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Are you the person you will be?
Old 08-23-2016, 09:42 AM   #1
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Are you the person you will be?

When we look back at our former selves, we typically see someone that is quite different than we see ourselves now. And as we imagine ourselves in the future, we typically don't think we'll change very much. But research suggests that we've really got a lot of change left in us.

Dan Gilbert, one of my favorite TED talk guys and authors, talks a bit about it on this hidden brain installment (24 minutes). Or here's a short snippet that I found interesting.

So not only we we almost certainly not be the same person in the future as we are today, we're really bad at predicting who we will be. We seem to do a lot of it here, so is "surrogation" the answer?
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:48 AM   #2
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Kitces had a recent blog post on this subject, related to goal-based investing:

https://www.kitces.com/blog/end-of-h...sed-investing/

The upshot was that the things we think we'll want at retirement are often not what we actually want when we get there.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:02 AM   #3
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The upshot was that the things we think we'll want at retirement are often not what we actually want when we get there.
Being 2 years away from FIRE, this is what I am most worried about. This is why I am not committing myself to anything even for a whole year after FIRE. I'll have the first two years worth cash saved up to use initially also.
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Are you the person you will be?
Old 08-23-2016, 11:25 AM   #4
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Are you the person you will be?

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So not only we we almost certainly not be the same person in the future as we are today, we're really bad at predicting who we will be. We seem to do a lot of it here, so is "surrogation" the answer?

Interesting podcast, thanks for posting! I think that forums like this one ARE a form of surrogation. We've got a broad member base, all at varying phases of life, work, and retirement. I don't post a ton, but I read a lot here, because there's a ton to learn from others' experiences. Maybe that's one reason polls are so darn popular here.

One of the things I wonder about, when the 68 year old looks back and sees how different they were at 58, is how much of the difference is due to biological aging versus mental/emotional maturing and natural changing interests? If one had always planned to retire to a life of sailing, but then no longer wants to when the time comes, is it because it's just too much work for an older body, or that activity just isn't mentally appealing? I suppose it doesn't matter, but it seems like it'd be distressing to find that we can't physically do the things we'd wanted to in retirement.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:55 AM   #5
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"We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine." - H.L. Mencken

Can't say I really worry about it. Gave up the crystal ball a long time ago.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:19 PM   #6
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Even if you are working toward a particular vision of your RE that changes later, as long as you get to FI you can spend it on what you want to at that point in the future.
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Old 08-23-2016, 02:17 PM   #7
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It's confusing to watch myself age.

On the one hand, at a fundamental level I do like and do the same things: reading, writing, sleeping, low stress, intellectual challenges, curiosity, walking and cycling, swimming, but not team sports. Like animals, want a dog, avoid crowds, dislike heat, like hugs in mild doses, want to learn how to fly an airplane. Feel socially inept but probably am doing average. Just to name a few random things.

On the other hand I changed quite a bit: I toughened up, took on consulting and some positive social traits ("the way of the weasel", I sometimes call it), can't relate to some of my hardcore engineer friends anymore, drifted culturally to the Dutch blunt style. Lost some of my magical thinking, expanded my interests to economics - I read annual reports for fun now, instead of technical IETF standards. I also enjoy the company more and more of younger people around me (5 to 25 years old), where I used to sit with adults (35+) and elders.

I used to enjoy concepts more than the practical implementation. Now I think concepts by themselves can be a good start, but are sort of useless if there's no practical angle. Ideas are cheap.

My guess is the fundamentals will stay, and I actually worry right now I'm not growing enough as a person anymore (who decides what's enough?). I want to be financially free, and for varying definitions of 'free', I am. Just to feel 'free', and unconstrained. Being confined in a daily grind or even obligations feels like prison. It's a given at this point.

The implementation details probably will vary, and I might try a nutty thing or two that I know are not good for me. Or force myself in a comfy prison because I know stability and structure are actually great for my baseline happiness.

On the third hand: I'm not even sure who I actually was when I was younger. That person is gone anyway and impossible to retrieve. Sure, I have some memories, but they are unreliable, patchy. Some recurring images I know I made up are getting very close to feeling like real memories. Who knows that hasn't happened yet? I sure couldn't tell.

I have a few friends that have known me a long time, and family, but they don't really know the full me now do they? We all have our images, storylines, preconceptions and perceptions, make a story out of it and that was 'me'.

Or to put it in Arnold terms: "You are not you, you're me"


Go figure.
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:30 PM   #8
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"We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine." - H.L. Mencken

Can't say I really worry about it. Gave up the crystal ball a long time ago.
Yep.

However today I did think about ten years in the future. We'll be getting a new front door soon. When it came time to measure the height for the peep hole, I took my shoes off because I seem to be shrinking...gotta be able to see who's out there when I'm 68. Of course, that's the physical part.

My passion/s (if I make it to 68), who knows....
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:16 PM   #9
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Interesting podcast, thanks for posting! I think that forums like this one ARE a form of surrogation. We've got a broad member base, all at varying phases of life, work, and retirement. I don't post a ton, but I read a lot here, because there's a ton to learn from others' experiences. Maybe that's one reason polls are so darn popular here.

Enjoyed listening to the podcast. I agree with ProspectiveBum, that forums like ours are a form of surrogation. I continue reading, because I do learn so much from others' experiences. Also, reading other peoples' posts, help me to think differently about various subjects. It broadens my mind and gives me a chuckle sometimes.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:04 PM   #10
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If one had always planned to retire to a life of sailing, but then no longer wants to when the time comes, is it because it's just too much work for an older body, or that activity just isn't mentally appealing?
In my case, I'm not able to do what I could when I was younger, but it's really not worth whining about. I have zero desire to do these things any more, and there is a world of other possibilities that are within my physical abilities and much more interesting to me now.

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On the third hand: I'm not even sure who I actually was when I was younger. That person is gone anyway and impossible to retrieve.
So true! And, that may be for the better. When I try to envision what I was like when I was in my early twenties, adjectives like "irresponsible", "inconsiderate", "flighty", "shallow", and "self absorbed" come to mind. It's embarrassing! I'd rather not think about what I was like at that age. All I can say is thank goodness that people mature as they age.

I do think I'm the same person. I'm just a maturing, evolving version of the same person, much the same in some of the more fundamental characteristics.
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:54 PM   #11
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I kind of question myself about surrogation versus not being creative or original. But nobody knows that you're just operating on the wisdom gained here! And I don't mind not being 100% original if it means a better shot at success.
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:01 AM   #12
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I know a guy who retired wealthy in his mid-50s after growing to hate his job in marketing in a megacorp. The last few years of his career, he created a plan to make and sell gourmet ice cream in a nearby tourist town. He took courses, bought equipment and looked at retail space. When he retired two years ago, he set all of that plan aside. Seems it was an escapist fantasy to occupy himself until retirement. There's no problem since he enjoys doing other, mostly unstructured things. He just seems surprised.


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Old 08-25-2016, 04:27 PM   #13
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Thanks. Enjoyed that podcast.
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