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Old 05-06-2016, 06:00 PM   #21
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I will say that I am way more busy now than when I did a cube job. Part of this is because I have a lot of hobbies (brewing, beekeeping, cooking, foraging, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, etc.), part of it is because I have two school-age kids, and part of it is because I relish being able to do some things that were always getting crammed in/shorted on time (learning new skills, gathering and processing firewood, volunteering, etc.). My life/schedule seems a lot more complicated now than when the job blotted out most everything else, and sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed, but it is also a lot more fulfilling than the old grind used to be.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:08 PM   #22
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when I worked f.t. I hired cleaners but now I do it myself. It is good exercise. My hubby has mostly done all home repairs but now doesn't have to use up his valuable little time that he would be off of work. We are trying to make our home as maintenance free as possible ( small, one level, astro-turf, new roof/paint, wrought iron fence etc). If it ever gets to be too much we will move to a condo.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:32 AM   #23
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I used to think this way. That is.. my job pays X, fixing the dishwasher costs X/4 so I should never fix the dishwasher unless I love doing it.

That goes for cutting the lawn, trimming hedges, cleaning the hit tub, washing the car and so on.

The problem I ran into only much later is that this looks at the world through the lens of maximizing monetary economy. That's fine but there's other types of economies.

For example, the experience economy.

I make a pretty good over easy egg sandwich... and my wife loves those. I could buy a better one than I make, so from a pure economic point of view I should do that. I kinda enjoy doing it... but it's not like the hilight of my life. But my wife really loves it when I do it.

The second thing is that there are things that I don't like doing, but after the fact get satisfaction from.

Before fixing the dishwasher it seems like a pain in the ass. I have a job that pays better so I don't have to do that crap. AFTER doing it comes the satisfaction. And the monetary economic optimization prevented me from even being open to the possibility.

So I think it's a bit inverted.

It reminds me a bit of the story of the lord and the poor man.

The lord tells the poor man... "if you just did what the king said you wouldn't have to be poor."
The poor man tells the lord "if you could learn to be satisfied with less you wouldn't have to do what the king says."

I think there is a hidden satisfaction in doing more diverse things you thought you'd hate which can be blocked by optimizing for economic reasons. I think that's also why many people are trapped in dissatisfying jobs and can't seem to get out.

They have the trappings of wealth but live within the prison of little choice... they might be happier with less wealth even if it means a less comfortable life... but if they assume that success always looks like X they may never even try.

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Old 05-07-2016, 07:34 AM   #24
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My retired life is a tradeoff of time for money. When I was working I didn't have time to maintain my yard up to neighborhood standards so I hired a lawn service. I didn't have the time to find the best deal on any service or many big purchases. Convenience was more important.

It IS its own job for me, especially if you include the minimal side gig and monthly portfolio monitoring. I am continuously surprised at how much stuff I don't want to do still exists in my retired life, but I still prefer this job to the prior one.
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:32 AM   #25
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I could buy a better one than I make, so from a pure economic point of view I should do that.
Really? Egg sandwiches are a pretty basic unit of food. Maybe the restaurant version tastes better because they dump more salt on it and smear the bread in butter and then toss it on the griddle?

General comments:

I like to spend the money outsourcing things that I don't enjoy or don't have the skills for.

Take plumbing for example. I don't mind it in small doses when I can handle it. It's just easier to spend a half hour fixing something than spend an hour managing a plumber, verifying the job was done and following up as necessary.

I called a plumber for the first time two days ago. I tried and tried, then sheared a pipe off with my hands (got cut a little), then couldn't get the pipe loose so I gave up and called a plumber before I destroyed something expensive.

While he was out I got a quote for replacing all 3 toilet shut off valves and a leaking valve in the kitchen. $225 for parts and labor and he'll be here in a few minutes. I could probably do these myself for $80-120 in parts and new tools but would spend quite a while figuring out how to do so and I risk getting it wrong and making a bigger mess.

I have periodic major plumbing updates in my long term capital plan for home improvements in my ER budget, so it's no big deal. I'd hate to retire early to a life where I had to do these types of repairs to survive, but enjoy the flexibility to tackle a small job myself.

I don't buy into post-ER chores being a job any more than getting out of bed, lifting the toilet seat, zipping my own pants, or flipping the light switch. All can be outsourced to others (man or machine) but are simply a part of routine life. Mowing the grass, fixing small issues around the house, washing one's own dishes, cooking, etc are all things that we do as part of life that could be outsourced but isn't overly burdensome (at least to this 35 year old early retiree). I suppose I could outsource everything and then go buy a gym membership and spend time there to replace the physical activity loss from cutting out household chores.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:00 AM   #26
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I don't do any more of these DIY tasks now that I'm retired, I just do them at a relaxed pace - and with a far better attitude.
Same here. I also spend more time looking for and considering options, which wasn't possible when I didn't have the time.

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My life/schedule seems a lot more complicated now than when the job blotted out most everything else, and sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed, but it is also a lot more fulfilling than the old grind used to be.
I totally get this. One thing the "working me" was very good at was blocking out most everything that did not require immediate focus or was not work related. Now there is a complexity in life that I find challenging but enjoyable.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:00 AM   #27
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Amen.

The funny part about MMM is that he makes something like 100k off his blog now. I wonder if he would still be doling out the same advice if he didn't have that.

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The author probably just got done visiting Mr. Money Mustache's site where retiring early means trading a day job for endless hours spent squeezing nickles.

That's certainly one version of early retirement. It's not the only version. Or necessarily the best.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:12 AM   #28
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Another counterpoint:

Last night I spent 2 hours disassembling 2 laptops, cleaning out the dust and debris, reseating a CPU and applying thermal paste to 1 of them. Probably saved $400 vs taking them to a computer shop (1 was my mother in law's laptop that had overheating problems).

My kids watched part of the time. They learned:

1. It's possible to fix your own stuff so it works better.
2. Youtube helps as I had to refer to that a few times for different technical aspects of disassembly and how to apply the thermal paste. Becoming an expert at something is just a few clicks away. Lesson learned: if you don't know how to do something it's possible to learn and improve your skills.
3. Having proper lighting, the right tools, and a good working area is important to do a job well.

I suppose working folks might have been "too busy" to do these tasks themselves and instead would spend 30-45 minutes driving the computer to the computer place, waiting in line, and picking up the item later (and $400 poorer).
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:32 AM   #29
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I maintain 2 households: ours and my 94 yr old MIL's. Did plumbing and electrical work last week over there and fixed our gas dryer this week here. Still managed to go mountain biking every morning, although I got rained on yesterday (in sunny southern CA, go figure?). It's tough being retired. Now, where's my violin?
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:36 AM   #30
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Fuego, you are right not to discount those lessons your kids see! I know that my father modeled extreme DIY skills in home repairs, car maintenance, and general handyman talents. I can barely recall an instance of a repair person in our home, growing up. It was just how things were.

As a result, I had very good notions when DH and I started dating. I always say that he had "handy potential" back then, and just needed the right incentives to "bloom".

I am really glad Dad showed us we could figure stuff out on our own. And I'm betting so will your kids.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:37 AM   #31
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The author of this article is, in my opinion, over-thinking the issue.

For most of us, we do all of those tasks within our own abilities while working, we just have to cram them into the weekend and those tasks compete with the weekend free time.

I still do all of those tasks now that I'm FIRE'd, I just do them when I feel like it and usually at a much leisurely pace.
Absolutely. I retired from decades of doing work you couldn't pay me to do now. OTOH, I actually get greater satisfaction cleaning my toilet compared to that old working life. Seriously.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:57 AM   #32
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The author of this article is, in my opinion, over-thinking the issue.

For most of us, we do all of those tasks within our own abilities while working, we just have to cram them into the weekend and those tasks compete with the weekend free time.

I still do all of those tasks now that I'm FIRE'd, I just do them when I feel like it and usually at a much leisurely pace.
This, 100%. And Youtube vids make it so much easier to tackle basic maintenance and repair stuff that I wouldn't have tackled before.

Those hours you are doing some expert's job are hours that you now have free, so it's really a comparison of $0 labor vs. whatever for many. To me it's not about the money and I agree that it's questionable to count on this to do an ERE, but it does save you a lot of it if you were otherwise just going to goof off.
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:11 PM   #33
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The author of this article is, in my opinion, over-thinking the issue.

For most of us, we do all of those tasks within our own abilities while working, we just have to cram them into the weekend and those tasks compete with the weekend free time.

I still do all of those tasks now that I'm FIRE'd, I just do them when I feel like it and usually at a much leisurely pace.
+1 This fits my feelings pretty well.
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:26 PM   #34
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Fuego, you are right not to discount those lessons your kids see! I know that my father modeled extreme DIY skills in home repairs, car maintenance, and general handyman talents. I can barely recall an instance of a repair person in our home, growing up. It was just how things were.

As a result, I had very good notions when DH and I started dating. I always say that he had "handy potential" back then, and just needed the right incentives to "bloom".

I am really glad Dad showed us we could figure stuff out on our own. And I'm betting so will your kids.
The extreme opposite works as well.
My Dad was totally thumbs, he repaired nothing, he was smart and had a good job in later life and several degrees, but couldn't fix nearly a thing.

I saw how they always had to pay someone to fix stuff and we didn't have a lot of money.

This forced me to learn how to repair things and get pretty good at it.
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:32 PM   #35
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This, 100%. And Youtube vids make it so much easier to tackle basic maintenance and repair stuff that I wouldn't have tackled before.

Those hours you are doing some expert's job are hours that you now have free, so it's really a comparison of $0 labor vs. whatever for many. To me it's not about the money and I agree that it's questionable to count on this to do an ERE, but it does save you a lot of it if you were otherwise just going to goof off.
+1 for youtube , just watch a few in case someone does it wrong.

I do my chores when I want, instead of after work late at night or weekends.
I will hire someone for example to mow the grass, so we can travel freely.

I view being able to do chores as being independent and have always considered the ability to repair/build something as quite an accomplishment.

My recent accomplishment was replacing kitchen counters including removal and re-install sink and taps and tiling the back-splash.
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Old 05-07-2016, 03:56 PM   #36
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Fuego, you are right not to discount those lessons your kids see! I know that my father modeled extreme DIY skills in home repairs, car maintenance, and general handyman talents. I can barely recall an instance of a repair person in our home, growing up. It was just how things were.

As a result, I had very good notions when DH and I started dating. I always say that he had "handy potential" back then, and just needed the right incentives to "bloom".

I am really glad Dad showed us we could figure stuff out on our own. And I'm betting so will your kids.
Very awesome. Of course I just got done with the plumber this morning doing work I could maybe do correctly for slightly less than he could do it for (he already has the tools I would need). And the plumber is trying to sell me on a few improvements that are probably needed (for another $425-450) for safety.

Very tempting. I'm lazy, don't get a huge thrill out of complex plumbing work, and can afford it (it's in the budget and we struggle to spend our 4% withdrawal as is). I have a video game I've been meaning to play but haven't had a couple hours to sit down to yet.
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:07 AM   #37
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Wait, you passed up the chance to justify the purchase of "special tools"? That would never happen in my house! Sometimes we get lucky and buy two of the special tools, when the first one gets buried in the detritus of his shop.
But goofing off time also important, and those video games aren't going to play themselves!
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:22 AM   #38
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Fuego: that's kinda what I was driving at with the experience vs financial economy.

For example... for years I told myself "I can't draw... I'm not talented enough" so I recently started to learn and surprise surprise like everything else it takes time but you can improve and improving and learning drives satisfaction.

It also causes my kids to see me learn and struggle which makes it easier for them to learn and struggle.

We try to tell our kids to focus, push and learn new stuff without asking ourselves when was the last time WE pushed and learned something new that was hard.

I think it's not always a good thing to measure things in terms of monetary value and whether we "like" it or not... there's value in doing something you don't like or have never done that goes beyond the cost benefit.

If my kids came home as said that they use their allowance to pay another kid to do their homework... or they said "well I'm good at math so I do math for 5 other kids so I don't have to learn those subjects I don't like" I'm not sure that I'd consider that optimal learning

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Old 05-08-2016, 10:11 PM   #39
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It depends on the house. I use to have 2 houses (and now only 1 house) - a solid brick house vs. a log cabin. Both houses I built brand new, but the log home required a lot more maintenance. The brick house - almost none.

I did tons of maintenance on the log cabin, including building the cabinets, building log benches, repairing the deck/fence, staining and caulking the log exterior every 2 years, and cutting the grass on a 3 acre land. I also rented the cabin occasionally.

In contrast, the brick home's maintenance is mostly cutting grass and I re-stain the deck floor every 5 years, it's almost maintenance free. The most I spent after 13 years was to replace a water heater that was rated to last 12 years. I had to use a contractor to install the water heater, because the new water heater's 12-year warranty on parts and 3-year warranty on labor is only good if a certified contractor does it. So you see, there are times when it does not pay to do DIY due to warranty issues.

My owning a brick home does not really require advance or complex DIY skills, but the log home does.

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I've always believed that people who lack DIY skills and/or do not like doing regular home maintenance should not buy a house unless they have enough money to pay someone to do those things. An apartment or condo is a better fit for those people.

I am someone who enjoys DIY projects and home maintenance...that's why I bought a house. I take pride in building a nice deck or fixing a hole in the drywall. Retirement simply allows me to take care of these things on my schedule.
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:20 PM   #40
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Wait, you passed up the chance to justify the purchase of "special tools"? That would never happen in my house! Sometimes we get lucky and buy two of the special tools, when the first one gets buried in the detritus of his shop.
But goofing off time also important, and those video games aren't going to play themselves!
My "workshop" is an 8x12' storage shed that holds our push mower, all yard tools, 3 kids bikes, a ladder, random junk, and a 7.5' plastic Christmas tree (ask DW about that one...). So I try to keep specialized tool purchases to a minimum since I don't want the expense of building a larger shed to hold my new toys.

And I'm lazy and you're right. Those video games aren't going to play themselves. Though my latest game purchase that my kids caught me playing today is a trick. It's actually computer coding disguised as a video game (Human Resource Machine) from the same developers as another couple of games that they love. So now they want to play this game too when they will secretly be learning programming. DW can't complain about this use of my time at all.
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