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Old 12-27-2009, 11:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Maurice
I don't doubt that for a second, I am certain we'll have a better relationship because of it. I'm just worried about unintended consequences....
My goodness you guys ask some excellent, thought-provoking questions on this board.

I think your concerns are quite valid. It is well understood that children learn the most from the example their role models display for them. They learn far more by watching than listening to lectures. So I disagree with the sentiment that the children will be unaffected by a relatively sedentary, very early retiree. I also don't think that sitting down with them and explaining to them how the world works (do as I say, not as I do) will make a dent in the day to day observations they make. However, I don't think that this means you have to work for money when you would like to retire. Hard work comes in many different forms.

We are in a somewhat similar situation in that we have decided to take a lot of time off from work (22-26 weeks a year) while our children are young. We are fortunate that our jobs allow us to basically work for half the year. During our time off with our kids, we don't sleep until 9AM, sip coffee for most of the morning, and sit around and read. We always have projects on the go, many of them volunteer. So we get up and engage our project for the day. We take breaks to play with the kids, but outside of that, the kids putter around and help us out (on days when they are not at school). When they come home from school one of us continues with our project (if it is an at home project), and the other gets dinner ready, and the kids tend to migrate to where the action is and help out or ask questions.

What they see us doing is far more valuable in their development than anything we could ever utter.

One of my good friends from childhood spent most of his days observing his father wake up late, watch TV, and go to bed early due to a back injury his father suffered in his early 30's while my friend was only a 3yo. Worker's compensation insurance paid his father for the rest of his working years. His mother did not work. My friend is one of the brightest people I know, but he now spends his time in his 30's mostly depressed, sitting on his couch and watching TV and lamenting how old he is getting without having done anything with his life. He works at general labour jobs or security jobs for a few months at a time for becoming frustrated with boredom. Instead of studying in high school, he spent most of his evenings watching TV with his dad. Despite a brilliant mind, he was told that he could no longer take classes at a local college due to failing too many classes in successive semesters. Enlisting my help, he appealed this successfully, went back to college determined to put in an effort, but after a few weeks found himself watching TV instead of studying. He failed again and was banned. He tried technical school with the same result.

These situations always have multiple contributing factors, but I can't help but think that his inability to apply his many talents is rooted in observing a non-working father and mother throughout his childhood and adolescence.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:04 AM   #22
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I took ER when I closed my car dealership last year, and my kids are 12 and 10 (boys). I also worry what they think about me not working any more, but I remind them the reason I am able to do this is because I worked hard running our business for 18 years and was able to make and save a lot of money. I usually try to turn the conversation into a talk about what they want to do when they "grow up" and how they are going to make enough money to ER themselves.

I don't sit around doing nothing many days, and when I do have a day like that I make sure it's while they are at school.

I now do some part time, car-related wholesale work, but still have time to take them to school, pick them up, help with home work, make all their games, etc. I like it alot because it keeps my mind occupied but I can still do what I want when I want. I didn't start this wholesale gig because I was worried the kids thought I was a slacker, but mainly because I got a little bored.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:51 PM   #23
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My perspective is theoretical as I haven't yet taken the leap. However, I'm lining up to do so, and very interested in this topic. In theory, it seems crazy to me that spending a lot more time with my kids while they are growing could be worse than going off to work - assuming we still have all the stuff we need.

If I think about different famililes that I know, and which are successful and which aren't, and try to cancel out mitigating factors, I get no clear picture. I don't personally know of situations where the parent(s) worked hard, retired early and raised the kids in a very hands-on way. I do know of situations where the father was constantly gone, made a ton of money, and the kids are losers - unmotivated and dysfunctional. I also know of situations where there is family money (example, the kids from above) and the parents don't really work. Some of these the kids are doing well, but in general I think they are less driven. Among people I know, I think traditional family structures, where the parent(s) work regular hours, make regular money, and are home every night and weekend seem to work best. Regardless, I'm gonna take a shot at micro-managing them after I retire in a couple months. Perhaps they will miss the good old days...
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:41 PM   #24
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If I think about different famililes that I know, and which are successful and which aren't, and try to cancel out mitigating factors, I get no clear picture.
A popular book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell touches on this indirectly. He highlights the large number of successful second generation lawyers/doctors/engineers in the NY area who are the daughters/sons of immigrants who arrived in USA and worked their tails off for most of their lives as entrepreneurs in the textile and merchant businesses in the "new world". On one page, he draws a family tree of several of these immigrant workers, and the consistency is quite striking.
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:31 PM   #25
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I'm curious about the non-financial considerations of retiring early with very small children. I'll almost certainly retire while my son is still quite young. Probably before he's even in kindergarten.

I sometimes worry about what life lessons he may derive (or miss) from the experience. Should I worry about what example I'm setting about work ethic? Or about what he sees as 'normal'?

I can certainly see loads of benefits of having time to spend with him while he's young, but I do worry about unintended consequences.

I'd be interested to hear others' experiences or comments.
I find it odd that some one that apparently values early retirement would worry what kind of example you would be setting. You would setting the example that working hard and planning can get you what you want and that work is a means to and end, not the end. It sounds like you're worried your son won't develop a work ethic because daddy is retired, but if you work hard raising him and being part of his life, he will get the message and maybe not become another rat in the race when he grows up.
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:09 PM   #26
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Lets hope its that simple.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:35 PM   #27
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Nothing with kids is that simple, they do have minds of their own and they use them! I wouldn't worry about it. They will get the message. Besides, my point was if you retired early and enjoy it, showing them that and maybe motivating them to follow in your foot steps is a good thing. I think spending more time with them far outweighs any other consideration.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:43 PM   #28
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Seems like an ER'd parent could be a good life lesson. "Look how Daddy and/or Mommy was able to come from a middle class background and save enough to fund a comfortable life of financial independence."

The math is simple. Save some of your income each month. What you save is an asset. Assets can be put to work for you to earn you more money. Having a lot of assets (and not a lot of liabilities) gives you flexibility and liquidity, both good things.

When you have enough assets that earn you enough money to provide a lifestyle you are comfortable with, you can do whatever your assets (and hence income) allow.

I personally don't find anything shameful in advancing from one who toils for a living (working class) to one who lives off the proceeds of their capital.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:07 PM   #29
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I personally don't find anything shameful in advancing from one who toils for a living (working class) to one who lives off the proceeds of their capital.
Nobody would suggest that. I think most people would worry that their kids would say "Hey Dad, you've got it made, so don't squander it all. Save some for me. I want to RE too."
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:15 PM   #30
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Nobody would suggest that. I think most people would worry that their kids would say "Hey Dad, you've got it made, so don't squander it all. Save some for me. I want to RE too."
I disagree! I'm sure a minority of folks would find living off of accumulated capital morally inferior to working for a living.

But if the kids mention "Hey Dad, don't squander it all!", then that's a good time to discuss the distinction between "our" money and "their" money.

In my case, there was virtually no direct intergenerational wealth transfers. I didn't inherit a large amount of "family wealth", land or businesses. So I don't feel like I have to give my kids a large inheritance (though they will probably get one based on FIREcalc runs) or "economic outpatient support" during their adult lives.

I'd like them to learn the realities of life and not be misled into adulthood!
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:16 PM   #31
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"Hey Dad, you've got it made, so don't squander it all. Save some for me. I want to RE too."
Now you're thinking like a kid. It's only human nature.
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