all teachers feel that way!
I have a friend who was a teacher and felt that way, i.e., she did mot like having to explain things to dumb students. She ER'd in her 40s and is much happier now.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:16 PM   #13
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....
My net worth is a little over $2 million with most of it tied up in rental property, and less taxes and other expenses, I gross about $64,000 per year in rental income.

I have to admit, though, my life feels just completely without purpose. I have been an accountant for about 8-9 years now, and I completely hate it. ....Mostly I am doing this job not so much for the paycheck, but for health benefits, retirement account, etc. and quite frankly not to sit around at home all by myself.

But there is so much more I want to do with myself. I want to spend my time doing things I enjoy, I want to volunteer more, see some of the world, put my mind towards solving some real problems in the world, etc.

I guess I just wonder if there's anyone out there who got an inheritance at a young age like that and what you did to find purpose with yourself. Thanks.
Not someone who got an inheritance at an early age (au contraire), and have not had any trouble finding purpose with myself, but still going to offer unsolicited advice .

First, per your user name, you're a Cubs fan! That means you are still full of hope (or something)!!! (also a Cubs fan)

Second, every organization needs a good accountant. Perhaps you could work for a nonprofit or professional association or college or church group. Helping an organization become fiscally healthy might give you some purpose even if you are doing the same job. You might find the work atmosphere to be different than a moneymaking business, and you might find yourself indirectly helping solve some real problems in the world.

Third, you sound a little lonely (what Cubs fan isn't). Maybe a different workplace will offer some opportunities to expand your social world too.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:47 PM   #14
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I went back to school when our kids became school aged. I just kept taking classes until I found something I liked and could make money. I had a lot of career choice aborts in the mean time, including taking classes to be an accountant and setting up a business with a friend. Wow, that was hard and a total fail. But having the fails kind of helped me to figure out what I did want to do and what I wasn't very good at, like collaborating with a partner (other than DH).

I think you have enough resources to take a year or two off and go back to school for something you might find rewarding. Accounting seems like something you could pick up again if you didn't find anything you liked better.

I also tried volunteer work and found out I am not a good volunteer. I am used to being a senior manager or self employed, so I am not a good worker bee. But I have tried it several times so I know that just isn't something I am good at or find rewarding.

It sounds like from your post when you aren't working full time you aren't out there trying stuff to find what you like. So why is that? Do you have any hobbies now? Clubs? Do you take any classes for personal enrichment or your career?

You might also find the documentary Born Rich interesting. It covers kids from super wealthy families, but by not having to work for a living, many of them struggled with the same issues of seeking a purpose and direction in life.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:49 PM   #15
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Everyone, thanks so much for the comments. I really appreciate all of them.

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You say that there is so much you want to do with yourself and yet, when given the opportunity, it seems like you get "depressingly bored". Why do you think that is?
You know, that's a good question. When I had that 8-9 month layoff, I was 27 when I was let go, and I just didn't know really what to do with myself. I hadn't lived in Nashville for very long at that point either, and before then, I was working long enough hours where I didn't really get to meet a lot of people outside of work.

During that 8-9 month downtime, I didn't have a good idea how to fill the time and probably some shame/guilt/depression issues kept me from going out and making friends at that point. After a few months of that, my dad pretty much told me that I'd be happier if I went back to work, so basically, I just went straight back into accounting after that.

I guess part of the reason why I'm reluctant to walk away is because of that experience, especially since I have no idea what kind of life or career change I'd want (after years and years of thinking about it ). In some ways, I feel I might be better equipped to handle a long sabbatical now because I have a lot better circle of friends in Nashville than I used to have, though.

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No gf/bf? Kids?

I echo the comments above. Marry right, have kids, and your life will definitely have purpose; and your days will be full.

Any hobbies? Volunteer work?
No gf at the moment and no kids either. Kind of like meekie mentioned, I'm the type of guy who will have a lot of hobbies or interests (huge Cubs fan, enjoy traveling and hiking, reading, I take French classes off and on, and I'm right now thinking about training with some friends for a big bike ride in October, etc.) but after a while, I feel like I have the need to move on to something else.

I guess sometimes I feel like work brings me down too. I mean I just feel so mentally tired at the end of the day that I don't feel like pursuing my hobbies like I really want.

There's part of me that's thought about maybe taking a year or two off and just spending most of that time pursuing some of those things I enjoy. Right now I honestly feel so dragged down and mentally worn that I don't pursue them as seriously as I'd like.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:51 PM   #16
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I have a friend who was a teacher and felt that way, i.e., she did mot like having to explain things to dumb students. She ER'd in her 40s and is much happier now.
No, I didn't feel that way. EVER.

Not as a teacher, anyway.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:00 PM   #17
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No, I didn't feel that way. EVER.

Not as a teacher, anyway.
My friend was in the wrong career. I have nothing but respect for good teachers!
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:00 PM   #18
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Hi GoCubs23,

I am in your position. In fact today is my last day...I am taking an extended unpaid leave and I am 99% certain I will not be returning back to work.

I used to have the same doubts as you do, my best advice is to not let other people's need for purpose or what not effect your sense of self-worth and happiness. I was pretty confused and worried about this 'lack of purpose' thing that folks talked about too...I posted on this thread to get some clarity a few weeks ago.

But, in the end...you are your own person, if someone else needs a house, a wife or a kid to feel like they have a purpose that doesn't mean it is the right thing for you. Just don't get caught in the 'honey trap', always put yourself first and don't let your self-worth get tied up with your utility to other people (i.e wife, kids, pets etc.).

Always ask yourself..."Is the juice worth the squeeze?".
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:38 PM   #19
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Hi GoCubs (23 was Ryne Sandberg, wasn't it?).

I had the same idea about a non-profit organization as a couple others have mentioned. Maybe if you work somewhere that you believe in you'll find more purpose, even if you continue doing the same type of work. It also tends to be less stressful, I think, as long as they aren't understaffed. They tend to pay lower so as long as you are getting the work done reasonably well, they would be glad to keep you on. So you can feel good about contributing in some way in a worthwhile cause, and getting paid something with benefits. I would think that would give you more purpose in life than working for some big corporation, and hopefully would leave you time and energy for other interests. It could also lead to finding something else interesting in the organization that you could train for, and get out of accounting.

I'd also encourage you to do the bike training and event in October. I think exercise can make you feel better, and it also sounds like a good social situation, plus there's a goal to achieve.

My other suggestion would've been to take some time off to try to find yourself, but it sounds like that didn't work out well.

While I agree that marriage and kids will also give you more purpose, don't get married just for that reason. Make sure you find the right person. Mr/Ms Right, not Mr/Ms Right Now.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:06 PM   #20
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GoCubs23,

Is it possible that you could get a part-time (say 3 day /week) assignment at your current employer. I was able to do that for a while and it was really great.

-gauss
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